First off, this weekend was full of food. The main focus was a lengthy and very filling cheese sampling (post to come), but I did somehow manage sample a few other treats. First up was a visit to Elm Cafe. With it’s location downtown not inside our normal, everyday area, I still try to make my way down for a coffee (49th Parallel) every week or so; if for nothing else than a friendly chat with Nate. Thinking I would just pop in for my usual black gold, I was seduced by the hot lunch sandwich. I say seduced because I had barely finished breakfast ( it wasn’t even noon), and yet the thought of a hot Mexican pulled pork sandwich pushed me over the edge.
As a bread kind of guy, I have to say I was impressed with Elm’s selection. It’s not so dense or bulky that you ended up eating more bread than filling. The panini grill warmed the exterior to a crusty finish, which gave my shirt a few tell-tale signs of the enjoyable meal. The meat was left chunky and was finished with a corn salsa. I snuck a few pieces of meat when I opened the sandwich for my picture and the results were mixed; with some of the meat a tad drier than I would have liked. But, combined with the salsa and bread, all my fears fall away. This..was…a glorious craft sandwich. I suppose it’s no surprise to hear it sold out in a matter of minutes. Nice work sir!
Today, Sarah and I met up with Miz J at the freshly opened Gracious Goods Cafe. The neighborhood cafe is located just west of the McKernan/Belgravia LRT station on 76 Avenue in the old Hulbert’s location. The staff were welcoming, but I have a feeling they were a bit overwhelmed by the opening response. Overhearing that most of items were either sold out or unavailable is sad, but I think the biggest bummer of the day was that my request for brewed coffee was also turned down as they were out. The menu looks good, although I’m not sure how much they’ll be making in house. It seems they are getting a large portion of their goods from Fresh Start Bistro and The Greenhouse. As well, the coffee is courtesy of Transcend and the frozen treats from Pinocchio Italian Ice Cream. Here’s hoping they can work out the upstart glitches and make a go of it.
With barely enough coffee in our systems, Sarah and I ended up on Whyte for some beautiful fall shopping. Besides a stop at Second Cup (did anyone else notice the Varscona location is closed for renovations), we also stopped for an americano and espresso at Press Cafe & Bistro. With this being our first visit, I have to say it was a great experience. The coffee, which is from Danesi, was pulled well and was made more enjoyable by the friendly owners. Discovering that things are slowly picking up, I wonder if their very minimal selection of treats (sandwich/soup/salad) is hurting them in anyway. As well, the hookah business seems brisk, and is more focused to afternoons. I wonder how this niche product will do in the long cold months. One thing I really liked, was the pop in glass bottles; reminds me of my time in Central America.
So there you have it. Three separate bistros, three separate brands of coffee, and three separate cuisines of focus. Whether you want a craft sandwich, loaf of bread, or Mediterranean dessert, I think it’ll be just a tad bit easier to find. Now, if only I could stop jittering from all this caffeine.
Gracious Goods Cafe
7601 115 St