Sunday, July 26, 2009

Johnston Canyon Resort Dining Room

Johnston Canyon Resort
Located approx 10 to 20 kilometers west of Banff
Highway 1A on the Bow Vally Parkway.

Johnston Canyon Resort is beautifully situated at the basin of the Johnston Canyon's lower falls on the banks of the Johnston Creek. The resort, set amongst tall valley pines, boasts 42 unique cabins most with awe inspiring views of the majestic Rocky Mountains . The air and water are clean and are great for clearing the senses and rejuvenating ones palate. This of course leads to one of my favorite subjects, food.

The resort has two places to eat next door to each other.
One is a cafe/road grill type of restaurant where you can order a good simple meal. The decor is reminiscent of the 50s soda shoppes with a counter and stools backed with booths for larger parties.
The other is the main dining room done in rustic mountain decor with lots of wood and knick knacks to reflect a mountain tourist trap. The menu follows suit with the usual Salmon/Trout/Beef fare but holds a few surprises that betray the fact that there is a skilled and creative chef at the helm of this kitchen.

The New York Strip - $29.00
The Menu described it as,
Aged AAA Alberta Beef grilled to perfection finished with caramelized shallot butter.
I ordered the steak medium rare. It came with small half cut potatoes and a helping of lightly steamed vegetables.

My impressions:
I'm of the opinion that for a meat eater there are two ways to tell if a chef knows his business.
1. The house burger.
2. The New York Strip.
If the chef gets either of those right, you're in a good restaurant.
In this case I was in an outstanding restaurant. To this point in my life I don't recall ever having a New York Strip as tender, juicy and tasty as that steak. The steamed vegetables still had some crunch to them and the small halved potatoes were served with skin on and not over cooked.
In my notes I wrote a one word summation.

The Rocky Mountain Sizzling Trout Platter. $26.00
Menu says,
Served on a sofrito of bell peppers, garlic and red onions topped with a basil pesto.
(Sofrito is a Spanish word derived from the Italian soffritto which means to saute. The ingredients being sauteed and how they are prepared varies from country to country.)
This dish also came with a side dish of lightly steamed vegetables.

Mrs. B's impressions:
She said "elegant and tasty." it was served sizzling on a cast iron plate. She enjoyed the meal thoroughly.

BEVERAGES: A Corona each.

Deserts at the resort are shipped in with the exception of the Sticky Toffee Pudding.

I had the Sticky Toffee Pudding with caramel sauce. $7.95
Recommended by our server Emily. I'm a sucker for any desert with toffee, caramel or butterscotch so I was an easy sale on this one.
This was a true English pudding, not a Bill Cosby pudding. A heavy cake type toffee pudding served in a puddle of warm caramel sauce. OMG!!, it was to die for.
Ahem, I mean it was very good and I liked it...a lot.

Mrs. B had a cold slice of Apple Strawberry Rhubarb pie. $5.95

The total of the bill was $91.63 with the GST but not including tip.
There are a lot of factors that go into determining whether you get value for your money in the food industry. In this case the remote location is an added factor. The nearest grocery supply would be Banff and then probably Calgary.
The food was very good but perhaps a bit pricey.
Regardless if you get anywhere near Banff, I highly recommend the steak. It was awesome and you won't be sorry you took the detour.

The service has been first rate every time we've been to Johnston Canyon Resort.
No exception this time, our server Emily, was friendly and engaging and knew the menu well.
We hope to see her again on our return stop.

You can find the Johnston Canyon Resort website here.
One note, the menu posted on-line is not the menu currently in use.

I welcome your comments.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Culina Mill Creek, Edmonton - Breakfast

Culina Mill Creek
9914-89 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB T6E 2S7
(780) 437-5588

On weekends or Holidays breakfast is something that I would normally cook for myself and Mrs. B.
Or I head out with my pal Terry and hit the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market and then "do" a breakfast at a nearby eatery. I'll be detailing some of those breakfasts and eateries here in the future

For Canada Day July 01/2009 I thought I'd do something slightly romantic and make breakfast reservations at Culina Mill Creek one of Edmonton's better restaurants for Mrs. B and myself.
For info on Culina and their locations, menus and hours please visit their website here.

"Our Famous Bacon & Eggs". Cost $15.00
On the menu it is described as:
Slow Braised Bacon - (was not Bacon as I know it but rather pork meat)
Mushroom Fritlata - ( a mushroom sauce on a quiche like wedge of egg)
Potato Hash - (mmmmm)
Rye Toast
A dollop of spicy ketchup.

My impressions:
I like the "fusion" cuisine at Culina this was my third visit to the Mill Creek location and I'm happy to say the food has been special every time.
This time was no exception.
The pork was very tasty without being overly salty the way bacon can be.
The mushroom sauce on the eggs made for an excellent combination.
The potatoes (which are a specialty of Culina) with small amount of the spicy ketchup made for a party in my mouth.
The Rye Toast although of good quality was by comparison the low point in the meal, but then it's just buttered toast.

"Tofu Scramble" Cost $12.00
On the menu it is described as:
Pan Fried Tofo
and Mushrooms.

Mrs. B's impressions:
She said something about it being her second favorite breakfast after a breakfast dish of another restaurant in the area who will remain nameless at this point. So that being said my impression is that she liked it which is all that is required.

After our main courses we shared what looked like a wedge of blueberry cheese cake which seemed like it was a day old.

For beverages I had black coffee (it was nothing special).
Mrs. B had some lattes (which she enjoyed very much).
When all was said and done the bill came to around the 50 dollar plus range including tip. Which is a tad pricey for breakfast but Culina is a special bistro and I was looking for a place that would make it a special time.
Mission accomplished.

Hey Mikey... he liked it.
I won't do star ratings. I'll just say it was good and I recommend Culina. Their dinner entres are also quite awesome.

For a list of and information on fine restaurants in and beyond the Edmonton area check out

Please leave your comments,