The drive estimated twenty-five to thirty minutes, with clear skies and (surprisingly) light weekend traffic. Remarkably saturated was our outlook, as if painted on, CS6-style, by a baby blue paintbrush gradient.
Heading to the southwest edge of the city, we passed by distinctly Alberta-sounding names (Deerfoot Trail, Crowchild Trail) and a CF-owned retail building.
It was with slight bewilderment that I regarded the intersection: Despite appearing very much like a tourist stopover spot, the neighbouring establishments were primarily residential in nature. The image could be linked to the calm but critical Stoney Creek, where the Red Hill Valley and Mud Street exit boasted similar sightings of Cineplex, Tim Hortons, and other typically North American franchises. There were, might I add, familiar West Coast names of Save-On-Foods and London Drugs observed en route as well.
"You can do it!"
"You got this!"
they had read.
After much discussion, we took to sharing the Little Farmer and a Salmon Sammy, with no additional drink orders beyond water - one hot, one cold.
Components were plated in a linear fashion on a speckled, rectangular dish. I was quite content with my sunny-side egg, though less certain about the Sourdough and Duck Fat Hash. Our server had informed of the sourdough's origins from a local bakery after I posed the inquiry; the slice was thinner than most toast I've had and radiated vague, if not indiscernible, notes of tanginess.
Appearing dismal and burnt at first glance, the extremely charred edges and barely pierceable texture had induced low expectations towards the bacon. However, the strips were astonishingly (pleasantly!) chewy and boasted a maple-like glaze, transforming the coal-coloured ends into sections of indulgent, caramelly savouriness.
An abundance of fresh greens lay beneath flavourful strips of smoked salmon, garnering much of my approval. Pink pickled onions contributed a contrasting pop of colour and much-appreciated acidity, while the sprinkle of blistered capers were crunchy, and not excessively salty and plump like the East Coast editions.
Seasonal fruit was served on the side. The ramekin, which I had reached for without hesitation, comprised finely chopped pineapple, blackberries, grapes, and a few lone chunks of unripe cantaloupe.
Oily fumes clung onto my jacket, but thankfully weren't severe in spite of the open kitchen.
While the sleepy polar bear griped about an unsatisfied appetite, I encouraged the intake of water and thorough depletion of the plate's contents. Likely was our server to have heard my encouraging of proper mannerisms, for he was deliberate in asking whether our sharing plates could be cleared for the bill, or if we were "Still working on that leaf?". The statement summoned a wide grin and roaring laughter from my end of the table.
The next order of business involved driving to Signal Hill to explore its history-rich grounds. Frankly, I wouldn't have been aware of such a destination had it not been for annual involvement in McDonald's Monopoly. Alas, it is amazing to experience the effects of knowledge via osmosis and sheer exposure.
Thankfully, the wooden stairs ascending up to Battalion Park had also been cleared. A narrow metal slide was also observed running along the height of the wooden staircase. Its purpose wasn't obvious to me at the time, but I assumed it to be used for easier transport of strollers.
"You stay here and I'll take photos of the top for you." was supposedly declared out of consideration.
Naturally, I wouldn't be having that. Why would I, when I was just a few steps away from the attraction myself?
Barrow Coffee Roasters was located within Mount Royal University, though we hadn't realized this until entering university grounds. Fortunately, the private lot was neither locked nor entailed parking fees.
Venturing further into the space, we chanced across the library. Two staff members, likely students, were huddled over one of the computer screens, with one conducting a tutorial for the knowledge of the other. I requested guidance from the more experienced library personnel, who pointed us in the direction of Barrow's coffee counter past a section of lockers and two elevators.