We used to hike a lot. As soon as the kids were old enough off we would go for a small hike, our packs loaded with lots of bribes (snacks) and water. These days the kids barely want to leave the house and no amount of snacks gets them excited to head for the trails. We live very close to Kananaskis country, a mixed foothills and mountainous region with plenty to offer the hiking enthusiast. We definitely don’t take enough advantage of this.
One lovely Sunday we decided to remedy this. I made a large protein rich breakfast and we struck out westward with dogs, kids, and backpacks in tow. Our GPS units we loaded with trail information and geocaches along our chosen trail. We’ve found that when we have a definite plan and that plan involves an actual trail, the kids are far less likely to complain.
We found the trail head and set off towards our first geocache. On the way there we met up with an Eastern European family unit with bags full of mushrooms. I was surprised because in all our years of hiking we’ve never run into someone foraging for fungi. Lately I’ve been really thinking about learning how to find and identify the edible ones and this was quite the coincidence. The lead gentleman was very nice and showed me what to look for to find the particular mushroom they were finding. Even still after we parted ways I was a bit nervous and was kicking myself for not asking for a sample of his mushroom for comparison. I think we did okay though. It was really hard to find an intact specimen that hadn’t been infested with worms. After our hike was over we made our way back to the Pathfinder with our loot.
It was about 3:30 pm and our breakfast had long since worn off. Funny thing about kids getting older, they are more able to get their own snacks from the pantry so that when you go to pack snacks for a hike the choices are very slim. We were only able to pack some carrots, dried apricots and almonds. Since we hadn’t had lunch we decided to head to Bragg Creek for a post hike beer and snacks. As we were hurtling down the highway we passed a group camping turn off and noticed a car stuck behind the locked gate. So we backtracked and asked if the couple who owned said car needed help. Umm yes, that was pretty obvious. I think the woman was ready to have a melt down. So, we offered a ride to the man while his wife stayed with the car and dogs. It took about an hour to finally find someone who knew the combination to the locked gate, open it and free the car. By then we were starving but we felt pretty darn good…
Our growing hunger altered our decision for just beer and snacks and as soon as I was within cell service I called The Bavarian Inn to ask for a table. I was told they were super busy but that I could come by and check. It took us about half an hour to drive there but I figured it was much more difficult to say ‘Sorry we have no available tables’ in person than on the phone. I was right!
We were given a table in the dark far corner of the dining room and right away I was worried about how the photos would look. My apologies everyone. I wish they were of better quality and reflected the amazing food that we enjoyed. Our waitress was a nice British lady who was having a really difficult go of it. She told us there had been service complaints and that they were trying something new with the service arrangement. This involved her serving tables in all four corners of the restaurant, including the patio. I felt really sorry for her because this was super inefficient AND extremely tiring for the waitstaff. Still, she was very accommodating and would stop for a chat now and then.
The Bavarian Inn was not excepted from the recent Bragg Creek flooding tragedy. While they were untouched by flood waters, they did have about a foot of sewer backup in the basement which then had to be completely renovated before they could re open. I think they were one of the luckier businesses in Bragg Creek. As we drove around I noted a fair amount of roads still closed, homes in various stages of repairs and many empty business in the tiny shopping area. My heart really goes out to these people as all of the businesses are locally owned damage to both home and business must be devastating.
We began our meal with water and drinks. Unlike many restaurants, the water glasses were refilled several times during our stay. We really appreciated this after such a hot, physical afternoon. I ordered a Hacker-Pschorr Weissen, or wheat beer. In true German fashion it was unfiltered and delicious. I only ordered a small so I didn’t get a picture of the bottle but here is hubby’s Erdinger Dunkel. I’ve enjoyed this beer before and it’s a very nice, smooth dark wheat beer. Very mild for a dark beer in fact it had less edge than my unfiltered Hacker-Pschorr.
We ordered a starter right away. Maultaschen are German style veal dumplings with spinach, onions and garlic. The dough was very similar to perogy dough and not heavy at all. They sat upon a lovely bed of caramelized onions. German comfort food at it’s finest. Tell me, have you ever gone to a restaurant absolutely starving with your starving family in tow and absolutely demolished an appetizer in less than a minute? I felt a little embarrassed…was the table next to us staring with horrified looks on their faces or was it just me? Yikes. After he was done shoving the veal meatballs down his gullet, kid number one remarked that he would be sufficiently content with a whole bowl full of the little meatballs. We all agreed.
Instead of ordering more Maultaschen, we went for mains. Kid number two is a light eater and at 14 years old was happy to order off the children’s menu. She chose the house made bratwurst which came with spätzle and carrot salad. Pretty basic but just enough to make her happy. Kid number one stole my selection. He had the Jäger Schnitzel: Thin sliced veal with mushroom sauce, vegetables (including their delicious house made red sauerkraut) and spätzle.
Since I couldn’t order the Jäger Schnitzel I decided on one of the weekly features. Elk Medallian Cordon Bleu. A classic dish with a bit of a Canadian twist. Inside the crispy pan fried thin medallions I found some melted brie and Valbella Bundnerfleisch (ham). Along the side were some extremely delicious roasted fingerling potatoes, vegetables and that amazing red sauerkraut. I wonder why my family always stuck to making white sauerkraut? I’ll have to ask grandma.
Hubby really likes duck so he ordered the Wildberry Glazed Duck Breast off the regular menu. He really enjoyed it, though I had a taste and it is definitely not for me.
Even though we were stuffed to the maximum amount we were determined to undo all the good our short hike had done our bodies. We had watched the table across from us enjoy a lovely looking Black Forest Cake so we knew we wanted one of those. Hubby and I had no trouble sharing a slice. The kids couldn’t leave without trying the Warm Stout Brownie with Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce. They were not disappointed.
I think we made the right decision absorbing post hike calories at The Bavarian Inn. If you can get there early afternoon you may be lucky enough to secure a table on the lovely patio..maybe you’ll have better luck taking pictures than I did.
The Bavarian Inn
75 White Ave
Rocky View No 44
Hours of Operation:
Dinner Tuesday to Sunday From 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m
Lunch Service- Tuesday to Sunday 11:30 to 3:00 p.m.