Date Night: 124 Grand Market and Cococo Chocolatiers

Mack still hadn’t been to the 124 Grand Market, the current darling of the local food scene, so we decided to make it a date – why do dinner and a movie when you can do dinner at a market?

124 Grand Market

124 Grand Market

We hopped on a bus after work and joined the hoards gleefully enjoying another perfectly clear night out at the market (we joked with 124 organizer Kirsta Franke that this number of rain-free market days must be some sort of record).

124 Grand Market

Kirsta and roommate!

As expected, the seating area was jam packed for the dinner hour – Nomad and Drift had been mobbed early, and they were each already sold out of a few items (Mack and I kicked ourselves a little for missing Drift’s buttermilk fried chicken sandwich). Still, we were more than satisfied with a farm egg and pork belly sandwiches and a shared poutine.

124 Grand Market

Dinner time!

124 Grand Market

Mack loves egg sandwiches

124 Grand Market

Drift’s poutine with red wine beef gravy

One of the great things about farmers’ markets in Edmonton is the inevitability of running into someone you know! Among them tonight was the Walters family, who enjoyed the poutine as much as we did.

124 Grand Market

Michael, Kara and their sons

We didn’t buy much (not having our reusable bag really hindered my shopping impulse), but enjoyed perusing the vendors, especially those who don’t vend at the City Market. The first week out, there weren’t too many grocery vendors (meat, produce), but it would now be possible to fill one’s fridge quite nicely with their current mix.

124 Grand Market

Steve & Dan’s

124 Grand Market

Victoria Farm (they had some gorgeous kale)

124 Grand Market

Mojojojo Pickles (Jo’s turnip pickles are to die for!)

We did pick up a box of greens from Lactuca (grown in a yard just two blocks away from the market), and some doughnuts from Heritage Baked Goods – when else have you encountered a pink lemonade doughnut?

124 Grand Market

Heritage Baked Goods

As we watched the crowds go by, Mack and I tried to find out the reasons why this market has taken on such a life of its own so early on (especially given there are a number of long-standing Thursday evening markets, as well as newer ones). Is it 124th’s proximity to downtown or to Oliver, Edmonton’s most populous neighbourhood? The eclectic mix of farmers, handmade goods and prepared foods? The food trucks? The thoughtful marketing and publicity? Or its location on Edmonton’s up-and-coming street, anchored by hip tenants Duchess and Cafe Tiramisu? Regardless of the reason, Kirsta has definitely made the 124 Grand Market the place to be! Between the food and good selection of vendors, it’ll be worth your while to check it out yourself.

After the market, we walked over to Cococo Chocolatiers (the rebranded company that purchased Bernard Callebeaut out of receivership). They relocated a block south into the old McElheran’s discounted furniture storeroom at 10103 124 Street, and have transformed the unremarkable space into a bright and appealing retreat.

Cococo

Cococo Chocolatiers

We weren’t too interested in chocolate today, but there’s no doubt on another occasion we would take the time to look through the vast display cases. Instead, we made a beeline for the gelato, which in my opinion is among the best in the city.

Cococo

Refreshing raspberry gelato

We opted to cool off in the air-conditioned space, but some patrons enjoyed their treats outdoors on Cococo’s limited patio. With such a vast (and unnecessarily large) parking lot, I hope Cococo considers expanding their outdoor seating with a proper, attractive patio. It definitely would help grab the attention of passersby – at the moment, the signage is small and it isn’t clear a chocolate oasis awaits within.

Comfortably cooler, Mack and I decided to walk home, enjoying the evening breeze. All in all, a great date night – thanks, Mack!