Food Notes for December 7, 2020

Local Initiatives Boost Awareness of Small Businesses

Independent businesses need love now more than ever, so it’s great to see two new local initiatives highlight some of the caffeinated and culinary pillars of our community.

CoffeePass is the brainchild of Edmontonian Eric Remagni, who was inspired to create the program after an eight month international adventure. “I began working on building the program in May of this year, and it has really been spurred forward by the challenges the pandemic has created,” he shared. “Now more than ever, our cafes need the support of coffee lovers to help them make it through the pandemic.”

The pass, priced at $35 (plus tax and shipping), entitles passholders to 22 coffees, one at each of the 22 cafe partners. Participating businesses include more established cafes Little Brick and Doughnut Party and newer additions to the scene such as The Dapper Beaver and ch. cafeteria.

“Our goal is to help people discover new cafes, and for the community to continue supporting each cafe by making additional purchases when they visit – whether that’s picking up some locally-roasted coffee beans, dining (or takeout because of Covid), or grabbing some merch,” said Remagni.

Passes must be redeemed by March 31, 2021. CoffeePass is available online, or in-person through their cafe partners.

Eat. Love. Eat Again! was put together by 7 establishments that hope to encourage diners to patronize other independent restaurants. In the month of December, dine-in or take-out at one of the participating businesses, keep the receipt, and show it at one of the other businesses for 10% off the bill.

Participating restaurants include Filistix, Kanto 98 St., Mercer Tavern, Otto, Three Vikings, Toast Culture, and Yelo’d.

COVID-19-related News

  • A server at Crown & Anchor Pub & Grill in north Edmonton needed 14 stitches on her face after an altercation with a patron related to asking the person to don a mask.
  • After temporary closures, Baijiu has re-opened, as has Love Pizza’s St. Albert location and Bagel Bar. Bodega’s St. Albert and Highlands locations will be open for take-out only as of December 8, 2020.
  • Other restaurants have decided to voluntarily transition to take-out/pick-up only, including Ramen Misoya, Three Vikings, Vi’s for Pies, and Red Star (who even created a playlist to listen to while enjoying dinner).
  • More restaurants are pivoting back to make-at-home meals, as took place earlier in the spring. This includes Bottega 104 with pasta, pizza, and cocktail kits, Woodshed Burger patties, frozen dinners from Filistix, and heat-and-eat options from Shojo Izakaya.
  • Katy Ingraham, owner of Cartago and Fleisch, continues her advocacy against indoor dining: “…no one should be sitting inside a restaurant with their mask off right now. Do not dine in. Not even if you’re following the rules. Not even if you don’t feel sick. Not with your household. Not with anyone….”
  • Entrepreneurs representing over three dozen hospitality businesses as a part of the Edmonton Independent Hospitality Community signed an open letter to City Council and other levels of government to plea for the need for more restrictions and immediate financial relief.
  • Lobby group Restaurants Canada will be calling for a national working group at a virtual press conference on December 8, 2020, which will include representation from Patrick Saurette of The Marc.
  • The pandemic and the poor economic conditions continue to impact businesses in Chinatown.
  • Bountiful Market has seen their foot traffic reduced by half due to the pandemic.
  • Cafe Bicyclette had made the decision to close for the remainder of the year – and in the process, donated their excess food to those in need.
  • A recent New York Times survey of 700 epidemiologists found that the most risky activity, in their opinion, is eating indoors at a restaurant.

Openings

Closures

  • The Downtown location of Yoshi Sushi in the Matrix Hotel is permanently closed.

Upcoming Events

  • Taste Alberta is hosting a virtual Holiday Kitchen Party on December 9, 2020 featuring cooking demonstrations from a couple local chefs, including Steve Brochu of Milk Crate and Doreen Prei. The $15 registration fee will be donated to Edmonton and Calgary food banks.

Local News

  • 2020 just keeps on dishing out the punches – this week, it was a fire that decimated Why Not. Co-owner Levi Biddlecombe vowed they will be back, “We’ll be up to something. People still need to eat … now we’re just trying to rebuild. The name has been built, it’s not just the physical space. We’ve built a brand in the community.”
  • Particularly because of the pivots the hospitality sector has been forced to make, those seeking to give local food gifts have never had more choices to consider. These include Fife N Dekel’s pie subscription and cookie mixes from Confetti Sweets.
    • It’s always great to see local businesses collaborating with one another – the latest example is this Mulled Cider Sorbet from Kind Ice Cream and Broken Spoke Cider.
    • Those looking for ready made turkey dinners for the holidays have many options, including A Cappella, Ernest’s, Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, and Sorrentino’s.
    • Food Bike Tours have rebranded to Chef Table Living, which encompasses their online cooking and mixology classes (supplemented with chef kits for easy preparation). They are also debuting their series of guided and self-guided Food Walk Tours on January 22, 2020 in Downtown and Old Strathcona.
    • Twyla Campbell shared information about alternative grocery providers to consider. On that note, Uproot Food Collective, which she mentions, is now shipping shelf-stable products across Alberta!
    • Sepp’s Pizza is celebrating their first birthday.
    • The latest issue of EDify offers an Indian take on Christmas dinner, recommendations for Thai food, and a profile of Lindsay Jang, a Sherwood Park expat with successful hospitality enterprises in Hong Kong, including branded sake called Sunday’s Spirits now available in Alberta.
    • Lincoln Ho’s YEGventures is collecting votes for his Best of Edmonton 2020 list. Voting ends December 20, 2020. Thanks to whoever nominated this blog – it’s an honour to be included along some other great local blogs!
    • 11 year-old Edmonton boy Dongdao Xiao’s recipe for “pandemic chicken” was selected to be included in the Kid Food Nation cookbook.
    • Edmontonians Allison Harrison and Nathan Beck have started a recipe blog called Cheap & Chunky.
    • Boyle Street Community Services has launched a holiday meal sponsorship program that will enable them to provide warm meals to clients.

    What I Ate

    • I had forgotten to post about the delightful outdoor ordering window at Overflow in Old Strathcona. Post-pandemic, I hope these stay!

    Overflow Cafe

    Mack waits for his drink order at Overflow

    • Desk lunches are made infinitely better when they’re made up of a comforting bowl of soup, such as the bun bo Hue from T and D Noodle House (they also closed to dine-in services earlier in the fall).

    T and D Noodle House

    Bun bo Hue from T and D Noodle House

    • It’s been too long since our last La Mision burrito (served at Tres Carnales now) so on Friday we made sure to upsize and include chips and guacamole with our order, too!

    La Mision

    Chicken burritos from Tres Carnales

    • We couldn’t pass up poutine in a cup at this year’s Zoominescence, and it was much better than we expected!

    Valley Zoo

    #poutineinacup from 40 Acres at the Valley Zoo

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