Where we've been (in case anybody is checking)
Banff! Pictures once I download them from my camera.
I think it was the best little holiday I've ever had. We lived like dogs, pretty much. Ate, slept, went for walks, ate some more, napped, you get the picture. (Also sat in the hotel hot tub and the hotsprings, but that's not so dog-like)
OMG the things we ate!
There's this little vegetarian/vegan restaurant tucked way up on the top floor of the building where they make fudge in the window and deliberately blow the chocolate smell on to the street through a strategically placed vent. The restaurant is called Nourish. It's all done in red and orange and brown and feels warm and cozy. Two people work there, a thin, slightly stooped old man who speaks quietly and slowly, and a vivacious young woman.
As we sit down, the old man starts his spiel - it's the same for every customer - about special dietary needs, their to die for chocolate amaretto cheesecake, and instructions to go back down to the counter to sniff all the teas, which they blend themselves. So we sniffed all the teas, a dozen or so, from traditional things like chai and jasmine and earl grey, to blueberry rooibus and things I couldn't pronounce and therefor I don't remember.
We started with a roasted garlic and red pepper soup that I'm salivating thinking about now. If we had been the only customers, we would have licked our bowls. I was tempted anyway. S had an amazing sandwich on grilled sourdough with caramelized onions, portabello mushrooms, red peppers, and organic cheddar cheese. I had one of their signature sandwiches, avocado, pear, and brie. Also very good, although a bit bland, probably better with the swiss cheese they normally make it with because that would add a bit of zip. And that to-die-for cheesecake he was selling us on when we came in? He wasn't kidding. It was When Harry met Sally good. We finished with a pot of jasmine tea - you could see the flowers - and even though we sipped it very slowly and it steeped the whole time, it never got bitter. We went back the next day and bought some jasmine and some earl grey to take home. The earl grey was, bar none, the best earl grey I've ever had.
And then another day we ate in this faux Irish pub, which was also phenomenal. It took a whole page of their menu, in three columns, to list all the beers they had on tap. I had a Wild Rose Wraspberry Ale. I couldn't taste the raspberries, but it was refreshing and had a zippiness to it that was really pleasant. S. had a Smithwick's, which he apparently liked, but it gave me bitter beer face.
Crab, asparagus, and Guinness soup, anybody? Hell yeah. Turkey, strawberry, and brie sandwich? OMG.
Other than that, our hotel was cheap, good, located just the right distance from the busy part of Banff Avenue, had a fantastic included continental breakfast with what appeared to be homemade granola, and the staff were really helpful and genuinely cheerful.
We had meant to do all sorts of stuff, like go to concerts at the Banff Centre, go up the gondola, and maybe even go for little hikes, but in the end the only hiking we did was up and down the touristy shopping strip. Somehow that didn't matter and we came home refreshed and happy.