On October 5, 2013, Edmonton played host to Battledish, a food competition organized by the local Dishcrawl affiliate. Similar to their namesake events, diners would be able to sample multiple dishes from restaurants within walking distance of one another with one added bonus: they would be able to vote for their favourites. Categories ranged from “best cocktail” to “most delicious”; the balloted nature of the outing was definitely part of the fun.
I was amongst several judges that day, though Mack purchased a ticket so I wouldn’t have to indulge alone. We met the organizers at Beaver Hills House Park where we were handed a map, a ballot, food/drink tickets, and even some food to get us started!
Though being able to provide patrons with a full experience (service, restaurant amenities, etc.)would have benefited participating restaurants the most, it was kind of some establishments to be a part of the day in whatever way possible. This was the case for V Sandwiches, which had provided lemongrass chicken and lemongrass tofu banh mi prepped and ready to take away, as well as a number of cupcake eateries, having supplied boxes of beautifully packaged treats. Had we known about this abundance of food at the start, we would have come prepared with carry out containers.
We ended up dropping off some of the food at our condo down the street before setting off on the Battledish journey – definitely one of the benefits of living so close to the action!
With four restaurants to visit that afternoon, we started with the one closest to home – The Burg. In a way, it was the best place to begin, as it set the bar quite low. Not only did it take half an hour to receive our food, but it was also clear the jalapeno sauce had been sitting on the plate for some time.
Braised pork belly and mac and cheese ball
Given The Burg has been inconsistent in the past, it was disappointing that they weren’t able to leave a positive impression at an event meant to stimulate future business.
We were confident that our next stop, Hundred Bar + Kitchen, wouldn’t let us down, and we were right. The restaurant had opened early just for the event, so it made Battledish passholders feel a little like VIPs.
Mack does his best impression of a VIP
Both the cocktail and dish at Hundred were winners in my book. I loved the refreshingly sweet Dude Fizz , and the house-made kimchi in the pork belly sandwich was a spicy, crunchy surprise.
Pork belly sandwich and Dude Fizz
Over at LUX, things were a little busier, no doubt because Alley Kat had set up a beer tasting stop there. Between the flights of beer and the Don Draper-approved Old Fashioned, we weren’t sure we’d make it to the last stop.
We eventually did, but only after we tried the ultimate slider, a burger stacked with an onion ring, bacon, and mushrooms, among other things. It was as difficult to eat as you’d imagine, but with a spicy beef patty and a variety of textures, it won my vote for “most delicious” that day.
We ended our day at Haweli. If you can believe it, the Indian restaurant was offering a buffet featuring six items. Given the food tickets for the event cost just $5 each, the buffet alone more than made the admission cost worthwhile.
Our fill at Haweli
That said, it was difficult to judge Haweli by comparison, given they offered so many dishes to choose from. The butter chicken was pretty tasty though!
We were more than stuffed by the end of the day – the cupcakes ended up making up most of our supper that night.
The final results came in a few days later, and I’m happy to say my votes weren’t too far off:
- Best Cocktail: Pimms Number One Cup, The Burg
- Most Authentic: Indian Buffet, Haweli
- Most Modern: The Ultimate Slider, LUX Steakhouse + Bar
- Most Creative: Mac and Cheese Balls, The Burg
- Most Delicious: The Ultimate Slider, LUX Steakhouse + Bar
Thanks to Gemma for having me as one of the judges at the inaugural Battledish, and congratulations on a well-organized event! It looks like the event was such a success, it has spawned Cocktail Wars, taking place this December. Can you think of a better way to kick off your holiday season? Stay tuned.
Check out reviews from my fellow judges Andrea and Cheryl too!