June 20th, 2016

Food Notes for June 20, 2016

  • The second annual Culinary Cookout returns to Sturgeon County on August 5, 2016, from 4-9pm. Food vendors will include XIX Nineteen.
  • Taste of Edmonton returns to Churchill Square in a month, running from July 20-31, 2016. They just released the menu, and tickets are on sale at 20% off until July 20.
  • K Days also announced its new food items, offered at the fair running July 22-31, 2016. They include a rainbow grilled cheese, a poutine corn dog and deep fried coffee.
  • KB & Co is now open in Fox One (10224 104 Street), offering “casual conscious eats”.
  • Holts Cafe will be revamping its menu now that Chef Julia Kundera, formerly of Glasshouse Bistro, has moved into its kitchen.
  • The Journal paid a visit to the much loved Earls Tin Palace on Jasper Avenue.
  • Graham checks out the variety of Korean fried chicken options in Edmonton.
  • Congratulations to A Cappella Catering, who is celebrating its 25th year in business.
  • Mel Priestly announced her departure of the position of Dish/News Editor at Vue Weekly.
  • It’s a movement that chefs in Edmonton are growing their own produce, shares Vue Weekly.
  • I missed linking to this last week – a profile on Bo and Marrow, a new bone broth vendor at both the City Market and St. Albert Farmers’ Markets.
  • It’s great to see that the Leduc Food Processing Development Centre has received a $10 million expansion.
  • Congrats to District Cafe, who re-opened after an extensive renovation. The space has easily tripled in size, and will accommodate evening hours and an expanded menu. It’s great to have a locally-owned cafe option open late in Downtown Edmonton.

Untitled

District Cafe

  • The second What the Truck?! event of the summer took place on Saturday at Blatchford. It was neat to be able to take advantage of the opportunity to check out the view from the observation tower. And the weather was perfect for al fresco eats! I really enjoyed the lamb burger from The Good Stuff, and I couldn’t resist an ice cream sandwich from Cookie Love. If you missed it, don’t despair – the next event takes place in conjunction with Park After Dark at Northlands on July 8.

Untitled

The Daily Grind burger from The Good Stuff

Untitled

Salted caramel ice cream sandwich from Cookie Love

June 13th, 2016

Food Notes for June 13, 2016

  • The third annual Porkapalooza takes place June 17-19, 2016 at Clarke Park. Expect a BBQ competition, food demos, and of course, lots of barbecue!
  • Just in time for Father’s Day, Accent Lounge is hosting Back Alley Beer Gardens on June 18, featuring food and beer from Blindman Brewery. Advanced tickets are $25.
  • The pop-up is sold out, but is still worth mentioning, as the excitement around Duchess Bake Shop’s expansion is unparalleled: Cafe Linnea will be offering a sneak peek of their menu on June 18 at Little Brick.
  • Taste Alberta is hosting a special dinner at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald on June 23, 2016 called Prairie on a Plate. The four-course meal is priced at $69 and is available in the Harvest Room during regular dinner service.
  • Missed the last two Northern Chicken pop-ups? Then mark your calendar for the next one, to take place on July 3, 2016 at Packrat Louie.
  • The expanded District Cafe & Bakery opens its doors on June 14, 2016 with expanded hours – 7am to 9pm! I’m excited to have a local cafe within walking distance open late.
  • Liane has some details about Baijiu, the second venture from the folks behind North 53 to open up this fall next to Rostizado in the Mercer Building.
  • Fuqing Lanzhou Noodle is the second hand-pulled noodle shop to open in a number of months (following Wheat Garden, and joining the longer-standing Noodle Feast on the south side). Jonny is optimistic after his first visit to the restaurant located at 10821 97 Street.
  • Situation Brewing has only been open for a few weeks, but it’s been hopping ever since (ahem). Jonny is the latest to check out the brew pub.
  • Ms. Hangry Foodie visited the newest quick-serve pizzeria in Edmonton, Blaze Pizza.
  • Graham from the Edmonton Sun raved about his perfect experience at Chartier.
  • Wheat Garden Noodle & Dumpling Bazaar received some love from Linda!
  • Linda joined a group of bloggers in the kitchen of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald for an interactive cooking lesson and dinner.
  • There’s not enough meat to this press release about the food to be expected this fall at Rogers Place, but I counted the use of “local” eight times in the article. I’ll be interested to see what that actually means, since “Alberta beef”, for instance, doesn’t actually mean beef that was raised in Alberta. At any rate, expect a Rogers Place booth at Taste of Edmonton this summer, showcasing some of their signature offerings.
  • Congratulations to Karlynn, whose first cookbook Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
  • Last Tuesday, Uber Eats was running an amazing promo: several participating restaurants offered dishes priced at $2, and delivery was free. It was all we needed to try the service out for the first time. We selected chicken and beef shawarma from La Shish Taouk. It was great to follow along on the app to know that our order was received, in process, and on its way (delivered in about 30 minutes). We’ll be using Uber Eats again in the future!

La Shish Taouk

Uber Eats Toonie Tuesday special from La Shish Taouk

  • Mack and I kicked off the weekend with some wine and bacon from Tzin at our favourite neighbourhood patio on Friday. Given the intermittent rain on the following few days, it was a good reminder to take advantage of any and all opportunities to eat outside!

Untitled

Bacon from Tzin

  • It was only fitting after attending a conference all about Chinatown to head over to Chinatown when we needed a bite to eat! The bun bo Hue from King Noodle hit the spot, as always.

Untitled

Bun bo hue from King Noodle

  • We typically make our own pizza dough, but after spending the weekend at the conference, we cheated a bit and picked up some of the fresh dough available at the Italian Centre on Saturdays and Sundays (for just $1.49). It made it really quick to pull together a pizza, topped this time with prosciutto and Edgar Farms asparagus.

Untitled

It’s pizza time!

June 6th, 2016

Food Notes for June 6, 2016

Juniper

Pesto chicken grilled cheese from Juniper

  • Not up to cook on Friday, Mack and I headed to Route 99 for some poutine and pizza.

Untitled

We love us some Route 99 poutine

  • There was a ton to do on Saturday, which made it feel like the official kick-off to summer. We checked out, among other things, the Meet Me in McCauley Market. It returns to Church Street (96 Street from 107A Avenue to 108 Avenue) on July 9 from 10am-4pm.

Meet me in McCauley

Meet Me in McCauley Market

June 5th, 2016

Back in the 6ix: Escape to Niagara

As much as I love Toronto, I was happy with our decision to escape the bustling city for two days. We rented a car and drove out to Niagara wine country.

Jordan

Jordan, a real life Stars Hollow

I was enticed by the photos and reviews online for the Inn on the Twenty in Jordan, and it was possibly the best decision we made on the trip. The boutique hotel was charming and situated on a street that could have doubled as the set for Stars Hollow. Breakfast was included in the restaurant, and the dinner we enjoyed the night prior was well done. I’d heartily recommend a stay to anyone considering a night in the area.

Toronto Trip

Perfect pickerel and fiddleheads

We also joined a wine tour so neither of us would have to worry about driving. Crush on Niagara Wine Tours offers pick-ups from area hotels, which was perfect for us. It was supposed to be a group tour, but the bonus of travelling in the off-season is that it ended up being a private tour just for the two of us!

We visited 4 larger (160 acres) and smaller (10 acres) wineries, which was a good representation for us. They all offered something interesting – Flat Rock Cellars had the best view, with their tasting room on stilts allowing a glimpse of Lake Ontario and even Downtown Toronto.

Jordan Wine Region

At Flat Rock Cellars

DiProfio was obviously a family-run business, and provided the best hospitality during our tasting, with generous pours.

Jordan Wine Region

DiProfio Winery

GreenLane was the most educational, and my favourite stop, as Jane, our guide, was thorough and able to answer all of our questions about the type of grapes that thrive in cold climate viticulture (explaining why you find so many Ontario Rieslings but never any Malbecs). We had no idea the last two winters had done so much damage to the area’s wineries, some losing as much as 65% of their vines.

Jordan Wine Region

A revelation in discovering the difference made by aged vines

The sommelier at Vineland Estates was clearly experienced and had a fine palate, but both Mack and I were suspicious of the technology they chose to adopt. They’re the first winery in Canada who has invested $250,000 in an optical-based camera that only selects the ripest grapes for inclusion in their wine (everything else is blown off the conveyor belt, and not considered even for compost). It seemed unnecessary and wasteful, but then again, what do we know? At any rate, the tour was a great way to get a feel for some of the area’s wineries without the stress of having to navigate the wine trail on our own.

Jordan Wine Region

Vineland Estates, complete with two helipads

Before heading back to town, we made a pit stop at Dillon’s. The distillery is not only known for their spirits, but also for their bitters (found in Edmonton at The Silk Road and Habitat, among others). We didn’t have enough time for a full tour, but did taste some of the products not available in Alberta. I really enjoyed their Limoncello, sweeter than the traditional liqueur. But we both found their gin 22 (with 22 botanicals without a juniper-forward taste) to be the one we will pick up in the future (thankfully, available in Alberta, including Everything Wine, where we picked it up in Sherwood Park).

Dillon's

The very photogenic Dillon’s tasting bar

We didn’t even make it out to Niagara Falls this time but neither of us regretted that decision – there was just so much else to experience! If you’re able to schedule a day trip out to Jordan or the surrounding communities the next time you’re in Toronto, I’d highly recommend doing so.

June 2nd, 2016

The Future of Edmonton’s Chinatown: 2016 Chinatown Conference

Three years ago, I was part of a group that organized the 97 Street Night Market in Chinatown. The idea was inspired by conversations and observations made by my market co-organizer Kathryn Lennon at the first ever Chinatown Conference held that spring. In some ways, the market was our way of trying to grapple with the generation gap in the neighbourhood, and an attempt to enliven the streets and encourage Edmontonians to rediscover their Chinatown.

97 Street Night Market

97 Street Night Market

The event gathered vendors and food trucks, created a stage for cultural performances, and offered walking tours of the neighbourhood. Overall, we felt the market was a success, and although it was a lot of work to pull together, I felt inspired to continue the momentum with another event.

The following summer, I was part of a team that hosted a second 97 Street Night Market. The event built upon the foundation of the previous year, and though the turnout was comparable, we decided the challenges we faced in mounting the market weren’t worth the returns.

97 Street Night Market

97 Street Night Market, 2014 edition

It was an incredibly eye-opening experience, learning firsthand about the complexities of the neighbourhood and the numerous parties involved in the community. Chinatown has many players – the BRZ, individual businesses, community associations, McCauley Revitalization, the Quarters Revitalization – just to name a few, and they don’t all agree on how to approach the issues surrounding Chinatown:

  • How can Chinatown leverage the positive developments of the Royal Alberta Museum, Ice District, and the LRT Connector?
  • Should the old (cultural) and new (commercial) Chinatowns be linked?
  • How can Chinatown better work alongside social service agencies?
  • How can Chinatown attract more businesses and amenities?
  • Is Chinatown still relevant?

These are just some of the questions that the community is grappling with, and there are no easy answers. Consensus is unlikely, but one thing is true – Chinatown will change, but who will lead this change? Will the players be able to come together to move forward with solutions in a meaningful way, or will external forces dictate the change?

Chinatown

Edmonton’s Chinatown

As a follow-up to the first Chinatown Conference, the 2016 Chinatown Conference hopes to answer some of these questions. On June 11-12, 2016 Chinatown advocates, researchers, planners and youth from across North America, will gather in Edmonton at the University of Alberta, including 15 representatives from Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. The intention is to exchange ideas about how to preserve, celebrate, and ensure Chinatowns remain relevant in municipalities amongst demographic shifts, changing civic priorities, and gentrification efforts.

I’m particularly excited to hear from C.W. Chan from Chicago, as they have reversed the trend of diminishing Chinatowns, and instead, have continued to expand and and garner city investment in infrastructure. The conference will also host respected Toronto Chinese historian Valerie Mah and Washington, D.C. filmmaker Yi Chen, who will screen her documentary Chinatown. The second day of the conference aims to build a plan for Edmonton’s Chinatown. The full conference schedule is here.

Registration is now open, and tickets are $50.

May 30th, 2016

Food Notes for May 30, 2016

Though I’m sad the Raptors couldn’t advance to the Finals, it was a pretty great run. Looking forward to next season, and hoping they can keep DeRozan! On to this week’s food notes:

  • There will be a ton of things to check out on June 4, 2016, with it being Make Something Edmonton’s 100in1day Project, but one of the events I’m looking forward to is the Meet me in McCauley Market, from 10am-4pm on Church Street (96 Street from 107A Avenue to 108 Avenue). There will be workshops on urban agriculture and food security, vendors, and other programming.
  • On June 6, 2016, Three Boars will be featuring a collaboration dinner with “a menu juxtaposting sad bastard bachelor foods and high end restaurant ingredients. Foie, instant ramen, donair, caviar…you get the point.” Reservations recommended.
  • The 18th annual Zoo Fest, in support of the Valley Zoo, takes place on June 18, 2016. They’ll have wine and samles from New Asian Village, Sage and The Melting Pot.
  • Kitchen by Brad (10130 105 Street) is hosting “Meatball Madness” every Friday from 11:30am-1pm, where you can pick up a quick bite to eat.
  • Uccellino, completing Chef Daniel Costa’s trifecta of restaurants, is now open at 10349 Jasper Avenue, from Wedesdays to Sundays, 5-11pm. Half of the seats are unreserved.
  • Cafe Linnea, Duchess Bakery’s forthcoming breakfast restaurant, will be opening this summer!
  • Diane linked to a new noodle restaurant in Chinatown called Fuqing Lanzhou Noodle located at 10824 97 Street.
  • Avenue has the details about the newest board game cafe in Edmonton, The Gamers Lodge, which features food items named after pop culture references.
  • Jonny checked out Nudoru, and contributed another so-so review.
  • Uber Eats finally launched in Edmonton last week, offering another option for food delivery service in Edmonton. We rarely have food delivered, but I’m looking forward to trying it. I had nothing but positive experience with Uber, so I’m certain that will carry forward with Uber Eats.
  • Liane’s latest market vendor profile focuses on Caramia Caramels, who sells at the City Market.
  • CBC’s This is That spoofs high-end chef programs by providing pub fare with the same treatment: “Food doesn’t have to be interesting, it just has to be edible.”
  • The Edmonton Food Council is recruiting new members to start September 2016. The application deadline is June 20, 2016.
  • The first What the Truck?! of the season took place this weekend at the Expo Centre, gathering nearly 40 trucks together each day. I tried some new dishes, including a savoury pizza crepe from Divine Crepes, Alberta Fried Karaage from Northlands Truck 1879 and the sweet chicken curry from Pink Taffeta. All in all, it was a great kick-off to the summer! The next event takes place on June 18, 2016 at Blatchford Field.

Divine Crepes

Pizza crepe from Divine Crepes was all right, but I should have selected a dessert crepe instead

Untitled

The Alberta Fried Karaage was hot and crispy, but was missing something

Untitled

The sweet curry chicken from Pink Taffeta was enjoyable enough, with a nice cashew garnish

May 28th, 2016

Back to the 6ix: All About the Food

Even though we were only in Toronto for a week, we managed to cram in many restaurants new to us.

Smoke’s Burritorie

A surprising highlight was Smoke’s Burritorie (how can you not love it based on the name alone?). We stopped there for a pre-Jays game lunch, after we found the wait at Amanda’s neighbourhood brunch place, Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, was upwards of 1.5 hours. As it turns out, we were the only customers in the Burritorie.

Smoke's Burritorie

Smoke’s Burritorie

Their poutine burrito, customized with any number of meats, rang in at just $7.49, but with the crispy grilled exterior, slightly sweet gravy, and delectable chorizo, was one of the best things I ate all trip. Smoke’s most recent offshoot, the Weinerie, will definitely be on our to-go list the next time we’re in town.

Kinton Ramen

I’ve been wanting to try Kinton Ramen for some time, and we finally made it in on this trip. The Queen West location was quiet when we arrived around 4pm, but I imagine service to be efficient anytime in this well-oiled machine. The tonkotsu broth was deliciously creamy, and perfectly seasoned, though Mack’s shoyu broth was on the salty side.

Kinton Ramen

Tonkotsu ramen

The thin noodles had a nice bite to them, while the pork shoulder and belly was torched to order, further enhancing the flavour. With five locations in the Toronto area, we can understand now the quality that has led them to a ramen empire.

Valdez

Amanda had been wanting to try Valdez, a new-ish Latin American restaurant, down the street from her condo. The bumpin’ vibe reminded me of Rostizado, with menus also driven by the ever-popular family-style philosophy. The standout dishes for me included the chaufa, a duck confit fried rice dish, and mofongo, a plantain-based dish that made me entirely rethink plantains (and for Mack, lived up to the SNL David Ortiz joke).

Valdez

Chaufa

I also liked their take on chips – beyond tortillas, they included fried plantains and root vegetables.

Valdez

Chips and five layer dip

Figo

Figo was my post-Jays game pick, one of Toronto Life’s best new restaurants this year. It is a simply stunning room (made for Instagram), with marble table tops, soft lighting and a Parisian feel. I’m still not sure the server should have been so enthusiastic about the feature wine that I tried (a clay-aged white from Slovenia that tasted closer to a cider than a wine), but we really enjoyed their signature zucchini fritters – tempura-battered ribbons of zucchini (and at $9 per plate, must be a huge money maker).

Figo

Zucchini fritters

Mack’s scallops were well-prepared, while the pasta in my wild boar bucatini should have been cooked further.

Figo

Scallops

Figo would be a lovely spot for lunch to take full advantage of the windowed space.

Sweet Jesus

Sweet Jesus, a Milk Bar-style soft serve parlour, seemed to be the hottest thing in Toronto, with line-ups easily 50 deep at any given time. The weather wasn’t even particularly fitting for ice cream during our stay, but we braved the lines and tried it anyway. The soft serve centrepiece was noticeably thick and creamy (meaning in the cold we didn’t need the benefit of the melt guard around the base), and held up well to the ridiculous topping combinations. For Mack and I, it was bits of smashed Christie’s cookies, and for Amanda and Jason, studs of birthday cake, complete with a lit candle to celebrate. Is it worth the wait though? It was probably more satisfying than our New York experience of Milk Bar, if that speaks to our enjoyment of it.

Sweet Jesus

With our Sweet Jesus ridiculousness

DaiLo

DaiLo, a hip Asian fusion restaurant, had an interesting menu. It was packed to the brim even on a Tuesday night, with a noise level that nearly rivalled People’s Eatery. Another establishment that is set-up for family-style sharing, the server started off on the wrong foot by suggesting we "order more dishes than we think we could eat" when asked how many she would recommend for a party of four. Then, when our first two dishes arrived, comically tiny, we thought the small-plate trend had gone to the extreme. By the end, our other plates balanced things out.

Toronto Trip

Pureed salt cod dip and Chinese doughnuts

Jason couldn’t get enough of a puréed salt cod dip, served with Chinese doughnuts, and Amanda and I appreciated the masterful hands behind the fluffy steamed buns that formed the basis of a build-your-own char siu sandwich.

DaiLo

Char siu with steamed buns

The Korean confit duck legs also had great flavour, with crispy skins and just a hint of gojuchang heat. With the packed Bar Raval next door, it’s a way for out of towners to get a 2-for-1 experience of what’s hot in the T.O.

Saturday Dinnette

Our friends Janice and Bennett suggested a new restaurant in their east Toronto neighbourhood for our dinner out. Saturday Dinnette has a great story – the chef/owner found out she was pregnant soon after opening the restaurant, so had no choice but to raise her child at the restaurant, so to speak.

Saturday Dinette

Saturday Dinnette

When her son Miles was a baby, the crib was parked next to the stove, and servers would take turns bussing tables with Miles on their hip as his mom cooked. Miles is a toddler now, so his crib has since been moved, but it’s a great reminder of the adjustments some working moms have no choice but to make. The diner-inspired menu featured a creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, though our favourite dish was the cornbread, dusted with icing sugar and sweet enough to be a dessert.

Saturday Dinette

Corn bread

Rose and Sons

Four years ago, we checked out The Drake when it was one of the new anchors of West Queen West, and Chef Anthony Rose was an up and coming name. Now, he has an empire of his own, so we were curious to see what one of his standalone restaurants would be like.

Rose and Sons

Rose and Sons

Rose and Sons at Dupont had some of the most laid back but solid service we had experienced on the trip. It was a bit strange to us that they didn’t have their blue plate special up until an hour into their dinner hour, but I did enjoy the matzo ball soup, with its simple but showstopping smoked chicken and generous whack of dill.

Rose and Sons

Mac ‘n’ cheese and matzo ball soup

Khao San Road @ Nana

Thai restaurant Khao San Road is known for its epic evening line-ups (my sister had to wait close to two hours once), so we felt fortunate to be able to try their menu as a daytime lunch "pop-up" at their sister restaurant Nana. It felt pricey for the portion size, but that’s typical of Toronto.

Nana Thai

Pad Thai

At least Mack’s green curry had a generous amount of chicken, and by the end, I was satisfied with my Bankok-style pad thai.

Nana Thai

Green curry

Colette Grand Café

Colette Grand Café was Amanda’s pick, and very much could be the sister restaurant of Figo. It had the same Parisian feel, with natural light, pastels, and marble tabletops, and felt like the sort of restaurant frequented by girlfriends in heels. Our server thankfully removed any pretentiousness we would have otherwise felt. I really enjoyed their version of French onion soup, enhanced with textures of oxtail pieces and crispy fried onions. The roasted carrot salad with flavours of cumin, coriander, creamy sheep’s milk and Aleppo pepper is also something I will try to replicate at home.

Collette

French onion soup and roasted carrot salad

Amanda most liked the dessert, a delectable layered raspberry cheesecake fit for Instagram.

Collette

Raspberry cheesecake

Old School

Old School, a Blog T.O. recommendation for brunch, was perhaps our most disappointing meal. Everything in the restaurant, from the fake chalkboard wallpaper to the leather apron-wearing servers, seemed manufactured and disingenuous.

Old School

Old School

The food was just not good – the fruit was obviously past its prime, and the chive biscuits were several days old. Their "butchers crack" sugared bacon was also unnecessarily chewy.

Old School

The Standard plate

White Squirrel and Thor

We also hit up a few coffee shops that were new to us. I’ve been wanting to stop by White Squirrel for a while, and finally made it in. It wasn’t warm enough to order from the take out window facing the sidewalk, but I still got to snap a picture next to a pair of sweet pugs just outside the cafe.

Sharon

At White Squirrel

Thor was a sanctuary off busy Bathurst, and produced the best Americano I’ve had in some time. In the middle of the afternoon, it was busy, but not at all with sit down patrons – folks rushed in for their shot and were out the door in no time.

Thor Coffee

Mack’s latte at Thor

I’m glad we found some new favourites in Toronto, and had the chance to get outside of the city too – more on that next week.

May 26th, 2016

Build Your Own Ramen: Nudoru

It was only a matter of time before Edmonton’s ramen game was elevated with a restaurant making its own noodles from scratch. Unfortunately, since Nudoru’s opening in early April, it hasn’t been smooth sailing. The Old Strathcona eatery has fielded numerous lukewarm reviews relating to inconsistent service, incorrect orders and questionable food quality. In some ways, a slow start for new restaurants are inevitable as they try and find their footing. However, with the added pressure of being the first to craft the alkaline noodles in-house, expectations were higher than normal. Mack and I chose Nudoru as a pre-theatre dinner option on Friday before a show at The Backstage Theatre.

Mack had already been to Nudoru once before a few weeks prior, and enjoyed the experience well enough. Friday was probably an even more ideal evening for ramen though, with the drizzly cool temperatures conjuring up the desire for warming soups. It seemed many others had the same inclination, as Nudoru was completely full by the end of our visit.

I liked the clean wood-based interior, and the fun pops of orange throughout the space. The feature mural was definitely eye-catching, with a samurai pictured fighting various elements of a bowl of ramen, all while wearing Nike sneakers. It was also nice to be able to see inside the kitchen, with windows offering diners a peek.

We elected to each try one of their sake-based cocktails. I probably should have known better than to order one named Pretty Princess ($10), with sake, peach schnapps, cranberry juice and calpico, but it was much too sweet and lacked any nuance at all. Similarly, Mack’s Island Hopper ($10), with sake, malibu, lime and cranberry juice was also fairly one-note.

Nudoru Ramen

Cocktails

On the food end of things, Nudoru offers several small plates and three pre-assembled ramen bowls. But no doubt, besides the in-house noodles, they are unique because of their build-your-own ramen option ($13 for one meat protein and 3 toppings). Mack and I both chose this route.

Our orders arrived promptly, steaming hot from the kitchen. I was pleasantly surprised with the creaminess of the miso broth, and thought it was well-seasoned. The pork belly (which we had both selected as our protein), was on the fattier side, so I would likely choose the pork shoulder next time. The soft boiled egg was perfectly prepared, with the yolk a creamy yellow. The noodles had a nice chewy consistency, though to be honest – in a blind taste test, I’m not sure I’d be able to distinguish the freshly made variety.

Nudoru Ramen

Miso broth with pork belly, egg, bean sprouts and scallions

Mack went with his usual shoyu (soy sauce) broth, and found it fairly consistent with his previous visit. He commented that the serving size seemed fairly generous, and I had to agree that I was very satisfied by the end of our meal.

Nudoru Ramen

Shoyu broth with pork belly, egg, bamboo shoots and pickled onion

It’s been great to see the proliferation of more ramen options in Edmonton, from the fusion stylings of Prairie Noodle to concepts like Nudoru’s create your own. My visit to Nudoru was also better than I was expecting, so I will certainly be back. I hope they’ve managed to work through their early kinks and can maintain this level of experience!

Nudoru
10532 82 Avenue
(780) 757-6836
Tuesday-Saturday 11am-10pm, Sunday 12-5pm, closed Mondays

May 23rd, 2016

Food Notes for May 23, 2016

Are you following the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals? They’ve played some great basketball these last two games. Go Raps go! On to this week’s food notes:

  • Are you ready for this year’s first What the Truck?!, taking place May 28-29, 2016 at the Expo Centre? Check the website for the menus on Tuesday.
  • Edmonton’s Craft Beer Festival is coming up, taking place on June 3-4, 2016 at the Expo Centre.
  • Edmonton’s newest craft brewery, Situation Brewing, has been open since the weekend, but their grand opening is slated for May 25, 2016. Jason Foster has the lo-down on Situation.
  • One of Downtown’s most consistent revolving door spaces is again changing hands – The Burg (10190 104 Street) is becoming Stage 104 after May 24.
  • Jonny is the latest to visit The People’s Perogy.
  • Last week, the Journal posted the first positive review of The Almanac that I’ve seen.
  • I missed linking to the Journal’s review of Malaysian restaurant Island Cafe and Bistro in the west end.
  • Vue Weekly profiles East African restaurants Mareeg Cafe and the newer Samosa House on Alberta Avenue.
  • Make sure you read your menus carefully and ask questions, otherwise, you can be duped: Liane tackles the confusion around restaurants claiming to serve kobe beef.
  • Western Living Magazine just released their list of 2016 Foodies of the Year, and Edmonton has some great representation, with Italian Centre’s Teresa Spinelli, food activist Kevin Kossowan, Prairie Noodle Shop’s Eric Hanson, and chocolatier Jacqueline Jacek.
  • Liane wrote a great article about the good intentions of restaurants that try – but cannot sustain – the support of local producers.
  • Phil’s latest Off Menu podcast features local butchers Elyse Chatterton and Corey Meyer.
  • Liane profiles Ian Truer and Winding Road Cheese. I hope to make it out to the French Quarter market soon to pick some up for myself!
  • Did you know Edmontonians have had a sweet tooth from our inception? Lawrence Herzog covers our love affair with candy since the 1900s.
  • If you’re looking for some great excuses for a road trip to Central Alberta, check out this AMA article.
  • Ocean Odyssey Inland has a great new space at 10019 167 Street to house their frozen products, but also to offer customers convenient, quick meals solutions such as marinated seafood and fresh options from Iceland.

Ocean Odyssey Inland

Ocean Odyssey Inland

  • It was a soggy first outdoor market day for the City Market on Saturday, but we love that it’s back on our street!

City Market

City Market

Asparagus

Edgar Farms asparagus for miles

Rhubarb cream scones

Rhubarb cream scones

May 22nd, 2016

Back in the 6ix: Toronto Attractions

My sister Amanda moved back to Toronto in the fall, and I promised to visit her in the spring. I was finally able to keep that promise in April. It’s no secret I love visiting the city, and each trip allows us to discover (and in some cases, rediscover) our new favourite spaces, places and events.

Toronto Trip

Nathan Phillips Square

Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market

Many years ago, Amanda and I had complained our way through a covered-but-outdoors Toronto Underground Market at Evergreen Brick Works. I haven’t been back since then, but their weekly farmers’ market seemed like a great opportunity.

Evergreen Bick Works

Evergreen Brick Works

We probably shouldn’t have taken her boyfriend Jason’s vehicle, given the number of times we had to circle around, but it did make us wonder why anyone would drive there on a regular basis at all – it would incite road rage in most people. Inside, there weren’t as many produce vendors as we were expecting (recognizing that farmers are now down to their cellared products), and not one greenhouse producer. We did pick up some Best Baa sheep’s yogurt to try (not as tangy as the cow’s yogurt we’re used to), and refilled our supply of my favourite mustard, Kozlick’s.

Evergreen Bick Works

Shipping container vendors

The covered part of Evergreen housed vendors in shipping containers (great idea, though it must have still been chilly for the vendors), and some food trucks. It was our chance to try Eva’s Chimney Cakes, a genius marriage of Hungarian cinnamon-sugar doughnuts (available one year at K-Days) and soft serve.

Evergreen Bick Works

With my doughnut cone

The "cone" had to be cooled in order to not immediately liquefy the ice cream, and lost its chewy doughnut quality in the process. I did enjoy the mix-in of apple preserves though.

Gladstone Flea Market

The Gladstone Hotel is considered (along with The Drake Hotel) the anchor of West Queen West. They host a monthly flea market curated with unique, independent vendors.

Untitled

Gladstone Flea Market

Amanda and Jason sampled some sustainable pasta sauce (with mealworms blended in), while Mack and I picked up some Toronto Bee Rescue honey, made from undesired hives rescued from homes or construction projects. Best of all, there was no entrance fee to the market.

The Social

Mack had never been to a television taping in Toronto, but was still a good sport when he agreed to accompany me to an episode of The Social. It’s not something I watch regularly, but on and off if I happen to be home during the day. Still, it’s always interesting to see how they produce the show behind the scenes (set changes, cues, etc.). Mack’s highlight was getting a high-five from actress Arielle Kebbel, who was the guest host that day.

Untitled

With The Social hosts Melissa Grelo and Cynthia Loyst

Battle Sports

I stumbled upon the Battle Sports website after learning about their Rage Room on a segment on The Social. They were featuring 50% off their archery dodgeball, and Amanda and Jason were game, so we tried it.

Battle Sports

Our Battle Sports team

In hindsight, even an hour in the arena wasn’t a good idea for our out-of-shape bodies, as we were not used to all of the crouching and quick movements required of us to stay in the game. At any rate, this sport required the use of foam arrows and axes to fell opponents, and between the adrenaline-inducing music and some overly aggressive participants, it was much more stressful than I thought it would be. While I enjoyed the actual archery, I could have done without the format.

New Urbanism Film Festival

I convinced Amanda to join us for the New Urbanism Film Festival, in its second year. It was a screening of a collection of North American short films, ranging in topic from the blight of raised freeways to the failure of pedestrian malls. As expected, some films were more engaging than others, but I would have appreciated a more localized context following the screening. A panel discussion about ideas as they related to Toronto would have been fascinating.

Toronto Blue Jays

Mack hadn’t been to a live Blue Jays game before, so Amanda made sure that was on our agenda.

Go Blue Jays!

Our view at Rogers Centre

The tickets were so reasonably priced ($26), and there was even a giveaway that day – Josh Donaldson bobbleheads. It was great to be in a packed house (46,000+), much different than the last game I attended. And even better, the Jays beat the White Sox, 6-2!

Untitled

With our Bringer of Rain bobblehead

Toronto Raptors’ Jurassic Park

Before our date with Real Sports (a tradition whenever I’m in Toronto), we had the chance to visit Jurassic Park outside the Air Canada Centre before Game 4 during their series with the Pacers.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

It wasn’t as packed as we expected (we learned later that the crowd is smaller for away games), but there was great energy in the square, with a live DJ, a big screen, and alcohol available.

Jurassic Park

Ready to beat Jason one on one

I know there are plans for something similar in Ice District’s winter plaza (if the Oilers ever get to the playoffs), so it’ll be interesting to see how an Edmonton version of Jurassic Park would play out. And yes, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for an Edmonton branch of Real Sports in the District.

Jurassic Park

We the North!

I’ll be back with a food-centric post later this week.