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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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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New Year, New Reason to Sparkle!

There is no better excuse to wear sparkly things, drink sparkly drinks, and eat non-sparkly but outrageously decadent foods, than New Year’s Eve, baby!!!

And since I am constantly on the lookout for reasons to be festive and sparkly, you can bet your bottom bauble that I maximize NYE.

Robert and I started out at Duchess where I, by some wonderful twist of NYE fate, managed to get my hands on a chocolate bread pudding. Robert had his pet Tartiflette, and his required multi-selection of macarons. We tried the candy cane, eggnog, gingerbread, and Robert’s true love – salted caramel.

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After Duchess, we went home, got all sparkled up, and Ubered over to the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald for festive cocktails in the Confederation Lounge. There really is no more festive place than the Hotel Mac for grown-up yet partyish drinks. I had the Raspberry 75, which I love, and the Flower Royale, which included bubbles and St. Germain. But even more AMAZING was the sight of Robert in his new Utkilt!

 

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This was my Christmas present to Robert, and I do think that it’s the gift that just keeps on giving…;)

 

We posed by the Christmas tree, but even though I was wearing my “Stephanie” dress by Workhall, which has a beautiful peplum that hid adorable black lace that matched the lace panel at the bottom of the dress, I fear that the wee laddie Robert of the moors of Westmount outshone me at every turn!

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After we finished at the Mac, we headed home to enjoy the bubbles and festive foods collection that we had carefully curated (grabbed at 4 pm that day) for our at-home NYE. We started off with smoked salmon, cheese boards, charcuterie and a classic lowbrow baked cheese dip. Paired (poorly, and without a care to what works!) with the food were Kir Royales and Prosecco with violet liqueur cocktails.

THEN THE DESSERTS.

We picked up some delights from Duchess earlier in the day. Had to have the Duke since I am so deeply in love with the whipped chocolate ganache and the salted caramel layer, not to mention the beauty of it!

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We also chose the Montreal Tarte – more ganache, spiced caramel this time, and soooo wintery good! It’s that beauty in the middle, surrounded by dark chocolate meringues!

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Finally, we tried the showpiece – the Galette des Rois! This grande dame of pastries intrigued me with its whimsy, so we HAD to get it! To galette it up, the youngest person has to hide under the table and call out the names of the guests. The pastry is then served in that order, and the person who finds the fève, or ceramic tile hidden in the cake, is crowned the king or queen for the night, literally!

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P.S. Rhubarb, cassis, AND cardamom?! Yes, please!

The galette did not disappoint – layer upon layer of rich, buttery, flaky pastry with just the right amount of subtle, wintery flavour.

Roni, the most youthful of us all, hid.

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And Robert, already the king of Engelwood, did not choke on nor break a molar on, the fève!

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P.S. Did I mention rosé champagne raspberry floats?

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So festive! I didn’t include the questionable photos of Lord Andrew Clinterty in a Happy New Year dunce cap, or of various noisemakers being blown in an undignified manner, or of our dogs begging for smoked salmon and biting certain guests, but you’ll have to trust me, that the night was full of sparkly, and possibly lawsuit-inducing, surprises!

 

How did you spend your NYE? Hope it was sparkly!

 

xox

 

Ginger