Edmonton Tourist: Little Brick

After enjoying the Café Bicyclette winter patio last week, I wanted more. So, I invited a friend to try out the Little Brick winter patio.

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It wasn’t ready for patio lovin’ and I wanted a fire so we went inside and found a spot next to the fireplace.

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It was very nice and extremely warm. It was lovely!

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I decided not to have eggs, that is my go-to breakfast. I chose french toast and this version was so pretty! It was bread pudding topped with swiss meringue sitting on a berry compote and topped with pretty flowers. Seriously, flowers on any plate make it so appetizing for me and I sit there looking at my food as if it is art.

My friend had the eggs benedict, also incredibly beautiful.

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Their eggs are always perfection, done with the sous vide method. We each had a hot beverage, me with a latte and her with a chai.

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Breakfast was lovely and we lingered for two hours nursing our food and our drinks. The conversation turned to travel and we spoke about where we’ve been and where we are going. There was a tiny bit of career talk – not work but chat about our careers and how we got here. Honestly, it was one of the more interesting conversations that is only usually saved for my university buddy. It was a complete delight! Finding people you can connect with over food and coffee is such a treat. As an introvert, I fear long conversations will exhaust me, but that wasn’t the case. I think the key is to find someone who is interesting and isn’t emotionally depleting is the key.

We only left because she had an appointment at 12:30, and they needed the table but not once did we feel rushed. The atmosphere, food and conversation made Little Brick a complete delight. I recommend bringing your bestie or someone you want to get to know better and enjoy breakfast by the fire. Hopefully, the patio will be open. If it’s not, there are several different rooms to choose from, each equally charming.

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Get out and explore your city!

Edmonton Tourist: Café Linnea

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Do you see that empty chair? That was where my brunch companion was supposed to sit. She arrived eventually but this happened during the -40C cold snap. (The cold snap that lasted 10 days.) The world was moving slow. I even arrived later than I wanted to because Café Linnea is usually packed with Edmontonians wanting to eat the delicious food they serve. This is what it looked like 9:00 a.m. Me and that couple in the corner. My server brought endless coffee and I sat with my book and just enjoyed the peace until Rena arrived. I had been here before and wrote about it here. Being my second visit, I was hoping the food was as amazing as it was last time – in case you are curious, the answer is “you betcha!”

 

 

We spent two hours catching up and devouring the food. I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when I saw the special, schnitzel and spaetzle. Um, yes, please!

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The last time I had really good schnitzel I was in Freudenstadt, Germany 

Just looking at this photo makes me want to have it for dinner. This was as good as I remember it should taste. I wish it was a regular menu item because I would be back tonight. Except the celery salad. (?!?!!?) I’d be okay if I never ate that again. I’d rather just munch on celery sticks thanks.

My brunch companion had the Farmer’s Breakfast.

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Look at those beautiful eggs! We both had the juice of the day, grapefruit and something with something else. Freshly squeezed juice is always delicious so I didn’t pay attention. Their coffee was good and hot and always filled in my cup. I usually have the latte but decided on the old school cuppa so I could have lots. I love holding the hot cup in my hands on such a cold day.

As the morning progressed, the placed filled to capacity. We continued to chat and were never rushed so we ordered dessert.

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I was still feeling the Euro vibe, so I had a lemon crepe. It was light and perfect. My partner ate the chocolate rosemary ganache and loved it except she could tell there was rosemary which was the reason she ordered it. I don’t have a photo because we were hyper-focused on eating. Don’t judge, just wait until you go there, you will understand.

By the end of the meal and my 200th cup of coffee, I decided I needed to bring the famjam home a loaf of their amazing sourdough bread. I chose the darker crust because I like a chewy texture. It did not disappoint.

You can find it in the garment district by Donut Party and the Omnivore. I recommend both those places too! There may be a wait, but it is always worth it.

LOCATION & PARKING

Café Linnea is located in Holland Plaza at 10932 119 Street NW, Edmonton, AB, Canada. There is free parking in the lot directly in front of our restaurant (east-facing), or at the side (north facing), both of which are accessible from 119 Street.

Get out there and explore your city!

18 for ’18: Rockin’ Robyn’s Diner

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My Papa Bear is 19 years older than me and he just had his 70th birthday. It was one of those moments where I realized I think of him as the young guy sitting beside me on Main Street in Disneyland waiting for the Electrical Light Parade. I was six so that would make him twenty five. I think of dad with dark brown hair, tall, fun, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. I then see my dad and realize he is 70. it always knocks the air out of me.

My mom appreciates finer cuisine, so its fun to take her to high-end brunch places. We went to Café Linnea for her birthday. My dad however, loves a really great diner. Old school diners that are decked out in vintage items. I had heard great things about Rockin Robyn’s Diner and knew the wait could be long to eat there. If we went early, I didn’t think it would be too bad. I put it on my 18 in ’18 for two reasons:

  • She spells her name correctly with a Y
  • I heard she was an Alice in Wonderland fan. I am a Disney fan so I suspected we were kindred spirits.

We arrived at 9 (not early but whatever…) to a line up at the door. There were 4 parties ahead of us. We were given a pager and decided to wait outside. 20 minutes later, it was out turn.

We were seated at a table beside the large mural and Dad noted, “I have never been to a drive-in that had any of those fancy muscle cars. Never. Where did people think young guys got the money for something like that?” Good point dad. But the art on the walls was interesting. There was a juke box at the other end of the diner and it was playing 80’s rock. This reminded my daughter of a great story about The Salt and Pepper Diner. Give it a listen, I promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s hilarious.

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We looked over at the lunch counter and surmised they make a great milkshake because of the equipment sitting there. The decor was fun too, black and white checked tiles, Alice in Wonderland items, retro ceiling fans and red booths!

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We ordered coffee and checked out the menu, coffee was straight up and good, this isn’t a latte and cappuccino kind of place. The waitress was sassy and hilarious. I am pretty sure she is my spirit animal, or at the very least me in a parallel life. I asked her to marry me after some fantastic zingers she through at my dad. She was his kind of waitress too. Fun, efficient and the right amount of sass you expect at a diner.

There were five of us and we ordered Eggs Benedict, a stack of pancakes with eggs and sausage, waffles , and mom can’t be easy and order a menu item so she went with 3 sides. We waited ten minutes at most before massive portions arrived before us.

Every dish came with fresh fruit and eggs were made to order. The food was delicious and I immediately understood why this place was so popular. My dad raved about this place and loved every minute of it. Excellent  value all around!

After breakfast we went to the counter to pay and were given tiny little candies that said “Eat Me”. I was over the moon with the Alice in Wonderland reference. We were told there is a Alice in Wonderland Mother’s Day Tea Party that happens every year too. Mom and I will have to remember to check that out next year.

Now I think I want to give lunch a try or maybe a milkshake. If you haven’t been before, I recommend it. I think it’s the best diner fare in the city.

You can find it in west Edmonton at 16604 B- 109 Ave or give them a call 780-756-5656

 

 

18 for 18: Workshop Eatery

It seems like all I do is go out for breakfast. Not true…well sort of true. I do have a brunch date in April with my pal Karen and I did go out with Rena yesterday but in my defence, it’s fairly icy at the parks around town so my 18 in 18 list is currently being checked off by visiting indoor type activities.

By participating in the challenge I learned something about myself, I like outdoor stuff. I like picnics in the parks, I like explore outdoor places with my pal Captain, I like photographing unusual things. I have two 18 lists. One for The Edmonton Tourist and one for private me. Private me has crossed a few things off the list too. I am even cool with sharing the not-so-private things. I completed the Master Writing Class with Judy Blume. She was the JK Rowling of my generation. Early 70’s I read everything she published, twice. I wrote her a thank you note at the end of the class AND SHE WROTE ME BACK! I cried and squealed and my friend Krista had me print the letter and frame it. I have a copy at work and one on my desk at home. She signed it, Love Judy. LOVE JUDY!!! She knows who I am and now I want to go to her non-profit bookstore in the Florida Keys because JUDY BLUME!!!

I also started a photo series called the Totem Pole Project. You can find that project on instagram #totempoleproject. I have completed private things that are weird cleaning projects but de-cluttering makes me happy. Thanks Mom. I still have over 10 things on that list and 14 on my Edmonton Tourist List but I am finding this project to be strangely fulfilling. It is satisfying to cross stuff off the list.

That brings me to #4, have Brunch at Workshop Eatery. ( South Edmonton is definitely on the prairies) They have their own gardens out front. I love that in a restaurant!

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My pal Warren told me this was a place I would enjoy. He has never steered me wrong, so I made a reservation for a Saturday morning not knowing who would come with me. I left that for the Universe to decide. As luck would have it, my University friend Rena said, “Hey, want to do brunch?” I said, “ABSOLUTELY and I have a reservation!”

I arrived 5 minutes late and she was waiting in the lobby with these beautiful treats! We brought our own eggs to brunch. The staff found that funny.

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She has chickens in her yard. Part of me is jealous and part of me remembers how terrified of chickens I am. I do love eggs and these are my breakfast. I will boil some for Easter because they are already decorated, thanks Mother Nature! I also think they will become meringues with lemon curd nested on top or I will attempt to recreate the meringues from Café Linnea.

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We had the first reservation of the day, the place filled up fast and with good reason. They post on the website “Our menu is small and our food takes time. This is intentional. We would rather do few things and do them well. Be patient, good things come to those who wait!” I have to agree, although I didn’t think I had to wait longer than anywhere else for food, but it was delicious. I can’t always say that at restaurants where the wait is long.

I had a latté (obviously – hello? Do you even know me?), my companion had Alberta peppermint tea.

Coffee was fine, not in my top 10 but better than Starbucks so it was good in my books! ( I like Starbucks) The tea infuser was cool, and pepperment tea is always nice.

I ordered off the menu.

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Huevos Benedicto and the cornbread made this meal perfection.

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Rena had something…something Benedict (I want to say pastrami hash) It was on the specials chalk board.

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Bread comes from Bon Ton, best Jewish bakery in the city and my personal favourite bakery of all time. She also ordered a side of Mimosa. Apparently it was delicious. I am not sure why I didn’t. Mostly because I thought she just ordered juice, it didn’t occur to me to order drinks. Strange but true.

We dined for about an hour and a half in front of the big window. I am surprised great food is located this for south in the burbs of Summerside because usually its just chain restaurants. This is one of the top resturants in the city and I would likely take out-of-town visitors here to wow them. I would definitely eat here again, likely several times. I want to try dinner and come here for my birthday breakfast, but honestly, I swear I do not eat out that often. Maybe once a month, it just seems like more.

Put this on your list and make reservations. Go check out their menu. I was inspired to buy furniture after breakfast, so proceed with caution.

2003 91 St SW, Edmonton.

I recommend going with Rena, she is always inspirational and makes me think. I like that in a friend. She is one of my people. On second thought, find your own Rena. I am sure you have people you would love to dine with.

18 for 18: Brunch at Café Linnea

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A few years ago my parents sold everything they owned and became Hobos. They travel the world by housesitting for people in Europe. It’s a fairly cool gig. They are submerged into the culture of other places, they learned how to feed and care for chickens and goats, they have lived on vineyards and champagne (farms? champangeyard?) estates. We skype weekly to keep in touch and I taught them about fun filters and share features on icloud, I sent epub books for Christmas and photos of my adventures. They returned to Canada for the nice non-winter parts when Edmonton shines its brightest and has the best festivals to play in. Both my mom and I think Edmonton is the best summer city in the world. Lots of people are angered by their leaving for long stretches at a time but the best advice my dad ever gave was this: “No one is forcing you to do what you don’t want to do. Say no, do what you want to do and is what right for you.” It only took me 50 years to live by that. My Epic 50th Year is taking me places I could not imagine for myself yet here I am living my best life. My parents are living their best life. This past year I said no to things that would shock you. But I slept better afterwards. I have my parents to thank for that.

They returned last week after a 5-month hiatus that felt like 6. It was an In like a Lion moment for March where the temperatures plummeted and the snow came down all at once. We were blessed with an additional foot of snow. Welcome, Home! No, I don’t want to hear about daisies blooming unless you brought some. But thanks for the bottle of Bordeaux! Now it feels like winter is gone! Okay, I do like hearing about the meadow blossoms and the fields of green. I also like seeing some of the bad-ass stuff my dad does like this fun photo from my sister (she went to visit them in France) That’s my dad, breaking rules like a boss since 1948. Those are the fun things I like about travel.

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Where was I? Right…they came home!

It was Mom’s birthday this week and what do you get the person who doesn’t want to own anything but only likes experiences? Breakfast of course! We needed a long newsy visit to catch up. I like to take my parents to places they have not been before. Not easy to do for these people. But I succeed every time. I decided to cross off one of my 18 for 18 items while I was at it. We drove down 119 street when my dad said, “How have I lived here all my life and have never been on this street?” SCORE! I did it!

I booked the private dining room at Café Linnea and we were the first to arrive at the restaurant.  I was struck by the sunshine in this place. This is the old garment district. The restaurant is converted warehouse space. They did a fantastic job making it feel warm and comfortable.

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I grew up with those chairs and tables. We lived in the 70’s with the teak modern style. What I would GIVE for those chairs today!

The private dining room looks like it would hold 12 people comfortably. I booked it for 6 and we had space to sit and visit. It was perfect for the welcome home birthday brunch!

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I heard the drinks menu was delicious but we stuck with coffee.

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This was a good latté. It is not my favourite in the city but I did enjoy it. (favourite goes to Mandolin Books and Café Bicyclette) That meringue on the side was chocolate flavoured with melted chocolate concealed within and is now my favourite treat of all time. It was perfection!

We lingered over coffee and tea (apparently the Provence tea was a delight!)  We struggled with the menu trying to decide what would be the best choice. Mom ordered strictly sides because it was her birthday and you can do what you want when you are celebrating. Everyone else ordered a main.

 

The bacon, the sourdough bread and pickled mushrooms were exquisite, everything else was just delicious. We thought about dessert because they told us about the feature, bread pudding french toast. Bread pudding is my Dad’s favourite of all time. He claims the best is found in New Orleans. My parents are experts at world travel so I believe him. In the end, we decided to take mom to Doughnut Party because she had never been before and had only read about it here on my blog, it was also conveniently located next door.  We all bought doughnuts to take home for later.

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Just an FYI, the chocolate banana was life-changing.

Was Café Linnea worth it? Absolutely. Would I go again? YES! I want to try a couple more things on the menu. Maybe take my sister there to celebrate a thing we are planning. Her and I will obviously try the drinks menu.

Go. It is located at 119 Street Northwest #10932, visit their website here for menu and info.