Food Notes for January 19, 2009

  • Many of my food blogging cohorts have already sounded the Fork Fest horn, but I figured I’d echo their sentiment: $20 or $35 will get you a great pre-fixe meal at one of the city’s fabulous independent eateries under the umbrella of Original Fare. Check out the menu selections here.
  • I had the opportunity to interview Miles Quon of The Lingnan a few weeks ago before Family Restaurant started to air – my article was published in Vue on Thursday. I watched the second episode, which contained nary a coherent storyline. I am hoping the rest of the season doesn’t develop like this.
  • Liane Faulder published a great article this past week – the start of many “that will see local chefs lead Bistro through their favourite food haunts.” Kevin Ostapek, of Flavours Bistro was up first. Even better, Liane and Kevin travelled with a photographer, which meant there was a small online gallery associated with their trek – I always love seeing more visual representations.
  • The Journal also featured Eric Ng’s veggie donair in a piece about “fake food” on Saturday. Great to see Eric’s efforts recognized in mainstream media – I attended the world premiere of his creation back in November.
  • Ted Tsenekos, the owner of It’s All Greek to Me on Rice Howard Way, passed away last Sunday. My condolences to his family.
  • I passed by Sabzy Cafe (10416 82nd Ave) on Friday, personally noting for the first time that it was open, and lo and behold, a review came out in the Journal on Saturday. The family-run Persian restaurant focuses on fresh, healthy fare (including quinoa, the current “it” food of the moment), and got a thumbs up from the reviewer.
  • Culina’s temporary website is finally up, complete with links to their menus! I love the font and the coloured text on black, and the fact that the phrase “Culina Family of Restaurants” disguises the corporate nature of the establishments to some degree.
  • Poul Mark of Transcend Coffee wrote an intriguing blog post last week, musing about the “anti-wine model” that must be applied to premium coffee stores – instead of making a high-end product more accessible to the average consumer, premium coffee must convince customers to pay more for a fairly common (and cheaply obtained) product.
  • On a related note (from Mack), the St. Albert Gazette wrote about both Transcend and St. City Roasters, two locally-based coffee roasters. It’s a good introductory article that discusses some of the techniques they employ, but essentially, the conclusion is that home baristas will never be able to duplicate a fine espresso at home (at least not without intense training and months of practice).
  • More on coffee: via the Starbucks Gossip Blog, an article in Advertising Age that published the results of an online survey that says 60% of Americans have decreased their fancy coffee consumption in the last six months.
  • Diane Twittered her experience at a cooking/demonstration class called Culinary Date Night at Servus Credit Union Place in St. Albert this weekend – it’s $115 per couple, but might be an interesting alternative for a special occasion dinner.
  • I’ve been poking around Dollarama every now and then to see what they have in their food aisle (being the cheapskate I am), and it always surprises me with some of the “brand name” goods they offer. This last trip saw Uncle Ben’s rice, Wheat Thins (organic, nonetheless), and Honeycomb cereal. The following, however, I was skeptical about:


Poutine sauce in a can is frightening enough, so “poutine” sauce? Makes you wonder…

5 thoughts on “Food Notes for January 19, 2009

  1. Oh, and since the Journal isn’t allowing comments on Liane’s article, I feel like I need a place to point out: the Avenue of Nations is not 118 Avenue. It’s 107 Avenue.

    When I saw the headline about “Avenue of Nations” I was excited to see that there was going to be an article about hidden gems in my own neighbourhood. Alas, they were referring to Alberta Avenue, just as the rest of the articles that day were.

  2. I hope Family Restaurant gets better as well. My father and I were discussing how “staged” it seemed, and we both wanted a little more substance. Hopefully we will get a more down to earth family in the upcoming episodes.

    Poutine sauce = scary!

  3. Shermie – I think it’s hard to maintain an image of being an “independent” restaurant if you’re attached to a huge corporate structure. For example, I’m sure once upon a time, Sorrentino’s was viewed as an independent Italian eatery. Now, it’s sprung into a full-on chain, complete with cafe outlets all over the city. Not a bad thing (especially because Sorrentino’s is locally-owned and supports numerous charities), but they definitely have a different vibe than the “small” restaurant on the block.

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