Food Notes for July 12, 2021

Taste of Edmonton Returns to Churchill Square

After being forced to cancel the festival in 2020, Taste of Edmonton has not only returned to the summer event calendar, but also to its long-term home at Churchill Square. This year’s iteration runs July 22-August 1, 2021.

In 2018 and 2019, Taste of Edmonton had relocated to Violet King Henry Plaza on the Alberta Legislature grounds, and though some guests and restaurants expressed that they preferred that site, the festival always intended to return to Churchill Square. “[Violet King Henry] Plaza was a temporary home until construction on the Square was finished,” said Leana Santos, Marketing Manager for Events Edmonton, the organization that operates Taste of Edmonton. “The LRT construction will not have any effect on physical distancing at the festival and 2021’s site plan is the largest in the festival’s history to allow for ample physical distancing.”

A number of gates will contain the festival site to manage capacity. However, guests will not have to queue for entrance or restrict their time on the festival grounds, Santos said.

The Heritage Festival announced this year that they have eliminated paper tickets in favour of direct electronic transactions with pavilions. Taste of Edmonton, however, is moving forward with the use of paper tickets. “In 2019 we had the option to purchase digital tickets [through the Taste of Edmonton mobile app],” said Santos. “However, after receiving feedback from our restaurant partners and attendees, we decided to switch back to hardcopy tickets to increase the speed of sale.”

The 2021 festival will feature 51 restaurants and food trucks. The menu as presented in the guide is akin to the Heritage Festival, with items organized by ethnic cuisine. As this is the first event since the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum, I was curious what Events Edmonton might be doing to address systemic inequities in their festival. “Events Edmonton welcomes all cultures at the Taste of Edmonton,” said Santos. “We are celebrating the city’s diverse cultures with over 150 menu items and the menu has everything from Canadian to Jamaican to Indigenous and everything in between.”

Although the website is coy regarding whether live entertainment will take place, Santos confirmed that patrons will be able to expect live entertainment.

Early bird pricing for Taste of Edmonton tickets ends July 21; they can be purchased in-person, online and at special events such as Al Fresco on 4th on July 17.

Openings

  • Roasti Coffee has set up a temporary trailer at Snow Valley for the summer, from Thursdays to Sundays.
  • After closing Mandarin, their successful University-area restaurant, due to the pandemic, Patrick Wong and his wife opened up 888 Dim Sum and Noodle in Devon.

Upcoming Events

  • The dining domes of Geoscapes is returning, but this time at Snow Valley from July 15-August 28, 2021. Chefs involved in this iteration include Eric Hanson (formerly of Prairie Noodle), Lindsay Porter (of The Common), Mai Nguyen (of Gourmai Dumplings), and Toronto-based Roger Mooking. Tickets are $125 per person, with a minimum of 4 persons per dome.
  • The Summer Fun Midway in place of K-Days will be running July 23-August 1, 2021, and will feature rides and fair food.
  • The Black-Owned Market Edmonton is celebrating their first anniversary with an event on July 24, 2021 at Victoria School. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP.
  • Backstairs Burger (still gearing up to open at 5th Street Food Hall), is popping up at the Coals and Cleavers patio on July 24, 2021.
  • 17 Edmonton area restaurants are participating in Alberta on a Plate, a festival that celebrates local producers. Running August 6-15, 2021, the menus for the restaurants will be up on August 1.
  • Packwood Grand returns on August 28, 2021 at the Century Mile Racetrack. It combines horse racing, fashion, and food and drink.

Local News

Urban Agriculture and Farming

What I Ate

  • Our new daily route takes us by Rosewood Foods, so there will be a lot more patty melts in my future. Such a great sandwich.
  • Rosewood Foods

Patty melt from Rosewood Foods

  • We had take-out from Coals and Cleavers on Friday. It’s a hidden gem only in its second week run by the Alberta BBQ Collective. They’re operating a pop-up patio Downtown behind the Freemasons Hall (10318 100 Avenue). I really enjoyed the whole hog pork, and Emily ate up her share of mac and cheese!
  • Coals and Cleavers

Whole hog plate with collard greens and baked beans from Coals and Cleavers

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