Edmonton | Foodie Scenes to Try

This is my Edmonton Foodie To-do List! With new places opening up nearly every week (lately), I am barely keeping up! Here’s what I’m dying to try:

Breakfast/Brunch:

Cafe/Coffee Shop:

  • Lock Stock Coffee (Downtown Jasper Ave)
  • Coffee Bureau (Downtown Jasper Ave, opposite Lock Stock)
  • Farrow (Sandwiches near Whyte Ave/Garneau)
  • Da Capo (Quick snack near Whyte Ave/Garneau)
  • District Cafe & Bakery (Downtown)
  • Duchess Bake Shop (124th Street)
  • Iconoclast Coffee

Baked goods & Treats:

  • Duchess Bake Shop (124th Street)
  • Bon Ton Bakery (Deli Shop on 149th Street)
  • Doughnut Party / Moonshine Doughnuts (119th Street, closed Sundays & Mondays)
  • Reinette Cafe & Patisserie
  • Cafe Bicyclette

Lunch:

  • Farrow (Sandwiches near Whyte Ave/Garneau)
  • KB & Co (Health/Smoothies on 104th Street, off Jasper Ave)
  • The Local Omnivore (Near Cafe Linnea)
  • The Marc (Downtown)
  • Elm Cafe

Dinner: 

  • Uccellino (Italian on Jasper Ave)
  • El Cortez (Mexican on Whyte Ave)
  • Rostizado (Mexican on 104 street off Jasper Ave)
  • Guru (For Indian on the West End)
  • XIX Nineteen (St Albert)
  • Chartier
  • Rge Road
  • Woodwork (Off Jasper Ave)
  • Three Boars Eatery (Garneau near Whyte Ave)
  • Solstice Seasonal Cuisine (124th Street)
  • Hardware Grill (Jasper Ave)
  • Corso 32 (Jasper Ave)
  • Red Ox Inn (91 Street)
  • Tzin Wine & Tapas (Downtown off Jasper, 104th Street)

Best To Go:

  • Love Pizza (Off Jasper Ave)
  • Seoul Fried Chicken

Cocktails/Drinks:

  • Baiju (New Cocktail Bar by Mercer Tavern, Downtown)
  • North 53
  • Woodwork (Off Jasper Ave)
  • Bar Clementine
  • Have Mercy
  • Bar Bricco (Jasper Ave)

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Any suggestions? Please comment below! I’d love to hear!

Eating my way through Edmonton,

Leigh 

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Italy on Tour | Dinner in the Chianti Hills in Tuscany

Ever had dinner in the Chianti Hills? Well, you should.

Chianti is located between Florence and Siena. I loved driving through the medieval towns and picturesque rolling hills covered in vineyards and olive groves, to reach our dinner destination, Ristorante I tre pini.

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We were welcomed with blue champagne (which looked odd but tasted great) and live Italian music before we were shown to our tables.

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There was plenty wine to go around. Obviously.

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The Antipasti:

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The Primi:

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The Secondi:

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The Dolci:

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All this reminiscing is making me want to go back! The food was amazing and the experience outstanding. If you don’t believe me, check out the reviews on TripAdvisor.

Besides all the good food, there was live music and entertainment which added to the atmosphere of the night. It truly was a highlight and I can honestly say, it wouldn’t have been a place I would have planned to go on my own. It’s gems like these that make tour groups like Trafalgar worth it (in my opinion).

If you haven’t already checked them out, you should check out the posts on:

I’m hoping to get a few more blog posts up on the Tour in Italy this week so keep checking in!

Craving gelato as I write this (diet evidently going well),

Leigh

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Round Up | February 2017

February was far too short. I feel like I wrote the January Round Up just a few days ago! Nonetheless, we still got so much done this month. While we kept it pretty local, we got away for a night or two!

I BLOGGED SOME MORE.

I haven’t yet caught up on most of our travels (as you can see from our travel summary here). But I did catch up on our 5 day trip to Paris in September last year – which took quite a while to write!  If you haven’t checked that out yet, then you should. It goes into depth on what we did on each of our days on our second visit to the city of love and it can give you some good ideas about what you should include on your dream trip to Paris. Let’s face it, this city is on most people’s bucket-list. And, as I said on my blog post about which cities I would return to: Paris nearly topped the list.

I started two new series too!

#ItalyonTour recapping my Trafalgar Tour around Italy in 2012. So far I’ve blogged about Rome, Venice & Tuscany!

It was 6 weeks to Los Angeles this last Saturday so I started a new series #6weekstoLA in a bid to get Venice Beach ready in that time. I’m a health freak so it was bound to come out on the blog sometime. Who knows, you all might enjoy watching me torture myself into a bikini. And so, a new category arises: Health & Fitness.

ATE THE BEST FOOD IN EDMONTON.

Uccellino is by far one of my favourite restaurants in Edmonton. Check out the blog post here. I cannot wait to return!

HAD A STAYCATION USING AIRBNB.

I wrote a post all about why we use Airbnb here. Sign up here to receive $61 travel credit from me off your first stay! 🙂 How’s that saving!

SPONTANEOUSLY, DROVE TO CALGARY FOR A NIGHT.

Check out the blog post here! It was a spontaneous visit, we booked on Friday night and packed the car Saturday morning. Sometimes you just gotta live in the moment and do it. So many times we don’t make plans and go on adventures – but trust me, time won’t stop for you, nor will it give you a wake up call all those times you should have just taken advantage of it. Do something spontaneous – you won’t regret it.

HIGHTLIGHTS:
  • Our dinner date at Uccellino. Check it out above. Seriously. I’m still dreaming about that chocolate dessert.
  • Our night in Calgary. Check it out above.
  • I got so much love on social media. The Champagne Daily re-posted my Reims post (Hello to all my French readers). The post was also re-pinned a few times on Pinterest. So if you haven’t yet, PIN the picture below.

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  • Booked tickets for the Wine Festival & Big Brunch at Canmore Uncorked Wine Festival in May. SO excited for this one!
LOWLIGHTS:
  • Fount out very depressing news (on a personal note) that I have to complete nine more exams in Canada, before I can work as a lawyer in a firm. So, I am back in study-mode, trying to balance blogging, working out and dominating these exams. That means, if the blog posts slow down, the books are piling up.
WHAT’S NEXT IN MARCH?

A weekend visit to Winnipeg is coming up mid-March. Craig’s sister and her step-dad are in Canada for business so we’re planning to visit old Winter-peg and explore a new city.  If you have any suggestions on what to do – let me know!

Other than that, it’s going to be rather quiet, with me being back to studying! Anyone else suffering from cabin fever and way too much reading to do?

Bye for now!

Leigh 

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#6weekstoLA | The Beach Body Plan

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Guys… It’s 6 weeks till LA (Los Angeles) and I’m rocking a serious Winter bod – no jokes. The plan is to be in the sun, soaking up the rays on Venice/Santa Monica Beach (with all the Hollywood wannabes) in 6 weeks time so obviously something needs to change! Ie. my diet, workout schedule and overall life attitude. I can’t keep sitting around hoping abs are going to fall from the sky. Come now. Let’s just be realistic.

So, here’s my plan:

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Workouts:

The plan is 6 days a week, with only one rest day (resting as in only doing a light one hour walk). A daily walk is kind of like therapy to me. Without it, I do start to go a bit nuts. But besides the benefit of preserving my sanity, it also helps me maintain my weight or weight loss. In fact, I don’t remember a time where I haven’t incorporated a daily walk in to achieve any kind of weight loss.

So, the goal is 45-60 minutes daily at a brisk pace. But besides that I want to achieve 10,000 steps a day. And my phone will keep track of that for me.

Then, my workouts will include resistance-training and high-intensity circuit training at least 6 times a week. These will be 30 minute sessions each (unless I’m lazy and take my time – which let’s face it, I can’t really afford to do – I’m on a time crunch here). If you don’t know what all that mumbo jumbo means, basically I’ll be squatting, lunging, planking, jumping, etc till the cows come home. But I’ll try include all the workouts in future posts. Think Khloe Kardashian Revenge Body. (And if you haven’t seen that girl workout, then you should google that now).

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Diet:

I really want to adopt an eating lifestyle, rather than a diet that can be sustained for the long term. I eat extremely healthily already (in fact, I am an annoying health freak) but I find that I, too, indulge far too much (even) on healthy food. Yes, that can happen.

So, what I’m hoping to achieve in my diet over the next 6 weeks is a more Paleo-based/Whole30-type lifestyle. That means no gluten or grains, no dairy, no refined sugar, no processed foods, no legumes (goodbye peanut butter, my lover. Also, bye peas, beans, and soy – but I won’t miss you guys), and no vegetable oils. These are all highly inflammatory and will make your stomach bloat, so cutting them out will not only make you feel better, but will leave you looking leaner in that bikini.

So you might wonder what’s left in the food pyramid? Well, I can eat grass-fed meat, fresh fish/seafood (wild, not farmed), eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds and approved oils (coconut, avocado, macadamia, and olive oil but be aware of the heat levels of each).

Personally, I am going to try keep red meat limited to once or twice a week. This has nothing to do with anything other than personally feeling better on white and lighter meat.

I’ve also ordered a vegan protein powder, because I am staying away from dairy (and whey). The brand I ordered is actually Australian, and came with a hefty delivery price tag, but I’m hoping it’s worth it! My favourite youtube, Sarahs Day, uses it and in turn, has heavily influence my decision to use this brand, Tropeaka. (She also has a discount code: SSYT20). And if you watch any of her videos, you might notice that she’s also heavily influenced my new way of eating. (Slightly obsessed with her abs? and also just her vibe?) But keep an eye out for when that delivery arrives and I’ll be sure to do a review of what I think.

If I haven’t already said it, I’m also back to studying – which kind of makes dieting reeeeally tough. Spending all day at home studying makes it difficult to not graze all day. Here’s where willpower is necessary and that’s why I will be setting out a meal plan for the day in order to not let unnecessary calories sneak in where they aren’t needed. Let’s face it, you aren’t exactly burning millions of calories while sitting and studying (as much as we’d like to think we do). For my particular goal, counting calories might be necessary. But I still need enough to fuel my workouts and my brain. It’s a balance.

Will I have cheat meals? Probs not. Let’s be real, six weeks isn’t that long. And while adjusting to this new way of eating, I don’t think it would make much sense to my body to sneak in foods that I have decided to cut out above. Dairy is going to be tough – I have milk all day in my coffee, and yoghurt on the daily. While I might later re-incorproate it, for now, I want to try detox. Gluten? Well that’s not really a problem for me. I can’t eat it anyway. Peanut butter will be sad to say goodbye to, but almond butter will do.

Will I still eat out? Of course, that’s just part of our lifestyle. We love going out and trying new restaurants, but I will certainly make a more concerted effort to go for grilled meats with steamed vegetables or salads minus the dressing. Most restaurants use canola oil in their dressings which is not permitted, so I’ll opt for olive oil and lemon (which most restaurants are happy to provide). But no to alcohol. I know I’ll be drinking in LA, so in the lead up to it, I’m planning to cut it out. Because I’m fun sober too.

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What do I hope to accomplish in 6 weeks?

Well, a lot. You can actually accomplish a lot in 6 weeks. Especially when you put your mind to it. And that’s exactly what I’m doing. While I have no set number in mind. My goal is to achieve consistency throughout the 6 weeks and to continue with it even in LA, even after LA, and even till the next beach holiday (Hint: there is another one coming up. But where??? I’ll let you just sit and guess for a while).

But basically, I just want to look a little better in a bikini than I do right now. And I want to feel a bit better in my summer clothes (when I can start wearing them). And I want to get back into healthy routine. LA just happens to be the current motivation.

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So, lets summarise:

  • Wake up early to lemon water. And drink more water throughout the day.
  • 45 – 60 minutes fasted cardio in the morning + overall 10,000 steps a day.
  • Resistance training 6 times a week.
  • No dairy, no gluten or grains, no legumes, no refined sugar.
  • Don’t overeat! Willpower Leigh!
  • 8-9 hours of sleep a day.

So tomorrow is official day one. Let’s hope it goes well!

Keep tuned for more #ItalyonTour blog posts this week! Capri, Chianti and Verona are coming up!

Currently trying not to late-night snack,

Leigh 

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Italy on Tour | Venice in Photos

If you haven’t already checked out the Rome blog post, check it out here.

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Venice:

Venice, funny enough, wasn’t it was all cracked up to be – granted, we were hot, feet sore, budget tight & we could not avoid queues or crowds wherever we went. I truly believe that I need to return to fully make up my mind about this city, but here are some tips for when you go:

#1 Tip: Do NOT go in peak season! That is June, July & August. Not only will it save you money, but it will be way more enjoyable with less crowds & bearable temperatures.

#2 Tip: Stay on the island of Venice. On the tour, we didn’t & I think that might be one of the reasons Venice lost it’s magic for me. I really can’t wait to return to stay on Venice & be able to look out onto the canals from my hotel. Obviously, this isn’t exactly a budget-friendly tip. That being said, you could opt for a Bnb, Guesthouse or even an Airbnb.

#3 Tip: Definitely do a Gondola Ride. We did it, & it was legitimately my favourite part of the Venice trip. Not only did we get to rest our feet a bit, we saw more than we did on foot. But beware, they do come at a price. Agree on a price before the ride! Additionally, I would research prices beforehand to know exactly what you’re in for.

#4 Tip: In general, don’t get sucked into the popular plaza (tourist trap) restaurants, especially in St Marks Square. These are generally, overpriced, low-quality meal options & definitely not worth your Euros! But if you’re saving for a gondola ride, bring a packed lunch instead & picnic along a quiet canal. Restaurants have surcharges & you can rack up a pretty nasty bill for nothing.

#5 Tip: Head to the outer islands (Burano or Murano) on day trips like we did below.

We also learnt all about the Italians & their hand gestures! So we took a picture below. 1st from the Left: “Delicious!”; “You’ve seen something you like!”; “what are you talking about”; & sadly, I cant remember the last one!

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Island of Burano:

Believe or not, we were very happy to leave Venice! In June, the crowds are crazy and the heat is real. It was nice to relocate to a nearby island in the Venetian Lagoon, called Burano, that was much less crowded!

Needless to say, had we not been on the Tour, I’m not sure we would have found this hidden gem. It’s a stunning day (or half day trip) from Venice & it’s incredibly picturesque as you can see below. Burano is packed full of brightly coloured houses that make for amazing photos.

We took time on the island to grab lunch and you should too – but order seafood! Being a fisherman island, the seafood is super-fresh! While we didn’t eat here, everyone recommends: Al Gatto Nero Da Ruggero.

Found out about the vaporetto lines which run from Venice to Burano: the 12. The express ferry runs from Venice’s San Zaccaria stop (near St. Mark’s), to Burano as well as Murano. It takes about 45 minutes, and costs €6.50 per person.

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Here’s a picture of some of the people on our Trafalgar Tour through Italy. 

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Keep checking back for more updates or follow my blog to receive updates to your inbox!

If you liked my blog on Rome, you might enjoy:

  • What we did in 5 days in Paris, here.
  • Or, our whirlwind 2 days in Berlin, here.

Missing Europe,

Leigh

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Italy on Tour | Rome in Photos

In a bid to cover all the places I’ve been, here’s a start on our Splendors of Italy Tour with Trafalgar. While tours aren’t for everyone, at the end of this series I’ll post the pros and cons about our visit to Italy with Trafalgar. Hopefully, it can show you some exciting places to visit in Italy, but also give you an idea whether a bus tour like Trafalgar is the right fit for you.

Day 1 & 2: Rome

We had full days of walking around the city, so when you do a tour like this – be prepared for it! Bring the best walking shoes you can find. The only thing we didn’t do in Rome were the Spanish Steps. So keep that in mind, when planning your visit!

Trastevere

I love this area. I wish we had more time to roam this area but when we go back, I’m planning to spend lots of time here. The cobbled streets in between the old buildings adds to the vibe of the place. As part of the tour, we had dinner in a traditional trattoria that all the locals love. And I really suggest you check out some of the local spots to eat.

St Peter’s Square & the Sistine Chapel

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The benefit of being on a tour like Trafalgar is that we did not wait in one queue! And trust me, in peak season (June), it is a BIG benefit. The queues seem to go on forever for the main tourist attractions.

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The Pantheon:

Walking through the Streets & Dinner in Piazza Navona

The Trevi Fountain

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The legend is that throwing a coin, over your left shoulder, into the fountain will guarantee that you’ll return to the Eternal City. If you throw in a second coin, you will not only get you a return trip to Rome, but also return to an exciting new romance.

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Keep checking back for more updates or follow my blog to receive updates to your inbox!

If you liked my blog on Rome, you might enjoy:

  • What we did in 5 days in Paris, here.
  • Or, our whirlwind 2 days in Berlin, here.

Missing Europe,

Leigh 

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#YEGweekly | Brunch at Canteen

The trendy 124th Street is packed full of cool boutiques, foodie spots and cute coffee shops including the brunch hot spot, Canteen. It’s the causal little sister restaurant to the fine dining option, Red Ox Inn, which I have yet to try (but you can bet it’s on the list to-do).

We decided to go for a spontaneous brunch, but I would advise to plan ahead and book (like most people) or you could miss out. You can reserve online here, but if you don’t, you’ll likely end up with a spot at the bar, reserved for walk-ins.

NOTE: Brunch is only served on weekends between 10am and 2pm. But on week days (Monday, Thursday & Friday) try Cafe Linnea (which isn’t too far a drive from Canteen).

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None of the meals on the menu are your typical breakfast options you’ll find at your usual diner. That means no traditional eggs benny, and no side of hash browns or fruit. Instead, the options are way more exciting. Check the menu out here (But note that the menu was slightly different to the one we received at the restaurant).

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My breakfast was a special of the day – which I so often choose – a Quinoa Porridge, topped with fruits, nuts and even a poached egg.

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Craig chose the Chicken and Waffle when he saw one float by to another table – he said was really good (he just wished there was more chicken).

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Price-wise, their brunch plates are a little pricey ranging between $15 – 17 so it’s not an every weekend kind of brunch, but it’s definitely one to try!

I’ve been to Canteen for lunch before, and raved about it! But I’m sad to see that they are no longer open for lunch. I do, however, want to try out a lunch sometime soon. Here’s their dinner menu.

P.S. While you’re on 124th street, check out the new Zwick’s Pretzel Shop.

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Cosy-ing up on this snowy day,

Leigh

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