I was able to spend my lunch hour at the Taste of Edmonton media launch on Wednesday at the Citadel Theatre, fortuitously scheduled in between meetings I had nearby. Daytime events are always a challenge for me (and I would imagine for other bloggers as well), and though I appreciate that the invitation was extended to us online folk this year, the timing really was aimed at the mainstream media.
Caprese salad from Lit
This was no more evident than when Mack and I arrived around the advertised start time of 11:30, but discovered that the food wouldn’t be served until about forty-five minutes later; by that time, we needed to leave to get back to work.
Giuseppe Albi, General Manager of Events Edmonton
That said, it was a nice opportunity to catch up with some people I hadn’t seen in a while. The mood was light (helped no doubt by pours of Alley Kat), and the weather outside seemed to mirror the optimism organizers had about some of the new elements they have put together for this year’s festival. Those include:
- 7 new restaurants (including Guru, Share and TZiN )
- 65% new menu items
- a feature food truck area called Curb Your Hunger (which will include Drift, Molly’s Eats, Smokehouse BBQ and The Act)
- a return to live cooking demonstrations, which this year will involve a competition between food bloggers
- a partnership with Race Week Edmonton to expand family-friendly programming with activities on Centennial Plaza
I have been very critical of Taste of Edmonton in the past, and will not fully pass judgment on their 2012 incarnation until we’ve had a chance to experience it firsthand. That said, the core of any event with “taste” in their name should be good food. Unfortunately, our brief sampling that day didn’t showcase some of the restaurants in the best light –forty-five minutes in an unheated chafing dish ruined many plates that needed to be served hot, notably, the bacon maple poutine from Hudson’s and the butter chicken samosa from Guru.
Poutine from Hudson’s
As expected, Mack and I are most curious about Curb Your Hunger. We are really happy for the vendors that have been permitted to participate, as this will hopefully expose even more Edmontonians to the wonderful fare that trucks can offer. That said, it will be interesting to see how the trucks will manage with the twelve hour service days. Relief staff isn’t a given with trucks, and unlike the restaurant booths with room for plug-in coolers, there is a limit to the amount of food that can be contained in a vehicle. We’ll see whether or not the festival can accommodate the unique challenges faced by food trucks, or if they will be adhering to a one-size-fits-all model for all vendors.
Susan from Molly’s Eats
Thanks again to the Taste of Edmonton staff for the invitation. We look forward to checking out some of the new features this year!