It's been a while since I've written, so settle in, it's a long one!
The Food Network is a large part of my life. Anyone who knows me can attest to that, and anyone who lives (or has lived with) me probably has been driven crazy by it. At any given time you can turn on one of our 3 TV's and the current channel will be tuned to FN. I was a big, big fan of Triple D (that's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives for you unaware folk), but after reruns and marathon days, I was a bit tired of Mr. Fieri. What a brilliant day when I saw Mr. John Catucci's face for our own Canadian version of Triple D called You Gotta Eat Here! The same principal applies, he travels the country going to some of our great restaurants and he gets to eat their specialities! One of the best things about this show is that John isn't a chef. He's not even a cook, he's just a guy who likes food, a lot. You feel like you can trust him, and you don't feel stupid listening to him because he doesn't talk about demi-glace and julienne knife cuts. He just tells you how good the food is, like you're out with a buddy.
I watch it frequently and always hope to see a restaurant I know, whether its in my hometown or my current town. So when I saw one near by that served my favourite food category - breakfast! - I was sold. We were up showered and in the car by 9 am on a Sunday (jesus, that was early!) and headed for Turner Valley.
The Chuckwagon Cafe is about a 20 minute drive south-west of Calgary and frankly, it's worth every minute. From watching YGEH we knew to expect a barn-type building and thought it would be huge. But we were so wrong, it's actually pretty tiny. The dining room has maybe 15 tables and there are 6 spots along the "bar". I use that term loosely because they don't serve booze. (Marginally unfortunate as I have been known to have a beer with my Sunday-morning-day-off-steak&eggs-breaky). Once you pull open the rickety screen door you leave your name with the host and go back outside to wait. If you're so inclined you can take your cup of coffee with you, or a newspaper. On any day of the week, expect a wait. (Our first time she quoted us 15 mins and it was about that, but the second time she quoted 15 and it was more like 30). Our server said business has been much, much busier since the show aired and we're willing to bet it spikes every time there is a re-run on TV.
When we get our table I eagerly pour over the menu looking for the "famous" Flatiron Steak Eggs Benedict.
This was one of the featured dishes on the show and I am so intrigued. I have to stop myself though. For two reasons: I don't like croissants and I don't like hollandaise. This falls into the category of I want to try it, but I don't want to order it because I might hate it and then I'll be hunty. (A very bad word that I may or may not explain later). But I was so excited to order the Ranchman's Breakfast: 3 eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, hashbrowns and toast. WOWZA! Everything I love in breakfast :) And it was awesome. I nearly licked the plate clean. I probably would have if she hadn't taken it away so quickly. I am sometimes picky about breakfast sausage so when I took my first bite Mike eagerly waited for me to give the go-ahead to take the rest of it off my plate. How devastated was he when I declared my love for it?! Get your own damn sausage!! Speaking of the devil, he has ordered the House Burger with a side of the Beef Barley soup. Both of his dishes were featured on the show so I am pumped to see his reaction. This burger is huge and sloppy and everything is home made. One bite and he is in love.
M: This might be the best burger I've ever had.
T: Wow, are you serious?!
M: And probably the best soup I've ever had.
Holy cow, that's a lot of compliments from a man of few words. His usual reaction is "it's pretty good" or "yeah it's OK". So to hear those comments made me so happy. I was glad our little Sunday morning adventure had paid off.
Four weeks later...
T: Hell yes!!
An hour later here we are again, patiently waiting for some very yummy food and screaming children are starting to ruin my day. I have to stay focused. Don't let the little brat win.
I promise next time we go I will order something new, but for today it's the Ranchman's Breakfast again. Mike was a brave soul though and ordered the Steak Benedict. He's a much better eater than I am, so I was happy he went for it. Only because I wanted a bite. And one bite I got. I really didn't like the flavour of the hollandaise, the steak was far too tough for me and the croissant was too soft, and mushy from the sauce. Sure am glad I didn't try that on my own. I wouldn't have eaten it and I would have ended up at the McD's drive-thru on the way home. Mike really enjoyed it, although not as much as his burger and soup the previous trip.
I'm glad that this place isn't in the city, because I would be there so often I'd get sick of it. So for now it is a once in awhile excursion for some of the best food we've had.
Don't even have to ask the question,
You bet your ass I'll come back :) Many, many times!