Today is a great day! @Westjet begins service to one of my favourite places in Canada – @VisitPenticton (cool thing #28)

Apricot sunset on Lake Okanagan, Penticton, B.C. - photo - Karen Anderson

Apricot sunset on Lake Okanagan, Penticton, B.C. – photo – Karen Anderson


At last there is a direct flight from Calgary to Penticton.

You can read all about it in this press release.

Thank you WestJet.

I live in Calgary so it’s obviously my favourite place in Canada.
It’s where I met my husband and we’re happy to be raising our son here. I’ve loved growing my beautiful business Calgary Food Tours Inc. in this progressive, open-minded and supportive community.

My hometown of St. Andrews, New Brunswick is my second favourite place in Canada because of its spectacular setting on the Atlantic ocean and for my deeply sentimental Maritimer roots (there’s a giant tide that pulls us back).

Canada is a huge country and I’ve explored almost every corner but after my hometown and the place I live and work, Penticton is my favourite place in Canada because…

Penticton is where I go to play, play, play!

Today’s inaugural direct flight connecting Calgary and Penticton will be a game changer for me and my family. Instead of contemplating an eight to nine hour drive through sometimes harrowing mountain passes we’ll be able to access our fun times in Penticton in less than an hour. It also has me thinking as the owner of a food and wine appreciation kind of business of all sorts of growth possibilities and partnerships. I never realized that watching Penticton develop over 15 years of family vacations might lead to this place but these are all fun thoughts indeed. They are thoughts that help me savour it all.

Penticton – I know you are ready with golf, skiing, hiking, cycling, triathlons, water, water, water, farmer’s markets, fruit stands, coffee shops, fun and funky main street shops, hidden gem eateries, micro-breweries, Elvis impersonators, hockey schools, live music, art galleries and a laid back vintage vibe that’s all too hard to find in this fast paced world.

Calgary will be coming to you. I’m filled with JOY to be coming to you today as a guest of WestJet on their inaugural flight.

Off to the airport I go!

Capt. Jaren Belrose and first officer Shauna Epp on the flight deck of the WestJet Q400 look over a map of Penticton on the ground at Kelowna International Airport Thursday while waiting for passengers to start boarding. The same type of aircraft will be used in the direct service between Penticton and Calgary, Alta. which begins Sunday -  photo credit  - Mark Brett/Western News

Capt. Jaren Belrose and first officer Shauna Epp on the flight deck of the WestJet Q400 look over a map of Penticton on the ground at Kelowna International Airport Thursday while waiting for passengers to start boarding. The same type of aircraft will be used in the direct service between Penticton and Calgary, Alta. which begins Sunday – photo credit – Mark Brett/Western News

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a #pintxos primer for San Sebastian, #Spain

Spain's green coast - costa verde - near San Sebastian - photo - Karen Anderson

Spain’s green coast – costa verde – near San Sebastian – photo – Karen Anderson

Pintxos are small appetizers pierced with a toothpick and served from large plates on bar tops. You take what you’d like, order some drinks, take a few more goodies if you have a hankering to do so and pay before you leave. The bartender simply counts up your toothpicks, remembers what you drank and charges you accordingly. Everything is on the honour system. Everything – drinks and food – is priced from one to a few euros. The atmosphere is chilled, relaxed; easy.

This post isn’t about naming names of places you “must try” for pintxos when you go to San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque Country. It’s more about priming your palette and your mind to maximally enjoy the experience. The ritual of enjoying pintxos is a bit about food and a lot about visiting and relaxing.

Read on to see how my family got along on our recent trip to Basque country’s culinary capital.

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@Soup_Sisters #TheBigStir event is coming up November 18 @cgyfarmersmarkt (cool thing #27)

I’m going to be in India from November 1 to 17. When I arrive back in Calgary I’m going to be jet-lagged from traveling – literally – half way around the world.

That’s okay. I’ve got the best cure for jet lag ever.

On November 18 I’m going to be a chef leader for #TheBigStir event. This is a very cool thing and the video above really communicates how easily I’ll find the energy to be there.

I consider it a privilege and an honour to be involved in Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers efforts to create domestic harmony and functional relationships. Besides – I’m crazy about making soup.

I’m writing this in October and #TheBigStir event is already sold out. Calgary’s incredible volunteer ethic triumphs once again. #TheBigStir event will utilize the skills of over 200 volunteers to make 2000 litres of soup for the women and families fleeing domestic abuse and currently rebuilding their lives in the eight designated shelters here in Calgary.

Read on to find out how you can support the work of Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers no matter where you live.

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I’m a @SlowFoodHQ @slowfoodcanada @slowfoodcalgary snail

Snail spotting - there's more of us all the time. Will you join us? - photo - Karen Anderson

Snail spotting – there’s more of us all the time. Will you join us? – photo – Karen Anderson

Today marks the start of the 10th Slow Food International Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto biennial conference in Turin, Italy.

I’ve been a member of Slow Food International since 2005. I served on the board of our local chapter/convivium for six years. I helped develop a little booklet called The Snail Trail to connect local consumers with local producers of good, clean and fair food and I ran Feast of Fields five times in support of the same objective. I’ve done taste workshops in schools and talks at public libraries. I’ve taken bus loads of people to local farms and raised moola to send farmers and chefs to this amazing conference in Italy.

But wait, you are probably thinking slow food is something that comes out of a crockpot slow cooker… want to know what it really is and why I care so much about it?

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Art Installation #9 – Falling into the Guggenheim in Bilbao and coming out looking for more of the architecture of Frank Gehry

Guggenheim Bilbao – Exterior Walkabout – from a distance


If you are traveling to Spain, Bilbao’s Guggenheim is worth adding to your itinerary.

The value of art and architecture, for me, is how they cause me to live completely absorbed in the moment. The moment is all that really exists so it really is the best place to spend your time.

The value of contemporary art and architecture – if they achieve what they set out to do – is to allow each of us to take away our own interpretation and meaning of what we see in its presence. You have to be present in its presence to access that and when you are it can be a powerful experience.

I went to the Guggenheim in Bilbao and lived so in the moment that when four hours had passed it felt like one moment. I was drawn in to the depths of this place, I was amused and engaged by its surroundings and I was raised up in what it held inside. My interpretation was of experiencing life as seamless oneness. Perhaps this is what a fish feels like in water. This giant fish of a building with all its seams, sails and scales ended up feeling seamless to me.

This art installation on my blog will have more photos from Bilbao and more info on architect Frank Gehry – where he’s coming from and what he’s done lately.

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Cooks I know – @knifenerd Kevin Kent on the Japanese knives he sells at @knifewear

There’s so many reasons Calgary is Canada’s Chowtown.

The fact that our chefs can access Japanese knives at Knifewear to make all the chopping they do easier – and therefore make the long hours they spend cooking for us more enjoyable – must surely be one of the reasons the food in this town rocks.

The motto of Knifewear is “sharp knives rocks”. I think the chefs using them and their food also ROCKS.

If you live in Calgary – come out tonight and see Knifewear’s Springhammer documentary about the Japanese blacksmiths that hand forge the knives they sell. Details are here.

SAIT Polytechnic Culinary School Alumnus Kevin Kent cut his cooking teeth with Fergus Henderson at St. John in London, England and at River Cafe in Calgary. He started selling knives to chefs in Calgary from his backpack and now owns five Knifewear stores across Canada. He’s one of Calgary’s culinary mavericks.

Japanese knives help me savour it all. Right now I’m savouring the idea of … buying myself another one.

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Hey Calgary – Monday, Oct. 20th is your chance to catch #Springhammer – a documentary about the art of Japanese knives by our friends @knifewear and @kevinkossowan – Art Installation #8 (also cool thing #26)

Congratulations to my friend Kevin Kent and all the staff at Knifewear on the release of Springhammer – a documentary about eight Japanese blacksmiths and their dedication to the art of creating handcrafted culinary knives. Here’s the trailer.

If you’re in Calgary and want to see this beautiful film by Edmonton’s Kevin Kossowan here’s what you’ll need to know as follows (from the Knifewear press release):

The Calgary debut of the film will take place on Monday, Oct. 20 at 7 pm at the Plaza Theatre (1133 Kensington Rd. N.W., Calgary.) Tickets are $10 apiece – in advance at Knifewear in Inglewood or at the door as long as they last.

Read on for more info about the documentary and a little bit about my own experience with these knives…

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