My oldest closest friend and I signed up to run in the Edmonton Marathon this past weekend. Before you go thinking I’m super hardcore, I only ran the 5K race. She did the 10K. I’ve never run in a legit race before. Well, unless you count the track and field days in middle school that were mandatory.
I used to laugh at the thought of running as a way of exercise and as a hobby. Once my friend convinced me to register and run in Edmonton with her I decided to give it a serious try. Turns out, I love it. I’m not a pro by any means and while I think I did run one of my better 5K times, I know I have lots of room for improvement. Even so, I had a blast and I got to do it with my best friend.
When we are together there are many moments where we forget we are adults. We felt the need to pose like goofs to celebrate our accomplishment. So classic. I really wish I could find an old photo of us from 15 years ago being equally goofy. I’m confident there are many photos of us but I couldn’t find one that I could share without completely embarrassing both of us.
Also, we got to go to the water park afterward which made her and Levi both very happy. We ate at a few great vegan-friendly restaurants that had gluten-free options and that made me very happy.
Here’s a quick run-down of some tasty eats we enjoyed in our super short trip to Edmonton.
We had a late dinner at Blue Plate Diner in Downtown Edmonton post-race. We were wanting to find a vegan-friendly place that was also open late since it was nearly 9:30 by the time we were able to go. We chose Blue Plate Diner because of a positive rating on Google and it was within walking distance from our hotel. They had both vegan and gluten-free options on their menu. I had the Lentil Loaf with Miso Gravy, dijon mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked side veggies. The lentil loaf (not gluten-free) was good but tasted a tad bread-crumby and the miso gravy had great flavor but looked a bit unappetizing. The potatoes were awesome, though Levi didn’t care for them as much as the rest of us did. Levi had a BBQ chicken dish (obv not vegan) with the same sides as I did. He said it was good. We sampled their rosemary salt fries for an appetizer but they just tasted like regular fries to me. No rosemary flavor at all, which was a bit disappointing. Overall the food was good, portions were really decent sized, our server was friendly and it was nice to have options for everyone on the menu for sure.
I was excited to try a place in Edmonton that had vegan brunch and Urbanspoon told me that The Clever Rabbit, an all-vegan cafe, would have exactly that. I called the day before to make sure that they were open and that they also had gluten-free items. They don’t take reservations for brunch so I was worried it would be packed and we’d have to wait forever or go somewhere else. In retrospect that’s pretty laughable. We arrived about 30 minutes after opening and the sign was still turned to ‘Closed’ but the lights were on and we tried the door and it was unlocked. There was a couple sitting in a little grouping of comfy chairs visiting and it turned out to be one of the staff. I suppose they wanted a relaxed start to their Sunday morning and it felt very much like we interrupted them and inconvenienced them. Their gluten-free breakfast item was limited to the tofu scramble (both gluten-free & vegan). Levi was pretty disappointed by it but he is such a trooper he didn’t complain or even tell me he didn’t care for it until we were back at home. They were supposed to replace his biscuit with a side of fruit salad but all that came on his plate was the same garnish as was on our plates – a slice of kiwi and 4 blueberries. Poor Levi. The rest of us tried the stuffed french toast (not gluten-free) which is only served on the weekends. It was tasty and very rich with a nice berry compote and coconut cream. I couldn’t finish mine – just too filling. A rare treat that I don’t need to have again for a very long time. The service was less than awesome unfortunately. Our coffees never got refilled once. We waited for 15 minutes to get cream for the coffee only to realize it was self-serve. We were the only table for most of the time we were there and we only saw our server when she took our order, brought our order and took our payment. It wasn’t until another table showed up that the lack of service was really noticeable. It was obvious they were familiar to the server and she gave them much more attention than we received. I guess that’s what we get for interrupting her quiet morning. Even so, I would probably go back to The Clever Rabbit mostly because of the idea of having an all-vegan cafe in a prairie city is a novelty to me. And I’d like to try some of their lunch items as they did look interesting and more varied – curries, lentil loaf, etc.
Finally for a late lunch/early supper before heading home we went to Sabu Japanese & Korean Restaurant. It is located in an old Pizza Hut and from the outside looks rather dull and borderline sketchy. Inside it’s really tastefully decorated and clean. I was excited to have their miso soup because it was vegetarian (and also gluten-free) and the last time we went to a Japanese restaurant I did not get my miso soup fix because of some fish broth. I may have ordered a second bowl of soup, you know, to make up for last time’s disappointment. The chef made a special glass noodle dish for me that was both vegetarian and gluten free. I shared some of the veggie sushi rolls with the rest of our group and they really enjoyed their sushi with fish. The miso soup alone was the highlight of my dining experience in Edmonton. It’s just miso soup, I know. But I wanted it, I got it – twice – and it made me happy. The service here was awesome. They were totally in-tune with dealing with gluten sensitivities and even had gluten-free soy sauce on hand for Levi.
Now that we’re back home I’m exhausted and trying to get caught up on all our day-to-day business stuff that I totally put off to spend time with my friends while they were here all summer.