BoozeFoodLifestyleOutdoors

Outside Fuel: In beautiful Bragg Creek, where to eat and drink

You’re up to your boot tops in mud and loving it. Maybe up to your pedals in a creek and digging it. Or up to your stirrups in wildflowers and swooning about it. Maybe you took your little ones out for a few kilometres of hiking. No matter your method of locomotion, as you savour the trails around Bragg Creek this summer, open-air moments augment appetite.

Here’s a snapshot of a couple of kid-friendly places that offer a variety of quick, tasty food to enjoy on your way back from making memories that last for decades.

Bragg’s Korner Kitchen

Bragg’s Korner Kitchen, accessed in the mall just west of the new traffic lights at Highway 22 on White Avenue, was created by two longterm foodies – Birgid, who turned a lifetime of experience working with food into joy when creating Korner Kitchen, and Sean, whose background as a butcher means meat is treated with all due respect.

Korner Kitchen features indoor dining or a seasonal patio, delightful for those days when you don’t want outdoor time to end. They’re open for takeout during the current — or future — round of restrictions; the food-to-go lives up to their high standards.

Much of the menu is devoted to pizzas, which, in the spirit of the area, are named after local trails. We ordered the Snagmore, a lovely blend of pepperoni, onion and hot peppers with ghost pepper sauce ($22 for large), and Long Distance, with four kinds of meat and four kinds of veggies ($25 for large).

They were done in under 25 minutes; if you call as you return to the trail head, by the time you knock the dirt off your boots and drive to Bragg without rushing (locals are working on a wildlife corridor in the area to protect our resident deer, elk, moose, bears, cougars and other animals from speeding vehicles) your order will be ready.

The crusts are robust and hold their shape without being overcooked or doughy; no small feat considering the generous pile-up of toppings and cheese, which easily measure 4/5 of the slice. The Snagmore offers a lovely blast of heat and flavour without overwhelming the other ingredients, and the Long Distance was similarly well crafted and satisfying. The sauce is low key and in true Goldilocks fashion, not too much, drowning the flavour, and not too little, making things too dry. Gluten-free and cauliflower crusts are also available at nominal cost.

If pizza’s not your thing, their Canadian Angus burger ($14 with soup, fries or garden salad) is a simple testament to letting good beef speak for itself. The ample patty provides flavour and moisture; no need for add-ons in this case. When asked about why it’s so good, Sean said he leaves it alone, with no seasoning or fillers in the patty, just letting beef be beef. Veggie, chicken and salmon burgers are also on offer.

A variety of salads and starters including calamari, wings, chilli and soups (the Thai coconut soup, at $7 per cup or $9 per bowl, provides warmth and substance coming off a rainy trail) round out the menu.

The dinner menu adds Korner Kitchen’s infamous schnitzels as well. A variety of pastas, especially satisfying after a great 30k ride in the hills, rounds out the menu. Korner Kitchen opens at 10:00 a.m., which means your meal from there can be ready on your way back from an early morning ride.  

Rockies Tavern and Grill

Located in the former Joey’s Only location in the large mall off Balsam Avenue on the way to the West Bragg Creek trails, Rockies is tucked into a corner featuring a large, open indoor dining area where many a playoff game has been enjoyed on the big screens, and the only outdoor patio in Bragg Creek that doesn’t face a parking lot. The patio’s south-facing exposure and propensity for local dogs wandering past makes it a lovely place to while away a few hours as you slow down time without damaging eternity. Actually, a few hours at Rockies seems to augment eternity.

The first thing to drool over is their wings – somehow lighter than atmosphere while delivering dense flavour – all on sale these past months for 25 cents each or $2.50/pound during weekdays. No, I don’t know how they do it either, especially since the flavours, from salt and pepper (which you put your mouth on and they evaporate into your taste buds) to sweet chilli to garlic parmesan and beyond, dissolve in your mouth. It would be easy to enjoy one of their daily drink specials, like $4.75 highballs, and only eat a couple of orders of these with your family or bubble family. But why stop there when the rest of the menu is so satisfying?

Their nachos are another hit, served in generous portions with jalapenos, black olives, tomatoes, red peppers and onions, and lots of cheese with sour cream and salsa for $18. Extra cheese (which you aren’t likely to need), chicken and beef can also be added. The nachos are smothered yet crisp, and the layers are loaded with ingredients well into the bottom of the basket.

If you want something more like lunch or dinner, then a variety of burgers, including elk, locally sourced bison, and chicken are available, and entrees ($17 to $23) run from beef ribs to salmon fillet to bacon-wrapped tenderloin, all with veggies and other garnishes; they even serve butter chicken. If the entrees are a bit too much, a sandwich menu features items such as tandoori chicken wraps, steak sandwiches, beef dip and a clubhouse, all in the $16 to $18 range. 

So far, while working our way through the menu, nothing has disappointed. For a recent socially distanced lunch at two tables featuring a mom, two kids under six, and myself, the tab was under $80, including several adult beverages. We were blinking at how we had so much for so little.

The servers are super attentive as well, even if, at times, the food came out a bit slowly. I chalk that up to how busy the place was, even during a partial shut-down. No matter – when it arrived, it was worth the wait.

For more information about Bragg’s Korner Kitchen, go to https://braggs-korner-kitchen.business.site/?m=true . To learn about Rockies Tavern & Grill, go to https://rockiestavernandgrill.com/ .

Mary-Lynn Wardle is a Bragg Creek writer.

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