Edmonton Tourist: Ritchie Market

I first went to the Ritchie Market a few years ago for a private function. Beira had just opened and we went for breakfast and enjoyed a special cask to celebrate the end of a beer run. The food was beautiful and the beer was delicious. Tiny little flowers dotted the plate – I wish I still had the photo. When I was there, Transcend wasn’t open yet and Acme Meats just started. this place was cute and charming.

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Fast forward to today, Biera is still going strong, Acme Meats had people lined up, Transcend coffee roasters were packed and the new kid on the block was all white and shiny and pretty.

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Little Duchess has now opened on the south side.

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Little Duchess isn’t as large as the location on 124 street, but it had all the things I look for in a great patissier, croissants, macarons, cookies and scones. They don’t bake onsite – but neither does its larger sister. Everything is baked offsite at their kitchen in the garment district so everything is EXACTLY THE SAME. They even have a small Provisions section, just like the other location.

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The hubs ordered a pain au chocolat and I had a raspberry white chocolate scone. We walked over to Transcend and decided against their amazing coffee because I already had a pot that morning, and we both ordered hot chocolate.

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If you didn’t know, Transcend is some of the best coffee in the city – likely because they are roasters. Fresh roasted locally is the next level in coffee. It is so good, but so is their hot chocolate. It is not overly sweet and they mix it by hand.

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They even place their signature leaf on top.

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Paired with the scone, I was in heaven.

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The hubs had demolished his croissant before I could grab a pic.

Acme meats were thriving and one day I think I will stop and bring something marvellous home. We joked about them only selling Road Runner.

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After our treats, we walked around the neighbourhood to see what was around. Did you know that Doughnut Party just opened a second location here? Perfect for us south siders. We each picked up a doughnut for home. It was a decadent day.

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Raspberry Earl Grey for me and Double Chocolate Brownie for the hubs.

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Before we hopped back into the car, I noticed Kind Ice Cream – I wasn’t really sure where it was but now I know how close it is to home! I will be back for SURE.

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This is exactly what this neighbourhood needed. I wish I was so lucky to live here.

What interesting places are near you? Get out and explore your city!

Rainy Days or the Ohana Donuterie Day

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I love a rainy day. Curling up by the window with a cosy quilt and a great book, I am lost in the coolness of the day. Or give me an umbrella and I am ready to walk and explore my neighbourhoods to see what people are up to when they are not outside enjoying the sunshine. Both are good rainy days.

Yesterday was a rainy day. This was an especially nice alternative to the snowy day we had one week prior. I was sitting on the love seat in my room, gazing outside through the rain splattered window and had the urge to go exploring. I bought an umbrella in Vancouver two years ago and love to use it every chance I get. This may seem odd, but it doesn’t seem to rain enough to use it here in Edmonton. We get rain, often at night with accompanying thundershowers, short downpours that last 10 minutes at most. A long slow rain is my favourite and it calls to me.

I had finished reading and decided to go try a doughnut place in Old Strathcona that I heard about but had not yet explored. I called to my daughter, she was game and then asked the hubs if he wanted to join. I didn’t feel like driving and he is often game. I told him the name and let him look it up on the map. I also didn’t feel like navigating.

Chatter Box and I grabbed our umbrellas and hopped into the car. Soon we were navigating the streets of Old Strathcona when I asked, “Do you know where it is?”

He said, “It seems to be in a back alley, which is odd but I might be wrong.”

He wasn’t wrong. Ohana Donuterie is indeed in a back alley – sort of. 10347-80 Ave, Edmonton, AB. Lots of parking out front. You will understand when you arrive, its an alley but it’s not. It’s the kind of place I would take friends from out of town. It’s warm and welcoming, unusual and delicious.

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Walking into the space, I immediately like the bike rack, it obviously understands the clientele.

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I looked around the room and decided it felt like a ‘new’ Hawaiian shop. It is a new distressed shop. I loved the palet, I loved the decor and I loved the smell of coffee and sugar when I walked in.

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I had heard this place made doughnuts to order while you waited. That meant they would be warm when they arrived on your plate. On a rainy day, warm doughnuts are the perfect snack, pair it with coffee and I am a willing participant!

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Chatterbox ordered: Vanilla Dip with Coconut Cream and a Chai latté with coconut milk and cinnamon. The Hubs ordered Vanilla Dip with Chocolate Cream and a latté. I ordered a Vanilla Dip with Chocolate Custard and a latté. For my son, we ordered a Chocolate Dip to go.

We wandered over to the window to watch them make our doughnuts.

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I have many friends who have visited Honolulu and RAVE about Hawaiian Donuts. They were originally Portuguese malasadas. Long story short, when you go to Hawaii you are asked if you had a donut. If you haven’t, people moan and are sad for you because apparently, they are life changing. I wouldn’t say that, but they are delicious!

These are just as delicious.

But it isn’t fast food. You cannot come here hoping to order a dozen and be on your way – that place is called Tim Hortons and it comes with a drive-thru. Ohana’s is slow food. Just like Hawaii. Things are slow and worth the wait. Except my coffee came after my donut. I like my coffee WITH my donut. I could have waited but there is a very good reason I didn’t.

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The doughnuts come warm. Fresh from the fryer. Yes, warm doughnuts are better. I had a chocolate custard and it was cold. It tasted like Laura Secord Pudding (does anyone remember what that tasted like? I was instantly transported!) I wanted to eat it while it was warm. My coffee came way later and it was just okay. It doesn’t make my top ten coffee list. BUT, its a really decent cup of coffee. Way better than typical donut shop coffee.

I wanted to try the other fillings because they had cream. No one would let me stick my finger in their cream filling. Probably a good call on their part.

I suspect they use a granulated sugar for this confectionary because of the gritty texture. It isn’t smooth like liquid sugar. It made it taste homemade – which it kind of was.

It was the perfect snack for a cool rainy day. It would also be a great late night snack and a snowy day snack. There is also a food truck so, probably a really great festival snack too. It can’t be compared to Doughnut Party because they are different. equally great, but VERY different. While eating this all I could think of was my mom and her love of the Bismark. Do you remember those? Essentially a jelly doughnut covered in icing sugar. They came from the bakery at a time before donut shops in Sherwood Park. The warm would appeal to her too.

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Edmonton Tourist: Doughnut Party

I belong to a karma group. It is a group of friends and friends of friends who give stuff away to each other. For example, I had a tiny oak table and gave it to one person on there and I have received art and a spirograph, I like obscure things – Don’t Judge. Since belonging to this group I haven’t needed to buy a thing and I have given away so much usable things. It is a lovely way to trade.

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Today I was heading to heritage neighbourhoods to pick up items I have claimed. One in Eastwood – way on the Northside for me and then Laurier Heights, farther west but sort of central. The quickest way between both points was to stop at Doughnut Party.

Doughnut Party is a tiny little shop that has been open for maybe a month or so. It is located in the old garment district at 10938-119 Street, Edmonton AB. Their web page says:

Tues-Fri: 8am-1:30pm; Sat: 9am-2pm

Open until sold out – come early! 🙂

Now, I grew up with the Sherwood Park Bakery making the classic old Fashion Doughnut. Mom would come home with a few for a treat. I loved doughnuts hardcore as a kid. Then Tim Horton’s came along and was a game changer in the doughnut (not donut) game. It fast-food-ized doughnuts here. When they were a bakery, creating doughnuts in store fresh, letting the dough rise and then frying them in the vat with the baker using chopsticks to flip them, they were amazing. When Timmy’s became a fast-food chain and needed to have more control over baking so they send frozen donuts to be baked, the doughnuts became donuts. and my love wained. I no longer cared for one. Not worth the calories. Every now and then I would find a bakery that really knew what they were doing and was happy to have a doughnut.

I sat around the lunch table one day and the team was talking about Doughnut Party because they had all tried the Moonshine doughnuts from the Farmer’s Market in Old Strathcona. I had not. I feel like I was late to the party. I am no longer on top of food experiences in Edmonton because I have been busy exploring parks, burning calories rather than consuming them. Everyone said, “You have to try them! But go early because they are lined up out the door and close when they sell out.”

Okay, challenge accepted. I knew I was out on Saturday morning and could swing by.

When I arrived, the line was not out the door but the parking lot was jammed with people trying to find a spot. My advice is do not park in the lot, drive to 120 street and park along the road. You will get in before they sell out with the added bonus of burning 15 calories walking to the door.

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There is a bar-like counter in the centre of the room with a ramp on the left to manage line-ups. I waited maybe 5 minutes and took in the atmosphere. Brick walls and simple signs Party for 1, Party for 6 etc. There is a rule of 1 dozen per person, but they don’t offer a dozen, you would buy 2 boxes of 6. I hope you can do the math.

These doughnuts are not the cheap Tim Horton donuts. $3 for 1 and worth it.

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I had the Vanilla because it is my most favourite flavour ever. But I did buy one of each. From everything I have seen on instagram, they never have the same flavours out, they rotate. Flavours were Lychee and Raspberry, Vanilla, Birthday Cake with crumbed, Apple fritter, some pink coconut confection thing and a pink sugared doughnut. The names were written in red marker on the glass but I didn’t pay that much attention, no point when there were only 6 choices. Each donut is made with fresh, local ingredients. The one I bought was HUGE. I could not get a proper bite because it was high and actually fluffy. Delicate is the word that comes to mind. It melted in my mouth. Hands down the best doughnut I ever had.  It was worth the trip. Happily it is far enough away from me it needs to be a planned trip.

Go early, go often.

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