WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

Author: whoalansi Page 4 of 35

California, here we come

LOA
Yesterday, I entered the above information into my work calendar. I guess that makes it pretty official. Odin & I are off on a big adventure: California, here we come!

When N first accepted his position down in Richmond, we discussed me coming with him. It wasn’t really feasible for me to do so for the duration of his contract, but I promised we’d find a way for me to join him for an extended period at some point this year. It’s felt such a long ways off for so long, something future Alanna would be doing. I can hardly believe I’ll be making my way in that direction tomorrow. In typical Alanna fashion, I’m barely packed.

It’s been an action-packed few weeks for me here. I felt like I’d barely caught my breath after Europe when I turned around & asked work for a leave of absence. It probably seems a bit ridiculous that we’re taking off so soon after such a big trip, but it just made the most sense logistically. I’m running the Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver on Saturday, & it seemed silly to go all the way to the coast twice in the span of a couple weeks. My mom is coming out with me & will stay with Odin in the suburbs, while I participate in the weekend’s festivities. Monday morning, we’ll pack up the car & start our journey down the coast.

We’re going to take our time, driving the scenic Pacific Coast Highway & spending an extra day in Portland. We also plan to explore the Avenue of the Giants. If you have any great suggestions around Eureka, California, let me know! It’s going to be a pretty great road trip. We’re all really excited!

So here’s to a new adventure! See you in October, Canada!

July in Instagram

It was hard to narrow this month’s IG posts to just nine. We had a great time in Europe & I took so many photos. I’m trying not to post allllll of them, since I’m sure that gets annoying for people. I’ll definitely be putting some blog posts together about our trip though, so keep an eye out for that.

My goal for August was to blog more. I’m already a little bit behind on this goal of posting three times a week this month, but I think it’ll pick up more easily once I get to California in a couple weeks. I’ve got lots of things I want to share & will definitely have more time to do so.

Anyway, here’s what we got up to in July according to my instagram.

July 2017 IG

1. Celebrating Canada Day with some delicious beers in a beautiful garden with my fav. We couldn’t be in Canada for #Canada150, but this was a pretty great substitution.

2. Bikes in Copenhagen. I honestly can’t say enough good about Denmark. I loved the Danes positive dispositions & their bike culture. I’m still entranced by this wonderful city.

3. I never miss a sailway. Grab a drink, put on your suit, & find a spot on deck – it’s one of my favourite things about cruising.

4. Nyhavn: am I overdoing it by doubling up on my Copenhagen posts? We spent a lot of time in Nyhavn, from having drinks by the water’s edge to biking along the canals to Christianshavn. I love the colourful buildings.

5. Oslo Sailaway with my fav guy. This was taken at 11 pm. It could have easily passed for late afternoon. The extra long daylight hours in the Baltic are so cool.

6. Back in Calgary, celebrating the twin’s 30th birthday (Twin #1 featured here) with a biking brewery tour. We hit Annex Ale Project, Banded Peak Brewing, High Line Brewing, & Cold Garden, before heading over to Mill Street for dinner.

7. Our amazing November Project Co-leader, Kyle, just finished biking across Canada to raise awareness & funds for addiction counseling. We were lucky enough to catch up with him for breakfast as he passed through Calgary. We missed you man! So proud of everything you’ve accomplished this summer!

8. Me & my bud running stairs with November Project Calgary & taking selfies with the knit bomb. I’m gonna miss these amazing people while I’m away. If you’ve ever thought about joining – DO IT! It’s the most positive & supportive group of people. So much love.

9. Folk Festing with the bestie! Thanks to D & Heather for a lovely day at Folk Fest. Sunshine, beers, & lots of dancing barefoot in the grass is a great way to spend a Saturday in the summer.

Currently

YYC

It’s been a while! Over the last couple months, I’ve spent a lot of time out of the country, so I fell off the blogging train. I’m excited to share all the amazing places we’ve been exploring once I sort through all my thoughts (& the millions of photos I took). Until then, here’s an update on what’s going on in my life right now.

Reading: A lot of Bon Appétit. The last couple of years, my parents have gotten us a subscription for Christmas & I really love it. The stories are great, & I find myself going back to many of the recipes too. I finished the books I’d bought for our trip, so this is a good in between, while I figure out what I want to read next. I’m thinking of re-reading The Diary of a Young Girl. We visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam last month & it’s such a moving museum that now I want to re-read her diary. It’s been years since I last picked it up. I’d love any book suggestions you may have though – I’m always looking for my next good read!

Watching: Game of Thrones. Duh. My friend groups are split between people who watch every episode as they come out & those who wait until they can binge the whole season. Usually, I wait to watch, but this year I’m going with the weekly viewing. I’ll probably also re-watch the whole thing at the end of the season though.

Planning: TWO weeks until I leave for two whole months! In case you missed this, N has been living in the Bay Area since February. He flies home for the weekend every 3 weeks, so Odin & I have been on our own most of the time for a while now. I’ve decided to take a leave from work & drive down to California with the pup. We’re going to head out to Vancouver for SeaWheeze & then take the PCH down through Washington & Oregon to California. I’ll spend a couple months with the hubs, living that California life, before returning to Canada (& reality). I’m pretty excited, but there’s so much to get ready before I go. We just got back from 3+ weeks in Europe so things are disorganized, to say the least. It didn’t make sense to head out to Vancouver, come back here, & then drive down, so I’m just rolling with it. It’ll all come together, I’m sure.

Thinking about: Helmets while biking. I posted an Instagram story about my thoughts on biking with or without a helmet & it got a lot of responses. This article (this one too!) & our recent helmetless bike adventures in Europe got me thinking about why I wear a helmet in Calgary. It’s largely because it’s so taboo not to. The perception that cycling is unsafe is so ingrained in our minds in North America.  I don’t personally believe that it is an unsafe activity, or a difficult one, & I love seeing how many more people are getting on their bikes in this city. I believe this is largely due to the city’s actions in making biking more safe & more accessible, but we still have a long way to go. There is still a lot of anger towards bikers, & that scares & discourages people, including myself sometimes.

I’m not saying I’m going to stop wearing a helmet, but I agree with a lot of points in both of those articles & frankly, the anger directed at bikers who choose to go without a helmet (or heaven forbid, bike on the road) needs to stop. It’s not helping anyone.

Eating: We ate so much on our trip that I’ve been trying to eat a lot of vegetables, at least during the week. Part of the reason I wanted to go back to Germany & Czechia is because I really do love the food in those countries. I sampled all the beer, ate my weight in fried cheese (obsessed!), & indulged in more pork knuckles over the course of a month than anyone probably should. It was definitely worth it, but there was a serious lack of greens, so now I’m trying to get them all in.

xo

May in Instagram

I took an unintentional break from blogging there, it seems. May turned out to be a pretty busy month for me. N’s & my time apart became longer (a shift from two weeks to three weeks). This resulted in a slight adjustment period for me, something I wasn’t really expecting. For the most part, I don’t miss him working in Fort Mac – his quality of life is far superior in the Bay Area. One thing I do miss is having him home for a full week instead of a measly weekend. It gave us time to divide & conquer some of the everyday tasks. Most of those things fall on me now, which isn’t really a big deal, but I do sometimes wish I had a little help with them.

In addition to all the boring stuff, travel planning has taken up a lot of my time (& it’s much more exciting!). I just got back from the most incredible extended weekend in the Bay Area with N & we’re heading to Europe in a few short weeks. I can’t wait to share more about both of these trips, as well as some of my tips for planning a big trip.

Until then, here’s what we got up to in May according to Instagram (it took all my willpower not to just post San Francisco photos…).

May 2017 IG

  1. Odin taking a swim with the lovely instructors at Pawsitively Pooched. He’s come so far since last summer & now loves swimming!
  2. Tailgating after working Beer Fest for Whistler Brewing & Hey Y’all. Everyone at our booth was so awesome – I had a great weekend on the other side of things this year.
  3. Second hike of the year under our belts! We did a quick one to White Buddha in Bragg Creek. Easy little 4 km loop with a view!
  4. Celebrating N’s 30th year with lobster, of course. Happy Birthday, babe!
  5. Went a little blonder for summer thanks to Ashley at Hedkandi Salon. She’s a gem, & I’m loving this summer colour.
  6. Pizza night at the lake on one of the most gorgeous May long weekends I can remember. Family, friends, delicious food, & sunny skies made for the perfect evening (the wine helped a little too!).
  7. Odin loved every minute of being at the lake. We went swimming every day, took long walks, & relaxed in the sun. It was a real treat!
  8. Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito is something I won’t soon forget. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in San Francisco.
  9. Drinks on the beach with my favourite guy, in California. We crammed a lot into the weekend, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, or with any other person. Thanks for spoiling me rotten, babe.

I love looking back on the photos from this past month. I know I way over shared my San Francisco trip (& Europe will be worse), but I love it so much. From Berkeley to San Francisco to Sausalito, there wasn’t a bad moment of the trip (except maybe that Sunday morning hangover!). Can’t wait to share more – it was a whirlwind! & June, I know you’re gonna be a real beaut!

On Patience

Alanna running NP

(photo by Pete for November Project)

I am not a very patient person. I dread waiting in lines or sitting in traffic. When I set my mind to do something, I want to do it right away.

I set a goal to start working out with November Project during my #SoberSeptember last year, & I completely fell in love with not only the workouts, but the wonderful people as well. I looked forward to Monday & Wednesday mornings all fall, & rarely missed a workout. Then, in late November, I noticed my knee was starting to bug me. It was especially bothersome when I ran stairs. I put off seeing a physio until mid December for fear of having to give up my workouts, just as they’d become a staple in weekly routine.

It turned out I had a fair bit of swelling in both my knees. My right knee had been the one giving me grief, but my left was actually weaker. My physio told me I had something called patellofemoral syndrome: the muscles around my knees don’t keep my kneecaps properly aligned, likely due to an imbalance in my quad muscles. This is causing damage to my cartilage. This damage is what’s behind the swelling & pain. Apparently, you can’t rebuild cartilage, so he suggested we start working on realigning things right away.

He warned me that it would be a long, boring process. I’d also have to take a break from some of my favourite things, namely running stairs (& running in general). Having just hit such a groove with November Project, I was pretty bummed at this news. I’ve also never truly been injured enough to have to stop any activities. I’m stubborn & impatient so I knew this wouldn’t be easy for me, but I was determined to listen to my physio. I really committed to all my exercises, & worked on them diligently.

Over the last several months, I’ve had to compromise on a lot of things I love to do, fitness-wise. I’m still going to gymnastics. I still go to November Project. I still bike to & from work, & take Odin on long walks & hikes. There are still so many things that I can do. I’m trying to focus on that. I don’t run the stairs at NP or go for runs (except this one time I did a huge scavenger hunt a couple weeks ago. Whoops!). I’m still working away at my constantly evolving slew of quad & glute exercises. & my physio was right – it’s long & boring.

I signed up to run the SeaWheeze again back in the fall, & training was set to begin this week. I was optimistic that I’d be cleared to start running again after my appointment last week, just in time to start this training & join some of the running groups I’ve been looking forward to. Unfortunately, my left knee is only at about 80%. Until there’s no more swelling, I have to keep working on more exercises & stay away from running. It was frustrating news to get, especially considering I’d been diligent with all my exercises. & I’m just not that patient. I’m not used to being sidelined.

I’m still planning to run the SeaWheeze this summer, as it’s one of my favourite races, but I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the fact that it will likely be my slowest race to date. As a fairly competitive personality, this is also something I don’t do well with. It’s a tough pill to swallow knowing I won’t be able to push as hard as I’d like in my race. In about 6 weeks, I’ll go back to my physio, hopefully without any swelling, &  be cleared to start run training (which should be really interesting over our three weeks in Europe!). For now, I’m substituting my runs with biking & strength training. It’s not quite the same, & I find spring is when I most want to be out there on the river paths, but it’s better than nothing.

I realize this injury is a tiny blip in the grand scheme of things, but it’s definitely testing my patience. I’m trying to be grateful for everything that I can do, because I truly can still do so many of the things I really love. I know I’ll be back out there soon, & I’ll appreciate it all the more.

Poutine Week 2017: Poutine Pusher

Poutine Week YYCAs official #PoutinePusher for Poutine Week YYC this year, I had the opportunity to sample several poutines around the city & today, I’m going to share how they each stacked up. This year there are over 70 restaurants participating, so there’s a little something for everyone!

You have until Saturday to get some poutine in you for a good cause. I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with any pick, & for every poutine you buy, a free meal will go to someone in need (thanks to Mealshare). It’s a true win-win. If you need some help narrowing down the list, here are my thoughts on the six poutines I tried.

Mill Street Brewpub

If I’m being honest, I picked Mill Street for what I knew of their beers. N was going to be home for the weekend & I figured we coukd convince a few friends to join us for drinks at some point in the evening. It wasn’t until closer to the date that I really took a serious look at their entry: the Donair Poutine.

Mill Street Donair Poutine

Donair Poutine

If you’ve ever spent any time in the maritimes, namely Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, then you know all about Donair sauce. This sweet & savoury sauce is most often talked about as a late-night pizza topping. My experience is mostly limited to a few stumbly nights at the Wheel in Antigonish, NS. Since then, I’ve had it a few times at different spots around Calgary, but I mostly think of it as drunk eats.

Enter Mill Street’s Donair Poutine with house-made donair meat, crispy russet french fries with hop salt, cheese curds, house made gravy with 100th meridian beer, sweet donair sauce, topped with diced tomatoes and red onion. N & I each ordered our own. When they arrived at our table, we realized our mistake: this poutine is huge! We could have easily shared.

Mill Street Donair Poutine Mill Street Donair Poutine

A few bites in, we both agreed this poutine was a winner. The donair meat was tender & flavourful, the curds were squeaky (a huge win in my book), the donair sauce complimented the gravy, & somehow the fries held their own underneath all of that. It was a great start to a huge week.

We stuck around for a few more beers that evening, friends joined us, & we had a great time. Our server was attentive & friendly & our overall experience at Mill Street was wonderful.

Kensington Pub

The next morning we’d made plans to join Kevin from Different Alphabet Productions to shoot some video for poutine week. We headed that way for noon & grabbed a table with Danny from Whistler Brewing to wait for the rest of the crew.

The KP Yolo fries use Whistler’s Black Tusk Ale in their gravy, so of course, we had to grab one of those. Normally I wouldn’t go for a dark ale so early in the day, but the Black Tusk is smooth & easy to drink.

Kensington Pub Yolo Fries

YOLO!

Since we were hitting a couple stops that day, we ordered two Yolo fries for the table. It was the smartest decision – this one is not for the faint of heart. KP mixes double smoked cheddar with that Black Tusk ale to make a smoky, rich cheese gravy that tops slow cooked ham hock and crispy fries. We all agreed the side of housemade horseradish aioli was the perfect sidekick. With all that decadence, I was impressed by how well the fries held up – a testament to truly great potatoes.

Kensington Pub Yolo Fries

As always, Kensington Pub was a real treat: the staff & owners are always welcoming, they have great beers on tap, & the poutine was fantastic.

Ship & Anchor

Our next stop before we hit the Gravy Bowl was the Ship & Anchor Pub. The ship is a staple for many Calgarians, & for good reason. It’s an institution here. That patio is packed the minute the temperatures rise above zero (ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. Slight.). The chances of running into someone you know at the Ship is always high. & they could totally half ass their food & still probably be packed, but that’s the best thing about it – they don’t. (Their servers are also some of my favourites in the city.)

Ship & Anchor Poutine

Patio beers at the Ship

Last year, they sold 277 poutines to win the 2016 Poutine Week title. I didn’t get a chance to try it so I knew I had to check out their Le Meaty Mediterranean Poutine this year. We lucked out with some gorgeous afternoon sun & snagged a spot on the patio. That’s how I suggest enjoying this poutine if you can swing it (come on weather!).

This was another huge poutine that I was happy to be sharing with a bigger group. I think they might have been going for go big or go home cuz it had a crazy number of components to it. We decided to get it with grilled sirloin (which they cooked to medium rare for us), but they’re happy to take that off if you’re vegetarian. I heard they can also make it vegan if that’s your jam. It’s nice to see more options like this during these food weeks. It’s so much more inclusive.

Ship & Anchor Poutine

Le Meaty Mediterranean Poutine with a beer

Ship & Anchor Poutine

So much going on!

In addition to the sirloin, saffron fries were topped with crumbled falafel, grilled pineapple, fresh mint, baba ganoush, sweet garlic sauce, feta, cheese curds, and gravy. The pineapple was cut deceptively similar to french fries, which threw me off on my first bite. I honestly wasn’t sure that the pineapple was even going to work here, but it ended up being one of my favourite parts of this poutine. My favourite bite included pineapple, fries, both cheeses a bit of falafel, gravy, & some mint.

Ship & Anchor Poutine

I’m not sure if this one will win everyone over, but it certainly wins points for originality. & as with most things I’ve eaten at the Ship, it was well executed. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, I say go for it!

Roosevelt

On Sunday, we headed over to Roosevelt for lunch. If you’ve never been for Sunday brunch, I’d suggest checking it out, mostly for the complimentary milkshakes. How can you go wrong if you start your brunch with a milkshake?

I’ve only been to this 17th ave spot a couple times. As more & more great spots open up in the area, it’s harder to get back to the ones you’ve already been to. When I saw that their poutine included gochujang gravy, I was sold though. Gochujang is a spicy & sweet fermented Korean red chili paste.It’s one of my favourite condiments!

Roosevelt Poutine

Roosevelt Korean Poutine

This poutine came out with crispy fries, cheese curds, Korean beef, & a fried egg. N & I are both suckers for fried eggs on pretty much anything. There’s something so satisfying about that runny egg yolk. That spicy gravy stole the show with this one. As spice lovers, neither of us could get over just how good it was. The cheese curds were squeaky like I prefer them, the fries held up to the gravy, & the beef has lots of great flavour, but the gravy is what would bring me back in.

Roosevelt Poutine

Roosevelt Poutine

Possibly my favourite gravy

Brewsters

We went to bed Sunday night thinking there was no way we could eat any more poutine this week. I was almost read to tap out until I remembered I’d scheduled Brewsters’ Tater Tot poutine for Monday’s lunch. Anyone who knows me knows my love for tater tots runs deep. I’m not ashamed to admit they’re my favourite anytime snack. I’ve been known to order them even if we’ve already eaten that day.

N & I used to hang out a Brewsters in Crowfoot pretty regularly back when we first started dating, but it had been years since I’d stepped inside their downtown location. We got its sister restaurant, Beer Revolution, fairly often, but hadn’t been to Brewsters for some reason. I was pleasantly surprised by how bright & open the restaurant was. They also have a decent sized patio out the side & parking, a rarity in the beltline.

Brewsters Cheesy Tater Tot Poutine

I was relieved to see that it was a manageable portion when our order arrived at the table. I love poutine & tater tots, but we’d seen some pretty daunting portions. Our cheesy tater tots were perfectly crispy & topped with a bacon cheese sauce, smoked gouda, bacon marmalade & Oilberta stout bbq sauce. It was rich & flavourful, & I enjoyed every bite. I honestly don’t think it’s possible to go wrong with bacon & cheese. The bbq sauce cut through some of the richness of the cheese sauce.

Brewsters Cheesy Tater Tot P

I love tater tots, cheese, & bacon

Brewsters Cheesy Tater Tot P

If the food & atmosphere weren’t enough to convince me I need to be stopping by more often, their staff really did. Thanks to both our server & Trevor for being so welcoming.

Pig & Duke

I took a little break from sampling until today, when it was time to check out my last stop. A coworker & I headed over to the Pig & Duke for lunch. It was hopping! Despite it being a quick walk from my office, I’d never actually been inside. It’s much larger than you’d expect from the outside.

Pig & Duke Poutine

The swinetine featured Chipotle BBQ pulled pork, bacon, green peppercorns, curds, Pig Sauce, & a fried egg on steak cut fries with green onions. As soon as our orders arrived our conversation was basically put on hold as the only thing we could say was, this is so good. I love pulled pork, & this one was especially tender & delicious. The chipotle bbq sauce had so much flavour & every once in a while you’d get a green peppercorn surprise, which we both enjoyed. The fries were thick & crispy so they held up well to all that sauce, & there was a good mix of melty & squeaky curds to keep me satisfied.

Pig & Duke Poutine

Swinetine!

Pig & Duke Poutine

This was one of the more traditional poutines I tried this week. The pulled pork was so tender & delicious that I found myself wishing for more. The restaurant was full, but our service was still efficient & our server spent time chatting with us, while still turning over her tables quickly.

Now that I’ve waxed poetic about all of the fine poutine creations, I will say that I do not recommend consuming this much poutine in one week. It’s intense. That’s not to say I wouldn’t do it again, however. I will gladly sacrifice myself in the name of poutine anytime (wink wink, Karen). I’m so impressed by how different each one was, & how much I enjoyed each for what they were. The one thing I think most restaurants could have done better was to advertise their specific poutine a little more. I think only 2 of the 6 I went to were doing it, & I’m curious to see how this reflects in the final competition.

After a week of eating poutine, my pants are definitely fitting a little snugger, my cheese cravings are gone (I mean, until like Sunday probably), & I think I’ve already carb-loaded for my half marathon in August. It’s salad week next week, right?

All kidding aside, it’s been a great week! Thank you to all the restaurants I’ve linked for hosting me, to Karen for thinking of me for poutine ambassador, & to Mealshare for providing so many meals to those in need. I can’t wait to find out who our poutine week winner is!

Poutine Week 2017: Gravy Bowl

Gravy Bowl

My favourite YYC food week of the year is here: Poutine Week! For the last 4 years, I’ve participated in this glorious week of poutine by gorging myself on a variety of delectable combinations of cheese curds, gravy, & fried potato. This year, I was asked to join five Calgary food aficionados as Poutine Week Ambassadors. I couldn’t say yes fast enough when the wonderful Karen approached me with this opportunity.

The sale of each creative poutine provides a meal to someone in need. Mealshare has partnered with Poutine Week since 2013, giving poutine a purpose. It’s that one time of year that you can eat poutine totally guilt free. 😉

N & I kicked off our 2017 Poutine Week with a weekend full of delicious poutine. The Gravy Bowl was our main event on Saturday, & I was seriously looking forward to it. Teams made up of a chef + a Calgary Stampeder + a Local Brewery compete in a live cook-off for best poutine. We had such a great time last year & lucked out that N was in town again to attend.

Last years winner, Briggs Kitchen & Bar, was the host of this year’s competition. We were greeted with some bubbly as we walked in the door & immediately said hi to Poutine week organizer extraordinaire, Karen. The restaurant was already bumping, as the 8 local brewers were serving samples of the beers used in their respective poutines. Chefs were mingling as well, & we had a couple minutes to chat with Roy Oh of Anju (you may remember how excited I was last year to grab a photo with him & chat a little bit!) before the event kicked off.

Gravy Bowl

Ready for the battle to begin!

 

Gravy Bowl

Beer Tasting

Gravy Bowl

My awesome “Poutine Pusher” pin

 

The idea was that teams would present to the judges, while we sampled the same poutines family style. It was a bit of a different set up from last year. While we waited for the first couple poutines, we chatted with some of the different brewery reps. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake on our part, as most other people were eager to sample those first few poutines. By the time we got in line, we’d missed out on Brasserie‘s poutine already. Luckily, there was still enough of Anju‘s for us to sample. I’d have been really disappointed to miss both of those as they were the two I was most excited for (& with good reason as Brasserie won the whole competition).

Gravy Bowl

Anju’s korean poutine

Gravy Bowl

Gravy Bowl

My poutine date!

Gravy Bowl

Poutine Planning

After our initial mistake, we made sure to get in line early so we could sample the rest. Each team came up with something delicious & unique. I love this event for all the different approaches, from traditional creations to ones that are only loosely based around the idea of poutine. There’s something for everyone, & I think that’s the best part of this whole week.

At the end of event, N & I both agreed that Anju was our favourite of the ones we tasted. We both loved how the Korean flavours came together with the truffle in the gravy. I never would have thought to combine those flavours, but it was fantastic.

Gravy Bowl

Behind the scenes

Gravy Bowl

Dirty Bird Poutine (Last Best & Market)

Gravy Bowl

Presenting to the judges

Gravy Bowl

Adam Singleton prepping fries

Gravy Bowl

Gravy going onto Booker’s poutine

Gravy Bowl

Boeuf Bourguignon Poutine from Wurst

Gravy Bowl

Photogenic Food

Gravy Bowl

West Coast Poutine

The Beltliner Half Hitch Breakfast Poutine’s braised beef brisket also stands out to me as being fantastic, & Booker’s Turkey Poutine was phenomenal. I loved the cornbread & smoked turkey combination, as well as the fact that the cheese curds were still squeaky.

Gravy Bowl

Dan Clapson announcing the winners

Gravy Bowl

Judges & Winners

Gravy Bowl

Gravy Bowl Winners: Brasserie Kensington + Charlie Power + Dandy Brewing

Overall, there wasn’t a single bite that I didn’t enjoy. Each team really brought their A-game, & the Stampeders’ enthusiasm for the competition aspect took things to the next level. I loved the addition of local breweries this year – chatting with their reps & trying out a few new beers was a fun way to spend the day as we waited for the next poutine.

You’ve still got until Saturday to try any of the poutines included in #PoutineWeekYYC & help share a meal while you’re at it! I’ll be back later this week with a recap of the rest of my poutine adventures so you can decide what to try, or check out the Calgary Poutine website for all restaurant listings.

Happy eating, friends!

 

Spring Hiking: Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout
We kicked off our 2017 hiking season with Odin’s first hike, in honour of his first birthday. We’d been told to wait until around a year before taking him up any mountains, to help prevent any future issues with hips & other joints. I think part of the fun of having a spunky pup is taking them on adventures, so we’d been looking forward to this day since we first started looking into getting a dog.

I knew I wanted to include as much of our family as we could, so we’d originally planned an easy climb up Sulfur Mountain. We’d take the gondola back down afterwards as it’s free in the off season. We’d done it a few winter’s ago with my brother in law’s dog. It was a great little season opener. Unfortunately, a few days before the hike, I found out the Banff Gondola no longer allows dogs due to some negative experiences. I turned to some other doodle owners for suggestions & we landed on Barrier Lake Lookout, also known as Prairie View. It looked like a relatively easy, rewarding climb.

Barrier Lake Lookout

Not bad, Kananaskis, not bad.

Barrier Lake Lookout

Trail Head

Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout

We met our hiking group in the parking lot around 10:30 am & headed out. Walking along the lake at the start of the trail, it seemed like we might be in for a cold, windy day. As soon as we got into the trees though, our entire group shed most of their layers.

The trail is south facing, so I hadn’t expected to see much snow, however, it didn’t take long for us to run into some icy patches. None of us were wearing spikes, so it got challenging pretty quickly. My mom was only in runners so her & my dad had to bail about halfway up. The rest of us continued on, despite some pretty sketchy sections on the way up. Yay for spring hiking!

Barrier Lake Lookout

Icy patches on the way up

Barrier Lake Lookout

We made it to the first lookout area & stopped for a few pictures. We were pretty close to the summit at this point, & planned to continue, but a combination of congestion & a steep, slippery section caused us to re-evaluate. We decide to stop for lunch with a view, & call it a day.

Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout

Views from the first lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout

Family Photo!

Barrier Lake Lookout

Looking for scraps

Mud pup lunch stop

Barrier Lake Lookout

Lunch views

We had braced ourselves for a treacherous climb down, but were treated to a fairly easy descent. The icy sections has softened up, which made a huge difference. It’s definitely something to keep in mind if you plan to hike this in the early spring – either go later in the day or bring spikes.

Despite the early season conditions, the trail was quite busy. I imagine it’s even more so in the summer, so I think I’d stick to shoulder season unless you like hiking in crowds. We saw lots of other dogs too, many off-leash despite signs stating that dogs must be on one.

Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake

Back at the base after our hike

Overall, it was a great day. We got lots of sunshine, enjoyed some beautiful views, & great company. I’m hoping to get out to the mountains lots with Odin, so any other dog friendly hike suggestions are more than welcome. We’re on the hunt for our first real summit!

March in Instagram

Somehow we’re already well into the first week of April, & all of my grand blogging plans lay unfulfilled. With N away so much (aka living in another country), all the household stuff falls to me, so I’ve been a little busier lately. It’s amazing how much of a difference not having him home regularly makes. Odin & I have been making the best of it though, & we’re lucky to have an amazing group of humans to keep us company & help out when we need them. Here’s what we got up to in this first month of living in different countries (according to the very filtered world of Instagram):March 2017 IG Recap

  1. We celebrated our awesome gymnastics coach & friend, Tanis, turning 35 with a paint nite. I’m actually so impressed by how well everyone’s paintings turned out!
  2. Can’t get enough of Sue Higgins Dog Park. Odin loves adventuring there & meeting up with all his buds.
  3. I joined some friends in Canmore for the weekend to celebrate the lovely #Elissagettingmeowied. It was such a fun weekend away in the mountains, with lots of great food, a little dancing, & so many laughs.
  4. Neither Odin nor I like saying goodbye to N. Airport drops offs are tough on this little guy. I don’t think he understands at all.
  5. First patio day of 2017 at Cibo. We took advantage of a beautiful Saturday to get outside & enjoy some drinks on a really lovely patio. They also have one of the best happy hours out there – check out the $5 pizza!!
  6. Rosso Tuxedo opened! Finally good coffee in our neighbourhood. We’ve been eagerly anticipating their opening for months. I love it already!
  7. N flew home to watch #ElissaandMatt get married at a lovely ceremony at the Lakehouse. We danced, we ate, & we consumed far too many delicious drinks.
  8. Dogs & Beer? I’m sold on Cold Garden & have been meeting up with friends for a pint pretty much weekly. Their beer is delicious (& reasonably priced!), & I can bring my furry friend. It’s my favourite.
  9. Odin turned one this month! He was spoiled rotten. We’re heading out on his first hike tomorrow to celebrate. Happy Birthday, little buddy!

April promises to be a busy month as well. I’m a #poutinepusher for Calgary Poutine Week 2017, so if you like poutine (& good causes) keep an eye on my social media for details (& watch me try to eat all the poutine in a week). Bring on the stretchy pants!

Odin \\ ONE YEAR

Odin \\ One Year

Dear Odin,

Today you are one year old. I remember anxiously waiting to hear from Notch Hill that you’d arrived. At the time, we thought we were getting a little girl pup, but now I can’t imagine that at all. You’re the best.

Odin 8wks - 11 mths

Odin at 8 wks, 3 months, 9 months, & 11 months

Odin

Walks in the East Village

Odin

Odin

All geared up for the winter weather

Odin & the bridge

N helping Odin with his fear of the metal bridge

Checking out Cold Garden Brewery with Mom & Dad. It’s a pretty cool place!

Mémé & I drove out to Sorrento to pick you up on May long weekend. You were so shy at first, but so friendly. Not a lot has changed in that regard, actually. I love how much you love people & other dogs. It makes me life so much easier that you’re so social.

Odin

I love it when my friends share with me!

Odin

Mom loves me!

Odin

Feeling naked after my haircut!

Odin

Right now, you love chewing your toys relentlessly, running as fast as you can at the dog park, protecting the house from intruders, & digging what little dirt you can find in the backyard.

Odin

Odin

Derp

Odin

Sick pup cuddles

Odin

Trying to make us both fit on one cushion

Odin

National Puppy Day!

Happy Birthday, Odin

Birthday Burrito

Odin

You don’t like when we leave you home alone or when Dad has to go away for work, people wearing too many layers for you to recognize them, when the mail gets delivered but you don’t get to say hi, bathtime, or any attempts at dental hygiene.

You make our lives so much better, Odin. We love you so much.

Love,

Mom & Dad

xoxo

See the rest of our Odin Report recaps here. Follow along on Odin’s adventures on Instagram – #OdindeBoer

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