August 18, 2012

A little trip to Canmore

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I was happy I got to go back to Canmore this year. Jacques and I visited the little rocky mountain town for the first time last summer and really enjoyed ourselves. Canmore is right on the edge of Banff National Park, so you don’t have to pay the park fees to stay there. Though it’s a small town, it has a definite yuppie and hippie feel, and we find it’s more diverse and interesting than Banff.

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We were in Canmore for three days in July with Jacques’ show. It was so nice to be among the mountains, though with a 6-week old baby we didn’t do any hiking. But you get spectacular views from right within town. It’s truly a beautiful place. Our hotel was right along the train tracks, a short walk to the downtown, which is a fun place to stroll around.

Last summer I discovered a pizza restaurant there with gluten-free pizza, the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. Unfortunately, this time around the restaurant was a disappointment, with pizza that I found overly salty, and really bad service. But I was able to scout out some other gluten-free options this time as well.

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Once I started looking around Nutter’s Bulk and Natural Foods store, I couldn’t believe I had never been there before. It’s a real shame the store doesn’t have a location in Edmonton, because Nutter’s (at least the one in Canmore) sells a cornucopia of gluten-free products.  They had many brands and products I have never seen before, and I found the selection better than at Planet Organic, which is where I usually buy specialty GF items. I picked up some GF instant miso soup packets, which I thought would be helpful on the road, and a really yummy granola bar made by Canmore company Fiddlehead Foods.

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Our last day in town, Jacques heard about a cafe that had GF baked goods. Of course I had to go try them out. The Rocky Mountain Bagel Cafe has gluten-free cheesecake, brownies and at least one other item that I’ve forgotten. I tried the brownie, which was tasty but super-sweet, which is not my favourite.

While sitting in that cafe I read something in a dining guide about another cafe in town with GF options. So I continued my cafe-hopping while Lucie snoozed in her carrier.

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I visited the Communitea Cafe, a beautiful space with a modern interior, lots of natural light, couches, and several people working on laptops. They had some delicious-sounding food, including several GF lunch options, and a large tea selection provided by Edmonton’s Steeps Tea. I went straight to the sweets again. There were many to choose from, including the same granola bars from Fiddlehead Foods, and some of the same baked goods they carry at Wild Flour Bakery in Banff (the two cafes have the same supplier for their GF products).

I ended up going for a Chai cupcake, since GF cupcakes are a rare find (though actually very easy to make). It was light, fluffy, and delicious, though the frosting had the greasy mouth feel of margarine or shortening.

While in town, we also stumbled across the Canmore Farmers’ Market and had some delicious Indian food there. I was surprised by how many vendors were at the market, including several fruit and vegetable vendors and lots of prepared foods. There was even a booth selling homemade, organic dog food. Like I said, it’s a yuppie town …

I’ve visited many Alberta towns this summer with Jacques as he tours the province, and Canmore was probably my favourite place of all. It makes me even happier to know that I’ve discovered some more great GF choices there too.

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