Food Notes for January 12, 2009

  • I registered for the upcoming Food: Today, Tomorrow, Together Conference running January 29-30 this past week. I hope to get some blogging in during the conference, so watch for posts at the end of the month! If you can’t make it to the entire event, there is a public keynote by Carol Off, author of Bitter Chocolate, on Friday evening.
  • From Vue Weekly: Culina Highlands is now open for lunch, Tuesday to Saturday, 11am-2pm. I hope their new website debuts soon!
  • From City Palate: there’s a new bakery in town called Prairie Mill Bread Co. (14253 23 Avenue, 780-436-0920). They recently opened their first location in Edmonton after finding success in Calgary.
  • Liane was back this week from a brief hiatus, and covered Edmonton’s burgeoning scene of meal assembly studios. I had no idea there were nine in the city.
  • Food Network Canada’s third season of Family Restaurant, this time featuring the Quons of Lingnan and Chicken for Lunch fame, began on January 8. The 10-episode run got off to a good start, with the frenetic energy of the family on display.
  • Mack tipped me off to some interesting discussion on Connect2Edmonton about the upcoming Downtown Dining Week, an annual event that encourages patrons to dine in the core by offering set-meals at a “discounted” rate. I have to agree with IanO – Edmonton’s independents do themselves a disservice by offering two competing dining weeks (something I’ve said in the past) – why not combine Downtown Dining Week and Original Fare’s Fork Fest?
  • I saw commercials advertising Boston Pizza‘s new “10 for $10” feature on television this week (dine-in only from Sunday to Thursday, until February 8). I wonder which will be the next non-fast food chain to push value-for-dollar meals?
  • Speaking of advertising, I love the current Tim Hortons campaign, which pushes their coffee into the spotlight. Like Starbucks should be doing (instead of say, diverging to tea), the spots focus on the 20 minute freshness of each pot – simple, but effective.

4 thoughts on “Food Notes for January 12, 2009

  1. I was kind of thrown off by Starbucks’ heavy focus on advertising their “new” tea, all of a sudden. Putting an ad for tea on the cup holder/insulator sleeve even when a person has ordered coffee seems a little strange, too me.

    Tim Horton’s new campaign, on the other hand, is simple and effective: we make good coffee and it’s always fresh. Especially as the economy continues to suffer, and people continue to cut back their spending, the Tim’s ad will probably only become more effective: our coffee costs less but tastes better (because it’s always fresh).

  2. I went to Prairie Mill Bread Company again today and bought a loaf of banana bread. It is dark, dense but not heavy, flavourful and almost entirely eaten! (My kids greedily descended on it).

    I cannot recommend this bakery highly enough – Alberta-based, local owner, uses high quality ingredients – and the bread is obviously made with love.

    It is worth the drive to 23rd Avenue…

  3. Downtown Dining Week is run by the Downtown Business Association, only concentrates on downtown restaurants, and has few or none of the good restaurants participating anymore. The event started off well for the first few years but frankly, their marketing of it sucks. One year they didn’t even post their list of restaurants until I e-mailed them a week before it was supposed to start. The year before I stopped going, I called one participating restaurant and the person who answered didn’t have any idea what I was talking about and had to put me on hold while they asked someone else. My opinion is if the DBA doesn’t want to adequately support and promote it, then they should drop it altogether.

    Fork Fest, on the other hand, is run by Original Fare members and isn’t concentrated only in downtown. And there are much better restaurants involved.

  4. I think the DBA has good intentions – they know that “restaurant weeks” in other cities are big draws (even Calgary’s is a huge event, with a large participation list). But they need to start working with other independent restaurants – otherwise, it looks like it’s DBA vs. Original Fare, and really, in this economy, and in a city with as many chain restaurants as we do, they should be cross-promoting.

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