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Where to Eat

For the Love of Love! Valentine’s Day in the Canadian Rockies, Part 2

Let’s get real for a second: Valentine’s Day is so much more than one day. It takes coordination. It takes foresight. It takes the perfect card or box of chocolate curated well in advance of what is touted as the most romantic day of the year.

Remember in the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast when the Beast asks Cogsworth how he should win Belle’s love? Cogsworth tells him to do the usual things: “flowers, chocolates, promises you don’t intend to keep.”

For Valentine’s Day this year, don’t be a Cogsworth.

Last week we gave you some suggestions for how to show your love, and we’re back with a new list for you this week. The editors at Where Canadian Rockies are rooting for your Valentine’s Day success!

 

Valentine’s Week at the Creek

Maybe you love love so much that you want Valentine’s Day to last longer than one day. Maybe you don’t want to feel the pressure of demonstrating your love on February 14th and you think the 15th is more meaningful. Whatever your feelings are, think about booking a package at Baker Creek Mountain Resort in Lake Louise.

When you book a room through their “Valentine’s Week at the Creek” package, Baker Creek offers you a sweet treat upon your arrival, complimentary skate and snowshoe rentals, a fire pit reservation with an unlimited wood supply, and a fireside gourmet hot chocolate and s’more station.

The offer runs from February 14th to February 18th and starts at $150/night. There is also a special Alberta Resident Room Rate that starts at $139/night.

If you really want to impress your Valentine (or yourself, for that matter), enjoy the specially crafted tasting menu at the Baker Creek Bistro ($39 per person, plus tax and service).

For more information or to book your room, call 1-403-522-3761

Baker Creek Mountain Resort

Cozy up by the fire at Baker Creek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love’s-a-Brewin’ at Kicking Horse

If ‘beer’ and ‘Valentine’s Day’ are synonymous for you, book a seat at the 2018 Brewmaster’s Dinner hosted in the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort on February 16th.

At 7700 feet with 360-degree alpine views, experience mountaintop dining with canapés and an appetizer from the menu that boasts Surf & Turf and Vegan Pasta for entrées and a deconstructed lemon pie for dessert. Yes, you read that right: a deconstructed lemon pie (va va voom!)

You’ll also hear from Kent Donaldson from Whitetooth Brewing, and from Paul Walker of Stanley Park Brewing. At $79 (plus tax and gratuities) per guest, celebrate Valentine’s Day (or beer) on a Friday and show your true love that Brewmasters know how to do things right.

For booking or more information, call 250-439-5553

Dine on top of the world at the Eagle’s Eye Restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eagle's Eye Restaurant at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Picture yourself taking in the 360-degree mountain views during the 2018 Brewmaster’s Dinner. Photo: Liam Glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For when Two is Better than One

Mountain Wellness Day Spa in Jasper makes it impossible for you to pull a Cogsworth with their Spa Packages for Two. Choose packages that range from a couple’s massage to body exfoliations and wraps (mimosas included!) to impress your best Valentine (or Galentine).

If you really want to step things up, book a Deluxe Package for Two offered exclusively at the Chateau Jasper location. Choose a Romance, Escape, or Wellness package and soak in their tub-for-two (…bathing suits optional!). Spa Packages for Two are offered all year, so we won’t blame you if you start celebrating Valentine’s Day on a weekly basis

For information or booking, call 780-852-3252

 

There is nowhere else you need to be once you’re on the massage table at Mountain Wellness Day Spa in Jasper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Market for Love

If you are in Canmore on February 14th, book a table at the Market Bistro in Three Sisters and enjoy an evening of delicious food and live music. The three-course menu features scallops, a baked goat cheese salad, beef brisket, salmon wellington, and a lava cake.

In 2017, the chef at Market Bistro was awarded “Best Chef of the Festival” at Canmore Uncorked and we can see why. The flavours on the Valentine’s Day menu are sure to impress, and at $55 per person, Valentine’s Day can be affordable but taste expensive.

Dinner seating begins at 5 p.m. with live jazz starting around 6 p.m.

For more information and for booking, call 403-675-3006

 

My Fair Romance

All year, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge offers a Romance Package and we think there’s no better time to take advantage of it.

Stay for two nights in a Fairmont Room and receive wine and chocolate truffles upon your arrival, a $300 credit at the Fairmont Spa, a dinner for two, and daily breakfast at the ORSO Trattoria.

Starting at $599 per night, the Jasper Park Lodge will make you feel like royalty.

For more information, click here, or call 1-866-540-4454 to book your package.

The Romance Package at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge includes a $300 credit at the Fairmont Spa

 

 

Market on Your Calendar

By Kaitlyn Forde

Photo courtesy of Tourism Canmore Kananaskis

Photo courtesy of Tourism Canmore Kananaskis

“It’s like your soul wakes up,” says a juicing booth patron of the Canmore Mountain Market’s return on Thursdays. Or, visit Banff Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays. Both feature regionally grown produce, artisanal eats, handmade jewellery and crafts, and tunes courtesy of local musicians.

>> For more Canadian Rockies activities, shops, restaurants and entertainment, read our digital magazine.

>> Connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram at whererockies and tag your Canadian Rockies posts and photos with #whererockies

A Toast to Craft Beer and Local Liquor

By Keili Bartlett

Something’s brewing in the Canadian Rockies, and it’s not just the bubbling hot springs. Local businesses have tapped into the fresh (and cold!) glacier-fed waterways to produce a more alcoholic type of liquid.

Park it here. Gleaming stills and tanks are prominently positioned for all to see at Park Distillery.

Park it here. Gleaming stills and tanks are prominently positioned for all to see at Park Distillery.

(more…)

The Top 5 Places to Eat Right Now in Food-Obsessed Toronto

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The trendy dining room at Hanmoto.

Hanmoto

This tiny west-end spot offers addictive Japanese comfort food like dyno wings: deep-fried, boneless chicken wings that are stuffed with pork, bacon and ginger,slathered in kewpie mayo sauce and served in a takeout box. 2 Lakeview Ave.

Antler

The appropriately named chef Michael Hunter serves up wild and foraged cuisine—including boar, venison and bison. 1454 Dundas St. W.

 Alo

Dig into Alo’s inventive six-course tasting menu to find out why chef Patrick Kriss’s French-dining destination is one of the finest restaurants in Canada. 163 Spadina Ave., 

Jackpot Chicken Rice

Everything on the menu, from the kaffir broccoli tempura to the Hainanese chicken to the rich, schmaltzy rice, is full of exciting flavours, both traditional and new.
318 Spadina Ave. 

Piano Piano

Chef Victor Barry’s chic Italian restaurant is great for kids and a boon to grown-ups who love perfect Neapolitain pizzas (try the Bitters: scamorza, parmesan, dandelion, kale, garlic, chilies and lemon). 88 Harbord St. 

 

5 Restaurants for Wine Lovers

Courtesy of Fusion Grill

Courtesy of Fusion Grill

Calling all oenophiles: these restaurants are must-visits for wine lovers of all stripes.

At DeLuca’s Cooking School, sip specially paired wines provided by attached DeLuca Fine Wines while chef Anna Paganelli demonstrates how to prepare elaborate Italian dishes. Call for class schedule and to register. 950 Portage Ave, 204‑774‑7617, delucas.ca

529 Wellington, Winnipeg’s most lofty steakhouse, maintains its elevated reputation with an award winning wine list so thick it could have been written by Proust. More than 800 selections pair with anything from porterhouse to prawns. 529 Wellington Cres, 204‑487‑8325, 529wellington.ca

Mona Lisa Restaurant is a top pick for comforting red sauce Italian fare in a sleek yet casual atmosphere. The adjacent cantina is perfect for variety-loving imbibers, with 20 featured wines offered by the glass. 1697 Corydon Ave, 204‑488‑3684, monalisarestaurant.ca

Fusion Grill stokes Canadian pride with its sophisticated use of regional ingredients, and local love doesn’t stop there. Owner Scot McTaggart (pictured) built an extensive wine list that is exclusively Canadian, and sure to win over even old-world enthusiasts to the Canuck terroir. 550 Academy Rd, 204‑489‑6963, fusiongrill.mb.ca

Forget hot cocoa—cap off a day of outdoor activities with a glass of vino at The Common at The Forks. Pours by the glass or in tasting flights are perfect to sip while relaxing in the food hall or even browsing the market’s upper level shops. The Forks Market, 204‑942‑6216, theforks.com

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Now Open: Two New Restaurants for Casual Cuisine

Photo by Mike Linton, Centric Productions

Photo by Mike Linton, Centric Productions

Popular board game cafe Across the Board outgrew its small space on Albert St and has moved into a bright location on the corner of Main St and Bannatyne Ave. The spacious new room, boasting high ceilings and picture windows, sees its game selection upped to more than 1000 offerings, and an expanded menu of snacks, appies, and entrées for hungry players to eat between turns. 211 Bannatyne Ave, 204‑691‑3422, acrosstheboardcafe.com

Tastes of the Mediterranean are the specialty at Agora Fine Foods. The spot, named after the ancient Greek market and gathering place, has plenty of reason to gather, from the shelves stocked with local and imported specialty foods to the sleek Indulge Bistro and Wine Bar that serves up Spanish, Greek, and Italian dishes in a smartly designed space. 1765 Kenaston Blvd, 204‑285‑4068, agorafinefoods.ca

Best New Restaurants 2016

Clementine Cafe. Photo by Ian McCausland.

Clementine Cafe. Photo by Ian McCausland.

Winnipeg maintains its status as a destination food city with a bumper crop of hot new restaurants. Clementine tops our list of the best new opens this year, and has been chosen as one of Canada’s Top 10 New Restaurants by Where Editors.

By Joelle Kidd

GOOD MORNING

From the first step down the flight of stairs that leads to Clementine Café’s subterranean Exchange District space, an excitement begins to take hold. Over the buzz of chatter from filled tables, anticipation sets in. A look at the menu reveals something conspicuously absent from the city’s dining scene, until now.

Arctic Char at Clementine. Photo by Ian McCausland.

Arctic Char at Clementine. Photo by Ian McCausland.

Breakfast fine dining has oft been interpreted as home cooking classics delivered on fancy china. Following the lead of chef-owned hotspots pushing boundaries, Clementine reimagines breakfast with inventive flavour combinations, melding thoughtfulness and creativity with accessibility and casualness in price and atmosphere.

The underground nook’s interior seamlessly blends cozy and kooky elements. Industrial-chic elements like rough-hewn wood rafters and exposed brick are complemented by pattern adorned walls and black and white chevron floor tiles.

Through a grid of window panes into the open kitchen, diners get an up close look at head chefs Adam Donnelly and Chris Gama leading what seems like a full brigade, frying, chopping, saucing and simmering marvelous creations. This creative kitchen has produced instant signatures like eggs benedict topped with thick cut maple bacon and glossy hollandaise, or the instagram darling fried chicken toast, which piles juicy crisp chicken on a thick wedge of housemade sourdough.

Despite the extravagance on the plate, entrées ring in between $9-$12, and a range of side dishes, all priced in the single digits, make for a light breaky or a sharable addition to an indulgent brunch. In dish after dish it is clear that at Clementine, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. 123 Princess St, 204‑942‑9497, clementinewinnipeg.com.

OLD MEETS NEW

At the time of Prohibition and other restrictive liquor laws, many illegal establishments hid dining rooms and bars behind front businesses, often exhibits of natural wonders or animal curiosities, earning the nickname “blind tigers”. South Osborne’s Blind Tiger Kitchen + Bar takes up this moniker with tongue in cheek, presenting an earnest fondness for the past with a sleekly modern twist.

Normandy moules courtesy of Blind Tiger Kitchen + Bar.

Normandy moules courtesy of Blind Tiger Kitchen + Bar.

Antique chic décor adorns exposed brick walls, from wrought iron farming implements to an abstract art piece made from a deconstructed piano. Paired with slick dark tones, leather, and a gleaming backlit bar, the space easily blends old and new.

The menu betrays a fondness for the hallmarks of classic French cooking, from appies like escargot and chicken livers to entrée selections like bouillabaisse and niçoise salad. Dips into bistro fare include mountains of perfectly tender mussels in classic preparations. A Normandy-style rendition is simmered in a creamy broth, umami-laced from pops of bacon and topped with tart matchsticks of green apple. Thin and crispy frites under a heap of funky Parmesan are perfect for sopping up broth.

Service is without pretension, blending airs of fine dining and neighbourhood comfort. Despite a concept based around secrecy, the lively room is an invitation to settle in over another cocktail or dessert. 725 Osborne St, 204‑691‑9939, blindtigerwinnipeg.ca.

QUIRKY CASUAL

The fast casual trend hit in full force this year. Fresh, healthy, and adventurous food delivered at sleek order-at-the-counter spots has flipped the script on fast food and proven as versatile as convenient, with countless variations of quick eats spanning global cuisines and dietary styles.Of the many new concepts that have appeared, Chosabi is the cream of the crop, instantly gaining enough fans to open a second location mere months after the launch of the original Exchange District spot.

Sushi burritos courtesy of Chosabi.

Sushi burritos courtesy of Chosabi.

Inviting rooms, sprinkled with jabs of colour (red in the Exchange, yellow on Pembina) are effortlessly sleek, with clean lines and a modern mix of steel and wood textures. Stretching powerfully across a wall, a stylized mural of a fish, painted by local artist Pat Lazo, gives these clean spaces an edge.

The sushi burrito (aka Chorito), a hefty hand roll that turns delicate maki snacking into a two-handed affair, is the signature here. Perfectly seasoned rice, fresh fish, and creative ingredient combinations are a winning formula. The short menu also lists bowls that pull from a variety of cuisines, from Thai green curry to Korean bulgogi. The poke bowl is a must have, laden with glossy pink cubes of salmon and tuna, lent a briny note by threads of seaweed and a mix of soy sauce and lightly pungent wasabi-punched aioli.

Flair is added to even the smallest details. Burritos are wrapped, cut, and served in bamboo steamer baskets, and signature take out boxes are styled up with a colourful fish illustration. Even prepackaged eats are superbly fresh, like salads, nigiri, and fruit-packed smoothie cups ready to be blended at the counter. For those with more time to sit and sup, specialty coffee drinks, by-the-glass wine, and Asian beer on tap round out the selection.

Concept-driven eateries have proven popular for entrepreneurs, and Chosabi shows the strongest players deliver with outstanding taste and uncompromised flavour. 100 King St, 204‑615‑8338; 2696 Pembina Hwy, 204‑615‑8313, chosabi.com.

PRAIRIE POWER

Food is many things, from basic sustenance and nourishment to an exercise in creativity. In many ways, the food we eat is tied to identity. Manitoba’s regional ingredients like bison, beets, and lakefish have become ever more popular, but in the hands of Christa Bruneau-Guenther, these ingredients speak with added significance. When she opened Feast Café and Bistro on the corner of Ellice and Sherbrook last December, Canada’s first Indigenous cuisine restaurant was born.

Interior shot courtesy of Feast Cafe & Bistro

Interior shot courtesy of Feast Cafe & Bistro

Inside the welcoming room accented with warm colours, pendant lamps, and large black and white photos of prairie scenery, the intimate restaurant feels at once chic and cozy.

Indian Tacos are the menu favourite, a riff on popular powwow food from Southwestern First Nations groups like the Navajo. Feast’s version is all Manitoba, topped with a hearty bean and local bison chili. Puffy wheels of lightly fried bannock support a mountain of chili, lettuce, salsa, and a drizzle of sour cream hinting of chipotle. This may be the only taco that requires a fork and knife, but it is easily devoured.

The same frybread makes the base for pizzas with creative toppings. A vegetarian version sporting nutty-sweet roasted butternut squash, a rich cream sauce, a smattering of pine nuts, and chipotle cream is an out of the park hit.

Simple variations on classic breakfast items draw neighbourhood crowds in the morning, from pancakes and French toast to “eggs banny” on a bannock bun.

While fare is familiar, hinting of classic diners and home cooked meals, small substitutions point to Feast’s real charm. Bannock replaces bread in nearly every dish; bison sausage swaps for breakfast sausages and pepperoni on pizza; fish fingers become oven-baked pickerel. From the use of traditional ingredients to the warm neighbourhood atmosphere, dining becomes more than just the experience of a meal; it is a connection to land, culture, and community. 587 Ellice Ave, 204‑691‑5979, feastcafebistro.com.

PAN ASIAN PERFECTION

In a city as culturally diverse as Winnipeg, there is no lack of inspiration for chefs seeking to explore flavours from across the globe. The resulting fusion across cultures has birthed new diverse dining categories. It is into one such novel genre that Máquè, the new open for chef Scott Bagshaw, steps.

Cured hamachi, celery, plum, and yuzu with turnip, smoked roe and basil. Courtesy of Maque.

Cured hamachi, celery, plum, and yuzu with turnip, smoked roe and basil. Courtesy of Maque.

Like Enoteca, Bagshaw’s River Heights haunt, Máquè features few seats, an open kitchen, and small plates made for sharing. The twist comes in the flavour profiles that populate the carefully considered menu. Inspiration comes from Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cuisine, translated into carefully balanced plates that blend far east flavours with French derived technique. Plump dumplings, with tacky dough giving way to juicy pork, are paired with a thick smear of almond butter, playing off the warm notes of Chinese five spice powder. A dish of tender crab, lobster, bacon, and caviar is a menu highlight. The delicate jumble of seafood is doused tableside with a fragrant, swoon-inducing blend of red curry and lobster bisque. This revelatory French-Thai mash up is impossibly rich, savoury, and spicy, overset with hints of sweet coconut and a whisper of black truffle.

Multiple orders of steamed buns can be spied on every table. Drawing Momofuku comparisons, the pillowy crescents are stuffed with a mix of crisped pork belly, peanuts, ssäm sauce and a sliver of pickle.

Décor is simple, with drawings of sparrows (the Chinese translation of the restaurant’s name) adorning the window-wrapped room. Though simple wooden chopsticks replace silverware, saucy French-inflected dishes beg diners to lick the plate. 909 Dorchester Ave, 204‑284‑3385, maque.ca.

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Levetto Comes to Chinatown

FIND PASTA, PIZZA, AND MORE AT THE CHINATOWN LOCATION OF LEVETTO

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The truffle oil-drizzled funghi pizza from Levetto.

The Chinatown outpost of Levetto boasts the same oven-baked pizzas and handmade pastas that have made the franchise’s other locations popular. But one menu offering is unique to the menu here: the Peking duck pizza, which use ingredients like hoisin sauce and medium cheddar cheese for an Asian take on an Italian staple. Among the other highlights are the carbonara with a generous helping of smoked bacon, the rigatoni with tender braised beef, and the fungi pizza with truffle oil.  —Karen Stevens

Embrace Fall With Comfort Food

AS THE TEMPERATURE DROPS STAY WARM WITH THESE FALL FAVOURITES

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Get your fill of delicious carbs with the fungi pasta at Ardo. Photo by Adam Mazerall.

Say hello to fall with these hearty comfort foods.

  1. You won’t go hungry with the toothsome Arcadian Court chicken pot pie, which is served with mashed potatoes and scratch gravy at Bannock.
  2. Head to Harlem Underground for the savoury-sweet combination that is fried chicken and waffles, a beloved Southern dish.
  3. With handmade gnocchi, local mushrooms, heirloom carrots, and creamy stracchino cheese topped off with shaved black truffle, the funghi pasta at Ardo is a decadent answer to any carb craving.

Enjoy Fresh Lobster at Ibs.

LOBSTER LOVERS WON’T WANT FOR REASONABLY-PRICED OPTIONS AT LBS.

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Thanks to careful prep by the chef the lobster at lbs. comes out of the shell easily, eliminating the fuss of enjoying the crustacean.

Feast on fresh lobster at lbs(The name, which stands for “Lobster,” “Burger,” and “Salad” is pronounced “pounds”). The short menu has four feature items at only $22 each: the 1.25 lbs. lobster, lobster roll, a burger topped with aged cheddar and bacon, and a lobster salad. Sit back at the large bar and quench your thirst with refreshing cocktails and a rotating selection of non-alcoholic custom sodas. And if you still have room, order the popular lobster poutine made with rich gravy. For crustacean-lovers on the go, the take-out window at the back serves Sam James coffee, as well as lobster rolls and ice cream sandwiches.  —Karen Stevens

Don your Lederhosen: Oktoberfest Celebrations

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Watch Bavarian-style dancers at Octoberfest Toronto. Photo by Tom Pandi.

Since the first festival more than 200 years ago, Oktoberfest has become a popular celebration worldwide—and Toronto is no exception. Get your Bavarian fun fix at these three events.

  1. September 30 to October 1 For two days, Oktoberfest Toronto transforms the grounds of Ontario Place into a Munich-style party featuring folk dancers, non-stop polka music, plenty of food, and a selection of German and European beers. Visit torontooktoberfest.ca for more details. Festivities include a tapping of the keg party and an “Ein Prosit” party for the over 19 crowd. All ages will enjoy Saturday’s Volksfest Carnival, which features games, hat-decorating, rides, and contests.
  1. September 30 to October 9 With traditional beer hall decor, a keg-tapping ceremony, and “oom-pah-pah” bands, the party at Amsterdam BrewHouse strives to be as the close to the real thing as you can get outside of Deutschland. Enjoy your favourite sausages and soft pretzels, as well as a special beer brewed on site and served in one-litre steins. Make sure you show up early, as tickets are limited, and most of the seating is first-come first-serve.
  1. For a modern take on the German beer hall experience year-round, visit WVRST. There’s a wide selection of sausages—try the likes of bison, kangaroo and duck—paired with an even wider selection of local craft beers and ciders. —Karen Stevens

 

Top 5 Restaurants with Live Music

Photo courtesy Prairie Ink Restaurant

Photo courtesy Prairie Ink Restaurant

Dining is not just about taste; get the other senses involved at these restaurants, which offer live music in harmony with mouth-watering flavour.

Prairie Ink Restaurant (pictured), inside McNally Robinson Booksellers, hosts sweet music every Friday and Saturday night. Acoustic crooners and jazz trios are the backdrop to healthful eats like kicky curried spaghetti squash. Reservations preferred. 1120 Grant Ave, 204‑975‑2659, mcnallyrobinson.com/restaurant

Hip venue The Good Will slings java during the day and sates late night cravings with slices from Little Pizza Heaven. Indie rock, jazz, and hip hop artists usually take the stage. 625 Portage Ave, 204-221-1577, thegoodwill.ca

Excellent pub grub, like indulgent pulled pork poutine, makes Le Garage the place to lounge. Consistent live shows range from local legends to open mics. 166 Provencher Blvd, 204‑237‑0737, garagecafe.ca

Expert musicians tickle the ivories at swanky Palm Lounge inside the Fort Garry Hotel while the kitchen plays with on seasonal, scratch-made fare. Jazz and classical piano is de-rigeur, often with a talented vocalist joining in. 222 Broadway, 204‑942‑8251, fortgarryhotel.com/dining

Winnipeg’s stellar jazz scene can be found at Nicolino’s every week at the Wednesday Night Hang. Budding musicians and seasoned pros share the stage, while diners sample rustic Italian cuisine. 2077 Pembina Hwy, 204‑269‑5004, nicolinosrestaurant.com