Cabin weekend

We went to the cabin and spent probably what has been the most fabulously relaxing time, in the forever, in the mountains .

We packed up SAM as soon as The Hubbs got home from work, did a couple of really quick chores around the house and then hit the road to Canmore by 530pm for the hour-long drive to the mountains. Given it was Friday afternoon, I was surprised the roads weren’t busier than they were. Generally there’s a mass exodus of the city happening by about 500pm on any given start to the weekend.

The weather for the weekend was absolutely phenomenal — Friday night, while it appeared to be on the brink of being cold and dreary with oncoming rain, ended up being just perfect for the drive up. In fact, no rain at all even though the skies seemed to threaten with moisture. It turned out more often than not that it was the sun’s rays peaking through the clouds, not oncoming rain. Saturday was absolutely gorgeous from moment we woke up, tons of sun straight through to the evening and Sunday started out just as sunny, but started to rain for about five minutes as we were on the highway headed home.

As to the activities for the weekend, the most important item on our agenda: Relaxation… and food, of course.

Friday night we did our usual for a weekend at the cabin — The Drake Pub. I know that our friends really like the place, as does The Hubbs. Atmosphere-wise, I do too, but menu-wise, I’m still always left feeling unsatisfied. As far as pub food goes, it’s pub food, but for some reason I can never find anything that grabs me & my tastebuds for a ride. I don’t know what it is and we’ve been going to this place for years.

If I remember correctly: I believe The Hubbs had the Drake burger with a caesar salad, D had the Drake burger with fries, K had the chicken(?) fajita and I had the extreme beef dip. Thing is, talking about dinner on our drive up to Canmore, I had said to The Hubbs that I was going to have a big ‘ol salad for dinner, but then upon being presented with their new menu, I saw the beef dip and remembered that I’d been craving one for a long time because The #Ranma! Boys keep talking about beef dips in channel. Once again, I was disappointed with my dinner choice by dinner’s end.

While I do enjoy a good ciabbata, it doesn’t quite fit the needs of a beef dip. The beef was tender enough, but the au jus was rather tasteless. Not even instant bouillon cube-salty, which made for a rather pointless dipping sauce. The size of the sandwich was respectable, but it just didn’t taste like anything to me :( Once again, I regretted my decision and should have just ordered the chicken Cobb salad. Oh well, there will always be next time.*sigh*

Dinner was capped off by a trip to the local grocery store to pick up desserts for later in the evening — German chocolate cake and Haagen Daz ice cream bars. To finish our evening, we spent it lounging around on the couches chatting in front of the cabin’s wood burning stove. I luvs me a good roaring fire. Lung disease, shmung disease, I’m going to enjoy it for all its worth. It felt especially nice having the fire roaring with all the windows and doors open to let out the excess heat and the cool evening breeze blow in the fresh mountain air.

Saturday morning everyone woke up rather late, around 1100am, after having stayed up til 100am talking about stuff and life and things. Breakfast was a bit of an oops on everyone’s part. We failed to realize that there wasn’t much at to eat while we were at the grocery store picking up sweets the night before so we ended up eating pancakes. Pancakes are never a bad thing, I just seem to draw very strange reactions to the way I eat some foods. Pancake topping options consisted of: (butter), strawberry jam and corn syrup. While I do like strawberry jam, I have difficulties eating sugar first thing in the morning unless it’s accompanied by something savoury. So I scrounged around in the fridge to see what else there was I could eat with my pancakes and ended up with… ranch dressing. It was actually pretty tasty, to be honest. When you slather the pancake in butter (okay, really, it was Imperial margarine) and then dip each piece of your pancake into ranch dressing, it’s not too shabby. Paired with a glass of almond breeze, it made for a pretty satisfying breakfast. My last two bites of pancake I had a little bit of strawberry jam and it made for the perfect mini dessert ending to a really filling breakfast.

I have to say, I need to change my opinion of instant pancakes… and I also need to find out what brand of pancake mix D & K have up at the cabin. Those instant pancakes are decent and I would actually say pretty darn tasty! They’re fluffy, moist and don’t suck every speck of moisture out of your mouth upon consumption. And from what I recall, the mix also makes decent waffles, too. I think, if I remember correctly, the mix came from Costco, so that shouldn’t be too hard to find. The Aunt Jemima stuff is just nasty. Blech.

With our extremely leisurely breakfast out of the way (about three hours) the boys decided to head out for a little hike. The amazing thing about the cabin is that it sits at the foot of a mountain. Literally. You walk out the door and the base of the mountain is right there in front of you. You don’t have to drive 20 minutes to the nearest parking lot. You open the door and just head straight up the path. The Hubbs & D took a whole bunch of gorgeous pictures for me since I’m unable to do any strenuous walking, let alone climbing around loose rock and shrubbery but I don’t have any of the pics on Tiny Bubbles. I’ll see if I can get The Hubbs to send me some and post them later.

When the boys finally got back from their two hour hike (all sweaty and gross-like), showers were in order and then we headed out for dinner again. A few weeks back D & I had a discussion about what we were going to be doing for food at the cabin. We had it all planned out a few weeks ago that I was going to be bringing up some marinated korean short ribs to make kalbi and we’d have him do the BBQ’ing of the meat, then we’d have awesome lettuce wraps with all sorts of yummy fillings for dindin. Unfortunately with my kidney infection fiasco, that plan fell through. I hadn’t been up to going grocery shopping at all last week to pick up the ingredients and so we’ve put that plan on the back burner for another time — perhaps when the boys do their boy-day-thing.

Generally speaking, we try to stay in and eat. Canmore, like Banff, is a touristy place and so eating out is not cheap. Pub food is usually affordable and satisfying, with little chance of disappointment. I’m obviously the exception to the rule. But once you get into actual “restaurant” eating territory, it’s mind-bogglingly expensive, so we tend to try and avoid it. If we do go out for the “restaurant experience”, there’s usually a few months warning and some advance financial planning involved, so to speak.

The original plan after the boys were done the hike was that we’d pop into town and hit up the grocery store again, but they were both so hungry that we chose, instead, to try a new restaurant. It would seem that Canmore has grown incredibly busy in the last few years and given that it was a gorgeous Saturday evening with full-on sun and it being peak dinner hour, the first stop we had made fell through. It was a bit of an awkward and annoying experience. Standing in line waiting for what we assumed was to be the next available table only to not be told by the hostess that unless we had a reservation, there was a twenty to forty five minute wait. We were only told there was no table by the guy that replaced her. She had been standing at the kiosk and didn’t say boo. So we left, having wasted fifteen minutes just standing around.

At that point, I made the decision to stop in at whatever looked interesting… a bit of a mistake on my part to have worded things that way. We ended up at Murrieta’s WestCoast Grill. I must say that I am constantly surprised at how expensive it can be to eat out… it’s just mind boggling some days.

To start with, The Hubbs & I shared the whole roasted garlic appetizer. Given how easy it is to make this at home, I’m amazed at how much money restaurants can charge for it. The whole bulb came on a plate with three petite slices of bread and two small chunks of gorgonzola and a sprig of rosemary stabbed into it for garnish. The proportions seemed rather strange to me, three slices of bread with two chunks of cheese? Bizzarre. D & K shared the tempura prawns with caramelized sake glaze and apricot miso reduction.

For mains, I had the 12oz. Ribeye which came with daily veg of roasted new potatoes, zucchini, carrot and baby bok choy. Because I couldn’t have any of their suggested sauces (all of them started out with a red wine reduction), I ordered it with a blue cheese crust. The biggest disappointment of my meal was that the steak was way overdone for my liking, my medium rare was not even remotely so, it was more like well done with the faintest hint of pink. The Hubbs ordered the Oriental Duck Breast with sesame honey sauce and confit duck spring rolls, which also came with the daily veg, but his potatoes were garlic mashed. He was absolutely amazed by the whole dish and loved every mouthful. D ordered the Lamb Meatball Spaghetti with roasted garlic tomato sauce and I believe K had the Fettuccini Bolognese.

Portions were quite generous, compared to what my expectations were when looking at menu prices. I might also add that they do an excellent virgin Caesar. Much better than a lot of places that comes with a pickled green bean(!) and a wedge of lemon or lime. Given I had two caesars that night, I had one of each and was pleased with both. I didn’t realize that I liked the citrus in my caesars.

Rolling ourselves back to the car, we made that important pitstop at the grocery store to pick up Sunday breakfast ingredients. We spent the early part of the evening enjoying the last of the sun’s warmth for the day with some quality deck time and then the rest of the evening was once again spent on the couch with the roaring fire and a good run of an old James Bond flick Live and Let Die.

Sunday mornings are awesome. Sunday mornings are especially awesome when there’s bacon and eggs and friends involved. Our Sunday morning was the bacon & egg extravaganza. It was kind of funny, we’ve now established that D & I are complete opposites when it comes to eggs & bacon. He likes his eggs completely cooked through with the yolks rock hard and his bacon shatteringly crisp upon impact, also called “petrified” by K. Whereas I like my eggs to have the whites set and the yolks slimy, with my bacon rather anaemic & squishy. The bacon part tends to disturb a lot of people. I should make mention that I do enjoy the perfect slice of bacon where it’s uniformly golden browned and texture is chewy with the odd bit here and there barely crisp. But for the most part, yea, I shamefully admit that I prefer my bacon anaemic and squidgey.

Speaking of bacon, while D & K were on holidays, they found me the most hilarious gift. This is the gift I was talking about last week about feeling loved. They brought back for me a tin of Uncle Oinker’s Savoury Bacon Mints. They are surprisingly tasty and super smokey, bacony flavoured with a hint of mint. Strange combination, but it’s actually a decent product given it’s bacon flavoured. In fact, I would say it’s even tastier than the famed Bacon Salt.

Before heading back home, we made a quick pitstop in town at O Canada Soapworks so I could replenish my stash of skin silks. They’ve come up with some new scents since I’d been there back in January, but I stuck with my oatmeal milk & honey bars and picked up for The Hubbs an aftershave bar to see if that makes his skin feel better.

The weekend was fantastic and it was so wonderful getting away to the fresh air and spending some much needed quality time with friends. It seems like we can’t get enough of it and we’re so incredibly lucky to have such generous friends to be able to do this with.

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