Hippie Chic Meets Laid-Back Cool at Bluebelle Bistro & Beanery
Following our soak in the hot springs of Ainsworth, we headed north to Kaslo, a small township in the West Kootenays located on the edge of the Kootenay Lake. While Kaslo used to be a busy mining and shipping town back in the day (population 3,000) it’s now a sleepy little village that smacks of Northern Exposure and rural Canadiana living. It’s a place where there’s one main road and six or seven other – occasionally busy – side streets that veer off it. Everybody is sure to know everyone’s business, though enough travellers, adventures and transients pass through that residents are outwardly friendly, greeting strangers with a genuine smile.
There’s a lovely hotel (post forthcoming) in the centre of Kaslo where you can while away an afternoon on the patio overlooking the lake. There are several little shops, boutiques and artisanal cafés you can pop your head into as you meander from one end of Front Street to the other. If you find you’re extremely restless, there’s a handful of outdoor activities to partake in like kayaking, rafting and hiking in the mountains, the magnificent scenery sure to keep you spellbound for a few days at least.
Along with the handful of markets and shops to hit up, there are several locally-owned eateries where you can get breakfast all day and mimosas all night. Not all of these places are Intolerant-friendly in nature, but one that stood out in particular was the quirky Bluebelle Bistro & Beanery. Located on Kaslo’s main drag, Bluebelle is one part hippie chic, one part laid back adventurer and two parts down-to-earth, understated cool. The interior is all about rich reds and oranges with locally-produced artwork dotting the walls. There are also wood panelled floors and crimson hued stain glass accents, the type of window that subtly aggrandizes every ray of light that trails in. It’s the kind place you’re automatically drawn to in a town like Kaslo, and you either walk in immediately or mentally schedule dinner time once you peruse their menu.
With a host of options to choose from, it’s hard to go wrong at Bluebelle. There’s salads and soups, sandwiches and wraps. There are burgers and pasta and Mexican inspired bites. As long as you present any food allergy up front, the staff will help you work around it and find something that will satisfy your tastebuds. Our table started with hummus, which was tangy and appropriately garlicky, and we followed that up with a chef’s salad, bistro bowl and a portobello mushroom burger.
The portion sizes were beyond generous; Mama Intolerant’s salad looked like it could easily feed three. The portobello mushroom burger was deliciously aromatic and looked thick and juicy, and when my bistro bowl was placed in front of me I had to take a moment to reflect. I had to pause because I wasn’t entirely sure I had enough room in my stomach to put all that food away.
But eat I did. All of it in fact: freshly chopped greens, nuts and a filet of paprika-laced salmon on a bed of quinoa that had been mixed with tahini. It was as good as it sounds, and filled this Intolerant right up. I was secretly pleased our afternoon walk had taken us several hours to complete or I might not have worked up the appetite to appreciate such a hearty meal.
Of course there isn’t only savoury fare to whet your appetite, as Bluebelle offers sweets to tempt you as well. Make sure; however, to hike your ass off earlier in the day if you want to fit both courses in during a meal. Either that, or stick with a bowl of soup as your main to ensure there’s plenty of room for dessert.
Homemade raspberry compote or a rich fudge brownie?
Trust me, it will be worth every step you take.
Bluebelle Bistro & Beanery
347 Front Street
Kalso, British Columbia, Canada