When I started this blog, the intention behind naming it Planes to Plates was:
Planes: My job in Aviation as an Aircraft Technician
Plates: My love for cooking and experimenting with food.
But as time has passed by, Planes to plates has started to develop a new meaning I guess.
Planes: My love for travel and my experiences during my travels
Plates: My love for cooking and experimenting with food AND… trying new cuisines and dishes from around the world.
Recently, in a blog, Adventurous Kate I happened to read that you need to choose a blog name that will grow with you. Planes to Plates is such a dynamic name and we (P2P team) couldn’t have picked a more perfect name for our blog.
So today’s post, as is probably very evident from the title itself, is a travel post; the memoirs of my recent vacation.
Since we explored quite a bit, I would have to split this into 3 posts; Canada, California and Arizona. I will list details of restaurants, places we visited, interesting things to do and basically anything that you may find useful to plan your holiday if you decide to visit the same places.
And of course, there’ll be lots of pictures. Don’t forget to check out my Instagram page @planestoplates; where I have put up pictures of some of the best moments from our trip.
So getting right into it then, this year’s vacation was an absolute blast. Spent quality time, away from work, with my husband; extremely engaging and a fun filled time with my bestie and her husband in Canada, road tripped around California and Arizona, basked in the beauty of nature, relished some local delicacies; basically just relaxed and had a great time. Isn’t that what a vacation is all about!
I’ll start off this Vacation series by talking about the first and probably my favorite of all the places; Calgary in Alberta, Canada. OH! My Goodness!, that place defines the word ‘beautiful’. The air, so fresh; the place, so serene and not forgetting the great weather which we were so fortunate to experience.
Anyway, I’ll just stick to the highlights of the trip because I don’t want to bore you’ll with minute details.
The highlights from the trip:
- Calgary Farmers market:- My first ever Farmers Market and I was so super stoked to be there. I had the cheapest, and probably amongst the best, Tiramisu ever here. Just 1 CAD, yes just ONE. And it’s a decent serving for one person. And they have free food samplers all over the place. I mean who doesn’t love free food samples. This one place served little cups of Thai green curry chicken soup. DELISH..!!! Oh how I wish to live in a place where you can have all that fresh produce.
2. Banff National Park: Now it was Meeth’s first time seeing snow and at one point he, not-so-discreetly, wished he could see snowfall and lo and behold, he did not just see snowfall but we were hit with a snowstorm. Normally people would hate that, well we loved it.
Fun Fact: The Revenant was shot here in Banff National Park.
Highlights at Banff:
- Tubing at Lake Louise Ski Resort.
2. Randomly jumping into areas of freshly fallen snow, nearly 3 feet deep
3. Stroll around, on, Lake Louise which of course was frozen. Beautiful nonetheless.
4. Hiking in Johnston Canyon and seeing the Frozen Falls
5. Monkeying around Lake Minnewanka (Below: Boat house at Lake Minnewanka)
6. This hearty and absolutely delicious Roasted Red Pepper Gouda Soup at Tim Hortons.
Accommodation: In Banff National Park, we stayed at Banff Inn. Really nice cozy place. We had a Premium Room with 2 Queen Beds, so basically the room fit four of us super comfortably.
Interesting Food Spot(s): Dinner was at The Bison, which is a mid-upscale restaurant, serving fantastic food using local meat and produce. I had a lot of ‘firsts’ here; my first time eating Elk, Venison and Bison. All of which were fantastic. (First picture: VENISON STRIPLOIN cocoa chili rub, potato croquette, beetroot, saskatoon berries and Below it: CARMEN CREEK BISON RIBEYE lyonnaise potatoes, garlic + thyme brown butter, sea salt, jus)
The Gnocchi Poutine (another first) was FANTASTIC. In the words of a reviewer on Yelp “The gnocchi is extremely pillowy and soft, the cheese is gloriously melted with gravy, and there is a good amount of elk in the dish, all of which comes in a mini cast iron skillet.” I couldn’t have described the dish any better. (Below: GNOCCHI POUTINE 24 hour braised elk, oka, curds, truffled gravy, fresh herbs)
All in all among four of us we had, 3 appetizers, 4 mains, 2 desserts and 2 bottles of wine and we paid just about AED 1200, ( around CAD 480 or $320). Like I mentioned before, it was a mid-upscale restaurant and if you compare that to restaurants in Dubai, it was a good deal. Very good deal I’d say.
- Some really really good dinners, most of which were cooked at home. Devina, my-curly-haired-childhood-Canada-based BESTIE made these really really amazing soups for dinner while we were there; also something that I have always wanted to try, Butternut Squash soup. She was definitely killing it in the soup department. That said; everything else she cooked was also fantastic.
And what are the odds; she made me Thai green curry soup and again.. DELISH..!!
- Konark aka KP aka Devina’s husband; who knows everything about.. almost everything. He’s the sweetest, not-so-little (he’s 6 feet tall) guy. No matter where we went, he always had really interesting facts to share and always kept us engaged with his very insightful thoughts. Thanks to him I have finally understood the whole concept of Mortgage and how it works and all the nitty gritty details of it. (Below: Konark and Me in front of Downtown Calgary)
He’s also the cutest while hiking, always reminding us to hydrate or have some juice so that the sugar would give us a burst of energy.
Looking to increase your water intake; sit with KP and his habit will probably rub off on you.
- Abraham Lake: An artificial lake on North Saskatchewan River in western Alberta.
And what is special about this place??
See the frozen bubbles in the ice in the picture above. The unique circles are frozen bubbles of flammable methane gas, coming from the depth – a result of bacteria decomposing organic material. Now how cool is that. Apparently if you pop a bubble and light a match over it, there could be an explosion.
I stumbled upon this place, while randomly looking up a Pinterest article about a week before I left on vacation. Talk about perfect timing.
I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my vacation. Calgary took my breath away inspite of being under a blanket of snow. I’m sure I’ll be treated to some ‘Summer Lovin’’ once the snow melts and the sun shines at its brightest! And I have seen several pictures on Instagram that have testified to its beauty.
Will I return..?? OF COURSE I will. Trust me, no amount of pictures can do justice to the beauty of this place. I highly recommend a visit to this place; especially if you love nature hikes and well just…God gifted nature in itself.
NOTE: You will notice that I have highlighted a lot of words in BOLD. Some of them are linked to external websites so that you can get additional information if you ever decide on planning a trip to any of the places mentioned above.