Local Fare: Boston

mmm pinkberry happy face

As expected, Boston is AMAZING! Seriously it is maybe the most beautiful city I’ve been to. The people were incredibly friendly, which could be because half the world was there for the marathon. The architecture blew my mind. ¬†Everyone was enthusiastic, customer service was over the top great, and the whole city was alive with marathon pride! We had a great time. We also ate a lot of great food! Foodie highlights include: post race fish and chips at Tommy Doyle’s Irish Pub in Harvard Square, lychee fro-yo from Pinkberry(ok let’s be honest, pomegranate, coconut and mango were equally great!), veggie pizza from Uno, giant cookies from Quincy’s Market, breakfast sandwiches from Au Bon Pain, and cappuccino from some hole in the wall in the Italian North End district. We ate well. We also walked 12 hours a day to justify eating so well! IronSister rocked her 21st marathon(5.5 months pregnant I may now happily announce!)

In other MAJOR news(at least in my life), the Calgary Farmer’s Market reopened today!!! I took the girls to check it out. It was utter pandemonium, first day craziness of parking schmazzles etc, but I’m so so thrilled to have the Market open. It is beautiful and spacious, all sorts of new stuff. Traditional cap from Fratello was worth the parking lot endurance sport. I can’t wait to go back and get my routine on. I’m home, it feels like spring, so I intend on being back in the action this week. Hopefully I’ll have some new recipes for you!

Local Fare: Purple Perk

Purple Perk

Sexy Husband and I were musing the other, that this is the first December in many many years, that he has not been on tour. Usually I can count on one hand how many days he is home in December. But this year, with the Studio in full force, he turned down gigs, for home. How wonderful! Yet even though he is home waaay more this month than usual, for some reason, it still just feels like life is SO busy and we have to be extremely productive for all 18hours of the day we are awake, to keep on top of things. Not good. Our conclusion is that time is like money, in that if you make more money, you always find a way to spend more money and feel like there’s not enough of it. If you have more time, very rarely do we manage it so well as to include enough time for reflection and pause.

And reflection and pause is so important. We need to stop, and breathe, and dream, and remind ourselves why we do it all, and who we are. And so we did that this week, 2 perfect hours of peace and pause. We confided in each other, dreamed some of the same dreams that always come up over coffee and breakfast, encouraged each other and enjoyed each other’s company.

This is all much easier to do when you have a special place that you love, that provides an atmosphere for just this dreaming and being. For us, this place is Purple Perk, downtown Calgary. There are many great coffee shops in Calgary, and lots of great places to eat. But there is something about Purple Perk that is special to us. It’s where we take our nearest and dearest. It’s where we escape to. Sexy Husband and I have our routine down to a fine art. It’s always full except our one table, waiting for us. We order the exact same thing(he gets this but I eat that of his, I get that but he eats this of mine). The food is delicious, the raspberry scones are like no other, the staff are amazing and know my girls by name. The coffee is absolutely delicious. I don’t know anything about it, which is unlike me, and for whatever reason, I don’t give two figs what sub-region of which sub-equatorial country the beans are from. I just know I love it.

The atmosphere is fun too. There’s always the usual crowd: one table of hipsters with their oversized headphones and Mac’s, one table of suits from the downtown corporate scene, one table of seniors – regulars, business meetings beside lululemon mommies. A little something for everyone!

If you are in Calgary, go check out this happy little place, the heart of Mission on 4th St.

It’s time my friends. Time for pause, breath and reflection.

check out the $8.95 cup of coffee

world's best raspberry white chocolate scones

Local Fare: Caffe Crema

Caffe Crema

It is a highly valued treasure in my life when I can walk into a coffee shop and am greeted by name and I don’t have to order my drink, it’s just made and made well (2 shot americano in a short cup. We like to call it a Baby Americano). This is one of the many reasons that Caffe Crema is such a lovely treasure, hidden deep in Suburbia. Crema just celebrated it’s first birthday here in Calgary so it’s relatively new. It’s located waaaaay out in Suburbia, close to us and is that local neighborhood coffee shop that actually makes good coffee. Sexy Husband and I are the type to shamelessly drive allllll the way downtown any time we want, just to get a good coffee. I am unapologetic about my need for particularly delicious coffee and great service. Thanks to Caffe Crema, I don’t often have to darken the door of Starbucks (not to offend Starbucks lovers out there. Starbucks will always represent our generation of coffee shop culture and I instantly feel at home in any city when I see one. Just saying…mediocre generic coffee…not my thing.) Here are a few reasons why I heart Caffe Crema:

1. Good Coffee: I don’t care how cute and friendly the coffee shop is. If the coffee is not good, I’m not gonna go. Crema uses beans from Fratello Roasters, local Calgary superstars who roast consciously purchased beans. There is usually a variety of beans AND coffee tastings weekly! They were just voted into the top 5 Calgary Coffee Shops by the Krups Kup of Excellence event!

good coffee

2. Good People: Owners Jeff and Stephanie Halldorsen are so lovely and wonderful. Charissa the Manager and her crew of super friendly and knowledgeable baristas are so so great. They remember names and drinks, they are full of personality and pull consistent shots. I honestly feel like I’m in to visit friends every single time I go.

cute and fun baristas

3. Good Concept: I love the idea of bringing good coffee to the people. Lots of people don’t have the time or motivation to get themselves a cup of great coffee, but really, life is better with quality at your fingertips. It’s a super family friendly atmosphere with a good set up for kids, craft nights, live music events, poetry reading nights. It’s kind of a bustling centre for the community in the deep South West.

vintage book collection for sale

Bottom Line: You should pop by and check them out! They can be your friends too! I can almost always be found there Wednesday mornings with my Sisterhood of the Caffeinated Mommies. You check them out HERE.

Farmer’s Market Friday

I know. It’s not Friday. However every Friday morning, Sexy Husband and I pack up the girls and head down to my favorite place in the world (or at least my favorite place in my regular little world of Calgary): The Calgary Farmer’s Market! Thankfully, the Market is open all year, but it is definitely a booming place in the summer! Vendors from all over Alberta bring their fresh and colorful wares and I wade through the crowd in a state of blissful giddiness. There are many amazing vendors that, over time, I will have to write about. People who are doing their part to make local food available, to grow organic food, to support green growing. It is multi-cultural. It is fabulous.

We have our own little routine, which has become practically sacred in our house. It goes something like this: upon arrival, Foodie Baby and I head straight for Phil & Sebastians for the best coffee in town(congratulations to them on their recent win of the KRUPS cup of excellence award for the bazillionth year in a row). Sexy Husband takes Picky Princess to the bouncy castle. She jumps with glee while we sit in happy silence with our coffees. Magically, ever week, as we take our last sips, she decides she’s done with bouncing and off we head for “sweet pie” at Simple Simon Pies. She samples a rotation of delicious fruit pies and we hit up our regular stops: fresh organic farm eggs, some kind of new spice mix from Silk Road Spice Merchants, organic bananas from Lunn’s Farm, and whatever other produce that catches our eyes. The energy is spectacular, the air thick with hope that I have what you need and you have what I need. I love it.

In fact, I love it enough to make it a feature to write about. So from here on in, once I return from the Market on Fridays, I will write about the treasures and inspirations of the week. Watch for it: Farmer’s Market Friday.

Markets like this one are an amazing way to buy food that has not travelled very far, by people you can actually get to know and support, and who are passionate about what they do. They are an incredible source of inspiration and usually…great deals. Last I read, Calgary has 17 official Farmer’s Markets, so chances are…wherever you live, there has to be some too!

We are off to the Okanagan for holidays this Friday, so I won’t be at the Market this week… but here are some pics from past visits.

Picky Princess finding some treasures

Phil & Sebastians

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