An Afternoon in Old Strathcona

Mack had a meeting on Saturday afternoon in Old Strathcona, so we decided that it would be a good excuse to spend part of the day there – have brunch, check out the market, go window shopping.

Whyte Avenue

It was such a beautiful fall day, perfect for a stroll. I also love the nuggets that only pedestrians are privy to, such as this sandwich board in front of O’Byrne’s:

Whyte Avenue

We started off the day with brunch at Artisan Resto-Cafe. A 2-for-1 coupon for the restaurant was burning a hole through my wallet with its impending expiry date, so it meant a re-visit was in order – we haven’t been back since we had brunch there almost two years ago.

Unfortunately, it was not a good experience, one plagued with amateur mistakes that cannot be justified by a veteran establishment. It all started with a chaotic front of house. Although a “please wait to be seated” sign seemed to signal that a staff person would be greeting incoming diners, until we stepped up and waived down a server, we received no acknowledgement. Worst of all, without an orderly system, a party of three ended up being seated in front of three other groups that had arrived before them, us included.

After about fifteen minutes, we were ushered to a table with apologies. I know the server did her best, but after forgetting to bring milk for our coffee twice, then failing to refill out coffee at all once our food arrived, it didn’t exactly make up for their poor initial impression.

Our order took about twenty minutes to arrive, but…both of our plates were delicious! Tasty to the point where we really had to shake our heads at the service – the kitchen deserves better! My eggs were creamy, the potatoes fried to a lovely crisp, and the pancake (as it was last time), is one of the best I’ve had in the city.

Artisan Resto-Cafe

Country Harvest

Artisan Resto-Cafe

Bacon and cheddar omelette

Since brunch took a lot longer than either of us had anticipated, we had to split up – Mack headed to his meeting, and I walked over to the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market.

Old Strathcona Farmers' Market

 

I haven’t been to the OSFM since March, when the City Market set-up shop in City Hall earlier this year until the transition to the street. It’s always nice to visit though, especially since it is the permanent home of some vendors like Peas on Earth and August Organics who I don’t get to shop from.

Old Strathcona Farmers' Market

It really was all about pumpkins at the market on Saturday – from mini pumpkins to those just waiting to be carved into jack-o’-lanterns to absolutely massive “show” pumpkins.

Old Strathcona Farmers' Market

Mini pumpkins from Peas on Earth

Old Strathcona Farmers' Market

Pumpkins from August Organics

Old Strathcona Farmers' Market

Massive pumpkins from Riverbend Gardens

I also stopped by to chat with Sarah of Belua Designs, and found out that she will be reaching an important milestone soon: 10,000 monsters! She isn’t sure when that 10,000th adoption will take place, but when it does, there may be balloons and confetti to celebrate!

Belua Designs

Belua Designs

The warmer weather was perfect for outdoor concessions – Molly’s Eats, Eva Sweet, Fat Franks and the kettle corn trucks were out in full force. But apparently in recent weeks the OSFM concession has revamped their menu to feature dishes that source products from market vendors. I’ve heard nothing but good things – when I’m not so stuffed, I’ll have to check it out next time!

Old Strathcona Farmers' Market

Concession

After some window shopping, I took the bus back home. Before leaving, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the newly finished (?) Palomar Building. The signage looks great – it makes me want to come back in the evening to see what they look like lit up!

IMG_5070

Hope you enjoyed your Saturday as well!

Now on Brunch Rotation: Artisan Resto-Cafe

Artisan Resto-Cafe, tucked on the lower floor of the beautifully-restored Garneau apartment building on Whyte Avenue, is another one of those restaurants that I’ve been meaning to visit for some time, but just haven’t. Knowing we would need to eat before the matinee performance of It’s A Wonderful Life at the nearby Varscona, we finally planned a trip there.

We didn’t think to make a reservation, but though the restaurant was fairly busy, there were luckily a few tables free. We ended up with a window seat (our favourite kind), with provided a good view of the restaurant. The decor successfully combined old with the new – the lovely brick accents and warm yellow walls made for a very pleasant interior. The “Artisan wishing tree” that stood in the middle of the room was a whimsical touch.

Mack at Artisan Resto-Cafe

The large mugs of coffee were a good start, eliminating the need for frequent refills (I tend to down my coffee really quickly in the mornings). The vast breakfast menu (served all day, no less) was another plus – beyond the typical egg/protein/toast plates, omelettes and eggs benedict were waffles and crepes. Artisan-Resto even has a kids menu! It took some deliberation, but I chose the Country Harvest ($10.89), with 2 eggs, beef sausage, grilled potatoes and a slice of either French toast or a pancake. Mack selected the bacon and cheddar omelette ($10.69), served with toast, grilled potatoes and fruit.

We anticipated a bit of a wait given the large crowd, but the kitchen was right on top of things, with our food arriving only shortly after our order was placed. I enjoyed my breakfast – the sausage was meaty and flavourful, and the pancake, though it could have been a touch warmer, was easily the best part of my meal – crispy on the outside, but perfectly fluffy on the inside. I knew what I would be having next time…

Country Harvest

Mack’s plate was just heaping with food. He liked the grilled potatoes, but his omelette needed more salt.

Cheddar and Bacon Omelette

Overall, we had a great experience, and will be back. I would recommend Artisan Resto-Cafe without hesitation, and look forward to slotting it into our Edmonton brunch rotation.

Artisan Resto-Cafe
10732 82 Avenue
(780) 413-8045
Monday-Tuesday 6:30am-5pm, Wednesday-Friday 6:30am-9pm, Saturdays 8am-9pm, Sundays 9am-5pm