Food Notes for March 9, 2009

Lots to share this week! Let’s get to it:

  • One of the concurrent sessions at the food security conference I wished I could have attended was about the recently completed “Cost of Eating in Alberta” report. It was released this week, and the findings aren’t surprising: though the acceptable portion of one’s income to be spent on food is 15%, the report found that some households were spending upwards of 32% on food. Read more here.
  • My piece on the Sabetghadam family behind Whyte Ave’s Sabzy Cafe was published this week in Vue Weekly. Vue also printed reviews of two relatively new restaurants – 100 and Culina Highlands.
  • Liane finally continued her series that sees local chefs promoting their favourite blocks to shop. This week, Koutouki’s Chris St. Denis introduced 124th Street to readers.
  • Local designer Lea Alcantara has created a page to try and answer the age-old question – is Tau Bay open?
  • Also mentioned at the conference was Augustana Campus’s 100-mile cookie challenge, where all but one of the cookie recipe’s ingredients must come from within 100 miles of Camrose.
  • Sometimes I like reading about the means and not just the ends to those means, and the Transcend Coffee blog is the perfect example of this. I love Poul’s recent post on how they are changing the way they sell their coffee, reflecting the learning that has gone on. Customers really reap the benefit of their passion and their willingness to share their growing knowledge base.
  • The Globe had a story this week about pay-what-you-can restaurant menus popping up all over the world in the face of the global recession. While I don’t think local restaurants will go down this path any time soon, Manor Cafe is offering $30 3-course prix fixe meals after 5pm Sundays to Wednesdays. Now it starts.
  • It’s always nice when local businesses get national recognition – Sylvan Star Gouda was featured in the Globe this week.
  • The Go Organic Cookbook I wrote about two weeks ago can be ordered online after March 11. It features profiles and recipes of 55 local producers. At just $20, it’s a worthwhile purchase.
  • I mentioned in February that Ruth Reichl is on Twitter. It turns out there are many other well-known food personalities on Twitter, including the NYT’s Mark Bittman. Eater has also started a new series called “A Movable Tweet: the latest from the industry Twitterati”. On the subject of Twitter and restaurants, I do think Soul Soup could benefit from using the service – they could Tweet their daily selection of soups, and remind local followers that they should be kept in mind as a lunch option!
  • As seen in the latest edition of City Palate, Lola Canola has started a monthly newsletter on bees and honey. E-mail Patty Milligan to be added onto the list.
  • The City of Vancouver just approved the keeping of backyard chickens. Will Edmonton (being lobbied by the River City Chicken Collective) be next?
  • You may remember Todd Babiak’s article about the disruptive television screens in the city’s bars. It seems that while television-less bars in New York are a dying breed, there are a few that remain committed to maintaining a venue for conversation and entertainment without a screen.
  • Starbucks began offering their value meals in the U.S. last week. For $3.95, customers could get a tall coffee and their choice of an egg sandwich, Perfect Oatmeal, or a slice of coffee cake (Serious Eats gives the egg sandwich a thumbs up). I hope something similarly priced debuts in Canada soon!
  • On the heels of thisiswhyyourefat, another viral, visual site: scanwiches.
  • An interesting blog post in the Village Voice about the proliferation of the tip jar, and the way some establishments try to guilt customers into filling them.

9 thoughts on “Food Notes for March 9, 2009

  1. Starbucks has had (pretty decent) breakfast sandwichs (a florentine, a peppered back bacon, and a sausage one) in the GTA. I’m not sure why they haven’t arrived in Edmonton yet.

  2. Oh the Is Tau Bay Open idea is brilliant! I’m always so sad to drive from the southside and find out it’s closed.

  3. raidar, I’m glad you like it. 🙂 It’s basically a question I asked myself several times and then realized, it would help if someone can answer it! I love how many people love that little establishment.

  4. eh – I tried one of the Starbucks breakfast sandwiches while in Vancouver last year. It was all right, but nothing that blew me away.

    Kevin – thanks for reading!

    Chris/Lea – it is pretty handy to have! I used to just head to Hoang Long across the street if Tau Bay was closed, but since Hoang Long has been shut for a few months, I have to walk a bit further to feed my pho craving.

  5. Your post helped me discover thisiswhyyourefat and now I can’t stop staring at my screen 🙂
    I’m drooling.. and I doubt that instant noodles will help here… sigh
    Scanwiches doesn’t have quite the same effect on me (I think it’s because most of the sandwiches have veggies in them)

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