#1 Duck Wings
Cilantro and Chive
I lump restaurants into two categories: destination dining or neigbourhood haunt. Cilantro and Chive is a bit of both. It’s laid back like your favourite neighbourhood hangout but also has an innovative, playful menu that I happily drive to Lacombe for, again and again. There are loads of ways to go – a bacon double hamburger set atop a bacon Caesar, a jalapeño bacon tortiglioni or French toast with pork belly for brunch – but for me it’s the duck wings. If I were to go to Cilantro and Chive right now, I’d order the duck wings. They are doused in a savoury salty sauce and braised until dry. The taste stirs my senses like a pleasant dream.
5021 50 Street, Lacombe
Part of the joy of eating in Lacombe comes from how unlikely a place it is to find some of the best food in Alberta. The cannolis at Sweet Capone’s are hands down better than anything you would find in Edmonton or Calgary, and I’ll go as far as saying elsewhere in Canada. The Italian bakery uses a cannoli recipe that’s been in the Solda family for generations. The traditionalist in me always leans towards lemon or vanilla fillings, but I can easily be tempted by chocolate and coconut cannolis. Florentines, carrot cake, biscotti and pesche dolci are other cures for your sweet tooth.
4912 50 Avenue, Lacombe
#3 Dill Pickle Soup
The non-descript sign outside reads “Lacombe Motor Inn” so it’s easy to miss Marion’s Eatery, but walk inside the inn and there’s cause for celebration. The food at Marion’s is homey just like mom’s and flat-out delicious. Here you’ll be initiated to creamy dill pickle soup, an Eastern European staple made of potatoes and vegetables. Order a small bowl accompanied with a fresh-baked roll or the entrée-sized order that comes with a simple BLT sandwich. There’s nothing fussy, pretentious or trendy about this place and that’s what makes it so special.
5136 47 Street, Lacombe
If there’s one place in Lacombe to celebrate all things beer, then it’s got to be the award-winning Blindman Brewing. Head to the taproom and order a beer flight of four beers of your choice. Tasting beer side by side reveals differences that a newbie may not be able to discern so easily. It also allows you to sample a decent breadth of the brewery’s offerings, from sours (my summer go-to drink) to IPAs. A meat and cheese board heaped with local specialities, such as Sylvan Star Gouda and bison landjaeger from producers literally down the road, is the perfect accompaniment.
3413 53 Avenue, Lacombe
#5 Caesar Cocktail
Old Prairie Sentinel Distillery
Right next door to Blindman Brewery is where you’ll find Old Prairie Sentinel Distillery, another Lacombe stop that’s worth multiple visits. This craft distillery offers a substantial selection of small-batch spirits, ranging from a single-malt vodka to pickled pepper vodka to Prarie berry dry gin to barrel-spiced gin. A comfortable mix of locals and day-trippers come to the tasting room to buy bottles, but I always grab a seat at the bar and order a Caesar cocktail made with the distillery’s pickled pepper vodka.
3411 53 Avenue, Lacombe
Don’t forget to pack your growler when heading to Lacombe, but you won’t be filling it with beer. Head to Healthfitters, an independent health food store, next to the historic Flatiron building, for flavoured kombucha on tap. For the uninitiated, kombucha tastes like a sweet, tart vinegar that’s slightly carbonated. The base ingredient is fermented sweet tea packed with gut-healing probiotics, acetic acids and antioxidants. Yes it’s good for you, but it’s also a refreshing tasty drink.
5015 50 Avenue, Lacombe
#7 Rhubarb Pie
Morrison House Café
Imagine if someone opened up their personal home to the public as a restaurant. That’s exactly what to expect at the historical Morrison House Café. Owners Chuck and Cindy have turned the main floor of this circa 1919 home built by one of Lacombe’s first mayors into a café. The best seats in the house are on the back porch that offers private views of their verdant backyard. The light menu features sandwiches, salad and sweet treats, but I insist on a slice of rhubarb pie and a glass of homemade ice tea on a hot day.
5331 51 Avenue, Lacombe
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