Oh Canada, eh!

Oh Canada!

Definitely did not intend for this to be a bit o’ a travel blog but I just had to share a few snaps from my honeymoon to the Canadian Rockies. Thanks to my in-laws, we were able to stay in a condo timeshare – a comfortable place to ourselves with a kitchenette, gorgeous mountainside view, heated garage (for our rental car, which is nice because the daytime & nighttime temperatures drop below freezing), access to barbecues (yes, we’ve barbecue’d in the snow) & of course an outdoor heated pool & hot tub (swimming in the snow? Been there, done that!).

We went on some intense hikes in the snow/ice, summitting & trekking over to see frozen waterfalls, streambeds, rivers – even learned to ski (we are both seasoned snowboarders), saw wildlife (herds of elk, white-tailed deer & even a coyote). Got a bit of the historic sights & places too like the Fairmont Château at Lake Louise in Banff, the Cave & Basin National Historic Site, we hiked up Sulphur Mountain & took the the Banff Gondola back down, hiked around Johnston’s Canyon which was a MUST see, as most of the waterfalls were frozen yet beginning to thaw and of course we spent some time in the towns of Banff, Canmore & Calgary.

stroopwafel

Pretty much every morning commenced with freshly brewed coffee (thanks to the condo kitchenette & us buying organic & Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee from Sobey’s) & a stroopwafel atop. My husband spotted stroopwafels for sale at a the Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe in Canmore, which is a quaint historic mining town situated southeast of Banff. Stroopwafels are true treats – they originate from the Netherlands and are basically a caramel-like filling sandwiched by wafer-y flat waffles; set atop a steaming mug of coffee or tea. The steam warms the filling & is thusly gooey when broken into. Pretty amazing pairing. If you haven’t had any before & if you are in the U.S., I’ve seen stroopwafels for sale at various retailers in the U.S. (i.e. World Market, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc).

IMAG2819For breakfast most mornings, thanks to my husband who is an awesome cook & I – we had over-easy eggs with either English muffins or some pancakes (made with almond milk & Bob’s Red Mill GF pancake mix, which I highly recommend – the pancakes were hearty & fluffy, I even forgot that they were gluten-free).  My husband & I picked up a lean cut of Canadian maple-cured ham to have as a savoury slices with our breakfast. At a natural foods store called Nutters, we picked up some organic maple syrup (in which we topped oatmeal & our pancakes with!). We had maybe a fourth of a cup of syrup remaining by the time it was the end of our trip & you best believe that I tucked it into our check-in luggage to take home.. The stuff is gold to me!

I just realised that I didn’t take any snaps of the currency (Google if you wish) ! There are conflicting proclamations on whether Canadian bills smell like maple syrup or not. I would have to say that the scent is faint. Not on all bills either… My husband says that he only smelled ink.. The jury is still out on that one..

IMAG2864So please keep in mind that I am trying to make this post as food-centric as possible, because if anything, most of my photos have attempted to capture the glory that is the Canadian Rockies: snow-laden evergreen boughs, frosty mountaintops, completely frozen lakes, streams & waterfalls & the the wildlife.

Pictured next to this serving of elk-topped poutine is a lovely draught pint of Sleeman’s honey brown lager from Ontario.

So pictures of food are actually on the rarer side, though I am pleased to say that we encountered quite possibly the best poutine in Banff/maybe even all of Alberta at the Elk & Oarsman Pub (nice interior as well). Thick-cut pomme-frites topped with an incredible gravy (reminiscent of au jus), cheese curds (that are totally melted) & braised elk meat. Phenomenal. We were sort of addicted, even came back the next day to get more!

IMAG2816

Here’s a fun photo of a placard inside a Canadian teashop called Davids Tea..

We trekked out to Lake Louise to check out the area. The lake was expansive & still frozen over in most places, though we missed out on ice skating there (the rink was falrly slushy, it was the beginning of spring there afterall! Instead, we decided to indulge in a lunch at the Fairmont Château. The view from the dining room was stunning & since it was the tail-end of winter, icicles were melting off the rooftops & fell off the rooftops (incredibly entertaining yet horrifying to observe!) We shared a Reuben sandwich that was comprised of corned bison meat in a Reuben sandwich along with a quaint terrine of cabbage & kale soup.

Fairmont Lake Louise Dining View

On our last full day in Calgary – I ordered a Bloody Caesar at a pub. For those who don’t know, Bloody Caesars are essentially vodka, Clamato juice (tomato + clam juice), hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce & garnished with a salted rim &/or pickled garnish – in my case at Libertine Public House – it was an olive, banana pepper & a wedge of lemon. I didn’t realise it at the time, but apparently Bloody Caesars are considered quintessential Canadian cocktails, originating in Calgary! My husband & I agree that they are tastier & are more savory than Bloody Mary’s. When I returned to work & told my co-workers about it (most of us at my bakeshop are Bloody Mary aficionadas); some were put off by the idea of clam juice in a cocktail – but in all honesty, it just gives a lovely umami nuance to the drink & does not detract whatsoever! It’s all mental.
IMAG2939

As an endnote – this trip was incredible – if you ever consider going to the Canadian Rockies – I strongly encourage you to go!
We definitely want to go back. So many amazing memories & gorgeous sights to see.
Cheers!

Frozen waterfalls in Johnston's Canyon / Banff National Park

Frozen waterfalls in Johnston’s Canyon / Banff National Park

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