Wednesday 30 May 2012

A Beacon of Light in Cardston

Previous to meeting my husband, I despised camping. I despised the bugs and the dirt and the cold and the craptastic food. My idea of roughing it was staying in a hotel without a pool. However, Trev is a solid camper and knows his shit about the rugged outdoors. Within a few months of us meeting, had me sitting in a hammock deep in the Rocky Mountains loving life.

Then we had kids and tried to camp in a tent. It was by far the stupiest thing we have ever done. The experience was so horrific, it made me question every decision I have EVER made in my life. It was like “SAW” was being filmed at Boulton Creek Kananaskis.

To make a long, hilarious story short, our last tenting trip ended with both kids scarred for life, me crying and trev throwing the tent in the dumpster and giving the dumpster the finger. True story.

So THEN we got a trailer and camping got AWESOME! We love traipsing around Alberta, BC and yes even Saskatchewan visiting some cool and some not so cool campgrounds. As long as I have a roof over my head and my spawn have dry clothes I am one happy lady.

One of the best things (I think) I do is I insist on trying new campgrounds, new little towns and new places to visit. I don’t want to go to the same places every single year. What can you learn from that? This May Long Weekend (for my Non- Canadian readers, it is a long weekend in honor of Her Majesty Queen Victoria) I decided that we and our friends should go to Cardston, a small town about two and a half hours south of Calgary.

After visiting the Remington Carriage Museum (which doesn’t sound cool but actually was uber awesome), we thought we might find somewhere for us all to grab a bite to eat. Now, I know, having Celiacs seriously limits my options here but I thought I would see if any selections were available. We found the visitor information desk in Cardston and to be honest, they were very nice but not very much help. They didn’t even have a phone book. Odd.

Anyway, there seemed to be a few main restaurants in town and two that the info ladies suggested would be good for lunch – although, they didn’t know their phone numbers. So we finally goggled them and I called the Smashed Tomato first. A very nice lady answered the phone. When I explained that I had Celiacs and was wondering if she had any options for us, she regrettably admitted that they might have a couple salads but that she had not done any allergy awareness in her restaurant. She apologized and said that it was certainly on her to do list. I thanked her profusely for her honestly because really, I would rather honesty than getting sick.

But there is honesty and then there is down right rudeness.

Rudeness is what I got when I called Athens Family Restaurant. Here is how the convo went.

Lady, “Athens”

Me, “Hi there, sorry to bother you.”

Lady, “Grunt”

Me, “Ummm, ya, so I was going to come to your restaurant for lunch today. The only thing is that I have Celiac’s disease and I can’t eat any Gluten. I was wondering if you have a Gluten Free menu or items?”

Lady, “Hold on,”


7 Minutes later – in Cardston she could have walked to me by that time

Lady (super snarky), “You will have to call back.”

Me, “Well, ya I would love to but I wanted to come in now.”

Lady, (snarky-ness continues) “And what did you want then?”

Me, “I have Celiac’s Disease and I cannot eat Gluten. I was wondering if you can accommodate anyone with Celiac’s?”

Lady (laughs – LAUGHS!) “No, nothing like that. We can’t serve you here and I don't have time to talk to you."


She should go and find our old tent and see what happens when you piss me off.

Anyway, the LAST hope in Cardston is the Lighthouse Bakery. The fact that it is called a bakery does not bode well but I call anyway. The lady on the phone could not be more thrilled to hear from me. Her name is Tessa and with her husband, run the Lighthouse bakery. She gleefully told me that she had a freezer full of gluten free baking and full knowledge of cross contamination issues and hidden sources of gluten so we hot-footed it over to the Lighthouse Bakery.

Once there, I had a lovely Gluten Free burger and a bowl of gluten free soup. It was delicious! Mix that up with Tessa and her warm demeanor and you have yourself a winner.

The only thing that I would ask for is a few healthier options especially for the kids; maybe baked and home-breaded chicken fingers rather than the fried popcorn chicken and some fresh veggies, salads and the like?

Huge thanks to the Lighthouse Bakery for being a beacon of gluten free goodness in Southern Alberta. We can’t wait to visit again on our next adventure.

Oh ya, and I gave the Athens Restaurant the finger on the way by.


  1. Oh thank you… the tent thing at Boulton - that could have been me… but I don't have kids.

    Next time I'm through Cardston - likely in August, I'll be sure to give Tessa a call!

  2. Would you consider sharing a blog post with the Edmonton CCA newsletter? It would need to be PG rated, but you tell the absolute funniest gluten free stories I've ever heard/read. Send me an email
    Dani - CCA Edmonton VP

  3. Athens has probably the worst reputation in town. Yet it remains open as there just aren't any other options. The service is exactly like what you got on the phone. Glad you got to go Lighthouse! It's wonderful!