Weekend in Edmonton
The next time you’re itching to get away for a weekend, we’re willing to bet that Edmonton won’t be the first place that jumps to mind. But as we recently discovered for ourselves, this often overlooked city is a hidden gem of gastronomy, arts and culture. Travel Alberta kindly invited us to spend a weekend in Edmonton... Here are some highlights from the trip! First stop? Checking in at the Matrix Hotel. The hotel is centrally located downtown and within walking distance of all the places we were planning to dine at. All part of our strategy for fully indulging in Edmonton’s wicked cocktail scene, which we'd heard so much about.
10:00AM –We'd been told once or twice that Duchess Bake Shop is one of the best patisseries in Canada… but you’ll have to come decide that yourself. What we can tell you is that there was an impressive line-up outside prior to opening that continued throughout the morning. After much deliberation, we ordered an almond croissant, a Paris-Brest and some macarons (for a little taste of Paris), before sitting back and basking in the bakery's nostalgic European ambiance. Oh, and for the record: it’s totally worth lining up for.
11:30AM – Post-pastry, we waddled our way over to the Old Strathcona Farmers' Market. Open every Saturday, this local farmer’s market is home to over 130 vendors. From produce and meat to local arts and crafts, this vibrant market is definitely a way to get to know the community.
As we continued to explore the city, we were drawn to Whyte Avenue, another Edmonton gem. This street is dotted with locally owned shops, galleries and eateries. For our shoe lovers out there: whatever you do, don’t forget to check out the original Gravity Pope store!
3:00PM – Sugarbowl was pointed out to us as THE spot for cinnamon buns in the city so we gladly stopped in for one of their fluffy and crispy cinnamon-dusted delights, along with some coffee from Transcend down the street. The perfect fuel to keep us going 'til dinner.
6:00PM – Dinner at Bar Bricco. This wine bar is Chef Costa’s (of Corso 32 fame) newest venture. The menu focuses on high-end cured meats, cheese, and damn good pasta. We would fly back to Edmonton just to savour their fragrant carne cruda piemontese dotted with truffle oil and their heavenly egg yolk raviolo.
8:00PM – Caught a concert at the gorgeous Francis Winspear Centre for Music. The acoustics in here were just incredible.
11:30AM – Our day started with an early brunch at Canteen. This modern eatery has a rotating weekly chicken & waffle special. We indulged in a green onion waffle and buttermilk fried chicken topped with apple persimmon salsa and smoked maple syrup. Everything was insanely good, from the first bite of crackly-skinned chicken to the very last bite of their impeccable hash browns!
1:00PM – After our giant brunch we went for a much needed walk and came across Workhall. Part of Edmonton’s budding design scene, this locally owned studio features pieces from local designers and jewellers. Good thing Tina accidentally left her credit card back at the hotel...
2:00PM – We checked out one of the newest, hippest cafes in town for an afternoon pick-me-up. Iconoclast Koffiehuis is located in an expansive warehouse with ping pong tables in the back and small batch coffee roasted daily.
3:00PM – Art Gallery of Alberta houses over 6000(!) pieces of art and recently underwent a $88 million(!!!) renovation. The new space is breathtaking and we were lucky enough to catch an exhibition featuring Edward Burtynsky, one of our favourite landscape photographers
7:00PM – Wood-fire cooking meets craft cocktails at Woodwork! We ordered the house Whiskey Sour to start. A very well-balanced, stand out cocktail which started our night off on a high note. The high continued with charcuterie, caramelized brussels sprouts, and steak frites. Everything we tried was top notch. We left Woodwork with satisfied bellies and muddled wits.
We covered quite a few places in these two short days, but there was still so much left unseen... which is the perfect excuse to come back soon.
Alberta, you did us right.