Tag Archives: Edmonton Alberta

Edmonton’s Credo a Different Breed of Coffeehouse

Half a dozen types of excellent muffins steadily emerging from the kitchen makes Edmonton's Credo a special coffeehouse

Half a dozen types of excellent muffins steadily emerging from the kitchen makes Edmonton’s Credo a special coffeehouse

Here’s how you make a coffeehouse stand out.

Obviously, you need fine coffee. Edmonton’s Credo nicely meets that standard.

A nice Americano, using Intelligentsia beans

A nice Americano, using Intelligentsia beans

But it’s the house-baked goodies that blow the doors off. Credo smartly keeps things relatively simple, offering just a few treats like cookies, lovely pans of granola bars and muffins.

Muffins, you’re thinking? Big deal. But how many places offer a half dozen varieties at a time? Credo does, every day.

Here’s the real kicker. Most coffee shops bake one batch of muffins early in the morning. Once they’re sold out, they’re gone. And if they’re not all gone by, say, noon, they’re often wrapped in plastic, to keep them “fresh”. But to me, plastic wrap spells “stale”, usually enough to send me running for the exit.

Credo, though, has the ingenious idea of simply baking more batches as the day wears on. Thus the muffins are always fresh and often warm from the oven.

How about a fine cornmeal, cheddar muffin, with a bit of kick?

How about a fine cornmeal, cheddar muffin, with a bit of kick?

Such as the fabulous cornmeal and cheddar muffin I recently devoured. It had a lovely texture, with a bit of crunch from the cornmeal and a wee kick from, I’m guessing, some jalapeño. Did I mention it was just out of the oven and artfully angled, with its brethren, in its baking tin?

I could have ordered a blueberry muffin, a bran or a cranberry cornmeal instead and been just as satisfied. Indeed, it took all my willpower to not down a couple more.

So, by simply deciding to make great muffins, and lots of them, Credo is always going to be a go-to coffee shop among the dozens competing for my attention when I’m in Edmonton.

Credo Cafe
10134 104 Street and 10350 124 Street, Edmonton, Alberta
104 Street location: weekdays 7 am-6 pm, Saturday 8 am-6 pm, Sunday 10 am-6 pm (slightly reduced hours at the second, new location)
Credo Coffee on Urbanspoon

In other Edmonton coffee news, the cleverly named Burrow has opened in the underground concourse of a downtown light-rail transit (LRT) station. With an efficient espresso bar (using Four Barrel beans) and pastries and light breakfasts and lunches to go, it’s aimed at snagging the 20,000 transit users a day who walk by.

It’s part of Nate Box’s expanding city empire of little coffee/food places, joining Elm Cafe and District Coffee. Guess you could call it a box set.

Burrow
Central LRT Station concourse west (Jasper Avenue near 102 Street)
Weekdays 7 am-5 pm. Closed weekends
Burrow on Urbanspoon

An Indian-Food Remedy in Edmonton, Alberta

You have to filter through all the flavourful pistachio bits to get to the heart of this lovely chai at Edmonton's Remedy Cafe

You have to filter through all the flavourful pistachio bits to get to the heart of this lovely chai at Edmonton’s Remedy Cafe

I seldom eat Indian food on a road trip. It’s not that I don’t love the rich, complex dishes typical of this cuisine.

It’s just that it tends to be fairly expensive—often exceeding $15 per plate, lunch or dinner—for my travelling budget. Plus the atmosphere is generally dark and formal.

So it’s delightful to discover Remedy Cafe, Zee Zaidi’s growing little kingdom of Indian food joints in Edmonton, Alberta. The eats and drinks are great, the prices most affordable and the spaces bright and roomy, with a counter-service, fast-food vibe (though the bathrooms in the flagship, 109th Street store require a long hike to the nether reaches of the building).

You can certainly order standards like samosa appetizers and butter chicken, served in a copper bowl, with a side of naan. But the lunchtime highlights are the substantial wraps, featuring traditional Indian and Pakistani dishes like tandoori chicken or chana masala stuffed inside a toasted tortilla, with some dipping sauce to spice things up to your heat tolerance. It’s a unique, tasty, stuff-your-gut meal for about $9.

A filling, spicy chicken wrap with a nice dipping sauce

A filling, spicy chicken wrap with a nice dipping sauce

Wash things down with a range of original-recipe chais, steeped over several days, or coffees produced in little siphon pots or through a pour-over filter. Later in the day, join the university crowd swigging from a roster of 70 types of beer.

Remedy Cafe
8631 109 Street (four other Edmonton locations)
Weekdays 7:30 am-midnight, weekends 8 am-midnight
Remedy on Urbanspoon

A short drive to the east, hole-in-the-wall Boulangerie Bonjour is doing one thing extremely well, and that’s making sourdough breads. I love the tangy taste and slight chewiness of a good sourdough, and Yvan Chartrand and team certainly delivers with its wild yeast culture, or levain. The organic wheat and rye grains are from Alberta farms and milled at the bakery, where the loaves are baked on a stone oven hearth.

A fine roster of sourdough loaves to choose from at Boulangerie Bonjour

A fine roster of sourdough loaves to choose from at Boulangerie Bonjour

The only problem is choosing: A traditional loaf, a rye raisin walnut or a sundried tomato and olive? Best to get a raw-milk cheese to go with it, though it’s hard to beat the simplicity of just toasting a slice, or two or three, with a generous smearing of melted butter.

I just want to tear into this sourdough baguette

I just want to tear into this sourdough baguette

Boulangerie Bonjour
8608 99 Street, Edmonton
Tuesday to Friday 8 am-5:30 pm, Saturday 7 am-5 pm. Closed Sunday and Monday
Boulangerie BONJOUR on Urbanspoon

Edmonton’s Duchess Bake Shop is the Sweet Bomb

Sinfully delicious confections at Duchess Bake Shop in Edmonton

Sinfully delicious confections at Duchess Bake Shop in Edmonton

If I had to choose just one affordable Edmonton eatery, my pound-for-pound champion would have to be Duchess Bake Shop, on increasingly trendy 124 Street. Yes, there is a smattering of fine quiches and open-faced sandwiches called tartines and batards, the latter topped with such things as roasted eggplant spread and hazelnuts.

But this five-year-old shop is the place to go for baked sweets and a pot of tea or French-press coffee. Even the names are decadent: apricot bourbon pecan Danish, rhubarb galette or a raspberry-studded confection aptly called l’amour.

These bombes are to die for

These bombes are to die for

Everything is fantastic looking and even better tasting. Indeed, I haven’t seen its equal in my extensive food forays throughout western North America. As owners Giselle, Garner and Jacob note on their website, everything is made daily from scratch, “using no mixes, no preservatives and no shortcuts.”

A nice touch is the elegantly dressed and solicitous young servers. And when was the last time you saw a barista wearing a tie?

Maybe it was a bow tie. In any event, Duchess, it’s time to take a bow, or curtsy. You’re my number one hit in all of Edmonton.

The elegant space is matched by the servers

The elegant space is matched by the chic servers

Duchess Bake Shop
10720 124 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta
Tuesday to Friday 9 am-8 pm, Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday 10 am-5 pm. Closed Monday
Duchess Bake Shop on Urbanspoon