Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Calgary Attractions

Calgary Attractions - a great web-site to visit for info, hours and coupons on the major attractions to see when you are coming to Calgary.

Guests at Art's Place Guest House told us about it, as they were on their way to the Zoo this morning. We printed the 2 for one Calgary Zoo coupons for them.

Go ahead, take a look!

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Lurie puts up his dukes

"City of Calgary has starring role alongside Samuel L. Jackson in boxing film"
Director Rod Lurie has relocated the setting of the movie Resurrecting the Champ from LA to Denver just so he could film in Calgary. This was on the advice of Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain). Lurie says he will be back filming in Calgary if he can because
“Normally speaking, you shoot at least 12 hours a day and this crew is working with such efficiency they’re getting me out at nine, 10 hours.

“I think it’s really part of … the Canadian work ethic. ‘Get the job and get the job done without complaint,’ which I love."

Rod we'd love to have you back!
Lurie puts up his dukes

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Take Out from Baba Ka Dhaba (East Indian)

A long time ago our friend Harj, told us about a little hole in the wall restaurant on 17 ave SE that served good East Indian food. Tuesday night we were on our way home from the Globalfest orientation and we hadn't had dinner yet. So we decided to finally try Baba ka Dhaba for some takeout. (Harj warned us it isn't really a sit down dinner kind of a place.)

Located in a tiny strip mall we walked into an oven like atmosphere full of delicious smells. There are a few tables with people eating from styrofoam plates and a counter to the kitchen where you order. We walked up to the counter and asked for a menu. They gave us a sheet of paper and pointed at the daily specials. We asked about butter chicken and he pointed at the daily specials. Tuesday is Nihari or Mixed Daal (beef or vegetarian) How many people he asked? Two we said and we would like some naan bread. Potato bread too he said. We agreed. Turns out our biggest choice is how many people and how hungry we were.

While we were waiting for our food 2 people came in who were also at the Globalfest orientation. They also asked about butter chicken, the answer came back, Friday is butter chicken, today is Nihari. Our order came, a medium sized tub of beef in sauce, a piping hot naan, and a potato bread with dips in little KFC gravy tubs. The total was $8. (5 for the meat, 2 for potato bread and 1 for naan) At home we dug in, delicous and spicy (probably mild for a seasoned east indian palate)

Wednesday night and all of a sudden it's late and we haven't gotten anything out for dinner. So it's back to Baba ka Dhabi. Tonight is goat curry, pakore curry (vegetarian) and chicken pilao (chicken and rice) with kheer (rice pudding) We opt for the goat curry, chicken pilao, potato bread, and naan. Our order comes up and he tells us they ran out of chicken so no charge for the container of deliciously spiced rice. So again our bill is $8. What a great place, every main course is $5 and your biggest choice is how many servings.

Baba ka Dhaba - 3504 17 Ave SE 207-5552 Be prepared to eat what they serve you, the way they spice it and you will have a great meal for a little price. Oh and take it home to eat.

Leighton Art Centre

Leaving the Millarville Farmers Market, I spotted a sign saying "Art Exhibit Today" with an arrow pointing north. Well after lunch and shopping in Turner valley, we decided to explore the beautiful foothills in search of the serindipitous.

Do you know that lost feeling you get when you are in unfamiliar territory and the signs are far and few between? Well there are only two signs at the turns in the 15 or so kilometres between Millarville and the Art Centre. The thing that kept us going was the beauty found around every bend in the road.

When we finally arrived at the end of the paved road that deposited us at the Leighton Art Centre Gallery and Museum, we wondered if it was open. There was a sign for a wedding and the only cars besides ours was the wedding party's. In front of us as a non descipt little white house. Well here goes nothing and we walked in.

Inside there are paintings everywhere, and as you walk to the back you reach the living room/museum and you see why A.C. built here, wall to wall foothills and Rocky Mountains. A landscape artists nirvana.

The Leighton Art Centre is open Tuesday to Saturday 10-4, closed Holidays. Worth the drive just to see the views around every corner and to fantasize about having a mansion on the top of a hill. Hang in there and check the map on the website, because signs are small and few and far between.
Leighton Art Centre, Gallery & Museum driving directions

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Millarville Farmers Market

Well we finally did it, we got up and out of the house early enough on a Saturday morning to make it to the Millarville farmers market. I say early enough because the market is only open from 8:30 to 12 Saturday mornings June to October. The market is about 30 km south of Calgary, so leaving at the ungodly hour of 9:30 allowed us a couple of hours to explore the market. This is the motherlode of outdoor farmers markets with over 160 vendors in an outdoor country fair type setting.

This being the August long weekend and a sunny day, it was packed. Since it was after 10 and many people had already come and gone, we were able to park right in front. (hint if you follow the crowd be prepared to walk.) We entered and made our way through the crowds of eager shoppers. There seemed to be equal numbers of food and craft vendors, so we hit the food type places, where most had samples of their wares.

We purchased a 4 lb bag of nice greenhouse tomatoes and then spied someone with a large basil plant in her bag. She directed us to a booth at the back of the market where they were selling many different varieties of basil and other herbs. We asked if they had any Thai basil (our favourite) and she said she was sold out except for one that had wilted in the cold, which she was reluctant to sell. We said that we would take it off her hands for a discount which she then offered to us for half of their normal $4 price. On the way out we purchased some kamut bread from one of the many bread vendors and a snack of a wee loaf of chocolate zuccini cake.

After leaving the market we opted to continue south to Turner Valley and lunch at a place called Coyote Moon, a local coffee/breakfast/lunch place. We had some mocha's and an omlette, very tasty. Standing in line we realized we knew the fellow in front of us from somewhere. Turns out it was Ron from Longview who collects antique radios and had purchased a old Eaton viking radio/record player from us last year. He invited us to join him and his companion Irene and we had an interesting eclectric conversation over coffee and breakfast.
All and all a good morning. See the next entry for our visit to the A.C. Leighton gallery on the way home.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A great find: Purple Perk

We found a wonderful spot the other day. On 4th Street, in the Mission Area.

It used to be a coffee shop called the Planet (or was it the "Daily Planet") that blew smoke rings everytime the door opened. You could not step foot inside without thinking you had spent a few hours inside of a bar. (Calgary is one of the few major cities left that has not yet imposed a global no-smoking ban. Kinda makes you wonder who is paying our city aldermen...)

Well, smoke rings no more. The whole place has had a make-over. The only thing I recognize is the bulletin board on the back wall of the restaurant.

It has a new menu, great coffees, and wonderful old fashioned coffee/mocha milk shakes. The clerk warned us that we might want to share. It was huge. Remember the kind from the old days where they give you the tin mixing cup with the remaining shake? I was stuffed. We promised each other we would share next time we went.

.... which we did tonight.
.... but they weren't quite as generous.
.... however, it was still delicious.

Dinner at Jonas' Restaurant

We recently ate at Jonas' Restaurant. I believe that is pronounced "Yaw-nish".

We had read about it previously, but had never been there. We were feeling in a bit of a celebratory mood, and decided on something different.

Firstly, eating right downtown Calgary for dinner is decidedly uncongested compared to downtown dining at lunch-time.

Secondly, meter parking is free after 6 pm. (after 5 on Saturdays, and free all day Sundays). While there may be slightly fewer choices in venue since some of the downtown locations are only open for breakfast and lunch, the ones that are open are great scores.

The servings, as you can see, are very large. I had the Chicken Paprikash served with home-made Dumplings. It is very similar to a dish my mom makes, which is why I chose it. My mom's has a bit more depth to the sauce, I'm not sure exactly what was missing perhaps some heat (no one cooks like mom), but it was excellent none-the-less.

Art had Wiener Schnitzel from pork with home-made potato... the potatoes were prepared had dill and butter and ? That was fabulous as well. He helped me eat my dish, and we took one of his schnitzels and a heap of potatoes and enjoyed it just as much for lunch the next day.

Both dishes were $11.50. And I will be returning. Perhaps with my parents when they visit next month.

Looking for good food? Get yerself out of the burbs and into downtown for dinner!

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Guest House Is For Sale In Calgary

We are selling the guest house. Possession date will likely be for September 1 as we have guests coming in throughout the months of July and August.

If you would like to know more and you are in the market for central real estate in Calgary, let us know. (click on the picture of the house on the right, and it will take you to the Guest House's web-site with the details. Could be a great revenue property if you want to keep operating it as a guest house).

It's been fun!

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Coyotes in Union Cemetary

Here's a better photo of one of the coyotes we saw in Union Cemetary on Father's Day. They were playing with the magpies, it seemed. Likely the magpies were trying to keep them away from their wee chicks, but I think the young coyotes were enjoying the bit of tag.

In this picture we are being contemplated, as perhaps a tasty tinned treat. The coyote's eyes were amazing in the flash.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

All Woodpeckers Don't Have Red Heads

I never knew. Did you?

I guess it is because I'm a city girl - or because American television so affects our perceptions.

This is proof that not all woodpeckers have red heads.

This one was sited in the back yard of my cousin's Calgary residence a couple of weeks ago. He or she has quite a fancy home in a tall dead tree stump, and apparently a few wee chicks, which we couldn't see. But I did get a this photo.

Adventures of the Bronze Suits

The 2 bronze business men; stand motionless on Steven Avenue Mall. So often I see them in various settings, and wish I had a camera to prove what I've seen is true. Various settings, you ask? Why yes, they change their tools more often than you need to change lightbulbs. And that's saying a LOT because, as I said, these fellows are bronze.

I've seen among their arsenal everything from a Watch Tower to a Starbuck's in the claw of the suit frozen in mid sentence. I am certain it assists him in making a more clear point to the listener. Though one can never tell, the listener is slow to act on what he is hearing. Perhaps he's not convinced. Or perhaps he's never seen his companion practice what he preaches. They say that example is the best teacher, and so until one budges, there will be no budging.

Maybe that's what the bicycle is for, the listener is finally planning a get away from the incessant and dull chatter.

Now that I have a convenient wee digital, I will make better use of the opportunities I've had to show you the vast arsenal of the bronze suits.

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Oldest House in Calgary - Hunt House on the Deane House Grounds

The Deane House is right by Fort Calgary and has on it's grounds at the back of the gardens is a small dilapidated structure which is the oldest house in Calgary. It is a historic structure known as the Hunt House and was built by the Hudson's Bay Company. Because it has been declared historic, no one will tear it down (no one will restore it either).

At any rate, the Deane House is now a cheery restaurant which you will enjoy visiting if you like antiques and structures of historic significance.

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Joey at Fort Calgary

We walked from our home in the Ramsay area the other day downtown to catch a movie. We walked by Historic Fort Calgary and saw a very cool image - a native fellow sitting in front of the Buffalo sculpture at Fort Calgary.

His name was Joey and I asked him if I could take his picture. Not being fully sober, he initially thought I wanted a picture of the buffalo, so he leaned over in case he was in my way.

After I took the shot (when he sat up straight again) we exchanged introductions. He had a ticket in his shirt pocket which he said was for drinking in public. He will show up to court on his appointed date, and because he knew he couldn't pay it, he figured he would spend 3 days in jail. The ticket doesn't solve the problem, as you can see, he sits here with a can in hand and more in his bag.

A gentle and sad soul, my new friend Joey. If you see him, give a hello.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

New Selection Process for Calgary Stampede Entrants Ends Rodeo Border Battle

Calgary becomes a zoo during the Calgary Stampede. I love it. I love the fireworks, those little donuts. I love to wander through the barns as frequently as possible and see the variety of animals that are competing. I love the crowds and the free pancake breakfasts and stampede barbarques all over the city. Most of all, I love the Grandstand Show, the musical, dance and fireworks production put on by the Calgary Stampede Show Band and the Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede. And I love the fact that I live so close to the Stampede Grounds. Make it great accommodations for folks staying over.

Apparently there is controversy and dispute between the US Rodeo Association and the Canadian one. So they are handling it differently. Shouldn't change things too much for me... I don't go to the rodeo. But that really is the backbone of the Calgary Stampede.
New Selection Process for Calgary Stampede Entrants Ends Rodeo Border Battle

Monday, February 06, 2006

Well eventually. Until then there are a few places registered here on this web-site that actually are already smoke free. Show your support, and tell other proprietor's who aren't listed about this site!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The AAdvantage Dining & The AAdvantage Hotel Programs by Rewards Network - Dining Search Results

Very cool. When we looked at the American Airlines dining promotion, we couldn't find any restaurants in Calgary that would give their points. Now there are 11 (well sort of 8, since all 3 Cannery Row locations are listed).

Right now they're having a triple points promotion.

The AAdvantage Dining & The AAdvantage Hotel Programs by Rewards Network - Dining Search Results

I've eaten at only some of those places and my favorite on this list is the Blue House Cafe. My cousin Sean works there (say "hi" for me!). I've also eaten at Cannery Row, great for seafood; and at Rajdoot. I used to go to Rajdoot every time I wanted East Indian food, but have since moved on to Glory of India. They have much larger portions and the food is wonderful. (of course, every time we want butter chicken, Art makes it. He makes the best butter chicken in town!)

If you're visiting Calgary - stay at Art's Place Guest House Great for families or groups.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Day Into Night : Calgary Stampede 2004 - Google Video

Art's Place Guest house is only a 3 or 4 block walk from the Stampede Grounds. If you are coming to Calgary for the Stampede there is no place to stay that is closer. (there is much to see during the stampede - from rides, to rodeos, from free pancake breakfasts around the city to a city full of urban cowboys)...

Watch rides at the Calgary Stampede

Calgary - Video of Calgary -

See Calgary! This is on the SAIT campus, and pans the downtown core and the campus.

360 video of the SAIT campus - pans downtown Calgary.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Come to Calgary for the Wine

California North?

Nope. Better than that.

Calgary, Alberta Canada boasts the best wine selection in all of Canada. In fact, Willow Park Wines and Spirits has a wine list of more than 22,000 wines. That's more than 5 times as many as the entire province of British Columbia, which can only sell from a provincial government controlled list of 4,000 wines.

If you're a wine lover, what more could you want? Other than actually being in Italy, that is. One local wine vendor told me that Many folks scour their local city or town looking for a particular favorite, and then hit the net. When they learn that it is avaialable here in Calgary they will poll their friends for a friend who knows a friend who lives in Calgary and ask a favour. (In case you are American reading this, that's how we spell 'favor' in Canada).

If you're not a wine lover, many place have affordable tastings to educate your palatte.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Dog Boutique in Calgary

Cool toys, tasty treats, free Sunday Brunch, and birthday party catering... Not for you or your children, but for your dog.

Take your dog to the Urban Dog Market for a free Sunday brunch. In the MardaLoop / Garrison Woods area. You can leave your dog there for 20 minutes while you shop in the neighborhood.

Urban Dog Market - A boutique for your dog - including free Sunday brunch!

So who says Calgary doesn't have everything?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Alberta Ranked most comfortable province

Environment Canada ranks Alberta as the most comfortable province weather wise. So have a look and see how the determined this.
Weather Winners WebSite
See how your province or city did.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Cheap Eats: Atlas Grocery and Restaurant

This was an accident. We had been painting on Tuesday at the guest house house and didn't feel much like cooking afterwards. So we cleaned up (but I still had mint colored paint in my hair), and drove off in search of something reasonable, filling (we were hungry!), and delicious (isn't that the goal of every meal?).

We thought we might head for Shwarma's but decided on Atlas at the recent recommendation of a couple of friends.

We each had a stew - mine was made with pomegranate and walnuts and shredded beef, and it was sweet tasting. Art had a yellow lentil beef stew served in tomato sauce. The presentation was beautiful and the meals were delicious. The stew itself came in a separate bowl. A beautiful presentation of saffron and plain white rice swirled into a mound and garnished with sumac served on its own plate made it easy for us to share our stews. Art preferred his stew to the sweet one that I had ordered, but I would have trouble deciding which one was my favorite. I do not know the names of either dish, I would need the menu for that, and assistance in pronounciation.

The restaurant is owned by a Iranian woman and her two sons, who were pleasant and friendly which gave the elegant decor homestyle comfort.

Afterwards we wandered through their aisle of samovars, teas, canned goods, packaged candies, bulk beans, nuts and spices. The prices were fantastic, the tarragon and dill were only $2/100g, less than anywhere we had seen it. Art's supply of tarragon was getting low, and it is a necessary ingredient for his chicken and turkey gravies.

Thanks Shannon and Farouk for the recommendation!

We dropped by this weekend so that mom could pick up some herbs (the saffron is a great price as well) and she inhaled deeply when we walked in and noted that we will eat there next time they came to Calgary.

Price: Dinner for two with Persian Tea: $20
Tarragon and Dill to fill our large spice jars: 65 cents.

Atlas Specialty Supermarket and Restaurant: Kosher/Islamic/Halal/Persian, Arabic and more - #100 1000 9th Avenue SW, tel: 230-0990

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Shopping: Calgary Farmer's Markets

Calgary has a huge farmer's market located in the Currie Barracks. Isles and isles of fresh produce, farm produced preserves, meats, baked goods, organic lotions and creams and the award winning young entrepeneur honey guy. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

And don't forget to stop by Simple Simon's Pies and see Bob the pieman for a sample... take home some mushroom-chicken-swiss, chicken curry and taco pies.

They've got a great web-site at:
Calgary Farmer's Market

And here's a map for the farmer's market!

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Saturday, April 23, 2005

Cheap Eats: Jimmy's A&A Foods and Deli

A Middle-Eastern cuisine - excellent schwarmas stuffed with the best of everything as well a lot of other similar foods - most of which I am not overly familiar with. I generally need a tour guide to remind me of the names and nature of all of the delicious things I never learned the names of.

A great place to stock up on the middle eastern spices and other treats. (If you've never tried it, pick up some zatar, and find some recipes online). They have 2 locations, 1401 20 Ave NW and downtown at 213 6 Ave SE - no doubt it's packed at lunch time! They deliver now, and cater as well.

The aptmosphere in the store is high paced, fun and entertaining (I think Jimmy has ADD :-) ).

They will have a web-site at but it doesn't appear to be live quite yet.


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Entertainment: Children in Calgary: (And Children at Heart)

Olympic Plaza - a great place to visit summer and winter.

In wintertime it is a skating rink - with various festivals which include music and roving magicians such as "Spark" the fire eater.

In summer it is a wading pool - equally as entertaining for kids, (and those of us who are kids at heart).

There are many festivals at this location as well, you can check out what's current here:

Olympic Plaza: Real Live Arts

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Calgary Dining: Cheap Eats: Wings

Find cheap wings in Calgary!

Click on pub finder and then do the search for what day you want to get wings. - Calgary's listing of Pubs, Nightclubs, Restaurants and more!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Entertainment: Theatre: In Klezkavania with the Plaid Tongued Devils

Performing at One Yellow Rabbit's Big Secret Theatre until April 23.

I'm almost embarassed to admit that I saw this. It was hilarious. But it was also very grotesque. There were times, mostly executed by the character of Penultima, when if I could have sunk into my seat, I certainly would have. I'll not go any further than that but the Sun article linked below covers the least offensive of how she caused-me-to-blush.

Other than that, it was likely offensive to the Christian - "say you're the devil . . ."

I went because we won free tickets. I wanted to go, because a friend is in the band "The Plaid Tongued Devils". Very talented band. What's with that name though? I suppose it doesn't have the same appeal and shock-value to the alternative music scene as "Plaid Winged Angels".

In spite of it all, did I say it was hilarious? Yes I did. It WAS hilarious. Baron Leo Van Tantamount (Penultima's husband) was the despicable character that made it all very funny. He had so many great lines it was overwhelming to try to isolate even one of them to savor later. When Penultima was front and centre I couldn't wait for it to be over. When Tantamount was front and centre, I didn't want it to end.

Would I recommend it? That all depends on who's asking.

Calgary Sun :: Event Guide:: In Kezskavania

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Entertainment: Theatre: "Marion Bridge" by Daniel MacIvor

Calgary certainly has a lot of great theatre. We saw "Marion Bridge" in the Martha Cohen Theatre.

The story of the black sheep's return home as the mother is dying. It causes all of the family's stuffed painful issues to surface, and part way through the first act, I was ready to leave. The last thing I wanted to do was watch three sisters fighting. I think the woman sitting in front of me was having the same thoughts, her husband kept rubbing her shoulder as if in guesture of understanding her similar situation.

But it soon got better. In fact, it was hilarious. It's too late for you to see it, now, but I think there is a movie by the same name. Though not likely as good as the play - rent it, should be interesting.

Calgary Sun :: Event Guide

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Friday, February 18, 2005

Entertainment: Movie Theatre - Eau Claire Cineplex

Eau Claire Cineplex is our favourite movie theatre, because it's close to Art's place and it is the cheapest first run movie theatre in Calgary. Movies are $7.99 anytime and street parking is free after 6:00 pm. If you catch the latest most popular movie there you can see it at the old Imax theatre for the same price. (check to see what's playing in theatre six) Only be prepared to be ontime as there are no trailers in the Imax.

We went to see Will Smith's latest movie Hitch. We were pleasantly surprised, Hitch is a funny feel good movie about Alex Hitchens, the date doctor. We recommend this movie to singles (guys especially) and as a date movie. Will Smith was great as the date doctor and Kevin James was also great as the single accountant "Hitch" helps to land his dream girl.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Entertainment: Theatre Festival: Festival of Animated Objects

When travelling to Calgary consider taking in one of Calgary's many wonderful festivals.

We volunteered with Single Volunteers at the Festival of Animated Objects which ran until January 30. What a wonderful introduction to the world of puppets and all things animated. I never knew puppets and marionettes were so entertaining. We were able to view the shows we volunteered at, and we attended a couple of other shows as well.

Ronnie Burkett, formerly a Calgarian whose studio / home was the old monastary at the end of the block we live on, was in attendance. We unfortunatley were not able to attend his performances, but all reviews say he was marvelous as usual. We have a water color of this residence done by a local artist Keith Fergeson. [The monastary is 2 blocks from Art's Place Guest House, and a block away from The Green Fools theatre group's former studio Crump Manor which was also the location of the after party.]

We enjoyed Phillip Huber, master marionette performer - we noted that what he did was very complicated and required a great deal of skill and talent. Art and I met him at the after festival party held in Crump Manor, just around the corner from Ronnie Burkett's former studio and residence. We chatted with Phillip at length about his craft. He was the puppeteer behind the incredible scenes that you see in Spike Jonze's film Being John Malcovich. One of the puppeteers that perfomed in the film Team America: World Police apprenticed under him. Though he was disappointed with the filmakers depiction of marionettes as awkward, Phillip Huber's work is wonderfully graceful.

Also a hit was Frank Meschkuleit. The performance we saw was the last ever performance of The Left Hand of Frank which was a hit at many Fringe Festivals and other shows across Canada, and elsewhere. He performed on the Muppets and Fraggle Rock among others.

The Festival of Animated Objects (by Calgary Animated Objects Society) will run again in January of 2007, depending on their sponsorship and funding. There was excellent coverage of the festival the FFWD Entertainment Weekly.

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Monday, January 10, 2005

Calgary Dining: Coffee Shops

We love going out for coffee. Calgary's coffee shops are the places where we meet up with our friends most of the time.

One old favorite was the Second Cup on 17th Avenue and about 7th Street across from Mount Royal Village. I guess it's been a while because we made arrangements to meet someone there this evening. We pulled up to a rock star parking spot, but it didn't appear that we were in the right place. There wasn't even a hint that it ever used to be a Second Cup. The only signs in the windows read "For Lease".

In a discussion later Art and I recalled that a friend who is a teacher at Western Canada High School told us about about their pending closure.

So after we connected with our friend we headed, instead, to the other Second Cup on 4th Street and 24th Avenue. Art knows the owners there. It used to be my favorite place to go out for coffee and it was close to the apartment I lived in before we got married.

But there are many places to choose from, weather chain stores, or indy's. I took the opportunity to tour many of the indy places a few years ago armed with a coupon book that didn't punish single people. It had 2 for 1's with the option of 50% off of a single. That little $10 book allowed me to aquaint myself with my city, as I would study the book and locate one of it's shops on the map, before heading out. I had a lot of fun as I discovered very unique and interesting places. I miss that little coffee coupon book, which no longer printed.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Shopping: Market Mall: Largest Shopping Centre

Today we did a walk through Calgary's most recently renovated and now largest shopping centre, Market Mall. There are some unique stores there that I haven't seen anywhere else. Some higher end jewelry stores, and clothing botiques, which may be simply chains from south of the border, or East for that matter, but I am uncertain.

Of course there are all of the regular things one would expect in a mall, but our last stop was the mouth watering Cinnabon. Art has a weakness for all things baked, that are warm and sweet.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Calgary Dining Guide: City Palate: Cheap Eats Edition

I don't know how regularly the City Palate produces the Cheap Eats edition, but it is certainly a helpful resource for finding those dining venues in Calgary that offer wonderful food for reasonable prices. We have used this guide as a tour book, and stopped short of checking them off as we experienced each place.

This is worth checking out and Art's Place Guest House has a couple of the older editions on the reading shelf to assist you as you venture out to explore this wonderfully diverse city.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Dining and Shopping in Calgary: IKEA

Calgary has a new IKEA location that opened in November near the south Costco location.

IKEA has creative solutions to everything in the home from small spaces, to that prefect device for every household need, and really interesting things for children that I wish were available when I was a kid - oh, just a few short years ago.

Not only is it a fun place to shop, it is a fun place to eat, too. They have a very large cafeteria in their upstairs portion serving cafeteria food with a twist - it's European. Well I guess it's European compared to the regular cafeteria fare served at similar places around here, because it isn't so regular. But whether or not it's really European has yet to be determined by an expert, or by my 'haven't- been-to-that-part-of-Europe-yet' experience.

The desserts are a pleasure to behold, and the plates are reasonably priced. Breakfast is only $1.00. Who can beat that? Not Nellie's, not the Gallaxy, not even King's on Barlow Trail.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Dining: Luciano's

It was a tradition for a few weeks to meet with John and Rhonda from Peak Health Solutions at Luciano's on MacLeod Trail (this is the same place that we went with the Single Volunteers for Brunch on New Years' Day).

Normally we got together after their health presentations at the Carriage House for pizza and a glass of wine, but this time because our meeting was to catch up and reconnect for the New Year, we went earlier and for dinner.

Monday's Luciano's special is the thin crust pizza for $7.99. Art and I generally have the BBQ chicken one without the BBQ sauce.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Food: T&T Grocery

The T & T Grocery Story provides such an interesting selection of Asian foods. It is in the Franklin Mall, where there are many other Asian stores as well an Asian food court. There you can find Chinatown in a shopping mall. Complete with a tea and ginseng store, a tableware and kitchen shop, and a Chinese herb store, it also sports a shoe store, discount clothing shop, DVDs, CDs and Karaoke shop, computer shop, television and electronics complete with Asian personnel to serve you in their language. English might need some translation.

In the T&T supermarket you can find vegetables that I never knew existed, generally for even less than at teh Superstore.

It also has the makings of dim sum, sushi, vietnamese soups, and a Chinese bakery. The meat section displays a variety of live fish in tanks, live mollusks, as well as frozen and fresh meats. We noted that it is a great place to buy fresh salmon for less than the other grocers as well. Once in a while if we are in the area of the T&T Grocery Store just prior to them closing, we drop in and buy the days fresh sushi on discounted prices.

That is, in fact, why we were there today. Since Art's parents were in town and we had the leftover sushi rice in our fridge, we wanted to practise this skill and use it up. We bought the raw tuna, and immitation crab, and some wasabi, but had to go elsewhere for healthier avacados. It was all very delicious and we have some left over, but I do have on question: Why does this wasabi not disolve in the soy sauce?

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Shopping: Chinook Centre - Second Largest Mall in Calgary

After New Year's Day Brunch with the Single Volunteers we headed to Chinook Centre, the shopping mall north of Luciano's on MacLeod Trail. The mall has now taken a second place in size and number of stores since the recent renovations and reopening of Market Mall in the North West. I was suprised to learn that the stores were open on New Year's Day. Judging by the crowds, it was well worth the store's extra hourly salary expenses to be open.

Chinook Centre was renovated a couple of years ago when they added the Chinook Paramont Theatres complete with an IMAX screen among updating and expanding everything, including the parking and parkades and the food court.

My mom, who lives in Saskatchewan, claims that they are always renovating Chinook Centre, as they seemed to be in the midst of renovations everytime her and dad passed through Calgary because before I moved here in 1995. It was Calgary's first mall, and the first time we were here as a family in the 70's it was being renovated to become an indoor mall, instead of an outdoor access mall. Indoor malls are a necessity with Calgary's winters.

Dining: Luciano's - New Year's Day Brunch (also on Sundays)

We had brunch at Lucino's today with the Single Volunteers. It has been an annual tradition since the inception of Single Volunteers to have a New Year's Day Brunch. We've been at Luciano's for 3 of those 6 years.

Luciano's is a great Italian restaurant with 2 locations inCalgary, one in the North West near the Foothills Hospital, and the other in the South West on MacLeod Trail. Both serve Sunday Brunch, but only the MacLeod Trail location has New Year's Brunch. We find it to be reasonably priced with a great deal of variety in salad items, breakfast items, desserts, roast beef and ham and all of the fixings to go with all of the above. A favorite is the chocolate fountain which flows with Callebaut milk chocolate and melons to dip in it. You can smell the chocolate from the parking lot.

As always it was wonderful to visit with the Single Volunteers folks who joined us. We heard and shared heartwarming stories of recent volunteer events including "The Magic of Christmas" and "Operation Christmas Child".

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Local Calgary Movie Rentals While on Vacation

Sometimes the best place to get a movie rental is your local indy (independant) corner store. We love our local corner store. It is only a block and a half from our house (which means it is only 2 1/2 blocks from Art's Place .ca) and is called "Alberta Corner Store".

There is another one called the Black and White which is closer to the Art's Place .ca, but they do not have movie rentals. Both have everything you would expect a corner store to have however, I do understand their prices are more than the Alberta Corner Store.

And, if you are really into the big chain places, or need 24 hour attention, there is a 7-11 further down 8th Street. But then again, they do not have movie rentals.

We like the small town feel of the Alberta Corner Store and frequently encounter people we know, including those people that we know by face and not name who live nearby. We know some well enough to smile and say hello, and in some cases engage in small talk including offering or asking for advice on potential movie selections. A comment on the weather is just a given, everyone in Alberta talks about the weather. You are not from here, or haven't been here long enough if you don't discuss the weather. You will soon know what I mean.

Ocassionally we run into Jenny Allen, a local Calgary folk singer, and neighbor. (We discovered that she lived nearby when we stumbled upon her garage sale a couple of years ago. It was a really neat surprise and we bought some really cool things from her. If you come over, I will show you!). She bought some neat things at our garage sale the same summer, and if you are at her place sometime, I'm sure she will show you. Her boyfriend is a 'found object' artist, and their backyard is decorated with some very clever pieces. My favorite is the phone bench. Sorry, I'm not even going to try to paint a picture of that for you, you have to see it for yourself.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Entertainment: Calgary Movie Theatre: Sunridge Spectrum and Sushi

Today was Art's parents' last day in Calgary, they return to Ontario early (very early) tomorrow morning after spending Christmas vacation here. We went to a matinee, and then afterwards to Art's brother's place for the evening. Art's mom showed us how to prepare sushi rice, and to make sushi. It is not as hard as I thought it might be. Now that we have seen a professional at work, and received her instruction, we have no more excuses. Soon we'll be venturing to the T&T Grocery in Franklin Mall for some fresh tuna and some of the other fixings.

Sunridge Spectrum is one of Calgary's newest mega theatre complexes and is a Cineplex Odeon operation in Calgary's North East. We had hoped to see "National Treasure" but that was not playing at 12:05 as indicated on the advertisements and Spectrum's web-site. So we went to "The Incredibles" instead. Which Art and I have already seen at Eau Claire's Cinemas a couple of weeks ago. But we enjoyed it and I think I enjoyed it even more the second time.

We went with Art's parents as well as his brother-in-law and family. Armed with our coupons from cereal boxes, we purchased iced moccachinos, which I was quite impressed with. The fare at theatres is amazing these days, you can choose from a large variety of high-glycemic fast food varieties, and still get the old favorite theatre standby's of overpriced fountain pop, popcorn with fake butter, candy bars and licorice.

Shopping: Chinatown in Calgary

Chinatown in Calgary might not be as big and impressive as that in San Francisco, but it is still a unique cultural experience. We met up with the in-laws there for a quick little shopping spree to purchase the ultimate rice cooker. Apparently Tiger is the best brand. A programmable 10 cup cooker was the final selection.

Afterwards we went to two different bakeries, Jing Jing for our favorite meat stuffed buns, and a different one, the Golden Happiness Bakery for the best pasteries. I don't know what it is about Chinese bakeries, it is always a wonderful culinary experience. Their pasteries are so light and flaky...

We found free parking along Riverfront Avenue as we had pulled up to a meter that said FAIL on it... FAIL means F-R-E-E in my books. Thanks City of Calgary for that! Honestly, though, we look for meters with time left on them or park where we know that there is free parking and walk to the Calgary Transit's Free-Fare zone in the downtown core, as I begrudge Calgary's high city parking fees.

At all costs I avoid the Imperial and Sterling parking lots. That's another story, and a long one, I won't go there now.

[Jing Jing is downstairs on the corner of 3rd Ave and Centre Street SE]
[Golden Happiness bakery is 111 2nd Ave SE]

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Shopping in Calgary on Boxing Day

We braved the snowy streets today with multitudes of other Boxing Day shoppers looking for deals. I'm not complaining about the weather, it only snowed here last night (Christmas Day evening). So I guess that means that we actually got a white Christmas.

Calgary's weather is unpredictable, we always check the forecast before we go out to see if we need to pack a pair of short pants, an umbrella or a snow jacket. It doesn't matter if it's June or January. When a chinook blows in, in only a few minutes we can go from bitterly cold with mountains of snow, to our streets looking like Venice until the storm drains catch up.

In case you are wondering what Boxing Day is, it's a Canadian shopping tradition, the day after Christmas. The crowds and frenzy can be not unlike the Day after Thanksgiving in the US, known there as Black Friday. The sales work out well for those who celebrate Christmas in January. People start lining up at 3 or 4 in the morning, for deals like $1 for a DVD player and $20 for an MP3 player. (quantities on some things are limited, of course).

Well we didn't exactly make it out that early in the morning, in fact, we didn't make it out in the morning. (Everyone who knows me is nodding their heads). It was about 3, and we pretty much only went to Costco - where we will make a couple of purchases after they send Christmas stock to The Last Chance Trading Company, and Future Shop, and Memory Express. I wouldn't doubt Future Shop was just as busy as it was at 7 this morning.

In the end we came home with a bundle of 100 CD-R's for $16.99 from Memory Express and a DVD movie rental from the Alberta Corner Store down the street.

Entertainment: Eau Claire Cinemas

The closest theatre to Art's Place Guest House is Eau Claire Cinemas, a Cineplex Odeon theatre.

Eau Claire cinema is in the heart of downtown Calgary which close enough to walk if you have a bit of time, and enjoy that kind of thing. (and if the weather is nice, but that goes without saying). Plus there is much more to see at Eau Claire with Prince's Island and its festivals, the ducks and forever hungry trout to feed, and the trendy little mall that always seems to have manager tenant issues. It could be so much better, but still, there are some really neat shops there.

Eau Claire Cinemas has recently taken over the IMAX theatre which is more or less next door to the theature in Eau Claire Shopping Mall. Access to the IMAX was previously from the main floor of the mall when it was independant, but since they are no longer operating and the cinema took over the space, access is from the upstairs near the entrance to the other theatres. It is a bit awkward, because if you want popcorn and snacks, you have to enter the theatres, then leave that space and enter the public mall area, in order to access the IMAX. The neat thing about it is being able to see IMAX films for the same rate as any other movie, not 3$ more like Chinook theatre charges for the IMAX films there. I imagine they will be renovating to so that the access is from behind the box office where you enter all of the other theatres. They need extra staff to handle the current set up.

We saw The Incredibles recently at Eau Claire and were pleasantly surprised that it was in the IMAX (now called theatre 6, I think). The only problem was the temperatre required me to keep my coat on during the entire show.

The other night we saw Spanglish, with Adam Sandler. I'm not generally a fan of his work, but I did enjoy this very cute movie. My favorite character was played by Cloris Leachman, who sobered up while everyone was entagled in their issues, and no one noticed.

And tonight we saw "Meet the Fockers". I'm not much of a Ben Stiller fan, but I do like Barbara Streisand and Dustin Hoffman. We go to these things and we laugh, and hope that there aren't really people out there like that.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Dining: Samosa Grill

Our recent "Chrstmas Dinner" with Single Volunteers at the Samosa Grill was excellent. There was about 40 of us in attendance, and our arrangement of the buffet for the evening was a treat to other walk-in patrons. I had never eaten at Samosa before, but it had been recommended several times, and we had spoken with them about having the Single Volunteers do a buffet there previously.

Some of the folks who joined us had been at Samosa before and came out because they knew the food was wonderful (they also came for the great company of the Single Volunteers group!) Of those who who were eating there for the first time, they enjoyed themselves and said they would definately be back.

There were Christmas cards and Ferrero Rocher's for everyone from Single Volunteers. About half of those attending went to a movie afterwards (Ocean's Twelve) at Sunridge Spectrum Theatres.