October 17th, 2016

Food Notes for October 17, 2016

Oh, Jays. Is Cleveland just that good, or have the bats gone ice cold? Let’s hope they have enough in them to put up a fight tomorrow. On to this week’s food notes:

  • For those looking for a fun take on a tea party, look no further than Cally’s, who will be hosting a monthly themed party until May.
  • In commemoration and celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution, the Canadian Hungarian Society of Edmonton and the Wirth Institute at the University of Alberta are hosting a Hungarian Wine and Food Festival October 27 & 28, 2016 at the Chateau Lacombe. The event runs 4-10pm both nights, and tickets are $25 at the door. The evening will include Hungarian wine and cuisine samples.
  • Nineteen will be hosting Nineteen’s November Festival of Food, a fundraising event on November 14, 2016 in support of the High School Culinary Challenge. Tickets for the 4-course dinner are $100.
  • I’m sorry to have missed the first of Rostizado’s burrito pop-ups (under the name La Mision) on Sunday, but I would have had to get there fast – they sold out in just over an hour! I look forward to future pop-ups (or something more permanent).
  • Confetti Sweets is hoping to open a location in Edmonton’s west end before Christmas, and are hoping to crowdfund $20,000 through Alberta Boostr by November 22, 2016.
  • Congratulations to Jacek Chocolate Couture, who will be opening a third location in Canmore this November.
  • Watch for Miga, a new Korean restaurant to open soon on the south side (11, 9261 34 Avenue).
  • Vancouver-based Vera’s Burger Shack is coming to Ice District, inside the Grand Villa Casino.
  • Are you excited about the forthcoming Popeye’s location in Edmonton? It’s set to open in November at 3773 17 Street in Tamarack.
  • Quick-serve chain Blaze Pizza is opening a second location in the Brewery District.
  • Cindy provides you with an idea of what to expect on Rostizado’s new menu, with a tentative start date of October 24.
  • Graham had a great experience at Bar Clementine, and expects even greater things from Chef Roger Letourneau.
  • Chartier gets a rave review from Jonny.
  • Have you heard of a bakery called Canova (formerly DeFazio Gourmet)? Diane provides a run down of all of their pastry selection, including the incredible vanilla cornetti.
  • Everyone seems to love lists, so here are two from Narcity: 46 bucket lists restaurants every true Edmontonian needs to try and 14 Edmonton coffee shops you should go to at least once in your life.
  • Mel had contributed a review of Edmonton Cooks to Culinaire Magazine, but found that it had been severely edited down. She shared some of her constructive feedback about the book.
  • The latest entry in the Community Table Project features a recipe for marinated grilled chicken.
  • I’d be remiss if I didn’t link to Chef Paul Shufelt’s column in the Edmonton Sun last week, which called out food bloggers to put their money where their mouth is. There have been a number of responses, from food writers and chefs alike. Food for thought, from Chris and Chef Cory Rakowski.
  • Did you catch Attila the Hungry’s Chef Levi Biddlecombe competing on Chopped Canada
  • You might remember a locally-made product called quick-cook barley that was sold under the name Progressive Foods – well, they’ve rebranded, and it’s a great look! Snappy Grains has a bright and bold new identity, which I saw on the shelves at the Italian Centre on the weekend.


Snappy Grains

  • With the grey weekend we had, Mack and I thought we should brighten things up with some punchy bun bo Hue from King Noodle House.


Bun bo Hue

October 15th, 2016

Recap: A Streetcar Named Dessert with Sugared and Spiced

For the past few years, enterprising groups such as Streetcar Shows have been organizing gigs that take place on the High Level Streetcar. It’s a unique and intimate venue to be sure, and given the limited number of seats, the shows always sell out. I’ve been hoping to attend one of the concerts, but haven’t been able to snag tickets. So when I saw that Sugared and Spiced was advertising an event they were putting together (cheekily named “A Streetcar Named Dessert”), I jumped at the chance.

The streetcar concert would feature baked goods from Sugared and Spiced and Edmonton singer/songwriter Martin Kerr. Mack and I have been longtime fans of Martin (he performed at our wedding), so we couldn’t think of anyone better to provide the soundtrack to the evening.

On a Saturday in September, Mack and I headed to the Strathcona Streetcar Barn on south side of the river to join two dozen other guests.

High Level Streetcar

Off we go

It’s been at least a year since we’ve ridden the streetcar, but every time we do, we’re reminded of how fabulous the volunteers from the Edmonton Radial Railway Society are. Hugh and Sarah demonstrated their passion and knowledge about the streetcar, and made the experience even more memorable. It’s amazing that the streetcar continues to be operated entirely by volunteers; hopefully Edmontonians never take this for granted.

High Level Streetcar

Hugh, one of the Edmonton Radial Railway Society volunteers

Along the way, were each treated to a generous slice of cake (the rich, dense chocolate peanut butter was delicious). If that wasn’t enough, we were each provided with a box of goodies to take home, packed with brownies, macaroons, rosemary shortbread, ginger cookies, madelines, and my personal favourite, the girls’ night in cookie with chocolate, caramel, raspberry dessert wine and coarse salt.

A Streetcar Named Dessert

Almost too pretty to eat

Martin played two short sets. Although Mack and I have heard him perform many times before, this was the first time we were able to learn the inspiration behind some of his songs, including one he often plays at the farmers’ market. He was well suited to this small venue, and his rendition of Hallelujah, as we sat atop the North Saskatchewan River under the darkened skies, was simply magical.

A Streetcar Named Dessert

Martin Kerr

Even before the evening was through, Amy and Jeff were already fielding questions as to whether or not they’d organize another Streetcar Named Dessert. They have, and tickets are only available in conjunction with their current Alberta BoostR campaign. Sugared and Spiced will be opening a brick and mortar bakery next spring, and are hoping to crowdfund some of the start-up capital that they need. Although they reached their first goal of $20,000 in just a few days, they’re still hoping to get to $50,000 by October 27, 2016.

Thanks to Amy and Jeff for putting together a wonderful event, and best wishes on the BoostR campaign in these final weeks!

October 12th, 2016

Recap: Edmonton Culinaire Treasure Hunt

My friends Su and Allison are food scavenger hunt veterans, having competed in three previous contests in Calgary. The hunts sounded like a lot of fun, so when Culinaire Magazine (newly expanded in scope from covering Calgary to all of Alberta) announced an Edmonton treasure hunt, I jumped on board (and dragged Mack along with me).

We decided to join forces with Su and Allison so they could pass along the wisdom they’ve gained from experience. Our team also had the added efficiency of carpooling!

September 10 was a busy Saturday – one that saw the four of us start our morning at the Rogers Place open house. Although this was a chosen detour, Su and Allison hoped that Culinaire had adopted one of their recommendations from previous hunts – that clues should be distributed to the 50 odd teams at the same time for an equitable start, instead of first come, first served. Unfortunately, nothing had changed for this hunt.

Culinaire Hunt

Culinaire editor-in-chief Linda Garson kicks off the hunt at the Italian Centre

Some had really great themed costumes (I loved the team dressed to the nines in 1940s attire), but Su’s great idea was to wear our What the Truck?! shirts and vests so we could promote the last event of the year.

Culinaire Hunt

#TeamHighViz and #TeamWTT

While enjoying complimentary coffees and chocolate croissants from the Italian Centre, we settled down to solve the clues. Su and Allison recommended that we map the 30 destinations in order to plan our route, starting from the furthest out and working our way back to Pampa downtown, where the hunt would end. The Treasure Hunt regulations did express the need for a vehicle, and once we mapped everything, it was clear why – stops were as spread out at Nisku and St. Albert. Even though we decided to skip Nisku (and ran out of time before we could get to St. Albert), we ended up doing quite a bit of driving.

Fort Edmonton Park

Fort Edmonton Park was the most picturesque stop

Another requirement was a phone with internet access, which made sense for GPS purposes. However, I never expected clues that would need to be googled word for word. The most egregious of these was the following: “the latest restaurant to erupt within walking distance of the new arena.” I thought of multiple restaurants that could fit this description (“walking distance” being subjective, notwithstanding): Joey’s Bell Tower, Baijiu in the Mercer Warehouse, Buco in the Epcor Tower, Bottega on 104 Street. The answer? Bundok in Fox One, as lifted directly from one of Liane’s posts.

Culinaire Hunt 2016

Chef Ryan Hotchkiss at Bundok

At any rate, we had many favourite stops, memorable for different reasons. Canova, located just north of the Yellowhead by the train tracks, is one we would have never discovered without this activity. Formerly DeFazio Gourmet, Canova vended at the St. Albert Farmers’ Market, in addition to this retail location. The cornetti (vanilla cream-filled crescent) was delicious and one of the best things we ate all day.

Culinaire Hunt 2016

Making pedal-powered smoothies at Earth’s General Store

D’Amores Mercato was on my list to visit for some time, and this event was just the excuse I needed. I knew they had a small food service operation, but what I didn’t realize was the fact that they are well-stocked with Italian basics and frozen pasta options. The staff were also wonderful as they helped us with the challenge of crafting our own pizzas – it was the type of service that will garner return visits.

Culinaire Hunt

Making pizza at D’Amores Mercato

Prairie Noodle Shop put some thought into their activity that saw each one of us tasked with peeling the perfect hard boiled egg. To help us with this, we were shown a nifty technique that none of us had been exposed to before, involving a spoon to separate the shell from the white. It was a neat tip, and based on that brief interaction, Mack (who has never before dined at Prairie Noodle), remarked that he would be back.

Culinaire Hunt 2016

Learning how to peel eggs at Prairie Noodle

Some stops provided a financial incentive to return – Cured, for instance, provided a very generous $25 gift card per pair. The City Market, also hoping to lure back customers, gave each participant a $5 gift certificate. With those amounts alone, we had earned back more than half of the $65 team registration fee.


Allison and I are stumped at RGE RD

For the most part, establishments were mainstream in nature. It would have been great to see more ethnic establishments chosen as stops.

In case you were wondering, we made it to 25 of the 30 destinations, which wasn’t good enough to beat two teams that visited 29 locations. But in this case, we were satisfied with the journey – we had a great time with Su and Allison over the course of the day, and experienced what a culinary scavenger hunt could look like in Edmonton. Thanks to Culinaire for putting on the event, and to Su and Allison for letting us join forces!

October 10th, 2016

Food Notes for October 10, 2016

While Mack and I did have a great time in the Okanagan, it was a bit of a shock to come back to sub-zero temperatures! Thankfully, we’ve had a few days to adjust to the weather before heading back to work. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with loved ones! On to this week’s food notes:

  • Celebrate World Food Day with a screening of Seed at the Edmonton Food Bank on October 16, 2016. A Q & A will follow, featuring two local farmers. The event is free, but donations for the food bank are encouraged.
  • The second annual YEG Coffee Week runs October 14-22, 2016. Learn home brewing tips, how to create latte art, and enjoy coffee-based cocktails, among other things.
  • Speaking of coffee, Earth’s General Store is hosting a home coffee roasting workshop on October 18, 2016.
  • If you plan on eating out on October 19, 2016, consider choosing RGE RD or The Common, the two Edmonton establishments participating in Restaurants for Change. Proceeds from their dinner service will be donated to Community Food Centres Canada.
  • Just in time for the holidays, Cavern’s next wine and cheese school runs November 6 and 20, 2016 at $75 per person.
  • Keep an eye out for Malt & Mortar, a forthcoming bar on Whyte located at 10416 82 Avenue.
  • Expect Doughnut Party, Moonshine Doughnut’s storefront location, to open in December at Holland Plaza (109 Avenue & 120 Street).
  • McLeod Tavern (the rebranded Hundred Bar & Kitchen at 10009 101A Avenue) is now open.
  • Thanks to Su for the tip that Meiningful Fusion Restaurant is also open, at 10338 81 Avenue.
  • North 53 is now offering Sunday brunch!
  • Twyla doesn’t hold back any punches on her review of Nuovo, the Italian restaurant located in the former Dovetail Deli space.
  • On the flip side, the Journal had a near perfect experience at Bar Clementine.
  • The Journal also reviewed the Jamaican cuisine served up by Island Grill on the city’s west end.
  • Andrea is the latest to check out Cafe Linnea.
  • Sharman shares 5 of her favourite Downtown lunch deals.
  • I missed linking to the Globe’s piece about Edmonton’s robust pizza scene.
  • Vue Weekly takes a tour of two places where you can satisfy your perogy craving.
  • Liane profiles Scarf, a website that connects home cooks with those who are looking for home cooked meals. She mentions that Alberta Health Services is looking into Scarf, as cooks wouldn’t qualify for the necessary permits if operating outside of a commercial kitchen.
  • Jason Foster wrote a thoughtful piece reflecting on his role in the Prairie beer scene – clarifying why he chooses to write profiles of brewers and shies away from negative reviews.
  • Phil’s most recent Community Table Project shares a recipe for sugar pumpkin pie.
  • Did you know there is an Edmonton honey co-op made up of small, local beekeepers, from which you can purchase honey produced from particular neighbourhoods?
  • Save the date: Eat Alberta will be returning with a full day of workshops next year on April 23, 2017.
  • The New York Times discovered that Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving, too! The article features regional recipes from each of the provinces and territories.
  • The last City Market of the season ended on a snowy note. I’m thankful for all of the vendors who toughed out the conditions! Next week, the City Market moves indoors to City Hall. To celebrate, they’ll be handing out $5 market bucks to the first 200 shoppers on October 15!

Snowy City Market

The City Market on Saturday

September 26th, 2016

Food Notes for September 26, 2016

It’s finally time for vacation! Mack and I will be heading to the Okanagan later this week, hoping to put some of Jennifer’s recommendations to good use. A heads up that there won’t be a Food Notes post next week. On to this week’s food notes:


Would you pay for flavoured water?

  • The City Market only has two more outdoor markets to go! Make sure to take it in before the leaves are all gone.

City Market

City Market

  • Edmonton is getting a second location of South St. Burger in the Brewery District.


South St. Burger

  • My sister Felicia and I stopped by Noodle Bar by Nomiya in Oliver Square (11238 104 Avenue) for their soft launch on Saturday. We enjoyed the miso and spicy garlic miso ramen that we tried, but the standout was the sticky chicken, made of lightly fried dark meat coated with a subtly sweet sauce and crushed peanuts. It’s great to finally have a ramen bar within walking distance of home – the location opens to the public on September 27.


Miso ramen from Noodle Bar by Nomiya


Sticky chicken

  • After dinner, we stopped by Petit Nuit (a smaller version of the art festival Nuit Blanche), where we each picked up a whimsical lantern from the Northern Lights Mini Mart, an installation by Rhonda Trevor and Weppler Mahovsky. I couldn’t resist the KD!


With our lanterns at Petit Nuit

  • It was a beautiful day on Sunday for the last What the Truck?! of the season. I enjoyed La Mar’s fish tacos among the fall leaves.


Fish tacos from La Mar

September 25th, 2016

Lazia Rebranded: Riz

While there’s no doubt the rise of Rogers Place has led to a number of new restaurants hoping to capitalize on related foot traffic, Riz Asian Kitchen is the first to rebrand in order to do so.

Lazia has been a Downtown staple for more than a dozen years, but owner Richard Lim thought it was time for a refresh. The website heralds the pedway connections between the Ice District and Edmonton City Centre where Riz is located (though to be honest, the ongoing construction in the mall might be a deterrent to some would-be patrons). Commenting that there was no better time than the present to remind diners of the space, Richard commissioned CK Designs (the same firm behind the Downtown mega bar applications) to redesign the restaurant. Given the tight turnaround time of several days, much of the same structure is intact, but the colour scheme has been muted to a palette of neutrals. In some ways, it’s now less distinctive than its other casual upscale competitors.

Mack and I were invited to enjoy a complimentary meal on September 6 when Riz opened to the public. The meaning behind the new name comes from the French word for "rice", and speaks to the fusion cuisine still present on their menu.

The menu, featuring sweeping Asian-inspired flavours from Korea to Thailand to India, does appeal to broad tastes, and includes some on-trend dishes including their interpretation of ramen. That said, they have some mainstream items on the menu, such as a basic burger and a Philly cheese steak. What does set the menu apart is the price – a majority of mains ring in under $20, making it an economical contender against the competition.

We shared the roti canai (so popular at East they had to migrate the item over to Riz), served with a curry dipping sauce.


Roti canai

Mack’s panko-breaded Japanese fish and chips didn’t have a noticeable Asian flair, except for a disjointed slaw comprised of noodles and carrots. He enjoyed it well enough, but thought it could have more readily lived up to the cuisine that inspired it.


Japanese fish and chips

I ordered the duck curry ramen. It was a very heavy dish; I would have preferred a slightly thinner broth as I laboured to finish it by the end. The flavours were good – the confit duck was delicious and married with the curry well. The yuzu red peppers were on the tart side, but they were a welcome pop given the richness of the soup.


Duck curry ramen

The service that evening was top notch, but given most in the restaurant that day were family, friends and media, it was somewhat expected.

Richard and his team have the experience to help draw in the crowds; only time will tell what will play well with the concert and hockey fans making the trek downtown. I wish Riz the best in the months to come – thanks again for having us!

10200 102 Ave, A113 (Edmonton City Centre Mall)
(780) 990-0188
Monday-Thursday 11am-11pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-1am, Sunday 11am-11pm

September 22nd, 2016

Weekend Getaway: Exploring Rocky Mountain House

Mack and I are fall vacationers, more than content to make the most of our short but glorious Edmonton summers kicking back and attending local festivals. But this year, I felt the need to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming with a long weekend away at the end of August.

Hoping for a getaway that didn’t involve too much time in a vehicle, I literally googled "Central Alberta bed and breakfasts". This led us to Prairie Creek Inn, located about 15 minutes south of Rocky Mountain House. It’s a part of the province neither of us had visited before, and located just two and a half hours away from Edmonton, it seemed to be a reasonable distance to travel for a rejuvenating weekend.

Prairie Creek Inn

Prairie Creek Inn

Prairie Creek Inn offers an environment ideal to quietly reconnect with the outdoors, unplug from the demands of staying connected, and enjoy the company of your fellow travellers. Though most of the other guests were couples as well, there were also a number of young families on the property during our stay.

Prairie Creek Inn

Prairie Creek

Our room was very cozy, and featured a sunny deck with Adirondack chairs from which we could hear the rushing creek. There are also two fire pits for guest use, and ample lawn for outdoor pursuits for humans and dogs alike.

Prairie Creek Inn

I could get used to this

Breakfasts, of course, were included, with a small continental selection of freshly baked muffins and house-made granola and yogurt. One chef’s choice was also offered, and during our stay included a baked omelette one morning and cream cheese-stuffed French toast on another. The restaurant, perched atop a hill, offered great views of the lush property in a dining room lined with windows.

Prairie Creek Inn

View from Heartstone Restaurant

Given the distance from town, we also elected to have suppers at the restaurant as well. The menu isn’t varied enough to enjoy too many consecutive meals, but it was fine for two nights. The salmon, served with lemon dill beurre blanc, was my favourite of the mains we tried.

Prairie Creek Inn

Salmon with lemon dill beurre blanc

During the day, we made it out to the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site. It’s probably something I should have known, having lived in Alberta all of my life, but I didn’t realize that Rocky Mountain House is actually quite distant from the Rocky Mountains. It began as a fur trading post (located on the North Saskatchewan River), and also served as a launching point for explorers such as mapmaker David Thompson.

Rock Mountain House Historic Site


For just $3.90 per adult, we were granted access to a well-maintained interpretive centre and two hiking trails. One trail featured interpreters at a makeshift Metis camp and blacksmith shop.

Rock Mountain House Historic Site

Blacksmith demonstration

The other involved a riverside hike which was lovely even in the damp conditions. And though I was initially skeptical of the Parks Canada #sharethechair campaign, I’ve been won over since.

Rocky Mountain House Historic Site

Sharing the chairs

Mack was particularly looking forward to the wildlife we might encounter. But the closest we got on that hike (and the rest of the weekend) was some gophers and penned-in bison.

Rock Mountain House Historic Site


We also visited downtown Rocky Mountain House. Quite the opposite of Lacombe, whose downtown was busy and vibrant, the main streets of Rocky were deserted, littered with empty storefronts.

Rocky Mountain House

Nicely streetscaped, but deserted

On our way back home, we detoured somewhat to visit Crescent Falls. The views from the top of the gorge are pretty spectacular, but trails here make it possible to get even closer to the water’s edge.

Crescent Falls

Nearing Crescent Falls

Crescent Falls

Crescent Falls

Not being the most adventurous spirit, it was a bit of a stretch for me to hike down a cliff that involved the use of ropes, but it was worth it to get out of my comfort zone (and realize the benefit hiking boots would provide).

Crescent Falls

We made it!

We stopped in Nordegg for some provisions before the journey home. With a population of 200, this isn’t a full service town, so we didn’t expect the crowd we encountered at one of its few restaurants. Miner’s Cafe, located in the Nordegg Museum, was packed with regulars and families passing through. Known for its homemade pies (they sold over 1,000 this year), we enjoyed a slice of strawberry rhubarb with a generous scoop of ice cream on the side.  It’s only open during the summer months, and is now closed for the season.

Miner's Cafe

Miner’s Cafe

While we’re happy that we can tick Rocky Mountain House off our list of places visited, there are still more sites in Alberta to explore!

September 19th, 2016

Food Notes for September 19, 2016

And just like that, it’s fall. Make sure you enjoy the golden trees while they’re still around to be admired. On to this week’s food notes:

  • Little Brick is hosting a Fall Festival on September 21, 2016 from 5-9pm. Check out their seasonal menu featuring mulled wine.
  • Lexus South Pointe is hosting a Fall Food Festival on September 22, 2016. Linda previews what you can expect and is also giving out some tickets to the festival.
  • The final What the Truck?! event takes place this Sunday, September 25, 2016 at Churchill Square from 2-7pm. Say goodbye to summer with 25 trucks – plan your visit with these menus.
  • The Edmonton Oktoberfest runs September 30 – October 1, 2016 at Northlands, with beer and food samples.
  • Bar Clementine is now open at 11957 Jasper Avenue.
  • Northern Chicken will be moving into the spot vacated by Relish, at 10704 124 Street. They hope to open in mid-October.
  • The Journal reviewed Cafe Linnea.
  • The Sun and Vue Weekly both enjoyed Have Mercy to varying degrees.
  • Jonny put forth a spate of reviews, for LETS Grill, Karlen Cafe & Smokehouse, Soy & Pepper, Quickly, and Afra BBQ & Grill.
  • S’wich, one of Edmonton’s longer-standing food trucks, has ceased operations. Lex will be moving on to lead the kitchen at Baijiu.
  • The Tomato reports that Chef Nathin Bye has moved on from Ampersand 27.
  • Phil’s latest Community Table Project features Inspiration Gnocchi.
  • Congratulations to Reclaim Urban Farm founders Ryan Mason and Cathryn Sprague on their Alumni Innovation Awards from the University of Alberta. The two met at the university while studying environmental sociology.
  • Though we’re never quite as far along as New York, there is still some truth to Eater’s “What’s Wrong with Restaurants Today”.
  • A toast to Tina Faiz and Leanne Brown, the authors of Edmonton Cooks! I attended a lovely book launch this evening at Duchess Provisions (where we were treated to lovely bites from the book, and generous drinks poured by bartenders from North 53 and Baijiu). The public launch of Edmonton Cooks is taking place at Provisions on September 24 at 1pm.


Cognac West cocktail served at tonight’s book launch

September 12th, 2016

Food Notes for September 12, 2016

It’s wonderful to live in a city where your entertainment choices over the weekend are countless; I hope you were able to make the most of the break too! On to this week’s food notes:

  • Tickets for the first Meals on Wheels Beers & Bands fundraiser at Yellowhead Brewery are still available. Chefs from Meals on Wheels will be preparing the food, and brewery tours are on tap. Tickets are $40. As a side note, the organization has served over 1 million meals since 2010.
  • Chinatown will be hosting a Moonlight Carnival on September 16, 2016 from 5-11pm as a part of Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations. If you ever wanted to learn how to make moon cakes (the traditional baked treat enjoyed during this holiday), consider taking a class at Garden Bakery on September 17. Tickets are $18 for adults.
  • The insanely-popular Hip Hop Brunch at The Common will be taking place September 18, 2016, from 11am-3pm. Go early.
  • The next Food 4 Good Collective Kitchen will run on September 23, 2016 from 1-3pm. The cost is $5 for 4 servings of food.
  • Beercade, located at 10544 82 Avenue, boasts 50 beers on tap and 80 vintage pinball machines and arcade games – they’re hosting their grand opening party on September 16-17, 2016. (Thanks to Su for the heads up!)
  • The latest arena-related restaurant announcement is Vivo Ristorante’s expansion into a vacant two-story building at 10505 106 Street.
  • There’s also activity in the former Starbucks storefront in Quest (104 Avenue & 105 Street), with signage advertising Montreal Hot Dogs, a franchise of The Montreal Smoked Meat Original.
  • The Journal has an overview of what will be available at Rogers Place. Although I visited during the open house on Saturday, most of their specialty items weren’t on display. Basic concession items, including hot dogs ($5.25), cheeseburgers ($9) and water ($5) were being sold.
  • Choped Canada winner Chef Shelley Robinson will be heading up the restaurants of the neighbouring Grand Villa Casino.
  • Arena-goers shouldn’t forget about Sofra, or its underground sister restaurant The Cellar, which was just reviewed by the Journal.
  • Jonny stopped by Little Brick to try some of their lunch dishes.
  • Sugared and Spiced just launched their BoostR campaign today, with the hopes of raising $20,000 towards opening a storefront bakery. As I’m typing this, they’ve already raised nearly $15,000 of that goal.
  • Although Eats on 118 is already sold out, hopefully the success means even more events in the future! Vue Weekly highlights this initiative to encourage more foot traffic on Alberta Avenue.
  • Avenue wrote a retrospective on the last ten years of dining in Edmonton, as a part of their decade in print.
  • Congratulations to The Tomato, who just celebrated 20 years in print.
  • Will the Whole Foods in Edmonton ever open? Liane investigated but didn’t find any concrete answers.
  • In related news, Sherwood Park will be getting a Planet Organic store.
  • A belated happy 25 year anniversary to Earth’s General Store!
  • Phil’s newest Community Table Project is Parkallen Kitchen Jacquie’s Grand-Maman’s baked beans.
  • Elyse tried Chefs Plate meal kits, and found it to be a nice break from meal planning.
  • I’m not sure the world really needed Chalet sauce flavoured Lays chips, but to each their own.
  • The Chinese Benevolent Association put on a beautiful Mid-Autumn Festival celebration in Churchill Square on Saturday, which ended with a wish boat launch in the City Hall pool. This year, Mack and I were early enough to purchase boats to make wishes too!


Mid-Autumn Festival wishing boat launch

  • I neglected to include a photo of the gorgeous Duchess Atelier teaching kitchen last week. It’s separated by a glass wall from Duchess Provisions, so you might be able to spy on some aspiring bakers during your next visit.

Duchess Provisions

Duchess Atelier

  • Public announcement: Pho Tau Bay reopened from their annual summer vacation after the September long weekend.

Pho Tau Bay

My usual

September 11th, 2016

Maze Runners and Marsh Explorers: Edmonton Corn Maze and Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

It’s been six years since Mack and I last visited the Edmonton Corn Maze located in Spruce Grove. Over the September long weekend, we were looking at some outdoor attractions to explore, and it seemed like a good time as any to return.

Edmonton Corn Maze

The Edmonton Corn Maze

Over the past few years, the Corn Maze has grown to encompass activities outside of the maze itself, and now features a petting zoo, jumping pillows, and spud guns. We encountered more people in these areas than in the maze, so it’s definitely a place where families can spend the better part of a day. Admission has also changed in this time, likely to cover the expanded fun; in 2010, we had a Groupon offer that discounted admission to $8 for two people. In 2016, the cost is $12 per adult.

Edmonton Corn Maze

Petting zoo

A visit to the maze when the stalks are still in their prime makes a huge difference to the overall experience. I’d recommend checking it out in the next few weeks while the corn is still standing tall.

Edmonton Corn Maze

Exploring the maze

As we have in the past, we used one of the question guides to help us navigate through the ten checkpoints in the maze. Mack was annoyed that there were several errors in the Edmonton trivia (including a misspelled “Blanchford” Field and the incorrect fact that West Edmonton Mall is still the largest mall in North America), but it was all in good fun.

Edmonton Corn Maze

Mack in the maze

Never wanting to waste a trip outside of the city, Mack had looked up a nearby park just 10 minutes away from the Corn Maze in Parkland County. The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is a 28 acre wetland preserve that is open to the public.

Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

It features a combination of meadows, treed areas and marshes. Because of the marshy terrain, some of the trails are built on elevated boardwalks, making it an ideal place to walk after a rainstorm (as in, most of this summer, it seems).

Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

Elevated boardwalks

We only encountered a handful of people on our way through, and stopped frequently along the way to look for wildlife and listen for birds.

Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

A place to recharge

In many ways, this volunteer-run park is better equipped with benches, garbage cans, and a restroom than many City of Edmonton parks we visit.

Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary

Big sky

The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is a gem not to be missed, especially if you’re in the area!