Date Night YYC: The Meat Sweats and Tall Boys Edition at Big Sky BBQ

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Cece D & Maria

One thing I’m grateful for is friends who are always down for beer and brisket. My usual sidekick just so happened to be on call for work, and my good friend Maria swooped in to the rescue to be my dining partner for the night. Since moving to the South end of Calgary Alberta, I’ve quickly adapted from a bougie inner city girl to the Suburban Scarlet O’Hara, proclaiming “I will Never Go Hungry Again!”- ensuring I have a long list of close fave eating spots. And Big Sky BBQ is one of them. From My home in Auburn Bay, Big Sky BBQ is a quick 11 minute drive South to Okotoks, where its clear you are immediately immersed in the spectacular Albertan countryside, passing over the Bow River where people are fly fishing or taking in an relaxing float. The rolling foothills, pastures, and acreage homes tout a vibe where living seems easy and unbothered by the city that lays North of them. The scenic drive never fails to build anticipation for me, where the tension begins to leave my body and replaced with some deeper breathes, filling my lungs with air that just feels more bountiful.

I fell in love with Big Sky BBQ last summer, when we had a hankering for BBQ but didn’t want to drive downtown to our other favorite spot The Cormery Block. It would be since I had snagged me a southern boy from St. Louis 4 years ago, that I’d now consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of what can be considered “Good BBQ.” Not only good BBQ, but how BBQ can vary from region to region, whereby one can hone in on what their favorite style of BBQ is. From the rubs, to the woods, to the smoke, to the sauces, it all can cone together exquisitely if done right. BBQ is the type of food you can taste the passion and soul put into it-maybe that’s why it makes us feel so good when the rich aromas hit our senses. It ignites a sense of familiarity that feels like home with every morsel that falls of the bone.

Upon arrival you are transported to an authentic Texas Style BBQ Joint- But aesthetically nicer in my opinion. Inside you get the vibe of a roadhouse, where its spacious and cozy all rolled up in one Biker Loving atmosphere. My favorite however is the outdoor dining, where there are picnic tables with umbrellas in a beautiful grassy landscape, and heated bar seating that makes it easy to sit out there for hours and take in the sunset. When you look out, you’ll see horses running majestically in the distance. As you can tell from my description, ambience is everything for me when I’m out to eat, and BBQ without the right setting in my opinion can make or break even the taste of those savory meaty delights.

So it was no surprise that despite the cool temperatures Maria and I sat there with our coats huddled up under the heat lamp for hours, putting back Sangria’s and Tall Boys like a couple Roadhouse hussies looking for a good time. Its the kind of place where you can strike up conversations with strangers beside you and reconnect with the world again after a lengthy year amidst this exhausting pandemic, While Alberta continues to sway in and out of varying restrictions, we’ve become more cognizant about supporting our local businesses like Big Sky BBQ, as its a place that clearly gives back to us as well in the form of a place to gather safely over some good ol’ soul food. Food has always historically brought people together- and this establishment does just that.

So we dined on their Smoked Beans, Brisket, St. Louis Ribs(to die for) and coleslaw to balance it all out. I personally love to mix my Beans and Slaw together making for an extra sloppy mouth watering variation. I don’t think there isn’t anything on the menu that isn’t amazing, and if you go with a group get the platters as you get some major bang for your buck that will keep you eating BBQ for the days ahead.

So if you are a local to Calgary or surrounding area, this is a must go to spot in my opinion. Lets continue to get see our local businesses through this rough patch, and do yourself a favor too by getting out the house!

Big Sky BBQ also has an on location butcher shop, catering, and Pit Master cooking classes!

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Happy Mom and Her Meats!

Peep Their Menu Here

Gloves Are Off: Time to Coax That Green Thumb Out of Hibernation.

Its that time of year where those like myself ready their talons for a bit of dirt and toil the soils of their land, or a more humbly scaled version of that. I have exactly 3 flower beds, 5 pots and a couple of boxes where I hope to plant the magical seeds I have forraged from the aisles of Home Depot. Last year when the Corona Virus had hit I had plenty of time on my hands whereby I had grown much of my harvest from Seedlings. However after seeing the beautiful rows of flowers, trees and shrubs at The Home Depot, my prized seedlings seemed grim in comparison. Not to mention once you bought the soil, fertilizers, seeds and pots, I wasn’t saving much money in the end.

While I always new I had an aprreciation for beautiful gardens, I had never really had much of an opportunity until the last to really put my skills to the test. I cruised Instagram, Pinterest, Aliexpress for whatever doo-dads and inspiration I could find. I have to say I ended up with a pretty decent looking back yard where I would spend the majority of the first wave of the Corona Virus Pandemic in.

This year I’m facing the new challenge of Dog Proofing my Garden, whereby first I’m needing to address the underground railroad that my dog has been working on quite diligently in her spare time. She has already successfully dug up my rose and hydrangea bushes that were planted so lovingly last year. Its clear they were sitting on prime bone burying property so let me just excuse myself and my green thumb in another direction. If that wasn’t heart wrenching think about all the frozen “Poopsicles” I had to ice pick out of the ground for most of the winter, only to find a whole new layer of soggy puppy mines. Spring Clean-Up has not been as breathtaking as last year this time that’s for sure.

I’d have to say out of all my little garden projects last year, my Sunflowers were the most impressive, as thy grew to about 8 feet forming a gigantic wall framing the perimeter of my patio. You couldn’t find a prettier restaurant patio in the city…like literally because all restaurants were closed for business from the lockdowns. It was mission to make the most of mine and to entertain my bubble in style, equipped with a lush and colorful ambience that wooed the senses. Despite the limitations we had some memorable experiences back there that I hope to recreate again this year.

Turning my face towards the sun and welcoming the Spring brings new energy and light to my winter weary soul. It was a long one that was compounded with the isolation from all the restrictions and closures here in Canada. I can almost feel the warm breeze kiss my skin and heal some of the pain I’ve been carrying since the days had become shorter, and skies darker.

I’ll be sure to post some updates as the yard comes along, and the signs of my dogs bad behaviors are a distant memory.

Here are some of the images I took from last year, I hope you enjoy! And be sure to tell me what you plan to plant or do in your back yard oasis this summer!

Cece.D’s Backyard Oasis 2020

Friday Date Night YYC: Down the Rabbit Hole

So this last Friday night My Honey Bear and I were joined by a couple of friends for another date night in the YYC. Our destination the Calgary Food Events Series: Foodies in the Park, Wonderland Dome Dining. I have been anticipating this event for a long time as I’ve always had a deep connection with the story of Alice in Wonderland by British Author Lewis Carrol. My intrigue embedded in the motifs and symbolism of the characters and lessons within the seemingly childlike story of Wonder. If you are not familiar with them I encourage you to explore further as they have played a significant role in finding resolve within many epiphany’s I have encountered in this life.

Themes and Motifs

In addition, the continuous stream of good reviews and beautiful pictures had me counting down the days and hours, ready to find madness at any expense. It was not only the dining experience I was excited for the but the overall soiree of dining in a literal winter wonderland. And unlike any other winter wonder land us Albertans are used to, this was an Alice in Wonderland themed one!

Date nights for me are always an opportunity to take the tags off a new cute outfit and dawn some new heels. In a Covid world these occasions are few an far between, so when this gal can throw on her sequins and lashes, you bet she pulls out all the stops. So prior to leaving for our date night, I was reminded by Practical Pete the Fashion Fun Police several times to dress warm and opt for the less dangerous foot attire as he shook his head at my original thigh high healed boots I had been itching to wear. And not knowing the level of comfort we would be experiencing inside the dome we came equipped with blankets gloves and scars ready to endure the -11° weather. Never mind that we had experienced an October snowstorm that whole day so the drive there in itself an adventure.

When we arrived at Fish Creek Park in Calgary, site of the the well-established Bow Valley Ranche restaurant is located. See my previous Friday night YYC Date Night post on this special heritage Farm House dining experience.

And to my disappointment, I most surely could have absolutely worn the boots as we proceeded to take a little walk towards the event area on the freshly shoveled paths. Anticipation escalated as the lights twinkled in the distance. Our journey down the rabbit hole was accented by the colonial style street lamps that took me back in time when lovers would stroll in Hyde Park. All bundled up we strolled collectively arm and arm, our heads decorated appropriately for a Mad Hatter party like no other. Our manly escorts who were initially perplexed by our wardrobe decisions that evening, now understood what all the pomp and circumstance was over. They too were realizing perhaps they were underdressed for the exclusive invitation at the one and only Red Queen’s table; their heads would surely the first to roll!

When we approached the gates of Wonderland we were greeted by A Gourmet Hot Chocolate Stand where you can sip on decadent chocolate nectar that created a child like sense of nostalgia for myself. We wove through the crystal white garden corridors towards our little snow covered dome, which was now resembling an igloo from the snowfall. The inviting glow of the other mad ones indulging in the delights intrigued my senses even more. When the little door to our personal wonderland was opened as if I had taken the sip from the “Drink Me” bottle shrinking me further into the rabbit hole. The dome was delightfully warm, equipped with heating, and there was no need for the layers we had brought.

Did I mention, I could have definitely worn the boots.

The setting was authentically decorated with the kind of tasteful magic you’d expect at the Red Queens table. The men allowed us to squeal with excitement- in fact they were squealing internally I’m sure of it. Our server “C.V.” was exceptional- he aimed to entertain and indulge in the experience with us. We were never in need of anything as he catered to our every request- even providing us sugar cookies to take home with us to the children who were tucked away in bed as the adults played.

“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

.

The Menu is preset upon booking your tickets for the event-with us dining on a variation of Beat Salad plated like a backwards clock, roasted duck, beef tenderloin, salmon and cod. Desert was an assortment of naughty delightful tarts. The signature cocktails packed a powerful buzz to ignite fun and laughter filled conversation throughout the night. We were sure to incorporate our escalating gitty-ness with mounting shenanigans that truly were as Mad as a Hatter could get.

When in Rome!

“We’re all mad here.”

-The Cheshire Cat

This event I would attend religiously now that I had the opportunity to experience it. Many ask is it worth it? Well of course it is as you are factoring in the price of an entire “experience “ which when you consider how much you spend on just a night at a restaurant, movies or nightclub, it wouldn’t even come close in value! It ends November 1st, so if you are able to squeeze into a remaining reservation don’t miss this! There is even for the afternoon tea option I highly recommend if dinner is not an option!

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

-Alice

Sadly our evening came to an end in which I felt as if time had stood still until the clock struck midnight. We were all just beaming with delight and so grateful to have had the opportunity to share in this experience. Our night did not end there, and was quickly followed tucked cozily into bed watching the Disney Tale from in the comfort of my pajamas. I simply cannot wait for the next time Foodies in the Park does another event like this!

If you enjoyed this Tale of sorts please continue to come by and visit for more adventures in the life of CeCe D. Drop a line, give me feed back, let me know what you think!

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