Though I really love where we live, I have to say I was envious of Old Strathcona residents this weekend when Mack and I paid a visit to their newest grocery store addition.
Calgary-based Blush Lane Organic Market opened its first Edmonton location two weeks ago in the Roots on Whyte building. Their philosophy places an importance on sourcing local products whenever possible, so I was interested in seeing their actual inventory. As accessibility of local products is one barrier that prevents consumers from making such choices, having a shop open for hours more extensive than a farmers’ market should help matters.
The store is bright and well-organized, and packs a great variety of products in the relatively small space they occupy. They have a much better selection of local products than the nearby Planet Organic, at better prices. Sunworks supplies a majority of the protein – eggs, chicken, beef, pork – all at the same prices found at their stall at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market (and on the Roots on Whyte website, appears to be a separate business altogether). There was quite a bit of local dairy as well, including Bles-Wold, Vital Greens and Fairwinds Farms. In our quick sweep, we didn’t see much local produce, but we’re eager to see what will have in stock come summer and fall.
It seems like Blush Lane, unlike other grocery stores, opted against an extensive prepared food aisle, which typically takes up quite a bit of real estate (we’re thinking of our neighbourhood Sobeys on 104 Street in comparison). They do have a deli, however, offering some ready-to-eat items.
We were already laden with items from the OSFM, but did pick up some Vital Greens milk. Mack and I can only hope that our own neighbourhood market, Pangea, is as well stocked!
Before heading home, we stopped for lunch next door at Jennifer Ogle’s venture, Under the High Wheel. The space is sparsely decorated, but it seemed to match a menu that focused on simple ingredients. We were told that Da Capo was supposed to have opened simultaneously (and prepare their coffee-based drinks), but due to construction delays, would not be ready until the end of April. As a result, they are trying to cope with their drinks menu on their own, with some struggle.
Under the High Wheel
The brunch menu was short, but still replete with options that Mack and I had trouble deciding between. We settled on the grilled panini ($13) and Belgian waffles ($14). I’m hoping for future menus that the names of local producers will be included, though we found out that the bread used for our sandwich was from the Italian Centre.
Two of my favourite things: Mack and pea tendrils!
The panini, with smoked cheddar and tomato, was nicely toasted, and we appreciated the sweetness of the tomato within. The fried egg on top didn’t hurt either, and even Mack, ever the salad hater, finished his greens! They were tossed in a light vinaigrette, with radishes adding a splash of colour and spiciness.
I think the Belgian waffle, topped with bacon, a poached egg and hollandaise was the winner that morning, however. The waffle walked the sweet and savoury line well, and was perfectly crispy on the outside but fluffy on the inside. The bacon really was what made the dish, especially because the egg was closer to medium as opposed to soft poached. But as a whole, this composition will make me dig out our own waffle iron to experiment!
Under the High Wheel is a nice addition to the neighbourhood, and would be a draw in and of itself. But coupled with Blush Lane, would make a great weekend outing. I look forward to many returns!