Meet Me in Mississippi: Blue Chair Cafe

Edmonton may be descending towards winter, but the temperature outdoors was far from everyone’s minds at the Blue Chair Cafe on Friday. For two nights, the restaurant was transformed into a juke joint, with blues artist Kat Danser at the helm (or as Kat put it, a “Saskatchewan bush party with a roof”). Mack, Jill and I had made reservations several weeks back; the Blue Chair had not only sold out both nights, but had enough people on the waiting list for a third show (Kat’s actually up for the New Artist of the Year with Canada’s Maple Blues Awards – you can be a part of the online vote here).

Blue Chair Cafe

Kat Danser

The show was great – we had seen Kat at the Arden Theatre last year, but the intimacy of this venue better conveyed the spirit of and the imagery in her lyrics for me. Of course, it helped that we had front row seats!

Blue Chair Cafe

A juke joint stage

The Blue Chair is also a noteworthy venue in itself – it’s nice when one doesn’t have to compromise good food and table service for live music, or vice versa. I had ordered off the regular menu last time, so with Jill’s encouragement, Mack and I both decided to try the specials on this occasion. It wasn’t a difficult decision, given the chef had put together some Mississippi-inspired dishes just for Kat’s two night engagement.

Mack’s spicy BBQ pork back ribs ($26) were fall-off-the-bone, with the chipotle BBQ sauce providing a nice balance between sweetness and heat. Though the kitchen had been generous with the meat portion, Mack was left wishing for more of the roasted sweet potatoes underneath.

Blue Chair Cafe

Spicy BBQ pork back ribs (thanks to Jill’s flashlight app we actually have bright photos!)

Jill and I had both opted to have the Cajun blackened snapper ($26). We were surprised, however, when the snapper arrived without its promised blackened preparation. Although it tasted fine, we wanted to know what had happened, so asked our waitress if the kitchen had to deviate from the menu. The explanation? “The pan wasn’t hot enough.” Why did the kitchen still send it out? Thankfully, the jambalaya underneath, replete with shrimp, tasty sausage and perfectly cooked rice, somewhat made up for the poorly executed fish.

Blue Chair Cafe

Cajun blackened snapper with jambalaya

Dessert was also better. Mack enjoyed his carrot cake ($9), though he could have done without the seeds inside. Jill and I split the chocolate pate ($10) – this, unlike the snapper, lived up to its menu description: “If Barry White’s voice was a dessert…”. Incredibly smooth, this decadent dish is easily one of the best sweet endings I’ve had to a meal in a while. The touch of pomegranate was the perfect finishing touch, helping to cut through some of the richness by adding a fruity burst to each bite.

Blue Chair Cafe

Carrot cake

Blue Chair Cafe

Chocolate pate

Mack and I had a great time at the Blue Chair – there’s no better way to kick off a weekend than good food, music and friends! If you’re interested – check out the Blue Chair’s live music and event calendar here.

Blue Chair Cafe
9624 – 76 Avenue
(780) 989 – 2861
Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 10pm, Sunday 10am – 8pm

Solid Brunch: Blue Chair Cafe

The Saturday before Christmas, Mack and I had brunch with Grandma Male at the Blue Chair Cafe. I’d been meaning to try the restaurant for brunch for some time, after having a positive experience on one of their music nights earlier this year. We were hoping a musician would be lighting up the atmosphere during our meal, but it turns out live music only takes place on Sunday mornings.

Blue Chair Cafe

Interior

Perhaps the lack of performers was linked to the empty restaurant when we walked in that Saturday, but truth be told, it was a pleasant change – the morning dash for tables at places like the High Level Diner or Urban Diner can be quite harrowing.  Two other parties eventually joined us in the restaurant; maybe they had the same idea for a stress-free breakfast followed by a trip to the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market.

Blue Chair Cafe

Love the bank of windows

With a dozen dishes on the brunch menu, including vegan and celiac-friendly options, we had a tough time deciding what to order. Mack eventually settled on the blueberry yogurt pancakes with maple alder-smoked bacon ($13.50), while Grandma Male chose the banana bread French toast ($13.50), and I opted for the basic benny ($13.50) with capicola ham and buckwheat sunflower bread.

My eggs benedict was fine, though I am probably not the best judge, given it isn’t a brunch dish I usually order – the eggs were poached well, the yolks still runny, and the bread was the hearty, grainy sort, my favourite. I also would have preferred crispy, home-style potatoes instead of the roasted baby potatoes. All of our dishes were served with a colourful side of fresh fruit, reminiscent of the New York Bagel Cafe.

Blue Chair Cafe

Basic benny

Grandma Male thoroughly enjoyed her banana bread French toast (something you’d think would be more common – such a great twist on a classic). The brown sugar finish was a nice touch, and the serving was so large she had leftovers to take home!

Blue Chair Cafe

Banana bread French toast

I had serious dish envy with Mack’s blueberry yogurt pancakes though. The pancakes were so light and fluffy, even more so than the usual buttermilk pancakes on restaurant menus. His serving was also quite large, but Mack managed to power through it, not a difficult task because  the dish was accompanied by super-crispy bacon, his favourite.

Blue Chair Cafe

Blueberry yogurt pancakes

I’d definitely return to Blue Chair Cafe in the future. Service was friendly and prompt, and the food was solid. Check it out if you haven’t already!

Blue Chair Cafe
9624 – 76 Avenue
(780) 989 – 2861
Monday – Sunday 10am-10pm