How to Have a New Year’s Day Open House and also not have a rash

New year, new me.

So far, v. unimpressed with new me.  Too much tired, too much brain fog, too much bald. At least full body “I want to remove my outer layer of skin” rash has dissipated and the hole in my throat has healed and…

OKAY THIS IS HIGHLY DEPRESSING.  Maybe I’ll write a post one day about cancer and chemo and how 2017/18 were NOT my best friends, but for now, how to distract…how to be festive…

I KNOW.

A NEW YEAR’S DAY OPEN HOUSE.

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No, you may not know where I live, thx.

I’ve always wanted to host a fresh and glittery and welcoming party on New Year’s Day. Seeing as how NYE is so often a fail, or at least a regret, I thought it might be nice to focus on moving forward with the new year, rather than auld lang syneing the last.

 

 

The only thing I reallllllly missed about NYE was the bubbles! Champagne, prosecco, cava, sparkling rosé – please overserve me at your earliest convenience.

Hence, the need for a…

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I admit I reserved the good stuff and put out the good enough stuff, but when you invite 40 people and 37 of them can’t care if it’s Cupcake or if it’s Veuve, sorrynotsorry.

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I rented extra coupes and flutes from River City Events, along with ice buckets. You don’t want to be washing up glassware in the middle of the festivity!

Here’s how I set it up. Also. Here’s my pink hair.

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I set out three kinds of juice – pomegranate, grapefruit, and orange, and three kinds of fruit – raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. I also had non-alcoholic sparkling juice stuff. Whatever that is.

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Silvery straws in a “sparkle” glass did double duty as sippers and stirrers.

With so much sparkling going on, one can’t forget the food! Since it’s a drop-in open house, I had to make sure that there were foods that could be replenished, both cold and hot.

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However, apparently I only took one food photo. Must’ve been due to all the replenishing that was going on.

I was also delinquent in my dessert photo taking, ugh! But here are the big players.

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Love, LOVE the Macaron Gâteau from Duchess. And that almond buttercream this month is amazzzzzing.

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Need a festive party activity that is both fun and delicious? Get yourself a Galette Des Rois. Stuff the youngest partier under a table. Force him/her to call out everyone’s names, one by one. Serve each person a piece of cake. Hope to heck that no one breaks a tooth on the fève. (That’s the ceramic tile that’s hidden somewhere in the cake.) Stick the paper crown on the hopefully not toothless winner. Festive!

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Queen S

                                                                     hangover 2.0

 

A great way to kill a party’s vibe is to use LED lights and invite horrid guests. I avoided both of these.

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Non-LED lighting.

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Non-horrid guest.

 

Before people were allowed to escape, reluctantly took their leave, I demanded meekly suggested that they write down a wish and pin it to our wishing wall. I think wishes are so much more lovely and so much less intimidating than resolutions. “LOSE 10 LBS” is not what one wants to see when one gazes with wonder upon a wall of wishes.

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Doesn’t get much wishier than this. HEART.

 

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It was a lovely New Year’s Day party and my rash barely bothered me at all! Well, maybe a little bit around the ankle…and the elbow…and…and…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

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Baijiu: Keepin’ it Boozy & Bao-y

In hindsight, I’m not sure I would have selected the furry pink beast as my coat of choice for Baijiu.

Add to that the pink ombre tassel earrings and I am reallllly on the far side of the EXTRAmeter.

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What the heck, who am I kidding? I’m extra and I like it.

And, hey! I found out Baijiu is kind of extra and I like that too!

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First thing, as we walked up the stairs, there was a cloud of hip and beautiful people floating at the pinnacle, including a local yogi celeb whom I ardently admire! Felt v. frumpy/old all of the sudden.

Fortunately, once inside, it was clear that Baijiu does not discriminate against regular or even extra types. All are welcome!

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It’s pretty cool at Baijiu. We didn’t want to sit at one of the tables, so we bellied up to the bar.

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I like to see the boozy magic happen!

Also, we sat right by the DJ guy, and it was very festive to watch him do his thing.

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The DJ is a very transparent kind of guy. Either that or I just didn’t take a pic at the right time, ugh.

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Astroboy looked upset about something. Too much booziness, AB?

Robert went all rogue and asked for a riff on something mezcal. Check out the Black Sea salt treatment!

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I asked for something bubbly and French 75ish and St. Germainish and I got this little darling.

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Totally pony pitcherable.

We tried out 3 dishes.

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We had to try the infamous bao, of course, and went for the Red Braised Pork Bao. I couldn’t refuse the siren call of the Duck Confit Fried Rice and Robert wanted the Spicy Beef Noodles.

AGH.

The food was. SO. GOOD. I had a small seizure when I tried my first bite of the rice. And those house-made fat noodles, GAH. Must come back for more when we are sufficiently famished and wearing stretchy pants.

Finally, Robert ordered the will-not-be-ignored Renshenfengwangjiangthang.

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Our knowledgable bartender revealed to us that they had discovered how to crack the Ginseng Royal Jelly bottle so that the contents would meld with the Japanese whiskey/Cynar/fresh ginger juice. Heck, this drink is pretty much the equivalent of a healthy superfood juice. Enjoy sans guilt, I say!

Before we left, we were served up the DJ’s pet drink – a shot of Hennessy VS followed by a teeny green tea.

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It was, much to my surprise, DELICIOUS.

Well played, DJ.

Unfortunately, I think it caused Robert to have a mini stroke, as evidenced by his left eye.

IMG_0150Seriously, what is going on there???

Anyway, if food can induce mini seizures and drinks can induce mini strokes, you know they’re doing something well!

If having involuntary nervous system reactions to delicious food and drink is wrong, I don’t ever want to be right!

Get thee to Baijiu!

 

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Holy Cocktail Café! Cocktails AND Tea at The Holy Roller

It’s my birthday month! And as the cloud of sugary gluten and creamy/baked/gooey anything begins to lift, I realize that I need to find some meaningful purpose in life. A way to give back. A way to help my fellow man (and inherent to that, woman, since man is a gender neutral term, children!).

You gotta make your own fun or who will make it for you?

I’ll tell you who.

NO ONE, my friend. NO. ONE.

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With this in mind, I have declared that this January, I will contribute to the betterment of society by single-mindedly pursuing the discovery of…

The Most Festive Cocktail Joints in Edmonton!!!

In this case, Festive must include delicious, creative, vibey, lovely, and people-watchy.

Who knew my first foray into cocktail joint analysis would be completely happenstance!

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Robert and I wanted to check out the café part of The Holy Roller, so we stopped by on a Sunday afternoon at about 3 p.m. The café, in the front of the building, is a huge, cavernous space, with a long marble bar area, squeaky floors and that lovely musty smell of old wood.

i.e. LOVE.

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No one was there, and the restaurant part of The Holy Roller doesn’t open until 4, so we were able to get the low down from the café dude, Luke, and the bar manager, Mark. They were both really welcoming, warm, and knowledgable. Please note, the café is not the usual venue to enjoy a drink –  it’s a totally different feel at night in the restaurant!  Here’s a view of it, daytime style.

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I asked for a tea, but at Mark’s suggestion, Robert got a riff on an Old Fashioned with Mezcal and 3 kinds of bitters.

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It was clean, refreshing, citrusy, and THAT GLASS.

P.S. in the background is a super cute little empanada with chorizo. The café has a bunch of little pre-wrapped thingies like wraps and such. Also a cute little cinnamon bun with a really good strawberry jam inside.

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Chef Rafael D’Alcazar also makes an impressive variety of chocolates. Didn’t get to try them, but next time, fo shiz!

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Robert, feeling as though he is being watched.

We changed seats because a) we can b) I like to try out different views c) I like having my back to a wall since I am actually a highly trained spy.

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We could not escape the knowing glance of the peacock himself, however. And, heck, who would want to?

Robert moved on to The Sacred Heart. So fitting for a Sunday. Look at those festive Thai chiles!

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I asked for a Sidecar. I love me a Sidecar for a lighter and parch-relieving drink.

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Of course, after all of that liquid, nature began her usual yodelling, so – wait a minute! What is that??? A SECRET DOOR?????

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MUST. OPEN. DOOR.

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MUST. DISCOVER. SECRET. BEHIND. SECRET. DOOR.

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Now THIS is a bathroom flush with some serious wallpaper.😬

 

I loved sipping cocktails in this venerable yet ultra hip café setting. You should go!

 

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