Enjoy the “Best of the West” during the 2015 Canadian Finals Rodeo

The Canadian Finals Rodeo is back again for its 42nd edition, taking over Northlands next week. To engage Edmontonians and visitors alike, Rodeo Week is taking place from November 7-15, 2015, in conjunction with the CFR. Events include a family-friendly wild wagon race at Fort Edmonton Park, a mechanical bull riding championship at Cook County Saloon and the popular chili cook-off at Churchill Square.

Best of the West Menu Preview

Bar at Woodwork

The tie-in extends to 17 local restaurants who have put their best rodeo-inspired dishes forward to ensure diners can get in on the fun, too. On Sunday, Mack and I joined Andrea, Linda and their respective partners on a food crawl organized by Edmonton Tourism to preview some of the dishes on this “Best of the West” menu.


Woodwork has a great cocktail program, so we were looking forward to sampling their feature drink, the Campfire Rambler. Made with High West Campfire Whiskey, vermouth and maraschino liqueur, it was a spirit-forward drink meant for sipping. I appreciated the chilled glass that kept the cocktail cool enough to enjoy.

Best of the West Menu Preview

Campfire Rambler

Sherlock Holmes

The Colleen’s Amber Ale chili served in a sourdough bread bowl ($14) is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at Sherlock Holmes.  Mack very much enjoyed the fact that the thick, hearty chili was heavy on the meat – sometimes straightforward is best, and indeed, this was Mack’s favourite dish.

Best of the West Menu Preview

Colleen’s Amber Ale chili

Fairmont Hotel MacDonald

The Confederation Lounge at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald has one of the coziest tables downtown, surrounded with leather loungers and situated next to a roaring fireplace. With a wicked wind outside, it was an ideal place to warm up and get our bearings.

Not content to feature just one menu item, the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald has two. The wonton nachos ($19) were the most unique plate we tried that day, layered with braised pork cheeks, scallions, cheese and wasabi aioli. In some ways, the substitution of deep fried wonton skins better highlighted the toppings, given they are more neutral in flavour than corn-based chips.

Best of the West Menu Preview

Wonton nachos

My favourite dish was the chorizo sausage ($21), generously topped with beef chili, smoked cheddar and mustard crème fraiche. The sausage was great on its own, but the flavour was amplified with the addition of the chili. It is definitely something I’d order again.

Best of the West Menu Preview

Chorizo sausage

We were also encouraged to order drinks. Mack and I couldn’t resist the Game On Martini, designed to be the shade of Oilers blue. It was definitely on the sweet side, which I enjoyed. The Mac happened to be running a photo contest involving their special martini on social media. After entering, I was randomly selected and won a pair of tickets to an Oilers game. Needless to say, it was a good night.

Best of the West Menu Preview

Game On Martini

The Best of the West menu is available from October 26 until November 15, 2015. Thanks again to Edmonton Tourism for having us!

Check out Linda’s post here.

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