• McDonald’s, Monterey Park
    2500-2220 68 St NE (see map)
    Calgary AB  T1Y 6Y7
    Phone: 403 280 6388

    The Monterey Park McDonald’s is easy to find. It is on the corner of Highway 1 and 68 St NE, just before you leave Calgary.

    At lunch time, McDonald’s Monterey Park was busy, with five people in front of me waiting to order.

    The ordering went smoothly and the food was ready fast. The staff were very friendly and knew what they were doing.

    The ambiance looked a bit cheap because of the extremely plastic furniture. In one corner there are two game consoles that can keep the kids busy.

    Food-wise, I had few complaints. The fries were the best I’ve had at McDonald’s in a while. My Coke was way too sweet – maybe someone had a bit too much fun with the sugar.

    Last thoughts: The McDonald’s at Monterey Park delivers on what you can expect from a McDonald’s. You can eat on the run, or you can take your time and relax. The food was up to McDonald’s standards and the service was good. The washrooms were not too clean, but that may have been due to the lunch rush.

    Food ++++McDonald's on Urbanspoon
    Service ++++
    Ambiance +++
    Washrooms +++

    Find McDonald’s Monterey Park on the map

  • Eating Out, Fast Food Comments Off

    Kentucky Fried Chicken, Bow Bottom
    2-13750 Bow Bottom Trail SE (see map)
    Calgary AB  T2J 6T5
    Phone: 403 271 4707

    A visit to KFC on a normal working day at lunch time gave me a bit of a surprise. I was the only customer in the store, even though the McDonald’s next door was closed for renovations.

    The ordering went quickly, and the counter girl was also the one who prepared my food. In the process she forgot my drink, but I guess that was understandable if she was running the place by herself.

    This KFC has a nicer ambiance than usual. It has an older look and lots of wood in the decor, which gives a warmer feeling than plastic furniture.

    Of the food, I don’t have much to complain. It tasted good and was of course fresh because they made it especially for me.

    I did notice one thing that didn’t make me happy. While I was eating my meal, the KFC staff went outside for a little break. When another customer came in, there was nobody around, and so the customer left without ordering.

    Last thoughts: This KFC can be a nice, quick stop for lunch, especially for hungry shoppers, since it’s close to Deer Valley Mall.

    Food +++KFC on Urbanspoon
    Service ++++
    Ambiance ++++
    Washrooms +++

    Find KFC Bow Bottom on the map

    Tags: , ,

  • Eating Out, Fast Food Comments Off

    McDonald’s, Forest Lawn
    4615 17 Ave SE (see map)
    Calgary AB  T2A 0T9
    Phone: 403 272 7477

    Lunch time, and what was for lunch? A Filet-O-Fish meal at McDonald’s on 17 Ave SE in Forest Lawn.

    This McDonald’s has plenty of parking and a big golden M in front, so it was hard to miss.

    Inside, this McDonald’s gives you the feeling of an old-fashioned diner, at least as far as a McDonald’s can manage. The color scheme is right and even the ketchup dispenser is hidden in a wooden box.

    There is a Play Place for the kids, but it is not walled off from the rest of the restaurant, so the noise level could go up if a lot of kids are playing. Today there were none, so that was not a problem.

    The counter service was not as good as I am used to at McDonald’s, but it was still better than at most fast food chains.

    The food was done right. Everything tasted good, although the fries could have stayed in the fryer just a little longer.

    Last thoughts: The Forest Lawn McDonald’s is a nice place for lunch. It’s not too busy, service is friendly and quick, and the ambiance is nice. The washrooms were clean, and newspapers were available. What more could you want for a quick lunch on the go?

    Food ++++McDonald's on Urbanspoon
    Service +++
    Ambiance ++++
    Washrooms ++++

    Find McDonald’s Forest Lawn on the map

  • Burger King, Highway 1
    2055 16 Ave NW (see map)
    Calgary AB   T2M 0M3
    Phone: 403 215 3451

    Dinner today was the new Loaded Steakhouse Burger from Burger King. This loaded version of the Steakhouse Burger consists of 100% Angus beef, crispy onions and bacon, and baked potato toppings.

    The promotional pictures of this burger will make your mouth water. Sadly, the real-life version does not look half as good. The Steakhouse Burger I got was sloppily built, with the meat almost escaping. Despite this, it tasted great. The potatoes and baked potato toppings were sparse, but they did add something to the overall flavor.

    This Burger King has a great location, but it’s a bit tricky to get to if you are not familiar with the area. It has an separate enclosed playground, so the kids can play to their hearts’ content without bothering the rest of the restaurant. The ambiance is nice, with colorful furniture and a well-maintained dining area.

    The service was also pleasant. The counter lady was very friendly and talked very fast, but she knew this and made sure to ask if we got what she said.

    The food took a bit of time to get ready, but I guess that’s the difference between Burger King and McDonald’s.

    Last thoughts: This Burger King will get you great food, great service, and a short waiting time because it’s rarely busy. I would keep this one on my list of places to go for a quick bite.

    Food ++++Burger King on Urbanspoon
    Service ++++
    Ambiance ++++
    Washrooms +++

    Find Burger King on Highway 1 on the map

    UPDATE: This restaurant is closed for business!

  • Dairy Queen, Stadium / Motel Village
    2126 Crowchild Trail NW (see map)
    Calgary AB  T2M 3Y7
    Phone: 403 282 4947

    With great weather in Calgary, it was time for some ice cream, and this time I was dreaming about a Blizzard.

    The closest Dairy Queen at that moment was the one in Motel Village alongside Crowchild Trail, just across the street from McMahon Stadium and just a minute’s walk from the Banff Trail CTrain station.

    This DQ looks old on the inside. It still looked taken care of, but the decor was really dated, with plastic booths and chairs in a color scheme that was in fashion decades ago.

    It was a busy evening at this Dairy Queen, yet I was helped fairly quickly.

    My Kit Kat Blizzard satisfied my craving. Except for the odd chunk of Kit Kat (which I like), most of the chocolate was ground to paste in the soft serve ice cream. I have to say that I prefer the Kit Kat McFlurry from McDonald’s, but the Kit Kat Blizzard is a close second.

    Food ++++Dairy Queen Canada on Urbanspoon
    Service +++++
    Ambiance +++

    Find Dairy Queen in Stadium / Motel Village on the map

  • Eating Out, Fast Food Comments Off

    A&W, Castleridge Plaza
    200-5075 Falconridge Blvd NE (see map)
    Calgary AB  T3J 3K9
    Phone: 403 285 9070

    Today lunch brought me to the A&W on the corner of McKnight Boulevard and Falconridge Boulevard NE. It was kind of difficult to get to – I needed to make turns around all kinds of corners to find it.

    I visited this A&W at peak lunch time, but there were no more than four people in the restaurant. I wonder if this had something to do with the accessibility of the place.

    Because it was not busy, my order was taken quickly and also filled not much later. What I like about A&W is the option to get your drink in a nice big A&W glass instead of a plain paper cup that will end up in a landfill. Today I noticed one downside: The glass is kept in the cold, then your cold drink is poured into it. In my case this caused ice to form on the top. It looked weird and made me wonder if something was floating in my drink.

    My chicken sandwich was not tender like I’m used to. Several bites of the chicken felt hard, and that made for a disappointing meal.

    Last thoughts: Would I go back to this A&W in NE Calgary? I guess I could. It would not be near the top of my list, but it was good enough to deserve another chance. The ambiance was not as warm as in some A&W Restaurants, but it still felt clean and fresh.

    Food +++A&W on Urbanspoon
    Service +++

    Find A&W in Castleridge Plaza on the map


  • Eating Out, Restaurants Comments Off

    Denny’s, 19 St NE
    1804 19 St NE (see map)
    Calgary AB  T2E 4Y8
    Phone: 403 250 7177

    This Denny’s Restaurant is conveniently situated on 19 St NE just 50 meters from Highway 1 and 500 meters from Deerfoot Trail (Highway 2).

    We were welcomed by a friendly server who showed us to our table. She was so friendly that we got chatting and found out that she would be going camping after her shift.

    From my visits to other Denny’s locations I had scored some coupons for a free meal for two and a free drink. Even knowing that we were there to get a free meal, our server remained very friendly, attentive, and efficient.

    The food was very well prepared and tasted as good as it looked. My steak was done the way I like it, and it came with fresh-baked dinner rolls and butter on the side. Denny’s dinner rolls are some of the best I’ve ever had. They were fluffy and flavorful and made even better by butter.

    What was not so good? That’s easy: The men’s washrooms were awful. They smelled of urine, and one of the stalls had feces on the floor.

    Last thoughts: Yes, the washroom put me off, but I think it was an isolated occurrence. It would not stop me from going back to this Denny’s on 19 St NE in Calgary. Thanks to the great food and service, they can expect me back any time.

    My meal coupon was good for $25 and the bill came to a couple of dollars more, but the restaurant did not charge me the difference. Now that was an exemplary gesture.

    Food ++++Denny's on Urbanspoon
    Service ++++
    Ambiance ++++
    Washrooms -

    Find Denny’s on 19th Street NE on the map

  • McDonald’s, Huntington Hills
    6820 4 St NW (see map)
    Calgary AB  T2K 1C2
    Phone: 403 295 1004

    Looking for a quick dinner, I stopped at the McDonald’s on 4 St NW (Huntington Hills) next to the new Superstore. This McDonald’s is one of the McDonald’s restaurants in Calgary with a big play area for kids, which seemed to be quite popular.

    I got there around 7:15 pm on a Wednesday and found a bit of a line-up. The people on staff were busy but not in a constructive way. Many of them were running around not knowing what they were doing.

    When it was my turn to order, the gentleman was friendly but didn’t really focus on what I said. I needed to repeat my choice of Angus burger three times, and my drink order with no ice several times, with the result that he still tried to give me ice.

    This McDonald’s has plenty of seating in the standard fast-food-variety tables and chairs. Luckily the kids’ play zone is in a separate dining area, so you can choose to sit somewhere else quieter.

    My Angus burger delivered on the taste I expect from McDonald’s, but the vegetables were not fresh and the bun was not toasted as it should have been.

    The men’s washroom was very dirty. The toilet seats still had “souvenirs” from previous visitors, and dirty paper towels were scattered throughout the floor. Curiously, the mirrors were hung so low that I could only see up to the lower half of my chest.

    Last thoughts: The Huntington Hills McDonald’s gets the food right, and it will be busy from being next to Superstore, but I would hesitate to return. My experience was disappointing by McDonald’s standards. To find a much, much better McDonald’s (though without a kids’ play area), just drive a couple more minutes south on 4 St NW to 23 Ave.

    Food ++McDonald's on Urbanspoon
    Service ++
    Ambiance +++
    Washrooms -

    Find McDonald’s in Huntington Hills on the map

  • On a nice day in August, I drove up Mount Revelstoke to the summit to see the famous Meadows in the Sky. On the way to the top, I passed several lookout points and even a cabin where visitors can prepare food on a wood-burning stove.

    Meadows in the Sky is 26 km from the base of Mount Revelstoke. Be aware that even in early July there could still be snow, in which case Parks Canada will close off the road to the summit. It varies every year depending on the weather and how fast the snow melts.

    On this day the meadows were open and ready for my visit. When I reached the top the parking lot was full, even though it was only 10:30 am, and I was asked to park on the side of the road. From the parking lot, visitors can take a shuttle bus to the summit or hike a steep 1-km trail.

    Near the shuttle bus drop-off, you’ll find the entrance to several trails. The trails are self-guided with plenty of signage. At this time of year, the flowers were in full bloom and made for a pretty sight. I first did the Meadows in the Sky loop, which led me to some great views over beautiful hills, fields of flowers, and the Icebox, where a lot of snow was still preserved.

    I also walked the loop to the Firetower, which gave me a full panoramic view of the surroundings, including Lake Revelstoke.

    All in all, the trails around the summit took about an hour to complete and were well worth the effort. Outhouses were available and they were clean. From the shuttle drop-off, the more ambitious can choose to do extended hikes to three separate lakes.

    Last thoughts: Meadows in the Sky is a wonderful place to visit. You can just drink in the surroundings and feast your eyes on the flowers and their vibrant colors. Bear in mind that the meadows are extremely popular in the summer, so don’t expect solitude.

    Scenery +++++
    Service ++++
    Washrooms ++++

  • Movies / TV, Recreation Comments Off

    27 Dresses, the worst romantic comedy ever, or can there be worse?

    27 Dresses is about a twenty-something woman (played by Katherine Heigl) who has a hard time saying no, to the extent that she has been a bridesmaid in 27 weddings.

    Interesting, right? This basic premise could have made for a truly enjoyable movie, but it was sadly wasted on 27 Dresses.

    27 Dresses is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I’m a huge fan of chick flicks and romantic comedies, but this one was bad in almost every way imaginable. Too bad, because I really wanted to like it.

    Last thoughts: 27 Dresses has a pretty good cast, but the script is a piece of junk and not worth your time.

    Genre: Romantic comedy, Chick flick
    Story -
    Cast ++++
    Humor +

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