You Can’t Go Back – a French Fry Story


French Fries

Sometimes you just want to go back… whether it is for an experience, to remember an awesome outing or for great food. If you are from Calgary, you will remember that ‘The Bay’ downtown (The Hudson’s Bay Company) had a great little cafeteria on the top floor, and even better, a Malt Stop shop on the second floor.

The Bay cafeteria had THE best french fries and gravy ever. As a teenager back in the seventies, my girlfriend and I would often stop in for french fries and gravy on the way home from a movie downtown. They didn’t cost much and you received a big plate of fries drowning in homemade gravy.

The Malt Stop served good old fashioned chocolate malts in tall glass dessert cups with a long straw and an even longer spoon. I used to stop there all the time when I worked downtown. I remember one day that I absolutely had to have a malt after visiting the dentist. Unfortunately, my mouth was still quite frozen. Yikes – what a mess I made as the frozen treat dribble down my mouth and onto my shirt – unbeknownst to me. But it tasted so great!

Hubby and I talked recently about these two places. The ‘original’ Malt Stop disappeared years ago. They created a new hotdog shop on another floor, but it wasn’t the same. I am not sure if it’s still there. We knew the cafeteria – now a restaurant still existed on the top floor, so we thought, why don’t we give it a try – go for some french fries and gravy.

We made a date Maltof it, and saw the cafeteria had changed their menu along with the décor. It was updated (of course, why wouldn’t it be). We tried the french fries only to discover that with the change in oils over the years – the fries just didn’t taste the same. They were crunchy now with the new oil. The gravy was nowhere near the original – most likely a package mix combination with way too much salt.

We realized you can’t go back. It’s just not the same, and never can be, no matter how much you wish it to be. You have to hold onto the memories as they exist and make new ones, maybe find a new french fry place.

Sadly, my Malt days are over as I’m unable to eat frozen desserts anymore due to tummy problems. Heavy sigh, I’ll just have to close my eyes and strive to remember the taste of what it was like.

We can’t go back, but we can move forward… the burgers and fries are pretty fantastic at the Inglewood Drive-In. The place has been there forever too, but the menu remains the same, and really they do offer a good burger and crinkle cut fries. Haven’t tried their gravy – but who knows maybe one day I will.

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