7.38am, Edmonton Airport, Alberta, Canada
I was riding out to the airport this morning early in a shuttle that had its radio tuned into the call to prayer, and I was thinking that this was the less-than-glamorous side of the business – and the absolute contrast to being shown around the glitzy glam and sometimes simply breathtaking sights of the top end hotels and hotspots last week in Las Vegas. At least the weather is co-operating – it’s unseasonally warm in Edmonton right now and was 25° C yesterday. Lovely day to take a bag of wines around town to some very nice wine shop folk, which is what we did.
It’s a good thing I’d had a serious sleep the night before, as everyone wanted to have a long chat and ask 20 questions about the wines, about the winery, and about what Australian wine in general was doing. Throw in a few more about drought, the evaporation of the Murray Darling basin, and why Octavius Shiraz isn’t in stelvin closure, and that’s a fairly solid day. I also told lots of stories to the quite colourful local wine journo Nick Lees (the Edmonton Journal) – and some of them were even true! It was the first stop that I got to catch up with some old friends from our distributor Mark Anthony – who look after us across the nation – and two years certainly makes a difference. Darren the confirmed batchelor is married with one little bubby already, so anything can definitely happen. There’s hope for me yet. The gals brought me up to speed with the wonders of laser lipo – there is so much going on outside the Barossa that I had no idea about, and at the end of the day – we’re leaving with some nice opportunities for events next visit – and we’ll make sure it’s a lot shorter between drinks this time. Good luck to young Justin who has only been with Mark Anthony a short time, and had me in the car all day – I have a feeling he’s going to go very well! And thanks to Dave from Vines Riverbend Wine Merchants – great chat and we’ll be back. Also, to Satesh at Crestwood, I just hope that Stuart Blackwell (St Hallett ) and I are in Edmonton at the same time next year – it would be a great double act in store tasting!
All told, my day in Edmonton was pretty good, and I must make sure to get back here soon. For anyone looking for a nice casual meal downtown, my suggestion is the Blue Plate Diner, in a renovated warehouse on 104th Street. They’ve collected a whole heap of old 1950s laminex top tables and chrome chairs, as well as some really quirky table top lamps. Mine was a little black poodle with a double cylinder lampshade sitting on top of his head. I went with the New England Meatloaf – made with lean ground beef, oats, fresh herbs, onions, carrots, celery and buttermilk, studded with dried cranberries and cheddar cheese. A pretty hefty slice of the meatloaf was served up on a mini mountain of mashed potatoes with grilled pumpkin, zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower and a pot of cranberry sauce. They’ve also got a stack of vegetarian options, and I’m going to have a go at doing a version of this when I get home: ‘Hearts of Fire – artichoke hearts stuffed with goats cheese and roasted chillies, drizzled with pomegranate juice reduction with fresh basil.
So off to the big Stampede town this morning, and we should be in for a good day with Kippy the Queen of Calgary. We both love Tim Horton so I think we’ll need new travel coffee cups for the car to start with, and the day should just plough on upwards from there!! It’s the little things that make the difference!