Calgary, Canada
BJ, 51
Food & Travel Enthusiast
see his Calgary city guide

ask BJ about

ethnic food cocktail bars parks architecture cycling hole in the wall food markets

What do you do and why do you do it?

Eat, drink, run, cycle, research, plan, travel. Educated as a physical therapist , I owned a downtown clinic for 15 years and continue to treat clients part time because I love the personal connections and making an impact. My other fun job is freelance writing about travel, food and fitness, allowing me to share my excitement about things I discover!

What are the best TV shows of all time?

Food Channel and Grey's Anatomy

Name some spots in Calgary that are good for a Tinder date.

Fortunate to have an amazing partner, I have not had to date for a very long time so can't really give advice.

Who’s your hero and where in Calgary would you take them out for a serious hang?

Julia Child. I would have taken her to my favourite purveyors and the Crossroads Farmers Market to source ingredients, especially in the summer when all the local growers come out with their produce. We would go back to my house and drink wine and cook a fabulous meal together.

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

Absolutely none. Every area has its charm. Except maybe the suburbs (I'm an inner city dweller).

What’s the most decadent / extreme dish you ever ate in Calgary and where did you get it?

A whole lamb's head during a pop up dinner at Winebar Kensington.

Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Calgary that you particularly like?

I have a leaning toward ethnic food, and Calgary's Chinatown is chock full of little holes in the wall. One place there is always a line up during the week for lunch is ThiThi's. Take out and cash only, great for Vietnamese subs!

What restaurant in Calgary looks crap, but the food’s amazing?

Palomino Smokehouse is in a bit of sketchy downtown real estate, but great barbeque can be had inside, often accompanied by live music.

Where can you get the best cocktail in Calgary? Which one do you like?

Cleaver! Everything I have had is yummy, but I lean toward the "brown drinks" and they make a unique smoked Old Fashioned. But the Who's Your Daddy Now I had recently was pretty delicious!

Where would you take your partner in Calgary if you wanted to really pamper them?

Stillwater Spa in the Hyatt downtown or an overnight trip to Banff Springs for their spa and a meal with a majestic mountain view.

Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?

Jos Louis snack cakes, Dare maple leaf cookies, Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, Hawkins cheezies, Hickory Sticks and Old Dutch potato chips are a few. I prefer savory snacks hands down.

What’s the one place you think is overrated in Calgary?

Peter's Drive-In. Better than other fast food joints, but better burgers can be found!

What are the Calgary spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Prince's Island Park, East Village and the river pathway in between. River Café is special - the restaurant is on an inner city island park and a dinner on a beautiful fall evening can't be beat, except maybe by brunch on a magical snowy Sunday.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Calgary. How do you spend it?

Cycling the network of pathways with a picnic lunch in a riverside park, happy hour at Cold Garden and having friends over for cocktails and dinner cooked by my partner.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

My current favourite vacation city is Mexico City. I went for the food and the architecture, but was blown away by the green spaces, the neighbourhoods and the genuine kindness of locals. Of course, the historical sites, the modern architecture and the food do not disappoint!

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Jordan Putnam