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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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!) – #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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High Tea at Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

My best girl will soon be leaving me to return to her amazing endeavours at National Theatre School and I wanted take time to do some serious mother-daughter bonding. Since we both love tea, both love festive occasions, and both love the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, weekday High Tea was the obvious choice!

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You know you can check mother-daughter bonding off your to-do list when you have cried, hugged, laughed, waxed poetic, and talked feminism/Trump/carbon tax, all whilst enjoying:

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The finger sandwiches were so adorable and the flavours, surprising (roasted grapes, anyone?)! Love me some egg salad, in dainty form or otherwise! You can take the girl out of the 1980s-Sunday-after-church-bunwich-luncheons but well, you know…

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The second tier was hit and miss for me. The kirsch cherry tart missed. The eggnog cannoli was a major hit for Kajsa. I loved the fruit cake madeleine even though I’m not a fan of fruit cake. It was so rummy, I contemplated changing my name to Ginger Sparrow and adopting a peg leg.

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But enough of this jibber jabber. SCONES.

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No, those are not scones. Yes, I discovered that although the scones were buttery, flaky, and delicious, they photographed like dough blobs. So enjoy heaven on a tray: the divine whipped up Devonshire cream and the house made preserves. This, I could eat with a spoon. And did. The cream was also the only item on our table that, apparently, was succulent enough to attract a small fly. He died a death to which we should all aspire: sucked deep into fluffy mounds of Devonshire cream, drifting into the next life with a belly full of goodness.

P.S. The tea selection was also delightful, since it included any of the Fairmont teas. We both had the Fairmont Breakfast tea, and then I moved on to the Jasmine Butterfly – both with honey for me, of course! Kajsa didn’t need any because she is already so sweet! (Please see below for proof of this biased, yet objectively true statement.)

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On the way out, we spotted two of my favourite celebrities!

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They were quite standoffish though. Kept looking off to the left, avoiding eye contact, and keeping an almost painted on smile on their faces. Disappointing to say the least!

Finally, we did a bit of festive posing of our own non-celebrity selves, to mark this lovely time we had to be together, just the two of us, before she departs for school.

 

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What are your favourite high tea experiences?

 

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