Food Notes for February 4, 2013

The Lunar New Year is just around the corner! For all those celebrating this weekend – may it be a good year for you and your loved ones! On to this week’s food notes:

  • Home decor and kitchenware store Dansk in Southgate is closing on February 9, 2013.
  • Still looking for a Valentine’s Day reservation? Well, ditch the restaurant – you can pre-order a picnic basket that you can bring home for a cozy night with your sweetie.
  • Vue reviews Safron’s Caribbean Delight on 118 Avenue.
  • Avenue profiles three Chinese restaurants leading up to the New Year.
  • Liv posted a map of her favourite places to eat on Dine and Write.
  • Nomad and the Volstead Act’s new venture in the McLeod Building now has a name: you can look forward to the opening of Woodwork some time soon!
  • Good luck to Chef Nathin Bye as he represents Edmonton in the Gold Medal Plates final this weekend!
  • Here’s a reason to go to Winnipeg – Raw: Almond, their pop-up restaurant on the frozen river. Yes, you read that right.
  • Burger King is embroiled in its own “tainted meat” scandal – one of their UK beef suppliers had their meat tested, and it came up positive for horse meat.
  • Mack and I attended Raj Patel’s evening session at International Week last Wednesday. He was speaking about food cultures for sustainability to a packed house. One of the points he made was regarding the impact of colonialism on local food cultures (he gave the example of Mozambique, desperate for wheat because of Portuguese influence, in spite of the fact that the region is hostile to producing that crop). I’d never really considered the negative impact of colonialism on food – so much of what we encounter are positive examples of cultures intersecting (such as the banh mi, which speaks to French influence on Vietnamese culture). I also loved Patel’s point about the importance of joy in food culture, told through his experience of teaching Malawian men cooking skills – they bought in only when they were a part of the process, and felt some ownership.

Raj Patel

Raj Patel

  • Mack and I met up with his Dad and siblings for dinner on the weekend. Mongolie Grill was selected primarily for its location (downtown and close to an LRT station), given we didn’t think (from our previous experiences) that the food would be worth the price. While we recognize that the self-serve, assemble-your-own-stir-fry nature is ideal for picky eaters, we couldn’t get over how busy the restaurant was, especially when presented with small portions and inconsistent quality (the meat was overcooked, while seafood fared surprisingly better, not to mention – we watched a customer at the sauce station stick her finger in the vat for a taste). For the combined $30 cost of two plates, we could have dined on multiple courses at Garden Bakery, or a similar Chinese restaurant. Sound off: how does a restaurant like this continue to thrive?

Mongolie GrillMongolie Grill

Our plates at Mongolie Grill

7 thoughts on “Food Notes for February 4, 2013

  1. Mongolie Grill does a lot of groupon deals. $15 for $30 worth of food makes it a much better deal! Though finger-in-the-sauce woman should be shamed, that’s disgusting.

  2. I have no idea who Mongolie Grill continues to thrive; I’ve often wondered the same thing. I know a lot of people who seem to like it, but I’ve always found it overpriced and underwhelming.

  3. Glad you got to Rag Patel. I was planning to go with Nancy, but dad needed me more. I am sure it was inspirational! 🙂 V

  4. He was a great speaker, definitely! Sorry you missed it – but he spoke about releasing a documentary soon, chronicling some of the work they’ve done.

  5. Jamie – I have to say I don’t follow Groupon much anymore. But yes, that would make it a better deal. Still, for the $15, you could get two dishes elsewhere that would probably taste better…

  6. The location is probably a big part of their success. Working just a block away means that it’s an easy choice for working lunches/dinners.

    What about the southside location? I guess Calgary Trail isn’t a terrible location, but it seems like location would be less key to that location’s success than it would with the one downtown.

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