Some days you need to do a little spring cleaning and nourish your insides with vegetables and all the nutrients and goodness they provide. After a week on a resort in Mexico we both needed a nutrient injection! While we usually juice daily at home, on the resort our daily juice was more of the alcoholic kind than the vegetable kind (although I bet I could make a case for potato vodka being a main food group)! So we were so happy to stumble upon Pure Raw Nature in the Symons Valley Ranch Farmers Market. Pure Raw Nature is an organic plan based green juice and smoothie bar. It is so easy to eat raw, vegan, and gluten free and you know you are nourishing your body with fantastic fresh produce. I had a gigantic green juice and my liver jumped for joy after a week of mistreatment. I also had a homemade protein bar which was so full of nuts, seeds, and chewy flavour! A juice and protein bar only set me back just over $13.00- easily the cheapest brunch we have had. I stayed full well into the day and had a load of energy. The best part…the owners are amazing! So kind, so passionate about healthy food, and very obviously in love with what they are doing! This gem of a place was a great find and is a fantastic spot for a nutritious and great tasting snack!!
The fact is brunch has become a pretty big deal in Calgary and if you want to hit the small mom and pop diners you need to get up pretty darn early….early is not really a word in my hubby’s vocab. So it is great that the bigger bar/pub/restaurants are opening their doors (a few small hours after closing them) and offering up some great mid morning feasts. We recently went to Craft. With loads of space and a relaxing Saturday midmorning atmosphere, Craft is a great place to enjoying a slow waltz into mid day consciousness. The brunch menu boasts six solid offerings from traditional bacon and eggs to chicken and waffles featuring local and seasonal produce. We both had traditional bacon and eggs (we easily traded out toasted for tomatoes) and fell in love instantly with the hash brown potatoes! Made from Popular Bluff organic potatoes these hash browns boast melt in your mouth flavour! The eggs were fresh and the portion size was spot on. The service was also really attentive which is also a nice touch when nursing the leftovers of an overactive Friday night! The bill was in the mid $40.00 range which is par for the course as far as brunch tends to run.
I love the Summit Cafe. It was Darek’s birthday and we decided to head out of the city and grab some brunch and we headed straight to our comfort destination. The cafe has had a face lift and it looks bright and happy. The staff are always so friendly and the atmosphere is so relaxed and chill- great place to spend a lazy day!! The portions are crazy big and eating gluten free is absolutely no problem. The house made Italian sodas are rich and thick and the selection of fancy tea drinks suit me just fine. This place is hopping busy on a Saturday mornings and even on an easy Wednesday they were plenty busy. This is a great place to fuel up for your day in the mountains!
Run….don’t walk…brunch at the National on 17th boasts a duck skillet that will make your toes curl and your taste buds jump for joy!!! Great spot for brunch, nice chill vibe with big portions, and the beer is always on tap! We both had the skillet and it was so rich and flavourful…in fact I still dream about that beautiful duck! Husband had been drinking there the night before…he should have just slept on the bench and I could have just joined him in the morning for brunch! I really enjoyed this location and the food was great! The bill came to a little over $40.00 which is par for the course. The service was challenging- they were obviously shorthanded; however, honestly it didn’t much matter to us as we were happy to chill.
Our outing today took us Symons Valley Ranch Roadhouse Restaurant. We actually were at the farmers market doing our weekly shopping; however, the smell of bacon distracted us so greatly that we ended up in the restaurant. Now we expected great things from this place…a restaurant in a farmers market should have outstanding produce so it had a lot to live up to! Happily…it did! Now the brunch menu is small only about 6 items so don’t expect grand variety. I wasn’t interested in bread so I didn’t ask about gluten free, I simply asked to switch toast with tomatoes which was no problem. We both had 2 eggs with bacon. The eggs were so fresh and had great flavour. The bacon was bloody amazing!! I savoured it…..so much flavour and a good portion. The potatoes were incredible! The were so well seasoned, crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I could have eaten a whole plate full of them!! We were very impressed with the freshness of the produce, the size of the portion and the ohhhh those potatoes!!!!! The bill with tip ran us around the $40.00 mark and 9 hours later I am still thinking about those potatoes!
Our second outing found us with a coveted seat in the very busy Dairy Lane Cafe. You either have to arrive very early or go quite late and even at that point you will be lucky to snag a seat. A small venue coupled with amazing food makes this a very popular brunch spot. The breakfast menu has an excellent variety and it is so easy to eat vegan and gluten free. The portions are gigantic and I guarantee you won’t need to eat for the rest of the day!! I had the breakfast tostadas. The potatoes and tomato jam were outstanding…frankly the whole dish was so flavourful. Darek had the Croque Madame which was a special of the day and it was divine! The Engel’s bread is amazing and the whole dish was well balanced and he said the meat was outstanding. We really loved everything about Dairy Lane, the vibe, the excellent service, and the attention to vegan/gluten free/locally sourced/meal-share makes it a real hot spot that I would love to revisit again! Again, this ran us around $43.00 with tip.
I love brunch. Yet oddly enough we rarely go out for this weekend treasure as we intend to whip up eggy creations in our own kitchen. But to rid ourselves of the winter blues we thought we would start up brunchy Saturdays and see what Calgary kitchens have to offer! Our first outing was to 80th and Ivy down on 17th Ave. We hit the last weekend of their brunch menu as they have now switched to a brunch buffet…so I guess we will have to make a return visit! Listen I don’t know any restaurant in Calgary that does rotisserie chicken like 80th and Ivy…it is absolutely amazing! So we both had the roasted chicken skillet…it was a no brainer. Potatoes, eggs, chicken and the crowning glory…housemade tomato jam. The serving is gigantic and we loaded up on the tomato jam…honestly it was amazing…tasted like my mom’s homemade tomato chilli. The skillet also comes with toast and a lovely fruit compote. 80th and Ivy is very easy to eat gluten free and they accommodate food sensitivities as well much as possible. We had tea and was happy to know they source from The Naked Leaf in Kensington. Brunch ran us around $45.00 with tip and we had such a relaxing time in the amazing atmosphere what it was well worth the spend. I am interested to see how the buffet is working….stay tuned as we may check it out in the next few months.
It is no secret that I am not a fan of winter; however, the sport program at Canada Olympic Park is well worth the visit. For those not too keen to try winter sports, the Sports Hall of Fame is a great museum and well worth the time. While there is snowboarding, skiing, and ice sports- the most exciting things, in my opinion, are the bobsleigh and the luge. Now if you have shoulder or neck problems then please don’t attempt. The bobsleigh especially gives your body a darn good jolt. If you are a pretty poor luger, as I turned out to be, you could walk away with some bumps and bruises.
The bobsleigh comes in at about $100.00 per person- likely one of the fastest and most expensive minutes of your life and absolutely well worth it. You start out with a safety briefing, helmet fitting, and a briefing on the ride. We were then introduced to our driver and set up into trios. I sat behind the driver and my basic job was to hang on. At first I thought this “sport” was pretty lame. At the top of the run there was very little action, and the…all the sudden…bam! We picked up speed and the corners came fast and furious. Thinking was not an option for most of the ride…every single sense was on edge…wow!!! Then the G forces hit! Wow..I have never been so humbled by the force of nature. I had no bodily control, couldn’t resist the crushing power. They said it would be like a 300 hundred pound man sitting on me…well I think it was more like 500…it was the craziest feeling I have ever had in my life. At the finish line my wobbling legs barely peeled me out of the sleigh. Then the adrenalin and exhilaration kicked in…wow!!! The feeling was amazing and my admiration for the type of athleticism it takes to do this sport is beyond words. Once it is all over you get a picture with your crew, a commemorative certificate and, of course, bragging rights!! I still talk about this experience….just amazing! You can read more on my post of this experience.
The second experience you must try is the luge. At $35.00 a pop it is a easier price point for most but if you wish to ride more than once there is no pro-rated ride fee so it is another full $35.00. You get a helmet, a safety chat, and a demonstration..then a push down the hill! You get 5 turns and people clock around 50-60km. While it was a good experience, luge is not my thing. I couldn’t relax, lay back or even remotely get the hang of it. I had one spectacular crash which mangled both my elbows and another lesser crash involving my legs! While it was fun to try it and I am so glad I took the opportunity, I was pretty damn glad when the whole thing was over! Laying down on a bit of canvas and wood going down an icy hill is really not my thing and wow though…sure gets the blood pumping!
One of the best views you could wish for! Our hosts at A Windsong Bed and Breakfast suggested the club’s restaurant and it was indeed a fantastic recommendation! When you make your reservation ask for a table at the far end of the veranda. This will give you a view of the Okanagan landscape as well as the lovely fountain which creates a breathtaking atmosphere. We arrived at about 7:30pm and were able to watch a spectacular sunset during our meal.
The service was attentive, friendly and they accommodated our dietary requests. I found the menu to have a good selection of foods. We chose fish as it was the special and it was outstanding. The taste and texture just right and the sides were a lovely addition to the whole dish. The food tasted fresh and it looked as though there had been attention to plating which I always appreciate. I was happy to see a lot of local wines, brews and fortified wines on the menu. It was a fantastic evening and we are sure to return!
Located on the West Bank this is another fantastic golf course restaurant. When you make reservations ask for a patio seat so you can enjoy the expansive view of the grounds and the lake. We arrived early so that we could walk around the grounds. When we were seated we were just in time to what another fantastic sunset.
Our evening started out with amazing customer service. The hostess was extremely accommodating and our server was knowledgeable, fun, and bent over backwards to meet our dietary needs. In fact, this was the best customer service we received on our whole vacation in Kelowna. The food is flavourful and our entrees were both outstanding! The portions were huge and the taste so good that we just couldn’t stop eating!! We felt that the price point was extremely good value for money. This was our favourite meal during our vacation in Kelowna, and we had a lot of great meals! I loved that they had some wonderful lesser known local wines on the menu. The collaboration of great scenery, outstanding service, and fresh flavourful food created an extremely enjoyable evening. We look forward to returning!