Food Notes for May 27, 2019

Filipino Food on the Rise in Edmonton

Just over a year ago, Chef Edgar Gutierrez (of Tres Carnales and Rostizado) opened Kanto 98 St. in Chinatown, making Filipino food trendy in Edmonton in a way it hadn’t been prior to that. Serving up his interpretation of Filipino street food, people took notice, including the prestigious EnRoute Best New Restaurants list who shortlisted Kanto 98 St. in 2018.

In April, Jollibee finally confirmed that construction was underway for their first Edmonton location. The international fast food chain is a gateway for Filipino cuisine, and when open, will help expose many more to some of their signature dishes.

Today, Filistix adds to the city’s Filipino culinary scene with the opening of their new restaurant downtown. Filistix began as a food truck, then became a fixture on several Edmonton post-secondary campuses. Their take on Filipino comfort food was so popular with students and faculty at the University of Alberta that after their lease was unexpectedly cancelled by Aramark last year, the outrage eventually landed them a new space in the Students’ Union Building.

That said, co-owners Ariel Del Rosario and Roel Canafranca wanted to showcase even more of the flavours of home, in a more upscale setting. Cue their restaurant, located at 10621 100 Avenue. While some of the Filistix favourites appear on the menu (their namesake salad, for instance), most of the dishes highlight the grill and the wok. They are also ambitiously serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Filistix

Mack, Emily, and I had dinner during their grand opening tonight. Their grilled meat skewers were fantastic, but the highlight for me was their Filistix caesar. It incorporates Bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) in place of anchovies, and coupled with the char of the grilled romaine, pork chicharron, and lotus root chips, it’s a salad I’ll be returning for.

Filistix

It’s also notable that the menu features several Indonesian dishes, a nod to the heritage of some of their kitchen staff. Mack’s favourite dish of the evening was the mee goreng fried noodle.

Filistix

It’ll be interesting to see how diners will respond to having more Filipino options in Edmonton.

Openings

  • It’s been a great week for new restaurants in #yegdt – Bianco, Rosso’s sister restaurant is now open on Rice Howard Way at #120, 10020 101 A Avenue.
  • 104 Street Downtown also had two restaurant openings this week: the first was Tiffin Fresh Kitchen, which, after numerous delays, was finally able to throw open their (garage) doors last Tuesday. This second branch is located at 10404 Jasper Avenue.
  • Say Uncle, from the folks behind Sandwich and Sons and Northern Chicken, opened last week as well. They took over the space formerly occupied by Aarde at 10184 104 Street. Their menu, as described by Chef Cowan, occupies a space between the neighbourhood pub next door (Kelly’s), and the upscale steakhouse on the other side (DOSC).
  • Dagu Rice Noodle, a chain with locations in Ontario, Quebec, and Calgary, will be joining the 104 Street establishments, filling in one of the vacant bays next to Tiffin Fresh Kitchen, at 10408 Jasper Avenue.
  • We’ve seen mobile coffee carts and cafe trucks, but a cafe built out of a seacan is new to Edmonton – coming soon, Yeg Coffee Can.
  • The folks behind the popular ice cream food truck Scoop N Roll have opened a new food truck called Mish Mash Parfait, focusing on parfait and soft serve. Find them at Kingsway Mall.
  • A Lebanese restaurant called Root of Beirut opened this spring at 10208 127 Avenue.

Upcoming Events

  • To celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival, Formosa Bistro is hosting a workshop on June 2, 2019, with a dumpling lesson, dumpling craft, and information about the history of the Dragon’s Festival. Tickets are $10.
  • Rogue Wave Coffee is hosting The Unconventional Brewer’s Cup on June 8, 2019. 4 knockout rounds will determine a winner; the cost of participating is $15 for 16 competition spots.
  • Wild Heart is organizing a preview food crawl for Dine the Ave, the new iteration of Eats on the Ave that will see restaurants offering special menus priced at $10, $15, and $20 from June 17-23, 2019. Tickets for this preview on June 12, 2019 are $47, and include meals at 3 restaurants.
  • Kevin Kossowan is leading several foraging workshops this summer. The cost is $68 per person.

Reviews

Local News

  • Back in February, as a part of the lead-up to the provincial election, Restaurants Canada was pushing for some labour law changes in a campaign called “Restaurant Realities”. The foodservice lobby group had released a video featuring several local restaurant and food business owners vocalizing their desire to roll back holiday pay increases and advocating for a lower wage for youth workers. Delivering on his campaign promise, Premier Jason Kenney announced his proposed labour law changes today.
  • Western Living released the list of finalists for the 2019 Foodies of the Year. Local representatives include: Ryan and Roselina Hotchkiss of Bundok, Adam Smith of Strathcona Spirits, Ben Staley of forthcoming restaurant Yarrow, and Shane Chartrand of SC at River Cree. The top 10 winners will be announced on July 12, 2019.
  • Duchess now offers a line of ice cream, with three flavours to choose from: tonka bean, passion fruit rasperry, and Valrhona chocolate salted caramel.
  • Presale tickets for Taste of Edmonton, which runs this year from July 18-28, 2019 at Capital Plaza are now on sale. Sheets of 40 tickets are $10 off in advance.
  • Sharman shared her experience at the Edmonton Expo’s recent Winery Spotlight Series dinner.
  • Global News covered the special meal prepared by some local chefs, including Chefs Shane Chartrand, Lindsay Porter, and Nate Henry for clients of The Mustard Seed last week.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • The City Market announced last week that in fact, they will be setting up shop on 104 Street this year. As of June 15, 2019 (so long as LRT construction doesn’t get in the way), they will be back on 104 Street on Saturdays. On Sundays, however, they will still set up adjacent to the GWG Building on 103 Avenue and 97 Street.
  • The Edmonton Food Council is recruiting new members. The deadline to apply is June 5, 2019.

What I Ate

  • We’ll be eating a lot of asparagus over this next month; nothing says spring like fresh asparagus from Edgar Farms (for those interested in seeing how they grow it, they’re hosting their wonderful Asparagus Festival again on June 2 and 9, 2019).

Edgar Farms

Edgar Farms asparagus at the City Market

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