February 11th, 2019

Food Notes for February 11, 2019

Peters’ Drive-In Coming to Edmonton

There will be no need to head to Calgary for your burger and milkshake fix – the family favourite Peters’ Drive-In will be opening an Edmonton outpost between Calgary Trail and Gateway Boulevard at 51st Avenue some time later this year or early 2020. Peters’ Drive-In added a Red Deer location back in 2015.

Openings

  • Keep an eye out on Iconoclast Coffee’s Twitter account – they’re set to soft open this week. Their new location is in the Oliver Exchange building at #103, 12021 102 Avenue.
  • Cinnaholic is adding a second Edmonton location in Old Strathcona at 10345 Whyte Avenue. They plan to open February 22, 2019, and as they did with their downtown shop, will again be offering $1 cinnamon rolls from 10am-2pm that day.
  • Whimsical Cupcakes has relocated from Garneau to Old Strathcona, doubling their store size at 8211 102 Street.
  • A new fish and chips chain called C-Lovers Fish and Chips opened at 4121 139 Avenue in January.

Closures

  • Some of you may know that Manor Cafe will be closing in April – but it seems not without a bang. They’re offering some great deals on their way out – $12 schnitzel on Tuesdays, $19 charcuterie for 2 on Wednesdays, $12 burgers on Thursdays, and their famous nasi goreng for $18 on Sundays.

Upcoming Events

  • Nomiya is collaborating with Calgary restaurant Eats of Asia to present a 5-course dinner on February 26, 2019. Tickets are $80, and include a sake pairing.
  • The annual potluck celebration of Chef Gail Hall’s life is taking place on March 13, 2019 (her birthday). The $20 collected per ticket goes towards the Chef Gail Fund.

Reviews

Local News

Urban Agriculture and Farming

What I Ate

  • Mack and I had breakfast at Lockstock Coffee early in the week. We don’t go often, but when we do, I’m reminded of just how much I enjoy their breakfast sandwich.

Lockstock Coffee

Lockstock sandwich with egg, bacon, on a house-made English muffin

  • We were also able to get away for a lunch date at Pho Tau Bay. Nothing calls for soup like a cold snap.

Tau Bay

My usual at Tau Bay

  • We took Emily to the Silver Skate Festival for the first time! Thanks to Bottom Line Productions, we were provided with some tickets to sample the fare offered at Spirits on Ice. Among the food we tried was the pork belly on rice from Formosa Bistro. Although Spirits on Ice ran just this past weekend, Silver Skate goes until February 18, 2019.

Formosa Bistro

Pork belly on rice from Formosa Bistro

February 4th, 2019

Food Notes for February 4, 2019

Campus Food Delivery Now Available

As a testament to the age we live in now – food delivery is now available at MacEwan University and the University of Alberta. StudentsEat, a company founded by MacEwan students, offers delivery to people on campus from partner restaurants on-site and from those within a one kilometer radius. They will soon be expanding to NAIT and NorQuest College.

Openings

  • The Downtown location of Nello’s is now open at 11520 100 Avenue.
  • Iconoclast Coffee’s branch in the Oliver Exchange building at 12019A 102 Avenue is opening this week.
  • Also in the Oliver Exchange building, Brio Bakery has announced that they will open their doors on February 14, 2019.
  • Cartago’s sister deli in Forest Heights has a name: Fleisch.
  • American chain Church’s Chicken is coming to Edmonton.

Closures

Reviews

Local News

  • 24-carat gold rose sparkling wine lollipops from Fort Saskatchewan-based Sumptuous Lollies will be included in the swag bags at the Grammy Awards.
  • At Ice on Whyte this weekend, the Hotel Macdonald and Ampersand 27 took home the judges’ and people’s choice awards for their stew creations.
  • Chef Paul Shufelt continues to be worried about the challenges restaurant face in this economy.
  • SPUD has launched the Be Fresh Marketplace, a “digital platform for local artisans, small shops and independent grocers to sell online with consolidated delivery.” At present, in Edmonton, only some products from the Italian Centre are available on the website.
  • Ian Gladue, who some may know from his Native Delights food truck, also sells traditional Indigenous dry meat under the name Pȃnsȃwȃn. It is available at all Sobeys and Safeway stores.
  • Food delivery has even spread to MacEwan University through a delivery service called Students Eat, and will soon be available at NAIT and NorQuest College.
  • How did Drift come to reach the success they’ve achieved to date? A piece in The Business Link blog tracks their ups and down since they launched the food truck.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

Beyond Edmonton

  • In Calgary, the food scene is shifting to fast casual establishments, including meals served in food halls, such as the newly-opened Avenida Food Hall and Fresh Market.
  • Tim Horton’s will start selling a double-double coffee bar this fall (it contains no actual chocolate).

What I Ate

  • I was invited to the launch of Local Public Eatery’s new burger last week. The company’s chefs brainstormed their favourite qualities in a burger, and The Local Burger was the result. It is made up of a brioche bun, two grilled, hand-pressed patties, American cheese, caramelized onions, tomato, lettuce, and sexy sauce (with the key ingredient being liquid smoke). It was a satisfying burger to be sure – thanks to Local Jasper Avenue for hosting me!

Local Jasper Avenue

The Local Burger at Local Public Eatery

  • Padmanadi is becoming one of my go-to places to take Emily for lunch – the staff are always welcoming, and the space easily accommodates a stroller. I met up with some friends there last week and warmed up over some curry vermicelli soup.

Untitled

Curry vermicelli soup from Padmanadi

  • Over the weekend, Mack and I took Emily to RGE RD, one of our favourite restaurants. We were delighted to learn that they are more baby-friendly now, offering high chairs and a change table. The food and hospitality was top-rate, as always, and Emily enjoyed herself too!

RGE RD

Kitchen board from RGE RD

    January 31st, 2019

    Details Matter: Aarde

    It goes without saying that in leaner economic times, restaurants need to be even more competitive, and distinguish themselves with memorable experience to ensure repeat visits. A meal at one of Edmonton’s newest eateries, Aarde, left me wondering if they will be able to stand out amongst the increasingly crowded dining scene Downtown.

    Mack and I happen to live in the same building as Aarde, and after seeing multiple tenant turnovers and long vacancies in the ground floor space, really want the restaurant to be successful (it is an unfortunate reality that there is a glut of prime, empty streetfront retail bays Downtown). Aarde, which means “earth” in Dutch, opened in November. It was opened by Chef Guru Singh who wanted to bring the best of the European dishes he sampled to Edmonton.

    I like the aesthetics of Aarde – neutrals, clean but modern furniture, and some plant accents. The layout of the tables doesn’t necessarily maximize the space, but I appreciated some room to breathe. That night it didn’t matter though, as we were just one of two parties that late Sunday evening in December.

    Aarde

    Interior

    After we were seated, my first impressions weren’t positive – the candle on our table was left unlit, and dried leaves that had fallen from a nearby plant had been left on the floor unswept. Although these were small details, and perhaps not intentionally careless, it communicated an ambivalence that felt surprising for a brand new restaurant. It’s also strange to me that Aarde has yet to adopt (even now, in January) any signage indicating that they are, in fact, open – the closest they’ve come is putting out a sandwich board advertising weekend brunches served from 10am-2pm.

    With some guidance from the server, Mack and I decided to share four dishes. The roasted potatoes ($11) were a pretty standard dish, but ended up being our favourite – perfectly cooked, with a nice level of spice in the aioli.

    Aarde

    Roasted potatoes

    Mack wished we had been told beforehand that the confit leeks and tomato ($10) were served cold. While the ricotta date stuffing was enjoyable, we found that the leeks themselves were tough and hard to eat.

    Aarde

    Confit leeks and tomato

    The bacalao fritters ($14) weren’t quite executed as well as they could have; the batter tasted almost gristly in texture, though the fish within was well seasoned. The dry mango powder, which sounded interesting on the menu description, was not discernable.

    Aarde

    Bacalao fritters

    The presentation of the beef ribs ($24) left something to be desired. That said, we liked the charred cabbage bits, and the creamy celeriac, but what should have been the star of the plate was not fall-off-the-bone tender as we would have expected.

    Aarde

    Beef ribs

    We’ve found that chefs at most chef-owned restaurants make their presence known, especially in the early days. So Chef Singh’s absence was even more conspicuous that evening. While I’m not certain it would have made up for an overall disappointing meal, it was evident that more care and oversight was needed in the kitchen and the dining room. I have heard more positive things about Aarde’s brunch, however, and with the restaurant being so close to home, I do want to give it another chance. Only time will tell if the dining public feels it is a worthy addition to the food scene.

    Aarde
    10184 104 Street
    (587) 881-7891

    January 28th, 2019

    Food Notes for January 28, 2019

    Two Food Halls Opening Soon in Edmonton

    Beljan Development, the company behind the Crawford Block (home of Holy Roller, El Cortez, and Have Mercy), and Oliver Exchange (soon to house Brio Bakery, Culina Grab and Go, and Iconoclast Coffee), is working on bringing the trendy food hall concept to Edmonton. They’re planning to include food halls in the redevelopment of the Strathcona Hotel and the YMCA building downtown, with the latter, called Williams Hall, set to open in Fall 2019.

    Openings

    • Jack’s Sandwich Shack has replaced Ong Hanoi Style Fried Chicken at 15 Perron Street in St. Albert.
    • Signage just went up announcing Ice District locations for Guru and Delux Burger Bar at the base of the Edmonton Tower.

    Upcoming Events

    • The next Swine and Dine will be held at Salz on February 11, 2019. Tickets for the three-course menu are $40.
    • The annual Winefest returns to the Shaw Conference Centre on February 15-16, 2019. Tickets to the all-inclusive event start at $87.
    • NAIT is hosting their inaugural Cook, Butcher & Baker Food Competition Showcase on February 23, 2019, featuring the top students from the Department of Culinary Arts & Professional Food Studies. Tickets are $50.
    • The wildly popular medicinal plant walks with herbalist Robert Rogers always sell out – tickets for his events on July 9 and August 7, 2019 are available on EventBrite through The Local Good for $60.

    Reviews

    Local News

    • Chef Steven Brochu is leaving Chartier in February to helm his own cafeteria and catering operation.
    • There’s a new brewery tour in town: Canadian Craft Tours, who leads tours in BC and Calgary, is launching brewery tours in Edmonton.
    • Speaking of beer, The Local Good has a great resource mapping out establishments who have at least 40% of their taps devoted to Alberta beers.
    • Star Metro published a piece about a ghost kitchen operating in Edmonton, though I’m not sure it’s the first – after it closes its doors to public in mid-February, Solstice Seasonal Cuisine will still be offering food through delivery apps.
    • The latest webisode of Fast Food features The Commodore’s Chef Megan Gee and her kimchi fried rice.
    • Send a sweet gift that will also benefit charity: Bloom Cookies will be offering Cookie-Grams for Valentine’s Day, with $5 from each $28 box going towards the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton. On a related note the Local Good recently profiled Bloom.
    • The most recent NextGen vlog highlights Cafe Linnea.
    • Sylvia Cheverie from Chartier is interviewed on this week’s episode of Let’s Do Coffee, a podcast about entrepreneurship.

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    • The Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association is offering an Introductory Fruit Production workshop, all about fruit production and its economics in Alberta. Tickets are $50.

    Beyond Edmonton

    • The new Canada Food Guide has finally been released. For the most part, the reviews have been positive, and I’m a fan of the healthy eating habits included along with the food guidelines (here’s one opinion, from Food Network chef Laura Caulder).
    • CBC’s Great Canadian Baking Show is accepting applications for their third season. The deadline to apply is March 10, 2019.

    What I Ate

    • Congratulations to Cora’s who officially opened their downtown Edmonton location on Wednesday, located at 10041 106 Street (in the Days Inn). Emily and I were happy to be part of the festivities!

    Cora's

    Enjoying our Cora’s breakfast

    • I’m always happy to see more ramen options available in the core, so I had to try Jang’s version, available on their lunch menu. I loved the miso beef broth, and of course, the house-made noodles were perfect, as would be expected from the sister restaurant to Nudoru.

    Jang

    Gyu ramen from Jang

    • Mack and I found ourselves near the University of Alberta today, and took advantage of this proximity to check out the (no longer new) digs of Filistix in the Students’ Union Building. Their food always hits the spot, and I’m looking forward to their downtown location opening later this year (they’re hoping for April).

    Filistix

    Comfort food from Filistix

    • Chinatown Dining Week came to a close over the weekend. Mack and I snuck in one more meal at Padmanadi – it was a happy coincidence that my favourite dish (the ginger beef) made it onto the menu! If you attended Chinatown Dining Week this year, please consider filling in this survey – the results will help with the planning of future events. Thank you!

    Padmanadi

    Curry chicken and ginger beef at Padmanadi

    January 23rd, 2019

    The K-Wave Continues: Gangnam Street Food

    Back in 2017, I noted in my year end wrap-up that Korean eateries were making their presence in Edmonton known. What was particularly impressive was the range of establishments that were opening – mainstream-friendly Korean Fried Chicken and Korean BBQ joints, but also bingsu (Korean shaved ice) dessert bars, Korean soup restaurants and anju (food to accompany alcohol).

    A year later, Culinaire Magazine published a piece further categorizing the variety of Korean cuisine available in Edmonton and Calgary, which has continued to grow. In fact, a new restaurant specializing in Korean street food is set to open tomorrow, January 24, 2019.

    Gangnam Street Food is situated in a south side strip mall on 34 Avenue. It is also known as “K-Mall”, in recognition of its cluster of Korean businesses, including bingsu place Let Eat Snow and the newly-opened grocer A-Mart. Gangnam Street Food is the brainchild of the folks behind Dookbaeki and Baekjeong, so they’re already somewhat familiar with Edmontonians’ appetite for Korean cuisine, but this concept brings the team back to their youth.

    Gangnam Street Food will offer inexpensive dishes found in Korea that are popular with young people; quick handheld bites picked up after school, or before a night out. Dishes will be priced from $4-9, so for the price of one main elsewhere, diners can easily sample several plates. The restaurant is primarily set up for those looking for take-out, but there are also about 30 seats to eat in. In addition, their menu will be available on Skip the Dishes.

    Two weeks ago, I was among a small group that was invited to preview Gangnam Street Food. We were able to try 7 of the dishes (though there will be more on the full menu).

    Gangnam Street Food

    Part of our spread

    It’s no surprise that the deep-fried items we sampled were the most crowd-pleasing overall; they would easily appeal to those unfamiliar with Korean cuisine. The Korean-style hot dog features a wiener wrapped in mozzarella cheese and house-made dough, then fried. It fared best when eaten right away (which I had failed to do), but I still enjoyed the concept.

    Gangnam Street Food Edmonton

    Korean style hot dog

    Similarly, the Dak-gang-jung, or deep-fried boneless and breaded chicken, was straightforward and tasty. Here, it was served with honey mustard sauce, though there were spicier dips available on the counter for those keen for more heat.

    Gangnam Street Food Edmonton

    Dak-gang-jung

    Gangnam Street Food’s version of Dduck bo kki, was plenty hot for me; the rice and fish cakes were stir-fried with a spicy sauce. When I was first introduced to this dish in Korea years ago, I always opted for the more pedestrian version on menus, so just for the reason of my personal preference, this was my least favourite dish.

    Gangnam Street Food Edmonton

    Dduck bo kki

    In addition to the hot dog, skewers also make an appearance as an easy-to-eat meat on a stick. That night, we tried two of their kkochi (skewer). Both were charcoal-grilled, but the chicken was basted in a Korean Bulgogi sauce, while the pork belly had been brushed with a house-made “super spicy sauce”. The portions here were on the smaller side, but would be ideal for those just looking for a snack-sized amount of meat.

    Gangnam Street Food Edmonton

    Kkochi

    The spam and sausage cup-bap was the full meal deal. Rice was layered with ham, sausage, stir-fried kimchi, bean sprouts, corn, lettuce, and a pan-fried egg. This dish will be very familiar to those who have frequented standard Korean restaurants, albeit in a smaller serving. It was satisfying enough, and helped balance out some of the heavier courses.

    Gangnam Street Food Edmonton

    Ham and sausage cup-bap

    For dessert, we sampled the Ho dduck, a Korean-style pancake with melted cinnamon and sugar filling, served hot. This was also a favourite of the night, unsurprising given the classic flavours, but notable for the dense and doughy texture of the pancake itself. We were told this was perhaps the most difficult recipe to develop, though I can say it was worth their time – I will be returning in the future for seconds!

    Gangnam Street Food Edmonton

    Ho dduck

    It’s great to see how the Korean food scene continues to evolve and mature in our city, and Gangnam Street Food is certainly poised to help introduce another facet of this diverse cuisine to Edmontonians. Thanks again for having me (and for the very generous $100 in gift cards to their “family” of businesses). Best of luck with the opening!

    Gangnam Street Food
    #15, 9261 34 Avenue
    (780) 244-0148
    Monday-Sunday 11am-9pm

    January 21st, 2019

    Food Notes for January 21, 2019

    The Plight of Kitchen Labour

    Chef Paul Shufelt of Workshop Eatery used his latest column in the Edmonton Sun last week to discuss the challenges faced by cooks trying to make a respectable wage: “Our system is broken, those that tell you otherwise are lying. Sadly though, until we all agree to change the way we do business…talented young cooks will continue to give up, in pursuit of something a little more financially rewarding.” He was also interviewed on Global Edmonton about his thoughts on chef compensation.

    Openings

    • A new bubble tea chain from China called Heeretea has opened in Old Strathcona, at 11116 82 Avenue.
    • A location of the chain Delicious Pho is now open in the MNP Tower (101 Street & 102 Avenue).
    • The Raymond Block at Whyte Avenue and 105 Street will soon house a Blaze Pizza and Five Guys, but another location of Remedy Cafe will open on February 2, 2019. The location will include a chai brewery.
    • More of a re-opening – Austrian restaurant The Bauernschmaus is open again after a renovation.

    Upcoming Events

    • La Poutine Week is returning on February 1-7, 2019, providing an opportunity for participating restaurants to showcase a signature poutine. While it claims to be a national event, representation throughout Canada is spotty, with Winnipeg actually claiming the quantitative crown.
    • Are you interested in opening a microbrewery? The City of Edmonton is hosting a free information session on February 12, 2019 that will include reps from AGLC.
    • NAIT is hosting a Junior Chefs’ Valentine’s Dinner on February 12, 2019. Tickets for the 3-course meal are $65.
    • Motley Que Barbeque is hosting an Introduction to BBQ class on March 10, 2019. Tickets start at $110.
    • Hot Chefs Cool Beats is returning after a hiatus. It will take place on April 25, 2019 at the Mosaic Centre. Early bird tickets are priced at $125 and are available until February 1, 2019. I attended the inaugural event back in 2012.

    Reviews

    Local News

    What I Ate

    • I had to hit up at least one Chinatown Dining Week restaurant this weekend! Su and I met up at Fuqing Lanzhou Noodles on Friday, and found it to be a full house by the time we left! We really enjoyed their hand-pulled noodles, nestled among the beef cubes and broth. Chinatown Dining Week runs until January 27, 2019.

    Fuqing Lanzhou Noodles

    Noodles, beef cubes and beef bone soup at Fuqing Lanzhou Noodles

    January 17th, 2019

    Segway Fun: Exploring the Legislature Lights with River Valley Adventure Company

    My first taste of riding a Segway came six years ago, when we partnered up with River Valley Adventure Company for our pop-up Blink: Urban Picnic event held in Louise McKinney Park. During that event, the owner of the company, Chris Szydlowski, gave our attendees mini lessons on Segways, which they were using to lead tours on the area’s trails. I was only able to try the Segway for a few minutes, but I remember not feeling all that comfortable on the vehicle.

    Fast forward to now: River Valley Adventure Company is not only leading tours in green spaces, but starting last year, they also began hosting the Legislature Lights Adventure! The 60-minute tour combines a few of my favourite things – Mack and I are frequent visitors to the grounds during the holidays, as we find that the lights and music create a magical effect. Also, being that he is a very passionate Edmontonian, Chris delights in being able to share fun and interesting facts about the area throughout the journey. He invited us to experience the Adventure for ourselves last Friday.

    We met him in the visitor parking lot south of the Terrace Building, where he had positioned three Segways. Because neither Mack or I were experienced Segway riders, Chris added a 30-minute introduction clinic to get us started.

    Legislature Lights Segway Tour

    Chris Szydlowski

    It was the mark of a great teacher, because after that lesson, I felt surprisingly confident on the Segway. I had been afraid of tipping or losing control of the machine, but with his expert instructions, I was able to trust in using what I had learned to ride, stop, and safely disembark the Segway.

    Something I should have done was listened to his advice on layering up for the conditions! He had recommended dressing like we were “headed for the mountains”, but at -8C that evening, we didn’t think it was necessary. However, at times, when we were cruising along at the top speed of 20km/hour, it was a bit more biting than what we are used to as pedestrians. Our feet, in spite of not standing directly on the cold pavement, also could have used proper snow boots.

    Chris shared that in its second year, the Legislature Lights Adventure had already more than doubled its bookings when compared with the previous year. And while many who have attended the tour have been from out of town, some were playing tourist in their own home. Certainly for us, we learned many facts that we did not know – Chris took us to the spot (commemorated by a plaque) that was the home to one of the previous Fort Edmontons. In addition, we found out that the domed fountain that operates in the summer is actually an exact sized replica of the Legislature’s dome!

    Legislature Lights Segway Tour

    Holiday lights at the Legislature

    Chris told us that Edmonton is one of the most Segway-friendly cities in Canada; the vehicles are permitted on city sidewalks. It so happened that our tour coincided with rush hour, so for our brief trek up Capital Boulevard to admire the public art, Chris was adept at guiding us to cross streets safely and warning pedestrians of our presence with a bike bell.

    Legislature Lights Segway Tour

    On Capital Boulevard

    For those hoping to document their experience, Chris makes sure to build in a number of photo opportunities along the way. As we started in the late afternoon, the lights didn’t have as dark of a backdrop to shine against. The public tours are offered later in the evening, however, so would be adventurers needn’t worry!

    Legislature Lights Segway Tour

    Our favourite vantage point at the Legislature

    Overall, the tour was a fun way to explore one of my favourite places Downtown, and one that I would highly recommend! Thanks again to Chris for the invitation to experience the Legislature grounds on a unique set of two wheels.

    The Legislature Lights Adventure is available until January 31, 2019.

    January 14th, 2019

    Food Notes for January 14, 2019

    Edmonton’s First Multi-Day Indoor Farmers’ Market

    The discussion about the need for a year-round multi-day farmers’ market in our city has been going on for years. Calgary has several such markets (we’ll leave their tendency to be a one-stop produce shop aside for the time being), but neither the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market or the City Market have been able to meet this demand. Enter a new player: Bountiful Markets, to be located on the south side at 3696 97 Street. Features include an ethnic food hall and space for 140 vendors. Riverbend Gardens has already signed on as a tenant. They hope to open in May or June of 2019.

    Openings

    • Pink Gorilla Pizzeria, which took over the former Parkallen Restaurant at 7018 109 Street, opened over the weekend. It’s the second restaurant from Mark Bellows and Ryan Brodziak of The Local Omnivore. The Journal has a preview of some of the pizzas available.
    • Also on the pizza front, Artisti Pizzeria opened in Holland Plaza last week at 11998 109A Avenue.
    • Al Centro opened its doors over the weekend, with soft opening hours continuing this week. Find them at 9888 Jasper Avenue.
    • Amore Pasta’s downtown location at 10235 101 Street in the MNP Tower opened today! They had to delay their opening a week due to mechanical issues.
    • A new coffee shop in Jagare Ridge called Caffiend Coffee is opening on January 18, 2019 at 14132 28 Avenue SW.
    • Gangnam Street Food has delayed their opening to January 24, 2019. Lydia has a photolog of what to expect.
    • Nello’s in St. Albert is opening a location in downtown Edmonton in the space formerly occupied by his father’s restaurant, Il Pasticcio (11520 100 Avenue). Some may remember back in 2013, Nello’s tried their hand at a space in Grandin (now The Butternut Tree), but was unsuccessful.
    • The brewpub that will open in the former Characters space now has a name: Campio Brewing.
    • Ritchie has developed into a hot neighbourhood for new food shops over the past two years. Another business to join the fray – Kind Ice Cream, which will offer small batch ice cream (including vegan options). They hope to open in the spring.

    Closures

    • Solstice Seasonal Cuisine is closing on February 16, 2019. The owners are looking into opening a new concept in the space by the end of the year, but in the meantime, Solstice will still be offering their food via Skip the Dishes, and use the restaurant as an event space.
    • The downtown location of the Three Amigos has closed.

    Upcoming Events

    Reviews

    Local News

    • The Journal covered Chinatown Dining Week, which runs January 17-27, 2019.
    • In case you missed it, The Yards selected the winners for their forth annual Best in the Core awards, which features many hidden and not-so-hidden gems in Downtown and Oliver.
    • Chef Ben Staley’s previous restaurant Alder Room was featured in Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery, a “guide to the world’s truly exemplary, organic, sustainable, and ethical restaurants”.
    • Love Pizza has opened up their business to franchise partners.
    • The latest webisode of Fast Food features Filistix’s Ariel Del Rosario’s chicken and pork adobo.
    • Chef Steve Buzak of the Royal Glenora Club placed second along with his teammate in an international ice carving competition in Harbin, China.
    • The newest episode of The Edmonton Community Foundation’s Well Endowed Podcast features an interview with Jon Hall and Twyla Campbell. They discuss the biography of Chef Gail Hall that they published late last year.

    What I Ate

    • Our Chinatown Dining Week team met at Kanto 98 St. Eatery last week, where I tried their incredibly addictive garlic fried rice for the first time. It won’t be my last time.

    Untitled

    Our meal at Kanto

    • It was definitely a Love Pizza kind of night on Friday – Mack and I have been looking forward to the return of the mac & cheeza for almost a year! It was just as delicious as we remembered.

    Untitled

    Mac & cheeza from Love Pizza

    • Mack, Emily, and I stopped in at Al Centro on Saturday on our way home from the City Market. They were clearly in soft opening mode, but we decided to sample one of their pizzas on offer – they have the distinction of being Edmonton’s first Roman pizza bar. The slice was just under $6, which was on the pricey side, but we did really enjoy the crust – it held up nicely and had a great chew.

    Al Centro

    Potato and bacon pizza from Al Centro

    Green Onion Cake Man

    Green onion cakes and hot and sour soup from The Green Onion Cake Man

    • This isn’t “what I ate” so much as a “where I could eat” – has anyone else noticed that the Courtyard Marriott has winterized their tables overlooking the North Saskatchewan River? I spotted these a few weeks ago on the funicular, but didn’t have the chance to check them out until the weekend. They can seat up to six, and there are blankets for warmth. Staff weren’t certain they’d hold up on very cold days, but on sunny afternoons, they definitely trap heat. Worth a look for those seeking winter patios!

    Courtyard Marriott

    The Riverside Bistro patio at the Courtyard Marriott

       

    January 13th, 2019

    Culinary Highlights: 2018 Edition

    2018 was defined by Emily, who entered into our lives at the end of January. So when it comes to food, much of this year was spent taking baby steps and learning how to dine out with a little one. In rediscovering local restaurants with a baby-coloured lens, it continues to surprise us when we’ve dined at establishments with high chairs, but no change table.

    I’m also proud that I was able to meet my goal of maintaining this blog – albeit with fewer posts – after Emily was born. I really wasn’t sure what my life would look like with a small human to care for, but keeping up with the Edmonton food scene was a welcome exercise to keep my sanity intact!

    Here are some of my favourite food-related memories of 2018:

    My favourite new restaurant opened towards the end of the year, with an ethos that exemplifies the culinary experience that I now crave most: unfussy and unpretentious. Partake is a lovely spot on 124 Street, with good food and a great vibe.

    Partake

    Happiest hours at Partake

    We also discovered a wonderful new high tea option in the city at The Art of Cake that also happens to be Emily-friendly!

    Art of Cake

    Treats for days

    I definitely had more time for brunches this past year, so it was perfect timing for Calgary-based OEB to roll into town. Eating my way through the breakfast poutine portion of their menu will take me well into 2019.

    OEB Breakfast Edmonton

    Brunches with Emily

    I was still on a sweets hangover from my pregnancy (my strongest craving while carrying Emily was baked goods of all sorts). No dessert was more spectacular – or fun – than the Fruit Loop-dusted confetti cake from Rebel.

    Rebel Food and Drink

    The sparkler takes the cake

    It was great to be a part of a volunteer team who successfully organized the inaugural Chinatown Dining Week in January (if you missed it, the event returns for a second year starting this week)!

    Gui Lin

    The 2-course meal from Gui Lin

    We continued our tradition of visiting farms of producers we frequent. This year it was a tour of Sundog Organic Farm.

    Sundog Organic Farm

    Strawberry fields forever

    I also had the opportunity to see some urban agriculture even closer to home – the rooftop hives are a sight to see at MacEwan University.

    MacEwan Urban Beekeeping Tour

    Urban bees

    Speaking of urban agriculture – Mack and I embraced community gardening this year, and found that our life was better for it.

    Alex Decoteau Park Garden
    At our plot in Alex Decoteau Park

    Mack and I were fortunate to do some travelling this year, with stops in Canmore and Kananaskis, and a short flight to a Vancouver Island getaway in Sooke.

    Shirley Delicious

    At Shirley Delicious, our favourite breakfast spot just outside of Sooke

    It was a year full of change, but without a doubt I’m having the best time of my life. Here’s to 2019!

    January 7th, 2019

    Food Notes for January 7, 2019

    Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the holidays – I know we did. Christmas does seem more magical with a little one around! I am playing a bit of catch up with these notes, however, as I’ve missed a couple of weeks. Regular readers will also notice a slightly new format. I might still tweak the categories here and there in the weeks to come, but I hope these changes will make it easier to read!

    Chinatown Dining Week Returns

    The second annual Chinatown Dining Week runs from January 17-27, 2019. Like last year, all restaurants are offering 2-course dinners for $15. With 8 participating restaurants, including Kanto 98 St. and Padmanadi, there is something for everyone on the menu! Learn more about the new restaurants on board, and whet your appetite with the menus here.

    Openings

    • Amore Pasta is opening its second location downtown at 10235 101 Street on January 7, 2019. From the folks behind Cafe Amore and Black Pearl, this quick-serve eatery will offer made-to-order pastas from a selection of sauces, vegetables, and proteins. Interestingly enough, they’ll also be open for breakfast during the week; Amore Pasta is open weekdays from 8am-9pm and on weekends from 11am-9pm. Leduc has a preview of what to expect.
    • Pink Gorilla Pizza, which has taken over the space formerly occupied by Parkallen Restaurant, will be aiming to open on January 12, 2019. It’s a new restaurant from the folks behind The Local Omnivore.
    • There’s yet another new microbrewery opening called SYC Brewing Co. They’re celebrating their grand opening with a party on January 12, 2018. Tickets are $20 which includes a flight of beers and food from Smokehouse BBQ.
    • Gangnam Street Food is a forthcoming addition to the “K-Mall” area, at #15, 9261 34 Avenue. They will be opening on January 14, 2018.
    • I’m a huge fan of Todd’s sourdough breads, so am eagerly awaiting Brio Bakery’s brick and mortar storefront, located in the Oliver Exchange Building at 12021 102 Avenue. They’re hoping for a January opening.
    • Dauphine has finally opened their new bakery and cafe in Montrose, located at 6005 120 Avenue. Some may remember their beautiful space on 104 Street which closed back in 2016. Linda and Paul have already begun serving brunch, too!
    • Copper Branch, the latest plant-based franchise to land in Edmonton, is now open downtown at 10316 Jasper Avenue.
    • Curry Vibes is now open in the Mayfair, at 10827 Jasper Avenue.

    Closures

    • The Sequel Cafe has shuttered, but has announced that they plan to reopen in the core in the future.
    • I was sorry to hear about the closing of El Rancho, one of my go-to eateries on Alberta Avenue.
    • Holy Roller is currently closed for renovations and will reopen with a new concept.
    • Cally’s Teas in Old Strathcona is also now closed.

    Upcoming Events

    • The first Taste Alberta Prairie on a Plate dinner will take place January 17, 2019 at Under the High Wheel. Tickets for the 4-course meal are $65.
    • The Hotel Macdonald is hosting a Grand High Tea Celebration on January 26, 2019 to celebrate the launch of their custom tea blend. A Master Tea Sommelier will be on hand. Tickets are $75 per person.

    Reviews

    Local News

    Year in Review

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    Beyond Edmonton

    What I Ate

    • I finally had the chance to order some doughnuts from Apollo Donuts to try (they’re available by pre-order only, for pick-up on their production days at Transcend or The Colombian). I really liked their blackberry yuzu glaze.

    Untitled

    Apollo Donuts

    • I’m determined to eat my way through OEB’s breakfast poutines, and so far, the confit de canard is my favourite! It was still as busy as ever last week, but as they do offer reservations on weekdays, I’d highly recommend planning ahead if possible.

    OEB

    Confit de Canard at OEB

    • Mack, Emily, and I managed to sneak in for the brunch at Northern Chicken at the end of December. Their biscuits are unreal – I really enjoyed the breakfast sandwich featuring a sausage patty, egg, and cheese.

    Northern Chicken

    Breakfast sandwich at Northern Chicken