Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
As I've mentioned before, one of the most awesome things about Calgary is what's waiting for us just outside the city; and La Belle Patate is one of those places.
But before we get to that, B. and I went hiking last weekend in the Grassi Lakes Recreational Area just outside of Canmore, in the heart of K-country. It was a fairly easy hike, despite choosing the "more difficult" trail up - it was pretty easy-going until the mid-section, which featured some steep steps. The hike offered gorgeous views of the Spray Lakes Reservoir and the hydropump project, and the Rockies, of course.
The lakes themselves were these beautiful turquoise pools.
At the trailhead, we saw a lot of climbers enjoying the late afternoon. That was pretty cool.
Of course, after seeing all this exciting stuff - and finding our first ever geocache to boot! - we were famished. Fellow Calgary food blogger (and local celeb) Julie had made poutine in honour of Canada Day, and one of the commenters (Shannon, whom I now know is another Calgary food blogger) noted that there is a "poutine restaurant" in Canmore. So after we made our way down the mountain (on the "easy" path), we made our way to La Belle Patate, which is tucked in a little strip mall in a more "industrial" area in Canmore.
Despite the fact that it's only been open for just over five months, La Belle Patate (a play off the "La Belle Province" fast food franchise in Quebec perhaps?) already seems to have a steady group of regulars, including Quebecers who come to work in the mountains as well as people who just appreciate a good poutine, which ranges from the classic cheese curds and gravy combination, to the Supreme, which features onion, mushrooms and bacon. If you want to pretend to be virtuous, there is also a veggie poutine available. Aside from poutine, La Belle Patate also features other Quebec fast food, including smoked meat sandwiches (the meat is shipped in from Montreal), steamies and spruce beer.
We ordered a large Supreme poutine to share (no spruce beer to wash it down, however - we weren't feeling particularly adventurous). $11.50 may seem like a lot for a poutine, but it is a full 9" pie dish of gravy goodness.
This is the real deal - the fries were thick-cut and the cheese curds were the squeakiest ones I'd ever tasted. The gravy was not too salty and the bacon was crisp (though a little on the dry side). Strangely, although the dish was served hot, the cheese never melted into gooey strings - I don't know if that speaks to the authenticity of the cheese curds, but I do like my cheese with a little melt to them...
We managed to finish the whole thing.
The food does take a little long for a counter-service place, but the service is very friendly - since we stayed to eat, the owner brought our food to us and even chatted us up, asking us where we were from and how we heard about the place. Sure it's a little far, but if I'm ever hiking in K-Country again you will probably find me "rewarding" myself with a poutine, smoked meat or an all-dressed steamie.
La Belle Patate
Bay 4, 102 Boulder Cres.
Canmore AB T1W 1H9