The 2011 4th Street Promenade Al Fresco Block Party

We’ve been looking forward to Al Fresco for a while now – I love a good block party, and all the better when it’s in our neighbourhood! It was great to see the street closed down to allow only pedestrian traffic, too – between the extended restaurant patios, the fashion runway, and the stage, it definitely put the street to good use!

Al Fresco Block Party

An overhead shot of Blue Plate Diner’s patio

Al Fresco Block Party

Crowds galore

Of course, I was particularly excited for the event’s new food program. Discussed as “what the Taste of Edmonton should be”, the block party would be highlighting “high end street food” from downtown and neighbouring restaurants, including MRKT, Elm Cafe, Pampa, Sabor Divino.and newcomer Tres Carnales Taqueria. Corso 32 dropped out last minute, and had been replaced by the always eager Eva Sweet. Pinocchio was also on hand, adding ice cream to the roster of items available.

Al Fresco Block Party

Nate pretends to be fazed by the hungry hoards

Mack and I met up with Jane and Yi-Li at around 6:30, and at that time, the lines were already rampant! It was clear that food was the main attraction for many, with certain stalls barely able to keep up.

Al Fresco Block Party

Line-ups

The organizers had opted for the Taste of Edmonton-esque ticket format instead of cash (which was likely good on the two fronts of fundraising and ease of use). At $1 per ticket, food items ranged from three to ten tickets each.

Al Fresco Block Party

Ninja meat cleavers!

Our waffle appetizer kept us afloat while we waited in line for Tres Carnales, which had a crowd second only to Pampa. We ordered both the tacos and the corn on the cob, while Jane and Yi-Li opted only for the carnitas.

Al Fresco Block Party

Jane and Yi-Li are Tres Carnales poster children!

The pork was well seasoned, and packed a worthy punch of heat. We all agreed that the flour tortillas underneath weren’t our favourite though – Yi-Li commented that between the two tortillas, the flavour of the meat was lost.

Al Fresco Block Party

Tacos

The corn, though, was the surprise for me. I’m not usually a fan of mayo, and am definitely not on the fries and mayo boat, but for whatever reason, I loved the combination of corn, mayo and spices. Maybe it was the music, or the atmosphere, but I’d definitely order it again.

Al Fresco Block Party

Grilled corn

Much can be forgiven because this was the first execution of Al Fresco’s street food program, but some improvements for next year would include a small handbill of menu options available, and larger menu displays at each of the food stands. A better layout, keeping in mind the possibility of long lines, should also be looked at (though I know a lack of power on certain sections of the street hampered the organizers this year).

Al Fresco Block Party

Music played well into the night

It should also be noted that Al Fresco was again a successful fundraiser for the E4C School Lunch Program, though final numbers haven’t yet been announced. Congrats to the organizers for another great event – I’m already looking forward to next year!

Want more on Al Fresco? Courtenay, Chris, Liv, Sarah and Raffaella all wrote about it too!

6 thoughts on “The 2011 4th Street Promenade Al Fresco Block Party

  1. I was there. Interesting crowd for sure. We really liked the food we tried-the tacos and the Pampa meat sampler. Very tasty! Btw-I saw you and Mack. We went later in the evening (last minute decision).

  2. I also heard that the music there was incredible! Great recap, Sharon. More food venues would also shorten the line up. Did the street noise keep you up all night – or did you just stay down and dance the night away? And, I understood there was an entire craft section, too? Having a daughter getting married is a miracle and a very special time – but, still am sad to have missed both this and TedX (still pull out my pin from last year and wear in on occasion!!)
    I cannot wait for Tre Carneles to open. Authentic Tacos!
    YUM
    🙂
    Valerie

  3. The thing that surprises me most is that I keep fairly well informed about events in the city especially ones that involve food and yet didn’t hear anything about this until I saw people on twitter at the event. Hope it happens again next year. Looking forward to What the Truck !

  4. FoodieMcPoon – glad to have finally met you last week! I’m sure we will keep running into each other :).

    Valerie – nope, the noise wrapped up by 11pm! They will consider increasing the number of vendors next year, I believe. Definitely an exciting event in Edmonton that will only keep growing and getting better!

    Habanerogal – it’s the third year (though the first one with the street food program) for Al Fresco, so chances are, you can look for it next year! See you at WTT!

  5. I’d like to see the event become monthly during the summer/sunny months… Liven up downtown.

    Sadly, I too was stuck at a wedding-type event and couldn’t come down.

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