I’ve written in the past about how I’ve come to appreciate my daytime neighbourhood of Central McDougall. While those who don’t frequent it often may be a little afraid to venture through the area, as someone who spends quite a bit of time exploring its streets, I’d like to say it’s worth getting to know.
Central McDougall and the adjacent Queen Mary Park are one of the City’s four revitalization projects. As expected, progress is slow, but will hopefully pick up in the next few years given the pending arena project just to the south of Central McDougall. In the meantime, what will also help is more foot traffic through the neighbourhood – and really, what better way to do this than to highlight some of the great, inexpensive eats to be found in the area?
Food crawls have been picking up steam in Edmonton, with Dishcrawl having organized two successful outings so far this year. I would hope they start targeting less “mainstream” neighbourhoods in the future, but in some ways, perhaps their fees would prohibit some restaurants from participating anyway (Dishcrawl restaurants reportedly only receive $4 of $10 charged per diner).
For that reason, I like what the North Edge Business Association (NEBA) has done. Representing businesses in both Central McDougall and Queen Mary Park, they’ve taken it upon themselves to organize a food crawl to showcase several restaurants. NEBA Executive Director Amy Wilson recognizes that one of the neighbourhood’s strengths is its diverse food offerings, from Filipino and Chinese to Somali and Eritrean just in a three block radius.
Pho with brisket from Mama Pizza and Pho Huong (I don’t know if this is what will be served, but I can say that this was delicious!)
So on May 16, 2012, join Amy for a tour “Around the World in 80 Bites” – to start, diners will sample Vietnamese cuisine at Mama Pizza and Pho Huong, Somali delights at African Somali, and end with Filipino specialties at Fat Jakks. Beyond food, it will be an introduction to three vastly different cultures, and at $30 a ticket (not including drinks and gratuity), one laden with value.
Beef suqar from African Somali (again, I’m not sure if this is on the menu, but between the stew and the Somali rice, it was a tasty plate)
Amy acknowledged that the restaurants are struggling enough, so has made sure that each business will be given a full $10 to cover the per person cost of food. NEBA will be picking up any other expenses associated with the event – a model that if successful, should be looked at by other neighbourhoods looking to increase their profile in the food community. Amy has already mentioned that if this is well-received, she will be looking to organize more crawls.
Filipino buffet at Fat Jakks
I’m a little remorseful that I will be out of town that week, otherwise, I’d have picked up my ticket already! But act fast – there are only 30 tickets available. I hope to catch the next one!
Find out more information about Around the World in 80 Bites here.