May 5, 2012

Elm Café, Edmonton

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My first week of mat leave has been awesome. It feels kind of weird and surreal to have so much free time – it’s like this strange transition period between my old life and my new life.

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I’m really enjoying being able to decide exactly what I want to do with my days. This week we got a lot of stuff done around the house, including organizing all of our files and reorganizing the closets to make room for baby stuff. The baby’s room is almost entirely ready, which is so exciting!

I also did a bunch of grocery shopping and stocked up on staple pantry items and ingredients for all the freezer meals I plan to make – that’s on next week’s agenda. Our pantry has never been so full, and it feels great.

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We also took some time to relax together this week since J wasn’t working much either. On Tuesday we went to Elm Café for breakfast. This is one of J’s favourite spot in the whole city. It’s a tiny cafe in the Oliver neighbourhood, opened a few years ago by Edmonton chef Nate Box. It’s been getting a lot of attention lately – both in a feature in Vue Weekly and on Avenue Magazine’s 25 Best Things To Eat in Edmonton list.

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I suggested to J that he go to Elm for his espresso fix when he started working at the Edmonton General hospital last year. Though it’s six blocks away from the hospital, it has the best coffee in the neighbourhood. J fell in love with their sandwiches, and now he often leaves for work 45 minutes early just to walk to Elm.

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The sandwiches are made on crusty, glutenous bread, so no tastes for me, but they look and sound divine. J will come home from work with a dreamy look on his face, remembering his breakfast sandwich: fried egg cooked perfectly, with the yolk slightly runny, Irving’s farm bacon or sausage, arugula, sometimes pickles, cheese, or some other enticing combination of ingredients.

Besides sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, Elm offers a daily soup and salad, yogurt with fruit and granola, muffins, coffee from 49th Parallel in Vancouver, and other hot and cold drinks. And they serve it all from a 195-square-foot-storefront tucked just off Jasper Avenue. There are a few chairs at a narrow wooden counter inside the cafe, and in nice weather there are several tables set up outside too.

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The other morning J chose the Early Sandwich with fried egg, Irvings’ Smokies, horseradish mayo, cheddar, and spinach, and a pina colada muffin. I went for one of the only GF things on the menu, local Bleswold Yogurt with grapes and blackberries, and a cappuccino. It was all delicious.

It was such a treat to share a meal in the middle of the morning, and to eat it outside – I think our first outside meal of the year. It was one of many small, sweet moments this week as we savour our last days as a childless couple.

Tonight a few friends are coming over to celebrate J’s birthday, and I took advantage of my time off to prepare a dessert extravaganza: two kinds of cookies, whoopie pies, and homemade gelato. I’m pretty excited! Hopefully I can share the results with you in the next little while.

Elm Café
10140 117 st, Unit 100
Edmonton, AB

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