April 14th, 2014

Food Notes for April 14, 2014

  • Registration for this summer’s first Edmonton Diner en Blanc is now open!
  • Looking for Easter dinner plans? The Mirepoix Trio is hosting another pop-up dinner, this time at Upper Crust. Check out the two different menus for the April 18 and 19, 2014 dinners. I’m looking forward to it already!
  • Iconoclast Coffee is hosting a free grand opening party on May 3, 2014, from 7-11:30pm. If you needed an excuse to check it out, here you go – they promise fine food, prosecco and music. Speaking of the Koffiehuis, Vue Weekly profiled the new shop last week.
  • Slow Food Edmonton is hosting a 5-course dinner at Lux on May 13, 2014 that will highlight sustainable species of fish. It sounds like it will be an educational and tasty evening. Tickets are $70 for members and $80 for non-members.
  • Speaking of fish, because of the new direct Icelandic Air flights to Edmonton, Ocean Odyssey will now be offering fresh wild Atlantic fish. Stay in touch with this development on their website.
  • Hillaby’s Tools for Cooks has expanded beyond the Enjoy Centre, with a location in Terwillegar (14251 23 Avenue). They celebrated their grand opening on April 10, 2014.
  • Also now open is the Tunki Café Shop (10998 124 Street), a new Peruvian café on 124 Street.
  • Liv reviewed Bodega Tapas & Wine Bar.
  • I have to say In & Out Burger was a little underwhelming the first time I tried it in the States, and I wonder if Carl’s Jr will be the same? The American chain just opened their first Edmonton-area location in Spruce Grove (420, 131 Century Crossing), with another on the way in the west end.
  • As I mentioned last week, it’s great news that Evoolution is expanding, including another storefront in Southgate.

Evoolution

Coming soon: Evoolution

  • Dinner at Boualouang on Friday was great (their green curry/coconut rice combo is deadly). The Thai-style salad was new to a few of us, but turned out to be a delicious choice as well.

Boualouang

Thai-style salad with papaya, dried shrimp, peanuts, tomatoes and chilies

  • It was a busy family-filled weekend for us, including participating in a baby gender-revealing party. It was a lot of fun testing out old wives tales and failing miserably at baby-related trivia.

It's a...

Gorgeous table!

April 10th, 2014

Swiss 2 Go: Hurrah for Pretzel Buns

Mack and I were in the west end running errands over the weekend when hunger pains hit. We ended up right by Swiss 2 Go (17104 90 Avenue), a sandwich shop I had heard a lot about, so took it as an opportunity to finally set foot inside.

Situated right across from West Edmonton Mall, it’s a humble storefront that would be easy to miss. Swiss 2 Go is essentially a takeout counter, with a handful of tables for those seeking to dine in.

Swiss 2 Go

Interior

The menu focuses on sandwiches, though soups, salads and homemade desserts are also available. The current menu has fifteen different sandwich varieties to choose from, all an upgrade from those typically found at a deli. Their Italian Bride, with prosciutto, roasted red pepper, sun dried tomatoes, bocconcini and basil was even recognized by Avenue Magazine as one of the Best Things to Eat in 2013.

It was clear that owner Drita Keller cares deeply about the ingredients used in her creations. She shared with us that she continues to import cheeses and meats from Europe because of their consistency and quality, and it was evident that the vegetables used were crisp and fresh.

The sandwiches were made fresh to order, and when they arrived, I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to pack it down to take a bite! My Thanksgiving ($7.99/regular) sandwich, with smoked turkey, brie, romaine and red pepper was loaded with texture, the mild and creamy cheese letting the turkey take the wheel. Mack similarly enjoyed his Matterhorn ($7.99/regular), containing banana peppers, avocado, cilantro and alpine style dried beef.

Swiss 2 Go

Matterhorn and Thanksgiving sandwiches

While the combination of ingredients was unique, what set the sandwich apart was the house-made pretzel bun, studded with kosher salt. Given we haven’t yet found a local supplier who offers pretzel buns similar to those found at Calgary’s Rustic Sourdough Bakery, this might be the closest we’ve ever come. During the week, Drita said they run through so much bread that they may be baking up to ten times a day!

If you’re in the area, make it a point to stop by Swiss 2 Go. You won’t be disappointed.

Swiss 2 Go
17104 90 Avenue
(587) 520-9400
Monday 11am-3pm, Tuesday-Saturday 11am-9pm, Sunday 11am-5pm

April 8th, 2014

97 Hot Pot: To Chinatown We Go!

Growing up, hot pot was very much a family affair. It was a way, with comparatively less effort than cooking, for my Mum to gather us all around the dining table. Sure, she’d have to source ingredients in Chinatown (fresh vegetables, meats, tofu), then prep them for consumption, but it was definitely one of her go-to meals on nights she didn’t feel like spending too much time in the kitchen.

For a brief period of time in high school, hot pot restaurants were the birthday venue of choice, given they could easily accommodate large groups (and given the appetite of some of those teenage boys, the buffet-style offerings were ideal).

Since that time, hot pot has been something I’ve enjoyed exclusively at my parents’ house. As a result, it’s been easily over ten years since I’ve stepped foot inside a hot pot restaurant in Edmonton.

Cue the local hot pot revolution, with two new restaurants opening up in Chinatown within six months of each other, located less than a block apart. And not only are they reinvigorating the hot pot scene in the city, but they are also injecting new life into the area.

Both Urban Shabu and 97 Hot Pot have brought the trend of individual hot pots to Edmonton. I have to say, when I first heard of this set-up, I really balked at the idea of reducing a communal experience to an individual one. What I didn’t take into account at the time, however, was that the seduction of convenience and control would win me over, too.

97 Hot Pot moved into a storefront in Chinatown that had been vacant for years. The owners overhauled the space with eye-catching signage and a brand new interior. It’s bright, clean and welcoming, and if this trend continues with other businesses, will hopefully help chip away at the stereotypes that continues to plague the neighbourhood as a whole. In addition, it was refreshing to see the number of younger patrons dining in that night – based on my own high school experience, it’s not surprising, but it does give me hope for Chinatown’s immediate future. Last month, I had dinner at 97 Hot Pot with Maria and Roxanne, and learned firsthand what all the fuss was about.

97 Hot Pot

Interior

All of the tables had built-in induction burners meant to accommodate individual pots. As a result, instead of the circular tables to accommodate larger parties at communal hot pot restaurants, all tables were rectangular. Although we still ended up sharing everything, it was a nice change not to have to reach for the pot, or to argue over who put in that last tofu or meatball. Individual hot pots will do much to smooth over family conflicts at the dinner table, heh.

97 Hot Pot

My personal hot pot!

97 Hot Pot charges $25.95 per adult, and $12.95 per child aged 3-9. Choosing a soup base other than the basic chicken broth adds $2 to that cost, as does opting for the choice of two broths in a divided pot. In addition to the selection of about one hundred different raw and fresh meat and vegetable items, salads, cooked dishes and desserts are also included in the per person cost, making this one of the most value-laden buffets in the city. It also differentiates the dining out version of hot pot from its home-based cousin; it isn’t economical for a family to purchase the kind of variety that can be found at a restaurant, and when a group of picky eaters is present, the range of options should satisfy everyone. Our only minor quibble with the ordering system was that it wasn’t logical – specifying “1” vs. “2” or “4” would yield seemingly random amounts of food.

Given the breadth of choices, I was happy to see that 97 Hot Pot didn’t sacrifice quality for quantity. The greens were crisp, and the sliced meats were fresh. I easily consumed a half pound of sliced lamb that night.

97 Hot Pot

Spread part one (I forgot to take pictures later on, unfortunately)

97 Hot Pot introduced me to the oddly translated “fresh meat and seafood mash” – blended meat and herb mixtures served up in plastic sleeves. Using a plastic spoon, the meat is meant to be dropped into the boiling soup to create meatballs. They were darn tasty, and like the cooked dishes, really added value to the meal.

97 Hot Pot

Meat and seafood mashes

We spent the better part of two and a half hours at 97 Hot Pot. Although the menu indicated that only two hour stays were permitted, we never felt that the service staff were trying to push us out. Refills on soup and water were timely, and orders were taken and delivered in a punctual fashion. Dessert was a bonus, and the sweet soup (tong sui) was notably well-prepared.

97 Hot Pot

Maria and I amongst the steam (from now on, I will be making more frequent visits to hot pot facilities during the cold weather months – the chicken soup sauna was like a gift for my winter-disparaged skin)

I had a great experience at 97 Hot Pot, and would not hesitate in recommending it to those new and familiar with this type of dining. I really am hopeful the additional traffic to Chinatown from both new hot pot ventures will turn the tide in the area, and spur even more development in the neighbourhood.

97 Hot Pot
10602 97 Street
(587) 521-1888
Sunday-Thursday 4:30pm-midnight, Friday-Saturday, 4:30pm-2am

April 7th, 2014

Food Notes for April 7, 2014

Fans of Television Without Pity will already know the bad news, and for me, it is still sinking in. It’s a website I’ve visited on an almost-daily basis for over thirteen years, and has been with me for the good (The West Wing), the bad (multiple Bachelor/ettes) and the ugly (the current season of Scandal). I’m going to miss the insightful discussions and the community of people who made up the forums. On to this week’s food notes:

Pho Tau Bay

#phodate

  • It’s been some time since I’ve been to an Edmonton Rush game, but it was as exciting as I remembered! It was a much closer game than anyone expected, but they managed to hang on and maintain their undefeated streak. Bring on the playoffs!

Edmonton Rush

Go Rush Go!

April 1st, 2014

Food Notes for April 1, 2014

Have you checked out this year’s Eat Alberta 2014 sessions yet? I think there’s something for everyone! Tickets are 75% sold, so if you’re interested in coming, make sure to take a look soon! On to this week’s food notes:

  • The Western Living’s 2014 Top 40 Foodies Under 40 list is out! Not as much Edmonton representation as in past years, but good to see local Darcy Scott recognized.
  • It’s officially food truck season – Drift has kicked things off, with today being their first day of service!
  • I haven’t heard of Wetzel’s Pretzel’s before, but if you have, you may be excited to hear their first Western Canada location has opened in West Edmonton Mall. I’d be interested to try one of their scratch-made, fresh baked pretzels the next time I’m at WEM.
  • Bar Bricco received a lot of love from the blogosphere this week – from both Andrea and Liv.
  • Twyla reviewed Glass Monkey this past week.
  • Speaking of Glass Monkey – Phil’s latest Burger Odyssey pits their burger against an offering from Original Joe’s.
  • Lillian wrote about taco day at Expressionz Café, something I’ve been meaning to try as well! Looks like it is worth seeking out.
  • Harambee (11008 107 Avenue) is the newest Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurant in Edmonton, located in the Queen Mary Park neighbourhood.
  • City & Dale wrote a feature on Woodwork’s wonderful bar.
  • Great to see a lengthy piece on Reclaim Urban Farm in Vue Weekly. Reclaim takes unused spaces in mature neighbourhoods and grows food for the community – look for their product at farmers’ markets and restaurants this summer.
  • I had a productive dinner meeting at Woodwork on Thursday. It was great to see some new things on the menu (the country pie with chicken and ham was delicious!), but we also tried some things I’ve been before but never ordered. The charcuterie board with various house-made meats was more than enough to share between the four of us. The venture into offal with an order of beef tongue was interesting –  it was perhaps a bit too sour tasting for me with the vinaigrette, but I found the texture to be similar to boiled ham.

Woodwork

Charcuterie board at Woodwork

Woodwork

Marinated beef tongue at Woodwork

  • On Friday I caught up with May and Annie over dinner at Tavern 1903. While the food was great (and actually, the portions huge – the chicken and waffles featured two large pieces of meat), I was really disappointed with the service. I had a great previous experience, so to deal with a curt, indifferent server made me reconsider heading back soon.

Tavern 1903

Chicken and waffles at Tavern 1903

  • These food notes are late because I spent the last three days at Pigeon Lake for a work-related training. We stayed at the Village Creek Country Inn, and after this, I’ll definitely be back! A fresh blanket of snow made it a picturesque winter wonderland, perfect for contemplative walks.

Pigeon Lake

Loved this sign

Pigeon Lake

Snow!

March 26th, 2014

Calgary Mini-Break: All That’s Fit to Eat

Too often I put off my travel posts, which usually results in the good eats never being shared. Hopefully I’m reversing the trend now!

Last weekend, Mack and I headed down to Calgary for a much-needed break. Though the weather we encountered was more winter than spring, it was still nice to step away from our usual routine for a few days. While a dead car battery threw a wrench in some of our plans, we still managed to hit up more than a few places.

Coffee and Snacks

We’re always a little jealous of Calgary’s coffee scene – notably of Phil & Sebastian’s. It’s wonderful to find them all over the city – from mature neighbourhoods (Mission) to farmers’ markets (Symons Valley) to shopping centres (Chinook Mall), we’re never far from great coffee. We’re fortunate that District Coffee Co. in Edmonton now carries their beans, so it means we don’t have travel as far to pick up a bag!

Phil & Sebastian's

Pick-me-up from Phil & Sebastian’s

Analog Café by Fratello Coffee Roasters is one of our new favourites that opened last fall. It’s become a welcome haven on 17th Avenue after a day of shopping.

Analog Cafe

Afternoon coffee at Analog

As well, Analog carries pastries by Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, the darling of the baked goods scene in Calgary. We made the effort to check out the bakery’s main location, just off MacLeod surrounded by light industrial buildings. It was worth it for their flaky, buttery cheese sticks alone.

Sidewalk Citizen Bakery

Pastry case at Sidewalk Citizen Bakery

We also usually end up visiting at least one farmers’ market while in town, and this occasion was no different. Crossroads Market renovated a portion of their building to accommodate more food vendors – hopefully in the summer the stalls will be filled with more produce vendors, as I find the import-happy Chongo’s is a poor substitute. At any rate, we decided to share an order of poutine from Rocky’s Burger Bus, parked outside of the market, for lunch (one of the items that made Julie van Rosendaal’s 2014 list of 25 Best things to Eat).

Rocky's Burger Bus

Rocky’s Burger Bus

It was comforting to see the container of russets on the windowsill of the bus, and as expected, the fries tasted fresh and remained crispy in spite of its gravy bath. We did find the gravy to be on the salty side, but it was still pretty tasty.

Rocky's Burger Bus

Poutine from Rocky’s Burger Bus

Bensonhurst Pizza

Open for about a month, Bensonhurst Pizza joins an already crowded club of Calgary pizza joints. However, Bensonhurst distinguishes itself by not specializing on one type of pie, but offering a variety of styles, including Neopolitan, Sicilian, Californian, New York and Chicago. Bensonhurst is named after one of the neighbourhood’s in Brooklyn’s Little Italy, so the menu is rounded out by other American-Italian favourites – meatballs, lasagnas and the like.

We were advised that a 9-inch Chicago-style pizza ($18)  would be enough for two, and warned that it would take 35 minutes to make. I’m not sure it was worth waiting for. I’m not one for overly greasy pizzas, but this one ran the other end of the spectrum, with a crust so dry it reminded us of bread. As a result, it could have used much more cheese, if only to provide a bit more fat for flavour.

Bensonhurst Pizza

Chi-Town Classic with pepperoni and mushrooms

While we liked the concept of offering multiple pizza varieties, Bensonhurst might have to make sure the execution is better to encourage repeat business. Hopefully this was just a blip attributed to their newly-open status.

Briggs Kitchen & Bar

Briggs Kitchen & Bar wasn’t our first choice for brunch, but being walking distance from our hotel and having the option of reserving a table was enough to sway us.

With Top Chef Canada alum Xavier Lacaze in the kitchen, I hear that dinner seats are hard to come by, but on that morning, the tables were few and far between. The industrial chic room, with buffed concrete floors and dark metal fixtures lent themselves more to an after-dark dining experience, but we expected as much. Their brunch menu is small and more sophisticated than most.

Case in point, my classic breakfast ($11) was comprised of ratatouille, prosciutto and fried eggs. I would have preferred the addition of some varying textures (crispy prosciutto, perhaps?), and likely should have waited several moments before diving in – the cast iron skillet kept the dish piping hot.

Briggs

Classic breakfast

Mack’s breakfast perogies ($13) was the better dish, if not only for its unique nature and, well, a generous sprinkling of crispy bacon.

Briggs

Breakfast perogies

Of note, our server was excellent, chipper and upbeat, and made sure our coffee was always topped up. It was a different kind of brunch than what we’re normally used to in Calgary, but one we’d return to, particularly if our group required reservations.

River Café

I’m a little embarrassed that it took us this long to finally get to River Café, a restaurant consistently regarded among Calgary’s best. And I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint.

Tucked in Prince’s Island Park, requiring a five minute walk from the nearest parking lot (or for us, a half hour walk from our hotel), River Café should be one of the examples cited in conversations about Edmonton’s river valley development. I recognize that our river valley poses a gradient challenge Calgary doesn’t face, but I was more than a little surprised that a room full of people, many dressed in their weekend finery, were more than happy to brave the cold for a cozy dinner.

The room’s décor, lined with vintage cross-country skis, snowshoes and canoes, borders dangerously close to kitschy, but it somehow manages to remain on the charming side of cabin chic. Between the roaring wood hearth and the unseen forno oven in the kitchen, we smelled like campfire by the end of the night, cementing the concept of River Café as an urban getaway.

River Cafe

Mack at River Cafe

The food was memorable, starting with a white gold burrata ($15) – a made-in-Calgary item that seems to be appearing on menus all over the city. It featured a healthy serving of the fresh cheese, served with pickled cucumber and rye crisps.

River Cafe

White Gold burrata

Our server sold the night’s feature so well that Mack and I both decided to order it. Heralding spring, the al forno roasted halibut and fiddleheads ($39) was perfectly cooked and was such a joy to eat. It’s rare that we select the same entrée, and even more uncommon that we don’t regret it.

River Cafe

Roasted halibut and fiddleheads

I enjoyed the dessert of s’mores ($3), and in particular the buttery house-made graham cookie.

River Cafe

S’more

The service was fantastic – besides an initial delay in taking our order, ended on a note so warm and familiar we wanted to return for brunch in the morning. Needless to say, we’ve earmarked at least one of our next meals in Calgary already.

It was definitely another successful food-filled mini-break!

March 25th, 2014

Join us at Eat Alberta 2014: April 26, 2014

It’s hard to believe Eat Alberta is four years old! I still remember our first event, held in the basement of Enterprise Square downtown. Though it was a less than ideal facility for a hands-on cooking conference, all of our presenters rocked it out, and those who attended found it to be a really worthwhile day of learning, connecting, and of course, eating! Fast forward to 2014, and I’m happy to say we’re still going strong!

Eat Alberta 2011

Pasta making at Eat Alberta 2011

For those of you who aren’t aware, Eat Alberta is a one-day, workshop-style conference that teaches participants how to use and source local food. We’ve since relocated our event to NAIT, with kitchens and classrooms designed for sessions ranging from bacon making to beer tasting. This year, Eat Alberta is scheduled to take place on April 26, 2014.

Eat Alberta 2012

Bread making at Eat Alberta 2012

It’s been wonderful to work with local chefs, farmers and food advocates who are keen to share their passion with others. I’m continually amazed that we continue to expand our Eat Alberta family, though in a community as knowledge rich as ours, this really shouldn’t be a surprise.

Eat Alberta

Sausage making at Eat Alberta 2013

This year, among others, we’re happy to welcome Erica Vliegenthart, the head baker at District Coffee Co., who will be teaching a session on basic biscuits, and Shovel & Fork’s Elyse Chatterton leading hands-on workshops on how to break down a side of pork. I’m also excited about Michelle Peters-Jones’ class on making curry with Alberta pulses – vegetarian cuisine sometimes gets the short end of the stick in this province, so I’m excited to see the flavours she will bring to the table! Check out the rest of the session descriptions here.

Eat Alberta

Bacon making at Eat Alberta 2013

Besides the four workshops, participants can also expect two plenary sessions, including a thought-provoking panel we’ve dubbed “Seedy Business”, which will present varying viewpoints on several controversial food issues: urban beekeeping, backyard chickens and raw milk.

Like last year, attendees will select from one of ten tracks. Although we know most people would prefer to choose their own itinerary, we’ve found this method allows for a more equitable distribution of hands-on classes, and potentially exposes participants to topics they may not have sought out initially.

Eat Alberta

Perogy making at Eat Alberta 2013

Tickets to Eat Alberta 2014 are $150, and include a light breakfast, lunch and a wine down. Tickets go on sale on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 10 a.m.

Hope to see you there!

March 24th, 2014

Food Notes for March 24, 2014

Although Calgary was equally cold this past weekend (spring? what spring?), it was still worth it to get away from the city for a few days. Short of living there, it is impossible to keep up with their food scene! On to this week’s food notes:

  • Northlands is hosting a behind-the-scenes tour of their kitchens and facilities on March 27, 2014, which finishes up with a three-course lunch. Tickets are $80 for non-members.
  • Elm Café’s Dining room will be hosting another Austrian Dumpling Night on March 28, 2014 (Mack and I went to a similar dinner they hosted last year and really enjoyed it). $30 for three courses, with a choice of dumplings for the main, which include a potato dumpling stuffed with Grammeln (crispy fried bits of pork, a by-product of making lard).
  • Vue Weekly’s 2014 ballot for the Golden Fork Awards is now out. Vote for your favourite restaurants here.
  • Bar Bricco (10347 Jasper Avenue), Chef Daniel Costa’s new spuntini bar, opened up this weekend. Cindy already stopped by – it looks like a wonderful addition to downtown.
  • Mama Lee’s Kitchen, opening soon, will offer take-out Korean food in Southgate (10633 51 Avenue).
  • Vue Weekly published a feature about District Coffee Co., while Liv explains why its worth checking out.
  • Phil posted his most recent YEG Burger Odyssey findings, pitting On the Rocks against Kelly’s Pub.
  • Just in time for the Christmas season, Duchess will be publishing a cookbook.
  • Watch for the possibility of more patios on Whyte Avenue this summer.
  • There’s a new distillery in the province called Eau Claire Distillery. They will be trying to source as much of their grain and produce from the province as possible.
  • With the cold temperatures, it’s not surprise I’ve been retreating into Pho Tau Bay for bowls of warming soup. Yum.
  • Pho Tau Bay

    My regular

  • Though we had a productive meeting over dinner at MRKT last week, I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the food. It’s been several years since we’ve been to the restaurant, and though the service has been good on previous occasions, the menu has left us wanting more. Unfortunately, it is still largely unchanged since our last visit. I ordered the braised short ribs ($27) this time around, and though tender, the plate definitely could have been warmer.

MRKT

Braised short ribs

  • In honour of the proliferation of selfies, we thought it appropriate to post our own – with a plate of our favourite Route 99 poutine, of course.

Route 99

#poutineselfie

March 19th, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner @ the Elm Café Dining Room

Mack and I are starting to feel like regulars at the Elm Café Dining Room (9132 118 Avenue), and I think we’re not the only ones. Although the meals are still infrequent enough to be classified as “special”, based on the full house at the St. Patrick’s Day supper this past Saturday, I’d say the word is getting out!

The food, typically built around a themed menu or special occasion, is always reasonably priced, and really is a tough deal to beat, especially when you consider the type of food being served. On this evening, the three-course meal was $30, not including drinks.

Elm Cafe Dining Room

Mack enjoys his Irish beer

The first course was an elegantly presented potato dumpling soup. The dumplings were plump and tasty, but we did find the broth needed a dash more salt.

Elm Cafe Dining Room

Potato dumpling soup

The main event was corned beef, considered to be a national dish of Ireland, and colcannon, a mixture of mashed potatoes and greens. The taste of the brine was evident in the meat, flavourful and seasoned well (and for those inclined, Chef Allan even shares his recipe here). I have to admit, however, I have a serious weakness for mashed potatoes. The pat of butter? Be still my beating heart.

Elm Cafe Dining Room

Corned beef, colcannon and braised cabbage

Some of our earlier co-diners had raved about dessert, and we weren’t disappointed. The chocolate stout cake was rich but restrained, and even Mack, who isn’t one for sweets, remarked how much he enjoyed the glaze.

Elm Cafe Dining Room

Stout cake

Green beer didn’t make a single appearance at the supper, something neither of us missed at all! Keep an eye out on Twitter for the next Elm Café Dining Room meal, though plans are in the works for a standalone page in the future.

March 18th, 2014

Recap: Slow Food Edmonton’s Hijacked

Slow Food Edmonton seems to be picking up steam, with two of their spring events falling so on trend that people might forget all together that the food they’re consuming is good, clean and fair. The first of those events appealed to me because I was curious to see how they would involve a food truck so early on in the season.

Hijacked, which took place on March 8, 2014, was a collaboration between Slow Food Edmonton, Shovel & Fork, Drift, and Alley Kat Beer. The proceeds from the fundraiser were intended to help support SFE members attend the National Slow Food Conference in Halifax later this year.

Hijacked

Parked at Alley Kat

It was a casual event, the $30 non-member ticket price mainly going towards a glass of beer and food. My sisters and I socialized and perused the auction items, but were eager to chow down.

I have to say, SFE hit the weather jackpot, given the Saturday prior was close to –30. It was a fairly balmy evening, the perfect “winter” conditions for a food truck. Although it took some time for the grub to get going, it was ultimately worth the wait.

Each of us received a box of food fit for two people. Our favourite was the shroom melt, made with local mushrooms and onions and The Cheesiry’s pecorino. The sides – one, a northern bean salad with Doef’s peppers and cucumbers, and two, a Sundog Organics slaw with Shovel & Fork apple cider – were great accompaniments that stood up to the mains. I particularly loved the final touch of microgreens. For dessert, we were given a snail-shaped rice crispy treat – too cute.

Hijacked

Dinner at Hijacked

Our only complaint about the event was the lack of seating, something the organizers were very cognizant of, given one of the auction items was actually table seating for four. More cocktail tables would have made things easier to eat, most notably, the meatball sub. We watched as people spread out on the floor inside, or struggled to keep food off their shirts as they ate standing up. We ended up staying outside to take advantage of one of Drift’s cocktail tables, even as the mercury dropped after dark.

Hijacked

Winter patio!

The event was a success, with both seatings selling out. Their next event, a pizza pop-up at RGE RD, is already at capacity, but with this renewed momentum, I’d stay tuned to Slow Food Edmonton to learn when their next happening is taking place so you’re not disappointed!