Dining at Banff Springs Hotel

by Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Banff Springs has long been renowned for its spectacular surroundings in the Canadian Rockies. Today it's also winning accolades for its world-class spa, Solace. Here couples are pampered in an environment as notable as that found outside the spa walls. Luxurious treatments are offered to keep any discerning vacationer purring with contentment.

At this resort, the spa tradition dates back to the turn of the century. In the early 1900s, Banff's invigorating pools and therapeutic body treatments were sought by visitors. With the addition of this $12 million spa, the hotel once again is a place to "take the waters" and enjoy a luxurious, romantic vacation. This European-style spa greets couples with cascading waterfalls, fireplaces, solariums, private treatment rooms, steam rooms, and saunas. Treatments range from massages to mineral baths to facials.

Beauty surrounds visitors to this resort deemed the "Castle in the Rockies." Eighteen years in construction, the hotel is styled after the baronial castles of Scotland using building materials from around the globe.

Although the resort offers many dining options, an increasingly popular one is the spa menu at Solace, which features low-fat, low-calorie cuisine. Diners begin with appetizers such as 45-calorie avocado terrine or 86-calorie chilled-fruit soup, then move to to healthful entrees such as fillet of trout poached with a selection of vegetables in saffron broth or spelt and buckwheat crepes with assorted mushrooms.

WHISKEY PLANKED SALMON

1 kilogram fresh salmon filet
50 ml vegetable oil
25 ml soya sauce
6 grams chopped onion
2 grams salt
1 gram white pepper
100 ml rye whiskey or scotch
10 grams brown sugar

Mix all ingredients and pour over the salmon filet and marinade for 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the cedar plank directly on oven rack and bake for 8 - 10 minutes. This will lightly toast the wood. Remove the plank from the oven and while the plank is still hot, rub with a thin coating of olive oil.

Place the salmon directly on the hot plank. Roast the salmon on the plank for approximately 10 minutes.

Note: Using a cedar plank to roast the salmon is a cooking technique that was originally used by many American Indians. The fish would be tacked to a cedar plank and held next to the fire to roast.

Yields: six servings.