The Grizzly House – Banff, Alberta

Something new, a review.  Lori and I were in Banff, Alberta over Christmas.  We went for dinner at a place we have frequented in the past, “The Grizzly House”, situated at 207 Banff Ave in the beautiful mountain resort town of Banff.

photo(4)We have been here a few times in the past, mostly based on our first time there, which was a very entertaining evening.  A rowdy crowd, with a local phone system that allows you to call the other tables.  Booze, phones and a rowdy atmosphere = great fun.

This time, we were a bit disappointed.  Still, a very fun place, just that we noticed some things we had never really paid attention to before.  First, the decor.  The place needs a makeover.  Very old-looking and approaching run down??


The tables, chairs and decorating are very same old.  A first time diner might like it, but we are past that.  Another view.


Very dark, and not just the lighting.

The food is still passable and the wine list is good.  The menu is basically fondue.  They drop a granite slab on your table, heated to 600 degrees and you cook your meal.  Again, fun.  The issue to us on this particular evening was the aura created by tables and tables of years and years of people cooking like this, in an enclosed place.  Honestly, the place needs a major airing out.  It took a week for the smell to leave our jackets, and I’m only assuming it has, as perhaps we are just not smelling it anymore.



As a reviewer, I must close with the review.  The food, 3 of 5 stars.  Nothing spectacular and kind of pricey.  We enjoyed it, just wasn’t top-notch.  The wine list was pretty good, and reasonably priced.  The setting, maybe 2 of 5.  Renovations and renewal could revitalize the operation.  The atmosphere, I would still rate as 4 of 5.  It is still a fun place to go, especially with a group.  If you are dining as a couple, I highly suggest going elsewhere.


Janice and Kirk Come To Calgary

My sister Janice and her husband Kirk (they just retired so I’m kind of pissed at them) popped out for a quick visit with us over the Canada Day long weekend.  We did a bit of sightseeing with them before they headed off south into Montana.  I have decided to name this the Great Calgary Wildlife Tour.


We did an afternoon in downtown Calgary.  You can get a nice drink and a stupendous view of Calgary’s downtown wildlife from this perch on Stephen Avenue.  A great place for people watching.

We did a run out to Banff and Lake Louise.  On the way we saw a moose, but could not stop to take a picture.

Bow Valley Parkway Bear

As we pulled out of Lake Louise and onto the Bow Valley Parkway, I spotted something in the ditch, a flipping bear.  I pulled over to the shoulder to try to get a picture.  Please note the car to the right.  This is a panic-stricken idiot of a tourist who decided to stop in the middle of the freaking highway.  Also note the oncoming car moving at 60 miles per hour.  Also note that the fool was blocking our view and could only shoot out the rear window.

Bow Valley Trail Sheep

As we continued on, we came up on a line up of traffic.  It was like the drive through at Tim Horton’s on a weekday morning.  As we inched our way along, I soon saw what the hold up was.  A Bighorn Sheep on the side of the road.  Once we got up to it, I literally stuck my phone out the window and took a picture.  The pavement edge is in the bottom right corner.

Bow Valley Parkway Elk

Our next stop up the road was at a spot where about 30 vehicles were pulled over.  We looked, couldn’t see anything and then noticed the elk, way back in the forest.  Kirk hopped out and headed for them.  He got the shot from afar.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that they wander the streets in parts of Banff.

To sum up the day, we got pictures of 2 elk, 1 bear, 1 bighorn sheep and 3 beer drinkers.  We didn’t get shots of 1 moose, a bald eagle and many gophers.  A pretty good day.

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Wandering Wednesday – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, USA

Question Of The Day

Why don’t you ever see the headline “Psychic Wins Lottery”?

Our follow the sun tour started out in Banff, Alberta.  We stayed at the Banff International Hotel.  Do Not Stay Here.  Run down and noisy.  After much discussion, we decided our first stop would be Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  We booked a room on-line at the Coeur d’Alene Resort and took off.  We headed south and hit the USA border early in the afternoon.  It really has a border look here, something I never noticed crossing over on the prairies.  There is actually a line carved into the terrain.  Check out the picture.  That line is cleared bush up the side of a mountain.

Leaving the border (yes, they let us in), we made our way towards our destination.  The highway was great, with lots of scenery, and, it was glorious day, sun shining and warm.  Exactly what we were looking for.  As we continued south, we realized we must be close to our destination.  Lori went crazy all of a sudden as Kohl’s came into view.  My worst nightmare, a shopping trip.  I managed to feint left and duck right and got away.  We arrived at our hotel, The Coeur d’Alene Resort.  Very impressive.  We checked in and at the same time booked an extra night.  It seemed like a great place to spend a few days and there was lots to do.  We headed up to our room and discovered a great view.  Nothing adds to a stay somewhere than looking out your room’s window and seeing something spectacular.

What a view

After settling in, we headed out for a bite to eat.  We decided to try out a place called Tito Macaroni’s, an Italian place on the main street downtown.  Bad choice.  The food started out okay, but as you dug deeper it became very greasy.  Tip to the restaurant, cut back on the oil.  The best part was Pinot Noir that we tried.  Very good.

Nice Pinot

From Tito’s, (we needed to leave) we headed for a place I had spied that advertised live music.  Right up our alley as it was called “The Wine Cellar“, meaning it covered off two ticks right away. music and wine.  We headed in.  We were immediately seated and we were served by a terrific young woman named Cammie.  We were discussing our upcoming trip to Portugal and she noted that her background was half Portuguese.  we ordered some Port (we are in training) and settled in to listen to the band.  It was a great evening.  I only wish I had recorded more but, we were busy socializing in a very friendly establishment.  The performer was Max Daniels and his band.  Loads of fun.  Here is a sample.

At The Wine Cellar

The evening ended and we headed back to our room, looking forward to exploring the countryside.


And We’re Off….Somewhere

Aurora at Banff, Canada.
Aurora at Banff, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have a week off work and no idea what to do.  We were thinking south, BUT, as we have no kids, didn’t even think of spring break.  Sooo that’s out.  Sitting here feeling trapped, a decision has been made.  A night in Banff tonight, with a great supper and some honest discussion on what we do next.  The options are drive south from Banff to Idaho and Eastern Washington, maybe even Utah and a bit of Wyoming, OR, keep going west to Victoria, south to Seattle and Portland, then across to Montana and north home, OR go north from Banff through the Columbia Ice-fields and on to Jasper.  I am thinking straight south as the north is to wintery, the west is to far (lots of driving) and the south keeps us in control of the time space continuum.  Should be fun, we got tonight booked so far.

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