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Homes Alive Pets Edmonton
Giveaways, Life, Olive And The Cats

Recap + Giveaway: Our Shopping Spree For #OliveAndTheCats + Win a $50 Gift Card to Homes Alive Pets

There’s a new breed of pet store in town!

Homes Alive Pets is a new pet store located at 13340 St. Albert Trail. They actually opened on the same day as the Edmonton International Cat Festival (maybe next year they can be a part of the festival!) and co-owner Evan reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in checking out the store and bringing along Thor, Loki, and Olive for the fun. Loki does not travel well so we left him at home, but Mike and his friend Mike (lol), along with Olive and Thor and I, were eager to see the new shop.

Homes Alive Pets Edmonton

Homes Alive Pets is located at 13340 St. Albert Trail.

Homes Alive Pets is a family-run pet store. Leon and Evan Ropp are a father-son duo who originally started Homes Alive Pets in Lethbridge in 2010. Their family has been in the pet shop business for much longer than that though – Evan’s grandfather actually started selling pet supplies out of his garage in Brooks, Alberta in the 1970s.

Essentially, Home Alive Pets offers the convenience, selection, and prices you would expect at a big chain store, but they have the small mom and pop shop feel that you’d get with a family-owned, Alberta-run store. Evan says they’re somewhere in the middle, “bringing the best of both worlds” for pets and pet owners (hence the clever, “new breed of pet store” tagline).

Learn more about Homes Alive Pets here!

Homes Alive Pets Edmonton

Huge selection of pet food/treats at Homes Alive Pets.

Evan, who manages the Lethbridge location as well as marketing for the company as a whole (while dad Leon and brother Caleb are operating the Edmonton shop), gave us $200 to shop at the new Edmonton location for our fur babies, and also generously offered to give me two $50 gift cards to give away to readers!

Scroll down for the giveaway, or read on to for more about our shopping spree!

Homes Alive Pets Edmonton

Olive on her shopping spree at Homes Alive Pets!

Olive immediately went around and picked out her own toys (lol).

Homes Alive Pets Edmonton

Olive picking out her own toys at Homes Alive Pets.

She was obsessed with the tennis balls but we also found her a new rope, “Mrs. Dragon” crunchy toy, and a very sturdy “Mr. Bear.”

We were amazed at how big Homes Alive was – and how their selection is even bigger than what we’ve come to find at even your big chain pet stores.

Homes Alive Pets Edmonton

Recently opened, well-stocked!

I have personally never seen that many dog/cat beds, rows and rows of toys, and cat towers in a single shop.

Homes Alive Pets Edmonton

Lots of cat perches, towers, lounges, etc. at Homes Alive Pets!

In fact, I’m pretty sure they’ve got the biggest assortment of cat towers I’ve ever seen in a single shop.

Thor was quick to settle onto a cat tower, but then I spotted this gorgeous Vesper brand cat tower that I fell in love with and had to plop her into to see if she’d like it. (Fun fact: Vesper is under the Hagen brand, which also runs Nutrience, who was the title sponsor at this year’s Edmonton International Cat Festival!)

Homes Alive Pets Edmonton

Thor settles into a Vesper cat tower at Homes Alive Pets.

I know cats (including mine) are happy to be sitting in a box or a bag (and lately, Loki’s been obsessed with sitting on towels), but I could not resist getting this cat tower (the $200 gift card helped, lol).

Homes Alive Pets Edmonton

Super fancy line of cat towers at Homes Alive Pets

We ended up spending over and above the $200 gift card (the Vesper cat tower is on the pricier end of cat towers lol) – which is not unusual for us when we head to pet stores.

We always go in with the aim of picking up a few specific items (food, litter) and then walk out with lots of (probably unnecessary, but anything for our fur babies!) toys and accessories. Our visit to Homes Alive Pets was no different :-)

The pet industry is soaring right now as fur parents more and more spare no expense to ensure their animals are comfortable (maybe a bit spoiled) and #OliveAndTheCats are no exception.

Homes Alive Pets Edmonton

Thor checking out her new toy. Olive throwing Thor some shade.

Homes Alive Pets Edmonton

Loki looking up at Thor in her new Vesper cat castle/tower from Homes Alive Pets.

Homes Alive Pets Edmonton

#OliveAndTheCats play with their new toy!

I’m excited for the Ropp family and their expansion from Lethbridge to Edmonton. We were pretty impressed with what we saw – and are eager to make Homes Alives Pets our go-to spot for Olive, Thor, and Loki’s pet needs. As I said, the selection was like nothing we’d seen before, and the prices = great. They’ve also got a nice points/rewards system, lots of coupons/discounts, and you can order products online too – they ship throughout Canada!

Homes Alive Pets Edmonton

Evan (left) and Caleb (right) – brothers at the family-run Homes Alive Pets!

Hopefully one of the $50 gift cards I’m giving away will give you some incentive to go visit Homes Alive Pets! Enter below!

** GIVEAWAY **

ENTER TO WIN A $50 GIFT CARD TO HOMES ALIVE PETS

I’ve got 2 Homes Alive gift cards (valued at $50) to give away!

to Log into Rafflecopter below for different ways to enter – leaving a comment on this blog post telling me a little bit about your pet(s) is mandatory in order to win! a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest closes on Friday, July 10, 2015. I’ll randomly select two winners from all entries.

Note: Comments are moderated so don’t be concerned if your comment doesn’t appear right away!

Good luck! And even if you don’t win – be sure to check out Homes Alive Pets!

Congratulations on your opening / expansion to Edmonton Evan and family! Thanks for having us come and check out the new store. We’ll be back real soon!

Linda

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Indulgence Edmonton - Slow Food and Wine - 1
Food, Reviews

Recap: Indulgence Edmonton 2015 – A Canadian Epic of Food and Wine

Earlier this month, I attended Indulgence Edmonton – Edmonton’s premier food and wine festival.

Indulgence brings together restaurants, food producers and winery/breweries, for a delicious event celebrating Canadian food and wine while supporting a great cause. Proceeds from Indulgence ticket sales go to the Junior League of Edmonton – an organization of women who promote volunteerism and supports the community through a number of projects helping Edmontonians in need.

The Royal Glenora Club's Moose Wood Acres Duck with Vesta Gardens pea greens, French breakfast radish, dandelion blossoms, cattail hearts and asparagus pickle.

The Royal Glenora Club’s Moose Wood Acres Duck with Vesta Gardens pea greens, French breakfast radish, dandelion blossoms, cattail hearts and asparagus pickle.

This year’s Indulgence was its 15th year – a remarkably long number of years – which really demonstrates the quality of the event.

It was my first time going and – honestly – I’d been seriously missing out for the last 15 years.

Although this year I was invited as a guest, after experiencing the event, I can say with certainty that the cost to get in is definitely worth it (and I plan to attend for as many years as it continues to be put on!)

For $80 a ticket, you get food and drink from 18 different teams featuring more than 50 restaurants / producers / winery/breweries. And really you can go back for as many seconds and thirds as you wish (until they run out of food of course, and you probably don’t want to do that immediately to be fair to other guests), so the value is just incredible.

Restaurant chefs are paired with local producers and are tasked at coming up with a dish that highlights that producer’s product. Winery/breweries are added to the mix, to produce a beverage that will pair well with the dish the chef comes up with.

Joshua Ward with NAIT's School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts puts the finishing touches on their Cheesiry Fresco Tart.

Joshua Ward with NAIT’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts puts the finishing touches on their Cheesiry Fresco Tart.

Mike and I ended up eating & drinking our way through Indulgence with friends Andrea and Gordon (see Andrea’s recap of the event here). They are seasoned Indulgence-goers so we had a pretty good system going to ensure that we were able to hit up all the different stations (and come back for seconds and even some thirds of some of our favourite dishes).

As this was our first time at Indulgence, we didn’t really have anything to compare it to – so really the first impression was fantastic. I thought the room was spacious enough so that you weren’t really bumping into others. There were hardly any long line-ups for any of the dishes – which was great. We really only stood in line for one dish – Tzin’s Ramen Terrine featuring Nature’s Green Acre’s Tamworth pork and eggs (came with homemade noodles, pickled wood ear mushroom, smoked porkfat and nori dust).

Rostizado's Tamales de Barbacoa y Queso (steamed corn ricotta cake warapped in its husk, served with Tangled Ridge Farms lamb braised with chiles, spices, tomatoes and fresh herbs).

Rostizado’s Tamales de Barbacoa y Queso (steamed corn ricotta cake warapped in its husk, served with Tangled Ridge Farms lamb braised with chiles, spices, tomatoes and fresh herbs).

While the portions are really meant to be sample sizes, when you add up 18 sample sizes (+ drink), you’re going to leave stuffed. There was a friendly competition aspect to the night, where all attendees could vote on which dish was their favourite (People’s Choice). The People’s Choice winner receives $500 to donate to a charity of the chef’s choice.

My personal favourites were 4404 Delta’s onion confit infused goat cheese from Rock Ridge Dairy served on a bed of truffle honey caviars with tempura fried zucchini blossoms:

4404 Delta’s onion confit infused goat cheese from Rock Ridge Dairy served on a bed of truffle honey caviars with tempura fried zucchini blossoms.

4404 Delta’s onion confit infused goat cheese from Rock Ridge Dairy served on a bed of truffle honey caviars with tempura fried zucchini blossoms.

NAIT’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts’ Cheesiry Fresco Tart with wild mushroom, caramelized onion and arugula salad:

NAIT’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts’ Cheesiry Fresco Tart with wild mushroom, caramelized onion and arugula salad.

NAIT’s School of Hospitality and Culinary ArtsCheesiry Fresco Tart with wild mushroom, caramelized onion and arugula salad.

XIX Nineteen’s Four Whistle Farm chicken liver pate with Saskatoon Berry gastrique, julienne BC pears and homemade crostini:

XIX Nineteen's Four Whistle Farm chicken liver pate with Saskatoon Berry gastrique, julienne BC pears and homemade crostini.

XIX Nineteen’s Four Whistle Farm chicken liver pate with Saskatoon Berry gastrique, julienne BC pears and homemade crostini.

And Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse’s Charcoal grilled bison top sirloin steak from Straw Man Farm, wrapped with bacon chumichurri and pickled papaya (because. bacon-wrapped anything = win):

Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse’s Charcoal grilled bison top sirloin steak from Straw Man Farm Bison, wrapped with bacon chumichurri and pickled papaya.

Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse’s Charcoal grilled bison top sirloin steak from Straw Man Farm, wrapped with bacon chumichurri and pickled papaya.

I also did really enjoy Tzin’s Ramen Terrine (probably more for the pork belly than the terrine) but still. I thought – such an odd concept, ramen broken down into a cold, pate-style dish, couldn’t possibly work, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Tzin's Ramen Terrine featuring Nature's Green Acre's Tamworth pork and eggs (came with homemade noodles, pickled wood ear mushroom, smoked porkfat and nori dust).

Tzin’s Ramen Terrine featuring Nature’s Green Acre’s Tamworth pork and eggs (came with homemade noodles, pickled wood ear mushroom, smoked porkfat and nori dust).

I have to note that Tzin’s pork belly was seared using a Searzall, which was just really neat to see.

The actual People’s Choice favourite of the night was Ampersand 27’s Chicken galantine from Sunworks farm with char siu sauce, charred scallion aioli, and sweet sesame snap and micro coriander.

Ampersand 27’s Chicken galantine from Sunworks farm with char siu sauce, charred scallion aioli, and sweet sesame snap and micro coriander.

Ampersand 27’s Chicken galantine from Sunworks Farm with char siu sauce, charred scallion aioli, and sweet sesame snap and micro coriander.

They chose to donate their $500 to Camp fYrefly, Canada’s only national leadership retreat for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited, queer, questioning and allied youth.

Throughout the night, you’re encouraged to chat with the chefs, producers and winery/breweries about the dish, their product, and what they do. It’s a great opportunity to get some one-on-one time with Alberta food producers.

Hibco Greens provides year-round locally grown micro greens and microherbs.

Hibco Greens provides year-round locally grown micro greens and microherbs.

There were also a few artisan tables not paired up with restaurants – including Jacek Chocolate Couture, Harvest Micro Greens, Hibco Greens, Newget Kompany and Fieldstone Fruit Wines.

Mike and Gordon had a fantastic time at Indulgence (primarily drinking) while Andrea and I had an even better time (primarily eating).

Mike and Gordon had a fantastic time at Indulgence (primarily drinking) while Andrea and I had an even better time (primarily eating).

Of course, not all of the dishes were knock-out. Some left us a bit disappointed, but then really you just move onto the nearly two dozen other stations. Some stations also started running out of food closer to 8:30-9 p.m. (the event starts at 6:30) so if you really do want to try all the food (which you should!) then you should go in with a bit of a game plan/strategy to ensure you don’t miss out on anything!

Overall, I enjoyed nearly all of the dishes at Indulgence, and I loved the energy in the room. The volunteers (who were from Junior League of Edmonton) were also amazing – quick to clear away empty dishes so we’d have room for the next dish. As I walked around I could hear so many different conversations around what went into this dish, what kind of product that producer sells, why this wine paired better with that ingredient, and what a great cause the event supports.

Truly, Indulgence is all about incredible food, wine, and giving back to the community.

It left such a positive impression on Mike and I, and we can’t wait to come back next June!

So, have you been to Indulgence? What did you think? What were your favourite dishes this year?

Linda

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Edo Japan Sushi
Food, Giveaways

Giveaway: $50 Gift Card to Edo Japan – Happy International Sushi Day!

Today (June 18) is International Sushi Day! < insert tons of sushi emojis here >

I’m a big, big, big fan of sushi – well, Japanese food in general. I always say if I had to pick just three food genres that I had to eat for the rest of my life, Japanese would be in that top three.

There’s a lot of great Japanese restaurants in Edmonton (Japonais Bistro, Izakaya Tomo, Mikado, to name a few), but as far as fast food Japanese goes, Edo Japan is pretty great.

I used to eat their teriyaki chicken and beef (sometimes chicken and shrimp… sometimes all three) on rice religiously. It was the post secondary meal of choice a few years back.

What I didn’t realize was how much they’ve expanded their menu in recent years, including a pretty solid sushi roll/platter line-up!

The Edo Japan Party Platter!

The Edo Japan Party Platter!

Edo now serves up not only your standard California rolls, but also cucumber, avocado, sukiyaki, traditional maki and nigiri – and various platters featuring dynamite rolls, spicy tuna, kappa, prawns, smoked salmon, and more!

They also have my personal favourite – sashimi! #gimmealltherawfish

Check out all of Edo Japan’s fresh sushi options here!

I’m getting pretty hungry thinking about it… But honestly I think Edo is a fantastic fast sushi option, and I think their expansion/growth story is wonderful. They’ve been around for more than 30 years and started in Calgary. Now they’re one of Canada’s fastest growing restaurants, with over 100 Edo Japan locations (food court and storefront) across the country. They really put a big emphasis on fresh food and simple ingredients. I’m all for Alberta-success stories! Good for Edo.

So now that you’re hungry, on to the fun (free) stuff! ;)

In honour of International Sushi Day, Edo has generously offered to give one of my readers a $50 gift card!

I’ve been doing a lot of giveaways lately (I’m so thankful for all the opportunities!) so I want to give Rafflefopter another shot. (I tried using it once and it didn’t really work out). Hopefully this helps me manage giveaways better as I hope to continue doing more of them!

** GIVEAWAY **

ENTER TO WIN A $50 GIFT CARD TO EDO JAPAN

Log into Rafflecopter below for different ways to enter – leaving a comment on this blog post saying what your favourite sushi is is mandatory in order to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway runs until June 20, 2015. I will select a winner randomly based on all entries after the contest closes. Good luck!

Linda

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