Whatever you do, don’t call Lacombe small town.
Sure, the population of 14,000 would suggest town status. But the central Alberta community is officially a city. And the excellence of its architecture, history, and eats and drinks suggest a place punching well above its weight, certainly in the midst of farmland.
Exihibit A is Blindman Brewing, one of the top craft breweries in Alberta, always willing to push the boundaries of what makes interesting beer.
Exhibit B is Cilantro & Chive, whose imaginative restaurant fare is the equal of most big-city heavyweights. Consider the weekly lunch special I recently ordered: three Yorkshire puddings, stuffed with prime rib and deep-fried onion. Or regular menu offerings like braised duck wings or beef brisket grilled cheese. Who else does that?
Certainly I haven’t seen any place in five years of touring western North America that offers some 200 types of canned or bottled beer. Most of it Alberta produced.
So the next time you’re considering a day trip from, say, Calgary or Edmonton, put Lacombe on your list. It’s my favourite Alberta town. Oops, city.
Cilantro & Chive
5021 50 Street, Lacombe, Alberta (and now a Red Deer location, 1927 50 Avenue)
Opens at 11 am weekdays, 10 am weekends