Ever since Transcend opened its doors on Jasper Ave, I’ve been waiting for the launch of their food menu. I’m probably not the only one either. The much talked about addition of food, Latin American inspired street food that is, could really find a home in Edmonton for those looking to grab more than just a delicious coffee. So when I got wind that the launch was around the corner, I headed down to watch the team rip off the coming soon banner and sample some of the new treats.
The menu is simple and straight to the point. It includes a handful of both savory (lunch/dinner) items and sweeter (breakfast/snack) items. The items being passed around the room included Arepas, Pupusas, Coxinhas (Co-SHEEN-ya), Pao de Queijo (POW-de-KAY-jew) and a seasonal topped Foccacia. The sweeter side of the menu, which wasn’t available during the launch include a Squash Brioche with Pie Spices, Savory Squash Brioche, Rum Raisin Brioche, Gibassier, Cuca de Banana (which is quite good!!) and Yogurt Parfait.
The above, a Pao de Queijo, like many of the items on the menu, was put into perfect context by Executive Chef Chad Moss. He told us a story about the common bun, available on every corner in Brazil, and how the pao de queijo is a completely normal side when having a cup of Brazilian coffee. Brazilian coffee bean + Brazilian bun = perfect complement. The bun, which was good on its own (crusty exterior/airy crumb) was kicked up a notch when we saw a basket of them stuffed with guava! Other hits of the night included the pork arepas and chicken stuffed Coxinha (cross section pictured below), which is heavy enough to fuel you for many hours.
As a bread guy, I can’t forget to mention the wild yeast foccacia. With a fridge full of yeast babies at the homestead, I commend the team at Transcend for taking the time (literally) to give their foaccaia so much depth. As a plus, the toppings will apparently change with the seasons.
As someone who supports the Transcend family, both by visiting their locations and buying their beans, I’m pretty excited to see how this turns out. The addition of sweeter foods is a natural progression in an established coffee shop, while savory items, especially relatively unknown items like these, adds a bit of extra pressure to make it work. I feel like the effort will shine through though and suggest that the next time you go to Transcend, you try it on an empty stomach so you can indulge in more than just a delicious shot of coffee.
* The team at Transcend did say that more food offerings are in the making, including house-cured local meats and cheese. And for all of those non-coffee friends, you’ll be able to enjoy a tasty brew or glass of wine.