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High tea in Lake Louise and Banff

High tea in Lake Louise and Banff
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  • High tea in Lake Louise and Banff

    Post #1 - November 12th, 2008, 12:10 pm
    Post #1 - November 12th, 2008, 12:10 pm Post #1 - November 12th, 2008, 12:10 pm
    We spent a week last month at the Chateau Lake Louise, in Alberta, Canada. A lot of time was taken up with hiking in the backcountry and eating at astonishing restaurants. Some of those meals (including Canadian Thanksgiving and an authentic raclette) will be written up in due course. But for the moment, I wanted to highlight our high teas: one at the Chateau and another at its sister, the Banff Springs, in Banff.

    The scenery from the two rooms is exceptional. Here’s the view from our room in Lake Louise (the tea room is on the ground floor looking at the same scenery):

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    The recent drop in the Canadian dollar and the scenery made the afternoons teas tempting. The food made it irresistible. Who can possibly resist scones with Devonshire cream? When they’re made by experts, even the simplest scones with no additions (or distractions), are simply heaven:

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    In both cases, there were savories (generally sandwiches) and sweets. We began in Lake Louise with a glass of prosecco and in Banff with an excellent non-vintage Veuve-Clicquot brut. Both followed with fruit cocktail drizzled with Cointreau.

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    Next, in Banff Springs, a few sandwiches:

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    Lake Louise countered with its air-dried beef on ricotta/rucola/cress crostini and a smoked salmon pinwheel. (There was an aged Canadian Cheddar and mango chutney, too, but someone ate it before it could be preserved for posterity :oops: ).
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    Needless to say, beautiful as they were, neither presentation lasted any longer than it took to photograph it (Chateau Lake Louise, in this case; and yes, some snarfing has already taken place):
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    The Lake Louise tea included finger sandwiches of English cucumber and of organic egg salad (that’s panko, not coconut):
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    It was one of the few times in my life when I truly had a difficult time deciding whether I enjoyed the sweets or the savories more. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t note some of the sweets:

    Banff Springs:
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    and Lake Louise:

    1) Chocolate pompoms and orange/almond flourless cake:
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    2) Citrus meringue tart and mini apple flan
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    and

    3) the piece de resistance, strawberry-pistachio shortcake:
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    (the strawberry was even hollowed out for a filling of crème anglaise!)
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    The Lovely Dining Companion decided to be adventurous and try the Chateau Lake Louise “Asian fusion” high tea. Her “tea” opened with a chilled sake followed by what she described as an excellent miso soup. Then, the remaining items were generously spread throughout a Bento box, including tropical fruit cocktail sweetened with lychee and sake and roast-duck wraps:
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    Smoked salmon, crab and cucumber/daikon maki rolls together with skewers of mirin-braised sweet potato and “Japanese omelet”
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    The box included “soft” Chinese BBQ pork buns that were, unhappily, not soft at all. More like char siu on a tiny hard roll.

    Sweets were not ignored and all had an Asian theme. For instance, the tiny, perfect green tea madeleine:
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    (Sorry about the focus; I was getting woozy from overindulgence!)

    Lychee tart (with gooseberry):
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    Candied ginger/chocolate florentine
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    and last, and unfortunately least, azuki beans in chocolate cup:
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    We thought it sounded a little too strange and, in the event, it was a little too strange. Some marriages are not made in heaven.

    All in all, we’d unhesitatingly recommend high tea. Your choice of location. The Banff Springs is older, classic, and a bit more formal. Lake Louise is newer and a bit more casual (though its scenery is, I think, impossible to beat). Both teas were absolutely wonderful. Relaxing, delicious, and a real treat after a morning spent hiking. (Or doing much of anything else, frankly.) One of the advantages to the hiking, though, is the opportunity to spend hours on steep, icy, snowy trails and eventually find yourself away from the tourists and able to take in a little scenery:

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    With pictures like that in the camera (and even more securely locked in our memories) high tea is definitely the way to unwind in the afternoon!
    Last edited by Gypsy Boy on November 12th, 2008, 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #2 - November 12th, 2008, 12:14 pm
    Post #2 - November 12th, 2008, 12:14 pm Post #2 - November 12th, 2008, 12:14 pm
    Wow! LDC is a lucky lady! This sounds like a vaca right up my alley - eating well and hiking. So rarely do those two things combine, amazing that you found a place combining the height of both!
  • Post #3 - November 12th, 2008, 2:06 pm
    Post #3 - November 12th, 2008, 2:06 pm Post #3 - November 12th, 2008, 2:06 pm
    GB-

    Looks fantastic! You're going to motivate me to share my experiences from September on my trip to Vancouver, Victoria BC and Vancouver Island.

    Mhays -- My vacations are planned to include hiking and eating well. It might be urban hiking as I experienced in Vancouver or wilderness hiking in many other places. There has to be some reward for the hikes! :lol:
    -Mary
  • Post #4 - November 12th, 2008, 2:10 pm
    Post #4 - November 12th, 2008, 2:10 pm Post #4 - November 12th, 2008, 2:10 pm
    Well, except that our last "vacation" of that ilk was at Hennepin Canal with a stop at Cajun Connection...not that it wasn't delicious and beautiful, but it somehow doesn't seem to stack up... :wink:

    I aspire to the standards Gypsy Boy and you have set, GP!
  • Post #5 - November 12th, 2008, 2:13 pm
    Post #5 - November 12th, 2008, 2:13 pm Post #5 - November 12th, 2008, 2:13 pm
    I'm going back about 15 years, but my recollection is that there was a teahouse at Lake Louise that you could only reach by hiking. Sort of up and to the right of the lake if you were looking at it from the hotel. I'd guess the teas offered to the hikers were less elaborate than at the hotel.
  • Post #6 - November 12th, 2008, 2:28 pm
    Post #6 - November 12th, 2008, 2:28 pm Post #6 - November 12th, 2008, 2:28 pm
    rickster wrote:I'm going back about 15 years, but my recollection is that there was a teahouse at Lake Louise that you could only reach by hiking. Sort of up and to the right of the lake....


    Indeed. The Lake Agnes Teahouse. You are correct. The very last picture is of Lake Agnes taken from next to the teahouse itself. We were there on the very last day of its season: cold, windy, snow, ice. You name it. There's another at the Plain of the Six Glaciers. An even longer and worse hike (straight back into the mountains) and we managed to get there the day after the teahouse closed. In fact, we passed the staff as they were coming back.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #7 - November 12th, 2008, 5:05 pm
    Post #7 - November 12th, 2008, 5:05 pm Post #7 - November 12th, 2008, 5:05 pm
    Actually the Plain of the Six Glaciers rings a bell and I think that is the one I saw, but didn't eat at. I was there in August - I recommend the weather.
  • Post #8 - November 12th, 2008, 5:27 pm
    Post #8 - November 12th, 2008, 5:27 pm Post #8 - November 12th, 2008, 5:27 pm
    Ten years ago I did I bike tour of the Canadian Rockies which was my idea of the perfect vacation. We biked all day, had spectacular lunches outside, hiked in the afternoon and sat down to fabulous dinners. At Lake Louise we stayed at the Deer Lodge and had a magnificent meal there that included venison, beautiful wines, and cognacs over a heated game of Trivial Pursuit by the fire in the lobby. I sigh every time I think of it.
  • Post #9 - November 12th, 2008, 6:01 pm
    Post #9 - November 12th, 2008, 6:01 pm Post #9 - November 12th, 2008, 6:01 pm
    Hellodali wrote:...we stayed at the Deer Lodge and had a magnificent meal there....


    Get ready to sigh again. Though we didn't take pictures that night, we did walk down to Deer Lodge for dinner one evening--it's perhaps a ten minute walk from the Chateau. And had an excellent meal there, too. Sadly, we had a server whose evening we apparently ruined merely by having the presumption to show up for dinner. More's the pity, because the food was very good. Ah, well. Another great spot...warm, cozy...and I'll have to see if I can rustle up some better memories of the specifics of dinner and post them.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #10 - November 13th, 2008, 11:21 am
    Post #10 - November 13th, 2008, 11:21 am Post #10 - November 13th, 2008, 11:21 am
    Wow! Beautiful!

    Green tea madeleines...I think I've found my baking project for this weekend!
  • Post #11 - November 13th, 2008, 4:07 pm
    Post #11 - November 13th, 2008, 4:07 pm Post #11 - November 13th, 2008, 4:07 pm
    We spent two weeks hiking and eating our way through Jasper, Lake Louise, and Banff in the summer of 06'. Your pictures are as fabulous as the food and the scenery. Did you have the opportunity of being caught in a elk jam, which can be worse than rush hour on the Kennedy/Edens? This is when a herd of elk block the highway. We never encountered any grizzlies during our numerous hikes, however, we saw a few while riding up the lifts.
    Born and raised in Chicago, escaped to Wisconsin.
  • Post #12 - October 9th, 2017, 4:13 pm
    Post #12 - October 9th, 2017, 4:13 pm Post #12 - October 9th, 2017, 4:13 pm
    You can hike up to and then stay overnight in an historic Tea House in Yoho National Park - right next-door to Lake Louise - https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/yoho/d ... cover/twin
    http://www.twinfallschalet.ca/history.html
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org

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