This really isn’t a conventional restaurant review, even though I’ve classed it as such. It falls into that grey area occupied by entrees prepared elsewhere to be heated and eaten at home.
I helped organize a staff development day for my office that took place back in January. I would have loved to go back to Fort Edmonton Park, but they didn’t have a space appropriately-sized for our group, which totaled nearly 90. After some research, we decided upon the Old Timer’s Cabin – central, with ample free parking, a good lunch selection and best of all, economically priced, it seemed like a no-brainer.
The room itself probably functions better as a dinner space than a training room, as the overhead lighting was spotty at best, but the majority of our staff found it a nice reprieve from the office environment. The location of the cabin, and the spring-like weather conditions that day, also permitted a post-lunch stroll in the bordering river valley, which afforded a lovely view of downtown Edmonton.
View from behind the Old Timer’s Cabin
Working with their catering manager was a bit harrowing, as he was definitely easier to communicate with in person as opposed to over the phone, but everything turned out fine in the end. Our lunch that day, made up of soup and build-your-own sandwiches with roasted turkey, roast beef, and plenty of vegetarian patties. The sandwiches were all right (and I am happy to report that the vegetarians and vegans were satisfied), but the soup was the star of the show – touched with the lingering aroma of fresh dill.
In organizing the retreat, I also found out that the Cabin runs a brisk catering and take-home food business – something I had absolutely no idea of before setting foot in the building. Through Sandy’s Food Service, which runs out of the kitchen (Sandy also being the catering manager of the Cabin), they produce orders of cabbage rolls (plain rice, with bacon, or with meat, priced at between $19-22 for a tray of 50) and perogies (cheddar, potato, cottage cheese, onion and sauerkraut varieties, priced at $17-20 for 50) which can be picked up anytime between 9am-5pm on weekdays. Those intending on making large orders should call ahead.
For $19, I was able to buy a frozen tray of 50 handmade cabbage rolls, a price, I realized later, that was identical to what I had paid for the tiny dish of enchiladas I purchased at d’Lish just a few weeks earlier. Of course, being completely frozen through, the cabbage rolls required a little more love in the oven (3 to 3.5 hours to be exact), but with some planning, it required no more effort than any other frozen entrée.
On Sunday afternoon, I took out the tray, covered it in a can of tomato soup and two pats of butter (as I had been directed to do), covered it with the lid, and put it in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours.
Perfectly formed cabbage rolls
I boiled some perogies to go with the cabbage rolls (talk about an easy supper!), and that was it. I remember Sandy saying that cabbage rolls done right have enough flavour on their own to bypass the inclusion of bacon, but I didn’t believe him at the time. After trying their rolls though, I am ready to concede – there was more than enough substance to make up for the lack of meat. The cabbage had softened down in the oven, and combined with the herbed rice and the tomato sauce, had a subtly sweet flavour. I easily consumed eight of them, but was thankful that enough remained for lunch the next day (they reheat very well in the microwave).
Cabbage rolls (with a side of perogies)
The next time I pass by the cabin on the hill, I will remember not only the facility itself, but the wonderful food sold in the basement of the building. I am definitely thinking of stocking at least a tray or two of the cabbage rolls in my freezer – perfect for a lazy dinner or potluck party.
Old Timer’s Cabin
9430 99 Street NW
Pickup hours weekdays from 9am-5pm