It had been quite some time since I’d been in Calgary and, more specifically, on 17th Avenue SW. I’m going to say 7 years…has it really been that long since we moved??
So, on our recent spring break, I was able to enjoy and view this great Canadian city through the lens of a tourist. No work, no carpools, no rush-hour traffic – we were simply there as visitors.
We booked a two bedroom suite at a new boutique hotel just off of 17th Avenue SW, which remains one of Calgary’s coolest streets.
HotelElan is one (if not THE only) hotel in this trendy dining and entertainment district. It is centrally located, within walking distance to some great restaurants and just a short drive from the Saddledome, where we attended a Calgary Flames game. Like most Canadians, my husband is a big NHL hockey fan and he was looking forward to seeing a live Flames game, since few of them are televised in the U.S. Unfortunately, the Flames lost that night 4-1, but it was great to be back in the C of Red.
The hotel is a revamped apartment building with a very modern feel. Our room had a personal gym and even a heated toilet seat!! We took advantage of the hotel’s “appy hour” for guests from 5:30-6:30 and met the sales manager, Matthew, who was friendly and helpful. Drinks were free and the appetizers provided by Sunterra Market.
But this was just the beginning of the good eats on 17th!
It didn’t take long for my girls to spot what looked like some delicious restaurants to try. First on the list was Buttermilk Fine Waffles.
The selection isn’t huge, but we indulged in some sweet varieties – the buttermilk classic, cinnamon bun, lemon (with goat cheese!) and fresh fruit waffles. They were delicious – light, fluffy and very sweet. I would suggest sharing with a friend – they are very rich and filling. Buttermilk also offers a variety of savory waffles too – some with ham, cheese and arugula.
Just down 17th from Buttermilk, is Cru Juice bar, which offers a wide variety of cold-pressed juices from raw ingredients. We tried the F1 Pumped Up Kicks variety, which is a mixture of apple, pineapple, aloe vera, lemon and mint.
Wow…it was such an interesting mix of flavors…it really did make my taste buds sing!! A bottle of juice costs anywhere from $4 – $12 depending on the flavor. Apparently, you can drink these juices as part of a cleansing program, but we simply wanted something cool and refreshing – and it was delicious!
Just for fun and if you have a sweet tooth, you might want to check out Freak Lunch Box to find some retro candy and pop culture items. The 17th Avenue location is the first Freak Lunchbox in Western Canada. We loved their Stampede-inspired sidewalk sign!
Another great restaurant close by to HotelElan is Cibo, which offers fine Italian cuisine. I enjoyed the rabbit rissotto – it was phenomenal. As guests of HotelElan, you receive 10% off your bill – bonus!
And, finally, we branched out and tried some Mediterranean food at a nearby restaurant called Tarboosh. Their beef donairs were very good. To be honest, I can’t say they were better than the Island Greek donairs we grew up eating in my hometown of Sydney, N.S., but they were satisfying for these hungry tourists.
In addition to eating (LOL!), we did spend some quality time catching up with old friends and family. It was great to re-connect, hang out, play games and have some laughs just like old times.
With three daughters, of course, we eventually found our way to Chinook Centre. This mall has definitely changed over the last few years. It is huge now, and has recently added some of my favorite stores including Nordstrom’s, Anthropologie, Ivviva and Urban Outfitters to name a few.
Our Alberta vacation wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the mountains. Stay tuned for part two as we head to the Rockies for some skiing and apres ski fun!
If you are planning a visit to Calgary, make sure to budget some time strolling along 17th Avenue SW.