In keeping with our new hobby of exploring close to home, we ventured beyond the Alberta border toward Saskatoon, a city I love but haven’t properly visited in years. We didn’t realize it was only 6 hours away, and with a route that goes right through Drumheller, we hopped in the car for a long weekend in June. With a population of around a quarter million, it’s neither a small town nor big city – the perfect size for exploring, really. And like most Canadian city-towns it’s currently exploding with good food, new breweries and plenty of good coffee to be discovered. W’s first discovery: phone books! Thick paper ones that listed everyone in the city. It was such a novelty, he lay on the hotel book reading it half the night. The next morning, we hit the Night Oven. Love the name, the place, the bread, the pastries, the coffee. Some of the best bread in Canada is baked right here, baked with heritageContinue reading

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This post was sponsored by Travel Alberta-thanks for helping me share the things I love about my home province. There are so many good things to eat in Edmonton these days, I can’t keep up with it all. We went for the weekend, and it’s never enough time. One of these days I’m going to schedule an eating week and call it work. Who’s with me? Edmonton food crawl? We could wear stretchy pants and explore by bike? First, I have to tell you (if you don’t know already) about a new multi-tenant eating spot similar to the Simmons Building in Calgary – Ritchie Market houses Transcend Coffee, Acme Meat Market, Blind Enthusiasm Brewing and Biera, a great new restaurant that focuses on pairing food with beer. (And yet I wouldn’t quite call it a brew pub.) Chef Christine Sandford is at the helm in the kitchen-we met her last year when she made us sourdough pizza and baby corn in the cobb oven onContinue reading

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– This post was created in partnership with Travel Alberta – as always, all words, photos and explorations are my/our own. – Crowsnest Pass has always been my sister’s camping destination of choice; I haven’t had much opportunity to head that deep into southwestern Alberta over the years, but when we decided to take the long way to the coast last summer, taking the windy highway 3 all the way along the US border to the Pacific ocean, we were reminded of how gorgeous the area is, how much we love driving through all the wind turbines, and how the small towns in that direction have a completely different flavour than anywhere else. This was the most amazing scene, with the ranch and horse jumping ring and that mountain in the background that’s far more spectacular than I managed to capture – I couldn’t get the best shot with my phone in a moving car… There are two routes to Crowsnest Pass from Calgary, bothContinue reading

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I’m officially hooked on these one or two day Alberta road trips – especially in fall, when it’s warm but not too hot, the shadows start to lengthen early and everything is turning shades of yellow, orange and gold. W and I hit the road a few weekends ago – we left on a Friday at noon, and I had forgotten how awesome the drive south to Lethbridge is. First stop: the Hitchin’ Post Drive-in in High River. A stand alone burger and ice cream joint in the middle of a parking lot at a roundabout in the middle of town that offers about a bazillion milkshake flavours – in every combination you can dream up. And then – the Nanton Candy Store. This is, to me, the quintessential small town candy-curios store, worth the drive its own self, jammed with enough interesting things to keep me busy poking around while W spends far too much time choosing his candies. The 100 square foot roomContinue reading

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A couple months ago now I went to Yellowknife and went fishing for pike. I caught a 12 pounder (estimated – it was big) and got to judge the World Shore Lunch Championships – an event where dozens of chefs and fishermen gather to cook whitefish like they would onshore – over an open fire. It’s something we experienced before the competition, on the aforementioned fishing trip on Great Slave Lake. Our guide steered our boat toward a rocky island – they’re all rocky there, with so little in the way of soil that the spindly trees cling for dear life to the rocks they somehow sprung out from. He cleaned the three or four pike we kept right on the mossy ground cover, tossing the head, tail, spine and entrails over one shoulder for the gulls, the perfect filets directly onto the soil and moss. One of the group gathered them up into a stainless steel bowl and took them down to the waterContinue reading

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We’ve become hooked on short-haul trips to small towns we’ve never explored in our own province. W asked if we could go on another adventure as soon as he finished school, and so we obliged by packing up the car and driving to Medicine Hat on Friday afternoon – as good a place to go as any when the forecast tipped beyond 30 degrees. The temperature in southern Alberta this weekend ranged from about 34-38 – no better time to hunker down in a hotel that has air conditioning and a water slide. (Also: no obligation to cook, do dishes or laundry.) We beat the heat with a visit to Tino’s drive-in (hilariously thin burgers, but people apparently go for the chili fries, and the ice cream was cold) and Swirls Ice Cream (my fave). Because I’m a full-on coffee snob, Mike walked across the street to Tim Horton’s while I went in search of a proper cappuccino. The Station Coffee Co in downtown MedicineContinue reading

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On making a living as a food writer

Every time I come out here, life pulls into sharper focus – it becomes more clear what I want to do and why I want to do it – why it’s important – and then I go home and it kind of collapses into the day to day minutae. One of the things I always seem to struggle with is how to make a living – while maintaining my integrity. I know I’m not the only one. So here I am in the midst of a blog redesign – still, because for years I’ve been trying to figure out how to do things better, what the right next step is, how to stand out from all the sameness yet maintain familiarity, worried that if I do take a sudden jag, people will lose interest. (And if they do, isn’t it my own fault for being boring?) As always, my blog keeps getting back-burnered for actual work deadlines – I have to answer to editors, publishersContinue reading

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I just dropped in to tell you a few things. One: I may have a bit of an ice cream problem. Not news. Two: My new neighbour-slash-mixmaster, Billy Friley, may not help in this regard, and I’m so grateful that he had a quarter-life crisis, crashed out on his Grandma’s couch for a week, tasted some huckleberry ice cream from a micro-ice creamery in Montana and had an epiphany, deciding right then and there it would become his life’s work. Or at least his Next Big Thing. Three: After said epiphany, Billy spent 13 months in a little space in a parking lot off 10th Ave SE learning how to make ice cream from scratch, with only Jessica Alba to keep him company. She still oversees the machine in the corner, where over the weekend Billy gave W a quick tutorial in homemade salted caramel ice cream. His place is open now, called Village Ice Cream, and it’s worth poking about until you find itContinue reading

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In Edmonton last night and today to cook with watermelons on BT this morning. We made a day of it, poking around Edmonton a bit before heading back. We found a cute little shop called the Whimsical Cake Studio, right beside Transcend Coffee, the High Level Diner and a poutinery. I splurged and bought a dozen, thinking we could bring some back for the sweet teeth in Calgary. They met a tragic end in the Winners parking lot. Most of our drive looked like this – all big Alberta sky with Simpsons clouds. And plenty of very gutsy dragonflies on the front windshield. On the way home we took a detour over to Pearson’s Berry Farm. They have a little take-out counter from which they sell pies, sauces, baking (Saskatoon butter tarts!) and ice cream – we got Saskatoon berry ice cream, of course, a (as yet uneaten) sour cherry pie and some berry picking. We set out into the fields with our ice creamContinue reading

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