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Canmore Uncorked Food & Drink Festival

By Afton Aikens

Hang up your apron because there’ll be no need for home cooking during the second annual Canmore Uncorked festival, April 7 to 19.

The inaugural festival won an Alberta tourism award and was nominated for the Canadian Tourism Awards’ event of the year. Organizers are raising the bar this year, adding new events that will showcase the quality and creativity that drives Canmore’s dining scene, paired with tried and true favourites.



Ski Area Fun: No Skis Necessary

By Where Staff

Canadian Rockies’ ski resorts have been drawing crowds for nearly a century. If skiing or boarding isn’t for you, or if you just want to try something different, there’s still plenty of fun to be had on and off the slopes.

Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

Photo: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

Tube Park Fun

The whole family can delight in speeding down the slopes on an inflatable tube. Groomed lanes ensure safe, smooth sliding. At Lake Louise Sunny Tube Park, slide for $22 (yth $20, ch $15, -5 free). Norquay’s Tube Town (night-lit Fri/Sat) has six chutes, two lifts and a play zone with a small sliding area ($35, yth/sr $25, ch $20). Nakiska Tube Park ($19, ch $15) has an additional lane this year.


Edmonton’s Best New Restaurant 2013: RGE RD


RGE RD is Where Edmonton’s Best New Restaurant 2013
Photo by Pedro Escobar

You never quite know what to expect when you wander into RGE RD, the newest and most highly anticipated addition to Edmonton’s dining scene — other than highly creative and utterly delicious creations of some sort or another, that is. Chef and owner Blair Lebsack is passionate about the whole farm-to table concept or, as he puts it, “the farms we work with dictate the menu. We don’t tell them what to grow; we work with what they give us.”

Look for fresh, seasonal and local. Look for a constantly changing menu, and look for the unexpected. Oh, and yes, definitely look for steak. As for the type of steak, well…

You see, RGE RD brings in whole cows and works from there. Tenderloin might take centre stage one night, rib eye another, and flank another and… well, you get the idea. With a wood-burning oven, a grill and some cast-iron pans at his fingertips, exactly how Lebsack might cook that steak is anyone’s guess. It will be served with some sort of beef-y ragout (think beef/onion/mushroom), though, and it will be accompanied by something warm and comforting and surprising (think creamy mashed potatoes with radish greens). Oh, and according to Lebsack, it will be “the best steak in the world.” What goes with the best steak in the world? Beer [from Hog’s Head Brewery in St. Albert] , of course!

After a steak like that you might think you’re completely satisfied, but how could you not dig into something as yummy as the Chocolate S’mores? Ooey, gooey, house-made and topped off with a fabulously innovative smoked ice cream – you won’t even miss the campfire! 10643-123 St, 780-447-4577; rgerd.caJan Hostyn 


Calgary’s Best Eats: Where to Dine Award Winners 2013



Model Milk’s boudin noir with egg yolk gnocchi (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Calgary’s dining scene continues its prolonged hot streak. As bold new eateries emerge, the (generally friendly) competition has moved established restaurants to up their game. The scene’s sheer scope of choice and high level of taste is well represented in this list of Calgary’s best dining establishments.

Hot Dates: Ready, set, dine!


Winnipeg’s hottest tasting event, Ciao! magazine’s Dine About Winnipeg, presented by Manitoba Pork, returns! Visiting foodies won’t want to miss this crash course in city dining. More than 20 restaurants will be offering up 3 course meals at a fixed price of $28 and $36. For a list of participating restaurants and menu offerings, visit ciaowinnipeg.com, Feb 1-11.

Hot Dates: A Moveable Feast


RAW: almond, the coolest thing to hit Winnipeg winters, is back for a second year. The pop-up river restaurant gives 11 chefs free reign to design a five course menu with boozy pairings for a fixed price of $100. The structure, designed by RAW gallery is worth the ticket alone.

Hot Dining: Now Open

As the new year unfolds, two great concept restaurants open their doors to Winnipeg’s growing dining scene. Prairie 360 is the latest incarnation of Winnipeg’s revolving restaurant. Don’t be fooled by the incredible view: the refined regional menu is truly the star! Look for dishes that highlight local flavours, like venison sliders. Lovers of lager will lap up new craft brews at Barley Brothers. This spot celebrates small-batch brewing, with space for 72 craft kegs, and tips a
glass to Manitoba farmers with harvest inspired decor. Menu highlights hearty beer-based soups and scratch-made German sausages to balance beer-laden bellies. Prairie 360, 83 Garry St, 204-505-2681. Barley Brothers, 655 Empress St, 204-772-2337.

Hot Dining: Editor’s pick – top 5 FAT + FAB

Keep warm this winter with a little extra insulation from these rib-sticking comfort foods that might be bad for the body, but do wonders for the soul:

Refuel after skating on The River Trail with pressure cooked fried chicken at Red Top Drive Inn. Not only do these tasty morsels sport a luminous deep-golden colour and crispy skin, they leave fingers grease-free. 219 St Mary’s Rd, (204) 233-7943.

Quell pre-game munchies with sinfully delicious crispy artichokes at The Met, which has been impressively restored. These buttermilk marinated artichoke hearts are fried golden and served with lemon garlic aioli (pictured). 281 Donald St, 204-594-9494.

Cozy up to someone special for a night of jazz at Le Garage Café. Opt for the poutine, as these skinny fries swimming in house-made gravy and cheese curds could rival some of Quebec’s best. 166 Provencher Blvd 204-237-0737.

Billabong‘s dingo doggies are delicious sausages dipped in buttermilk pancake batter, and served with maple syrup. This high-calorie breakfast is great fuel for an activity-packed day. 121 Osborne St, 204-452-1019.

Wind down at Rudy’s Eat & Drink, with a rich twist on mac ‘n cheese. Smothered in white cheddar sauce and topped with sausage, chives, and fresh parm,
this version is the true meaning of comfort food.  375 Graham Ave, 204-421-9094.

Hot Dining: Class in Session

Jane’s is no ordinary restaurant. The lavish dining room, housed in a more than century old space, is staffed with students from the Red River College GlobalFood Institute‘s Hospitality program. The menu, which boasts complex dishes like maple-brined bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin served with beetroot risotto, is cooked by second year students of the Culinary Arts program. Chefs Tim Appleton and Luc Jean are at the helm of this culinary classroom, which serves lunch and dinner Tuesday-Friday. Glimpse into the gleaming open concept kitchen to see teaching in action, and join in by testing the skills of your servers on specials and wine pairings. 504 Main Street, 204-632-2594.

Hot Shopping: Scene in the City – Manitoba Meeting Place

The Forks Market sits at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red River. Once the heart of Winnipeg’s fur trade, this historic meeting place endures as a bustling cultural hub. For a mystical experience, head up to the 2nd floor loft, and visit Distant Caravans. Have your fortune read, and peruse the exotic textiles and wares. Right around the corner, check out Iceland Skate Rentals, and lace up for an afternoon of skating the River Trail. Afterwards, head down to the main floor of the Forks Market to satisfy your sweet tooth at The Fudge Guy. Immortalize the picture perfect view in postcard form for loved ones, from Two Rivers souvenir shop. Don’t forget to pick up some Manitoba-made wares, such as these hand-carved wooden knives, from the Forks Trading Company (pictured).

Hot Dining: Japanese Fare at Vancouver’s ShuRaku

Japanese food at Vancouver's ShuRaku

Japanese food at Vancouver’s ShuRaku; Photo by KK Law

Artfully presented sushi, inventive izakaya and other edgy small plates rule at ShuRaku, a wide-ranging downtown room that also yields the city’s most extensive sake list, including Granville Island’s Artisan Sake. Go for the barbecue back ribs, wild sockeye salmon teriyaki or hamachi yellowtail tuna sashimi—superbly matched with Junmai Ginjo Sake.—Tim Pawsey

Vancouver Life: Local Restaurateur Sean Heather

Sean Heather takes a break at Shebeen Whisk(e)y House

Sean Heather takes a break at Shebeen Whisk(e)y House. Photo by KK Law

By Tim Pawsey

Ask Sean Heather what he’s up to these days, and he’ll likely tell you, “Anything—except opening another restaurant. Maybe.” In recent years, the Limerick-born Heather has unveiled a string of cutting-edge haunts, though rarely in the traditional mould. Based on a philosophy that focuses firmly on affordability, they’ve become a vital part of Gastown’s fabric and helped transform it from “also ran” to the eclectic dining and drinking destination it is today. (more…)