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out of towner needs help

I will be in Calgary (from Boston) for a few days in February with my culinarily adventurous 17 y.o. Any recommendations for chow-ish, not to be missed spots? Anywhere on the scale from high end to down and dirty are welcome, particularly things that are distinctive to the area. Thanks in advance.

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  1. If you have a vehicle, try Peter's Drive-in - a not to be missed throwback to the old drive-in days, with great burgers, fries and onion rings! I also hear their milkshakes are delicious! It's right on the Trans Canada Highway and easy to get to (depending on where you are staying).

    1. Peters is Ok, I like their shakes (which are HUGE) but imho there are a lot of places that do a better burger.

      My suggestion for a burger would be Boogies Burgers on Edmonton Trail (my fave is the Sam's Burger) http://www.boogiesburgers.com/menu.php or Rocky's Burger Bus http://foodosophy.wordpress.com/2009/...

      My other favorite places:

      Charcut http://www.charcut.com/ they do local well.
      Divino http://www.crmr.com/divino/
      Farm: http://www.farm-restaurant.com/Menus/...
      Bliss & Co. for a cupcake or pie http://www.blisscupcakes.com/
      Yann Haute Patisserie for their macarons and their pain au chocolat http://www.yannboutique.com/
      Phil & Sebastian for coffee - review by one of our regulars here: http://ugonnaeatthat.com/2010/02/26/c...

      Calgary has a rep for being good for beef (Charcut, Vintage and Bears Den all do steak well) and this is apparently where Ginger Beef got started.

      Some threads on local specialties:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/511232
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/688996

      I'll leave more on coffee, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese etc to those who know it better than I do.

      HTH :

      )

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      Bears Den
      254028 Bearspaw Rd NW, Calgary, AB T3L 2P7, CA

      Yann Haute Patisserie
      329 23 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0J3, CA

      Rocky's Burgers
      1120 46 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G2A6, CA

      6 Replies
      1. re: maplesugar

        Above are all great suggestions. Just to add someplace for Breakfast (or lunch)....Dairy Lane on 19 St NW (West Hillhurst community)... great food for great prices with a top-notch staff and they source as much local as possible.

        1. re: katidyd

          Agree, except I would substitute Crave Cupcakes for Bliss & Co and add The Coup (for vegetarian fare that's also great for omnivores) and The District (for locally made beer, excellent pork & lots of well made local food).

          1. re: cellophane_star

            Bliss & Co has a much more diverse selection than Crave. They are both cupcake places but I would say that the overwhelming opinion on this board is that Bliss edges Crave. Just saying.

            1. re: Merry113

              Fully agreed, although I won't harp on it since it's not Crave vs Bliss thread. Although, I'm surprised... I've never heard anybody who's tried both Bliss and Crave say they prefer Crave.

              1. re: NumberFive

                I can appreciate Bliss' flavour diversity but I prefer the taste & texture of Crave.

                As a recommendation to an out of towner, Crave is one of the first places I'd recommend because it's so well known. Bliss & Co. is getting more popular though.

          2. re: katidyd

            I second Dairy Lane - amazing burgers and fries too...

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            Dairy Lane Cafe
            319 19 St NW, Calgary, AB T2N 2J2, CA

        2. I have a different take on things when advising visitors and guests on Calgary food experiences, in particular East Coasters who have access to a lot of fine food experiences like you do in Boston. So, no seafood rec's, for sure, no cupcakes, no burgers or fries, etc., you have those in spades in Boston. How about cowboy food, after all this is Calgary, so why not try Open Range where you'll find bison, buffalo, elk, Alberta beef, a few other local ingredients depending on the season, and wait staff in Levi's.

          http://www.open-range.ca/menus.php

          Some of the places mentioned do local well with unique offerings, like Charcut and Farm.

          You have a 17 year old in tow and If he/she is a Bruins fan, well why not go for a burger and a beer in enemy territory at Flames Central, not great food, but great place to watch a game.

          If you have a car and want takeout, for a great Alberta beef sandwich try Cowtown Beef Shack.

          Should you feel like Chinese one day, well Calgary's contribution to the Chinese food world is Ginger Beef as you've been told by another poster, so try some.

          If you end up in a pub one day, try the dry salt and pepper ribs as an appetizer, a ubiquitous item in Calgary pubs, but not usually so back East.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Scary Bill

            Great ideas, we may try to deny it, but we are by nature a beef town, so get out and have some Alberta beef!

            If you have access to a car and feel like driving and want to add another cowboy experience, I'll recommend the Chuckwagon Cafe in Turner Valley for breakfast. It'll give you a little look at the countryside on the way too, and puts you right in the heart of pioneer oil country.

            There are also a handful of steakhouses or prime rib places that whether us foodies like it or not sometimes, are Calgary institutions. Ceasar's, Wellington's, Smugglers, Red Carpet off the top of my head... I'm certain there are several others I forgot.

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            Chuckwagon Cafe
            105 Sunset Blvd, Turner Valley, AB T0L 2A0, CA

            1. re: Scary Bill

              You cannot take a 17-y/o into Flames Central.

                    1. re: Scary Bill

                      'tis ok; as Howlin' points out I'm wrong anyway.

              1. Peter's is a must. Cheeseburger, rings and a shake. Mix up to 3 flavours in the shake, my last one was a marshmallow lemon raspberry.

                Any of the mentioned steak houses are excellent. Grain fed (as opposed to american corn fed) and Alberta raised. We also have excellent bison.

                One of our local curiosities is the abundance of Vietnamese Sub shops. Signs will say either that or Banh Mi. They're delicious.

                1. Thanks all. These sound great! I figure we can get in about 12 meals in 2 1/2 days if we plan well.