Our Journey Into The Canadian Rockiest

This portion of our Canadian journey started in Jasper and ended in Vancouver Canada. Our means of transportation for the most part was bus tours and the Rocky Mountaineer Train. We started in Jasper with a 8.5 hour bus tour to Lake Louise.

Jaspar

This might seem like a long bus ride but we disembarked several times alongs the way and the day went by pretty quickly.

Leaving Jasper we headed to the Athabasca River to the Maligne Lake. A stop at Maligne Canyon offers staggering views of the river thundering through a series of magnificent waterfalls in a gorge 10,000 years in the making.

Sunwapta Valley & The Glacier Skywalk

This was probably the biggest challenge for Michelle as she is a bit leery of heights and this is by no means a place for anyone with Acrophobia. Once you get over the eery feeling of walking on air the views were fantastic down the valley. I was able to see some white rams in the distance with my binoculars. The winds really whips up there so we were glad to have made this trip during the summer months.

Then we were off to visit the glaciers. I included a little video which pretty much explained how we got there. Of course Michelle and I were not dressed so warmly as the folks in the video. We were the only ones in shorts, T-shirts and sandals. We stayed on long enough to get a picture taken and fill our canister with fresh water, then back on the warm bus. Note to self when visiting glacier… dress warmer.

img_0766.jpg

This is a video we actually took that day look how clear the water is.

Banff Gondola

This was a very disappointing part of the trip, due to the severe brush fires in Canada the smoke had polluted the air quality so badly the visibility was very poor. When we reached the topped of the mountains we could barely see a few feet ahead of us, Although disappointed it was hard to complain when so many Canadians had lost their homes and land in the fires.

Banff Hot Spring

Frankly we could have done without this part of the tour. Its a historical landmark as it was the first hot spring used in these part to draw folks to area. Interesting enough some strange spore-like creature have developed in the cave that give off this (and I can’t stress) odoriferous sulfa “Rotten egg” smell you have ever come across. Apparently this creature is unique to this cave and is on the species endangered list so the spa can no longer be used by humans for it curative effects. Frankly going in the cave to see this mucus like smelly creature was no treat either. The rest of the site is made into a 18th century railroad town with characters of the period. It was more geared toward families with children. We were glad to be on are way.

Northwest United States

Northwest United States

Seattle, Washington

We arrived in Seattle, WA via a ferry from Victoria Island, Vancouver, BC.  We enjoyed the Public Market, a food tour, the Pop Culture Museum, and of course our favorite the Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Public Market

Public Market, Seattle, Washington, USA

Food Tour

Food Tour Seattle, Washington, USA

Pop Culture Museum

Resistance is Futile
Engage
It’s not easy being green!
It’s time to play the music It’s time to light the lights It’s time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight It’s time to put on make up It’s time to dress up right It’s time to raise the curtain on the Muppet Show tonight

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Portland, Oregon

Elcipse – Our shots did not do it justice (click for FaceBook video).  

Segway Tour

Segway Tour, Portland, Oregon, USA
Segway Tour, Portland, Oregon, USA

Crescent City, California – Redwood Forrest

Redwood Forrest, Crescent City, CA, USA
Redwood Forrest, Crescent City, CA, USA
Redwood Forrest, Crescent City, CA, USA

Two Small French Restaurants You Have To Try In Montreal!!

Two Small French Restaurants You Have To Try In Montreal!!

Although we ate wonderful food in Montreal, two restaurants stood out among the pack.  They both had french flair to them. Both were unpredentenditous in appearance and atmosphere; wooden tables, unmatched chairs, with a small visible kitchen. No paper menus here, just a chalk board with a hand written menu with today’s tasty delights written in french, carefully scripted on the board. But from this point the two restaurants diverge. Both take you down a path of culinary delights, but how they get you there is quite different.

Le Renard et la Choeuette

Our first experience was at Le Renard et la Choeuette.  We would describe the menu that evening as comfort food you wish your french grandmother would have cooked for you. My sister and I decided on the Gratin de Chouflueur (cauliflower au gratin) and the Cassoulet de Carnard (duck).  You may wonder what can be so exciting about cauliflower and melted cheese? But this is not ordinarily dressed cauliflower, it comes to the table in a seasoned cast iron pan with lightly brown roasted cauliflower and the smell of the pungent melted cheese. The cheese either, goat or sheep, added a complementary flavor to the nuttiness of the roasted cauliflower. The hot cast iron pan kept the cheese melted and the flourettes hot while you dip them in the melted cheese .. oh so good!!    

Now for the cassoulet.  It arrived at the table in a large casserole dish bubbling hot with beans, duck pieces and sausages. It was supposed to be a dish for two but frankly we thought it could easily had feed three.  The duck was served three ways.  I love the fact that the duck breast was cooked separate and served medium rare, my only complaint was the skin could have been a bit crispier. The duck legs and meat were very tender and in combination with the beans.  Everything just melted in your mouth with a savory tomato goodness.  The very best part was the in-house made duck sausages, the delicate bundle of duck meat and flavoring just dissolved in your mouth leaving you wanting more. We were disappointed there was only one sausage in the cassoulet as we craved at least another.  As good as it was, we could not finish it, and frankly had no room for dessert.  As it happened, on my way to the ladies room, the owner of the establishment was sitting at the bar.  I mentioned how much I enjoyed the food.  He sent over a special created desert with wine to top off the meal.  As there is always room for dessert, we certainly enjoyed it.

L’affaire Est Ketchup our second culinary adventure was quite a different surprise.!!

 

 

The restaurant was a small storefront space with a few tables.  The menu was again written on a chalkboard in french with just a few choice items. But what a few items they where!! Culinary delights created in a open kitchen. To our amazement, on a tiny electric stove. We were lucky enough to taste some of the best sweetbreads we have ever tasted,  The down-side was there were not enough of them they were that good.  Then we shared the pork dish which can only be described as a gourmet’s delight. The tables are very close togethers and made rapid friends with the folks sitting next to us. We ended up tasting each others dishes giving us even more heavenly bites. Dee even got up a did a dance with our new friends and a fun evening was had by all. 

So we recommend L’affaire Est Ketchup for a real gourmet experience in an unpretentious environment. 

Maine: Family and exploring the coast 23 – 26 June

Maine: Family and exploring the coast 23 – 26 June

We spent the first two days visiting with our Aunt and Uncle.  From there we took the coastal route to  Portland.  We enjoyed taking in the sea air and we stopped at J’s Oyster House for a wonderful meal of oyster’s on the half shell, Bloody Mary’s, and Michelle had the best clam chowder evah.

After some window shopping, we continued on our coastal route to the destination of  Rockland, Maine. The drive along the coast was beautiful.  We arrived in Rockland mid-afternoon. We checked into the 250 Maine.  We had a wonderful room overlooking the water.  The hotel had a lovely roof top lounge area, and we enjoyed complimentary wine whilst enjoying the view and the warm breeze.

The main reason for going to Rockland was to have dinner at a boutique restaurant, Primo Restaurant.  The restaurant has it’s own farm and garden.  We shared:

  • Charcuterie… Warm Pork Rillions, Head Cheese, Lonza, Rillettes and Liverwurst with pickles, radish, crostini and house mustard …mustard jelly
  • Seared Day Boat Scallops…roasted cauliflower & romanesco,Tuscan Black Rice, garden padrones and ‘Nduja sauce
  • Special of the Day… Black cod with mussels