suburban siberia

transitioning from Los Angeles back to Edmonton

Month: February, 2014

polar opposites

This article is the most terrifying thing I have read since I returned to Edmonton. I’ve tried to let it go but articles like this really get under my skin. It appears to me that either the Edmonton Journal didn’t have imaginative things to say about Architecture in Edmonton on that particular Friday, or this is a regular thing. In either case it is sad.

If interested you can read about the article here. As a quick synopsis the article discusses a new possible development (yet to be rezoned for highrises) that sits on the same land as a historic home – termed as a historic resource. The home is not protected but allows for the potential to apply for incentives to protect the structure. GMH’s proposal, as a way to save the house, is to some how attach the historic house to the base of the building like a parasite.  The article is slightly vague about how  this would work exactly a but the rendering in my opinion is horrific. I am aware that this is an idealized version of a possible reality but the proposal sounds preposterous in the first place. It’s like a towering phallus with a a disproportionate testicle attached to the base.

9537451proposed design (yet to be approved)

I will concede that the historic home being preserved is a possible win. But I cannot condone the reluctance to acknowledge the historic home’s architectural elements or the surrounding neighbourhood in the proposed tower design.  The thought of the two entities being tied together as suggested in the article gives me pause. I tried a google search of GMH Architects but nothing much comes up except for their website which is now under construction. I look forward to one day meeting this firm (and the developer) to discuss the monumental design oversight they are making by ignoring the surrounding cues and their elementary nod towards building what they think people want and not building what the community and developer can benefit from together. Especially since it is kiddy corner to the Quarters which is an area being redeveloped.

This is my least favourite quote from the article:
“This one has sat for quite a while. The province and the city are catching up to where they should be (with sustainable planning) and the opportunities are there.”

If things like this aren’t opposed or even mentioned in a public forum what’s to stop others from continuing the blatant disregard of possible progressive and intelligently designed spaces. If this “opportunity” is part of Edmonton’s future and we are all ok with it, we have a big problem. 

 site context photos (compliments of google maps):

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 10.23.22 PMthe historic house they aim to ‘preserve’ in the distance near the centre – click on image to view larger

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 10.18.04 PMThe tower gang along Jasper Ave. It should pop up  behind the closest building.

benefit of the doubt

After a week of killer back pain I finally carved out some time to see my chiropractor this morning. I got an adjustment, had a great massage and then at lunch time I went to yoga (my awesome job has yoga twice a week during the lunch hour). The instructor did Yin Yoga (a stretching class) but I was looking for something a bit more intense so after work I called Eleisha and she invited me to Moksha.

My roommates, Anna and Eleisha, often tried to convince me in LA to go with them to Moksha or Bikram (Hot Yoga) but I never perceived sweating in a hot room with 40 strangers as a good thing.  Well I suppose when your trusted friends tell you that something is awesome, give them the benefit of the doubt. I felt so relaxed afterwards and I didn’t even mind the cold outside. That’s a first! The room temperature was 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) and so it felt like being back in LA with the summer heat and then you add the deep stretching. It was a perfect winter getaway!

In Los Angeles I usually defaulted to aquasize (water aerobics) at the Pasadena Rose Bowl pool to decompress because yoga never really did the trick (and it was cheaper) when I needed a break from my studies. I’m not even really a big fan of yoga because my hip flexors and glutes are always to tight and generally I spend most of my time trying not to think about going into child’s pose – which I nicknamed ‘quitters pose’.

The Rose Rowl Aquatic Centre is an amazing outdoor pool where you can mingle with seniors who teach at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory – contractors to NASA) or maybe hang with an Olympic athlete in training. It was always an incredible feeling swimming outside (especially in January/February) exercising in the water. One time Eleisha and I met a real rocket scientist in the hot tub!….no joke.

Hopefully Moksha will be my refuge from the winter blues. Can’t wait for my next visit to a tropical stretching paradise!

Pasadena Rose Bowl Aquatics Centre

Delicious, unhealthy food guide for Edmonton newcomers

Usually when I visited Edmonton I had a short list of places that I had to eat at before I returned to LA. Below is an essential list of all good things for any newcomer to visit. I’ve listed items that Levi and I usually order so you have some solid suggestions for when you go. As a warning most of these options are completely unhealthy for you.

Burger Baron No 14

BURGER BARON No 14 (7007 82 Ave NW)
The place is a bit dated and you will probably question the cleanliness of the it, but like a good Chinese restaurant, it’s not the cleanliness that counts here.

Tiffany:  mushroom burger with cheese and bbq sauce with fries or those corn fritters that you dip in jam

Levi: I have gone to burger Barron all my life. They opened when my dad was a teenager and he used to go there to hang out. Their milk shakes are awesome. Dad likes the Salisbury burger (after his high school in Sherwood park), and Dayn, my brother, always gets the chicken rings (there like nuggets only more fun). I also enjoy their onion rings.

Here’s a great article about Alberta’s Burger Baron written by local cool guy Omar Mouallem

Royal Pizza, Edmonton, AB

ROYAL PIZZA (any place in Edmonton or Sherwood Park)
I love this place because they always put tons of toppings on, service is reliable and the crust is delicious.

Tiffany: Fred’s Special all the way. Any time Levi is in the dog house he cheers me up with some tasty pizza from here. Instantly forgiven.

Levi: They also have a lasagna that is pretty good. It’s a great restaurant for families or any larger group because it’s always easy to get in and they have lots of seating.

Donair Stop

I use to think this was a universal thing but I found out recently that it originated in Halifax. It’s a combination between a shawarma and a gyros. Go Canada! If you are from the east coast you usually order it with sweet sauce. If you are from the west coast you typically order it with tzatziki sauce.
Practically anywhere is pretty good, but Donair Stop (9718 Ottewell Rd) never fails. There’s also a new place I discovered where Donair Stop‘s original location was, now called Top Donair (10137-50 St NW). Yummy!

-I use to eat them at various places in Halifax too so here is a bit of trivia for you about the infamous King of Donair. This should help give you some background on what a Donair is and it’s unconfirmed birthright.

Quintessentially Canadian. Their crust is always good and I usually enjoy an ice tea with lemon here. When you visit try to make sure a hockey game is playing in the background (this will not be hard).

-order the peroghi pizza, tropical chicken, great white north…..i could go on
-the wings are pretty decent here as well. My fav is salt and pepper.
-don’t order their three cheese pasta. You will be blocked up for a week.

Harvey's Restaurants, Edmonton, AB

For people who do not know Harvey’s welcome to the light. It’s a place where you can customize your burger toppings (right in front of you) and the meat actually tastes like real grilled meat. California has their cherished (biblical) ‘In-N-Out‘ and Canadians have their beloved Harvey’s. It doesn’t get better than this for fast food.

Tiffany:  Cheese Burger combo with poutine. They have the second best poutine (KFC of course being the first).

Levi: Double Bacon Burger combo with onion rings (and Tiffany’s poutine -she never finishes it!)

BARB & ERNIE’S (9906-72 Ave)
I bet most Edmontonians would name High Level Diner or some other deliciously charming place as their fav brunch place but I prefer Barb & Ernies. Not for the food, but for the atmosphere. Who doesn’t love a creepy guy in lederhosen that you pay to tell you that you’re pretty.

Furusato Japanese Restaurant, Edmonton, AB

FURASATO  (10012-82 Ave)
Typically I didn’t eat Japanese when I visited because the sushi was always fresh in California but if I had a hankering this is the place I would go to. Although they renovated it with some terrible murals about three years ago, it is still charming and always busy.
-you can’t go wrong with any item on the menu. Levi and I always order the appetizer beef tataki (its raw beef for those who are wary but really worth it). The beef is served in a ponzu sauce with sliced onions. Yum!

PHOBULOUS (8701-109 St)
This place is pretty consistent for Vietnamese. Eleisha and I eat here ever time we get together near the University of Alberta

I always order the vermicelli bowl with spring rolls and some type of meat

Eleisha usually orders the vermicelli bowl with fried tofu and veggie spring rolls. The veggie spring rolls are mushy and I do not like them -although Eleisha prefers them over the meat spring rolls I order.

I don’t have a usual place anymore. The King and I was a favourite but a few years ago it became hit or miss (although I always recommend their Ka Re Moo Curry). One time I saw some one shoot up near the Mac’s Store across the street while I was eating my dinner – the harsh reality of Whyte Ave. The reason I bring up Thai food in general is because of their coconut rice. My Thai friend in LA told me that coconut rice is typically served as a desert but here in Edmonton it is served regularly for dinner. Try it next time with any curry and I promise you will not be disappointed.


This may sound crazy but Los Angeles never did them right. Too much syrup, usually with not enough ice – a real tooth cavity creator. Mac’s usually has my favourite ratio of ice and syrup but the best place is actually on the south side. Freshco Foods (7430-77 Ave). It’s a bit of a secret really and only true slurpee seekers know of its existence. Levi introduced it to me when we began dating. He must have known then that we were destined for each other because I don’t think he would have told me otherwise.


These are my fav! In Los Angeles you could find only one brand at Safeway and one strange Eastern European restaurant in Hollywood that never quite satisfied the Polish/Ukrainian food that I craved. It was terrible. Stephanie and I use to make them together often when I visited her and Andrew in Irvine on the weekends, Eleisha and I tried to make gluten-free ones (disaster) and pictured above Levi pitched in too last Christmas. But in good ole Alberta home-made perogies are no longer necessary because we have grocery stores full of them!!!!

photo 1 (3)photo 2 (4)

Food items I usually brought back with me to Los Angeles:

Ketchup Chips, Dill Pickle Chips, Dill Pickle Dip, Smarties, Summerland Syrup, Wonderbar, Coffee Crisp, Viva Puffs and Wine Gums. My former roommate, Stephanie, just informed me that Tic Tacs are a Canadian Delicacy as well – Who knew!

See all of them are bad for you! I guess that’s what makes them so delicious.


This past Saturday was nearly a bust. Once I convinced myself to leave the house (as it was -25 with the windchill) I ventured out to try the x country ski trails at Terwillegar Park. I’ve never been there and surprisingly it’s only 5 min from my house….(another bonus my husband would say). I checked the Edmonton website to see when the trial was last groomed and it reported Jan 11. Great!….Except not so great. There were no trails! It was just a huge dog park without signage indicating where to ski. It even says on the city’s website that it has classical and skating styles but there were no tracks. So I ventured around the park for 10 min and I found a faded ‘difficult’ sign that indicated the hilly part of the trail but still no traces of ski tracks. So I sucked it up and skied as best I could.

On one hand I considered it a loss but on the other hand I was able to get out and exercise in the bitter cold for 1.5 hrs…..And I even felt pretty great afterwards. I guess it’s one of those adversity stories you tell children as a way to bore them into succeeding. While I don’t have much experience with x country skiing, I would rate Terwillegar Park 0 out of 5.  It’s a nice place to go though if you have a dog.

After my ski attempt I went to pick up some fresh pizza dough for dinner that night. I did a google search (my first mistake as Edmonton is terrible for its online resources) and saw that the Italian Centre carries it. Great! But when I got there I found out they only had frozen pizza dough. Another fail as I was expecting my nieces and nephews for dinner in 1 hour. I agonized as I waited in the deli line up as to whether I should put everything back and order Boston Pizza but somehow I convinced myself to wait out the long line and order fresh toppings. I ran home, defrosted the pizza in a warm water bath (which apparently is controversial due to bacteria growth), we successfully made the pizzas and they didn’t throw up. Yay! My nieces and nephews even loved the meat I bought (Thank Heavens!). I thought the quality would be lost on them but they surprised me. So I suppose the day turned into a win. Even one of the pizzas magically turned into a heart. Those little cuddle monsters really know how to turn a day around.

ImageImageImageImageImagephoto 5photo 1 photo 2


photo 5killing water spirit – AGA Inuit Exhibition

I’m starting to feel guilty about not posting too much about the neighbourhood I live in like I hoped but it’s bloody cold outside. While I have dreams of venturing around the ‘hood’, it’s always from my couch with leggings, a cbc t-shirt and a cosy bathrobe. Oh well. Hopefully next week. Attached are a few photos from this weekend and some pants I wore today with flamingos. I was trying to trick myself into thinking about warmer weather. It didn’t work and no one at the office noticed my attempts to lift the winter vibe. Sometimes the cold drains you from caring I suppose. The good news though is that the sun sets around 6 pm now!

office attire

photo 3

family brunch

photo 1family brunch

brenda draney – AGA

brenda draney -AGA Exhibition

lulu telling me what to do

lulu telling me what to do

morning commute

morning commute