Thanks for your comments about places in Calgary and Winnipeg. Stayed at the 5 Calgary Suites downtown and it was a good place (huge suite) and well located. We did pretty well eating but nothing knocked my socks off. First afternoon in CAL, I walked up to Sammy's and got a lamb schwarma which was decent and plentiful, as it should be for $8.99. I was surprised at the prices in CAL, this coming from a Boston person where things ain't too cheap. The woman working was very nice but I still am happiest with the German kebabs and doners. Later, I met a new Calgary friend at the "restolounge" Seven downtown which was a pretty/swanky room. Drinks were fine and well priced at their namesake amount, $7. He also got a beer at the Unicorn which was a small pub then we saw some bands at the Palomino, that was a fun place. Sat. my Boston friend J arrived and we walked to Chinatown and got some roast duck and a veggie dish at Gee Gong. The woman working there was very sweet, duck was good but boney of course, broccoli dish was great but not hot enough. Good stuff for $14. We walked thru the park to the Kensington area and eventually got gelato at Fiasco who had tons of flavor and friendly staff. Good stuff and I like when they let you have 2 flavors in a small size. We walked back along St. Stephen Ave. and had a relaxing drink at the Metropolitan before the nite craziness (we saw so many bridal and/or bachelerette parties going on). For dinner, we tried to get Canadian cuisine at Wildwood on 24th St. but they had a private party going on, I was bummed. I wanted to try Bistro 2210 but J decided Vin looked like the place, and they did have a nice space and roof deck so I relented even tho I wasn't in a small plates mood. We split some delicious cod cakes, a tuna dish that we thought was gonna be tartare (listed under 'cold') but was like a tuna melt and rabbit rillette which was good but a little dry. Prices mostly $11-16. He also had some oysters ($3.25 each!) and we had a decent bottle of Spanish white. The next day was a trip to Banff, ate at Maple Leaf downtown and that was a good, substantial breakfast of eggs, Canadian bacon, beans, potato and grilled toast. His salmon/egg scramble was good too. Got good giant cookies at a bakery around the corner. Even tho I wasn't hungry, I squeezed in a hot dog from Peter's Drive In but didn't think it was that good. No snap to it and not enough grilling. Coffee milkshake was almost too thick. That Sun. nite we walked up to the Ship & Anchor on 17th for a beer then a stop at Broken City on 11th on our way home, both with good outdoor seating options.
Made a stop in Medicine Hat on the drive to Moose Jaw and ate at De Vine (I think that's the name) on the main street. My chicken panini with thick cut fries was okay, J's chicken wrap was too sweet. Both about $12. It's hard getting iced coffee out that way cuz no one brews a batch and keeps it cold, so you get hot stuff poured over ice which often melts in 2 min. Which happened to me at the Roastery up the street and pretty much everywhere on the trip. Made a pit stop at A&W where I had a baby cheeseburger cuz I wasn't sure we'd stop at one again and they bring back memories of the drive-in in my hometown in VT when we were kids. Got into Moose Jaw Mon. evening and figured the National Café downtown had a cool look to it. The menu read like something from the 60's, I haven't seen tomato juice as an appetizer so much in years. I just had a piece of raisin pie, a new flavor to me, which was okay but the crust was a little soggy. J really enjoyed his t-bone steak which was brought out on a sizzling platter and they asked before if they should undercook it a little to get it to his specifications which was nice. They also have a Chinese buffet and did lots of takeout mostly for Chinese. Odd place. Next day we hit the Tunnels of Moosejaw tour for the Capone tour which was interesting but kind of hokey, a couple decent cafes in town. Made another A&W stop on the long drive to Manitoba. That frosty mug of root beer is a great thing (as is the orange drink), burger fair, decent onion rings. We finally made it to Gimli on Lake Winnpieg and stopped at Cronshaw's on Centre St. Man, that place had zero atmosphere to it, boring wood interior, outside patio looking over a barren parking lot filled with young townie kids talking about cars. In any case, J got a surprisingly good tuna sandwich and tomato soup with a couple frosty cold beers, so it served the purpose. We stayed at the old-fashioned Misty Lake Motel and their breakfast special of eggs, meat, potato and toast for $3.99 was good. J got lunch of BLT and Caesar salad (after the pickerel cheeks was out) which was fine but the waitress was a drag.
First day in Winnipeg was very hot so a stop at Mercato Gelato in Osborn Village was on tap. It's in an ugly two building strip mall, not what you usually picture. The gelato was good tho (vanilla/mango and coffee maybe?) and the staff was pleasant. That nite we got dinner at Mise which is now on Corydon (my info still had them on Osborn). I was a little disappointed, I think the best food was the free stuff at the beginning and end, a nice taste of gazpacho and a great chocolate truffle. I got a dish that consisted of a scallop, veal tenderloin and pork belly, the pork was the winner by far. Served with a side of steamed veggies that looked kind of out of date plus mashed. It was fine but at $35, not great. J was able to order his pickerel and that came with a nice light cornmeal coating, same sides. He also got fried calamari for an app, they were good. We spilt a nice dessert of millefeuille w/ caramelized bananas and choc and caramel sauce. Good selection of wines by the glass, fun waiter. After, we stopped by Toad in the Hole/Cavern on Osborn and that place was jumping on a Wed. nite.
Got a quick lunch at the Wagon Wheel where I got a fresh turkey sandwich (not hungry enough for the famous clubhouse). Another step back in time kind of place. Really liked the Exchange District (love all the old ads on the sides of buildings) and got my best iced coffee at the Pastry Castle on McDermot and a good date filled sandwich cookie from The Fyxx around the corner, which had a much better atmosphere. Grabbed a cookie when I stumbled upon the White Star Diner. Met a friend for drinks at the lounge of the Ft. Garry Hotel and that was a nice time in a beautiful room, even the bathrooms were nice. We then got dinner at the old institution Rae & Jerry's on Portage and by the time we got there at ~9:30 on a Thurs., it was pretty quiet but the waitress didn't rush us at all. More options for tomato juice as an app which J had, I went with the cream of mushroom soup which was a pleasant surprise, not goopy. Good breadbasket, small filet mignon was cooked well and tasty although the mushroom buttons weren't what I expected on the side. Garlic mashed was good and the side salad was better than I thought it'd be. We split a banana cream pie but the filling wasn't creamy at all, more like cheesecake and not what we really wanted. A little pricy but not too bad.
Last day I got my burger at VJ's which I thought I'd love but the burger itself wasn't good. I didn't like the quality of the meat (kind of meat loaf like) and it was dried out, maybe I should have tried Daily Burger or one of the others on my list. Fries were quite good tho and it comes out fast as anything. I wanted a simple place for dinner that nite so after more walking, we ended up at Civita on Corydon where I got a decent flatbread of mushrooms and caramelized onions and J had a nice salmon dinner w/ wild rice and veggies for about $22. I read that Nucci's down the street was good for gelato but didn't like the atmosphere, or the big sign that says "no samples" or the guy's gruff manner. And I didn't think the tiramisu tasted that great, the hazelnut flavor was okay tho. We sat at the bar of the G Martini Bar on River Ave. in the Osborn area and that was a fun place with a ton of cocktails if you're into that sort of thing. Ended the nite bopping into the lounge of our Norwood Hotel, what a funny place. It's part hunting lodge, low class casino, cover band craziness. Sorry I didn't make it to the Pancake Place for a dutch apple one, Gunn's, etc.
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