Monthly Archives: February 2015

Eating in Banff.

I recently went on a trip to Banff, Alberta. The purpose of my trip was to see the mountains, as I love mountains. I never really considered Banff to be a food destination so I wasn’t really particularly focused on what I was eating. However, I did come across a couple places, with relatively cheap eats, in a town where meals can get quite pricey.

IMG_2160My first stop upon arrival was Barpa Bill’s located on 223 Bear Street. I ordered the chicken souvlaki pita and my total came up to $9. It’s a small little place, with one or two tables and some counter seats. There was a TV playing a hockey game when I was there. I would highly recommend this place  if you want to stop in for some deliciously good, inexpensive greek food. Fill up your stomachs before heading out for a hike. Looking at the picture (although not so great), I could definitely go for another pita right about now.

IMG_2255After a long day in Lake Louise, once back in Banff, I headed to the downtown core where I stopped at Pad Thai located at 110 Banff Avenue inside the Clock Tower Village Mall. Again, this was a small restaurant with one guy working. Upon walking in, he sat me down at a table and brought me a menu and a glass of water. After skimming through the menu for some time, I finally settled on a hot bowl of Tom Yum Noodle Soup. I can’t really judge the authenticity of the dish as I’ve never had Tom Yum Soup before, but I can say that it was a well seasoned dish. I just remember it getting super spicy after a while (mind you, my tolerance for spice is quite low), but nonetheless it was still delicious. I my total meal came up to about $13 + tip. Overall, the food was tasty and the service was great!

IMG_2327One afternoon, I took the local ROAM bus to Canmore which took roughly 20 minutes. I was starving and wanted to catch a quick bite before heading out to explore the trails. I stopped at Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. the one located in the downtown core at 102-830 Main St. (8th). I ordered the Canuck bagel which contained eggs, bacon and cheese and chose a whole grain bagel. I think this came up to about $8. It was delicious! Although it did kind of just remind me of a higher quality breakfast sandwich from Tim Horton’s. Yummy nonetheless! You can’t ever go wrong with eggs, bacon, and cheese. Here you order at the counter, and they hand you placard to take with you which you place on your table and a server brings you your food when its ready. The ambiance was cozy, café style. It was relatively busy when I was there that afternoon. Most of the tables were occupied, but I managed to easily snag one.

IMG_2514On my last night in Banff, I decided to stop by Chaya, a really small Japanese restaurant located on 118 Banff Ave. I walked in, and the place was full. The waitress told me I would have to reserve a table and I told her I would leave and come back. She proceeded to fill out a ticket for me, which told me to come back in about 10 minutes, which I did. At first I sat down, stupidly waiting for someone to come, but then I realized you had to order at the counter first. So I decided to get the Miso Ramen which was $10… not bad for a bowl of ramen, right? After ordering, I sat down at my table and minutes later a server brought my food over. Visually, the ramen was underwhelming. I’m used to ramen with lots of fillings, like seaweed and corn, this ramen was very beige in colour, topped with bean sprouts and ground meat. I remember it tasted fine, but it wasn’t anything amazing. I don’t really remember much of it to be honest. My expectations weren’t high, as I didn’t expect to go to Banff and eat amazing ramen. Overall, it was just a cheap eat, filled my belly for the night and that was about it.

IMG_2520The morning of my last day there, it snowed! That was exciting, not cause I’ve never seen snow before, I’m from Toronto, we see lots of snow, but because Banff was surprisingly warm and cloudy the whole time I was there. After a morning walk, and getting covered in snow, I stopped in at the Wild Flour Bakery on 211 Bear St. It was a cozy, cute café with lots of delectable sweet and savoury food options. I got a peach & ginger muffin with a cup of sencha green tea. Found a seat by the window and caught up on my journaling.

Finally, on my last day in Banff, I decided to get some Cow’s ice cream located on 134 Banff Ave. This place definitely has the cutest shirts ever. I ordered the Moo York Cheesecake and it was delicious! I can’t remember what exactly was in it… but it was amazing. Great way to end my stay in Banff. IMG_2542


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Classic Cheesecake.

Yesterday, well Saturday really, I decided to make a cheesecake. However, I was working all day Saturday so I only had time yesterday to go out and buy the ingredients to make a cheesecake. There were so many recipes online for Classic New York Cheesecakes. I just wanted something super easy and basic to make so I settled on the recipe on the Philadelphia cream cheese box.

If I recall correctly from my memory, the recipe goes something like this…

1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

3 (250 g) pkgs Philadelphia cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together the ingredients for the crust and pat it down onto the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract. Then add the eggs one at a time. Fill the springform pan with the cream cheese mixture and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes.

The recipe didn’t mention the use of a water bath, but from my own knowledge, I know that baking a cheesecake in a water bath helps to minimize cracking. I remember reading that this is because the water ensures that the air in the oven doesn’t dry out and allows for even heat distribution. To do this, I wrapped my springform pan with foil and placed it in a large baking pan and placed it on the oven rack. Then I proceeded to pour hot water into the pan. I closed the oven door and hoped for the best.

Forty minutes later, my cheesecake was done. I cracked the door on the oven and allowed it to cool like that for about 20 minutes before taking it out, as any sudden change in temperature can also cause cracking. Once out, I cooled it on the cooling rack for maybe 2 hours before putting it in the fridge for another 1.5 hours before I cut into it and ate it. Technically, I should’ve probably refrigerated it longer… but it was getting late and I wanted to enjoy my hard days work.

Aside from the dent, I think my cheesecake came out pretty perfect. Look ma, no cracks.
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