First stop: Brunch and beers at Blue Star Diner, a little gem of a diner in Bridgeland serving locally sourced fare. Cozy, intimate interior, with a large chalkboard menu, friendly servers, and surprisingly short wait to be seated. The huevos rancheros tostada were awesome, as were the Chili Stackers. I can't remember what Kris and Nic had, but they approved as well.
Next up: Made our way to Crossroads Market and sampled the delicious ciders, pies, hot sauce, and meat snack offerings of various vendors. Hotsauce lovers, there is a fantastic little kiosk called Some Like It Hot, where you will find literally everything you could hope for, from 'mild tangy sauces in line with Franks Red Hot flavours' to 'nice smoky flavoured sauces in all levels of heat' to 'burns going in and burns even more going out' type sauces. Check em out, just bring water. And while Crossroads doesn't quite have the modern layout and decor of the somewhat recently relocated Calgary Farmer's Market, it makes up for in character with it's eclectic mix of food and flea market offerings. While perusing a selection of junk/tiques, I snagged a roll of Fuji NPH 400 for $3!!)
Next destination: mid afternoon snack at Jelly Modern Doughnuts. The donut selection is gourmet, with much more unique varieties and offerings than a standard Tim Hortons or Robin's Donuts. Sadly, they were sold out of their Egg Salad Donut sandwiches for the day... so I had to settle for a Maple Bacon donut instead, which was a tad on the sweet side, but you can't go wrong with BACON.
Next: Onwards for a quick stroll down 17th Ave, before stopping in at National Beer Hall for a sampling of their 72 North American beers on tap - and not 6 versions each of Molson/ Labatts/ Bud either, but rather a handful of locally crafted brews, and interesting beers from all over Canada and the US. As a bonus, for the oyster lovers out there, National also has a decent selection of fresh raw oysters to get your libido primed. I can't find a website for this new-ish beer hall, so you'll just have to go and see it for yourself.
Final stop: Headed over to Craft Beer Market, to taste some of the over 100 beers on tap. The food is pretty good as long as you're not on a diet or are at risk of a heart attack (20 Napkin Burger: 2x 8oz beef patties, 1 4oz beef brisket, beer infused cheese, and a mini burger on top as garnish!!). And the atmosphere is nice, with tall ceilings, so the noise factor of a few hundred drinkers crowded around you doesn't become ear jarring like other beer halls (I'm looking at you, Wurst!). The lounge area (big, airy space) is built around a large central bar with ample seating, and standing room. The crowd seemed to skew to mid-twenties and up, and overall, I would give this place an enthusiastic thumbs up for it's mix of food and beverage offerings, coupled with knowledgeable and friendly service (especially given the number of people demanding on the spot taste profiles for the 100 plus brews). Be prepared for a long wait to get into the dining area though (we opted to eat and drink our 4 hours away in the lounge instead)...
And with that, you should have enough fooding and drinking activities to cover you for an entire day. Bon appetit/ Cheers!
Kris and Nic at the Blue Star Diner
Jelly Modern Doughnuts - Flavours: Maple Bacon, Smore, and Lemon Curd.
Delicious beef brisket, w/ Mac and Cheese from Craft Beer Hall.