Sunday, December 31, 2017

Beautiful Banff - Day 2

Started off today with this breakfast panini (egg, cheese, tomato) and flat white at Good Earth Coffee. It was -26 degrees F out when we left the hotel to walk to the restaurant. BRR!!
I dropped Brian off at Lake Louise Ski Resort and headed out for some solo cross-country skiing adventures. (In case you missed it in past posts, I am not a fan of heights or the ski lift, and grew up cross-country skiing, so Banff was a perfect place for both of us to find what we wanted.) I didn't come across a single person all morning on the trails.
I finished up my skiing for the day and headed back to the lodge to find Brian for lunch. The place was swarming with people, so we went to one of the sit-down restaurants, Kuma Yama. I had the Grizzly Bear roll (avocado, salmon sashimi, spicy salmon salad), the jalapeƱo yellowtail and a tiny bottle of prosecco. I sat and read for a bit while Brian finished up his last runs of the day. 
Brian's backcountry mountain view before skiing down.
On our way to/from Lake Louise back to Banff, I kept seeing people stop and take pictures here. There was no one waiting when we drove back to our hotel so I hopped out and Brian took this shot of me swinging between letters.
After hot showers and walking around looking for the perfect (yet-to-be-found) Canadian ski hat, we headed to Bear Street Tavern for some pizza. Brian had the one on top (the Big Bird) and I made my own (spicy marinara, cheese, and pineapple). It was a cozy way to end an action-packed day!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Beautiful Banff - Day 1

While it's beautiful here, it's well below freezing. A cool -17 F when we woke up this morning. It is so pretty that it's almost easy to forget that there are tiny icicles in your eyelashes every time you step outside. It has also been lightly snowing since we arrived.

We flew into Calgary, rented a car and drove an hour and a half to Banff. We checked into our hotel and headed to the Fairmont Banff Springs for dinner at Samurai Sushi. Due to multiple flight delays, we missed our reservation at one of the six tables, but we did snag two seats at the bar. Brian had the sushi meal at the top and the rest were mine - a salad, rainbow roll, tuna tataki and salmon nigiri.
We headed to the Whitebark Cafe for breakfast before heading to Lake Louise to rent skis. I had a yummy latte and a loaded carrot muffin with toasted coconut on top - so good!
Brian decided to give cross-country skiing a try, so we rented some gear and headed for some amazingly groomed trails near Lake Louise. It was snowing lightly and very cold, but we kept toasty warm skiing. The Canadian Rocky Mountains peeked over the trees for us to see.
After skiing for a couple of hours, we headed to the Fairmont Lake Louise for some lunch. We also checked out the frozen lake, which sadly, did not look turquoise, if you've ever Googled Banff, you'll know what I mean.
We warmed up with some hot toddies, which featured fresh ginger and anise. I had these amazing nachos with smoked gouda, roasted salsa and guacamole. Afterwards we walked around the outside of the hotel and found some ice sculptures like this pelican and castle - so cool!
After walking around town a little bit and buying Brian warmer snow pants, we headed back for showers and headed to Three Ravens Restaurant + Wine Bar for dinner. It's a little hard to find on the campus of the Banff Center, which is a performing art school, but it's worth it. I had this complex dish of roasted heirloom tomatoes, beet puree, ash papparadelle, mushrooms, honey marscapone, puffed rice, oat and nut mix, microgreens and kale. It was a little overwhelming but good.
This has to be one of the craziest desserts I've ever had, hence that look on my face. The Taste of Cacao Barry Chocolate was spicy Ochoa dark chocolate, blackberry Alunga milk chocolate, lemon Zephyr white chocolate, hibiscus coulis, mixed seed brittle, juniper cake, and lime-chocolate mousse. Made my palate jump.
Outside our door at the Moose Hotel, is this little house that you can stay in. It used to be on the property before the hotel was built and later they moved the house, built in 1913, back to where it began. You can read more of the story here, and you can stay in the house!!! If only I'd known!! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Eating Portland - Days 3 + 4

I know I have shared this before, but when I am traveling for work, it looks like all I do is eat. I could take lots of photos of spreadsheets, monitors, Google docs, and Slack chats, but trust me, this is much more entertaining (I think). I also picked up either killer fall allergies or a sinus infection with a migraine, so I bring you this combined post which allowed me to get to bed at a decent time last night. Enjoy!

We started off Thursday with a scrumptious breakfast at Imperial, which is attached to our hotel. Lindsey and I both had the Hipster breakfast sandwich (egg, cheese, tomato, and hazelnut romesco) and Imperial Breakfast Potatoes. I also had a yummy half of a ruby red grapefruit.
After a solid day of work, and crushing all the team to-do's on our agenda for the week, we headed to Beer O'Clock for a celebratory drink. With Portland getting dark at about 4pm, it seemed like the perfect time to leave the office. I chose this De Brabandere Petrus Sour Mango from Belgium - so good!
We then headed to Jacqueline for dinner. We started with an amazing petit baguette and I had the yellowtail crudo, avocado, grapefruit, white ponzu and sprouted coriander starter. It was light and super fresh, and pretty.
For my main dish, I had the Parisienne gnocchi with dungeness crab, chanterelles, leeks, and crayfish fumet. I thought that was cheese on the top, but it was crab.
There is a debate in Portland about which ice cream place is the best - Salt & Straw or Fifty Licks. Our original plan was to try both after dinner and decide for ourselves, but that task appeared far too daunting after a big meal. We ended up at Fifty Licks because it was right next door and there was no line (which apparently is a normal issue). I had the Oregon strawberry on a homemade waffle cone. We also tried a bunch of flavors before ordering. If Salt & Straw is as good, if not better, Portland is a very lucky town!
One of my friends who used to work at Mozilla saw that I was in Portland via Twitter and reached out. He and his wife (who also used to work for Mozilla) live in a neighborhood on the way to the airport and suggested we meet at Proud Mary for brunch.
We had an awesome meal (poached eggs on toast) and a great time catching up. I always love when my travels intersect spontaneously with people I haven't seen in awhile. Thanks Katie and Jared!!