Alberta Avenue Adventures: Elm Café and Deep Freeze Festival

It’s been some time since Mack and I have had a brunch date, so earlier today, we sought to rectify that. I caught an Elm Café tweet that their Alberta Avenue dining room would be hosting brunch this weekend; given we were heading to the Deep Freeze Festival later anyway, it made sense to start off our day there.

Although the Elm Café dining room doesn’t offer meals on a regular basis, they’re worth looking out for. Our last visit involved a variety of Austrian dumplings, and this time, a straightforward, but satisfying brunch menu.

The expansive windows also illuminated the room well, and its street-level windows lent itself to people watching.

Brunch at Elm's Dining Room

Dining room

Mack and I shared the buttermilk biscuit ($4), warmed and served with stone fruit jam and butter. If we hadn’t agreed to split the order initially, I think we would have wound up fighting over the scraps!

Brunch at Elm's Dining Room

Buttermilk biscuit

The caramel apple French toast ($14) was decidedly even richer with a layer of Irvings bacon. I loved the finishing touch of crisp matchstick apples.

Brunch at Elm's Dining Room

Caramel apple French toast

Mack’s corned beef hash ($14) was made up of some of his favourite things. He found the house-made corned beef particularly tasty, and appreciated the sweetness of the peppers.

Brunch at Elm's Dining Room

Corned beef hash

Allan (who was in the kitchen this morning) was sweet enough to make us an extra treat too.

Brunch at Elm's Dining Room

Mini tarts with yogurt and rhubarb compote

The leisurely brunch was just what we wanted – hopefully we can look forward to more festival meal pairings in the future!

Afterwards, we walked outside to explore the Deep Freeze Festival. Over the years, it has become our favourite winter festival – the range of activities appeal to visitors young and old, and with displays, games, music, and old fashioned outdoor fun, there is no shortage of things to see and do.

Deep Freeze Festival 2014

Cabane a sucre

Deep Freeze Festival 2014

Ice carvers at work

The festival organizers did a great job of improving the layout this year, by putting the thaw hut competition and deep freezer races right along 118 Avenue, encouraging even more walk-by traffic.

Deep Freeze Festival 2014

Dustin Bajer in his thaw hut entry (constructed with Paul Giang)

Deep Freeze Festival 2014

Deep freezer race!

As in past years as well, I appreciate that the audio of the indoor musical performances are piped outdoors, tying the different spaces together and providing a common soundtrack for the event.

Deep Freeze Festival 2014

The always popular ice slide

This year’s viking theme was visually prevalent throughout the festival, though I have to say my favourite incarnation was the stunning ice-carved viking ship that functioned as the outdoor concession stand.

Deep Freeze Festival 2014

Streetpole art

Deep Freeze Festival 2014

Ice bar

Kids at heart, Mack and I took advantage of the wagon rides, always a great vantage point to admire the neighbourhood’s tree-lined streets.

Deep Freeze Festival 2014

Beautiful horses

Deep Freeze Festival 2014

Wagon ride

Congratulations to the organizers for what looks to be another successful year!

Check out Mack’s post on Deep Freeze for a video overview of what to expect!

3 thoughts on “Alberta Avenue Adventures: Elm Café and Deep Freeze Festival

  1. Glad you liked brunch. Hopefully there will be many more to follow. Great photos, too.

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