After two straight days of dog sledding and mountaineering, we were due for a lazy day. Nishan and I began our fourth day in Calgary at Phil & Sebastian, a minimalist-meets-hipster-in-a-good-way coffee shop in the Marda Loop neighborhood. Protip: get their pain au chocolat; it’s the best I’ve ever had. Their coffee is pretty solid, too.
Afterwards, we headed to the Calgary Farmers Market, which was a bit bare bones in the produce department (it was February, after all) but more than made up for it with meats and cheeses. Want bison? Check. Meat pies? Check. Venison? Check. Kale? Not so much.
I picked up some maple black tea at TotaliTea, then grabbed a few bison sausages at Olson’s High Country. The real treat was picking up a dozen meat pies at Simple Simon Pies. We ate a couple of their Jamaican beef curry pies for lunch at the farmers market and took the rest home to enjoy later.
We spent the rest of the day in downtown Calgary, where I learned what the +15 is (a massive indoor pedestrian skywalk system connecting downtown buildings because, well, it’s so cold in the winter) and also learned that butter chicken poutine exists. Sadly, it’s not as delicious as you might think. What good is butter chicken poutine if the butter chicken isn’t freshly cooked?
For dinner, we put the bison sausage to good use: I cooked up a sauce while Nishan cranked out some freshly-made egg pasta. The result? Tagliatelle with bison sausage and broccoli rabe.
My fifth and last day in Calgary was another happily lazy excursion to Phil and Sebastian, followed by sampling an infamous Montreal smoked meat sandwich. I probably should have tried one of these while I was in Montreal last year, but hey, better late than never.
Avenue Deli serves up Montreal-style smoked meat sandwiches and they’re not exactly light eating. These come with a side of chips, and speaking of chips, did you know that ketchup chips are a thing in Canada? They’re every bit as delicious as you imagine they are.
For dinner, we had one last pasta-esque hurrah. Nishan handmade some saffron pasta while I cooked up a sauce of wild mushrooms and lobster. You can’t really go wrong with any of these ingredients.
I woke up the next morning to a city freshly blanketed in a layer of snow. I had an early flight to catch back to SFO, and left feeling like I’d only scratched the surface of Alberta. Oh, Calgary. Who knew?