A Foodies Life in a Smaller City


We’ve lived in the “City” of Airdrie now for a couple of months and thus far my impressions of the place are not as good as I’d hoped… at least in a few ways, chief among these being culinary variety.

When we said we were moving to Airdrie one friend of Nancy’s refered to this little city as a “cultural wasteland” and asked what on earth would possess us to move here. While I’d never go so far as to use such judgemental terms I have found that our neighbours have a good number of pick-up trucks and that their driving habits are lacking normal couth.  For example; the tendency to use the slow-lane to and from Calgary as their own personal express way or never using the signal-lights except as a quick “F-You” type flash as they cut quickly in front of a Slow Moving vehicle (only doing 120KPH in a 110KPH zone)is somewhat indicative of a more “Hick-Town” mentality than I’d hoped for when planning to move here.

I’ve also noticed since living here the somewhat disturbing fact that without exception thus far every bar I’ve driven past or entered is busy EVERY SINGLE NIGHT OF THE WEEK! Often when I’ve been to these places the dining side has far more families than one would ever see in Calgary at a similar or exact same place. It’s not as if there are no restaurants to dine at so why choose a loud place like Brewsters to take the folks and the kids on a Tuesday night? I can only hope that I’ll also find the same thing occurring in the better restaurants around town. I’ll know for sure when I’ve gotten out a bit more after the weather warms up.

We do have access to some fairly good food including sushi at Sushi Haru, but this highly rated place suffers from something that I’ve noticed is common here, namely that the more interesting menu items one would find normally at a similar place in a larger city are always missing. The nigiri list at Haru is perhaps 10 items long and when asked about the absence of certain things the staff points out something I’ve heard from several owners in town. They’ve told me that the patrons simply don’t eat the more unusual or authentic food they offered when they first opened, so it was removed from the menu. Truly sad.

The owner of a local Vietnamese noodle shop told us that when they opened they had common ingredients in their Pho such as beef tendon but that the people ordering it complained of the weird stuff in their soup. I’ll not for the sake of kindness say what should be said about anyone who complains that the food from another culture contains things not normal to them. Of course I don’t blame the owners for making these changes to the menu, after all they would lose money if they continued to offer things the clientele will not eat. I just wish that my fellow Airdronians had a little more … um, what’s a good term to use here?…. one that won’t insult my local friends….. how about refined palette? yeah, that should work. I hope that places such as the somewhat over-priced yet good Taj Indian restaurant will succeed here since we need them. And of course on the other end of the spectrum I hope as well that stores such as Five Guys Burgers, Nathan’s Hotdogs and DQ are not the only places that are busy every day.

While I do believe in promoting local places above others and will thus choose an Airdrie location prior to considering the drive to Calgary (and this is for all business, not just dining) I will also not hold back on any reviews or opinions I have just because the store in question might need a boost. If the food sucks I’ll be sure to say just that. This having been said I do not expect that I’ll find almost anything that resembles a recipe true to the culture it represents, so with this in mind I’ll try to be more forgiving.

We’ve now been to several places multiple times and will begin to post reviews soon. Also, despite what I wrote above I actually look forward to a Nathan’s Chili Cheese or Chicago Dog with a side of Beer Battered Rings…It’s been a long time old friends, a long time. 🙂

P.S. I will state for the record that any Nathan’s hotdog eating contest entered (such as the one June 18th in Calgary) will be for the sole purpose of this blog and my readers and in no way should be used as a standard by which one measures my own cultural depth.

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3 responses to “A Foodies Life in a Smaller City

  1. My girlfriend lives in Airdrie, and she once called out her neighbor for ‘white trashing their neighborhood’. 🙂 So yeah, I’m not surprised at the wasteland. I also know Cochrane has a decent food scene. Different demographics perhaps? Also, just to be a pain, it’s palate not palette. Common error.

    • Looks like your friend and I have the same outlook. I’m still looking forward to the positive aspects of this little city. All I can say to the error is Damn Auto-Correction always does this!

  2. I feel your pain. I recently moved from Calgary all the way out to PEI (for school). The food is good and there is amazing access to fresh, local produce and killer seafood. But the variety is lacking a bit. I guess you can’t have it all!

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