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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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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