Kevin and I decided to jump in the car on Sunday for a drive through the mountains.
The plan was to bring our cameras and explore a couple of back roads; stopping when we saw something interesting, then ending our travels at Iron Goat Pub and Grill in Canmore.
The day began as any should – with a healthy snack (orange slices, a cinnamon Simply Bar, and 2 tablespoon milled flax seed) and a venti calm tea.
Our first stop was just outside the Homestead Rifle Range near Sibbald Creek.
There was a huge field with a lot of interesting underbrush. I’ve never been too keen on taking pictures of nature, people; basically anything that isn’t food, but I saw it as a great opportunity to practice for India.
Our bellies began to rumble around noon so we decided to slowly make our way to Canmore.
Just before getting back on the highway, we spotted a gorgeous waterfall on the side of the road.
Canmore is about 2 hours from our home in Airdrie when we take the old service road. It’s a scenic, leisurely drive, but can get a bit scary in the Winter! Still though, much better than the boring highway.
We came across Iron Goat Pub and Grill 2 years ago, on my 24th birthday. We were heading home from a weekend in Banff and decided to stop in Canmore for some lunch. A quick search on the trusty ‘ol iPhone and we were directed to Iron Goat – said to be a great place for gluten-free food.
I don’t know about you, but when I think pub I think greasy, fast food with loads of salt and gluten.
But thanks to Iron Goat, I have a whole new appreciation for pub food.
I got the chance to speak with management during our last trip so I’d have the most up to date information for you guys. It was easy to see that they’re passionate about their artisan, pub-style dishes and proud of the ingredients they use.
Their duck wings, beef, and bison products are always organic. And; what impressed me more, was that they had consciously chosen Spring Creek as their beef supplier. Not only is Spring Creek antibiotic and hormone free, but they have been recognized for the development of technology that uses bio waste; like cattle manure, to generate electricity for their community.
They were honest when I asked them about the quality of their produce, and whether they sourced organic and local products.
Our cold winters here in Alberta make it challenging to source organic and local ingredients all the time, but we make every effort to get as much of it as possible and shift the menu around to feature seasonal vegetables when we’re able.
All in all, many of the ingredients they use are local, organic, and they can make anything on the menu gluten-free.
In fact, they are a scratch-cook kitchen meaning they will make anything, any way you want it. No questions asked.
If you want gluten-free, dairy-free pizza, you’ll get it.
If you want organic turkey breast (even though they don’t generally carry it), they’ll figure out a way to make it happen.
If you want them to do a little song and dance for you while you’re food’s coming out… I’m sure you could ask and see what they say!
Throughout your dining experience, you can’t help but feel like you’re enjoying the best kept secret of Canmore. It’s rarely too busy, the prices are great, service is friendly, and the view is spectacular.
The two level cabin style restaurant is unique and provides it’s guests with an authentic Canadian experience. When Kevin’s family came for a visit from Germany earlier this year, Iron Goat was the first place we took them!
I’ve tried a couple of items on their menu in the past:
- gluten-free pizzas – great dough and awesome toppings. They’re also able to add goat cheeses from a local, organic farm; Fairwinds Farm, for those sensitive to cow’s milk.
- meatloaf – I didn’t like it. I’m not sure if it’s because they made it gluten-free that it lost a bit of it’s pizzaz, but I wasn’t a fan.
- game burger – the reason I keep coming back for more!
For Sunday’s visit, I decided to try their chipotle mango duck wings ($12.75) – organic confit duck, honey garlic sauce topped with walnuts.
Seriously. If you go here you need to order these. You haven’t had a proper wing until you’ve feasted on these beauties.
The plate was drizzled with what tasted like honey, the wings were crispy, and the sauce was paired so nicely with the spices (which I believe was smoked paprika??).
Even Kevin was pleased!
He also ordered a bowl of their daily soup, chicken vegetable ($5.25). Which was made with no peas or beans, a sure win for a man that hates peas just about as much as I hate MSG.
The portion was perfect, it wasn’t too oily; which we’ve see with many restaurant soups, and the veggies were still slightly crisp!
For our entrees, Kevin ordered the ‘iron goat’ prime burger ($12.75) – a prime beef patty with lettuce, tomato, red onion, dill pickle and mayo.
Generally the burger patties are bigger and pressed perfectly, but Kevin’s burger; as well as mine own, were a bit sad looking. The taste was still spot on, but the patty wasn’t as compact as it usually is. I can understand that they have some issues in getting the patties to stick together in the gluten-free version, but expected a bit of a juicier patty for Kevin’s gluten-filled version.
I ordered my favorite, game burger ($13.50) – a bison, elk and blueberry patty with caramelized onion, barbecue sauce, tomato, dill pickle and chili mayo.
It never disappoints, really it doesn’t. The blueberries, the mayo, the burger juice…
Down my arms, all over my face, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
They serve the gluten-free burgers with the same dough used for their pizzas. It’s a rice and chickpea flour combination that looks to be baked, but I could be wrong. Whatever their process, I wouldn’t change a thing!
Kevin contemplated having dessert; they have an amazing gluten-free chocolate sensation cake, but decided the responsible thing to do would be to end the meal there for risk of being way too full to exit the building.
If there was one thing I wish they’d add to their menu; or maybe I’ll just ask for it next time now that I know they’ll do anything to make the customer happy ;), is a dairy-free version of the chocolate cake. Each time Kevin orders it I have to talk myself down from grabbing his plate, running off and answering questions later.
But… that wouldn’t be very loving of me, now would it?
All in all we had a great time and can’t wait to go back!