October 22nd, 2018

Food Notes for October 22, 2019

  • The McLuhan House Book Club is hosting Edmonton Eats co-author Tina Faiz and photographer Dong Kim on October 25, 2018. The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share.
  • Effing Seafoods now has a storefront located at 140, 44 Riel Drive in St. Albert. The grand opening is October 26, 2018.
  • Knifewear’s Kevin Kent has authored The Knifenerd Guide to Japanese Knives. He’s launching the book in Edmonton with a party on November 2, 2018.
  • Farm Fair returns to Northlands November 7-11, 2018. They’re hosting hands-on kitchen workshops again (free with gate admission) for ricotta and lemon cheese. I took part in a class to make the latter last year and found it to be one of the most value-oriented classes in town.
  • The first of OEB’s two Edmonton locations is set to open on October 29, 2018. It is located in the Kelly Ramsey building downtown at 19174 100A Street.
  • Congratulations to Chef Davina Moraiko of RGE RD who placed first at Canada’s Great Kitchen Party (formerly known as Gold Medal Plates). Chefs Serge Belair of the Shaw Conference Centre and Scott Downey of The Butternut Tree rounded out the podium.
  • Black Box Hospitality was successful in its quest to crowdfund $100,000 towards their Gibbard Block project in Highlands.
  • Sharon shared what to expect from the newly-opened Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle.
  • Also from Sharon – she has enjoyed her visits to Buono.
  • The Journal reviewed one of Alberta Avenue’s hidden gems – Mama Asha Cafe.
  • Crystal wrote a post about her visit to Nomiya.
  • Jonny sampled some of the beers in the taproom of Analog Brewing Company.
  • The Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis has made some further changes to liquor laws, including allowing bars and restaurants to create house-aged liquor products.
  • A 12-year old boy from Edmonton will have his recipe for aloo gobi featured in a nationwide cookbook called Kid Food Nation later this fall.
  • CBC published an article highlighting some of the challenges small farmers face regarding product distribution.
  • Gone Green Farms, located near Pigeon Lake, donated 10,000kg of root vegetables to Edmonton and Calgary Food Banks last week.
  • At some point I’ll have to try something other than the beef and gouda arepa at El Fogon, but until then, it’s always my go-to.

El Fogon

Beef and gouda arepa from El Fogon

  • Mack and I shared a gluttonous amount of food from the new Cosmic Pizza location downtown. It’s hard to find a deal as good as their $3.50 pizza slices anywhere else in the core, and Mack enjoyed his large donair featuring a very generous serving of meat. We also decided to split a donair poutine, but likely wouldn’t order it again as the fries just weren’t crispy.

Cosmic Pizza

Donair poutine from Cosmic Pizza

October 15th, 2018

Food Notes for October 15, 2018

I took a break from the blog last week for a quick getaway to Vancouver Island – we left Edmonton’s winter for a few days to bask in their fall glory. Thankfully, it seems autumn has also (temporarily) returned here at home! On to this week’s food notes:

  • The fifth annual Restaurants for Change fundraiser is planned for October 17, 2018. RGE RD and Otto are participating; proceeds from their dinner service that night will go towards supporting Food4Good in Edmonton.
  • Northern Bites has planned an Oktoberfest-themed experience featuring beer, pretzels, and sauerkraut on October 24, 2018. Tickets are $70.
  • Audrey’s is hosting the launch of Twyla Campbell’s biography of the late Chef Gail Hall, titled Maps, Markets and Matzo Ball Soup, on October 28, 2018.
  • Studio 99, a new sports bar located inside Rogers Place, opens on October 18, 2018. Note that a valid game day ticket is required to access the bar.
  • Chef Hung, a BC-based restaurant chain that specializes in Taiwanese noodle soups, is set to open their first location in Edmonton on October 21, 2018 in Old Strathcona. Find them at 10336 81 Avenue.
  • Three Vikings, which took over the space formerly occupied by Daravara, is now open at 10713 124 Street.
  • I missed the opening of a new cafe in the west end back in the spring called Rise & Root, located at 20020 Lessard Road.
  • A couple of new Chinatown restaurant openings: Noodleholic, at 9658 107A Avenue and Tacos Y’amor at 9711 107 Avenue.
  • You can now find a cafe serving up coffee and pastries inside the Hotel Macdonald!
  • Soy and Pepper at 11212 Jasper Avenue is no more, but in its place, Jang looks to offer similar fusion flavours from Korea, Japan.
  • Cafe Linnea now offers two- and three-course prix fixe menus daily, at the cost of $35 and $45, respectively.
  • Linda shares just how economical the food is at the Green Onion Cake Man’s Alberta Avenue storefront.
  • The Journal is the latest outlet to visit Cartago in Forest Heights.
  • Vue Weekly was not impressed by the food at the King of Donair.
  • Sharman recapped the most recent Swine & Dine event that took place at Salz.
  • Twyla positively reviewed Tang Bistro.
  • Speaking of Twyla, she is interviewed for the latest More than Maple Syrup podcast to discuss the current state of Alberta’s food scene.
  • Liane spoke to some local restaurant operators to see how the minimum wage hike has affected their operations.
    • Chef Daniel Huber wants the practice of “house tipping” to end in restaurants.
    • A sponsored post in Bon Appetit lists 8 notable restaurants to visit in Edmonton.
    • It looks like a new Edmonton food magazine is on the horizon, called Eat Local Magazine. A digital version of their pilot issue is available, but they’re hoping for their first print copies to be released in December.
    • Vegan hot dogs are now available at the IKEA in Edmonton.
    • Food4Good is hosting a free screening of a documentary about a community food centre in Dartmouth on November 2, 2018.
    • It was my first time at Liuyishou Hot Pot in Chinatown over the weekend. We opted for a communal pot, but they have the option for individual hot pots as well! I’m more familiar with the buffet versions for hot pot, as opposed to ordering individual items off of a menu, but with our large group, we ended up paying just $20 per person. Bonus: we helped ourselves to a ton of the pickled daikon and roasted peanuts to snack on throughout the night.

    Liuyishou Hot Pot

    Hot pot at Liuyishou Hot Pot

    • It’s been too long since my last visit to Pho Tau Bay – but finally, I was able to satisfy my craving.

    Pho Tau Bay

    My usual

    October 5th, 2018

    Preview: Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week, October 5-13, 2018

    There are so many parts of Edmonton that I have yet to fully appreciate, and I am grateful when opportunities arise to encourage further exploration. When it involves food, I’m even more likely to participate – so the first ever Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week is right up my alley.

    Eight restaurants in Beverly are showcasing their fare from October 5-13, 2018, ranging from long-standing establishments to several newcomers to the neighbourhood. I had the chance to visit some of these restaurants with my friend Freya on Wednesday during a media preview event, and was pleasantly surprised by the diversity and the sense of community evident that night.

    Wild Heart Collective (the folks behind Eats on 118 and the 124 Grand Market) worked with the Beverly Business Improvement Area on developing the event. Wes Robson, the Executive Director of the BIA, said Beverly is an often forgotten part of Edmonton. That’s definitely been the case for me – I haven’t been back to the area since I visited the farmers’ market a few years ago (with a pit stop for doughnuts from Take 5). After the tour, I could easily see myself returning to spend an afternoon in Beverly, having lunch and picking up groceries and dessert to go.

    Beverly Dining Week

    Olde Towne Beverly

    Two of our stops highlighted the Ukrainian heritage of some of the original settlers in Beverly. Uncle Ed’s is a city institution, and one restaurant that has been on my to-visit list for ages. Collette Hennig, whose grandfather opened Mundare’s famous Stawnichy’s in 1959, is now the third generation to run the family business. Her daughter has recently been dipping her toe in operations as well, something that is great to hear.

    Although the first Edmonton location opened in 1986, the current iteration of Uncle Ed’s has been in Beverly for twelve years. The shop is split between a grocery store offering Stawnichy’s meat products and frozen goods, and a family-friendly restaurant serving up Ukrainian comfort food at very reasonable prices. Their Dining Week special is a sampler plate, featuring perogies, sausage, cabbage rolls, baked cheese bun, cheese crepe, and homemade pie for dessert. Based on our tastes of these items, I’ll be back for a full serving very soon.

    Beverly Dining Week

    The spread at Uncle Ed’s

    I hadn’t heard of Widynowski’s Sausage House prior to the tour, but it turns out they also have deep roots in Beverly, having been in operation there for 34 years. Tyler Hawryluk, whose father and uncle started Widynowski’s in 1984, has since taken over the business, and shared that everything in the shop is still hand made. They have a selection of sausages and jerky, in addition to frozen perogies, cabbage rolls, and other Ukrainian delicacies. The ham and garlic sausage we tried was delicious, and is included in the take-home bundle Widynowski’s has put together for their Dining Week deal.

    Beverly Dining Week

    Sausage at Widynowski’s

    We also sampled the fare from two more recent establishments. The first was Old Beverly Cafe, opened by Rachel and Michael Benti in January. Although the interior has been designed to resemble the mine shafts that recall the coal mining history of Beverly, the menu is much more eclectic. That night, we sampled poutine, paninis, and their Dining Week specials, bruschetta and a Mediterranean burger, with tzatziki atop a lamb patty.

    Beverly Dining Week

    Old Beverly Cafe

    It’s a cozy little spot that I wouldn’t have thought to encounter in Beverly, charming and quaint. Their breakfast menu looks particularly intriguing, with a breakfast poutine that I wouldn’t be able to pass up.

    Beverly Dining Week

    A sampling at Old Beverly Cafe

    Nalaz Kitchen is another newcomer to the neighbourhood, having opened in January. The couple behind the restaurant is originally from India, but the chef has extensive experience in international hotels and cruise ships, inspiring a menu they describe to feature “Indian flavours and Canadian tastes”.

    We sampled several of their savoury dishes, including a curry poutine, chicken tikka burger and fish and crisps. The spice level was tuned for more moderate palates, but everyone around our table enjoyed the plates. The highlight of the meal, however, was dessert – a red velvet waffle with cream cheese frosting that silenced the room. If one were to plan a food crawl in this area, Nalaz would be the ideal choice to end the evening.

    Beverly Dining Week

    Red velvet waffle at Nalaz Kitchen

    Swiss 2 Go is well-known to many in Edmonton for their scratch-made sandwiches. Originally from Switzerland, Drita Keller and her family moved to Edmonton in 2012, and opened up a small cafe in Beverly. Although they moved to a location across from West Edmonton Mall for a few years, Drita said they didn’t find the community they were hoping for and so, returned to Beverly again about three years ago.

    Drita is a consummate host, and warmly hugged each patron before we departed. It’s amazing she has the energy she does, given she starts working at 3:30am to ensure the shop is stocked with freshly baked pretzel buns each day. Given the foundation of a great sandwich is the bread, it’s no wonder why Swiss 2 Go has the reputation it does. The ingredients are fresh (the sandwich I tried featured prosciutto, salami, bocconcini, and sundried tomato), but it really is the pretzel bun, studded with rock salt, that sets is apart. During Dining Week, a select variety of their regular and large sandwiches are 20% off.

    Beverly Dining Week

    Sandwiches at Swiss 2 Go

    Their desserts, also handcrafted, were made for Instagram, served in a molded chocolate teacup.

    Beverly Dining Week

    Freya enjoys her “tea”

    While it probably helped that board members of the Beverly Business Improvement Area were among the group that night, we felt very welcome at each of the establishments we visited. Nearly all of the business owners mentioned that they felt a kinship with the community, and indicated that they felt well supported by the residents. Well, it’s about time that this well kept secret is shared with the rest of Edmonton!

    Thanks to Wild Heart and the Beverly BIA for a wonderful evening!

    Check the Beverly BIA website for more information about Olde Towne Beverly Dining Week.

    October 1st, 2018

    Food Notes for October 1, 2018

    • Those of you looking for a fully-prepared Thanksgiving meal are in luck: you can purchase a feast from several different vendors in Edmonton, including the Shaw Conference Centre and Sorrentino’s.
    • The Downtown Business Association is hosting the first annual Harvest Fest, with 17 restaurants offering menus featuring seasonally inspired ingredients. Harvest Fest runs October 11-14, 2018.
    • The next Dinner with Friends meal, hosted by the Friends of the Royal Alberta Museum Society, is taking place on October 25, 2018 at Tiffin Fresh Kitchen.
    • Click Dishes, an app that allows customers to pre-order food, has partnered with West Edmonton Mall to offer in-mall delivery services starting in mid-October.
    • Crema Espresso Bar will be opening up in Edmonton City Centre Mall.
    • New Neapolitan pizza chain Firecrust opened its first Edmonton-area branch in Sherwood Park this week, located at 210, 410 Baseline Road.
    • Congratulations to Little HK who made En Route’s list of Canada’s Best New Bars!
    • Great to see Chef Jiju Paul back in Edmonton, now leading the kitchens at the Edmonton Expo Centre.
    • The Star Edmonton published a feature on Siu To’s new green onion cake shop on 118 Avenue.
    • Have you been to Meuwly’s yet? Sharman provides an overview of what to expect.
    • Lydia offers a snapshot of new wine bar Partake.
    • The Globe posted a positive review of Kanto.
    • Crystal shared her experiences with four Edmonton delivery services – Skip the Dishes, Door Dash, Foodora, and Uber Eats.
    • Twyla recapped the second annual Prairie Grid dinner held in Edmonton last week.
    • Timothy Fu, the youngest contestant on The Great Canadian Baking Show from Edmonton, is still in the running.
    • The Bissell Centre is looking for votes to earn an Aviva grant to start a community kitchen.
    • I learned more about the vision behind Black Box Hospitality’s ambitious Gibbard Block project in Highlands. The Kickstarter campaign went live 10 days ago and has already reached 30% of its goal, but Nate Box and his team are hoping to raise $100,000 to help with financing costs. The three concepts include:
      • June’s Delicatessen, inspired by the Jewish delis encountered in the team’s travels to Toronto, Montreal, and New York. Scratch-made bagels will be on offer (and in fact, are already being served up at District).
      • Fox Burger, which will be helmed by Chef Sean O’Connor (formerly of Red Ox Inn). They will aim to be a family-friendly destination for great burgers of all types (vegetarian included!), and overindulgent, greasy spoon brunch on the weekends. The beer program will highlight great local craft breweries. Watch for “secret menu” items that those in the know can request. Chef O’Connor will be testing out the menu for the first time at a pop-up to be held at Salz on October 15, 2018. Follow their Instagram page for updates on how to snag a reservation!
      • Highlands Liquor, will be a fun and approachable liquor shop. As it will be the smallest of the three spaces, expect a highly curated selection.

    Black Box Hospitality

    Gibbard Block project by Black Box Hospitality

    • Mack, Emily, and I finally made it to the 124 Grand Market on Thursday! The weather was dreary but poutine from Drift helped to lift our spirits. With the imminent end of food truck season, Drift will be serving up their food at the Shamrock Curling Club in the winter.

    Drift

    Poutine from Drift

    • Mack and I celebrated our anniversary this weekend with a meal at The Marc. Everything was on point – the food was superb, and the service exceptional.

    The Marc

    Mushrooms on toast from The Marc

    September 26th, 2018

    Recap: FEASTival of Fine Chefs 2018

    In Edmonton, we are fortunate to have a diversity of culinary events to attend. While it sometimes seems like there are new tastings or markets popping up every weekend, other events can claim a long history, and have endured the whims of an ever-changing food community. The FEASTival of Fine Chefs, put on by the Alberta Food Processors Association, is one such example, celebrating its thirtieth year in 2018. Mack and I were fortunate to attend the event as guests last week alongside our friends Linda and Sharman.

    FEASTival of Fine Chefs

    FEASTival of Fine Chefs

    A showcase for Alberta products and a fundraiser for apprentice chefs, FEASTival pioneered the idea of the “black box” challenge. 24 hours before the event, participating chefs receive a hamper containing a variety of locally sourced produce, grains, pulses, and proteins which they have to transform into 4 different courses. Diners are given four vouchers that correspond with each course and a restaurant station number. The distinct aspect of this event, however, is that the station numbers change after each course, so guests end up with dishes from four different places. Linda captured her experience of this really well, but I will say this Russian roulette-style dinner was unique. It’s ideal for those with adventurous palates, and created a easy going atmosphere in the Shaw Conference Centre hall.

    FEASTival of Fine Chefs

    Our meal tickets

    There were a total of 17 participating restaurants this year. Because of the time and labour-intensive nature of the function, organizers shared that it is difficult for smaller establishments to participate. As a result, all of the restaurants were representing hotels, institutions, or chains. Still, event chair Chris Short maintains that FEASTival is a great opportunity for young chefs to challenge themselves, in addition to exposing them to the range of products available from home grown producers.

    FEASTival of Fine Chefs

    Chefs hard at work

    Before dinner, we whet our appetites by exploring the menus the restaurants had put together. Although I could extrapolate from the dishes what ingredients were provided in their black box, it would have been visually interesting to see what a sample hamper contained.

    FEASTival of Fine Chefs

    Plating perfection

    I was particularly impressed by the few who had an overall theme to their dishes (the Renaissance Hotel was inspired by Korean cuisine), or a fun display (the Royal Glenora had set up a big top tent complete with popcorn decorations and a spin-the-wheel game).

    FEASTival of Fine Chefs

    The Royal Glenora carnival

    Overall, I was pretty impressed by the food, and by circumstance, ended up with a fairly cohesive meal. My appetizer was prepared by the Highlands Golf Club; a birch-glazed bison short rib with a sweet potato purée and charred rutabaga. The meat was nicely tender, and I appreciated the pair of vegetables served together, as they complemented the other well.

    FEASTival of Fine Chefs

    Birch-glazed bison short rib

    I was delighted to see a soup course on the menu (Mack jokes that I could eat soup all day every day, and it’s true). Of the two I sampled, I preferred the roasted chicken mushroom consommé from Stages Kitchen & Bar. While it was on the salty side, I thought there was a lot of depth to the broth.

    FEASTival of Fine Chefs

    Roasted chicken mushroom consommé from Stages Kitchen & Bar

    My main course was prepared by the Royal Glenora Club. I very much enjoyed the spiced rack of boar, served with a curried cauliflower purée, cabbage, and northern bean cassoulet. At an event this size, I often find the meat to be overcooked, so I was pleasantly surprised that the boar was a perfect medium rare. In addition, the highlight of the plate for me was the flavourful bean cassoulet.

    FEASTival of Fine Chefs

    Spiced rack of boar from the Royal Glenora Club

    Most of the desserts around the table were chocolate-based. Considering the event’s local philosophy, I was expecting more dairy, egg, or fruit concoctions, but I recognize that chocolate is a crowd-pleaser. My dessert was a flourless chocolate cake from the Highlands Golf Club; it was a very rich way to end my meal.

    FEASTival of Fine Chefs

    Flourless chocolate cake from the Highlands Golf Club

    The event finished with a rousing bagpipe-led parade of chefs, providing diners with the opportunity to show their gratitude to those that had their hand in preparing the evening’s food.

    FEASTival of Fine Chefs

    Chefs’ parade

    Thanks again to the event organizers for a fun evening, and to Linda for inviting us to join her! Tickets for the 31st FEASTival of Fine Chefs next September will go on sale April 1, 2019.

    September 24th, 2018

    Food Notes for September 24, 2018

    • VegFest, a celebration of all things vegetarian and vegan, is scheduled for September 30, 2018 at the Ritchie Community Hall. Admission is free.
    • In anticipation of Olde Towne Beverly’s first Dining Week, Wild Heart has organized a preview tour on October 3, 2018 to sample some of the dishes that will be offered. Tickets are $40.
    • Kanu has delayed their opening to September 25, 2018.
    • The Black Box Hospitality Group (the folks behind Elm Cafe, District, and Little Brick), have announced the details of their exciting new project in Highlands. They’re working towards three concepts in the ground floor of the Gibbard Block (the building that house La Boheme) – a burger bar, a deli, and a liquor store. They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign in the hopes of raising $100,000 to cover financing costs. They were able to raise over $10,000 in their first day – it would be great to see them succeed!
    • Partake, the new wine bar from the folks behind Manor Cafe and Urban Diner, is now open at 12431 102 Avenue.
    • It’s great to see that the Green Onion Cake Man has opened a storefront at 118 Avenue and 91 Street!
    • Liane wrote a great piece on humble mom and pop shops serving meals in some of the city’s industrial areas.
    • DOSC received a positive review from the Journal.
    • Crystal found the brunch at Brazilian steakhouse newcomer Fumaca to be of good value.
    • Twyla was hoping the lunch and dinner menu at Wilfred’s would live up to their breakfasts.
    • Linda highlights a gem in the Alberta Avenue neighbourhood, Somali restaurant Mama Asha’s (if you go, make sure to try the coconut cake!).
    • Graham’s recent experience at Hardware Grill was less than perfect.
    • Congrats to Stump Kitchen, Chrissy Meets World, and Linda for being recognized by Vue Weekly’s Best of Edmonton in the food blog category!
    • The second annual Devour Canadian Rockies Food Film Festival will return to Jasper Park Lodge February 22-24, 2019. Sharman shares why she had such a great time at the inaugural event.
    • Farmers’ markets really are setting up shop in every corner of the city – the newest is the Airport Community Farmers’ Market, located at the Premium Outlets by EIA. They’re popping up on September 25 and October 2, 2018.
    • CBC rounded up some initiatives that are trying to tackle food insecurity in Edmonton, including Veg in YEG, a pay-what-you-can garden in Garneau, and Food4Good in Jasper Place.
    • Speaking of Food4Good, they will be hosting a bowling tournament in order to raise funds for the community food centre they have planned. Register your team of 4 for the event on October 21, 2018 at Plaza Bowl.
    • The cooler weather makes hot pot an ideal meal! It’s been some time since I’ve dined at 97 Hot Pot, so it was great to see that they’ve maintained the quality from previous visits. Lunch is priced at $14.95, which includes the soup base and six items. It was enough to feel full but not stuffed. I’ll definitely be back sooner than later!

    97 Hot Pot

    Lunch spread at 97 Hot Pot

    September 17th, 2018

    Food Notes for September 17, 2018

    • The McCauley Fall Fiesta will be taking place on September 22, 2018 in Giovanni Caboto Park, with a fall harvest market and a grape stomping competition, among other highlights.
    • The Moonlight Carnival, organized by the Chinatown Business Improvement Area returns on September 22, 2018. Activities include a mooncake making workshop.
    • NAIT is hosting the Indigenous Culinary Experience with Chef Shane Chartrand on September 29, 2018. Tickets for the five-course menu are $84 plus fees.
    • The first Edmonton Opera brunch of the season takes place at the Royal Glenora Club on September 30, 2018 with the cast of La Traviata. Tickets are $85 for adults.
    • Salz will play host to Oktoberfest Swine & Dine on October 2, 2018. Tickets for the three-course meal are $40.
    • The Rocky Mountain Wine and Food festival returns to the Shaw Conference Centre October 19-20, 2018.
    • Also from NAIT, Ernest’s is serving High Tea on October 27, 2018. Tickets are $43 plus fees.
    • Calgary-based Mountain Rhino Donuts, which serves gluten-free and vegan donuts, will pop-up again at Ben’s Meat and Deli on Saturday, September 22, 2018.
    • Kanu, the plant-based restaurant poised to make a splash, opens on September 24, 2018.
    • Speaking of plant-based, NAIT recently opened an all vegan eatery on campus called Square Root.
    • Vivo will be opening a location in Sherwood Park at #340, 550 Baseline Road.
    • It seems to be a bit of a trend that food truck operators are connecting with local concession stands for the winter months. Great to see that Preserve Food Truck is the latest to do so, moving into the Jasper Place Curling Club.
    • Chain Pretzelmaker is the latest pretzel brand to launch in Edmonton, with a joint Mrs. Fields Bakehouse kiosk at West Edmonton Mall.
    • Chutney’s, an Edmonton-based quick-serve Indian food restaurant is opening a location in Vancouver.
    • Did you know the story behind Bubble Cream? It was started by a current University of Alberta engineering student and two recent graduates.
    • Toronto-based Gryfe’s Bagels, served at the Rooster Cafe, are now also available at Cookie Love.
    • Graham praises DOSC’s “craft steakhouse” menu.
    • Crystal wrote a pair of reviews of Awake Coffee House and St. Albert’s Riverbank Bistro.
    • Vue Weekly posted a glowing review of Uccellino.
    • Twyla took a culinary tour through Mill Woods, with stops at Irie Foods, Yummy Chicken, and Prime Time Donair.
    • Explore Edmonton lists their picks for the best independent family-friendly eateries in the city.
    • Three Edmonton-area bakers will be featured on the second season of the Great Canadian Baking Show.
    • Your support of local farms can continue into the winter, as the Old Strathcona and City Market continue indoors, but Riverbend Gardens offers an alternative with their winter community supported agriculture shares.
    • Kudos to the hearty volunteers with the Downtown Edmonton Community League that braved the conditions for Corn Fest on Saturday. The weather definitely made the hot corn all that more satisfying.

    Corn Fest 2018

    Enjoying corn at Alex Decoteau Park

    September 12th, 2018

    Recap: Urban Beekeeping Tour at MacEwan University

    Did you know that Downtown Edmonton is abuzz with urban beekeeping? While I was aware of the hives at the Shaw Conference Centre and Hotel Macdonald, I didn’t know that MacEwan University started a similar program in 2016. At the end of August, I attended a free tour of their hives to learn more.

    Kerstyn Lane of MacEwan’s Office of Sustainability led the tour. We started outside, and learned about solitary pollinators, a vital but less often discussed group of pollinators. While most people are familiar with social bees that live in colonies, of the 300 species of bees that reside in Alberta, most are actually solitary bees. To help these bees, many organizations in Edmonton, including MacEwan University, are erecting bee hotels, which provide tunnels for the insects to lay their eggs in. The Edmonton & Area Land Trust has been promoting this as a way to help urban pollinators thrive, and has tips on how to build your own bee hotel, and a map of more than two dozen existing hotels in the city.

    MacEwan Urban Beekeeping Tour

    MacEwan’s bee hotel

    From there, the group moved onto the third floor of MacEwan’s Building 5. From the windows of a classroom, we were able to observe the resident beekeeper Troy Donovan and his assistant Liam as they tended to the rooftop hives. It was certainly a sight to see, with the hives in the shadow of Rogers Place and the new Ice District skyscrapers.

    MacEwan Urban Beekeeping Tour

    MacEwan’s rooftop hives

    The first of MacEwan’s four hives were installed in May 2016, and they have since grown to six hives. Troy (whose full time gig is actually in the University’s eLearning office) is able to monitor the temperature and the humidity of the hives through a bluetooth sensor. This is helpful particularly at this time of year as they are readying the hives for winter.

    MacEwan Urban Beekeeping Tour

    Resident beekeeper Troy Donovan

    He also showed us the plastic flow frames they use, which allow them to collect honey directly from individual frames as opposed to the more traditional method involving a centrifuge. They’re able to fill a 2L jar in just 20 minutes!

    MacEwan continues to harvest more and more honey each year – from 80 pounds that first year to 300 pounds in 2017. This year, they’re expecting to bring in 600 pounds. The honey is currently used by Food Services, and we were invited to purchase honey at the end of the tour. MacEwan Honey isn’t yet consistently available at the on-campus store, but will be at some point in the future. The next opportunity to pick up this local treat will be at the upcoming Harvest Fair on November 6, 2018.

    MacEwan Urban Beekeeping Tour

    MacEwan Honey

    Because of the cooler temperatures, Kerstyn wasn’t certain that any more free beekeeping tours would be scheduled for this year. However, for those keen to check out all three Downtown hives before the snow flies, MacEwan is organizing an urban beekeeping tour by bike on September 26, 2018 (tickets are $20 for the general public).

    Thanks again to MacEwan for offering this opportunity!

    September 10th, 2018

    Food Notes for September 10, 2018

    It certainly feels like fall outside! And while it is my favourite season, it did seem to come much too soon. On to this week’s food notes:

    • The ninth annual Bacon Day Collaboration, hosted at Workshop Eatery, takes place September 15, 2018. 100% of the ticket sales will be donated to Youth Empowerment and Social Services. Tickets are $95, and include bacon-inspired food, two drinks, and a vote in their “tag team steel caged dessert battle royale”.
    • The next affordable Fruit & Veggie sale hosted by Food 4 Good will be taking place on September 25, 2018.
    • The Harvest Room at the Hotel Macdonald will be hosting a special Honey Harvest Dinner on September 27, 2018, featuring honey collected from their own hives. Tickets start at $55.
    • Save the date for Olde Towne Beverly’s first ever Dining Week, planned for October 5-13, 2018. Seven area restaurants are participating.
    • The Gold Medal Plates has been rebranded to Canada’s Great Kitchen Party. They will stop in Edmonton on October 17, 2018 at the Shaw Conference Centre. Tickets are $350, and as in the past, go towards supporting Canada’s elite amateur athletes.
    • This year’s LitFest Food Matters will be hosted by Liane Faulder and feature the authors behind Food Artisans of Alberta and Women Who Dig. The event will take place October 20, 2018. Tickets are $45, and include food and wine samples.
    • Partake, the new wine bar from the folks behind Manor Bistro, is set to open soon at 12431 102 Avenue (formerly La Favourite).
    • Al Centro, a Roman-style pizzeria yet to open at 99 Street & Jasper Avenue, is hosting a Da Capo pop-up in the meantime.
    • Whistler-based Green Moustache is the latest plant-based restaurant to land in Edmonton. They are now open at 11416 Jasper Avenue.
    • There’s a new coffee roaster in town called The Grizzlar Coffee and Records (10557 109 Street).
    • Louisiana Purchase has opened a second location on the north side, at 13503 St. Albert Trail.
    • Rostizado has introduced a new lunch menu to entice diners, which now includes a Latin-style hamburger.
    • Sorrentino’s annual Mushroom Harvest runs the month of September, with mushroom features on the menu at all locations. Graham has a preview of dishes to expect.
    • Bloom hopes their storefront bakery will be open by mid-October.
    • Tech Life shares the story behind Destination Doughnuts, and what sets their treats apart.
    • Crystal checked out Blowers & Grafton.
    • The Journal reviewed London Local.
    • Linda has become a regular at 124 Street’s Nuovo Bistro.
    • Lillian wanted to highlight a neighbourhood gem in Crestwood’s Cafe Blackbird.
    • Sharman recapped the recent Taste Alberta Prairie on the Plate dinner at Hotel Macdonald.
    • Down south, the Calgary Farmers’ Market announced a second 50,000 square feet location to open in the northwest community of Greenwich in 2020.
    • Mack and I took advantage of what seemed like the last patio-appropriate day this weekend and dined at Viphalay. I do enjoy their pad Thai!

    Viphalay

    Pad Thai from Viphalay

    • There’s something about mobile coffee carts that I love, and you won’t come across one cuter than How U Bean. We paid a visit to them this afternoon, while they were parked near the Alberta Legislature. They use beans from local company Roasti, and I appreciated that they offer decaf London fogs. Check them out while the weather is still somewhat cooperative!

    How U Bean

    How U Bean

    September 3rd, 2018

    Food Notes for September 3, 2018

    • The 4th annual “In the Spirit” of Festival Place takes place September 13, 2018. Expect drinks tastings, appetizers, and entertainment. Tickets are $65.
    • The Alberta Food Processors Association is hosting its annual FEASTival of Fine Chefs on September 19, 2018. The event is centered around a black box of ingredients that chefs have 24 hours to transform into a dish. Attendees are treated to a total of 4 of these dishes. Tickets are $150.
    • This is such a great story, shared by Julie Rohr – one of the Syrian refugees her church sponsored has opened a shop just a year and a half after arriving in Canada. It’s called Alqitta Nuts at 12130 161 Avenue, and offers freshly-roasted nuts and coffee (done without any oils), just like he had done back home.
    • A Scandinavian pub called Three Vikings will be moving into the space recently vacated by Daravara on 124 Street.
    • Filistix announced that they are closing their kiosks at MacEwan University.
    • Northern Chicken is now serving brunch! The menu looks great.
    • Edmonton Made covers the rise of ice cream businesses in the city over the last few years.
    • Great to see The Colombian showcased in this month’s issue of Avenue.
    • Avenue has the details on a number of new breweries opening soon in Edmonton, including Omen Brewing, Ale Architect, and Polar Park Brewing.
    • Graham was impressed by the food at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
    • Siu To, the creator of green onion cakes in Edmonton, will be teaching classes of how to make the addictive cakes through Get Cooking. Linda is giving away two tickets to an upcoming class on September 21, 2018.
    • Avenue highlights the work of culinary documentarian Kevin Kossowan, and features some chefs that are as comfortable in a garden as they are in the kitchen.
    • Have you heard about the #tipthebillchallenge, where diners tip 100% of the bill?
    • Should cities put limits on where drive-thru restaurants can be located? New research suggests there could be benefits to doing so.
    • The New York Times checks out some innovative grocery stores, including Nada, a Vancouver-based shop that offers packaged-free bulk food.
    • I met up with some friends at Bodega Highlands for brunch over the weekend. It was nice to have the full brunch menu to order from (unlike at the 124 Street location). The tortilla espanola was very generously sized, with two pieces of chicken served atop a Spanish potato omelette.

    Bodega Highlands

    The tortilla espanola from Bodega Highlands

    • We ended our visit to the neighbourhood with some end of summer soft serve from Be-a-Bella.

    Untitled

    Sprinkle cone from Be-a-Bella