I love street parties, and the Mercer Warehouse sure knows how to throw one. Though the all-ages Mercer Summer Super Party was technically their second event (the first one having taken place at the tail end of Al Fresco in 2012, but was unfortunately rained out), given the growth of the tenants and businesses in the building since that time, the differences were almost night and day.
The weather was chilly, but cooperated enough to keep the rain away. And in that way, the combination of a street fest with the in and out privileges to explore what was taking place inside the Mercer was perfect on that evening. In some ways, the building capacity explained the need for attendees to have tickets, but ultimately, I think the provision of free tickets hindered the overall event attendance. The crowds didn’t seem as big as anticipated, so hopefully the Party organizers work out a different system for future events.
Rapid Fire Theatre
Indoors, On the Spot Pop-Up had a small trunk market in the basement (I loved the Green Window #rethinkjunk as art sprinkled throughout the floors), while many of the businesses on the upper floors had their doors open for curious wanderers.
On the Spot Pop-Up
The Startup Edmonton space in particular was rockin’, with its own stage, free slushies, and of course, Lego!
Outdoors, the stage hosted a variety of bands, DJs, and variety acts, while the rest of the street was lined with pop-up food vendors and food trucks. Mack and I love food trucks, but we took advantage of this opportunity to try some vendors we’d never encountered before.
At the top of our list was the ramen burger, from Vancouver’s Rambu. We had seen this item at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, but didn’t have the chance to try it there. Here, $10 bought us a pork patty sandwiched with cheese, bacon, a fried egg, and ramen noodle “buns”.
Mack remarked at how messy it was to eat, but yes, it was worth it! I love texture in my food, so the crispy-crunchy noodles did enhance the burger for me.
La Cantina Negra also offered a new-to-Edmonton item that is so popular elsewhere – the bao as popularized by David Chang. La Cantina’s version featured wagyu beef or soy-pickled wild mushrooms. The former was our favourite, the tender beef tasting almost gamey, complemented by the freshness of the cucumber and carrots. I actually didn’t mind that the bao itself was browned, but I know for some, this would be considered blasphemy.
Bao from La Cantina Negra
Lastly, we dug into a variety of dumplings from Honest Dumplings. They’ve been around at farmers’ markets this season, but we hadn’t yet had the opportunity to try their house-made creations (including the wrappers!). The dumplings were delicate, and with flavours like butter chicken, are definitely not your mother’s dumplings!
We didn’t linger at the party too long (I had an early pancake breakfast start the next morning), but it looked like people were having a great time. Congrats to the organizers for a successful event. I hear another party might be in the works for August – make sure you keep your eyes open for the details.