I might have met my husband on Valentine’s Day, but we celebrate our romance a little more regularly than once a year. It remains a time for treats, though, as we both celebrate our birthdays in February. We splurged just the other night with our first trip to Rge Rd, a local field-to-plate restaurant who locally sources all of their ingredients. Even their wine list is prevalently Canadian.
All this romance and good food inspired a little locavore love.
Here are ten of my favorite local treats:
- Rge Rd
As inspiration for the list in the first place, it must come in first place. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for this tiny restaurant. In fact, the most difficult thing about this place is getting a seat. Reservations recommended, and maybe don’t eat lunch so you can sample the full range of their delicious fare.
We started off with the Kitchen Plate on meatball night. Delicious herb gouda, beef, pork and bison meatballs and artisanal crackers – mmmm. My husband had the Pig Roast, I had the bison, and we finished off with an apple galette topped with a smoked vanilla buttermilk ice cream… is your mouth watering too?
I also had an excellent glass of Riesling from the Chateaux des Charmes winery in the Niagara region, which has got me all excited anew about my trip to Niagara Falls next month.
- Brassica mustard
That beautiful bison I had came from locally sourced Pilatus Farms was served with a hazelnut spatzle and Brassica mustard. I’d heard rave reviews about this mustard as well. While I’d also never had hazelnut spatzle, I can definitely see myself cooking with this wonderful mustard time and again. I believe it’s available at Save On Foods.
- Hole’s bouquets
Hole’s Greenhouse, located in the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert, has a greenhouse, kitchen shop, gifts, furniture, spa and organic grocery. AND a florist which sells more than your average rose-and-daisy bouquet. Keep your eyes out for gorgeous posies of ranunculus and elegant orchids.
- T. Bishop Bakery’s Go Nuts poppycock squares
I randomly treated myself with one of these squares while on a grocery shopping trip. Now I greedily grab three or four squares every time I come across them. Buttery soft popcorn goodness. Seriously. It’s not even ten a.m. and I’m considering eating one from my cupboard stash right now. I’ve picked these up at Save On Foods and Planet Organic.
- Prairie Mill Bread Co.’s cinnamon buns
I’m a cinnamon bun fan on the best of days, but on market day, when I’m wandering the stalls at the 104 Street market early before the crowds descend, I can count on one of the huge, soft and perfectly-not-too-sweet whole wheat cinnamon buns to still be warm from the ovens.
- Sylvan Star’s Old Grizzly gouda
My husband has turned me on to a beautiful sharp cheese. The Old Grizzly extra aged gouda from Sylvan Star in Red Deer is a perfect example. Smooth and nutty, it takes cheese and crackers to a new level.
- Duchess Bake Shop’s shortbread, salted caramel macarons, banana cream pie…
Best banana cream pie I have ever eaten. And the salted caramel macarons only beat out the root beer float macarons by a small margin. We gave out their shortbread as our wedding favour – ooh I forgot to mention the cream of wild mushroom soup! The Duke cake, the Duchess cake, the gruyere croissant – take a pick, you can’t go wrong.
- Jacek chocolates
No one really wants the Pot O’ Five Dollar chocolates where quantity beats quality. For those you want to spoil, buy them Jacek. It’s just a couple dollars more, and sure they’ll get less chocolate, but they’ll be ranting and raving over the taste and flavour combinations.
- Poutine from the Cheese Factory
Tip: a small is enough, a medium is plenty, and you should probably share the large. The cheese curds are made in house. The yelp reviews are mixed on this joint, but for a quick, affordable and delicious perfectly plain ol’ poutine, this is my place.
- Pinocchio ice cream
Bacio is chocolate hazelnut, cappuccino takes like real coffee and not too sweet, coconut that’s wonderfully tropical… expensive at almost ten bucks a tub, but there’s more than double a haagen dazs container and it tastes better!
Well, it’s no wonder the Diet for the Sleep Deprived continues to be a struggle. But it all tastes so good!! Any tips or suggestions for numbers 11 through 20? Or disagree with one through ten? Let me know.
In the meantime, wishing you love and laughter and treats this Valentine’s weekend.