Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Smell of Canada

Posted by Picasa Well, Ms Mav's mojo has bounced back and the bastard who smashed it is no longer a factor.

Now, where were we? Oh, let's just start with now and forget about chronological correctness. We are in Canada. The Oak Room of the Palliser Fairmont Hotel in Calgary to be precise and yes, unlike in the US, this Blackberry technology is working so I can update this blog in real time! Seeing the Blackberry is a Canadian innovation, its the very least one expects!

After a stupendous 44 hour day of travelling and exquisite experiences on a 14hour transit in LA yesterday (more about that in another Blog), I was finally able to lie horisontally in a bed ( a heavenly one too!) at about 2am Calgary time.

I woke 8 hours later, quite capable of sleeping another 8, but there are things to be achieved, experiences to be had and life to be lived. As I stumbled into the lift, it pierced my conscious awareness, my Epicurean being, into instant recognition: the smell of Canada!

Yes, right up to the 11th floor wafted the smell of freshly cooked waffles and maple syrup. Unmistakably! My descent was rewarded with confirmation. In the magnificent palatial reception rooms I found a stupendous set-up...a breakfast/brunch voted as best in Canada 5 years in a row.

Well folks, they sure know how to do brunch in GRANDE style....I have never seen anything like it! Everything from fresh fruit and yoghurt, anything you could imagine under the theme of an English breakfast, to pancakes, waffles, a complete Sunday roast lunch, an an entire three tables devoted to desserts!

Much as those waffles winked at me and nudged....I decided I couldnt possibly do that and the beef...but it looked soooooooooo good and was assured by the waiter that "if you've never tasted Alberta Beef, you ain't tasted beef"...so he promptly cut off this 1 inch slab and buried my plate under it.

That was it...I am now an advocate for Alberta Beef....never tasted ANYTHING like that....sorry South africa, sorry Australia, sorry Texas...in my book, Alberta is king...for now...until I go to Argentina and give their beef a whirl.

I couldn't eat that huge slab of meat, but what I ate left no room for anything else....and I wasn't about to tackle the long road to Banff feeling droopy and sleepy from an enormous meal!

Whilst driving to Banff, I stopped by the roadside for a leg stretch...and was joined by a Rocky Mountain cowboy who was very proud to hear of the impression his native land's beef had made, so he told me where to go in Banff for a good steak...the Salt Lick.

So, I ate like a bird next day whilst visiting at the Banff Centre for Leadership and Monday night I went to The Salt Lick...expecting a steakhouse but instead finding a fantastically sophisticated, very trendy restaurant and yip...the best darn steak EVER!

It was so nice to look at different menus and innovative items....I must admit its been a looong time since any Sydney menu wowed me with anything new....(I hope you are reading this Luke Mangan and Bill Granger)

Taste and smell, as well as visual appeal are such important senses....and particularly smell goes directly to the right brain...its highly associative and connected to memory....its so important when designing menus, restaurants and other experiences where we want positive mental connections, to involve the senses!

Thanks Canada...the smell of a freshly grilled piece of Alberta beef has been filed alongside the maple syrup and waffles....and will live in my memory till I die.

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