My friend and I rode motorcycles on a familiar route today - one that is also familiar to many CH's from this board; the hopscotch of small towns and their various foodish offerings to the South and Southwest of Calgary.
Highly touted are the likes of Route 40 and the Millarville Market, and others too, but I must report about the discovery we made in Turner Valley. There is a place there called The Chuckwagon. A down-home looking, barn shaped and Western memorobilia laden kind of place. They advertise "soups and pies" but as we soon found out, the naturally fed local beef was the star attraction here. We entered a nearly packed premises at the stroke of noon - locals mostly from what I could gather - and we were promptly greeted by two enthusiastic waitresses, one of whom advised us to grab a table wherever we could find one.
We were given menus very soon after, as well told of the specials. They all kind of revolved around the idea of the local beef : something they were obviously passionate about. After a chilly ride my friend and I both decided on coffee, of the brewed and poured tableside variety, of course, which hit the spot. We also both opted for a breakfasty item rather than the lunch choices. We ordered the 8 oz. ribeye steak and eggs. This was the very best version of this I have ever encountered. The staff are proud of their product and that pride extends to the kitchen as well. The steak was glorious! Tender where it should be tender, meltingly fatty where it should be, and cooked to a proper medium rare. I have had steaks from local Calgary butchers and high end steakhouses that don't come close to this one.
The potatoes were soft but not watery or mushy and had been seasoned then crisped on a griddle. They too were excellent. My eggs, ordered over-easy were perfect too. Some standard issue brown toast came on the side.
Like I said, this was "breakfast for lunch" and we were cold and hungry, but nonetheless this was superbly cooked food. Simply and professionally executed. We tipped way too much and got back on the bikes to head to Black Diamond and another, more familiar stop - the Bakery, for meat pies and cookies to go.
The Chuckwagon scored huge points in all categories with me and I most heartily recommend it next time you want a change of pace. They are likely very busy on the weekends, as we were there today (Monday) and as I said, it was packed.
It was nice to know that people still care about the basic elements of a good restaurant meal: food, service, professionalism, knowing your market and actually giving a damn. Sadly, I rarely see them combine in such a way in the city anymore. Hope you like it too.