Dauphine Bakery & Bistro: Urban high tea win

dauphine teaFor an intimate atmosphere with urban flair, hit up Dauphine Bakery and Bistro for a swanky high tea in the heart of the city. Enter off 104th Street and descend into a delightful European bakery with all the goods, minus the line-ups at the Duchess and the prices of the Hotel Macdonald.

After wandering the City Market Downtown for organic wines, pea shoots, zucchini and other treasures of the earth, we – a trio of middle-aged ladies – appreciated getting our reserved table right away, starting off with iced teas and water to cool off. Think Little Britain: we were doing what laayyydies doooo.

Our first course was a little cheesy poof and a tiny pitcher of gazpacho. Icy cold with a deep, rich tomato and red pepper flavour, the gazpacho had us swiveling in our seats to check if the bakery sold this as a take-home item in their refrigerators. (They did)

The next course – sarnies! – arrived on a tiered tray, and oh! Absolutely delightful! Every single mini sandwich was perfectly fresh, moist and above all, creative in the pairings of flavour and appearance. A delightful apple, chutney and cheese; mounded egg salad; whipped goat cheese and fig; and chicken salad with tiny concord grapes. Each one featured a delicious base of different breads made in-house. Dauphine’s breads may be considered second fiddle to all the pretty desserts on display, but shouldn’t be discounted as they are hearty and delicious, and worth picking up a loaf (or three) to take home.

We experienced a rather lengthy pause between the removal of the empty sandwich tray, the bringing of fresh plates and the arrival of the dessert course. Seriously – it must have been at the very least half an hour. When it did arrive, it didn’t necessarily look as though it had to be prepped (ie. Some items were simply from the bakery display cases and sliced neatly into three portions) so I’m not sure as to the massive delay. Of course, we were there to visit as well, so it was no great loss.

Two of the sweets were somewhat traditional – a dense chocolate brownie to balance the lemon tart with blueberries. There was also a coconut snowball and a nutty brittle triangle, along with the scone of the day, which was ginger and dark chocolate.   The scone practically melted in the mouth, and could stand alone – no need for the silliness of jams, creams and the like. All were nibbly sizes so that there was no regret or sugar overdose when each and every morsel was consumed.

Last but not least, I should, perhaps, address the tea. I suppose that’s what it’s all about. The tea sets were all lovely silver sets, with different silver sugar pots and spoons on each table. There was a large selection of teas from which to choose. I’m not a tea aficionado, so I can’t really speak to this subject much. As well, being such a warm day, our focus was more on the iced tea and water. Still, I happily downed two cups.

Love the atmosphere at Dauphine with the white walls, chrome and black accents – an ideal backdrop to make the stars of the show (Lemon tarts! Carrot cake tulips! Luscious chocolate bombs!) all pop. Our server, Sophia, was polite, engaged and knowledgeable, and kindly offered to take group photos of us enjoying our tea. (I think she’s done this before…)

Perhaps it had been a rough week, or the staff was exhausted by the heat but there were some little touches – like burnt out overhead lamps and extinguished twinkle lights – that could not go unnoticed. And speaking of heat, the bakery was truly as hot as Hades despite the charmingly useless fans they had in place. If you didn’t make any sudden movements you were fine. Otherwise, it was all about keeping the sweat at bay as you tried to simply glow while sipping and snacking. Spiff up those details, and the atmosphere would be perfect.

Conclusion: hands down prefer the $25 pp high tea at Dauphine to the $39 pp royal tea & tour at the Hotel Macdonald, which, to this point, had been “the” place to go for high tea in my books. And it’s not just about the price. The food quality, freshness and creativity wins at Dauphine, along with this intimate urban atmosphere which lends to exclusivity all on its own.

Side note I: I hear the bistro sandwiches are to die for here – that will have to be the next visit.

Daupine Bakery & Bistro
10129 104 Street, Edmonton
(780) 421-4410
facebook.com/dauphinebakery

Dauphine Bakery and Bistro on Urbanspoon

Detox Day 3: 3-Day Refresh

I had to go to work on Day 3.

It was a Monday.

It was a little bit of a drag. I got to smell all sorts of delish lunches being warmed up in the kitchen. Lunchtime was over in 30 seconds for me (slurp, crunch, done) so I went for a walk.

Lots of energy again today – efficient, effective, etc. Crazy how despite the vague feeling of hunger, I was sharper and more aware of a lot of things, if that makes sense. I prioritized, got things done, had some clarity and vision on other topics. Hm.

When I got home, the family was all in the kitchen making their dinners, and I was blending mine. My love affair with food was on hiatus essentially. Food plays so much more of a role than just “fuel” for me. Hard to break that train of thought.

Monday was super hot in the city again, and despite going to bed at a reasonable hour, I couldn’t sleep. By 1:00 am I shuffled downstairs where it was much cooler. And because it was past midnight (3 days done in my books), I ate a wrap with ham in it. I was SO HUNGRY.

Fast forward to the next morning – for (ta-dah) —–> the RESULTS!

I was down 5.5 lbs and 2 inches from my waist. Feeling lighter on my toes MENTALLY, above all.  Was the junk in my system slowing my brain down?

Would I recommend this refresh?  Ya.  I’d do it again, I think, maybe after Christmas or a holiday.  It really re-sets you. It was an annoyance for me though.  It showed me what a huge role (beyond just being fuel) that food plays in my life. I’m slightly obsessive.

I think my biggest take away is “What am I going to eat next?”  It’s not the pizza or the gooey brownie from the Italian Centre (you know, the one where you literally feel the sugar coursing through your veins = so good) that I was kinda secretly planning on. Instead, I’m feeling very careful in my decisions.

The next day, I spent 15 minutes in Sobey’s staring at the Greek yogurt section debating whether or not I wanted to add dairy back in after the refresh.  I did buy a container (I love it to pieces) but then I didn’t enjoy it as much.  I just felt like it wasn’t right. (Is it possible to be brainwashed by vegetables in three short days?)

Now two days later, I know for sure that I’m going to give dairy a break, remove all processed meats from my diet (so long, deli ham!) and keep my coffee treats to green tea treats.  (Not terribly excited about this, but it just feels right – does that make sense?)  The hardest part is not knowing what to replace things with.  I need to check my protein lists again, review my carb options, get some recipes…so that I’m better prepared.

And that’s the 3-Day Refresh!  Give it a go. You can buy it here with a 30-day supply of Shakeology so you can maintain your kick start results: 3-Day Refresh challenge pack.  Or you can just buy the three day kit on its own here: 3-Day Refresh base kit.

Would love to hear if you do this detox – post your story and results!

Or if you’ve done other detoxes, what were they like?

Detox Day 2: 3-Day Refresh

Day 2 of my 3-Day Refresh has been a little more manageable.

I did wake up with the same headache…it continually pulsed from my forehead around the left side of my head to my neck and then back again. I also woke up crazy grumpy and was out of bed by 6:30 am on a Sunday. Insane.

Despite the head and the grumpiness, I was uncharacteristically efficient today. I did 30 minutes of yoga, crossed EIGHT things off my to-do list, walked to the grocery store, and organized stuff like there was no tomorrow.

By noon I was so ready for “lunch” – yes, still slightly hungry all the time – and I caved in and took Advil for my headache. Cleanses I did way back in the 90s were all about feeling the pain, working through that detoxification process, etc. The 3-Day Refresh promo materials did say I’d experience some mild discomfort (hm – how about creating an entire different personality??) but I don’t think I read that you couldn’t kill the pain with pills….

By 1:00 pm I was back busily doing my chores, when BAM! I was exhausted. I lay down on my bed and passed out for a good 3.5 hours. I woke up feeling amazing.

Made dinner for the family, and the little Refresh dinner for myself, then went on a 2-hour walk in the River Valley.

I feel really good tonight in comparison to yesterday. OH – and when I weighed myself this morning at 6:30 am, I was down 3 lbs. I’ll be curious to see if any weight loss during a detox process is permanent or temporary.

ONE MORE DAY!!!

PS. DH did indeed quit the Refresh. He was happily eating all sorts of things all day. Sigh.

Detox Day 1: 3-Day Refresh

Alright, alright, alright.

So, yeah. From my last hastily scribbled out post, I’m detoxing (cleansing, torturing myself, etc) for three days.

Why? Well – I had about two weeks of holiday. GREAT HOLIDAY. I travelled to the mountains and hiked into the backcountry, living out of a tent with nothing by the bears and the hummingbirds about. Okay, there were other campers as well, but I didn’t always communicate with them.

The beauty of travelling into the backcountry is that there is no rush and fuss. You eat, you walk, you sleep. Unplugging from everything is quite the decompression. Life is simple and thoughtful.  Your priorities shift.

For food, I ate a lot of nutrient dense slow-burning stuff.  I was super good in NOT buying 18 chocolate bars under the reasoning I’d be hiking every day and needed energy, and instead tried to figure out the healthiest, fuel-providing foods. Trail mixes with mixed nuts and dried fruit, a few M&Ms sprinkled in for good measure; a whole whack of different protein bars (love Clif Builder Bars); and then dehydrated meal packets for suppers.

These dehydrated meals with fancy names like “Kung Pao Chicken” and “Country Turkey with Potatoes and Gravy” can be deceptive. Yes, you’re far from any other choices, so it’s bound to taste good. And even if it doesn’t, it’s at least going to warm your belly because you “cooked” it by pouring hot water into the resealable bag or because the fact the makers of such meals seem to douse all meals in copious amounts of like, white pepper.

The icing on the cake is the sodium levels of these dehydrated bag meals. Way more than half your daily recommended intake. I know you often need a little salt after sweating and hiking all day, but the levels were just scary.

In the end, I’ve come off the trail absolutely craving all sorts of healthy fats (nuts all the time! avocados! plates of cheese!) and salty deliciousness (chips and salsa! salt! more salt!).

The 3-Day Refresh is like a mini re-set of the bod. Getting things back to normal. The promise on this product is to cleanse the body and improve the way you feel without starving. (Note: as I write this I could REALLY USE A PIZZA. Please send. I will give you money.) Other bits and pieces are to lose weight, inches, blah blah. You can do moderate workouts and eat “real food”.

Today was Day 1. Breakfast was fine, the “Fibre Sweep” did not send me running to the bathroom or anything, lunch was good… then we walked over to the mall to do some chores.

(My husband, btw, is doing this with me. Solidarity. Well, I feel for him because he drinks crazy amounts of coffee all day, and the 3-Day Refresh suggests you refrain – if you MUST, then have it black.)

By the time we walked home from the mall, my head was buzzing and DH thought he was underwater. When we got home, we had our afternoon snacks, then he hit the couch for a nap, and I just did some computer work.

By dinner, I wanted to eat anything I got my hands on. It was awful. I was panicking in the kitchen.

I drank the dinner portion of Vanilla Fresh, and scarfed down two teaspoons of unauthorized almond butter. I just needed SOMETHING. Then I made the dinner from one of the recipes in the program guide – a little veggie stir fry. I ate out in the sun on the back deck. I calmed down after that.

DH was still sleeping when I checked on him. When I checked in again a couple hours later, he said he felt terrible. He thought it was food-related. So he had cereal and toast for supper.

I am on my own.

I don’t know whether he will continue tomorrow or not…he’s not sure if it’s the detox or if he’s coming down with something or if it’s caffeine withdrawal.

ANYWAY. Here I am, needing to go to sleep, because if I don’t sleep I will feel the hunger.  I also have a low-level headache across the forehead.  Erg.

3-Day Refresh: drunk pre-detox prep

I’ve had a beer. Or three.

Maybe a plate of nachos. With extra salsa and sour cream because sharing is really hard for me, and eating someone else’s share is not.

I’m reviewing my 3-Day Refresh program guide, because I’m starting a detox tomorrow. Oh, the irony.

A little bit drunk. HAPPY, I think they’d say. Still have most of my faculties.

I suppose I should’ve prepared more seriously for this detox thing.

Tomorrow I get to do this:

- I should start by weighing and measuring myself, just in case there are differences at the end of all this.

- drink 8-12 ounces of water “upon waking“. I might just wake up at noon…

- breakfast is Shakeology with filtered water (do I really have to filter water? Do I buy that? Can I use my camping/backcountry filter from MSR?) and 1 serving from the fruit list. We are SO OUT OF FRUIT except for cherries, so cherries it is. Get 2/3 of a cup, so that’s like 4.

- optional morning tea. No thanks.

- AM snack is the Fiber Sweep (why do Americans insist on ER rather than RE?) mixed with filtered water

- lunch is the Vanilla Fresh – mixed with more filtered water, plus one serving from the veggie list, the fruit list and the healthy fat list. God. Decisions. Can I make up my mind tomorrow?

- PM snack is 1 serving from the vegetable list – prob go with broccoli at 3/4 cup – and 1 serving from the healthy fats list. Let’s make it easy and just suck back 1 tsp of coconut oil. Oh wait…healthy fats OR some raw juice. Well. Really. I don’t have a juicer, so there be no raw juice in my house.

- optional afternoon tea. Nope.

- dinner is more Vanilla fresh + filtered water and 1 serving from the dinner recipes list (read: salad or some sort of veggie thing)

- optional evening tea. NO.

I get to drink half my body weight in ounces of water every day, so that should be freaking plenty.

Tah-dah. That will be day one.

They don’t suggest too much exertion/exercise…bahahhaha. But I am in a PiYo challenge, so I may/may not squeeze a workout in.

All of this should kick-start the 3-day detox process of fun.

Chances are I’ll be a little grumpy.

 

X-Weighted and pushing back

Tackling obesity in youth is a big freaking deal.

What gets me the most is that kids just don’t arrive in this world shoving junk in their faces and sitting around in front of the TV. Nope. As parents, we play a huge part in this.

It kills me to see families taking their kids to McDonald’s regularly or giving the kids Gatorade or pop, and filling their lunches with packaged foods. I did all of this. As parents, we brought the potato chips into the house, didn’t limit the video gaming time, and fed the kids processed foods in the name of time and convenience for ourselves.

In 2009, my family did a Canadian TV program called “X-Weighted.” X-Weighted follows the get-in-shape journey of individuals over a period of six months. Our season of the show featured children and families. My husband and I were both obese, and our junior high-aged boys were overweight.

All of the chubby little kids that season were not feeding themselves junk or sitting on the couch for no reason. The parents have a huge impact. Well – this was us. We were a part of the problem. If not THE problem.

So, we decided to do something about it under the eye of a nation. Or at least, whoever watched the Slice Network.

We got on the show after they’d already started filming due to another family dropping out; that left us with three months of filming. The production company gave us $1,000 towards fitness-related costs. We chose to purchase bikes. Otherwise, we were on our own to figure out what to do to get in shape. The film crew was just there to record the story as it unfolded.

Our first step was to set a goal: at the end of the three months we wanted to do a family bike and hike adventure in the mountains, and be in good enough shape that this wouldn’t kill us and leave us as bear snax in the wilderness.

Second, we tossed out the crap food from the house. Processed foods, mostly. (I became a huge carb Nazi, which I know now was a little extreme, but it worked at the time.) Being the mom and the one who produced 98% of the family meals, I felt an extreme pressure to feed my crew with good stuff – whether they liked it or not. I had to develop a pretty thick skin.

Third, we got active. We hired a trainer, Jordan Galloway, to train us as a family. He had simple, effective boot-camp and gym-based workouts for us twice a week for about 10 weeks. We all pushed through and learned this stuff together, and Jordan worked brilliantly with the boys. The other side of getting active was to do something each evening and weekend that we weren’t meeting with Jordan. We didn’t limit the video gaming time, per se, but we just packed the schedule with walking, swimming, bike rides etc. Both boys learned to ride bikes during this time.

Fourth, we supported each other. This was tricky. My husband is super competitive and always wanted to win the weigh-ins, bike the farthest and burn the most calories. Having young teen boys, this sometimes backfired rather than inspired the kids. Overall, we encouraged and motivated one another to be better – for ourselves and our kids’ health down the road.

I learned a lot about our family during these three months:

  • We’d been doing A LOT around food: snacks at movies, snacks at football games, special seasonal meals, etc. It was disheartening to learn so many of our favourite/regular foods were not really high in nutritional value.
  • When given no choices, the kids conformed and responded nicely. Seriously – taking on that parent role of guiding the kids in their eating habits was beneficial. When they left to go on sleepovers or out with their friends, they knew to make the “best” choices.
  • Taking care of the family felt really positive. My husband supported me in all the menu plans that came to the table. He used to be the first one to say “I don’t like what we’re having for dinner” and go make his own, and eat in front of the TV. Having a united front was a big deal, and eating together at the table, so important.

Over the three months, my husband lost 30 lbs, I lost 29 and the boys each lost 19. Huge difference. We did this by maintaining a healthy nutritional intake and being active. No pills, no shakes, no magic drug. We wrapped it all up with a wonderful family holiday of biking and hiking in Lake Louise and Lake O’Hara.

But you know, what worried me the most was that this wouldn’t stick. I think I even said on camera that I would never want to be 29lbs heavier again, ever. Ever. Why would I do that to myself?

What happened?

Well… we didn’t keep our trainer, Jordan, after the show was done. It was an extra expense that seemed like a luxury. Without Jordan, we didn’t continue the more intense workouts. We did still go out and do things as a family, but we didn’t feel the pressure or obligation to do it quite as often without the cameras on.

Slowly – very slowly – white bread started creeping back in on demand from the family, and the whole grains mostly disappeared. I stopped being the carb Nazi and didn’t push greens as much as I used to. Meal planning – a huge amount of work – fell off the wagon a bit. Bagels, coffee with cream/sugar and the occasional box of Timbits started being a weekly treat from Tim Hortons. “I’ve lost 29 lbs, I deserve a treat.” It took less than a year to lose most of the healthy habits developed during the show. And then I started to gain…

First it was an extra 5lbs back on. Then 7. Then 10lbs, then 15lbs. Eventually, by 2013, I was back up and beyond my starting weight with the show. S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y.

Perhaps part of the challenge is that I never sat down and addressed some of the issues that got me to that weight in the first place. WHY I am morbidly obese. WHY I now want to lose weight. What are my issues, man?? (And trust me, I’m still working on those right now)

Without getting to the meat of the problem, my newfound “fitness” was temporary.

With the exception of my oldest son, all of us gained weight back.

Which is ridiculous.

That’s part of the reason why, in January 2014, I decided to do something about my health, weight and fitness. I know I’ve done it before, and can do it again. So far, this go around, it’s taken me A LOT LONGER. Instead of 3 months to lose 29 lbs, it’s taken me 6 months to lose 35 lbs.

Every single pound is a fight. A lotta blood, sweat and tears.

And I feel like I’m doing it ALONE.

It takes serious drive and stamina (I’m breaking a mental sweat over here, people) to bring in the good stuff and be that lone example in a family of four. Okay, I shouldn’t play the martyr…I’ve been reaching out to friends and thank goodness I have awesome adventure buddies to do things with. BUT they’re not in my house, and seeing me every day, and checking on me to make the right decisions.

Moving forward into the latter half of my FAT TO FIT journey, I’m making promises to myself:

  • The groceries I’m buying are super healthy. I will not pay for any groceries that are crap food. If my husband is along, throwing processed food in my cart, he can pay for that stuff himself. (I know that doesn’t entirely solve the problem but I need to take a stand)
  • I will continue to be a low-key, positive influence in the lives of my family and figure out how to draw them in with love, affection and adoration to be healthier every day.
  • I will invite, invite, invite everyone around me – family, friends, strangers – to be a part of my fitness journey, challenge groups, whatever. Let’s just be ACTIVE.
  • I will get fit.
  • I will not give up.

All said and done, don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that working for something good, awesome, right, etc takes time and commitment.

Do it for yourself, and for the positive impact it will have on the people around you, like your family and your little ones.  I wish I had my act together when I was a young mum… a healthier start for MY kids.  Make the change NOW!!

(Wow – second ranting post of the week…lol)

PS: I would link to our X-Weighted episode for you but Slice has removed the majority (if not all) of the X-Weighted episodes from the Slice Network website. If you catch us on re-runs, we  originally aired December 24, 2009, in the episode titled “Hugh.” In all our crazy glory.

Partners & peeps – embrace the revolution

So, you’re on this journey. Of health, fitness, well-being and overall awesomeness.  And you co-habituate or have a delightful significant other with whom you spend copious amounts of time. And they are not with the program.

Maybe they’re quietly observing from the sidelines.

Maybe you’ve had to turn down a meal or activity you’ve typically done in the past. (Ask me about the endless bags of potato chips that regularly appear on my kitchen counter. It’s like we have a tree in the back yard or something.)

Maybe you’d like to be doing something physical while they’d rather engage in a more sedentary activity.

Maybe they bring home unhealthy snacks and treats and drinks, and eat them while gazing deeply into your eyes.

When you change and are getting stronger, it can be threatening. Empowering for you, but a danger to them. Why? Well – its change, baby. You’re rocking the boat, kicking the hive. You’ve decided to move in a new direction for your own health and well-being. It takes everyone out of their comfort zone.

It’s possible they think they’ll lose you or perhaps it’s triggering something negative in them.

While I’m full on supportive of all-around heath, take it slow and keep it low when introducing the new you to your husband, wife, bestie, etc. Don’t hide it under a bushel, mind you (own it! be proud! love it!) but don’t flaunt it in front of those who could be struggling with both the new YOU and their own desire to make a change. They may not be quite ready yet.

You don’t owe anybody your energy: if they’re sucking you dry, step quietly away from the negativity. Surround yourself with like-minded people, and don’t return to the old gang for affirmation when chances are, you’re clearly not going to get it.

Stick to it. You know, there are people out there watching. Watching to see if you can hang on to this new you. Might be for a month, might be for a year before they acknowledge your efforts and accomplishments. Be that awesome example for them and everyone around you.

Re-phrase your thoughts. Rather than saying to them “I can’t eat that” or “I have to go work out”, try “I want to eat something with more nutrition” or “I’m making time to work out.” Just flip it a bit.  Invite them to try something with you.  Embrace your positive spin and love that you’re being healthy – don’t resent the fact you “can’t” eat ice cream and binge watch 8 seasons of something on Netflix. (Haha – not that that’s a HORRIBLE thing…sometimes we do need to flake out…)

Sometimes this road can be really lonely. Whether you want to start, but your partner doesn’t; or whether you’re already travelling this path… At those times, it seems like you may as well just sit on your ass and do nothing. Don’t fall for that.

Just keep going.

Never give up.

Well, that was a little visit to the soapbox, wasn’t it?