Chorney-Booth: Five new ways to have fun with food in the mountains this summer

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As skiers pack up their gear for the summer, Banff, Canmore and Lake Louise have moved into the busy summer season, with expanded opportunities to eat and drink under sunny skies and surrounding mountain peaks. Mountain communities have continuously been upping the ante when it comes to dining options — not just effectively competing with restaurants in the city, but often overshadowing chefs in downtown Calgary. In short, it’s a good time to be eating and drinking in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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Here are a few new things to sink your teeth into in the mountains this summer:

Post
The Post Hotel in Lake Louise has a new partnership with the Weiss Ranch near Medicine Hat fo wagyu beef. They showcase the meat in a special tasting menu. cal

The Post Hotel’s partnership with Weiss Ranch
Visitors to the Rockies have long sought out Alberta beef, but going hyper-local and ranch-specific has become the new standard for serious beef eaters. Earlier this spring, The Post Hotel in Lake Louise purchased a full-blooded wagyu steer from Weiss Ranch near Medicine Hat, allowing its kitchen to craft a four-course tasting menu fully focused on wagyu.

Prized for its marbling and outrageously rich flavour, wagyu can be treated like any other type of beef and The Post’s executive sous chef Brian Harris used his skill and imagination to incorporate as much of the animal as possible on the menu. Harris calls the collaboration a chance for guests to experience “the best of both worlds” in getting to try the trendy breed through the lens of The Post’s fine dining sensibility. Not only did the kitchen come up with a unique espresso-rubbed steak, but it also created wagyu consommé with beef cheek-filled tortellini, wagyu tataki served over herbaceous shiso leaves, and a bourbon brownie tart with a wagyu fat crust and a dusting of wagyu bacon.

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The hotel launched the menu at the beginning of May (at $240 per person with the option of added wine pairings from the hotel’s award-winning wine cellar), with the meat from that first cow selling out in a little over a week. There are more animals on order from Weiss Ranch, with the special menu returning throughout the summer and beyond (check in advance for availability).

For an over-the-top day of foodie opulence, schedule a caviar facial in the hotel’s spa to complement the luxurious dinner. There’s no need to bring blinis to dab the delicacy off your face — the caviar comes in the form of a mask infused with green caviar essence.

Canmore
Basecamp Resorts has opened the casual Electric Wolf Cafe adjacent to its Lamphouse Hotel. cal

New cafe in Canmore
Basecamp Resorts, the young hotel chain slowly spreading across the Rockies opened its first restaurant, Rhythm and Howl in its MTN House Hotel in Canmore, last fall and is now expanding with a more casual eatery in Canmore. The newly opened Electric Wolf Café is adjacent to the Lamphouse Hotel on Canmore’s main drag. Spearheaded by Basecamp’s chef Jason Leizert, it serves artisanal coffee and tea, housemade baked goods, sandwiches, and frozen grab ’n’ go items. Craft cocktails and Canadian wines are on the way, and expected to be available later this summer.

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Banff
Tracy Littl with a bucket full of wild roses found on a chef’s foraging trip. Photo, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Calgary

New summer menu at Sauvage
Sauvage, one of the country’s most unique restaurants is launching its early summer tasting menu this weekend. Chef and owner Tracy Little has built a reputation for dreaming up whimsically delicious dishes that speak to the landscape of the mountains, often augmented with foraged ingredients.

As always, there is both a carnivorous menu (The Hunter) and a vegetarian option (The Gatherer) with dishes like skate wing with pine gel and sous vide young pine cones and a beet terrine with fermented lilac gel, respectively. In addition to the standard five-course menu, three-course options are available for those with lighter appetites and budgets. The new menus will be available for at least the next month before new seasonal ingredients are available, inevitably spurring another new menu change.

Banffchella coming to the Banff Springs
Banffchella, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel’s annual summer party is returning to the castle in the Rockies this summer, this time with a Parisian garden party theme. The event launches on June 14 on the Terrace of the hotel’s Vermillion Room restaurant, with lawn games, live music and art installations. Naturally, the Vermillion Room will also be open for festivalgoers to pop in for craft cocktails from its new 1920s-inspired drinks menu or a hearty lunch, all with a view of the action on the terrace. Banffchella runs select Thursdays through Saturdays throughout the summer from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Moxy
The new Moxy Hotel in Banff with its eclectic decor and lobby bar. Courtesy, Doublespace Photography cal

The Moxy opens in Banff
The Moxy, a newly opened hotel in the old (and completely renovated) Voyager Inn site on Banff Avenue is part of Marriott’s new concept of youthful and energetic hotels, which practically requires it to have a bustling bar in its main lobby, brimming with cool custom cocktails. Food-wise, there is not a sit-down restaurant per se, but guests will find a restored 1966 VW Kombi bus inside the lobby, which serves as a food truck. Visitors can fuel up with sandwiches, flatbreads, charcuterie, and other snacks before heading out to explore the rest of downtown Banff.

Elizabeth Chorney-Booth can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Instagram at @elizabooth or sign up for her newsletter at hungrycalgary.substack.com.

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