Food Notes for February 8, 2021

In-Person Dining Resumes in Alberta

Hospitalizations have remained below 600, so today, the province proceeded with the first stage of easing restrictions, which includes the resumption of in-person dining.

The guidelines limit 6 individuals to a table from the same household or two close contacts for those living alone. Liquor service will end at 10pm, in-person dining will close by 11pm and the establishment must collect contact information from one person in the dining party.

On February 5, 2021, the Edmonton Independent Hospitality Community wrote an open letter to government leaders asking for a COVID-zero plan and further financial provisions to assist the hospitality industry: “Many of us are left with no other option than to re-open for dine in and put ourselves and our staff at increased risk of contracting Covid and spreading it to our loved ones and the community because the alternative of not opening is just as grave a predicament.”

Since last week, a slough of restaurants announced re-opening plans. Many, such as Blue Plate Diner, Delux, Central Social Hall, Fife and Dekel, Tiffin, XIX Nineteen, resumed in-person service on February 8, 2021. Remedy locations and Sugar Bowl were busy on the first day welcoming back in-person customers.

Other restaurants have delayed their opening until later this week in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, including The Butternut Tree, DOSC, Guru, and Pampa. A couple are limiting in-person services even further – Filistix is only offering dine-in on Fridays and Saturdays, while Lux is re-opening for the weekend only.

The resumption of in-person dining also means outdoor patios can return. The winter igloos at Riverside Bistro have since re-opened, while Tiramisu Bistro’s new igloos can now be reserved. The courtyard at Little Brick is also open to patrons.

Similar to the case in November, when many restaurants voluntarily closed to in-person dining, some businesses have decided to remain on take-out and delivery models only. This includes Northern Chicken, Cartago and Fleisch, Jack’s Burger Shack, The Next Act/Meat/Pip, and The Nook.

New York City resumes indoor dining this weekend, and this writer for The New Yorker captured my thoughts perfectly:

“But today, on the cusp of a second, nearly identical experiment with indoor dining, the moral weight of our individual decisions has increased. We know what happened last time; we know the limits of what this move can fix, and the extent of whom it can harm. There is a flip side to the fallacy of individual responsibility during the pandemic: just because we’ve been given permission to do something doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do.”

COVID-19-related News

  • Co-owner of Sabor and Bodega restaurants Christian Mena shared his personal experience with COVID-19, and preparing to re-open on February 8.
  • The owner of That Bar-B-Q in Sherwood Park doesn’t believe stage one of re-opening will be beneficial to his business, which relies on diners wanting to socialize with people from other households.
  • The NDP are calling on the province to follow Ontario and BC and cap the fees that can be charged by third-party delivery apps during the pandemic. Some believe that capping fees is only scraping the surface of what the hospitality industry needs to survive.

Closures

  • The owners behind Cibo Bistro have decided to close the business permanently. Lisa and Rosario Caputo shared: “This past year has made it almost impossible to move forward with the constant changes to our industry and the inconsistent rules and regulations due to Covid-19.”

Upcoming Events

  • The second annual Taste of Africa is taking place virtually on February 27, 2021 , with a contactless food pick-up component.

Local News

  • Acclaimed local chef Larry Stewart (formerly of Hardware Grill) will be heading up the kitchen at Cattail Crossing Golf and Winter Club in Sturgeon County.
  • The Journal shares the stories behind HanJan’s new concept HoneyJam and Old Strathcona restaurant Palette Cafe.
  • Phil’s latest Best Dishes column highlights the sandwiches at Zwick’s Pretzels.
  • Twyla shared her sneak peek of Chef Jiju Paul’s new menu at Hotel Macdonald.
  • CTV featured the couple behind Benny’s Bread and Butter.
  • Still making Valentine’s Day plans? Mary Bailey of The Tomato shared some in-person and curbside pick-up options on Global.
  • CoffePass announced that they are extending their expiry date until April 30, 2021.
  • I love that Linda is sponsoring her own giveaway supporting BIPOC businesses in honour of Black History Month.
  • Also from Linda – a wonderful story about how farmers’ markets brought the two people behind Mini Kitchen and El Gringo together in love and eventually, marriage.
  • Alberta Food Tours is offering another curated local box; this one features sweet treats from 11 Albertan chocolatiers and confectioners. The box is priced at $99.
  • The next season of The Great Canadian Baking Show (which includes Edmonton’s own Larry Harris of Bonne Vie Bakery) shared their favourite local bakeries across the country.
  • EDify profiled one of the Edmonton area’s newest distilleries, White Lightning Distillery. It is located in Barrhead County.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

What I Ate

  • Even the cold couldn’t stop me from satisfying my vermicelli bowl craving. It was also a happy coincidence that all pick-up orders from T and D Noodle House are 15% off until February 14, 2021 to commemorate their 7th birthday!

T and D Noodle House

My go-to vermicelli bowl from T and D Noodle House

  • Emily’s current favourite book is the adorable “My Day With Gong Gong” by Sennah Yee, and after seeing the dim sum restaurant scene over and over again, Mack and I were craving dim sum something fierce. All day dim sum from Dynasty Century Palace to the rescue!

Dynasty Century Palace

Dim sum and noodles from Dynasty Century Palace

  • I likely never would have attempted one from scratch, so Dalla’s Timpano kit was a great excuse to assemble this famous Italian dish at home. Emily had a great time helping us layer the ingredients, and we think it turned out great!

Dalla

Timpano

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