Everyday Life with Erin

Exploring the Beauty of YYC

Being back at work again had me reminiscing and dreaming of care-free ways, summer weather, and holidays. In August, we went on a mini road trip to BC, stopping in Fernie, Cranbrook, and the Fairmont area. In Farimont, we rented this adorable cabin in the woods where life was easy. How I’ve been thinking about those days lately! The one night, it was cool outside and our place had a fireplace, so what else would you do on an evening such as that? Make s’mores!

Gathering all of the essential ingredients, graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows, we built a fire and began our evening of delectable treats! There’s always a certain way to cook marshmallows, although some like them crispy, some just lightly browned. And of course, the chocolate is the most important part, but that night, I learned a couple another tips to make your s’mores just right. First of all, if you’re feeling lazy, I highly recommend purchasing Celebration butter cookies with milk chocolate. It eliminates the chocolate piece and makes it easy to just slide the marshmallow right in between the two cookies. Secondly, if you prefer the chocolate chunky pieces, cook a few marshmallows, place them between the graham cracker and chocolate and let it sit for a bit. The heat will melt just the outer layer of the chocolate making it the perfect texture and taste. Finally, if you really want to up your game, dip your marshmallows in Baileys. This is life changing!

Be creative, try out new things, and let me know your favourite s’mores recipes!

Who needed an extra coffee after the long weekend? I know I sure did.

When we first moved into our community, I was overly disappointed to learn that there wasn’t a single coffee shop around, besides the Safeway Starbucks. Nowhere you could walk to on a Saturday morning, nowhere you could quickly stop in for a morning ritual, and nowhere you could have an afternoon pick-me-up. Nowhere. Not until March 2017 when Rosso finally opened up in the Tuxedo neighbourhood.

Since then, Rosso has become one of my favourite coffee shops in town, and here’s why:
1) They make a delicious espresso! And by that, I mean an espresso that actually tastes like espresso, not some watered down, weak version of such a thing.
2) Their iced coffee is top notch, and they even have a cold brew on tap or in cans for you to take on the go.
3) They make THE best banana bread. This is not an understatement!
4) Their seven locations across town each have a certain vibe. Despite that fact that they’re aesthetically pleasing, there’s something special and different about them all which makes it essential to visit each one.
5) They partner with numerous organizations throughout the city and are constantly giving back to the community.
6) They source their coffee from producers that focus on green practices, build a relationship with those producers and collaborate for sustainability, and work alongside producers to develop community focused initiatives.
7) Not only can you buy their coffee in store for around $20/bag, but you can also order it online and have it delivered. Experiencing their home coffee plan was one of the best decisions I had made.
8) They serve delicious food: all day breakfast, salads, sandwiches, soups, and treats.
9) They continue to enter barista competitions and excel at it. Clearly, they know what they’re doing!
10) They’re so much more than a coffee shop. They sell tea and alcoholic beverages. It’s a place to hang out, to meet with friends, to sit with your pup on the patio, and they just happen to serve great coffee!

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All photos by Valerie Lopez.

Driving by this Japanese restaurant at least twice a day, we decided it was finally time to stop in and try it out. It’s highly rated on Google and best described as a place for traditional sashimi and sushi dishes, and other Japanese plates.

Arriving at just after 8pm, the restaurant was packed! We were greeted immediately and much to our surprise were quickly offered a seat at the bar. We were handed a menu filled with their current specials, as well as an extensive, multi-page menu to peruse. We decided to order one of the specials, mango and fish roll, as well as the spicy tuna roll and a bowl of ramen each. The food came out quickly, in good portion sizes, and tasted fantastic! For me, the sushi particularly stood out and I would love to go back and try more options. I can feel this is going to be a new local favourite!

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A culinary drag event. What does that entail you may be wondering. Well, let me indulge you.

Sashay, Fillet brings together the worlds of food and drag. This year, five local chefs from Bridgette Bar, Raw Bar, Purlieu, The Sensory, and London Local partnered up with local drag performers to move through a series of challenges and elimination rounds. The teams were judged on both the chef’s creation and the drag performance.

Hosted at Hotel Arts, we were lucky enough to arrive early and get our makeup done glitter style. We wandered around the room tasting amazing dishes, trying out some cocktails, biding on silent auction items, and chatting with the performers and chefs, all before taking our seats and enjoying the show. The event was hosted by local radio personnel Christy Farrell and RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Jaidynn Diore Fierce. The judging panel consisted of Mr. Fabulous, Fraser from the 101.5 morning show, pastry chef Heather Mordue, and Laila McQueen, also from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Each round began with a drag performance, a tasting dish, and then an elimination as the teams were narrowed down slowly and eventually only one was crowned.

Besides being entertaining, the food was absolutely outstanding, and the performers incredibly talented. I’m just glad I wasn’t a judge!

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For the next three years you can walk around bridges and pathways in East Village and check out a new art installation by Katie Green. Her colourful and bold artwork is turning heads and causing much conversation. Faces are removed and instead replaced with painted papier-mâché masks. Each of the sixteen covered surfaces are modeled after community members in East Village. Through an extended process, the selected participants eventually made their own papier-mâché masks, were photographed in chosen areas around East Village, and then painted onto the various walls.

Whether you find the artwork intriguing, questionable, or creepy, it will cause you to stop, look, and wonder.

I won’t spoil it for you, but below is my favourite piece painted on a bathroom outside of the Simmon’s building.

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Fresh fast food meets the vibrant streets of Tokyo is exactly the vibe that you’ll find when eating at Tokyo Street Market. Walls with exposed brick and covered in art, homemade caricature signs, and food for the taking, it feels as though you’ve walked into another world. Finding this place on the corner of 9 Avenue and Centre Street NE, you can taste numerous Japanese delicacies, from sushi to ramen to Karamucho chips. You can quickly run in for take-out, or stay for a meal inside or on their cute, outdoor patio.

Wanting to try as much as possible, we ordered two types of ramen (miso and spicy soy), two small sushi and sashimi tasters, and gyoza, all for a grand total of under $30! This isn’t of course world class food, but the value for money, the taste, and quantity were all outstanding. I’ll be dreaming about that ramen for days to come.

Tokyo Street Market is opened everyday from 11am until midnight, except on Sundays when it closes at 11pm. And if you’re feel lazy you can also order take out on Skip the Dishes, although I would really recommend a visit so you can partake in the full experience.

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For individuals with gluten sensitivities, intolerance, or celiac disease drinking beer is either strictly prohibited or results in not the best of a physical situation. Any gluten free beer that I’ve tried has been fairly flavourless and really makes you ask yourself, “Why even bother?” Until now…

Heathen’s Brewing Inc. opened at the end of June and is the only 100% gluten free brewery in Western Canada. There is a 0% chance of cross contamination, making it a safe beer option, especially for those with celiac disease. The company itself is a family run business, started by husband Wes, who was looking for gluten free options for both his wife and two of his children. Recognizing the options were limitless and tasteless, he decided to create his own brews, and ultimately opened his own brewery doing exactly that.

The brewery itself is small, but has a clean rustic look to it. They had six different options available on tap, and we tried a flight of four: a peanut butter stout, nitro milk stout, NE I.P.A, and a session style Solstice. If you weren’t aware that they were gluten free, I’m not sure if you’d notice. Although they were very low in IBUs, they were still flavourful and enjoyable to taste. If you’re a fan of nitros, I would definitely recommend their milk stout, and the peanut butter stout was equally delicious and tasted just like a reese’s peanut butter cup.

Celiac or not, at least give this place a try and see if you can taste the difference!

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