You’ve already read about my adventures in Québec with my family, but that only sums up half of my holiday travels.  The week after going to BSP, I flew out to Calgary to spend a week with Kyle.  Of course, no good travel plans go at least partially unfoiled – Kyle’s flight from Campbell River was delayed and he had to drive to Nanaimo, take the ferry to Vancouver and then race to the airport in order to barely make it onto a later flight to Calgary.  It was 4am Toronto time by the time we went to bed!

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Each morning was spent just the way I like it: leisurely, with a hearty breakfast.  We ate a lot of eggs, turkey bacon, and grapefruit. In fact, we made a lot of great meals that week–fish tacos, kale-sausage spaghetti and my personal favourite, bison chili.  We more or less followed this recipe from my August visit to CR but with a special ingredient that kicked it up an extra notch: Granville Island Lions Winter Ale.  The notes of vanilla, chocolate and caramel perfectly complement the bison meat and healthy dose of cinnamon.  Consumed while Kyle re-introduced me to the Star Wars saga (I haven’t seen the movies since I was really little, at which point I paid no attention to them anyways).

Other culinary highlights included taco take-out from Los Chilitos and my personal favourite, dinner at Home Tasting Room.  Kyle hates when I take photos of food when I am out with other people, but I obsessed so much over the bison tartare that I needed to document it for later reference.  Sorry, Kyle…

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Actually, of the two tasting plates we shared–this + a chive-ricotta gnocchi, pictured in the background–I much preferred the tartare and Kyle much preferred the gnocchi, so I was lucky enough to get most of the tartare to myself. 🙂 For our mains we both wanted to order the seared pork loin, but I changed my mind at the last minute and ordered duck l’orange and was SO glad I did.  I definitely recommend this restaurant if you are in the Calgary area.

Over the week, we did a bunch of walking around the city, exploring downtown and feeling super grateful that the buildings in the downtown core are all connected with overpasses so you don’t have to freeze your tush off.

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We took a little walk along Bow River, where families and friends were skating on the ice:

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And because I applied to the University of Calgary, we did a walkabout of the campus.

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After our homecooked pasta dinner on New Year’s Eve, we headed to National on 17th to ring in the New Year.  Included in our entry tickets were mussels, oysters, sliders, a craft beer tasting, and of course a champagne toast.  Oh and, can’t forget all the crucial NYE headgear and paraphernalia:

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^ Looks pretty empty in this picture, but it filled up quickly, and we amused ourselves with a lot of people-watching.  Another thing I should note about National 17th is that they have an amazing beer selection.

The most perplexing/amusing part of our week was when we drove to Lake Louise for a day of snowshoeing.  First we arrived at the hotel, where we couldn’t rent snowshoes but could take some pretty great photos…

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Then we made our way over to the ski resort, where we rented snowshoes before being told that it is “too dangerous” to go snowshoeing on your own.  We had to join a guided snowshoe tour, which we were totally fine with, but little did we know that this “tour” is actually “designed for beginners and includes a brief introduction to snowshoeing where your instructor will show you how to use this easy and fun equipment,” as described on the website.  In other words, do not do this tour unless you have never seen a snowshoe before.  We walked within viewing distance of the chairlift, stopping every 60 seconds to hear fun facts about the surrounding nature and wildlife.  So I guess, do this tour if you are more interested in nature and wildlife facts than you are about getting some exercise.

We just laughed it off, and I happily sipped some Bailey’s hot chocolate on the drive back home (I hope this is implied, but I was not driving).

We wrapped up the week with a leisurely coffee date at Caffe Beano, a super-hip coffee shop a few blocks down the street.  It was cozy, my hazelnut latte was perfection and the fresh-baked bread smelled amazing.  If I lived in Calgary I think it would become a regular haunt.

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Keep exploring!

Caj

P.S. I’ve seen a lot of great Oscar-buzz movies in the last little while: Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, but I can’t stop raving about Her.  Have you seen it?  What’s your pick for best movie?

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