Living La Vida Local: Canova Pasticceria

Hey friends! I am still here and kind of around… Even though we all know that I am not one of the most consistent bloggers out there (ha!), I do try to keep up on social media and I am just going to say it now – school is killing me on all the social media fronts! Somehow, I decided that completing all my classes by April (just in time for June graduation) was a good idea and I am taking seven classes this semester. Past me was obviously more energetic than current me! One of the upsides and downsides to doing a MBA program is the tremendous amount of group work that happens. The perks are working with insanely fun and bright people, but the downside is definitely trying to coordinate the schedules of 5 people – I have had meetings at 9:30pm and that makes me a sad panda… The only thing that makes group meetings fun would be snacks and coffee (lots and lots of coffee!), so luckily for me (and my group), Canova Pasticceria reached out to share their story and they offered to put together a pastry tray for our MBA group so that we could see what they’re about and to provide feedback on their products.

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Get Yourself to Brunch at Get Cooking

2016 is the year of brunches for me as I have been hitting up several brunch spots over the first quarter of the year! At the end of February, I was invited to check out the Get Cooking Brunch Pop-Up series and *spoiler alert* it was a delectable feast! My pal Nancy and I rolled in to the Get Cooking studios and were seated at a communal table with several others and (soon) greeted with never ending cups of coffee. One thing that I really loved was the attention to detail and care as the Get Cooking team used locally roasted Iconoclast coffee (in a French press no less!) and offered containers of warm milk for your coffee… I don’t even do that at home!

Brunch setting with a (soon to be) never empty coffee cup

Brunch setting with a (soon to be) never empty coffee cup

In addition to the coffee, there were these bowls filled with beautifully baked bread… Even though I knew there would be a lot of food coming, I couldn’t resist the carb-y goodness in front of me and had a slice or two… possibly three?

Bread

Bread… so much bread

Speaking of carbs, these scones made by the Get Cooking team were so so good. They play with different flavours every brunch, but I zoned out once I heard there were homemade scone and forgot to write down this pop-up’s flavour (sorry friends!). These were served with saskatoon berry jam and whipped cream – the whipped cream was so much better than the kind I make using grocery store cream and I think this is the difference between using a super good quality whipping cream versus the regular stuff in store. These scones were so delightful and a great “official” start to brunch!

Scones with whipped cream and Saskatoon berry jam

Scones with whipped cream and Saskatoon berry jam

Apparently European style brunches, which the Get Cooking brunch is modeled after also starts with charcuterie – and the Get Cooking team certainly did not skimp on the meat and cheese! I love charcuterie and this did not disappoint with the smoked duck being the highlight of the board for me.

Charcuterie board with liverwurst, duck, and an assortment of cured meats.

Charcuterie board with liverwurst, duck, and an assortment of cured meats

Cheese board!

Cheese board!

Starting "small" with a taste of everything...

Starting “small” with a taste of everything…

In addition to the coffee, Get Cooking also dished up a brunch cocktail made with pineapple infused rum, almond syrup, sumac, cucumber, mint and berries. There was a large punch bowl placed on the table, but unfortunately, there wasn’t quite enough for everyone to get a full glass. Our end of the table had a little bit less but it was probably not a bad thing as this cocktail was quite strong – that or we just didn’t give the bowl a good enough stir. The flavours of the cocktail were very garden party like, which worked very well for brunch.

Cocktail made with pineapple infused rum, almond syrup, sumac, cucumber, mint and berries.

Cocktail made with pineapple infused rum, almond syrup, sumac, cucumber, mint and berries

Following the cold dishes/buffet of scones and charcuterie, Chef Doreen Prei started dishing out the hot dishes and this first dish was an eye-opening one for me. I am not usually a fan of oatmeal and/or steel cut oats as I find the texture not to my liking, but Chef Doreen definitely changed my mind. The Gold Forest Grains steel cut oats with pistachios, blueberries, sauteed chorizo topped with whipped cream and chorizo oil had so many different textures and flavours that I couldn’t stop eating it. The idea of chorizo and whipped cream seems kind of weird but when you mix everything together into a single bite, it was savory and slightly sweet and just an explosion of flavour!

Gold Forest Grains Steel Cut Oats with pistachios, blueberries, sauteed chorizo topped with whipped cream and chorizo oil

Gold Forest Grains steel cut oats with pistachios, blueberries, sauteed chorizo topped with whipped cream and chorizo oil

Immediately following the steel cut oats were the ricotta fritters with a tomato and orange sauce. I usually find fritters to be hit or miss, depending on the occasion, but these ricotta fritters were pillowy soft and when paired with the tangy sauce, they were perfect little bites.

Ricotta Fritters with a Tomato and Orange Sauce

Ricotta Fritters with a Tomato and Orange Sauce

The next dish included my nemesis – the poached egg… full disclosure here – I did not eat the beautifully poached egg, but rather passed it on to Nancy after I snapped some photos and a video for snapchat. Nancy really liked the egg and the egg yolk was runny, which is what you would like to see with what is essentially an eggs benny. The grated potatoes and smoked salmon (from local company Sgambaro’s Seafood) were delicious with the bernaise sauce.

Poached egg on grated potatoes and smoked salmon with a hollandaise/bernaise sauce

Poached egg on grated potatoes and smoked salmon with a bernaise sauce

The final savory dish on deck was a flank steak (marinated in beer) with a German bread dumpling with rapini, mushrooms and truffle. When I think steak and brunch, I usually think of the huge lumberjack type breakfast, but this was much more refined and cooked beautifully. My favorite part though was the German bread dumpling… that would be my love of carbs speaking.

Flank Steak (marinated in beer) with a German bread dumpling with rapini, mushrooms and truffle

Flank Steak (marinated in beer) with a German bread dumpling with rapini, mushrooms and truffle

I was feeling pretty full (who wouldn’t be?) by now, but then Chef Doreen started plating dessert and I never say no to dessert. The fried brioche dusted with lavender sugar, white chocolate and elderflower parfait with a chocolate chili sauce were a phenomenal ending to brunch. These hit the right balance of sweetness as the chocolate sauce was a dark chocolate with a hint of heat and the berries with the elderflower parfait were the right mix of sweet and tart.

Fried brioche dusted with lavendar sugar, white chocolate and elderflower parfait with a chocolate chili sauce

Fried brioche dusted with lavender sugar, white chocolate and elderflower parfait with a chocolate chili sauce

Overall, I had an amazing time at the Get Cooking brunch and I could not recommend it enough. The Get Cooking team is fantastic and there to make your experience great – they were always ready to offer more coffee and tea, stop and explain the dishes, offer to have people come up and see what Chef Doreen was cooking and answer any and all questions diners had about the dishes. The brunches probably seat around 20 or so people (at least that was what the set up was when we were there), although I think the room could be configured for more if needed? The set up we had allowed us to chat with our fellow diners, and this is where I met fellow blogger Athena (aka The Salty Almond), so that was very nice!

So What Would Argenplath Pay?

The Get Cooking brunches are on Saturdays at the Get Cooking studio and ticket prices are $45 per adult, $22.50 for children between the ages of 7 and 13, and free for children 6 and under. The brunch fee includes coffee/tea, a welcome cocktail, three hot entrees, a cold table, and dessert, which I think it quite reasonable for what you get. I don’t think you will be disappointed if it is anything like my February experience!

The next brunch is on April 16 and there are still spaces available, but the May session is completely sold out, so I would recommend getting yourself a space while you can. You can keep an eye out on the Get Cooking calendar for the brunch pop-ups and purchase tickets via the website as well.

Disclosure: I was invited to the Get Cooking Brunch by Get Cooking and our brunch was complimentary. I was not expected to write a blog post in exchange for our meal and all opinions remain my own.

Living La Vida Local: Bling on 124 Street

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.

Bling at 10612-124 Street

Bling at 10612-124 Street

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Living La Vida Local: Kickstarter Edition – twentyfour coffee

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 advent calendar packaging

Isn’t the packaging for this coffee advent calendar just beautiful?! Photo from twentyfourcoffee.com

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!

Living La Vida Local: Yellow House Consignment

I have been thinking about which local business I wanted to talk about next and I have a great list of places in Edmonton that I love, but wanted to focus on one that is a little newer or maybe less well known, so it’s very serendipitous that I recently learned about Yellow House Consignment. I originally found Yellow House Consignment on Instagram where the owner Miranda posts photos of all the beautiful items she has for sale. I chatted with Miranda for a few minutes at her open house event and learned that Yellow House Consignment has only been open for about 3 months. She said that she does take items in from consignors in addition to purchasing some from thrift shops etc. Miranda is already full for summer consignors, but she may be opening up space for consignors in the Fall – I know that I will probably be contacting her about consigning a few things once I get around to cleaning my closet!

Miranda hosted an open house this past weekend and I was able to pop over after running a few errands to check out everything she had in stock. The quantity of clothing was actually quite surprising to me since Yellow House Consignment is run out of Miranda’s home and items are generally either sold via facebook, instagram or appointments. There were several racks of clothing and lots of these had not been photographed and posted online yet. I wish I had a nice photo to show y’all but unfortunately, the sun was streaming in through the wrong angle for me to capture all the racks. Miranda has a lot of great brands (I saw Anthopologie, Michael Kors, BCBG and more) and she even had items from local designers like Fridget Apparel!

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