October 1, 2021
Back in the rink, at least for now
Everybody has their own “where were you when,” moment. When it became really real. For myself and many others, that was March 11th, 2020.
In the opening period of a regular season game between the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets I was attending, the game was progressing, but the world around it was grinding to a halt. The teams traded chances yet neither came away with a goal, but I was no longer paying attention to what was occurring on the ice; my phone was lighting up with news alerts. The NBA suspended its season, Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive, and all of a sudden this would be the last time I stepped foot into a hockey rink for the foreseeable future.
COVID-19 was, at that stage, something we had only heard about but hadn’t experienced fully. Yes, it had already decimated China and Italy, but those incidents were so far away that it had yet to be taken seriously by the general public stateside. The warning signs were there, and some measures were already starting to be taken by many, but that day — more than any other — was our collective wake up call.
Throughout the rest of that game between the Oilers and Jets the score became meaningless. All I could think about was how long it would be until I would be able to come back to this place I had made a habit of occupying for nearly 40 nights a year.
Fast forward 566 days, and I had the chance to be back in the same seat I sat in on that evening in mid-March. Admittedly, even after the announcement came that fans would be returning to Rogers Place after a season-long hiatus, I had my reservations about going. After planning out my entry and exit routes, numerous consultations and asking Siri to flip a coin several times over, I finally decided that I would at least drive down and then see if I could strike up the nerve to go inside, which eventually I would.
The walk to the arena from my parking spot several blocks away didn’t inspire much confidence, with crowds bunching together on street corners waiting until absolutely necessary to don a face mask at the venue entrance. Luckily, I was able to bypass the main entrances and wait in a line of a handful of people before taking a sparsely populated elevator to a concourse level that remained nearly empty for the duration of the event. What immediately calmed me as I entered, however, was the familiarity of it all.
Now, again, I must admit that I attended knowing I was able to properly distance with spacious seating and concourses, and those within the lower bowl seating levels were very liberal under the arena policy of being able to remove masks while eating or drinking.
From the ticket scanner to the elevator attendant to the concession workers I passed, every single person I saw had a face I knew from a different time, and each of them had remembered mine in turn - at least the one that was now camouflaged by a mask. It would be dishonest of me to say that I wasn’t feeling the slightest bit emotional. I was reminded that what I was doing wasn’t some extraterrestrial experience; it was a homecoming.
And so, for a few hours on a Tuesday night in late September 2021, I was transported back to a period I had longed to return to for over 500 nights. Whether the regulations put in place by the venue are enough remains to be seen. I hope that for any who reads this, that you are able to find a homecoming of your own in the months ahead.
Your Shop Local Style Guide for a for a very YEG Autumn
Edmonton is a great autumn city. We’ve got the famous corn maze, Deadmonton, and the renowned River Valley, where you could sit anywhere and watch the leaves change colours. Clearly there is no shortage of awesome activities to do in this city during the spooky season.
But let’s be honest, while all of the fall adventures that this glorious city has to offer are 100% Instagrammable, what are you going to wear?
Here are three must-haves for fall available at locally owned and operated shops around Edmonton — one Canada-wide chain.
A Light Jacket
As much as I’d love summer to last forever, my favourite part of fall is looking for a new jacket to last those six perfect weeks between +30० and -30०. The best part is that a good jacket doesn’t have to break the bank, there are plenty of options available for every budget!
The RD Style Conscious - Adelle Plaid Shacket from Glam Slam Clothing
This shacket — half way between a jacket and a shirt — is perfect for those days where it’s freezing cold in the morning and t-shirt weather in the afternoon.
Find this shacket at Glam Slam for $99.
The Fringe Jacket by Rylee & Cru - Charcoal from The Skinny
Is there anything more country classic than a fringe jacket? This look can carry you from your trip to the corn maze all the way to Folk Fest 2022.
Find this fringe jacket available for pre-order at The Skinny for $114.
The Jax Boyfriend Moto Jacket from Paper Doll
A leather jacket is a basic necessity for any closet. It’s impossible to not look and feel cool as all heck in a leather jacket.
Find this leather jacket at PaperDoll for $338 or check out Mood Consignment for affordable, new-to-you options!
A Warm Sweater
Sweaters are that piece where functionality can mesh perfectly with style. A good sweater keeps you feeling warm and looking cool. Whether you’re after more of a classic look or you’re willing to try out a trendier option, you can never go wrong with adding another sweater to your closet.
The Porter Sweater Vest from The Skinny.
Do you like dressing a little trendy but have a job interview or fair coming up? Try a super on-trend sweater vest!
Find this sweater vest at The Skinny for $79.
The Soft Heavyweight Tunic from Workhall Studio
A good sweater can carry you from those cool autumn evenings through to winter. Try a bright, jewel toned knit look paired with all black for a cozy and cool look.
Find this sweater at Workhall Studio for $138 (It’s on sale right now!)
The Ami Organic Sweatshirt from The Bamboo Ballroom
Everyone needs a comfy study option for when the weather cools and you can never go wrong with a good neutral sweatshirt.
Find this sweatshirt at The Bamboo Ballroom for $95. They even have matching pants for when you want to feel extra cute while cramming for that exam.
A Good Pair of Boots
Boots are one of those dreaded investment pieces necessary for any closet. Believe me, I hate spending money as much as the next person, but a good pair of boots and a little tender love and care can last you years!
The Blundstone 2029 Dress from Gravity Pope.
It’s impossible to go wrong with a classic pair of Blundstones. Perfect for running to class or running for your life at Deadmonton, but be warned — they take a few weeks to break in!
Find these at Gravity Pope for $240.
The Beatrice Heeled Chelsea Boots in Black from Little Burgundy.
Chelsea boots are another iconic boot that will never go out of style, so you never have to worry about being off trend.
I’m cheating a little bit with this one, but these chelsea boots from Montreal-based chain Little Burgundy are on sale for $79.99 right now!
The Knoxi Leather Boot from Shades of Gray Boutique
Everyone needs a good pair of dressy boots to take them from an evening class to a socially distanced get-together at a restaurant with friends. Heel or no heel, high calf or ankle cut, you can’t go wrong with a sleek leather (or pleather!) boot.
Find this pair at Shades of Gray Boutique for $170.
Three Eccentric Albertan Airbnb’s for a Peaceful Weekend Away
Windmill in Rosebud, Alberta $140/night + fees
“The Impossible Dream”
It’s safe to say most travelers don’t seek out windmill accommodations during their ventures, but in Rosebud, Alberta there’s a new lodge that might just pique your interest.
This elegant windmill provides guests with an unmatched experience. Not only do you have private access to the three floors of this antique treasure, but you’ll also experience a gorgeous view of the Rosebud cliffs and cattle farms. “Step out your bedroom door onto the 360° wrap-around upper deck for your morning coffee and witness what quiet is,” writes Travis, the owner...well put.
The windmill’s exterior is absolutely magical.
This newly renovated home is furnished with brand new appliances and all the amenities you’ll need for a comfortable stay. While you’re here, grab a cup of joe from the local Thorny Rose Café, wander the artisan shops, and gawk at the gorgeous country-scape, that’s to say if the magic of the windmill doesn’t already have you at a loss for words.
Although the listing shows the windmill can accommodate three guests, I’d suggest its small quarters are better suited for two.
Inside, you’ll find a freshly renovated living space, with a wood-burning fireplace.
Brand new appliances are a also wonderful touch.
Geodesic Dome in Refuge Bay, Alberta
$275/night + fees
A perfect camping experience for those who prefer
a bit more glamour to the typical outdoor stay
Geodesic Domes have gained intense popularity over the past few years for the pivotal ‘glamping’ experience. This one is a step above the rest.Located over 100 acres of private wetland in the remote Refuge Bay, this property allows you to — quite literally — escape into nature.
The perfect cozy-chic geodome with a beautiful waterfront view.
This dome includes modern décor, a king-sized bed, a private bathroom that includes a shower, and a custom wood-fired sauna with a stellar view. The option to include a VIP charcuterie board, s'mores package, or a selection of specialty beverages is a bonus for those looking for a romantic getaway or just a tasty treat. The mini-fridge will keep your glamping meals cool all day before you cook them up over the campfire grill or barbeque.
Guests have reported exquisite sunsets, unmatched stargazing, and a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
The wood-burning sauna is a huge asset to this property as well as the several acres of land to explore including a beautiful wetland lake.
The CaBIN in Mossleigh, Alberta
$133/night + fees
Yes, the listing refers to this re-claimed farm grain bin as a CaBIN, which is quite fitting for this unique lodging experience
Located 45 minutes south-east of Calgary in Mossleigh, Alberta - the CaBIN’s views consist of a beautiful piece of farmland, equipped with a sheltered patio, outdoor fireplace, and BIN pets – two horses named Mix and River, and a friendly dog, Boone!
The custom patio, sitting space, and grass space really add to this tin-wonder.
Handcrafted with love, the interior, patio, entryway and most of the furniture was handcrafted by the owners themselves. Included with all the amenities needed for your stay; a cozy bed, cooking essentials, an indoor fireplace, and running hot water, I would recommend this place to anyone who loves animals, and isn’t afraid to rough it a little.
Equipped with an outhouse and a custom outdoor shower, this rustic charm isn’t for the faint of heart!
The kitchen includes a fridge with a freezer, running water, a hot-plate, counter space, and a table and chairs.
A peek into your wash-room for your time away from home.
Chef Matt Salopek’s Chicken Scarpariello
If you ask anyone in Allard Hall what they think of when they hear the name “Matt Salopek,” they’re going to exclaim “Chef Salopek!” Matt is a Bachelor of Communication Studies student majoring in professional communications, but that’s not where his passion lies. His popular Cooking With Salopek Instagram account is full of tasty and diverse recipes. I sat down with Matt to chat about his love of cooking and to find out what his last meal would be if aliens invaded Earth.
BSH: Hey Matt! How did you get into cooking?
MS: I got into cooking for two reasons mainly.
1) I was incredibly enthralled by food growing up and
2) my parents were often busy with their work schedules so I took it upon myself to learn how to cook to ease their already burdensome workloads.
Food has always meant a lot to me. I remember watching the Food Network as a child and wishing I could create gastronomic creations like my culinary idols in the future. So, that's why at the age of eight, I decided to start experimenting in the kitchen and I guess my passion truly blossomed from there on out. While my skills weren't the strongest when I first began cooking, I definitely believe I have honed my skills quite a bit since then. As the following for my cooking blog continues to expand and my handcrafted recipe repertoire continues to grow, I am really proud of how much I've begun to flourish in the culinary field and I am super glad I am able to share all the diverse dishes I've constructed with everyone in the MacEwan University community and beyond.
BSH: How do you find time to cook while being a student?
MS: It can be a struggle to find time to cook during the semester for sure but as the old saying goes, we always ensure we find time for the things we love. To be completely honest, sometimes I put off assignments to focus on my culinary endeavors or cook while attending online synchronous lectures. However, to keep my grades as high as they currently are, I usually set aside a maximum of two days a week to focus solely on cooking and dedicate the other days to my studies and other activities like exercising and hanging out with friends. So far, this balance has really worked for me and I've been able to keep up with school and simultaneously bolster my cooking prowess with no severe issues or repercussions.
BSH: Aliens have invaded the earth and given us 24 hours before they destroy the planet. What are your last three meals?
MS: This is certainly a tough question for someone who loves all kinds of food. But, if I had to choose, I would pick french toast for breakfast, fried chicken for lunch, and any sort of curry for dinner. These are definitely my biggest comfort dishes. I live for the sweet notes of french toast and the crunchy savouriness of fried chicken. I have a vehement love for spice as well which is why I would pick curry as my dinner option. That heat from curry just warms my soul to its core and I could honestly eat it every day if I could, especially when it's packed with tons of delicious vegetables and premium meats!
BSH: You cook a lot of meals from a variety of cuisines. Do you have any advice for people who want to get out of their comfort zone when it comes to cooking?
MS: I think my biggest piece of advice for someone trying to expand their culinary palette would be to take it step by step and not rush into anything you're completely not used to eating yet. For example, when someone wanting to try new foods goes grocery shopping, I recommend picking up one unfamiliar ingredient at the store and then researching a recipe that uses it. This allows you to explore each flavour individually before combining them so you can really pick out what you like and dislike in a more streamlined manner. Also, if you want to try some more cuisine styles right away, I think it's wise to visit some local restaurants to try the dishes they offer before recreating them at home yourself especially if you're unsure if you'll like them or not. This way, you can support local businesses while concurrently nurturing your blooming taste buds for new foods. Edmonton has an incredibly heterogenous food scene so be adventurous and give that neighborhood Ethiopian, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, or Ukrainian restaurant you always pass over a try!
BSH: Finally, can you tell me a little about this recipe you’ve shared with us?
MS: Chicken Scarpariello is an Italian-American dish known for its strong sour, sweet, and spicy flavour profile. It consists of chicken thighs, sweet Italian sausage, fresh herbs, onions, a wide array of peppers, sugar, vinegar, white wine, and chicken stock. This dish is perfect for both experienced home cooks and beginners because it is easy to put together, cooks entirely in one large pot or braiser, and is a relatively cheap meal ingredient cost-wise. It comes together within 45 minutes to an hour which makes it non-challenging to prepare on those busy nights after work or school and it pairs extremely well with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, crusty bread, and rice. Plus, it has a lot of protein and is even better the next day which makes it ideal for those workday lunches throughout the week. I hope everyone who decides to give this recipe I created a try enjoys it just as much as my family and I do!
CHEF SALOPEK’S CHICKEN SCARPARIELLO
6 to 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
4 links sweet Italian sausage
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
3 tbsp grape seed oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh sage leaves, minced
1/2 cup chopped pickled hot cherry peppers
1/8 cup cherry pepper pickling liquid
1 cup dry white wine (I like sauvignon blanc)
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black tellicherry pepper, to taste
Freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a cast iron skillet or braiser, heat up grape seed oil over medium-high heat until shimmering
Season chicken with salt and pepper and add skin side down to the skillet. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes without disturbing until browned and crisp. Flip the chicken and lightly brown on the other side for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside for later
Add the sausage links to the skillet and cook until browned on the first side, about 2 minutes. Flip the sausage and cook the other side until browned, another 2 minutes. Remove sausage from skillet, slice each link into 4 to 5 pieces, and set aside
Add bell pepper and onion to the skillet, making sure to scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon and cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add sage and garlic to skillet and cook until just fragrant, about 45 seconds
Add pickled cherry peppers and their liquid to the skillet and lightly sautèe for 1 minute. Add the white wine and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, white wine vinegar, sugar, and rosemary sprigs to the skillet and gently stir to combine
Return the sausage to the skillet and toss to combine. Add the chicken back in the skillet with the skin side up and nestle gently in between the vegetables and sausage
Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the chicken is browned and crisp, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven, top with freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, serve, and enjoy!
Find Matt’s recipes HERE @cookingwithsalopek
Against the Grain?
With the Grain
After just five seconds into Against the Grain (1971) by Stampeders, I felt immense comfort, but couldn’t explain why. I realized I’d heard the first song, “Carry Me,” on the radio—one of Edmonton’s classic rock channels, probably K97.3—many years ago. When I was a teenager, I’d turn on my radio alarm clock every night and fiddle around with it on the lowest volume until I found a good song. I shared a wall with my parents’ room, so I had to be extra careful not to wake them up. Because of this, I usually couldn’t hear when the radio hosts would mumble which songs played last. In hopes of figuring out what songs were playing, I’d write lyrics of songs I liked in a notebook by my bed and look them up on my iPod in the morning. Most of the time, I got the lyrics horribly wrong and even the most strenuous Google searches proved unfruitful. I remember scrawling carry me, won’t you…didn’t hear this part… in that notebook. Hearing it again felt like a deep breath.
I learned about Against the Grain after snooping around for Albertan rock albums worth reviewing. I’d found a few articles mentioning Stampeders, who found the height of their fame with “Sweet City Woman.” The rest of the album had the same country-rock flavour, a pleasantly surprising one from top to bottom. The one song I could do without: “Man from P.E.I.” It’s corny in a way that isn’t charming. The rest of the album is well-balanced and tastefully written. The lyrics tell mainly of heartbreak, coming of age, and moving on. Are they ground-breaking? No. Are they relatable, emotional, and soulful? After the first song, I felt like curling up and contemplating the past year of my life.
I recommend this album for your next drive to, well, anywhere really. Preferably somewhere at least a little bit country; the mountains will do. The jazzy riffs in “With You I Got Wheels” and smooth bassline in “Gator Road” must’ve been designed to accompany canola-lined backroads.
And hey, the Seventies are back, baby. Why not ride the wave and support an Albertan band in the process?