drink :: The Wine Room

One of greatest ways to toast to the grape hides along Jasper Avenue behind a beautiful castle door. Tiny windows, a simple sign, and lack of neon lighting all work together to form a speakeasy vibe – which is exactly the atmosphere The Wine Room aims to create.

The Wine Room is the manifestation of a longtime dream for owners Mona Jager and Dan Baker. They wanted to create a beautiful space that celebrated and sold the grape; all you’ll find on the drink menu is wine, port, and grappa. They also designed the handcrafted interior all on their own. From the giant wooden and wrought iron doors, the wooden wine crate bar top, the signed “winemaker’s wall,” to the wine barrel arched ceiling – your experience there likens any you would have at a European or Napa Valley wine bar.

What makes The Wine Room so unique (outside of the incredible design and atmosphere) is the way they are serving and pairing wine. The enomatic system allows you to try many different and higher priced bottles, as they are served and priced by the ounce (1, 2, 6, etc.). The food menu serves extensive charcuterie and small plate options, another great opportunity to experiment with your own palate. Mona recalls a cheese course that taught her goat cheese was only ever to be paired with white wine – but disagrees saying, “goat cheese on top of a steak paired with a bold red is an exquisite pairing.” It is this out-of-box thinking that makes The Wine Room one of the most special and innovative places to wine and dine year round. Right now, ditch the patio for one evening and treat yourself to this old world getaway.

The Wine Room (10525 Jasper Ave, 780.756.7666 www.thewineroom.ca)

Edmonton Weekend Guide :: July 24-27

Go: Laser Shows at Telus World of Science
Romance: Date Night at Devonian Garden
Shop: Night Market 
Watch: Dr. Doolittle at Capitol Theatre

Back for a third year, Interstellar Rodeo takes place in Hawrelak Park Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. See more than 20 artists over 3 days in the open air. Our favourite part about this festival would be the food trucks and wine pairings (!!) with each artist.

The last weekend of K-Days has more musicians , beach volleyball in the beer gardensindoor exhibits, and of course more rides! Don't forget about the horse races at Northlands - stick around afterwards for fireworks at 11pm from the midway. 

A downtown favourite, Taste of Edmonton, continues in Churchill Square. Sample dishes from over 50 local restaurants. It's easy: buy tickets, exchange 2-6 tickets for each food item, then bon appetit! This year, you can attend an off-site culinary adventure, enjoy an evening pop-up tasting, and attend workshops.

Freewill Shakespeare Festival has moved indoors this year while repairs are made to the amphitheatre in Hawrelak Park. The Shakespeare is just as good indoors at Myer Horowitz Theatre, running daily until Sunday.

Photo from Paris in Four Months' Instagram

Edmonton Real Estate Guide :: How to Get Started

Note from Gillian: As a first time home buyer, I researched what goes into getting my own place. Of course, it’s more than save money, get mortgage, move in to dream home. I wanted to do it right, and along the way I faced some hard truths about what it will cost to buy (and keep!) my own place and what living within my means will look like (hint: save bigger down payment + lower the price range for shopping).

For this three part series on City and Dale, I have the help of a real estate dynamic duo – Leslee Byer and Kristi Robertson, or as they are aptly named “The Century 21 Dream Team.” They have helped plenty of new home buyers move in to their happy homes and with two-for-the-price-of-one, you get double the real estate experience and wisdom.

Today: How to Get Started
Wednesday, July 30: House vs. Duplex vs. Condo
Wednesday, August 6: Edmonton’s Most Sought-After Neighbourhoods

  • Save cash for down payment - at least 5% of total purchase price
  • Closing costs ($2000 on average)
  • Bonus: Extra cash for furnishing the place and a “rainy day fund” is smart to have on hand

Note: The Home Buyers' Plan gives you the option to save money in your RRSP and “borrow it” from yourself to buy your first home without being penalized for withdrawing it.

This will make you fully aware of your buying potential. They will need do a credit check, and you'll have to provide proof of income and other documents they may require. A conversation or an online application is not a firm approval and isn't enough to start seriously looking.

Note: Mortgage Brokers have relationships with major banks as well as other lenders. They find you the best rate and mortgage product by shopping around on your behalf. Banks are limited to their in house products, but depending on your history with them, they may be the best option. Good idea to have preliminary conversations with both before your credit is pulled.

Assess your position, timeline and discuss your options. They’ll help determine the best fit for your needs including area, types of properties, new vs resale, condos vs single family homes, and the pros and cons of all your options to help you make an informed decision. There are no crystal balls for real estate, so the advice of a realtor can help you foresee potential risks in your investment such as resale, up and coming neighbourhoods, potential development in the area and stigmatized properties.

Get the right realtor: Find someone you can work with and are comfortable with. The process takes time and is a learning process. Clear communication and trust is key. It’s not a bad idea to interview a few to see how they work with you.

Search for your needs, wants and wishes. You may be surprised to find this is constantly changing. Often buyers' criteria changes once they are actively looking and they realize what the market can actually offer them. A realtor will help you stay on top of this ever-changing process, without missing out on any opportunities. They will guide you through all the steps, costs and fees involved in purchasing property so there are no surprises. Every transaction is somewhat unique because every property, seller and buyer are different. Know all of what you are getting into before taking the plunge!

Other professionals you’ll need:

Home Inspector: Use an inspector who has experience, is licensed and registered, and comes highly recommended. Your realtor will have a list of inspectors they recommend. This is not an area where you should try to save money. Having a licensed home inspector is essential, especially if they find a list of deficiencies, and the buyer needs to address them somehow. Having a proper inspection report, done by a professional could potentially save the buyer thousands of dollars and plenty of heartache.

Lawyer: Again, choose one with experience and is recommended. There are many types of lawyers but having a lawyer that works in real estate law is essential.

What have I missed? Feel free to leave a comment if there's something else that should be mentioned.

5 Senses in Old Strathcona :: Smell

Our series in partnership with Old Strathcona Business Association continues today with the sweet smells of Old Strathcona. As their website says, "Old Strathcona has everything you need with experiences for all five of your senses." If you missed it, read about all the things to hearfeel and see.

It's kind of strange to think, "what does Old Strathcona smell like?" but there are some pretty memorable aromas wafting from store fronts and parks in the area. 

  • Cally's Teas is a treat for your nose. Stop in and see what teas from around the world smell like before deciding on one to sip while eating Cally's handmade goodies. We previously went into detail about why Cally's Tea is a great place to visit.
  • Among many pleasing smells at the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market is one of our favourites: all of the herbs and bedding plants to take home for your garden. There is no shortage of great smelling ingredients for tasty meals at the market!
  • Another place we've previously featured on City and Dale is Wild Prairie Soap Company. When you walk by the store, even if the door is closed, you can smell all the wonderful mixtures of soaps they're handcrafting in the back. Mmmm!
  • Every festival in the parks of Old Strathcona have something in common: they can all draw you in with the powerful smell of mini donuts. Even if you have serious regrets half way through the bag of too-hot-to-touch sugar coated rings, they are still so irresistible

do :: Ladies on the Green Golf Tournament

This looks like so much fun!

Designed for ladies with all levels of golfing experience (including none), this 9-hole tournament is an afternoon of fun in support of the Zebra Child Protection Centre.

There will be indulgences at every hole, a champagne reception, al fresco dining, a silent auction (with things you'll actually want), and group lessons for all levels. That means they'll teach you how to hold a club if you're just starting out.

Prizes will be awarded for contests such as Longest Drive in Pumps. And for those who may want to sit out a hole, a donation can be made to the Zebra Centre to have a member of Edmonton Police Services play the hole for you!

Sign up to play or help them out as a volunteer!

What: Ladies on the Green Golf Tournament
When: Thursday, August 7th at 12:00pm
Where: Victoria Golf Course - 12130 River Valley Road
Tickets: $250 to play, or $100 for lessons and reception. Available here.