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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: Hot Sauce and Dirty Poutine on the Alberta Prairie with Motoburrito, Turner Valley, Alberta

Travel is a Drug


Travelling is not a vacation. For a start, you don't always know where you are going and what you will be doing, seeing, who you will be meeting and how you will be experiencing. The unpredictability of travel turns it into a must-have drug for some, and a terrifying prospect for others.

We are self-confessed travel-junkies. We continuously hear the siren call of the open road. A week in a place is sometimes too long. We don't know where we will be next week or next month. All we know is that we won't be here anymore. We've sold our soul to unpredictability, opened our hearts to adventure and we are ready to be surprised by the fantastic people we will meet and the places we will explore on our journey.


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We don't like the world traveller, even if it is part of our name - the Traveling Cowboys. The word wanderer has more appeal.

The urban dictionary defines wanderer as someone that travels aimlessly. In contrast to wandering, some people are in a place for life, or at least for a predictable time. They are comfortable with intimately knowing their surroundings and familiar with everyone around them. Every day, month and season have predictability and a routine for them. They have goals like graduating, getting married, having children, building a house and ultimately retiring wealthy with lots of grandchildren.

The Wanderer is out place. I will contend that his or her travel is anything but aimless. Instead, it is a journey of wonder. Far from leaving or moving away from the familiar, the wonderer is drawn by the adventure of the unfamiliar. Some prefer a particular style of surprise, through the window of an RV, with a backpack, continent-hopping or Couchsurfing. Everyone has their favourite destinations. Alaska, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, bush or city. However, all travellers have one thing in universal - absolute awe for the grandeur of the world around them!

Wanderers cannot get enough. The world is too big to explore in one lifetime. The more you do it, the more addicted you get to doing it.

On one's journey, you inevitably make friends with fellow travellers. We've made friends with Claudette and her team at Motoburrito in Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada. When Spring breaks on the prairie, they return like swallows from their travels, for a short three months, to serve the most delicious Mexican food from their food trailer. It is their way of financing their next journey and a surefire way to lure us back each year to catch-up, hear about the last trip, and find out what the plans are for the next.

Observations


Claudette introduced us to her homemade hot sauce. She finally revealed the secret to why a Dirty Poutine and a Taco at Motoburrito taste so much better than from any other attempt we've sampled. The secret is in the sauce. It is absolutely delicious. Kids have to be warned. This one is for adults only. It has a kick to it that will make you wish for ice cream in the morning.

Claudette's hot sauce is like the travel drug. Once you've tasted it, you want more. Once you have more, you are hooked and scheduled for an annual pilgrimage back to Turner Valley. We usually cannot wait for our next taco and poutine at Motoburrito and is always on the lookout for an excuse to do the next one. Apparently, they also do a Dirty Sanchez Burrito. I will let Claudette tell you more about that one...

Hendrik van Wyk
Wondering Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too. If you want to see us do more of these, then please forward the favour. We will use it for the next episode promoting a local business or event.


Photos


Muchos Soldados! 
Biker Stampede

That Hot Sauce!

Taco Ladies!

Tacos

Poutinos

Cheesy

More Cheesy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: Small Plates and Big Flavour at the Grande Brunch of Uncorked 2018 in Canmore, Alberta

Nine in a Row


For a town of fourteen thousand people, Canmore has so many restaurant choices that even if we eat at a different one every day, for a month, we still won't be able to try them all.

That is why we love our annual appointment with Andrew Nickerson and his team at Canmore's Uncorked Food Festival. The festival makes it easier to discover and enjoy the best Canmore's dining scene offers - restaurants we didn't know existed and dishes we haven't tried before. When we say the best, we don't only mean the food. We also suggest the people committed to promoting this great destination for culinary's sake. We applaud their effort.




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It is our third year of involvement in the event. Spring is always a great time in the mountains. The Uncorked food festival seals the deal for a visit and an appointment with this lovely destination.

Canmore Uncorked is a multiple award-winning food festival that returns each May for eleven days of remarkable dining experiences. It is the opportunity for restaurants of the town to showcase what they have to offer and to entice diners to try something new. For patrons, it is a flavour gauntlet that stretches the imagination and the waistlines. It is a must-do!

One way we make the most of the experience is to attend the Grande Brunch. Nine restaurants come together in one location to offer delicious taster morsels. The newly opened Grande Kitchen and Bar hosted the event this year which took place the first Sunday of the festival.

We tried everything, which proved to be an overly ambitious task. The portions were just enough to entice us to do another visit at participating restaurants. Together, it made for an amazingly delicious and very fulfilling meal.

Observations


Food festivals are for patrons. Patrons come with friends to celebrate, eat, explore, experience, meet and have fun with plates of food, mugs of beer, and glasses of wine. It is a familiar promotional drawcard used by destinations to entice new customers to visit and discover more about local businesses partaking in the celebrations.

Vendors are given an opportunity to reach new customers, fill their restaurants and move their products. It is a great marketing opportunity - when done right. The organizers of food festivals have the delicate balancing act of assuring there is enough variety, volume and value for attendees to make it worthwhile attending, and for participating businesses and the destination to see a return in the short and longer term.

Here in lies the crux of a successful food festival. Participating businesses and the destination, as a whole, must go all-out or risk being relegated to just another irrelevant mee-too food event of which there are far too many already. Businesses should make the most of the chance and strive to out-do each another. Not just each other in town, but other festivals, elsewhere.

We all know that with the demise of Canmore's destination marketing organization the Canmore Uncorked festival was left on shaky ground. Cudos to Andrew and his team for seeing it through and keeping the festival going. Unfortunately, herein lies the problem. We are of the opinion that Canmore's establishments overall are still not getting that this is their opportunity. It should not be just an event that continues. It should be the pinnacle food event in the Rocky Mountains!

In 2018, a few die-hard businesses and some newcomers remain committed to the festival's success, and they are reaping some of the potential rewards. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Canmore's food scene remains missing in action, and as a result, the town risks losing the opportunity.

It is no longer the "great" festival it once was. A celebration is not, and should not be for immediate profit or gain. If it was, it would be called a market. A longer perspective and commitment should prevail. The festival is there for the purpose of building marketing and promotional momentum for the times of the year when there isn't a festival. Profit follows from this momentum, and the awareness, excitement and the discovery drawcard it lit in customers. Participating businesses should commit their resources to building momentum like they would have done through any other marketing or promotional effort.

Canmore should be lucky to still have Uncorked. We hope to see it grow again to the grand festival it was once before. Andrew has our commitment and our vote to make it work. Now, all we need is for more of Canmore's food establishments to realize that this is their opportunity and get behind it. We are hopeful that it will happen before it is too late.

Hendrik van Wyk
Uncorked Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too. If you want to see us do more of these, then please forward the favour. We will use it for the next episode promoting a local business or event.


Photos


Yum, Yum!

Benedict

Andrew

Cupcakes

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: The Finer Nuances of a Boere Braai with the Two Cowboys in New Zealand

Die Boere Braai

South Africa is a funny place. Literally, if there is any disaster or depression at the Southern point of Africa, then the people of the country find a way to joke about it. One group notably developed comedy as a coping mechanism for their trials and tribulations. They are the Boere. The best place and time for their comedy is when they braai.

Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans noun for "farmer". In the South African contexts, it also denotes the descendants of the then Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th and much of the 19th century. A braai is their outside cooking event that brings people together. If you are a Boer, it is a daily sanctimonious ceremony of wisdom and ritual, closely tied to cultural identity.


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The Boere of South Africa has a thirty-year head start on being marginalized in the country of their birth. The rest of Europe and the Western world is now slowly realizing the likelihood of it becoming their destiny as well. Today, the last part of the Boere nation's identity is under threat as the South African government moved to disown them from the farmland they've developed through generations, and owned and cultivated for centuries. It follows a decades-long systematic breakdown and distortion of their sovereignty, history, culture and unique language.

While this was happening, millions of Boere had no choice but to leave South Africa for safer shores and more secure future. Today, they are scattered throughout the world with Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada the main enclaves where they've settled. Here, they committed to the futures and successes of their new hosts while building a future for their families. Their children are integrating to become Kiwi's, Aussies and Canucks and their language is heard less and less around the dinner table. However, one part of their culture remains. The continuation of the braai!

The Boere continues to braai and is more than willing to impart the ritual and wisdom to anyone keen on joining in. A few pre-requisites apply. Firstly, something needs to be cooked, preferably meat. Steak and chops are preferred. Beef and Lamb is the staple with Pork and Chicken as the vegetables. It can be done on a gas BBQ, however wood and coals are preferred.

Secondly, there need to be lots of beer. The more adventurous lubricate themselves with a drink commonly referred to as "spook & diesel" (Brandy and Coke). For the uninitiated, you will need training wheels before you dance with this devil. One thing is sure, bring your sense of humour. You will need it.

Observations


There are some unwritten and commonly agreed rules when embarking or joining in on a braai with Boere. Our video above shares some of this. For example, whoever has the tongs is in charge of cooking the meat. His reputation is at stake, and he takes the responsibility very seriously. No one else is allowed to touch it. If someone does, they immediately assume all responsibility for the food, which can become overbearing. Everyone else at the braai will instantly become an expert critic observing and commenting on your every move.

Over the next few weeks, we will impart a few more wisdom about the braai culture. We are heading to South Africa after a sixteen-year hiatus to see how it developed and to be schooled in some of the new customs and finer nuances of the braai nation.

Stay tuned for more.

Hendrik van Wyk
Boere Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too. If you want to see us do more of these, then please forward the favour. We will use it for the next episode promoting a local business or event.

Photos


Chops

Crate

On the Road

Carft! Beer 
Hungry Boer


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