Over Spring Break, we went to Banff and stayed at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. We stayed on the Concierge Level, which gave us a bit of an advantage for breakfasts. Each morning the kitchen would prepare a special gluten free dish for me and bring to our table gluten free muffins and gluten free toast. The toast tasted like “real” bread and the muffins were very light and fluffy and quite good – and varied! The one morning that they did not prepare anything separate for me was the day that they had prepared gluten free dishes for the buffet. In addition to the specially prepared dishes, there was a lot of fresh fruit and there were hard boiled eggs. They also had some gluten free cereals, but I did not try any of those and they looked uninspiring.
We ate one dinner and one lunch in the hotel. The hotel restaurants all have “Fairmont Lifestyle Cuisine” dishes, but in addition to the gluten free “Lifestyle” choices, there are dishes that can be ordered from the main menu which are (or can be made) gluten free as well. Confusing, but more options.
Lunch was in the Rundle Lounge, since the overly snooty Bow Valley Grill was unable to accommodate us, and I am grateful for that. The lounge waitstaff told me they could substitute gluten free bread for any sandwich, so I had the Grilled Tuna Focaccio without the Focaccio, but with the excellent sundried tomato and artichoke tapenades – a very nice lunch.
The dinner that we had was at Castello Ristorante, located in a gazebo-like room with windows all around. We sat right in the middle and could look out all the windows. Three of us ordered salads, in spite of having eaten appetizers in the Concierge Floor Lounge, and two of those salads were gluten free, the Roasted Beet Salad, which was on the “Lifestyle” menu, and the Arugula and Pear Salad, which was on the regular menu. We were all moaning like Sally in When Harry Met Sally; the salads were that good. The entrees were more mundane, but the Chianti Mushroom Ragout, which was served on my Veal Tenderloin Saltimbucco with Truffle Wild Mushroom Risotto, was excellent and I only wish that there had been more of it.
I love the Banff Springs. It is worth a visit if you can get there. It is one of the very old elegant hotels and is surrounded by breathtaking views. It snowed while we were there which gave it all a wintery fairyland look The little town and the surrounding area are all contained within a national park, which I must warn you, has a steep admission price, nearly ten dollars a day per person, but, hey, the mountains were lovely, the town quaint and fun, and the resort pretty much as great as I personally have ever seen.
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