The suggestion came from one of our wing nights at the Drake, where we decided to have lunch to celebrate Iola moving up in her career. Max, who was also my guide on the awesome Canmore Cave Tours Adventure Tour, had the day off. So he joined us.
I’ve only been back in Canmore a few months, but this happy couple has been rooted here for quite some time. I find that when you dine with locals, they tend to know a lot of people. Iola knew our server and she knew two other folks on staff that day – her brother Christian works in the kitchen. It gave the whole occasion a kind of VIP feeling.
If you’ve heard anything about dining in Canmore, you’ve probably heard about Crazyweed. This place has quite the reputation for amazing food. I recall their humble beginnings when they had a tiny space on Main Street. Their food was notable even then. It’s been perched on its hill by the railroad tracks for ages now, but they’re still producing awesome food.
I arrived a bit late, and my friends had taken a spot in the main dining area, which is soaked in natural light. Glancing around I recalled another aspect of Crazyweed’s reputation: its massive wine list. It’s so big that it manifests itself in the décor with every nook and cranny storing some kind of bottle.
Our lunch proceeded with pleasantries, gossip, work talk and jokes. I ordered a coffee as per usual. They serve Café Ottolina, which I adore, and this cup was no exception. It was delicate and nicely balanced with a touch of earthiness.
Iola strongly recommended we get the Pickle Brine Fried Chicken to start. Her reason? “It’s the only thing I order as an appetizer.” With that rationale, we really had no choice.
I can see why though. These little nuggets of gold are something else. They had a great crunch provided by the coriander seed breading. The dill was nice and prominent. I swear every time I had another piece, new flavours kept presenting themselves. I tasted salty, tangy, sweet and a kiss of spice. Absolutely magnificent. Iola’s brother Christian is the mind behind this winning appetizer.
Next, we had our entrees. Iola got the Buddha Bowl, a healthy blend of vegetables, pulses and tofu. Max got the Malaysian Hawker Noodles. I decided the responsible thing to do was double down on fried chicken, so I had the Buttermilk Chicken Burger.
This is quite possibly the most well-constructed chicken burger I’ve had in the valley. The bun, locally provided, was soft but sturdy enough to hold everything together. Crunchy breading lovingly coated the chicken, keeping it juicy and flavourful. The pickled jalapeños and red cabbage slaw provided moisture and a great sweet/sour background. I loved the lime aioli, which complemented the sandwich beautifully. The chips were also a light alternative that kept the dish from being too heavy.
I asked each of my friends how their meals tasted. Iola, the foodie of the pair said her’s was, “Fresh with proper crispy tofu. Really well balanced.” Max, not one to swan over complexities of flavours, responded, “If I could have this oyster sauce poured in my mouth every day, I would.” Solid recommendations all around.
We thought about trying their new desert, which was tempting. Usually I’m too full, but time was beginning to get away from me and I had to get back to the office. Hugs were shared, vows to get together in the future were made. I left feeling wonderful. I’m very lucky to have a job that lets me taste great food in the valley and I feel doubly lucky that I got to enjoy it with my friends.