Nutrition and Good Food at Nu Roots in Canmore

Nutmeg was very curious about Nu Roots and Tasty Life, these ladies were recently featured in an article in the Canmore Leader.   Talk about complimentary businesses; Samantha Peris, Tori Prescott are combining holistic nutritional advice with Joanne Grimble’s really great raw food.  The retail store is open limited hours for now, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  In addition, there are cooking classes (Raw Chocolate Cooking) every second Wednesday night.

This store has a tiny efficient footprint.  They sell the Tasty Life products like Herb Flat bread, Trailside Buckwheat Granola and the Cocoa Nut version and lots more.  They also have some featured cookbooks and other healthy items.  Nutmeg was really impressed by these ladies they have combined degrees in holistic nutrition, business and raw food cooking into a great package.   Nutmeg has tried the “Nutella” like spread – really yummy, not too sweet but definitely chocolaty and it is made with avocado.  This may be the ONLY time Nutmeg eats avocado – she can pick it out of sushi…

So thumbs up from Nutmeg, a great combination of nutrition and good food at Nu-Roots.  Go and visit the store, check out their stand at the Canmore Farmer’s Market on Thursdays, at Wild Flour in Banff or order the really tasty and good for you products on line.

Not sure if Ginger is a convert yet  – maybe he just needs to meet the lovely ladies.

Aroma Cafe Authentic Mexican in Canmore

Canmore has lots of choice in restaurants, although not much ethnic variety beyond sushi and a few restaurants with Asian influences (please let Nutmeg know if anyone ever goes to the Chinese restaurant…she does not think so).

The Aroma Cafe is now located on Canmore’s Main Street (it used to be co-located with Zonas on 9th Street) and likely has to pay crazy Canmore retail rent as a result of their new location.  They have a warm, casual interior with a combination of table seating, banquets and a small shaded patio.  Ginger, Nutmeg, CardaMOM and Montreal Steak Spice ventured over for a Sunday morning breakfast.   The drip coffee is decent and hot.  The breakfast options include the usual fare along with Mexican influenced breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, Mexican scrambled eggs and your choice omlettes – all dishes come with sides of very decent crispy potatoes, spicy green tomatillo sauce and black beans.  The service is attentive yet not too overbearing for early morning.

This is a family owned and operated establishment.  The chef came out to visit after our table had finished eating, to introduce himself and to bask in some well deserved credit for a great breakfast.  They expect their full liquor license this week, which will make for a wonderful excuse for Ginger and Nutmeg to wonder back for some authentic Mexican fajitas, enchiladas, tostados and maybe one or two cold cervezas.

The Aroma Cafe will definitely be on the hit list for Chili and Hot Sauce on their next visit to Canmore.  If you like Mexican food at any time of the day go and check it out!

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Habitat Restaurant Does it Work in Canmore

Nutmeg and Ginger were treated to dinner at this very newly minted Canmore restaurant, it opened on June 18th.  Habitat was reviewed in the Calgary Herald last week, whether that was the reason or the fact that they have done some heavy advertising, the restaurant was full.  It is located in the Grand Rockies Resort on Mountain Street off the Bow Valley Trail in Canmore.  When you arrive in the hotel lobby it is clearly not the standard Rocky Mountain look; there is heavy emphasis on metal, dark wood, gray-black tile, dark granite – no slate or rundle stone anywhere in sight.  In fact, if you closed your eyes to the beautiful mountain view outside you could be in Toronto with the very urban design feel.  There is a great looking kids pool, super-slide and fun splash pond located beyond the lobby – it is fantastically sound proofed and no hint of the awful chlorine smell.

The restaurant theme is similar to the lobby with some interesting light fixtures, bold artwork, wine displays and booth seating.  However, overall Nutmeg felt the design fell short in a couple areas; the room was quite over-lit and there is too heavy an emphasis on bronze metallic finishes.

The menu has a strong Asian influence with starters that include tempura prawn and vegetables, five spiced fried calamari, crispy chicken and vegetable wonton soup. The table tried salad and soup starters as well as the tempura nori rolls (very good!).  The presentation was excellent and the flavours well-balanced in each case.  The main courses are also created with the same nod to the far east;  green tea and maple glazed salmon, Asian wok vegetables, wasabi mashed potatoes, tea smoked ribs.

The wait staff seems to be newly minted along with the restaurant and they would benefit from some additional experience.  Nutmeg started to lose her patience after Ginger explained to our waiter that CardaMOM cannot eat anything too spicy and requested that her order not include the wasabi mashed potatoes…they came anyway (extra bonus?).  The table service timing was off; the red wine was poured before cocktails were finished and CardaMOM almost had her butter knife down her back as her plate was being cleared.

The clientele is very mixed; there was a couple who arrived from the city dressed for a special evening, several tables of much appreciated tourists with their cameras and hiking shorts and a couple “date” tables where he had clearly made a special effort to get dressed up by putting on a clean ball cap and white sneakers.  Habitat may be quite challenged to find the right niche clientele in Canmore.  It is definitely not townie focused.  Although the restaurant promotion encourages “casual dress” the prices are reflective of a city restaurant yet the ambiance is hotel dining trying too hard  – a bit conflicted.

Nutmeg and Ginger had a lovely evening and would definitely go back for the food and the decent wine list.  The wait staff need some more time to wear off their rough edges.  Please let Nutmeg know when she can safely return….  🙂

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Mountain Mercato in Canmore

As you might have gathered thus far, Nutmeg loves good coffee or to be more specific, espresso.  Thankfully, Canmore has some good options in this regard.

Mountain Mercato is located on Main Street in Canmore. This storefront is a few things; deli, coffee shop, specialty food store and a place for a light meal.  Recently, Mountain Mercato expanded their location and created a seating area inside as well as additional street-side patio seats.  Nutmeg has pretty much avoided this place as it is quite pretentious for Canmore.

However, Nutmeg is also insanely curious when it comes to food, retail and of course coffee.  So she decided to head over for a latte after yoga this morning.  The inside expansion has been well done, the seating is very bistro style and well appointed, it looks like it belongs.  The service bar has been expanded allowing for more barrista space.  The outdoor patio seating is awkward as it is essentially two sections separated by a walkway to allow the upstairs tenants access to their office.  This morning Canmore was blessed with a few rays of sun between rain showers, so Nutmeg sat on the patio reading the newspaper.  She had been under the impression that this place was only for tourists – wrong!  In fact 5 out of 6 tables were occupied by locals meeting for social or business reasons.  This is good news for Mountain Mercato as they need local traffic to sustain them through the not so busy months of the year.

In the store they carry specialty Italian foods, several brands of coffee, expensive dry pasta, good extra virgin olive oil, cured meats, specific spices.  They make panini sandwiches and there is usually a daily soup special. Nutmeg still feels that Mountain Mercato is expensive, the latte at $5.25 might be the most expensive in town.  The barrista staff are not unfriendly, although could be described as reserved  🙁 .  So if you are looking for a unique ingredient for dinner, a special treat or want to act like you can afford a really expensive coffee in Canmore – check it out.

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Canmore’s Summer Farmers Market

Thursday is market day in Canmore, for the summer months only.  New this year, the town closes off the blocks between Main Street (8th) and 10th Street on 7th Avenue.  This central venue in front of the Civic Centre, creates a great pedestrian friendly community gathering place.  The market starts around 8am, “Canmore time“, and runs until about 4pm.  Last Thursday, was one of the three days of summer that Southern Alberta has experienced this year, it was a sunny, cloudless 26 degrees Celsius – perfect for market going. Continue reading

Canmore’s One and Only Crazyweed Kitchen

Nutmeg loves the Crazy Weed Kitchen in Canmore.  The food is consistently good with a strong Asian influence.  Signature starters include; Vietnamese pork meatballs and salt and pepper calamari.  Nutmeg’s favorite main course is the red curry seafood bowl and Ginger loves the fettuccine with chorizo, big shrimp, grilled vegetables and creamy tomatillo and chipotle sauce.

The Crazy Weed can only be described as eclectic.  It is located on Railway Avenue in Canmore, after a move from Main Street a couple years ago.  The building was purpose built for the restaurant, with high ceilings, a green roof that looks a bit shaggy, a design that creates essentially two main dining areas, great mountain vistas and a casual deck.  The decor is simple with white walls and splashes of color in the seating.  The atmosphere is busy and the appearance of unfinished “projects” (art that is still to be hung, herb planters that are still waiting to be finished) seems to suit the character of the place just fine.

The challenge with Crazy Weed has been inconsistent service.  At times one has been left to wonder if the wait staff will ever come back….then dinner shows up and the wait has worth it.  Good news though, recently there has been a realignment in ownership and Nutmeg is very happy to report that the service at dinner last week was fantastic.

In addition, to menu items listed above the following are worth a try:

  • Frites with garlic aioli – Chili rates the fries 7.5/10
  • Jewel box salad – orange segments, shaved bartlett pear, blackberries, fairwinds goat cheese with greens and lemon vinaigrette
  • Ceasar Salad – Chili and Hot Sauce rate this one a 9/10 or higher – they are still talking about it
  • Halibut with beets, avocado and a citrus sauce – Nutmeg’s new summer favorite (without the avocado)

Great food, add to your must do or must return list.

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Whyte Horse Cafe – what is in a name?

Main Street in downtown Canmore is not very long so it is easy enough to notice anything new.  Very recently, the Whyte Horse Cafe has appeared on the corner of 8th (Main) and 8th Avenue.  The color of the building has been updated (on three sides) and there is a cool new sign and painted horse.  They are also very busy building an expanded patio area so patrons can take advantage of the few warm Summer days, that may be ahead.  Do not be fooled by all the activity, it is the Coffee Mine renamed, they still have the old sign out in the back alley.  The same “coffee shop” rules apply (no strollers, no dogs).  The food is decent and the service spotty.  They had decent apple turnovers on Saturday and Nutmeg managed to get two coffees without waiting for 30 minutes.  So maybe the name change will help…  🙂

Canmore’s Harvest Cafe Not Just for Locals

Harvest is tucked way on 9th Street in downtown Canmore.  This place is not flashy in any way.  They have a small sunny patio for the days that allow for sitting outside.  Inside is pretty rustic decor but clean and generally not too crowded.  They have daily specials; usually two soups and a couple hot dishes.  On top of that they have a great selection of yummy baked goods and cookies, including some gluten-free options.  They have a standing list of delicious breakfast items (breakfast parfait, homemade granola, french toast), salads and lunch sandwiches (grilled cheese!).  Pretty much everything is made to order.  The coffee is good and there is little waiting (see Coffee Mine).

So what is the problem?  They make no bones about catering to the local crowd.  They are only open Monday through Friday, starting at 10am (too bad for the early risers).  So if you are only Canmore on your days off (i.e. Saturday and Sunday) too bad – you are not going to Harvest.  If you are lucky enough to spend a few extra days in town or are playing hooky, then venture over to 9th Street and take in the scene at Harvest and feel like a local.

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The Coffee Mine in Canmore Mea Cuppa

Just in case it is not already obvious, if there is one thing Nutmeg is very serious about, it is coffee.  If there is one thing that brings out Mace (Nutmeg’s evil twin), it is bad coffee or inefficient coffee service.  The Coffee Mine in Canmore has long been OFF Nutmeg’s list because the service is slow.  After years in the location on 7th Avenue they have very recently moved “up-town” to Main Street.  This is good news for Main Street as it fills in some of the dreadful empty retail space (a whole other blog topic) and possibly good news for The Coffee Mine.

So Nutmeg (and Mace) decide to put the old demons aside and check out the new location on Main Street.  The problem is the first attempt was a failure…they only open at 9am on Saturdays and Sundays – too bad for early risers.  This past Sunday with Ginger in town it was no problem arriving after 9am (he would not dream of getting up early on a weekend or for that matter any day now that he is retired).  The space is much improved over the old location there are several tables and seating options, there is a wood burning fireplace for the really cold days and a large sunny deck.  They have several posted house rules around strollers and kids, which is a bit of a turn off.  That being said the food display counter is larger and not as crowded as in the old locale.  The food selection is vast, with some healthy choices and lots of decadent ones.  Most of the food is made fresh daily and beautifully presented.  We ordered up a couple coffees and a breakfast sandwich and were told it would be about a 10 minute wait.  It was about 10 minutes, the coffee was good and the sandwich fresh and hot.

So Nutmeg (and Mace) would like to formally say “Mea Cuppa” – The Coffee Mine is back in her good books, with the following warning… if you want your coffee hot, fast and strong go to Beamers, if you are on “Canmore time” The Coffee Mine is a great option.

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