Wow… summer has totally flown by. I don’t get to take a lot of time off work in the summer so I always think it will feel incredibly long, but I am proven wrong every single time. While I did get to take off and enjoy sunny California (maybe too sunny since I came home with a sunburn despite copious amounts of sunscreen), all the awesome festivals and events in Edmonton have just filled up what spare time I have, which means I haven’t been able to share my July and August Topboxes with y’all…
A little while back, I received an invitation from The Keg Steakhouse + Bar’s PR company asking if I would be interested in attending their lobster summer menu tasting event. I have to admit that I am not usually a regular at The Keg, considering I don’t really eat a lot of steak or meat and potatoes (worst Albertan ever?). My preference is always the seafood or fish dish, so when I read lobster – I was immediately on board! When I arrived at our table and saw the tasting menu, I was overwhelmed by how many options they were bringing us to sample and it was all lobster related too, but I guess when you’ve been offering a lobster summer menu for over 15 years as The Keg has, you know what you’re doing.
The Keg also has several feature cocktails for the summer and I was interested in a lot of them, but as our tasting menu came with wine pairings, and I was driving myself home, I decided to try the Strawberry Basil Lemonade sans gin. I thought this was a nice refreshing drink for the hot summer day and would love to drink it while sitting on a patio. I really liked the tartness of the lemonade and the basil in it – I am confident that adding gin could only make it better!
I wasn’t planning on writing another Living La Vida Local post so soon but I found a home decor shop that I have never heard of before and had to share this with y’all right away. Today my pal Cindy and I were going on our own little 124 Street shop crawl and we walked past the coolest looking store and just had to stop. While Bling is new to 124 Street, it is not new to Edmonton as they recently relocated from their space near City Hall over to 124 Street.
For the longest time I was a non-coffee drinker – in fact, despite my current love for a great cup of coffee, I was anti-coffee up until the moment of my first grad school all nighter. Even then, coffee was used as a last resort to boost my energy just long enough to hand in whatever was due. However, during that time, I started learning a lot about the type of coffee I like and becoming pickier about the coffee I drank. I struggle with pre-ground coffee from the grocery store (although it will do in a pinch) and prefer to grab locally roasted coffee beans and grind them myself, stopping in at a local coffee shop, or barring that, I do have a nespresso machine that I really like too. So why am I going on about coffee? Well, I just found out about a very cool local kickstarter that was recently launched and wanted to share it with all my fellow coffee lovers!
twentyfour coffee has a kickstarter campaign going on to produce a craft coffee advent calendar – at first blush, you would think that this would already be a thing, but upon reflection, this is the first time I’ve heard of one! The advent calendar would have 24 different 2oz coffees from a handful of independent Canadian coffee roasters like Transcend Coffee, which is a local favorite of mine. I really love this project not just because it speaks to my caffeine loving soul or that it is fulfilling a need I never knew I had, but because it’s a local project that is promoting independent coffee roasters. I can’t wait to see what coffee roasters across the country have to offer or even ones here in Edmonton as I haven’t tried all of them yet either. There are lots of interesting advent calendars these days (not just those cheap chocolate ones) and I think this one will find a place with coffee lovers everywhere (it only ships to Canada and the US for now). For more information about the kickstarter campaign, check out their campaign page!
So What Would Argenplath Pay?
Living La Vida Local to me isn’t only about buying local, but also supporting local initiatives and projects, so I have already pledged my $120 (I’m putting my money where my mouth is :p) in hopes of receiving a craft coffee advent calendar if the kickstarter gets funded. I know a total of $120 ($95 for the calendar and $25 for shipping) sounds like a lot but really it works out to $10/month or 2 lattes or 5 regular coffees, which isn’t really that much when I think about how much I spend on coffee each month. For those that are leery of spending $120, there is also a $30 reward which would give you a sample pack of 3 random coffees, so you could still get the advent calendar feeling on a smaller budget! There is a twitter/facebook contest going on as well where you can enter to win 1 of 5 craft coffee advent calendars (provided the project gets funded). So, if you’re a coffee fan. I would encourage you to check out twentyfour coffee’s project and support them in whatever way you can, whether it is actually funding them or just sharing their project with others!
All you can eat (AYCE) is one of those phrases that simultaneously delights and horrifies me. I love the idea of choice and options for a single price but I also hate being overwhelmed by choices and trying to decide how much I can eat before feeling too full and wanting to throw up. So when everyone was telling me about It’ All opening up in Chinatown, I was very intrigued but also a little unsure about going. However, my awesome friend JP came to town last weekend and since I know he can eat a lot and would be able to polish off everything I take but cannot finish (no waste here), we decided it would be a great place for a meal.
It’ All is a Japanese and Korean all you can eat place and one of the selling features for us was that it had a ton of Korean side dish (banchan) options. I have seen photos of the massive banchan area in the buffet and couldn’t wait to try as much as possible. After some deliberation, we went with twelve different types of banchan…