Our second pop-up dinner in the Blink series took place on August 26, 2012. Situated outdoors in Louise McKinney Park, the weather would undoubtedly make or break the event. We were fortunate that it was the former and not the latter.
But even better than the conditions that evening, Mack and I were able to find three amazing partners that really helped make Blink: Urban Picnic happen. The first, the Shaw Conference Centre, not only helped us ensure the price of Blink remained affordable, but went above and beyond by kicking things off in an extraordinarily creative way. Shaw lent us dishes and flatwear, a cost that would have otherwise been passed on to the diner. They also introduced the idea of offering an “escalator cocktail” as a welcome beverage. Diners, greeted at the Jasper Avenue entrance, were handed a refreshing drink, and invited to enjoy it as they took advantage of the escalators, an ideal gateway into Edmonton’s river valley.
Communal walk to dinner
The tables are set
Second, Kara and Nevin Fenske of Drift, helped articulate the concept of an “urban picnic”, designing a casual but refined family-style menu perfect for communal tables. Their commitment to local producers also meant the courses were seasonal, highlighting the breadth of harvest produce available from area farmers. They also secured live music, which further enriched the setting.
Mobile eatery (photo by Hugh Lee)
Nevin and Ron working hard
Kara serves up some crostinis (photo by Hugh Lee)
Enjoying the sunshine
Family style (photo by Hugh Lee)
The fried chicken was divine, though the warm potato salad was a close second
The third, River Valley Adventure Company, agreed to serve dessert and coffee to patrons as a cap off to the night. Given that many still aren’t aware of their presence in the park, it was a great opportunity for guests to learn more about their services. Even better, Chris, the gregarious owner, offered free segway demos to anyone interested.
Though it wasn’t entirely intentional, I ended up really enjoying the physical transitions down the gradient of the river valley. From a cocktail hour at the Shaw, dinner with a view, finished with segway ride next to the river, the sum of the parts made for a very special evening.
Watchful (photo by Hugh Lee)
Thanks to everyone who attended Blink – we hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did!
You can take a look at Mack’s full photoset here.