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Oct 06, 2014 | Comments

3 Fall Treats to Enjoy this Month

Fall is a time of hearty soups, spicy teas, and comfort foods.  As the days begin to cool off and the evenings become downright chilly, it is a wonderful time to pull out your sweater collection, put on a pair of comfy pants, and enjoy some of the tastiest seasonal treats that Calgary has to offer!

1. Fiasco Gelato makes some of Calgary’s finest cold treats, and this fall they bring flavors of the autumn season with their sticky toffee pudding ice cream, spiced chai cheesecake and Riesling pear sorbetto. Yum- can we try all 3 tonight?!
Check out their website for locations to purchase fiascogelato.com

 

2. Thanksgiving Dinner from Boxwood Cafe.  One of our favorite little cafes in the downtown area, Boxwood features locally sourced menu items and their Thanksgiving dinner looks like quite the experience for your tastebuds! Relax and let them do your cooking this year as Boxwood roasts a free range chicken and serves it with herbed ciabatta stuffing and rotisserie dripping gravy ($27) and offers a range of tasty salads and sides.

Boxwood Café, 340 13 Ave. S.W., 403-265-4006, boxwoodcafe.ca

 

3. The Nutella Latte at Deville.  If you are in the mood for a decadent “pick me up” mid day, head over to one of the two downtown locations of Deville to sit and savor their nutella latte.  Once you have one, you can’t help yourself from heading back time and time again.

http://www.devillecoffee.ca/

 

Sep 16, 2014 | Comments

Cold Pressed Juice- Healthy Deliciousness all in One Little Bottle

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Common place in Canada’s other cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, cold pressed juices have been enjoyed by these urbanites for several years. However rejoice, rejoice, as Calgary finally has several options for those seeking out the wonderful nectar known as cold pressed juice.

 

Just what is it, and why does it cost $8 to $11 per bottle?

 

Well, cold pressed juice is no ordinary juice. This nutrient rich beverage has not been heated, or pulverized to create liquid from fruits and vegetables. Instead, a machine that exerts thousands of pounds of pressure extracts all juice from vegetables such as kale, celery, ginger, beets, along with sweeter fruits in some juices such as pineapple, apple and watermelon for balance.

 

There are currently four places to find cold pressed juice in Calgary at the moment, although we expect others to follow suit and open in the near future, as once Calgarian’s develop a taste for the green nectar, it won’t be long until demand grows!

 

Well Juicery- look for a juice truck on 17th Avenue coming soon

Mamasu- 111 5 Ave. S.W. +15 level

Juice Because- home delivery

Cru Juice- 236 4 St. N.E

 

Also, a little birdie whispered to us that in the not too distant future, some of these juices may be available for sale at the front desk of our favorite little boutique hotel……watch for more info coming soon!

Sep 02, 2014 | Comments

The Best Fall Hikes near Calgary

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The Best Fall Hiking Near Calgary

 

September and October are lovely months in Calgary and the Rocky Mountains- days are typically warm and sunny, and evenings crisp and cool. The few weeks of bright yellow trees are stunning, and a well kept secret in the mountains is the changing of the larch trees, from their summer green to a vibrant, fiery orange and yellow. They are any photographers dream come true, with ample photo opportunities to catch the spectacular color against a backdrop of a perfect blue sky and snow capped mountains.

 

Here are our picks for 3 of the best places to hike and enjoy the larch season.

 

  1. Sunshine Meadows

 

 

From the parking lot of Sunshine Village, a shuttle takes you up to the ski hill village base, where 12 km of trails are easily accessible, offering incredible views of the valley, mountains, lakes, and best of all, this is a very family friendly option. Check out their website for shuttle times and bookings at http://sunshinemeadowsbanff.com/sunshine_meadows/shuttle.htm

 

  1. Larch Valley, Lake Louise

 

This is an extremely popular option, and we recommend going mid week, as during weekends the road is sometimes closed due to too many people! The trail starts at Moraine Lake and is well signed. You’ll gain 360 metres of elevation gain in 2.6 kilometres to reach the valley. The views are well worth it, and as it’s not just people that enjoy the fall, but also some of the local wildlife, it’s best to hike this one in groups of 4 or more. The views of the Ten Peaks surrounding Larch Valley are stunning from the first meadow, definitely bring a camera or smart phone to capture the moment!

 

  1. Chester Lake, Kananaskis

 

For a hike a little closer to Calgary, this one is about an hours drive. It is accessible either from Canmore via Spray Lakes or from Peter Lougheed Park. The hike takes you up a climb through the forest, into open meadows and ending at a lake that has a dramatic backdrop of a cliff coming down from the mountains, and the fall colors are quite amazing. The hike is approx. 9km return and elevation gain of 300 meters.

 

Aug 15, 2014 | Comments

Urban Exploration- the best parks in Calgary for an afternoon stroll

Urban Exploration- the best parks in Calgary for an afternoon stroll

Calgary has a number of stunning outdoor recreation areas, and spread out throughout the city. Whether you prefer to stay close to the hotel, or venture out on an exploration of the city, we have the ideal recommendation for a park to check out while in town.

 

  1. Prince’s Island Park- Access from Eau Claire or Memorial Drive

 

A truly urban park, as it is located right within downtown. A short stroll over the bridge from the Eau Claire shopping area will have you in the center of this oasis. Stroll around the perimeter of the park, stopping to watch the ducks splash about, and the Bow River rush by. A wonderful playground sits in the middle of the park, and if you tire from walking around or being in the sun, do be sure to stop in at the River Café for an afternoon cup or tea or an appi.

 

  1. Edworthy Park- access from Bow Trail SW or Memorial Drive NW

 

Home to the Douglas Fir Walkway, one of the most beautiful walks in the city! Towering douglas fir trees loom overhead, providing much needed shade on a hot summer’s day. You can walk all the way downtown from the park, taking about 2 hours, or just laze the day away inside the park. Numerous picnic sites, several playgrounds, access to the river, and plentiful pathways beckon an escape for the afternoon into the beauty of Edworthy Park.

 

  1. Griffith Woods- Discovery Woods Access, SW Calgary

 

Discover a true wooded wonderland within the city limits. Griffith Woods has a large parking lot, and within minutes of leaving the car, you will feel like you are truly away from it all. There is a paved pathway throughout the park ideal for biking, or plenty of dirt pathways to turn and meander down, for those preferring to explore on foot off the beaten path. The Elbow River runs in the park, with plenty of spots to sit and admire the view, or to dip your feet in and cool off on a hot day.

 

 

Jul 31, 2014 | Comments

Guess which neighborhood ranked in the top 3 in Calgary?

The Beltline, one of Calgary’s thriving and now ranked most liveable neighborhoods.  The past several years have seen vast changes to the area, with a plethora of funky new eateries and coffee shops opening, hip little boutiques, stylish galleries, and a vibe that is unique to the Beltline.  Plus, it’s less than 1km from downtown Calgary, creating very easy access for business travelers who choose to stay in the Beltline, but have meetings to attend in the core of downtown.

The Beltline, named for a streetcar route from 1912 (100 year history in the area!), comprises the area of Rivers District, 17th Avenue S.W., Midtown along 10th Avenue S.W. and the amalgamated communities of Connaught and Victoria Park.  Hotel Elan is fortunate to be right in the middle of this happening neighborhood.

Some of our favorite aspects of being in the Beltline include:

  • The very short walk to the fabulous patios at Cibo and Bonterra (see previous post)
  • Taking in Calgary’s boutique culture wandering through the one off shops and galleries
  • The delicious restaurant choices
  • Easy access to independent grocery stores such as Community Natural Foods or Sunterra Market
  • The friendly locals who are always happy to provide directions or a recommendation on where to go and what to eat, see, or do

For more information on the Beltline, Avenue Magazine has a great article on their website

Jul 21, 2014 | Comments

The Best Patios in Calgary

Summertime is here, and with that comes the glorious patio season, where all Calgarian’s celebrate the warmth that we have waited 8 months for, enduring week after week of -40 all winter long.  Ok, perhaps that may be a slight exaggeration,  but it is a fact that it has been known to snow pretty much every month of the year, at some point in Calgary!

Since we are in the throws in summer, and long warm evenings with plenty of sunlight, here are some top picks of where to dine al fresco and to thoroughly enjoy the lovely ambience that each of these patios provides.

1. Bonterra- 8th Street and 11th Avenue SW

If you were to imagine a quintessential Tuscan trattoria was scooped from Italy and dropped into Calgary’s Beltline complete with the charm of fresh foliage throughout, and dripping water fountains, this is the place to head for lunch or dinner.

2. Cibo- 9th Street and 17th Avenue SW

Just steps away from Hotel Elan is Cibo, a hip little Italian restaurant with delicious think crust Italian pizza, and a wide array of pastas.  The patio is well protected with dozens of flowers, and with well priced wine, you may find yourself drawn here time and time again this summer.

3. The River Cafe- Prince’s Island Park

A longtime favorite of locals and tourists alike, this patio is in the middle of Prince’s Island Park, and offers at atmosphere to really make you feel like you have escaped from the hustle of urban life.  The two layered patio is well set up with flowers all around, plenty of shade, and rustic chic wooden chairs.  We recommend pretty much any meal of the day spent here- weekend brunch being particularly wonderful.  Bask in the warmth of the day while enjoying fresh and locally sourced food.

Jul 02, 2014 | Comments

5 Awesome Things to Do in July

Summer has arrived! The season of sunny days on the patio, lounging about in the parks during lazy afternoon picnics drinking cold lemonade, and of course ample opportunity to enjoy the many festivals that Calgary has to offer during the summer months.

 

To save you hours spent on google trying to figure out what to do while you’re in Calgary, we thought we would save you some time and provide our top 5 recommendations. Now get back outside and enjoy the sunshine, resting easy knowing your trip is planned out!

 

  1. Eat some free pancakes in July.  Lots and lots of free pancakes (10 days in a row if you wish!) The Calgary Stampede is a time of daily pancake breakfasts all over the city, and enjoy the chance to mingle with locals, eat some free food, listen to some country music, and kick back in the early morning sunshine. You can find a full listing at freestampedepancakes.com

 

  1. Ride your bike with the characters of Mario Bros at the Cyclepalooza.  Seriously. Enjoy a chance to relive your childhood memories of Mario, Luigi and Yoshi during this multi colored ride through the city bike pathways on July 5th

 

 

  1. Get your nature on.  Head out to Fish Creek July 19th for a free one day event that is all about the importance of conserving water, and enjoy the leafy green beautiful surroundings.  There are plenty of pathways to explore before or after the event.

 

  1. Cold beer and summer go hand in hand- try a unique, only available in Calgary this summer, new beer to celebrate the Fairmont Pallisers 100th anniversary. Brewed by Wild Rose, the Palliser Centennial pale ale has hints of chocolate and caramel, and is reddish-brown in colour. Expect a traditional English beer that’s well-balanced, full of flavour and incredibly memorable.

 

  1. Dance in the streets- is there a better way to celebrate warm summer nights? The Inglewood night market will run the night of July 11th and there will be live country music and square dancing.  After you’re danced out, you can peruse the market stalls for goodies, odd and ends available for sale.

 

Jun 11, 2014 | Comments

The Foodie’s Guide to Calgary

The Foodie Day Tour in Calgary

Breakfast

Start your day (and your palette) off with your first meal at Red’s Diner in the beltline.  Discover the delicious flavors of fresh ingredients turned into modern comfort food.  We highly recommend trying the oatmeal brulee!

Red’s Diner- 1415 4th Street SW

http://redsdiner.com/

 

Mid Morning Snack

No visit to Calgary is complete without sampling a latte from Cafe Beano. Mingle with the hip and young of Calgary, while sipping one of their legendary mochacinos

Cafe Beano- 1613 9 St SW

 

Lunch

FARM is a quaint little spot on 17th avenue, offering fresh and seasonal menu items.  You can’t go wrong with a cheese plate, or their “to die for” mac and cheese- best in the city! Go early on a nice day for a spot on their patio to soak in the Calgary sunshine and people watch on 17th Avenue.

FARM- 1006 17 Avenue

http://www.farm-restaurant.com/

 

Afternoon Snack

Just in case the mac and cheese didn’t quite fill you, it’s time to stop at Brava Bistro.  Their patio is one of the most ambient in Calgary, and you can’t leave town without trying the lobster poutine.  We dare you to only order one!

Brava Bistro- 723 17th Ave SW

http://bravabistro.com/

 

Dinner

Time to trek back down 17th avenue to Model Milk, one of Calgary’s newest and hippest restaurants. Their fresh, local, and innovative menu will have you salivating before the cocktails even arrive, and you may find it difficult to only order a few dishes! The menu changes seasonally, and we have yet to try anything that wasn’t delicious.  If you’re in town on a Sunday- make a reservation for their family dinner- 4 courses of delight for $35 p.p.- family dinner never tasted better!

Model Milk- 308 17th Ave SW

http://www.modelmilk.ca/