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Tasting Notes: Coterie, Little Wolf and Hansen Distillery

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Regardless of how a lot Trystan Fung tries to get out of the meals and beverage business, he all the time will get drawn again in.

“It’s truly comical how this all occurred,” says Fung over the telephone from Coterie, the brand new wine bar that he and his fiancee Ainsley Lamash are opening on Friday at 10330 80 Ave. “I used to be strolling down the road on the telephone with Ainsley and I stated, ‘Josh (Meacham) and Dominique (Moquin) from Boxer have all the time sort of needed to work with us.’ I used to be passing by the alley beside Boxer and Josh appeared with the Boxer signal. At that precise second.”

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The fates had certainly spoken. They agreed to have a chat, and when all 4 events sat down a couple of weeks later they mentioned the up-and-coming enterprise by Meacham and Moquin, a small area tucked in alongside 80 Avenue. The unique plan was to make it a cocktail bar, however as they mentioned issues it started to return into focus as a wine bar. The French phrase Coterie was chosen because the title as a result of it completely suited the ambiance 4 envisioned the area as having.

“It means ‘a gathering of like minds,’ and that’s what we would like folks to think about it,” says Fung. “It’s a loving, heat and welcoming area and if you happen to’ve had a tough week we’re there to offer you a hug.”

Fung and Lamash have had loads of expertise working wine bars and eating places all through their careers. Most just lately they labored at Bodega Highlands, however after Fung began his Masters in Counselling Psychology they realized they couldn’t dedicate themselves to a bigger area. Coterie was the right alternative for the 2 to comprehend their dream of working a wine bar that wasn’t fairly as overwhelming.

“Dominique and Josh have actually allow us to take the reins,” Fung says. “We’re each very keen about wine, and the largest factor for wine with us is we would like it to be approachable, enjoyable, and never pretentious. We wish it to be one thing that each particular person can recognize, and possibly we might help broaden their world as properly,”

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Fung credit Lamash with Coterie’s wine alternatives, which run from pure to extra standard, calling her “the palate grasp.” With co-chefs Jordan Marzano and Ryan Pauls they’ve additionally put collectively a small menu that features such small plate dishes as beef bourguignon, wild mushroom pâté, baked brie, prawns and a charcuterie board. Fung additionally hints at such consolation meals as shepherd’s pie and tourtière displaying up on the menu down the street, albeit in a extra elevated kind.

“We’ve began with a little bit of a French foundation due to the title, however the concept of the venue has turn into very Canadiana,” Fung explains. “We’ll be increasing the repertoire and all the time altering the premise on season. However the focus is on the wine and the snacks that assist with the expertise. Additionally, in fact, we’re dedicated to bringing the very best expertise doable to whoever is available in.”

Little Wolf

Meals choices had been few and much between for Shaun Hicks when he left his restaurant late at night time after a shift.

“If I didn’t need McDonald’s or a donair there was actually nowhere to go get a chew, and even much less locations to only sit down,” says Hicks, chef and proprietor of Little Wolf at 8424 109 St. Opened in mid-September, the restaurant occupies the identical spot as Three Boars, which closed down throughout the pandemic and morphed into Excessive Dough. It additionally took on a couple of attributes of the much-missed eatery, together with late hours (Thursday to Sunday, 5 p.m. to 1 p.m.) and a rotating menu.

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“I beloved Three Boars for that,” says Hicks, who labored at Three Boars and extra just lately La Petite Iza. “Small plates, cocktails and beer, and principally area for folks to hang around and have an excellent time collectively. The type of place the place you drop by late and possibly you see some associates coming in as properly.”

Little Wolf’s menu can be altering seasonally, so the Japanese curry poutine or garlic scapes you loved final week could or might not be accessible this week.

“That’s the glory of it,” chuckles Hicks. “I began working with one farmer, and he or she got here final week with one thing like 50 or 60 kilos of Swiss chard and 100 kilos of beets. There’s no packaging and never so many palms between us so I can move on the financial savings. These issues all add up. If she drops off 100 kilos of beets to me I can flip that round into one thing for the subsequent couple of months right here. Pickle some, do one thing else with the remainder, and it finally ends up being half the worth I’d pay wherever else for it.”

Continuously altering the menu may seem to be lots of work, however Hicks enjoys it. Whereas he derived some satisfaction from overseeing traditional dishes whereas within the kitchen at La Petite Iza, creativity is the place his coronary heart lies. That features engaged on primary kitchen substances on his personal time.

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“At house, I’d be sitting round making several types of miso for six months in my basement,” he says. “Often bigger batches than most house cooks, simply because I haven’t been capable of scale down after being on this business. So my counters could be stuffed with selfmade apple cider vinegar and issues like that. Having the ability to carry them to an area and present them off in a method that may spotlight them is one thing that’s particular, and it additionally lowers my prices on shopping for boutique gadgets. That’s a enjoyable factor as properly as a result of now I can clear my home out and maintain my girlfriend blissful.”

Shayna Hansen, co-owner, and Kris Sustrik, distiller and co-owner, of Hansen Distillery seen in a 2020 file picture. Picture by Shaughn Butts / Postmedia

Hansen Distillery

Household takes precedent.

Which is why, seven years after opening their distillery with Grandpa’s outdated moonshine automobile within the lobby, Kris Sustrik and Shayna Hansen of Hansen Distillery at the moment are promoting the enterprise, which made historical past in 2020 as Edmonton’s first whisky producer. On their Instagram, Hansen and Sustrik wrote “We are able to not commit the identical time and vitality to our enterprise that it deserves, with out compromising our values and our time with our household.”

There’s no phrase but on whether or not there’s a purchaser, however the distillery can be persevering with on within the interim. Be sure to drop by earlier than the vacation season and top off on a few of their goodies, together with their brand-new mint chocolate cream liqueur.

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