March 2nd, 2015

Food Notes for March 2, 2015

Mack and I are ready for a bit of a break, so we’re both looking forward to our upcoming getaway to Calgary. I’m readying for a low-key weekend full of new discoveries and good food. On to this week’s food notes:

  • The next Green Drinks is all about Local Food DIY! Join in on the conversation on March 4, 2015 at Yellowhead Brewery.
  • YEG Coffee Week starts this weekend, and runs March 7-15, 2015. Check out their list of events, including pour over and latte art seminars, roastery tour, and a coffee-inspired dinner.
  • Cheer on our hometown chef Shane Chartrand when his episode of Chopped Canada airs on Saturday – he is hosting two viewing parties at Sage on March 7, 2015.
  • Do you commemorate Pi Day (3-14)? Maybe you should! Or at least, with Sugared and Spiced offering up a special selection of Pi Day Pies, you’ll be tempted to. Pre-order chocolate pecan, black & blueberry or caramel and banana cream pie by March 8 for pick-up on March 14.
  • Save the date: the fourth annual Culinary Cook-off, benefiting Mount Royal School, will be taking place on April 18, 2015.
  • Blink and you miss it: the second Edmonton Food Fight, hosted at Get Cooking on March 24, 2015, is already sold out! Make sure to follow the Twitter account for notice about future events.
  • Lots of food literature released this week for your reading pleasure, starting with Avenue Edmonton’s Best Restaurants issue. Congrats to all of the establishments recognized in 2015, including those honoured in the best overall category – Corso 32, RGE RD, Cibo Bistro, The Marc and Tres Carnales.
  • The Tomato also released their annual list of Top 100 Best Things to Eat or Drink in Edmonton, with a sandwich from Farrow topping the list. Unfortunately, the list isn’t yet online, so you’ll have to pick up a paper copy of the issue.
  • Sandwich and Sons (13119 156 Street) is the newest artisan sandwich shop to open in Edmonton by Chef Alex Sneazwell, formerly of Von’s and El Cortez.
  • Liv is the latest to review Coffee Bureau, the newest café to add to Edmonton’s coffee district.
  • Phil sampled pizzas from Tony’s Pizza Palace and Ragazzi Bistro in his sixth Pizza Odyssey installment.
  • This is a great piece in the Journal that interviewed a few chefs, including Daniel Costa, about the current and future state of Edmonton’s restaurant scene.
  • Learn more about the duo behind Farrow in a piece in Vue Weekly.
  • Expect a new farmers’ market this summer on the city’s north side, called the Miller Crossing Farmers’ Market, to run Tuesdays and Sundays at the Miller Crossing Kingsway Legion Branch (14339 50 Street).
  • The scourge of K-cups, indeed – have you embraced the single cup trend?
  • Speaking of coffee, would you try KFC’s forthcoming edible coffee cups, coming to a UK location near you?
  • The Parlour is one of our favourite meeting locations – lots of natural light, half price wine on Wednesdays, and one of my favourite pizzas in the city!

The Parlour

The Gamberi

  • Before the Edmonton Rush game on Friday, a few of us met up at The Denizen Hall for a bite to eat. I had their $10 fried chicken special. It’s a good value, three pieces of meat served with smashed potato, kale, and buttermilk biscuits, but the breading was a little thin for my liking.

Denizen Hall

Fried chicken at The Denizen Hall

  • At the Rush game, I ended up winning a really neat prize – a Budweiser goal light helmet (complete with a remote control to turn on the light). What was more amusing than the helmet, however, was learning how much people were willing to pay for it.

Goal light helmet FTW!

Goal light selfie!

  • Over the weekend, a few friends hosted a communal hot pot party. The meat definitely outweighed the veggie options that night!

Hot pot

Hot pot!

  • After babysitting our nephew on Sunday, Mack and I had lunch at King Noodle House. It’s always busy, and for good reason.

King Noodle House

We love their bun bo Hue!

  • I’m proud to say that not only have I kept the starter alive that I received a few weeks ago at a bread making class I attended, but I’ve also been continuing to bake loaves!

Bread baby

Bread baby #4

February 23rd, 2015

Food Notes for February 23, 2015

  • The Pourhouse Bier Bistro continues their “chef vs chef” pop-up series through April. The throwdowns will feature several chefs, including Chef Matt Phillips of Lux and Chef Danielle Majeau of Creole Envie.
  • Save the date – Characters is bringing back their Taste of Iceland feature April 9-12, 2015.
  • Though we often think of building up, we don’t often think of better utilizing subterranean spaces as well. Sofra (10345 106 Street) has redone their basement space up into a sumptuous Turkish wine bar.
  • Overtime on the south side has been replaced by Provincial Pub (#160, 4211 106 Street).
  • Edmonton is now home to another casual franchise – Browns Social House is now open in Winderemere (5210 Windermere Blvd).
  • Mack believes that newly-opened Coffee Bureau and Lock Stock Coffee have revived Edmonton’s coffee district.
  • Amelia alerted me to paper signage next to Smokehouse BBQ – look for their sister restaurant, Pie Piepers, soon!
  • Linda tweeted about a forthcoming Korean restaurant, Nong Bu, in Old Strathcona.
  • Twyla takes aim at Halo Bar and Bistro’s byline of local ingredients at the Edmonton International Airport.
  • Phil’s latest Pizza Odyssey post rounds up the best of the old timers – Royal Pizza and Dallas Pizza.
  • Cindy is the latest to check out Chinatown’s Tao Garden for noodle soup.
  • Fancy some afternoon tea? Check out Andrea’s review of elegant tea service at the Hotel Macdonald.
  • I love the idea of a pedway food adventure – here’s one suggested by Vue Weekly.
  • Cindy recapped the inaugural Edmonton Food Fight on February 21, hosted at Get Cooking.
  • Avenue’s annual Best Restaurants issue is out next week!
  • Love food trucks and want to help grow Edmonton’s food scene? Consider joining the What the Truck?! organizing committee – we’re recruiting!
  • It was great to be at The Westin on Thursday night to help Chef Ryan O’Flynn celebrate his win at the Gold Medal Plates this year. He even made sure guests had something special to sample – the dish he prepared to pair with the mystery wine: a smoked sturgeon with a deviled egg aioli, beet root puree, and caviar. Spectacular.

Gold Medal Plates

Gold Medal Plates redux

  • I watched my first ballet on the weekend – Alberta Ballet’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Marveling at the athleticism and grace of the dancers, it would be interesting to see their technique deployed in a more traditional show. At the very least, I know this won’t be my last ballet!

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

  • Happy Lunar New Year to those who commemorate the occasion. I missed the bulk of the fun in Chinatown, but while picking up some groceries, I was still able to partake in lion dances and firecrackers – it should be an annual tradition for more Edmontonians!

Chinatown

Lunar New Year in Chinatown

February 16th, 2015

Food Notes for February 16, 2015

This long weekend really couldn’t have come at a better time. Hope you had a great time with your families as well! On to this week’s food notes:

  • This year’s Farewell to Winter Patio Party is taking place at the Hotel Macdonald on March 14 and 15, 2015. Tickets to the “fire and ice” themed events are $45.
  • Save the date: Eat Alberta 2015 is taking place on May 2, 2015.
  • The week’s biggest food news was the announcement that Whole Foods will be opening a store in south Edmonton in the fall of 2016 (in South Park, in the existing Canadian Tire). I am disappointed with the choice of a location so inaccessible by transit, but I am curious to see if the city can support such a large organic retailer. Do you think Edmonton is ready for a Whole Foods?
  • Native Delights has opened up a storefront in the old Sloppy Hoggs location (10406 118 Avenue).
  • Vue Weekly has a great review about The Mercury Room, Edmonton’s newest vegan restaurant.
  • Andrea reviewed the Chinatown location of Lee House.
  • I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the latest Elm Café project, Little Brick, does open up in March!
  • I loved this story in the Journal about chef sweethearts Matt Phillips (of Lux) and Sarah Masters-Phillips (of Belgravia Hub).
  • Congratulations to Confetti Sweets, who will be bringing her Sherwood Park-baked cookies to Hollywood for a pre-Oscar party.
  • Mack and I had a pretty low-key Valentine’s Day – bun bo Hue at King Noodle House, followed by a visit to the Art Gallery of Alberta. We’d both wanted to check out the exhibit Future Station for some time, but as a bonus, we also managed to watch a bit of the fascinating 24 hour film, The Clock. It is definitely worth your time, heh.

King Noodle House

Spicy noodle soup from King Noodle House

  • We’re thrilled that there’s a new coffee shop in the neighbourhood! Coffee Bureau (10505 Jasper Avenue) has had a soft opening these past few days, but will officially be open tomorrow (Monday-Friday 7am-5pm, plus Saturdays). They’re using beans roasted by ACE Coffee, owned by the folks behind Leva Café, and will offer pastries sourced in part from Leva. Coffee Bureau is built mostly for takeaway business, but it’s a cute little spot that’s renewing my hope for a larger “coffee district” downtown. Go check it out!

Coffee Bureau

Coffee Bureau

February 15th, 2015

Bread Making 101 at the Edmonton Resilience Festival

It’s hard not to love a city like Edmonton where, even in the dead of winter, new festivals can be imagined. Last weekend, The Local Good’s inaugural Edmonton Resilience Festival took place at the Boyle Street Plaza. The Festival aims to “strengthen community resilience through skill-sharing workshops and other events, inspiring participants to help create a sustainable, creative and promising future.” Session topics ranged from healthy living to cooking to community building, and were organized into streams, but there was also the option to purchase tickets to individual workshops.

For an event just in its first year, it encompassed so many elements beyond sessions. Although there was a fee to register in the various hands-on and discussion-based workshops, organizers did not want financial means to be a barrier for those interested. As such, they had planned many free activities open to the public, including more formal learning opportunities as well as more informal chances to connect with others through conversation cafes or information booths.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Outdoor skating and bonfire

On the Spot Pop-Ups had also been asked to be a part of the event, and organized local artisans to be on-hand displaying and selling their wares.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Information fair and market pop-up

I attended one of the workshops on Sunday morning, alongside my friend Su. There are few things that would have convinced me to be ready to learn at 8am on a Sunday, but fresh bread is definitely one of them. Owen Petersen, of Prairie Mill, has been an instructor at Eat Alberta for years, but I’d never had the chance to participate in his class before. This was a great opportunity to do so, all for just $25.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Owen slices into some fresh bread

The class took place in a kitchen on the second floor of the Boyle Street Plaza. Perhaps a reflection of the early start time, there were just six of us in the group. Because of this, it was even more interactive, and Owen was able to answer all of our burning questions about yeast, flour and baking vessels (did you know that to simulate a steam oven, all you need is to bake your dough in a lidded container? Genius).

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Different oven-safe containers

We were each gifted not only with a jar of Owen’s starter (18 years old and named “Julie”), but also mixed up a batch of dough to take home. Owen’s methodology was so straightforward, that both Su and I felt inspired to start baking immediately. The class reminded me of Anna Olson’s pie dough recipe at Christmas in November – it was enabling instead of discouraging, as some more finicky, perfection-driven chefs have been known to be.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Su mixes her dough

I learned that breads made from starters are more forgiving than those made from dry yeast, which again, made the process of baking seem less daunting. Owen shared a story about forgetting about dough in his car overnight, which still resulted, the next day, in a fairly good loaf.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

All smiles with Owen

After the session, I headed home and incorporated cheddar into half of my prepared dough. It resulted in a pretty killer cheese loaf.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Say cheese!

A week later, with the remaining dough, I left the bread to bake even longer to achieve a more beautiful crust.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Sourdough

Next week, the training wheels will come off though, and I’ll have to craft the dough from scratch on my own. But the promise of freshly-baked bread awaits. Thanks to Owen for leading a wonderfully educational session, and to The Local Good for organizing a great festival – here’s to next year!

February 11th, 2015

Something Borrowed, Something New: Gama Cafe

Gama Café, tucked away on a side street in Old Strathcona, was known for their unique green cap milk tea, a Taiwanese specialty drink featuring cheese foam. The space, however, was divided between the café and retail, and eventually, the former seemed to outpace the latter.

Three weeks ago, Gama opened in brand new digs further west on Whyte Avenue, with décor more fitting of a café. There is now ample seating, with plenty of cushy, cozy booths, and even a semi-partitioned area ideal for larger groups. The crystal light fixtures definitely brought an air of elegance to the space, seemingly made for lingering over coffee with girlfriends or a casual first date.

Gama Cafe

Interior

Su had noticed the new storefront a week prior, and suggested it as our meeting point on Friday for a quick bite before another engagement in the neighbourhood. That evening, we were one of several parties, so the word has been spreading quickly about Gama’s transplanted location!

With a full kitchen, Gama can now work towards offering full lunch and dinner menus. However, at this time, savoury dishes are still under development, with only three on the current menu. Both Su and I agreed that we would have to return to sample some of their desserts – the table adjacent to us had ordered the Tommi Toast, which looked like a many layered cake topped with ice cream!

Gama Cafe

Latte

Su had decided on the porcini risotto ($13.99), while I chose the dry noodle ($12.99). The risotto arrived several minutes before the noodles, likely because the server assumed we were sharing. Although we both remarked that it seemed an odd fit for the café, the risotto was fine. The egg was perfectly poached however, and having not been referenced on the menu description, was a nice surprise.

Gama Cafe

Porcini risotto

The noodles had, in fact, been tossed in a very light, flavourful sauce. The accompaniments had been minimized to a few mushrooms. Although we were assured of its authentic nature (and found the noodles themselves to be quite tasty), I’d still prefer a dish with more texture and variants.

Gama Cafe

Dry noodles

Service was spotty, but understandable considering its recent opening. It may take some time for Gama to reach its full potential in its new state, but it is full of potential! I look forward to returning in the future to see what new surprises may await on the menu, or at least to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Gama Café
10813 82 Avenue
(780) 438-2382

February 9th, 2015

Food Notes for February 9, 2015

If you’re still looking for something to do this Valentine’s Day weekend, make sure to take a peek at my suggestions. Mack and I haven’t made plans yet, but likely they will involve Netflix and some popcorn. On to this week’s food notes:

  • Time for another lunch pop-up at Earth’s General Store downtown! This time, they’re featuring raw and vegan cuisine by Truffula. Check it out on February 13, from 10:30-3pm.
  • The Mercury Room is hosting a 5-course Valentine’s Day dinner with two seatings.
  • If you were hoping to charm your valentine with wine, you’re in luck – both Andrea and Linda are giving away tickets to Winefest on Saturday.
  • Congratulations to Chef Ryan O’Flynn of the Westin for taking home Edmonton’s first gold at the Gold Medal Plates competition this weekend!
  • NAIT announced that this year’s Chef in Residence will be Michael Stadtländer, of Scaramouche and multiple sustainable food initiatives. Enter to win one of four pairs of tickets to an exclusive three course lunch prepared by Chef Stadtländer and students of the Culinary Arts Program taking place on March 12, 2015.
  • The Edmonton area has another quick-serve noodle franchise – Noodle Box just opened in Sherwood Park (100 – 222 Baseline Road).
  • In honour of the upcoming YEG Coffee Week, Phil surveyed some local luminaries for their favourite cafes around the city.
  • Phil’s latest Pizza Odyssey post is also up, which sees Parkallen take on SLiCE Pizzeria.
  • Liv put together a list of 25 of Edmonton’s best restaurants for Huffington Post Canada.
  • Great to see news or Ritchie Market, a new complex in Richie that combines a market, a Transcend coffee shop and roasterie and a brew pub. Expect it to open in the summer of 2016.
  • The forthcoming Canadian Food Championship, organized by Events Edmonton and taking place July 21-25, 2015 released more details about the competition. They’re looking for competitors in seven categories ranging from bacon to seafood to dessert, as well as volunteers and judges.
  • The Edmonton Food Council is recruiting new members. The deadline to apply is March 16, 2015.
  • The “big” food news this week was Starbucks’ announcement that some of their Canadian stores will be serving up beer and wine by the end of this year.
  • Mack and I loved the 24 hour biscuit shop Empire Biscuit, which we discovered on our last trip to New York. It looks like an all-breakfast sandwich restaurant is now on the horizon. Yes, please.
  • I had a work lunch at Padmanadi this week – it’s been too long since I’ve had their ginger beef.

Padmanadi

Ginger “beef”

February 7th, 2015

A New Menu at Mercer Tavern

Mercer Tavern has been open for more than two years, but the food program has been inconsistent. Although it’s just down the street from our condo, Mercer definitely became more of a watering hole than a dinner destination for us. For that reason, when Mack and I were invited to a media dinner last week, we were both interested to see what changes have been made.

Mercer Tavern Media Dinner

Mack with his Old Fashioned

Chef Robbie Oram, who had worked at Sage most recently in Edmonton, joined Mercer Tavern about ten months ago. Prior to that, he was the travelling chef for the Tragically Hip, and cooked at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing during the Olympics. With that experience, he has sought to elevate Mercer Tavern’s menu from the ground up. He relayed his desire to source more ingredients locally, though shared that this is a challenge in the winter months.

Mercer Tavern Media Dinner

Mercer Tavern

The first dish we sampled was a testament to the fact that, depending on availability, some seasonal dishes could only be served as short-term specials. The Moroccan-inspired carrot salad had been on the menu for a brief time in December, and wonderfully showcased Chef Oram’s desire to let the ingredients speak for themselves. Baby carrots from Greens, Eggs and Ham had been tossed in spices and roasted just long enough to warm through, allowing the vegetables to remain crisp. They were then topped with Reclaim Farm microgreens and served with a balancing dollop of Fairwinds Farm goat yogurt.

Mercer Tavern Media Dinner

Moroccan-inspired carrot salad

The menu also focused on comfort foods. The table couldn’t get enough of the MFC, or Mercer Fried Chicken. Brined for 24 hours, the exterior was fried to a deliciously seasoned crisp, while the meat underneath remained moist and juicy. Although it was served with a honey sriracha, most agreed the chicken didn’t need any accompaniment.

Mercer Tavern Media Dinner

MFC

The white cheddar mac and cheese was a solid dish, though fairly basic. There was a bit of heat from Serrano chilies, and the pasta had been well sauced (something, as we’ve found in this city, is not always a given). The added texture from the toasted breadcrumbs was appreciated.

Mercer Tavern Media Dinner

Mac and cheese

For dessert, Chef Oram brought out the liquid nitrogen to make crème fraiche ice cream as we looked on. He said the ability to instantly freeze the crème fraiche meant a smoother end product.

Mercer Tavern Media Dinner

Chef Robbie Oram

The pea-sized pellets were used to top individual mason jars of apple crumble. In many ways, it was easier to eat this form of ice cream with the crumble than more traditional scoops.

Mercer Tavern Media Dinner

Apple crumble with crème fraiche ice cream

Most of the items we had that night can be found on the Mercer Tavern’s present menu, though we were told to expect more additions in the future.

The changes are promising on the menu end, and if the kitchen is able to execute these dishes with consistency, they will be well on their way to improving their reputation of what diners can expect. In warmer months, it will be interesting to see what other locally-sourced products make their way into the kitchen. Thanks again to Mercer Tavern for having us!

Mercer Tavern
10363 104 Street
(587) 521-1911
Monday-Friday 11am-late, Saturday-Sunday 11am-2am

February 6th, 2015

Hand Pulled Noodles and More: Noodle Feast

I recognize that I am biased towards selecting restaurants that are centrally-located, or establishments that are transit-accessible. When I’m on my own, walking or utilizing transit are my only means of transportation, and with Mack, we typically choose to spend the least amount of time in our vehicle as possible. So when a few friends and I chose a southside restaurant for dinner Thursday night, I was grateful for carpooling from a transit hub and as the snow continued to accumulate, the fact that the driver had a jeep.

Noodle Feast has been open in an inconspicuous strip mall off Gateway Boulevard for nearly two years. I would have probably continued to be unaware of its existence without Maria, who had tried the restaurant once before. Noodle Feast offers a “taste of Northern China”, with a specialty of hand pulled, house made noodles.

The storefront itself is clean, but plain; a blank canvas where the obvious focus is on the food. Even on that cold winter night, most of the tables were occupied when we arrived.

The menu may look intimidating at first glance, but the base options involve sliced, rolling or hand pulled noodles. Different meats, soups and toppings rounded out the iterations. Illustrations would have helped distinguish between noodle varieties, but half the fun was playing dish roulette. We also chose one plate from the “other” section of the menu, which featured pancakes, fried rice and dumplings, among other things.

The food arrived swiftly, but short of that, service was non-existent. To have our tea refilled, we had to bring the pot to the counter. But the food definitely made up for some things.

It is difficult for me to choose the better of the two noodle dishes, but because the rolling noodles (with minced pork sauce and hot chili oil, $11.95) reminded me of street food dishes I’ve had in Asia, it edged out the other slightly. Don’t be afraid of the chili – the heat was mild and warming. The noodles, fresh out of their bath, lapped up the surrounding sauce, meaning each bite was deliciously enrobed.

Noodle Feast

Rolling noodles with minced pork and hot chili oil

The hand pulled noodles served with beef in soup ($11.95) was also a standout. The individual components of the dish were superb: the beef had been stewed into submission, with just an ounce of fat; the noodles were springy and substantial, about the width of a ruler; and the broth was full of flavour and depth.

Noodle Feast

Hand pulled noodles served with beef in soup

The Chinese chives and pork dumplings ($10.95) were great to nibble at, especially between the three of us. But though they were tasty enough, the dumplings stood a distant third in my eyes.

Noodle Feast

Chinese chives and pork dumplings

In spite of the barely-there service, Noodle Feast was a welcome respite from the cold, serving up high-quality, reasonably priced food. It was a worthwhile trip to take, and one I will likely make again soon.

Noodle Feast
3440 99 Street
(780) 439-8088

February 4th, 2015

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in Edmonton

In case you missed the teaser heard ‘round the world, the theatrical version of Fifty Shades of Grey is being released on Valentine’s Day. I’m sure the movie will garner a lot of holiday tie-in traffic, but if the film isn’t on your short list of plans with your sweetheart, you’re in luck – there are a multitude of activities to choose from in the city!

Go Back In Time

  • All aboard: The Capitol Theatre at Fort Edmonton Park is hosting an amorous adventure called a Valentine’s Train Radio Show with storytelling and musical performances. Shows run February 13-15, 2015.
  • Help celebrate the Hotel Macdonald’s centennial at their Sweetheart-themed Royal Tea & Tour on February 14 & 15, 2015. The dessert menu alone is Valentine’s worthy.
  • For classic films (and prices to match – screenings are just $6), look no further than the Edmonton Film Society. Their winter series, beginning on February 9, 2015, focuses on comedies.

Head Outside

  • How about some cross-country skiing? The Canadian Birkebeiner takes place February 13-14, 2015 at Cooking Lake, east of Edmonton.
  • If that’s a little too intense, a sweetheart snowshoe on February 13 or 14 might be more up your alley. After a guided walk through the river valley, enjoy hot chocolate and bannock.

Explore Your Senses

  • Winefest Edmonton runs February 13-14, 2015. The all-inclusive event includes hors’d’oeuvres and tastings from over 60 wineries.
  • For a good cause, you can romance your Valentine at an exclusive dinner by Culina inside the Tropical Pyramid at the Muttart Conservatory on February 13, 2015. Tickets for the six tables are being auctioned off, with a portion of proceeds going to the United Way and Mealshare.

Play Some Games

  • Have a low-key (or high stakes, depending on how you play) evening at one of Edmonton’s board game cafes, Table Top Café or the Hexagon.
  • Or head over to Denizen Hall downtown for drinks and some retro arcade games (nothing says love like taking on Shredder together).

Get On Your Feet

  • For those looking for something a bit more active, the Edmonton Paintball Centre is hosting a unique couples paintball event on February 14, 2015, inclusive of gear and a snapshot with your significant other to remember the occasion.
  • The Sugar Swing Dance Club’s Affair of the Heart on February 14 looks like fun, with dance lessons, games and a photo booth.

Get Your Hands Dirty

  • There’s definitely been an increase in the number of Valentine’s Day-themed cooking classes, but why not get on the other side of the kitchen? Gail Hall is offering a Foods from the Heart express cooking tutorial on February 10, 2015, if you’re looking to surprise you sweetie with a homemade meal.
  • NAIT has put together a V-Day-inspired menu for their February 13, 2015 session.
  • Sorrentino’s has an intriguing “Oysters and other aphrodisiacs” date night scheduled for February 13, 2015.

Celebrate Culture

  • The Silver Skate Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, with the milestone of being the longest-running winter festival in Edmonton. Check it out in Hawrelak Park February 13-22, 2015.
  • The annual WildFire Festival takes place February 10-28, 2015, and celebrates the improv talents of junior and senior high school students from all over Alberta.

Cheer On the Home Team

  • Let’s hope, for the city’s sake, that the Edmonton Rush are up to repairing our “City of Champions” reputation this year. They face the Colorado Mammoth on February 15, 2015.

Be a Homebody

If you’re still in need of ideas, check out Linda’s post for even more suggestions. Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 2nd, 2015

Food Notes for February 2, 2015

  • Avenue Edmonton is throwing a party to help launch their food issue on March 2, 2015 – tickets to the event, hosted at NAIT, are $25.
  • It’s great to see that Chef Gail Hall is this month’s Delux celebrity chef – check out her ‘Full Spectrum’ vegetarian burger, with $1 from each sale going towards the Autism Society of Edmonton Area.
  • Andrea writes about Chinatown’s Tao Garden, which allows diners to create their own noodle adventures.
  • Phil’s third Pizza Odyssey is up, with a throwdown between thin-crust pies from Beer Revolution and Leva.
  • Twyla tweeted that Tienda Latina (9844 63 Avenue) has now doubled in size.
  • Restaurant closure news: Creole Envie has shut its doors.
  • Karylnn’s first post in her food blogger myth busting series addresses why many bloggers write differently than food critics.
  • Western Living shared the finalists for their 2015 Foodies of the Year. Great to see a number of Edmontonians on the shortlist.
  • The Globe asks: if everyone wants to be a celebrity chef, who will work in restaurants?
  • There might still be snow on the ground, but spring it on its way – Riverbend Gardens launched their 2015 Community Supported Agriculture today!
  • Mack was pretty gleeful when he shared research findings that a glass of red wine is equivalent to an hour at the gym.
  • Did you know Ikea will soon be offering vegan meatballs?
  • While there may be some benefits from cold-pressed juices, this Jimmy Kimmel skit is pretty funny, where solutions of candy and water are passed off as organic concoctions. At the very least, it’s another example of the power of suggestion.
  • I made a last-minute decision to join Mack at the Edmonton Rush game on Friday. Although the day-of tickets were a little pricier, even for a higher section, they turned out to be well worth the cost – within minutes of sitting down, we were selected for their “move of the game” down to seats behind the players’ benches. Even better, the Rush won, handily defeating the New England Black Wolves 18-9, with one player scoring a “sock trick” (6 goals in a game – you learn something new every day). Looking forward to my next game!

Edmonton Rush

Salute from centre field