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.

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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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How to NYE in Edmonton

Ah, New Year’s Eve, you kidder you. Always driving me into a frenetic mania in my attempt to secure the perfect NYE festivity. And every year, I tread dangerously close to disaster.

This year, I almost spent 200$ per person to sit in a stuffy, underwhelming ballroom at tables with 8 unknown Stepford wives/husbands, in chairs with fabric bows tied onto them, eating things that include descriptors such as “naughty” and “prestige” (BARF). Who do I think I am, a regular in the smash hit series, “Housewives of the Not-So-Wealthy-Side-Of Glenora”??

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NO.

 

Rebounding from that near catastrophe, I went too far to the other extreme and almost spent 10$ to dance with children half my age whilst clutching my red solo cup of the dreaded vodka cran.

So. Much. Plaid.

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 NOPE.

 

Fortunately, I was able to retrieve my senses from their precarious party planning perch, and ask myself:

Smart me: “Ok, soooo…what do we like to do when it’s not NYE, anyway?”

Dumb me: “Well, we like to….eat. Good food. Good local food. Aaaand drink bubbles. Also, we like Nibs.”

Smart me: “Alright! So here’s what we do. We eat good local food. We drink bubbles. Also, we eat Nibs.”

Dumb me: <smiles contentedly>

 

So off we went! First, we went to Table Top Café to eat Nibs. And play Bananagrams.

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I love the candy bowls, I love running a tab, and I LOVE destroying the world with my banana gram talents.

Since we hadn’t made reservations, we decided to start at one of the best joints in town for food and for atmosphere, Bar Bricco. But first, a toast.

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To us! #lovemyfamsomuch

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Have you been to Bar Bricco? I feel instantly cooler when I walk in there.

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We started with the ricotta and crostini. Always a favourite, so to die for, and die we did.

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With a glass of the bubbly rosé – a Pinot Noir/Grasparossa, it was divineee. My compatriots enjoyed the 8$ Negronis and Boulevardiers. Man, I hang with some cool kids.

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This was just the warm up though. If I had to marry a spuntini, my husband would definitely be the scrambled eggs Cacio e Pepe style.

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Aghhh so creamy so cheesy sooooooo good.

Finally, the Fonduta Angolotti with its blissful sage butter.

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Sorry for darkish pic. I’m actually surprised I have anything to show you since my eyes were closed in rapturous bliss for most of the dinner. Point and click, baby!

Time to move next door to Uccellino! Men in kilts first!

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Oh my gosh I love me some Uccellino.

Start with bubbles. Gasparossa!

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Add a bubbly dinner partner.

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And get ordering ALL THE FOOD.

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Pumpkin Agrodolce. Such a revelation of deliciousness. Like worthy of stopping in just to eat this beauty.

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I, of course, had to continue my uninterrupted streak of Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe. I always have intentions of breaking outside of the cheesy, peppery box, but continually fail.

Dear husband Robert has been holding a desperate and hopeful vigil for the Drunken Spaghetti for many months now. His soul was crushed like a pitiful ant under my Poppy Barley boot, however, when he heard it is still AWOL. He rallied and got the Pappardelle with Pig’s Head and Prosciutto Ragu Bianco.IMG_0438

He did love it, of course! Nothing, however, will ever compare with his beloved Spaghetti Ubriacchi. For the sake of our marriage, Uccellino powers that be, please bring it back!

Dearest daughter o’ mine had the Pumpkin Ravioli.

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More sage butterrrrrr. It was beloved, adored, and cherished.

Daughter’s lovely young fellow in rose had the Mezze Maniche. Spicy food for a spicy guy!

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To end it all on a note of adulterated bliss, we had the olive oil cake with olive oil gelato.

SHAZAM.

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A toast to a highly successful NYE dinner!

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P.S. I actually painted my nails so please note them.

 

What a delightful evening we have had, I guess it’s time to go hom-

WHAT.

WE DID NOT. HAVE. CHAMPAGNE.

OR OYSTERS.

On to Wishbone!

I highly recommend Wishbone as a first date venue. That lighting though. Banishes the deepest of wrinkly crevasses into blurry oblivion!

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Fresh, delicious, slurpy oysters with garlicky butter and lemon, of thee am I also fond.

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Fully sated with decadence and tomfoolery, we headed home.

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To a midnight toast to 2018!

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How did you celebrate the new year? Hope it was anything but disastrous!

 

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Pip, Pip, Hooray!

WOW, we had the most amazing brunch today at Pip. We, meaning me, (duh), dearest husband, long-lost-prodigal-daughter, and long-lost-prodigal-daughter’s partner. P.S., apparently, BOYFRIEND is not the term one uses in these days of millennial enlightenment.

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Such a cute partner!

Well, I had heard so much good buzzage about the place, but was daunted by the popularity of Pip mixed with its no reservations policy. We arrived at 11 am and there was a 45-60 minute wait! That was no skin off our proverbial noses though, since we had to do some boot/dress/suit shopping. They texted us when the table was ready and off we went!

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Note teeny tiny space, totally packed with adoring people. The vibe is cozy and unpretentious with a solid amount of people-watching to be had. Also, the service, (that’s our lovely server with half a face/body there on the left), was A PLUS PLUS. I do love a server and team that actually seem to care about your experience and want you to enjoy! YAY!

I started off with the Hugo Spritz.

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Elderflower and prosecco, HELLOOO!? It was light and refreshing.

Robert the husband, had himself some crafty type of beer. I don’t know about beer. But I know it seemed to please him. Because it was half gone by the time a picture could be taken.

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We liked the menu. Not too many things, yet a solid variety. Hilariously enough, the millennial in our group did NOT have the avocado on toast. Rather, the mother-of-a-millenial did.

Wow, I think I just invented a new PG friendly oath there:

HOLY MOTHER OF A MILLENNIAL, THAT WAS SOME GOOD AVOCADO TOAST.

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Sorry for already cut into photo, but will you please look at that beautiful yolk? Gorgeous, orange, lusciously fresh yolk! I forgot to ask them about their eggs but it’s clear that those are some farm fresh, cruelty free eggs. I could taste the happiness in that chicken with every bite.

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Daughter was verrrry happy with her Benedict. And let me tell you, after experiencing many a Benedict crisis while out for brunch, this is really saying something. Egg just right, and that sauce was SO buttery/creamy. Everything was just perfect. Happy daughter, happy mater.

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The sweet French toast bake was, of course, enjoyed by the sweetest of the four of us, the partner. Maple cream cheese, strawberry rhubarb jam – agh!!!! SO GOOD.

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Ironically, the grilled ham and cheese was enjoyed by the cheesiest of the four of us, my ham of a husband Robert. Simple, delicious, comforting – and would have been even more delightful if Robert had ordered the tomato bisque but, alas, the pull of any fried potato is more than my dearest husband can endure.

 

In conclusion, summary, and to wrap it all up, PIP IS AMAZING AF. (Trying ever so hard to sound millennial there.)

(P.S. Long-lost-prodigal-daughter is going to kill me for all these discriminating and inaccurate millennial references. However, she is certainly “entitled” to feel that way.)

See what I did there????

 

If you love brunch, be good to yourself and get over to Pip.

 

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Merry Mixology!

We had our “I guess it’s now an annual tradition” create your own cocktail party this weekend and it was festive. Like, Mariah Carey festive.

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The premise of a create your own cocktail party is that guests bring everything they need to make their drink of choice, as far as ingredients go. As the host, I provide the ice, the glassware (martini, cosmo, champagne flute, champagne coupe, hi ball, shot glasses etc.), shakers, and various tools of the mixology trade.

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The cocktails should be festive, swanky, and delicious. Ergo, survivalist drinks that remind oneself of university days gone by such as the spleen-tormenting vodka cran, should be avoided at all costs.

If things go well, everyone will show off their mad shaker skillz, concoct something amazing, and…share!

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Here’s Robert’s take on MY favourite drink – ‘The Last Mechanical Art”. In order to justify the fact that he had hijacked MY favourite drink, he renamed it “The Last Mechanical Science”.  The crucial ingredients in here are mezcal, Campari, cynar, and vermouth. Boozy as heck, just the way I like it.

Boozy or bubbly. I can easily roll my cocktail caravan in either direction. I made a classic champagne cocktail with angostura bitters soaked sugar cubes, and then I tried one I’d never made before.

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The name is lacking in glitter and swank, but nevertheless! With two forms of rhubarb (including the bitters) and two of elderflower (one being the St. Germain), this was highly festive! My only advice to you is to ensure that you do not accidentally confuse the St. Germain with the rhubarb bitters. GAH.

Don’t forget to have on offer a crapload of food or your guests may end up, as my young adult daughter tells me, turnt.

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Naked vanilla cake from The Art of Cake. Soooo light and yum.

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Absolutely stunning sugar cookies from Milk and Cookies Bakeshop. Oh my gosh. These were not only beautiful, they were also super delicious. Highly recommend!

I also ordered individually packaged sugar cookies in the shape of champagne coupes as guest favours and they were so lovely!

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Guests brought a plethora of cocktail fixins – from Canadian Club to Moet & Chandon.

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Of course, my true love, St. Germain himself, HAD to attend. He is truly the most sinful saint I know.

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I am always a stickler for lighting and festive touches. Oh, how I TRIED to get my POP FIZZ CLINK idea going. It didn’t turn out to be the greatest ever. Lack of wall space and…

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deflated N in CLINK, which Lord Andrew is handily hiding. Sigh.

No matter how cozy,

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no matter how festive,

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no matter how many dogs need petting,

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people always end up in the kitchen.

In order to facilitate this, it’s important to include a guest list that is both diverse and festive. A mix of personalities and stories is vital in avoiding the dreaded AWKWARD LULL or worse, the dreaded HOSTESS LEFT HER OWN PARTY TO GO TO KARAOKE.

Here we have new soulmates, Chris and Kris. Chris has helped me avoid the pain and torture of Hades itself and in a different manner, so has Kris!

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A renowned triathlete and styler of dapper hats attended.

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Suzanne is an aspiring sugar cookie model.

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Kris is flanked by, on the left, a rockstar, and on the right, an expert on rare and antique water heating systems that involve important valves.

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No romances blossomed, but there WERE bromances galore.

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And appearances by nobility in wearable works of esoteric art.

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Scottish clan chiefs cheersed Russian dukes (and my Russian language advisor). Nazdarovya!

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This was the only way I was getting a pic of me until someone took pity on me.

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My swanky outfit actually turned out to be kind of Aunt Shirl-ish.

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And then…..IMG_2526

the aftermath.

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Ugh. Abhore cleaning up.

Thank goodness I have a husband who has certain obsessive tendencies when it comes to cleaning. I’ll leave him to it.

Love to you all! And goodnight!

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Eat! The Start of a Girls’ Supper Club

I have wanted to start a girls’ supper club type of thing for a long time.

I’m a fan of supper.

I’m a fan of girls.

Put them together and you have either a horrific night of cannibalism or a wonderful night of fun and festivity!

Fortunately, my first attempt resulted in the latter.

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Here are the intricate and tricky steps to creating a supper club:

  1. Invite a diverse group of kind, fun, interesting, and festive people.
  2. Decide where/when/what.
  3. Eat!

I chose The Holy Roller as our first venue because it’s newly opened and has a great buzz about it.

Also, my mid-century Wedgwood stove decided that after 70 or so years, it had had enough.  At this point in time, a supper club at my house would consist of high fibre toast and microwaved eggs.

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This place is so vibey and coolesque and is super prime for people watching.

And dog watching.

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Kitsch is the name of the game at The Holy Roller.

And drinks.

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I was initially horrified by my drink décor. But then I realized I must accept it because I did, after all, order a drink made with aquavit and dill. So Scandinavian! Of course, in the spirit of a communal supper club, we all tried each other’s drinks. I can safely say that the enjoyment level of the cocktails at The Holy Roller is high. Skål!

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Not one person accessed these sweets all night! Maybe they were saving their appetites for the REAL food.

Like this crazy festive halibut ceviche.

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I was oohing and ahhing over it for so long, it was almost completely ingested by the diligent members of Eat! before I got started. I had enough to know that it was really pretty delicioussss.

We had a few other items. The duck chicharrones. Which I basically ordered because it’s fun to say.

Cheech- ah-rrrrrr-ohn-ehssss.

Good thing it was fun to say because it was only medium fun to eat.

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Sorry for not v. good pic. Truth be told, I struggled to snap a great shot. It just didn’t look that beautiful on the plate. Chicharrones are kind of like pork rinds, and in fact, originally, pork was often the go to. They should be decadently fatty, but light and delicate. These were okay. Kind of lukewarm literally and figuratively.

Moving on!

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Ricotta tapenade with, yes, the ever elusive…CAPPERS.  Yes, cappers.

Sooooo, did I ever mention I have a major case of misorthographia? (TM) Yes, I just made up a word to describe the extreme reactions I have to misspellings.

Cappers.

The menu also had a few more special challenges with spelling, but the craziest was involving their signature dish – pizza!

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The Holy Roller has two styles of pizza, the thick, Detroit style pizza, which you see in all its oozy glory above, and the New Haven style. We had to ask what the New Haven style pizza is all about. To this day, we still don’t know the answer to that question. Because the other style is actually New HEAVEN, people.

Anyway, New Heaven pizza is thinner, apparently. Or was that the New Haven? Agh!

We did like the Detroit style pizza we had – ricotta and PROSSIUTTO.

But there were 7 hungry members of Eat! there. And I went home with one piece! One piece out of four! What does this mean??? I am very appreciative of pizza leftovers, but also very suspicious. Shouldn’t this pizza have been gobbled down? Did my comrades and I just not get it? I think I shall have to return again to do further pizza pie research.

Cool restaurant style interlude.

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I just have to make a quick comment about the service at The Holy Roller.

It wasn’t great.

Which I had read on a couple of reviews, but UGH – hate when it happens to me. I’ll gloss over the rest of it, but MUST mention the repeated violation of tenet # 7a. in the Ultimate Handbook to Diners’ Rights, edition 4.

#7a. Do NOT, under any circumstances, attempt to remove food or drink, without asking, before diners have fully enjoyed the item. 

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I’m a fan of girls.

I am most decidedly NOT a fan of girls who try to take away my nectar and manna. Hands off, lady!

Time for another interlude.

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Look at this. Now this is a wonderful, ethereal, yet mean streets girls’ supper club moment. YAS MAMA KD.

Oh my gosh, I just realized that she has the same initials as macaroni and cheese. My love for her has reached new and cheesy levels.

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That mural on the wall behind these two cellular women is based on actual footage of my reaction whenever someone pulls out a phone at a supper club.

Just kidding, C & C! 💖

 

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Here are a couple of babes breaking bread and belting booze. Well, in this particular photo, we are digesting said bread and booze. And looking kitschy and kool doing so! I love the café area out front with all of its old timey lamps, furnishings, and oddities. Must come back for tea another day, sporting appropriately hip horn-rimmed glasses and a beard. (Not hard when you’re almost 45, believe me.)

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I wish I had been waiting for a no good, scruffy, motorbike-riding, professor type of guy in this picture. It just looks like what these chairs are made for.

Um. I just realized. I am married to a scruffy, motorbike-riding, professor type of guy. Although he is all good.

I’m livin’ the dream baby!

I think our first supper club was a hit! I did find it hard to chat up each girl, due to a) long table/loud venue and b) my problems with focusing when there are so many comment-worthy people to view! The Holy Roller is definitely the place to be if you want to immerse yourself in a festive, cool vibe and observe all the stylista ingenues.

Which I do!

We’ve decided that our second supper club will be hosted by one of us in our home.  Can’t wait to get together again, and Eat!

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Romancing the Restaurant

As my dear husband, Robert, says, I have a lot of “restrictions”. In fact, I like to think of these issues as more of a gift than a restriction. The gift of discernment, perception, and aesthetic sensitivity.  Which translated means, stuff bugs me. A lot. But stuff also puts me into raptures. A lot. As Mr. Joel sang…darling, I don’t know why I go to extremes. I just do!

For one thing, I am a definite sufferer of misophonia. The mere sight of this photo makes my spine shiver.fullsizeoutput_709Holy heck, when Robert scrapes his ceramic bowl/cup/plate with his spoon, it’s strictly fight or flight, baby! And our house is only 1300 sq. ft. so……

Another “restriction” I have, is intolerance of bad lighting, which I have now named misoluminia. (TM)

Example of friendly lighting:

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I’ve managed to eliminate any cranky-inducing light at home, but it’s when we go out into the big, unpredictable world, that I face challenges. Particularly in restaurants and particularly particularly when I’m looking for a romantic restaurant experience. One fluorescent light, one undimmed corner lamp, and it’s strictly fight or flight, baby! And restaurants don’t like when you skip out on the tab, so…

ERGO, my new mission is to discover the MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS IN EDMONTON!!! I thought this a delicious kind of exposure therapy PLUS I might be helping out my 4 loyal readers! Win win!

Before delving into romancing the restaurants, I made up a list of…ahem…”restrictions”:

  1. Lighting (duh). Soft, beautiful, warm…camouflages the rosacea I get when drinking red wine.
  2. Music. Better exist, and should be loud enough to blur torrid conversation but not so loud so as to require me to yell, “YOU WANT TO WHAT???”
  3. Food and drink. (ok, should be first, but RESTRICTIONS.) Delicious, sensory, eatable off each other’s plateable.
  4. Servers. The kind that know what they’re doing and certainly NEVER say “HEY GUYS!”
  5. General ambiance. If I keep unwillingly staring at the 7 TVs that you have boldly hung around the room, how can I stare into my partner’s limpid pools?

Armed with my gift of discernment, we headed out to…The Marc!

We love The Marc. Memories of early courting, sigh…….

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Okay, that’s not The Marc. But that IS us 7 years ago – the exact year that we visited The Marc for the first time! Why didn’t I take pictures agh…..

The Marc recently had their 7th year anniversary too, so I kind of feel a kindredness with this place.💝 Can’t let that blur my steadfast romantic restaurant mission!

  1. Lighting.

I have to say. It’s…okayyyyyish. The lighting at The Marc has kind of always stymied me. It’s pretty bright. Like quite bright. Like did I blend my concealer enough bright. Not harsh but sort of corporate lunchish. I don’t feel the need to flee, but it definitely doesn’t make me feel the need to swoon. Ah, well.

2. Music. It exists and it was just right. I actually can’t remember it. Which means it was enough to do its job but not too much.

3. Food and drink. Let’s separate these.

Food.

IMG_5889Oh my gosh the escargot with bone marrow. Can’t breathe. So good. So good. If you appreciate the finer points of the snail and of the inner workings of a bone, this is for you! Well, for me.🙌🏻

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MUSHROOMS ON TOAST, PLEASE MARRY ME NOW.  Those tender mushrooms. That chewy yet crisp toast. That rich and savoury sauce. That oozing, perfect egg. THIS is romance, baby.

Ok, let’s move on to drink.

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The Marc’s wine list is pretty fantastic, we all know that. But what about cocktails? Well, at least for our visit, not so great. (Also note kind of bright lighting!) Pretty standard and did take a loooong time, which threw off my MUST HAVE ROMANCE vibe a bit. Must give a bit of leeway though, since we had just imbibed pre-dinner drinks at Bar Clementine. Say no more.

4. Servers. The Marc has my favourite kind of server. Knowledgable of the menu and its inner workings, solid recommendations, just enough attentiveness but knowing when to hang back, not super young, and never says GUYS. These are the servers of old, the kind that can rock a slightly bitchy face but have a heart of gold and a world of expertise. Check!

5. General ambiance.  Solid. I like the minimalist but not annoyingly modern set up. Just dark wood tables and chairs and lovely white brick walls, plus the bank of windows. Nothing sticks in my craw here. HOWEVER, if it’s intimate times of whispering sweet nothings that you’re looking for…it MIGHT not work here. Not a certainty, but many tables are situated fairly close together and there is nothing in the way of layout or furniture to create any cozy little nooks. I would have been slightly embarrassed to plant a smooch on my life partner. I did anyway, but that’s just me! (Plus, the peeps at the next table took note and an adorable frenzy of furtive looks and whispers ensued.)

Also.

WHAT IS WITH THE LOSERS TAKING SELFIES IN THE MIRROR?

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Geez, you can’t go anywhere these days.

 

SO. For my first restaurant romancing, I give The Marc a 3 out of 5. I’m pretty sure it would be a 3.5 or even a 4 out of 5, if I had been sitting on the lovely leather banquette you see above. Back to the wall, I always say. It also forces your other to stare into the fiery depths of your soul. And prevents extended furtive looks and whispers from non-romantic diners.

What do you think? Was The Marc more romantic for you than we experienced? Is it just us? Did the selfie quash any hope of passionate dining? Do I really want to know the answers to the last three of these questions?

 

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50 is the new 30 and the annus horribilis

Hi.

I’m back.

Well…I’m trying to be back! This truly has been a most horrible year in many ways. Yes, some serious shit went down. But I have found that, try as it might, when the aforementioned horribleness goes down, it does not have to take you with it. No, it does not.

Adversity and pain, I laugh in your puny, spotty, and weak-chinned faces! And I intend to prove that here, by sharing with my ever-faithful 4 (actually I think I’m down to 3 after my extended break) readers, myriad frivolous photos of…

LORD ANDREW CLINTERTY’S 50TH BIRTHDAY PARTY!

If you have never had the privilege of meeting Lord Andrew, you need to make that a priority – stat. This man is a beast of an enigma, with the craziest stories from his youth and the oddest of current life choices. He has lived in Sri Lanka, Scotland, Wales, Greece, Malta, and Luxembourg. He has owned tea plantations and been chased by a wild elephant. He owns a fire engine red Lotus but doesn’t drive it. He is a Lord but lives with his parents in Edmonton.  He was featured in a 1985 edition of Flare magazine as one of the top ten bachelors in Canada – right beside Mario Lemieux.

Pics or it didn’t happen.

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Clearly, a 50th birthday party of Lord Andrew’s calibre was in order.

However, unfortunately for my noble friend, I have report cards due and I am also addicted to eating too many muffins every Saturday and Sunday at Credo (which seems to take up a good chunk of my weekend – proper attention to the ingestion of baked goods is so important!), so the party ended up being about 3 calibre levels too low, but OH WELL.

I went with a MOD MADNESS theme to commemorate the year of our Lord’s birth – 1967. We are talking Mary Quant and British Invasion and poofy hair and gobs of eyeliner. I didn’t decorate that way, though. Like I said, the lure of the cornmeal muffin was too strong to get into authentically period details. I went straight for the golden 50 sort of decor – way more Lord Andrew.

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Look at my festive balloon ceiling photo display!

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So. Much. Andrew.

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There was mod madness everywhere. Some rando dude with a full head of hair was striking a groovy pose.

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I tried to do a poofy beehivey hairdo but failed when I realized that I do not own hairspray or styling products. Look at that super miniature poof. Ugh.

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Some hippie types showed up at the wrong party. This is mod madness, people! Not tie dye and poncho weaving 101!

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Of COURSE, the guest du jour thought he would be allowed to celebrate in his Tommy Hellfinger and slippers, sans modness.

I soon fixed that.

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I also fixed Lord Andrew a signature cocktail for the night – a riff on his favourite drink. Now I know, I know. You’re thinking, what could such a lord’s favourite drink be? Classic gin and tonic? Expensive Moët & Chandon Dom Perignon White Gold? Perhaps a wee dram of Isabella’s Islay?

Well, no.

Milkshakes. Milkshakes are his favourite drink.

So milkshakes it was!

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Pretty festive! If slightly sickening.

After fortifying ourselves with food, milkshakes and a rousing game of “Who is Lord Andrew Clinterty?” trivia (apparently one can lose one’s virginity over the time and space of a continuum of approximately 21 years), we headed out to karaoke.

If you have never been privy to Andrew’s karaoke skillz, you are remiss. Andrew is famous for his signature two microphone rendition of “Benny and Jets”, among others.

And here is the Karaoke King himself!!!

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Um.

Well.

Those milkshakes though.

Anyway, here’s me!

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Very artistic. (That’s creative code for grainy and blurry). Accompanied by the world’s largest beer to my left.

That’s about it for Lord Andrew’s 50th birthday celebration. A festive evening fêting a very festive man! Happy birthday, Lord Andrew!

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10 things I’m going to do in 2017 – (NOT resolutions!) #4 – Embrace my Old Timey Self!

Inside this middle-aged (can’t believe I’m typing that!) body beats the heart of an old timey yet ridiculously festive granny. I love big band music and can sing/imitate the oboe for all of Glenn Miller’s tunes. Most of the movies I grew up loving involved either Humphrey Bogart or some reasonable facsimile, or a show-stopping ensemble of perky people washing that man right outta their hair/talking to the trees/being born under a wandering star.

I embraced my old timey self this past Friday, when I celebrated my birthday by attending a silver top convention. (Silver top convention : a function where I am definitely in the lower end of the age range. This is usually the case for the musical acts that I choose to enjoy.)

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I just LOVED the fun and old timey show that Andrew MacDonald-Smith and Don Berner and his Big Band put on at the  Club at the Citadel. I’ve heard Don Berner’s big band before at other shows, and they are always fun to watch and amazing to hear. There were so many classics, from Gershwin to West Side Story to a take on Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Yes, for real!

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Two of my girls joined me! I’m always wary when asking friends to come along to my silver top conventions. But these two held up admirably, and even enjoyed it!

 

But the fast-paced, edgy, and somewhat dangerous fun did not stop there! Robert took me to the Royal Tea and Tour at the Hotel MacDonald. This particular Royal Tea included an invitation to wear a hat or fascinator. I was all in!

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We started with a yummy sorbet. It was delightful when chased with a little sparkling wine.

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Our 3 tiered tray of delights provided a festive frame for Robert to be his festive self.

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He’s just so dang cute.

 

Of course, we went crazy over the teas. They had lovely loose teas for the Royal high tea.

I had the Buckingham Palace and the Hibiscus teas, while Robert had the super smoky Chinese something-or-other tea.

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After the tea, we got to tour the hotel! I have spent quite a lot of time at the Hotel Macdonald, between our wedding and my lounge visits, but I was hoping to hear some stories behind the history of the hotel and maybe see the Queen Elizabeth suite. Yay on both counts!

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I’m sitting in a window seat on which I’m quite sure the queen perched whilst pondering her subjects.

 

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The queen was such a beauty. Agh, her whole look is so on point! I feel like Frumpy Fergie standing next to her likeness.

Robert is such a gem to attend these old timey events with me. And to look so dapper/festive/hawt doing so!

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Now for my next event…Humphrey Bogart movie marathon, anyone?

 

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10 things I’m going to do in 2017 – (NOT resolutions! #3 – Bond with friends!

I admit I’m an introvert.

I don’t think most people get what an introvert is . It’s also kinda trendy to say I’M AN INTROVERT right now. But really, an introvert recharges from being alone. You might love any number of social situations, but you eventually are drrrraaaaiiinnneeeddd from hanging out with other humans and need to be alone to re-become sane.

This is dangerous because an introvert might never want to come out of the me-ness to enter the other-ness.

Enter the other-ness, I encourage all introverts! It’s almost inevitably good for you!

Today, with the fog, and the tiredness, and the grayness, I almost cancelled on a night out with friends. But I thought about how these particular friends are so good and so fun and so real and so friendish! And how, no matter how tired I am after an outing with them, in some weird way, I am also recharged.

And so, I, with my intrepid, vested, and polka-dotted husband, forged ahead!

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Met our friends Christina and Darryl at North 53 for an aperitif. I had my favourite BFF the Drunkcle. That’s a Drunken Uncle, more formally. I love bonding with this particular friend. Never EVER judges me.

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Darryl was starving so they ordered the Tuna Tataki. This is right before he demolished the tower of beauteous tuna and wonton with his fork of wanton destruction and mayhem.

We then proceeded on to The Marc where we were to feast upon their Alsatian menu which was to end that night!!! Love me some sauerkraut!!! Actually, I love saying sauerkraut even more than I love eating it. Zowahkrrrrowt. I could say that all day and be full without even eating a bite.

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What? This doesn’t look Alsatian?

That’s right. I got seduced by the fricking snails. If there’s escargot on the menu and it’s not bathed in tomato, I am trying it!

These were so fresh and yummy and un-garlic-bathed. Try stabbing a morsel of bone marrow with an escargot and a little piece of crunchy veg and WOWOWOWOW. I just about passed out. YUM, OK?

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Darryl, the most unimpressed-by-Alsace person in our group of 4, is the only one who ordered the full menu!!! First, he had the Tarte Flambée. The dish was almost as appealing as  his sincere and generous smile. A match made in himmel!

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Once we figured out that we weren’t all going for a revival of Alsace-Lorraine hits, we ordered a very nice wine from Veneto. You don’t know where Veneto is? What is wrong with you heathens!!??? Look it up!!!!

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Robert and Darryl engaged in some male bonding. Funnily enough, it often involved media. Christina and I have no photos of us bonding because we were engaging in one on one human interactions. YAS.

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Theme of the night. Robert looking askance at most everything. Including my verified claim of personal IQ level. Lord Andrew Clinterty, back me up, here!

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I had the Steak Tartare with a side of what will be my last side upon this earth before I die – the pommes frites with a DELICIOUS truffly dipping sauce. Can I just say how I’m pretty sure I can’t eat anything else until Thursday because it would be wrong to infringe upon this almost-religious experience? The spiced-just-enough tartare with the perfect frites and the UNBELIEVABLE sauce is pretty much everything I’ve ever aspired to. Just add bubbles and DONE.

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Friends. Enraptured by my husband’s talk. It gave me a moment to stare at their beauty and appreciate how much I love spending time with like-minded souls who are good and fun and funny and irreverent and festive. Love you!!!!

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PS. No good photos were taken of my outfit tonight! And believe me when I say it was CUTE. Ugh. Oh well, here’s the top of it. The bottom was the best! 😦

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Also, I got a new coat. From Oak and Fort. It is SO cute. And not black. Which caused me untold pallets of anxiety. But I think I made the right choice.

And what does that have to do with hanging out with friends? Well, friends understand who you are. They don’t judge you for what makes you excited and what makes you anxious. Christina loves that I love my new coat. She loves that I spaz out about the oddest of things. (You do, right, Christina?) And I love to listen to her stories and her hilarities and her sadnesses. It’s a two way street. And I love travelling either way on it.

 

What makes a friend a good friend for you?

 

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10 things I’m going to do in 2017 (NOT resolutions!) – #2 -Read more/better books and just sit.

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This is my chair. Yes, MY chair. I sit in it a LOT. If somebody else sits in my chair, I don’t get upset, more like I get confused. “Why  does my chair have this person in it?”, I wonder in a state of gobsmackedness, all the while kind of expecting my chair to expectorate the misplaced foreign object.

Ok, gross.

But nevertheless, you get the picture.

I’ve feathered my little nest so that it feels welcoming, shrouding, comfy, and yet light and airy. I like white and I like light. (Just for living spaces. Black FTW for clothes!) I’ve got my throw, candles, tea, and…books…

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I have an overflowing book shelf upstairs, but these books are the ones in rotation right now. They’re either books that I have read and loved/liked and just didn’t put away yet like “Lunch in Paris”, “White Trash”, the 3 books by MFK Fisher, and “The Goldfinch”,  or books in the queue like “Sapiens” and “Hemingway in Love”.  OR books that I couldn’t finish because I just can’t get into them, like “The Nest” or “Closed Casket” or “Fast Metabolism Foods” – (WHAT was I THINKING?)!  I wish I had removed some of the more embarrassing books before taking a pic- “The Glass Sword”? Come ON. Ah well, all in the name of transparency! I also have my sizeable collection of magazines – mostly Runner’s World, Vanity Fair and all manner of cooking, travel, and wine mags.

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One of the things I’m going to do more of is writing – on paper. I have journals  and notebooks I like to look at, but I need to actually write in them! Plus, as you might have seen at the top of the smaller stack of books in the previous photo, I have some beautiful coloured pencils, paints and colouring books that I do solemnly vow to use this year! They look really nice, but I think it would be even better if I, well, use them!

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P.S. Gotta have tea on hand at all times or what the heck is the point exactly?

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Also, a photo of me with my favourite girl is necessary when she is all they way across our fair country in Montréal. How I miss her! This is a memory of the trip we took to NYC this summer, just the two of us!

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Can’t forget the guardians of the chair. If I’m sitting, one or both of them will be at my feet. Kona, my regal prince,  is my tried and true dire wolf whose devotion doth not waver, but Freyja is a leeeeetle bit more fickle. As in, if she hears the neighbourhood Yorkie walking a block away, or a discarded plastic bag blowing down the street 8 doors down, she’s outta there. They make everything hirsute as heck, but, still, they do make cozy foot warmers!

Do you have a cozy nest/cave/den? And does it include live and drooly foot warmers like mine?

 

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