Friday night I went to a dinner party at my friend Jenny and Gary's. Gary made his homemade tacos, and they really gave me a new perspective on how delicious such a simple meal can be. He made the tortillas from scratch, as well as the guacamole, salsa, and refried beans (I LOVE REFRIED BEANS!). My mouth is watering just thinking of all the flavours that exploded in my mouth. These dinner party nights are going to hopefully become a regular occurrence in my life. There is a group of 8 of us in total that will rotate dinner party duties once a month. Andrea and I will be hosting in the new year sometime, and I am really looking forward to having everyone over to our place where we cook for them. I love to cook, and I don't often get to cook and share my love for food with other people. I'm quite excited to partake in this routine and learn new things as well as share some of my own secrets.
On Saturday, Jenny, Andrea and I went to Banff for the day. Andrea's aunt filled us in on some Christmas events that were happening in Banff on Saturday and invited us to meet them there. Mainly, we wanted to walk down the shopping street (Banff Ave.) and check out all the cute little shops and stores, take in the Christmas parade, then have a nice meal at a pub. And we accomplished all of those things. I picked up a few small Christmas presents for friends and family, as well as enjoy a holiday beverage while slush fell from the sky (I say slush because it wasn't snow, nor rain, nor freezing rain. Just slush). We watched the cute little Banff parade and almost froze our toes off in the process. Then we had a wonderful meal at a pub above the shops called "Elk and Oarsman." I had a lamb shank with a yummy honey barbecue sauce, butternut squash bread pudding and grilled vegetables. A nice beer to wash it down made for an almost perfect meal! Our table was right beside the fireplace, and the restaurant had this ski lodge feeling about it. The ambiance was comforting (minus the drunk middle aged man who spit on a woman at the bar and got kicked out...)
Here are some pictures of my day in Banff:
There was something about the snow covered mountains, bright Christmas lights, crisp and cold air, and quaint small streets of Banff that made us feel like we were in the Swiss Alps somewhere. I felt comforted, warm, and happy. I said to Jenny on our way home that night that as the days pass and I experience more of the west the more normal and comfortable it feels. I'm so excited to come home to the Maritimes for Christmas and to see all of my closest friends and loving family. But I know when it is time to come back to Calgary, I'll be okay. Because I'm making a new home, slowly but surely.