Yesterday was our first full day in Edmonton and we filled it up with a whole bunch of Edmontonriffic activities. Starting the day off bright and early (or just normal in Toronto) we went over to the City Market Downtown / 104th Street Farmers Market to take a look at what’s changed (and what’s stayed the same.)
It seems to have almost doubled in size since I was last here, (and can I say how cool it is to be able to look back 2 years and see when I was here last… nearly exactly 2 years to the date) and even though it was a rainy Saturday morning, there was a decent crowd. Many of the same vendors were there, but just as many new-to-me ones. The one vendor that had really sparked my interest in going to the market this weekend – the cookie lady, Bloom Bakery, that oh-so-many people recommended wasn’t there today. But on the bright side, I got to see a friend working at the market I might not have seen otherwise.
We also stumbled on a vegan chocolate company, the Chocolate Doctors, with delicious high cocoa percentage chocolate and chocolate spread. I tried the peppermint cocoa, and JC picked the Mayan chocolate ambrosia with a bit of a spicy kick. One medium size jar was $20, but the samples we had were delicious. I think it has the potential to last for a while unless we decide to have a chocolate fight. They also sell their product at Noorish Cafe (another place we might want to check out sometime this week. (Facebook, Twitter, Website.)
And there was also Yes Peas, a flavoured roasted chickpea company. A small pod of chickpeas was about $6. It was delicious, but I don’t know if I felt like I got even close to my money’s worth. Curiosity and the desire to take something home influenced by decision to buy it (add to that dill pickle flavour is generally a weakness.)
One that seemed great and was new-to-me was Fruits of Sherbrooke, a group that rescues local otherwise unharvested fruits, veggies and herbs, unused by homeowners and turns it into jams or other preserves. Reminded me a lot of the Not far From the Tree project in Toronto. Fruits of Sherbrooke had a bunch of great sounding preserves and now as I write this I’m kicking myself for not picking any up. There was a blueberry, raspberry, rhubarb combo that sounded great, in addition to a couple balsamic infused varieties, and chipotle rhubarb tomato sauces. You can volunteer or donate excess urban fruits to this project by connecting with the lovely folks by phone (780-452-2363) or by email (email@example.com). Or find out more on their website.
104th has turned into a street with small ecologically focused shops. Carbon was there two years ago, and had a diverse selection of primarily non-food organic, low impact products, from homecare, childcare, and even interior design. Now there was also the hint of a natural foods market, Pangea (no website that I could find), in progress. They have the beginnings of a decent store, but she mentioned they are aiming to have their grand opening in September.
Post Farmers Market, JC, my friend Jen and her daughter Mak, were going to go to Padmandi, but unfortunately according to their website, due to their participation in a Taste of Edmonton, they weren’t doing brunch this morning (or any of the morning’s we would be in town. sigh.) Fortunately, we remembered (and I listed) Clever Rabbit Vegetarian Cafe (10724-124st, Edmonton.) There were a couple of people inside, and it smelled great (I’m assuming because of the beautiful cinnamon buns that made their appearance shortly after we got there.)
Location was really cute. Service was slow and distracted, but friendly. The menus were almost illegible, but aesthetically lovely. The coconut cream was available and plentiful. (I think they also have dairy creamer too, but why bother. Coconut is awesome.) We all started by spliting a cinnamon bun, and they were incredible. Fluffy, sweet, cinnamon sugar layered doughy rolls of amazing. Complete with a healthy layer of whipped lightly sweet frosting on top. I probably could have stopped at that and been content, but vacation mode dictates that we must try more stuff on the menu.
JC knew what I was going to order before I did, but really, it was inevitable, Vegan Egg and Tofu Biscuits with a side of sausage (Tofurkey breakfast links I think.) I’m generally a sucker for biscuits. Especially flaky delicious ones.
JC ordered the Tofu Scramble, and it was pretty and colourful with chopped avocados and broccoli and other veggies, but too coriander-y for me when I stole a few bites. Though I get the impression he liked it.
Jen and Mak shared the vegan egg and tofu biscuits and the other thing I was eyeing… the vegan donair. Yes, it does exist, and it’s in Edmonton, Alberta. It came with a side of chips and this fantastic delicious cilantro filled salsa, which I can only imagine is home made. I didn’t have any of the donair, but we will have to go back again this week to try it for ourselves.
They have cute teal coloured rabbits (made me think of the Teal Cat Project) and white rabbit salt and pepper shakers on every table, and some incredibly weird art (deer heads in astronaut uniforms) on the walls. The music was fun, and the coffee was delicious. It made me wish it was in Toronto, because it would be the perfect for Parkdale.
After Clever Rabbit, we drove to The Mall (West Edmonton Mall) and played games at Galaxyland. It was funny and weird, but the general consensus was that we would have to come back and go to the Waterpark at some point, because you know… water slides.
We rounded out the evening with an evening walk around the Royal Alberta Museum with my parents and a late night stop into the new Remedy location downtown. I saw some vegan cakes, but no magical beautiful vegan cheesecakes like before. We did get a gluten-free vegan brownie that was miraculously moist and delicious and the always delicious soy chai latte.
We caught a few minutes of entertainment at A Taste of Edmonton as we walked over to my old favourite hole in the wall restaurant Double Greeting Wonton House (10212 96 Street NW, Edmonton). Double Greeting is like like stepping back into the past, it never changes, the staff is still mostly the same, and the food is nearly identical. If you ever go, the rice with spicy soft bean curd (Vegetarian 333) is delicious. I thought it was hilarious to read the comments on an Edmonton (not-vegan) food blogger’s (Only Here for the Food) post where she didn’t like Double Greeting (Not Much of a Reward: Double Greeting). The place has a lot of fans, but I agree with most people, it really depends on what you order.
I’m looking forward to whatever we’ll get up to today. It’s been interesting being back in town. Running into people I used to know while JC and I are running around the city is kind of funny.