Not All Pleasures Need to be Guilty
The carnival-fare classics we have come to know and love are known and loved for a reason: they’re delicious. Tasty as they may be, these treats are often far from wholesome, and what they deliver in the flavour department is not quite on par with their nutritional value, but fear not! One of the greatest things about the Calgary Stampede is that there truly is something for everyone, even when it comes to food.
Let’s be honest, the Stampede isn’t exactly known for being a health-food haven, and if you come here seeking fresh-pressed raw-kale wheatgrass-infused-anything, you may be disappointed. But when you’ve had your fill of the deep-fried and sugar-coated delicacies, there is also an abundance of fresh, healthy— not to mention delicious—options on the Midway that cater to any dietary restrictions and even (dare I say it) rival the classics.
Should you decide to mix in a lighter option or two during this year’s event, here are the vendors you absolutely must not miss.
Take It and Go
Support locally while eating internationally! Take It and Go offers a variety of East African dishes that are nutritious and delicious, and also caters to our vegetarian visitors. Our recommendation? Ditch the ice cream and fill your waffle cone with something savory –the Papri Cone! It’s lined with seasoning and filled with house made corn chips, potatoes, chickpeas and onions. Instead of sprinkles, this cone is topped with a yogurt drizzle and doused in tamarind sauce.
Los Tacos Hermanos
This year, get your Mexican food fix at Los Tacos Hermanos. Here you’ll find several traditional Mexican favourites, including tostadas, quesadillas, burritos, nachos, and of course, tacos! Anyone with gluten intolerance (and tbh, everyone without one as well) should be sure to sample their fish taco; wild caught halibut is dipped in a gluten-free batter, fried, piled with fresh trimmings, and to top it all off, house-made pico de gallo. Uno mas, por favor!
Jamaican Mi Juicy
Continue your round-the-world food tour at Jamaican Mi Juicy, where you can sample delicious, authentic Jamaican jerk chicken on a caesar salad, in a wrap, or as a meal with rice and a side salad. Complete your feast with one of their real fruit smoothies, and you’ll be set!
Far from the greasy, calorie laden ‘za found on many fair grounds, Avatara takes this fan favourite food to the next level, in both the health factor and the yum factor. With plenty of options for every palate and dietary restriction, these gourmet fire-roasted flatbread pizzas are gluten sensitive and cater to those requiring dairy free, vegetarian, and vegan options. This year try the new Rabbit Pizza – thin crust flatbread gets a new twist with locally sourced, sustainably grown, slow roasted pulled rabbit is drizzled with organic dark honey over a layer of mouthwatering toppings.
Winner of Best New Food on the Midway in 2014, Wrap Daddy’s wraps have become a Stampede staple. With a range of options sure to tickle anyone’s taste buds, they offer classics like chicken caesar wraps, international flavours such as a Thai noodle wrap, and – if you’re hankering for wraps comes early in the A.M. – they’ve even got a breakfast wrap. These wraps are filling, fresh, and available in vegetarian or gluten free!
Corn on the Cob from Turkey Drumsticks
Don’t let the name fool you, this stand offers more than just drumsticks! Stop by the Turkey Drumsticks booth for some fresh veggies and dip, or enjoy corn the way nature intended – straight from the cob.
The Sal’s Flatbread food truck offers delicious Mediterranean inspired flatbreads and calzones. Each starting as a sheet of whole-wheat or gluten free dough, these freshly baked treats come with a variety of fillings. This includes several vegetarian flavours, such as roasted red pepper, spinach and feta, pesto and falafel. We’re guessing even a few meat eaters will be lining up for these.
Mediterranean Bowls, Chicken Kabobs and Falafel from the Greek Grill
There is no shortage of healthy options at the Greek Grill, where vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores can all eat side by side. We’re most looking forward to their Mediterranean bowls, which, accompanied by a variety of fresh sides, featuring their homemade falafel. Made up of garbanzo beans, fava beans and special seasoning, these balls are lightly fried to a perfect golden brown crisp, and, best of all, these delicate treats are both vegetarian and vegan!
The Smoothie Shoppe
Check out the The Smoothie Shoppe for a variety of fresh blueberry-acai smoothie loaded with antioxidants and topped with granola and bananas. This may just be the perfect drink to cool you down and boost your energy on the Stampede Midway!
Pitz & Peelz
Family-favourite Family Squeezed Lemonade has a new booth, where they are serving up hand juiced, artisan blended drinks. These real fruit juices are sure to refresh Midway-goers, with flavours including mango mint, raspberry lime, aloe vera-ade, strawberry thyme, cucumber, and freshly brewed hibiscus, just to name a few!
Fruit from the Fruit
Drink fruit juice, from the fruit! It doesn’t get much fresher than these tasty drinks, which offer blended coconut, watermelon, and pineapple beverages served directly from the original fruit shell.
Lemon Heaven Lemonade
Finally, those who are diabetic, or just watching their sugar intake, should be sure to stop by Lemon Heaven Lemonade. With multiple locations on Stampede Park, they are easy to find, and if you ask, they’ll whip up a sugar-free version of their famous lemonade.