Food Notes for October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween! We always feel a little far removed from the festivities being downtown, but it seemed warmer than average for trick or treating tonight. A note that there will be no Food Notes next week; Mack and I are heading to Chicago for a short vacation.

  • The annual Chili Cook-Off takes place November 4, 2016 in Churchill Square. Sample bowls are just $1, with regular bowls priced at $2.
  • Bo and Marrow, who you may be familiar with from their farmers’ market appearances this summer, are popping up at Prairie Noodle on November 6, 2016 with noodles and their broth. The meal will be $18 per person.
  • The sixth COMAL Mexican Table Dinner is taking place November 29-30, 2016. Tickets are $85 each.
  • Save the date: Northern Lands will be taking place May 2-6, 2017, and it will be bigger and better.
  • Su notes that there’s a franchise location of Hong Kong’s Dazzling Cafe to open soon at 10538 82 Avenue, rabbit-eared chairs and all.
  • The buzz continues to grow for the brew pub to open in the Richie Market – they just announced Chef Christine Sandford will lead the kitchen.
  • The latest local business to launch a crowdfunding initiative is Caramia Caramels, who hope to use Kickstarter to help them purchase commercial equipment to enhance their production.
  • Speaking of crowdfunding, big congratulations to Sugared and Spiced, who blew their original $20,000 goal out of the water, raising close to $57,000.
  • While the Edmonton and area has its share of meal prep services, The Backyard Basket might be our first Blue Apron-style ready to cook meal service (where pre-portioned ingredients are delivered for time-strapped home cooks). It’s not something that would appeal to me, but it would be more ideal if they supported local producers in the process.
  • Prairie Noodle is an example of a business succeeding in overcoming poor quality control in its initial stages.
  • Did you attend What the Truck?! this year? Consider filling out this survey to help the organizing committee make decisions for 2017!
  • Karlynn is doing a cookbook giveaway on her blog, but you can also pick one up from her in person on November 5, 2016 at Chapters in West Edmonton Mall.
  • Phil’s latest Community Table Project features butter chicken risotto.
  • The Wood Buffalo Brewing Company is creating a special whisky called the Beast, using some peated malt that remained behind and absorbed some of the smoke from the fire.
  • I was sad to see Calgary’s Farm restaurant shut down, but I never expected the subsequent scandal surrounding Janice Beaton to spring up, with past Farm employees accusing Beaton of unpaid wages. She responded to the allegations in a Facebook video.
  • November 1, 2016 is the deadline to apply to join Eat Alberta, a committee working on organizing another hands-on food conference next year, in addition to multimedia content promoting local food.
  • Signage is already up on two of the Ultima’s retail bays: XO Bistro & Bar and Gong Cha, a small chain of bubble tea cafes based in Toronto.

Ultima Condos

XO Bistro & Bar and Gong Cha

  • Grand Villa Casino’s quick-serve options are now open – joining the Starbucks are Vera’s Burger Shack, Pinkberry, and Sbarro. It was a bit unusual that no seating was available, but I assume patrons are expected to return to the casino to consume their food, or head to the adjacent community rink.

Pinkberry & Starbucks

Pinkberry and Starbucks in the Grand Villa Casino

  • I also had lunch at Match Eatery and Public House inside the casino on Friday. The food was fine, but the service produced enough minor mistakes to point to a very inexperienced staff (tried to deliver our food to another table, mix-up with a sidedish, topped up a half-full soda glass with water). Hopefully things will improve with time.


Dip your beef sandwich

  • I met up with a friend for dinner at Uccellino last week. Most of the week’s ills melted away with a bite of their cacio e pepe and meatballs. If only I could eat like that all the time.


Cacio e pepe



  • Edmonton City Centre’s new food court, Elevate Food Fare, located on the top level of the mall, opens to the public on November 1, 2016. It will consolidate many of the existing retailers in addition to offering a few new choices, including Burrito Libre and Paramount Fine Foods. The food court will provide another dining choice for those in the area, and will likely be one of the more inexpensive options available within walking distance of Rogers Place. It will be interesting to see if the food court hours are extended to align better with arena events in the coming months. Mack and I received gift certificates in appreciation for mentioning the Food Fare, but want to pass them onto two lucky readers. For your chance to win one of two $50 gift certificates to Edmonton City Centre, leave a comment with a valid e-mail address that answers the following question: which restaurant offers the best value Downtown and why? The contest closes on November 10, 2016 at midnight. Winners will be contacted by e-mail on November 12, 2016.

Elevate Food Fair

Elevate Food Fare at Edmonton City Centre Mall

23 thoughts on “Food Notes for October 31, 2016

  1. Which restaurant offers the best deal for your money? That for me is the Old Spagetti Factory’s lunch specials. You get an appetizer, your meal and dessert. Most times I cannot finish my dessert and have to save it for later! Great place to fuel up! And under $15 too.

  2. The best value downtown by far is Pazzo Pazzo. One portion of their pasta is enough for 2-3 meals, plus they offer a parking deal for event nights. Otherwise, it’s Fatburger. You can always get a Groupon.

  3. The Marc! Lunch is very reasonable and even dinner giving the quality. Now, if Chinatown is included, there’s a whole slew of restaurants to choose from.

  4. Rostizado! It’s not the cheapest place to eat at but the food and atmosphere is incredible. I’ve never had a bad experience there and that’s why it offers the best value downtown.

  5. Oh man, it’s so hard to separate value from favorite. I think one of my favorites that I always feel I get my money’s worth at is Daravara. It’s a bit pricey, but the food never disappoints and you get sooooo much.

  6. I love Viphalay’s downtown location! My husband and I always order two dishes- red curry and pad thai and it’s enough for two meals.

  7. I like to go to oil lamp behind the courthouse. It has decent size portions and great lunch specials each day. It is a hidden gem.

  8. I would say Lovepizza! Local restaurant..with amazing pizza options, plus a build your own, relaxed environment/perfect for kids, quick service, and amazing price!

  9. Best value? Tres Carnales. The food is always amazing. Always fresh and insanely delicious! Not as much of a commitment as their fancier sister, Rostizado, and all I need in an amazing meal.

  10. I’d have to say the Cafe Amore is the best deal for dinner with their daily specials! You can’t get a great quality (and huge) bowl of pasta like that anywhere for such a good price!

  11. I think the Common has the best deal for your money. None of their lunch items are more than $17 and the menu is always changing and creative.

  12. The veg rice bowl at Y Not Indian in the Scotia Place food court is great value. At $4.99, you get rice topped with your choice of changing veg curry options (mattar paneer is my favourite). The service is speedy and the curry is flavourful.

  13. I agree with a number of the already mentioned locations – Old Spaghetti Factory, Love Pizza and Tres Carnales. Another restaurant to add to the list is Gabbana. They have a number of $10 lunch options that are quite filling.

  14. LovePizza or Tres Carnales! Quality delicious meal every time and the ingredients are always fresh! They also both come in at a really great price point!

  15. Old Spaghetti Factory offers the best value. Because you get a full meal, including starter, fresh bread with butter, a drink (coffee/tea) and dessert for a very reasonable price. And food is delicious!

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