Smugs feels like a Hug.

O20160216_131536K I admit it…I LOVE Salad Bars…the idea of unlimited combinations on one plate drives me wild!  (Chinese Buffets used to…when I could digest it that is…aahhhh back in my twenties!) Smuggler’s Inn on McLeod offers the BEST salad bar in Calgary period!  The bread sticks…well they are no joke, but the…real…reason…we come to “Smugs” for lunch is the STEAK SOUP!!! Ya did I mention I like soup?

Well I do and this is the most beautiful, savory, rich, velvet like Beef20160216_134136 soup like no other…with AAA Prime Rib bits floating throughout the broth..made from the gods…it is simply amazing soup!  The bread sticks with a plate of salad is a meal fit for a king! Available every single day at lunch!

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Smuggler’s has always had the reputation for lunch, but their Prime Rib, is the Top Cut in Cowtown…to be sure!  They are the masters at it!  Smuggler’s dark, woodsy wall paneling, fire light and the legendary Henry the 8th, velvet upholstered, nail head, 100 lb throne chairs…make you feel like a king or queen when you sink in the super comfy seat…it just makes the Beef taste that much Beefier.  Love Smugs…great lunch and Sunday night Prime Rib treat!

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Crown, is a Jewel in Calgary’s Inglewood

 

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Crown Surplus https://www.armysurplus.com/ is probably the only part store, part museum in Calgary…never mind Canada.  Since 1955 this store, (still operated by the same family), have collected and cultivated this amazing Calgary landmark.  They sell Army Surplus, but mostly they sell really, really  nice men’s outdoor apparel, (and some ladies too).  My husband, brother and father all LOVE everything in this store.  The memorabilia is mind blowing  from a Nazi recruitment poster to anti-aircraft artillery guns in the yard and a half track.

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A fully equipped Army issued Jeep inside the store, a triumph motorcycle and part of an airplane adorn the space…countless photos, artifacts, uniforms, medals and everything Military is here.

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The camping equipment is unbelievable! Backpacks, sleeping bags, canteens and every thing that is cool outdoor gear is available and reasonably priced.  This is the real deal.  Made to last.  These products fit not only a military mind, but an outdoorsman mind. This is where the ultimate Camping, Hiking, Skiing, Fishing accessories are found.

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I LOVE it here and there is not one thing I can wear or use, but some how…I still love it all.  Thankfully I have lots of men in my family to shop for and I always find something for them here.  You have to check out this great store…buy your guy something…support this great family, so they can keep the collection growing!

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Party at the Pig

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ENVY is a GREAT local band, with music from the 70’s straight through to current tunes…Great time!

The Pig & Whistle Pub has been a NW Calgary landmark for a long time…22 years in fact.  For Calgary…that is impressive!  To survive in the non-descript, Beddington Towne Strip Mall in NW Calgary is even more impressive. Through the years it has been given a “rep” to say the least. Pretty wild nights at the Pig with large crowds drinking heavily…I myself can attest to some dysfunctional, drinking behavior there when I was in my 20’s…err…maybe 30 something…once or twice as well.  Now that I am a more subdued, selective and a mellow drinker, (who can no longer waste a weekend over a hangover!),  it is clear the Pig has evolved with me.

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Krank’s continues to Krank out top rock of the 70’s and 80’s…fun show for dancing!

The crowd is a little older than it used to be, and a whole lot kinder. There still is a mix from 20’s to 60’s, so still a colourful crowd, but finally a place where I do not feel like a fight is about to break out or that I am geriatric!

The best part about The Pig, (other than being 5 mins from my door), is that they have LIVE music and frankly that is all I even care about these days…oh and a wine list does not hurt either!  LOL!  The Pig delivers! Fortunately my super cool, amazing, guitar playing and guitar building husband is plugged in to the music scene, so he knows who is great and not so great in town for our taste.

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Junk takes a break to have a shot with a Birthday Boy…these guys are all so talented and FUN! We love Junk!

The Pig delivers great local music and a dance floor. Excellent staff in this place, always has been…and great seating arrangement so just about every seat can see the stage area.  The menu is decent pub fare and pizzas…all made in house by Tony.  Lots to choose from with specials throughout the week.  If you want to dance, listen to great local talent and have some drinks in the NW, the Pig and Whistle Pub is for you.

Suckerpunch knocks it out at the Pig & Whistle!
Suckerpunch knocks it out at the Pig & Whistle!

Calgary’s King of Breakfast…yes I mean the Won Ton King!

20160207_123747You would never know by the bland stucco, block building on Edmonton Trail, (least of all advertised as another location of King’s Won Ton soup), that this was an AMAZING breakfast place!  http://www.kingsrestaurant.net/I remember 30 years ago lining up in the original Barlow location for the amazing soup!…the soup…had to have the soup…elixir of the gods!  This is what real soup tastes like?  Soup like no other…soup I would gage against Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi anyday…and I really, really, like soup!   Standing in line was always amazing to watch the awesome machine, producing, bowl, after bowl, after bowl of perfect soup…perfect…every single time…and deciding if I could actually eat some pork dumplings too…cause oh my…just perfect dumplings…all while someone’s elderly father sat in the corner, quickly and expertly made Won Tons.  I know they were being sold all most as quickly as he could produce them…delicious and delicate every time…people in line paying for their orders ahead, would leave with 20 orders in a moving box, to deliver DT in an office tower some where.  Where an excited group waited for the ultimate lunch treat.  The King’s machine did not stop for hours and hours…just a real great joint, (as my pop would say…hee hee), sure the old truck stop ambiance of the original Barlow Trail location offers it’s own individual charm…but no one goes for the ambiance, the cheap finishes do the job, and besides no one looks up from their bowl to notice anyway! Lol!  The New’ish, (May 2015), Edmonton Trail location shows how much they have learned over the years!  What an amazing transformation at this location.  So lovely inside, perfectly designed and finished…love to know who did the interior design work… It has the same delicious food, now with an incredible breakfast menu. Not eggs and bacon, no…Spolumbo’s sausage with Whole Weat, Banana Pancakes…ya pretty amazing.  My hubby had a meaty, egg scramble and I wanted it too…even though I left some of my own food behind…

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Spolumbo Sausage with Whole Wheat Pancakes and eggs over easy…Mango Smoothie…Meaty Breakfast Scramble on Hash Browns.

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Barlow Trail offers breakfast and “Western Dishes” as well….but not like this.  King’s on Edmonton trail offers something new…an amazing breakfast served 9-3!  Same smiles and efficiency like at all the King’s but this has a hip industrial interior, nothing like any other of it’s locations.  Everything inside is modern, chique, new & cool…back lit booths, with great finishes and hip vibe without the pretense…or most of all the price!  Twelve bucks buys you an amazing breakfast with a smoothie!  Hard to beat this value!  The food speaks for itself…it actually tastes better than it looks!!!! I Love King’s!  A new breakfast for lunch hangout for me and my hubby!

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It would be absolutely irresponsible of me…not to pay respect to the soup created by King’s the masters of the Wor Won Ton bowl…time and time again…perfect every single time.  It is a right of passage in Calgary culinary delights!

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Calgary Parks Winter Wonderland

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My husband and I enjoying a walk in Nose hill with our “boys” Rocky & Julio.

 

Calgary can be freakin’ cold in the winter, but can also almost equally be unseasonally warm due to the Chinooks. For this reason, Calgarians come out to play…wayyyy more than you think, well I know this cause I see them walking the same summer parks…dressed for it and enjoying every step. I cannot explain how the light changes in Calgary in the winter…way less light for sure, but it is rich and golden…the atmosphere is thick with a glow. The sunrises and sunsets in the winter are so dramatic with rich, deep colours. The mountains being white in the distance and crystal clear in the cool air. Driving westward with glances of Mountain Peaks seemingly just a minute away…never gets old for me…never. I always remember how lucky I am to live right beside the glorious Canadian Rockies.

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My bro and I enjoying a break at Barrier Lake off the #40 after a great day skiing at Nakiska.

The highways through Calgary’s Mountain Parks are amazing! The highway through Kananaskis #40 from Morley to Longview in the south connecting to the famous, historic “Cowboy Trail” The mountain vistas are stunning and the mountains hug the highway, never mind driving alongside the Kananaskis Country Mountain Valley known as the “Grizzly Bear Highway” it is so lush with tress and waterfalls, tons of streams and rivers.  Followed by low sandy gulfs, rocky outcrops and foothills as you exit south. 3 hours of pure heaven…45 minutes from Calgary!

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Jasper Highway from Lake Louise a four hour spiritual wonder of mountain beauty like no where…no where…else…on…this… planet.

 

 

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Basically the mountains play a role in Calgary more so in winter than summer cause you can see the mountains more clearly. Heat of the summer sun in Calgary will almost always create a steamy effect and it shrouds a clear, sharp view of the mountains in the warmer months here. On a cool, brisk, blue bird winter day…the mountains just pop!  Glowing white, silvery peaks against the deep azure blue skies…and we get lots of those days during Calgary winters, lots of warm sunny days.   I will say to my daughter over and over…”Look Kate! The mountains seem like you can touch them!…to which she sighs…”yes mom…I see…”

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Anyway back to Calgary in the winter. Lots to do, especially winter sports like skating and skiing. COP is an amazing place to learn how to ski or take the kiddies to get their feet wet. Usually a never before skier can take only a weekend in lessons and have the skills to go ski green trails in the mountain resorts. Skating is everywhere!!! Park trails are cleaned and removed of snow and the parks are a lot less busy to enjoy the sights and sounds.

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Get your skates sharpened, skis waxed and get a great snow suit cause you are going to need it!

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