I hate to say it, but summer is pretty much over. Yes, if the back to school/back to work/I hate my job mentality has set in for you, just know that you’re not alone. That being said, we do have one final long weekend to hold summer close before we let it go for another year.
Starting west and working our way across Western Canada, here are some interesting spots to pop by for a meal if you’re on a little road trip over the long weekend.
Hudson’s on First @HudsonsOnFirst – Duncan, BC
Most people know Duncan for either being halfway between Nanaimo and Victoria, or for having the ‘world’s largest ice hockey stick’, but I know it for Hudson’s on First. This establishment, owned by Top Chef Canada season 3 alumnus Dan Hudson, was built into a charming heritage home. Here, the chef uses his culinary training from working with Michelin-starred chefs in the UK, to make sexy-looking plates that could give any big-time mainland chef (lookin’ at you Vancouver) a run for their money.
Salted Brick @saltedbrick – Kelowna, BC
It’s the last weekend to visit interior British Columbia before school and work grab hold of us again, so consider yourself lucky if you’re headed to this little city. While the Kelowna area has no shortage of wineries to keep a person refreshed, the downtown core isn’t exactly bursting with refined cuisine. Upon first glance, this charcuterie-shop-meets-restaurant may not look like much, but the cured meats (that are made in house) are phenomenal, and the lunch and dinner offerings are top notch, with low price tags to boot. You should definitely try this place out.
Rick’s Fine Meats – Cranbrook, BC
Alright, so this isn’t technically a restaurant, but every time I find myself in Cranbrook, I have to stop at this butcher shop just off the main highway. The house-made pepperoni sticks and sausage rolls are perfect for a snack while driving. If you have some sort of cooler tagging along with you, I’d suggest grabbing some sliced mortadella or cured pork jowl to toss into some sandwiches once you reach your destination. Needless to say, this little gem is not for vegetarians!
Roy’s Place – Claresholm, AB
Chopped Canada runner-up Kieth Carlson offers up good, honest food for breakfast, lunch and dinner in this small town about an hour outside of Calgary. If you’re heading east on Highway 1 and the kids are getting a little fussy in the back seat, take a break from driving and grab a bite here. Kieth is quite active on Twitter, so if you’re willing, shoot him a tweet or two @roysplacerest, he would love it!
Three Ravens @TheBanffCentre – Banff, AB
So many people *cough* tourists *cough* get sucked in by the many kitschy, chain restaurants that line the streets of Banff. Thankfully, The Banff Centre houses Three Ravens, a spot where you can enjoy some gorgeous plates of food, while embracing an equally gorgeous view of the mountains. Admittedly, the price point is slightly on the higher end, so if you want to stay more economical, you can always just grab a drink and a small bite at the bar.
Tekarra @TekarraChef – Jasper, AB
Definitely an understated mountain town, Jasper may be slightly treacherous to drive to mid-winter, but come summer time, this is one of the most jaw-dropping, beautiful highways in the entire range of The Rockies. Tekarra is owned by Chef David Husereau who appeared on this past season of Chopped Canada. With a strong emphasis on local, Albertan ingredients, Husereau’s food is dubbed some of the best in the area. I guess we’ll have to channel our inner Chopped Canada judges (I’ll be Michael Smith!) and find out.
Hole in the Wall – Dundurn, Saskatchewan
If you’re living in Saskatchewan and there’s a long weekend coming up, chances are that you’re planning to head to the lake. If that’s on your agenda, or maybe you’re just traveling between Saskatoon and Regina, try making some room for dinner at this Saskatchewan institution. Described as Canadian contemporary with Latin-American influences, the menu offers anything from empanadas to roast quail, wild salmon and lots more. If the words ‘Latin-American’ and ‘Saskatchewan’ in the same paragraph make you weary, then you’ve never eaten at Las Palapas or E.E. Burritos in Saskatoon (and I suggest you try them)!
Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.