Taste of Edmonton 2015

Mack and I just returned from our third trip around this year’s Taste of Edmonton, and boy, everyone seemed to be talking about Graham Hicks’ takedown of the festival. On Tuesday, the Sun published his harsh take on one of Edmonton’s summer traditions, a litany of his encounter with “awful” food. Although Taste has its fair share of haters, Graham’s piece is surprising in light of his praise of the festival over the past three years, and the fact that nothing significant changed in 2015.

Taste of Edmonton

Taste of Edmonton

We’ve been a bit more deliberate this year in taking advantage of our proximity to the site, stopping by on multiple occasions to gradually use up the tickets we accumulated. This has afforded us the chance to return to our favourites over the course of the week!

Taste of Edmonton

Food trucks were back for a forth straight year

As guests of Taste Alberta, Mack and I were invited to sample the wares inside the Sip ‘n Savour Tent last Friday. The pop-up nature of the tent has enabled the festival to involve chefs who wouldn’t otherwise be willing or available to commit to the duration of the event. That said, with the $10 admission fee, I’m surprised that most of the Sip ‘n Savour dates have sold out – the cost of attending can pretty quickly escalate with the cover charge, given food and drinks inside the tent require Taste tickets. In some ways, should Taste want to expand into the off-season, the Sip ‘n Savour concept could certainly be replicated.

Taste of Edmonton

Mack and Mike at Sip ‘n Savour

That evening, Custom Cocktails and Tapas were on the menu. The patio facing the stage was pretty sweet, and on that sunny evening, it was a very comfortable place to enjoy our drinks.

Taste of Edmonton

Patio

Century Hospitality Group catered that night, serving up a variety of small plates, including gazpacho, arancini and pulled pork sliders.

Taste of Edmonton

Outgoing CHG Chef Paul Shufelt

We were also happy to encounter Nomad Espresso, Edmonton’s first mobile coffee cart. Steve is set up inside the tent for the entire festival, which is great for those with access who need a pick-me-up, but it definitely limits his exposure to a wider audience.

Taste of Edmonton

Steve of Nomad Espresso

Outside Sip ‘n Savour, as we found last year, the value for tickets is pretty good, with most samples priced at 3. But as with any large food festival, there are hits and misses.

Some restaurants are reliable and consistently good – perhaps Taste should consider formally recognizing those who, year over year, are creative and seek to elevate the food served at the festival. In my opinion, ZINC is at the top of that list. Their City Market salad, dressed with a champagne and lemon olive oil, was a refreshing reprieve from deep fried dishes (and one I went back twice for!).

Taste of Edmonton

City Market salad from ZINC

Similarly, their decadent banana bread pudding was easily Mack’s favourite dessert, well executed and comforting.

Taste of Edmonton

Banana bread pudding from ZINC

Also on the sweet side, the Hotel Macdonald’s scone, with whipped cream and berry compote, is a classic. And though it’s a plate you shouldn’t have more than once, I couldn’t help myself. It was impressive that Chef Jost was there serving both times!

Taste of Edmonton

With Chef Jost and the Mac scone

There were some restaurants that we weren’t expecting to stand out. Mama Lee’s Kitchen was continuously making small batches of its beef and pork bulgogi – we could definitely taste the difference their efforts made (especially when compared with some of the dishes we tried that had obviously languished under a heat lamp).

Taste of Edmonton

Beef bulgogi from Mama Lee’s Kitchen

The rotisserie roasted pig from the Freson Bros. was another pleasant menu addition, with a good ratio of fat, and finished off with applesauce.

Taste of Edmonton

Rotisserie roasted pig from the Freson Bros.

Overall, we appreciated the other small improvements to the festival – more seating outside of the beer garden, and large overhead signs planted above each of the booths that helped with navigation. We didn’t have a chance to check out the Culinary Championships, but given they’re located separately on Centennial Plaza, hopefully they’ve been drawing the crowds they wanted.

Given Taste of Edmonton will be looking for a new home next year (because of the 102 Avenue construction), only time will tell whether they’ll be able to continue the positive momentum they’ve built over the last four years.

Recap: What the Truck?! Brunch on the Boulevard

On June 10, 2015, What the Truck?! hosted its first brunch-themed event at Capital Boulevard.

What the Truck?! at Capital Boulevard

Brunch on the Boulevard

Fourteen vendors joined us for Brunch on the Boulevard, serving up inspired items ranging from breakfast pizza to banana bread French toast and Captain Crunch ice cream sandwiches.

What the Truck?! at Capital Boulevard

Canicus Catering’s breakfast pizza

The weather, while mostly cooperative, was overcast and windy at times. As a result, lines were minimal, and attendees enjoyed seamless access to most vendors – there’s definitely an incentive to coming out in spite of less than optimal conditions!

What the Truck?! at Capital Boulevard

Weather wasn’t a deterrent for these folks

It was great to have DJs Thomas Culture and Polyesterday on hand to create an upbeat, sunny atmosphere. They literally had some people dancing in the streets!

What the Truck?! at Capital Boulevard

DJ Thomas Culture

The Downtown Edmonton Community League and GFL also deserve shout-outs, given the sponsorships really helped us make the event a reality.

We had chosen the location primarily because we thought it was worth showcasing. Much has been invested to develop not only Capital Boulevard, but also the new Centennial Plaza and renovated Federal Building. In some ways, we were too ahead of the game – not all of the street’s infrastructure was ready (power, for instance), and the public art on the centre island planters are a year or two out.

What the Truck?! at Capital Boulevard

Capital Boulevard

As for the Plaza itself, the coloured fountains were being repaired, and the Visitor’s Centre was aiming to open in time for Canada Day. And because of antiquated policies relating to the use of the Legislative Grounds, we weren’t permitted to purposely use the Plaza (we couldn’t place seating or porta-potties on the Plaza, for example). Apparently there are folks working to change these rules, but we’ll see how soon the shifts can be made.

What the Truck?! at Capital Boulevard

Incidental use was permitted

It will also be interesting to see how other events end up programming the Boulevard in the future – with at least one parkade with its only entrance and exit fronting the Boulevard, multi-day festivals will have a challenge maintaining access. The centre planters also pose an additional difficulty, further reducing space for fire lanes. These were definitely elements we didn’t consider until trying to program the space ourselves; hopefully the City was aware of the limitations when designing the street.

If you missed the event, not to worry, our next What the Truck?! is just around the corner. We’ve had requests over the years for beer gardens, and while we’re not in a position to make that happen ourselves, we’ve partnered with someone who can.

What: What the Truck?!
Where: Northlands Park (7410 Borden Park Road NW, Edmonton, AB)
When: Friday, July 10, 2015
Time: 5-10pm
RSVP on Facebook!

We’re hosting a What the Truck?! at Northlands, in conjunction with Park After Dark. Ever curious about horse racing? Mack and I went a few years ago, and had a great time. On July 10, you’ll not only be able to catch some live horse racing and enjoy a cool drink on their patio, but you’ll also be able to sample from fifteen different trucks!

Check out the website on Friday for menus. Hope to see you there!

Recap: What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

We were overwhelmed with the turnout at our first What the Truck?! of the season, which took place at Churchill Square last Saturday.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

Although we knew we’d have record crowds given our Facebook event had swelled to over 12,000 RSVPs in the weeks leading up to May 23, 2015, the perfect weather conditions put us over the edge.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

It was obvious we attracted many first-time What the Truck?! attendees that day, some shocked at the frenzy surrounding food trucks. But for the most part, we saw Edmontonians celebrating the chance to be outdoors, enjoying some of the city’s best mobile food purveyors.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

Given the circumstances, I was so proud of the trucks for serving a crowd we estimated to be 8,000 strong. It was a great team effort between veteran trucks like Bully (who, for the first time ever, sold out of food) and those new to What the Truck?!.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

This may have been the tipping point for food trucks in Edmonton, and to help manage future turnouts, our volunteer committee will be doing our best to promote positive experiences at our events. For instance, we’ve started to bandy about the idea of a multi-day opening for next year, given our spring gathering has consistently been the busiest day in our festival calendar.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

In our fifth year, it’s already become difficult to find suitable and accessible spaces that can accommodate us. One of our guiding principles has been to highlight the roaming nature of food trucks by shifting through different areas in the city, and consequently, hopefully encouraging exploration of adjacent businesses, parks or neighbourhood features. This will become more and more challenging with the festival’s success, but I’m optimistic that we can find a way to stay true to our roots.

Thanks to those who came out to our first event – you’ve showed us that the love of food trucks is alive and well in Edmonton! If you haven’t already, mark your calendars for our next event – Brunch on the Boulevard – taking place on Sunday, June 14, from 11am-3pm at 108 Street and 99 Avenue. Hope to see you there!

What the Truck?! Season 5 Kick-Off

I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic lately (it’s no coincidence the series finale of Mad Men drove me to rewatch “The Wheel”, featuring Don’s famous carousel speech). But in the lead up to our fifth season of What the Truck?!, I’ve been reflecting more on where we started.

Some may remember that first event in June 2011, seven trucks huddled between the decorative poles in Beaver Hills House Park. Mack and I were floored that Edmontonians came out, in spite of the rain, to gather, eat and share – it was a demonstration of an appetite for great food to be enjoyed outdoors during our short but brilliant summers.

What The Truck?!
Beaver Hills House Park (2011)

True to the mobile nature of food trucks, over the years, we’ve continued to shift our festival locations to a number of central neighbourhoods, like Oliver’s Victoria Promenade (anecdotally, our most popular event), Old Strathcona’s family-friendly Gazebo Park, the recently renovated Borden Park by Northlands, and the underutilized Louise McKinney in our beautiful river valley.

What the Truck?!

Victoria Promenade (2012)

Our events have mirrored the increase the number of food trucks vending in Edmonton, growing from seven at that first event to nearly two dozen at our event last September. With more than sixty-five trucks registered this season, we’ll be doing our best to highlight as many as we can. That said, because mobile vendors have become mainstream, found at farmers’ markets, community gatherings, and other food festivals, What the Truck?! has to adapt to stay relevant.

What the Truck?! at Louise McKinney

Louise McKinney Park (2013)

This year, What the Truck?! will be focusing only on large events, to ensure we can cast a spotlight on trucks both new and experienced. You can expect that our gatherings will feature at least fifteen trucks or more, providing a variety of food not found elsewhere.

What the Truck?! at Borden Park

Borden Park (2014)

We also believe that What the Truck?! can still play a key role in using food trucks as a conduit to encourage exploration of some of Edmonton’s hidden gems. We’ll be releasing the details of our season later this month, but we hope you’ll be as excited about our new locations as we are!

For the first event of the season, we’ve decided to return to Churchill Square. The reality is – we’ve outgrown most other sites, and it’s hard to beat the central, accessible and open space of the Square.

_DSC5020

Churchill Square (photo by Dave Feltham)

What: What the Truck?! at Churchill Square
Where: Sir Winston Churchill Square
When: Saturday, May 23, 2015
Time: 4-8pm
RSVP on Facebook!

Even with the ever-growing interest in food trucks, the organizing team (now a group of seven!) has been blown away by the online response to our first event – over 10,000 people have RSVP’d already. We’ve posted the menus, so folks can start to plan their attack, and if you’ve never been before, please review our tips for attendees to make the most of your experience.

We hope you’re as excited for the season as we are – see you on Saturday!

Recap: Northern Lands’ Meet Your Maker Event

Edmonton might seem like an odd choice to hold a national wine festival, given we can’t produce grape vintages in Alberta, but apparently our neutrality in part helped sell the idea of Northern Lands to wineries from across the country. Billing itself as the “largest gathering of Canadian wineries from coast to coast”, the two day festival featured twenty producer dinners at restaurants across the city, wine seminars, and cumulated in a stand up wine and food event at the Shaw Conference Centre on March 28, 2015 called Meet Your Makers.

Northern Lands

Meet Your Makers swag

Festival Director Gurvinder Bhatia is no stranger to organizing large-scale food events. In 2012 and 2014, Gurvinder’s brainchild Hot Chefs, Cool bEATS successfully brought together some of Edmonton’s best chefs for an evening of food and drink with a backdrop of eclectic entertainment. With Meet Your Makers, we could definitely see the resemblance to Hot Chefs (including some familiar faces), but the spotlight on wine was a definite departure.

The event was sold out, so we tried to arrive early to avoid the crowd. Maximizing the space, the lobby of Hall D had been set up to feature breweries, with a few food stations sprinkled between.

Northern Lands

Welcome beer

It was great to see so many of the city’s prominent culinary professionals under the same roof. In spite of the fact that it was a Saturday night, chefs were front and centre, serving up their creations to the 800-solid crowd. The organizers also enhanced the bill with appearances from several key names from “abroad” – namely, Vikram Vij and Charcut’s John Jackson and Connie DeSousa.

Northern Lands

Daniel Costa focuses on preparing his agnolotti

Tickets to the event were $85, and by the end of the evening, we knew we had reaped their value and then some. Although portion sizes were reasonable, with twenty restaurants, the food definitely added up.

Northern Lands

Yes, that is truffle being shaved onto a forest floor-inspired dessert from Duchess

Among our favourites that night were the Tangle Ridge Ranch lamb and olive arancini from Century Hospitality Group and the Rajasthani-style goat meat stew from Vij’s.

Northern Lands

Mack also couldn’t resist the butter chicken potli from Guru

Though we did have our share of wine that night, with 47 wineries pouring over 150 different wines, we were a bit over our head. We did gravitate towards the names we were familiar with (such as Joie, Cave Spring and Mission Hill), but it was also a pleasant surprise to learn about some new producers. For example, Mack and I didn’t know that Kamloops is now home to three wineries (we had spent some time there for a conference a number of years ago).

Northern Lands

Harper’s Trail, one of our Kamloops discoveries

While we also did our best to pair wine with the food we were sampling, it wasn’t as seamless as it could have been. Often, Mack and I ended up splitting up – he’d grab a wine to try while I waited in line for the dishes. Still, we did encounter a few wineries that asked what we’d be eating next before pouring a selection.

Northern Lands

Mack with Eau Claire Distillery, an Alberta-based distillery

There was also a bit of off-kilter fun in the hall – a seemingly random ping pong tournament pitting producers against one another. At the very least, when else can I say I watched Vikram Vij flex his ping pong skills (barefoot, naturally)?

Northern Lands

Vikram Vij shows his stuff

One of our favourite aspects of the event actually had nothing to do with the consumables. It was great to catch up with some people we hadn’t seen in a while – in many ways, the conversations forced us to pace ourselves throughout the evening so the walk home wasn’t as unpleasant as it could have been.

Northern Lands

With Elm Café’s Allan Suddaby

Meet Your Makers promises to return in 2016, and given its success, I’m sure it will be even bigger. It’ll be interesting to see if organizers will choose to showcase fruit wines in the future, given besides beer and spirits, they are Alberta’s contribution to this beverage market.

Congratulations to Gurvinder and his team on a great first event!

Bread Making 101 at the Edmonton Resilience Festival

It’s hard not to love a city like Edmonton where, even in the dead of winter, new festivals can be imagined. Last weekend, The Local Good’s inaugural Edmonton Resilience Festival took place at the Boyle Street Plaza. The Festival aims to “strengthen community resilience through skill-sharing workshops and other events, inspiring participants to help create a sustainable, creative and promising future.” Session topics ranged from healthy living to cooking to community building, and were organized into streams, but there was also the option to purchase tickets to individual workshops.

For an event just in its first year, it encompassed so many elements beyond sessions. Although there was a fee to register in the various hands-on and discussion-based workshops, organizers did not want financial means to be a barrier for those interested. As such, they had planned many free activities open to the public, including more formal learning opportunities as well as more informal chances to connect with others through conversation cafes or information booths.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Outdoor skating and bonfire

On the Spot Pop-Ups had also been asked to be a part of the event, and organized local artisans to be on-hand displaying and selling their wares.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Information fair and market pop-up

I attended one of the workshops on Sunday morning, alongside my friend Su. There are few things that would have convinced me to be ready to learn at 8am on a Sunday, but fresh bread is definitely one of them. Owen Petersen, of Prairie Mill, has been an instructor at Eat Alberta for years, but I’d never had the chance to participate in his class before. This was a great opportunity to do so, all for just $25.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Owen slices into some fresh bread

The class took place in a kitchen on the second floor of the Boyle Street Plaza. Perhaps a reflection of the early start time, there were just six of us in the group. Because of this, it was even more interactive, and Owen was able to answer all of our burning questions about yeast, flour and baking vessels (did you know that to simulate a steam oven, all you need is to bake your dough in a lidded container? Genius).

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Different oven-safe containers

We were each gifted not only with a jar of Owen’s starter (18 years old and named “Julie”), but also mixed up a batch of dough to take home. Owen’s methodology was so straightforward, that both Su and I felt inspired to start baking immediately. The class reminded me of Anna Olson’s pie dough recipe at Christmas in November – it was enabling instead of discouraging, as some more finicky, perfection-driven chefs have been known to be.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Su mixes her dough

I learned that breads made from starters are more forgiving than those made from dry yeast, which again, made the process of baking seem less daunting. Owen shared a story about forgetting about dough in his car overnight, which still resulted, the next day, in a fairly good loaf.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

All smiles with Owen

After the session, I headed home and incorporated cheddar into half of my prepared dough. It resulted in a pretty killer cheese loaf.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Say cheese!

A week later, with the remaining dough, I left the bread to bake even longer to achieve a more beautiful crust.

Edmonton Resilience Festival

Sourdough

Next week, the training wheels will come off though, and I’ll have to craft the dough from scratch on my own. But the promise of freshly-baked bread awaits. Thanks to Owen for leading a wonderfully educational session, and to The Local Good for organizing a great festival – here’s to next year!

Recap: Winter Shake-Up Festival

After work on Friday, I met up with Mack and Hannah to take in the first ever Winter Shake-up Festival and Market at Churchill Square.

Winter Shake Up

A public event, it capped off a two-day conference all about winter: design, marketing, business opportunities, and of course, how to encourage more people to embrace the season. Although it ended up being unfortunate timing that the festival coincided with the coldest evening this January, it resulted in a true winter experience – one the organizers had to plan for, and attendees had to dress for.

Winter Shake Up

We loved the overall feel of the Square – they kept the layout tight, and the welcoming light installations and scissor-lifted lights added some magic.

Winter Shake Up

Given nature’s unpredictability, organizers had a number of ways for folks to warm up. Our favourite was through their selection of hot drinks, including apple cider, spiked coffee and mulled wine.

Winter Shake Up

There were also three brave food trucks on hand, and the even braver souls who ordered from them. I’m sure a topic for future conferences could be designing winter al fresco-friendly food – most people ducked into tents to consume their fare, while others huddled under heat lamps to keep their exposed fingers warm.

Winter Shake Up

Over forty market vendors participated, either in large heated tents, or in the individual huts we’d first spied at All is Bright. On this cold night, this set-up seemed to put those in the huts at a slight disadvantage, as they were on the periphery of the action, but the aesthetics of the covered stalls are closer to the European-style markets organizers wanted to emulate. It will be interesting to see how this aspect might be improved for future events.

Winter Shake Up

I really loved that several dynamic activities were also being offered on the Square. Attendees could try out segways, fat bikes, and a snow slide built on top of the steps of the amphitheater.

Winter Shake Up

Although I recognize the liability the slide presents if unattended, it was unfortunate the structure had to be demolished the day after the event. I know maintaining it would require a cost, but something as simple as a slide can bring so much joy to children and adults alike, and would provide a reason to interact with the outdoors in a space otherwise pretty barren in the winter.

Winter Shake Up

Kudos to the organizers for a great first time event – let’s hope the momentum continues!

Recap: All is Bright on 124 Street

Mack and I took in the second annual All is Bright Festival on 124 Street last Saturday. With a gentle, glistening snowfall heralding winter, the event was christened with a beautifully ethereal quality.

All is Bright on 124 Street

High Street

Sure, it was a little chilly, but organizers were prepared, with warming fires clustered around the High Street shops. There were even a handful of outdoor vendors, sheltered by custom-built WinterCity huts (these could be the start of a more permanent winter market!).

All is Bright on 124 Street

Huts

There was also a covered tent that doubled as a stage, though some performers braved the elements on the chance of gathering an even larger crowd.

All is Bright on 124 Street

Ta-da!

Food trucks were on hand also, though their numbers were fewer than last year. Street Eats is fully winterized, so it’s possible you may see them again this season! We were a little disappointed that with all of the foot traffic, event organizers elected not to close any adjacent streets. With the 102 Avenue bridge construction, we thought it would have been natural to close the avenue to vehicles for a more family-friendly set-up as was the case last year.

All is Bright on 124 Street

Street Eats

Of course, one of the best things about this festival is its close proximity to great independent shops, so we definitely took advantage of the opportunity to not only warm our toes but also a head start on Christmas shopping.

Carbon on 124 Street

Carbon

The festival footprint extended north of 107 Avenue, with horse-drawn sleighs and ETS shuttles connecting the two ends of 124 Street. We opted to walk to Drift’s new storefront to have lunch, and were rewarded with a steaming plate of poutine and wonderfully spiced bowl of mulligatawny soup.

Drift on 124 Street

Drift’s new space

Drift on 124 Street

Poutine

Across the street, Duchess was handing out hot chocolate and freshly-fried beignets. It was also an opportunity to see their annual gingerbread cathedral still under construction (the intricate “stained glass” windows are a marvel).

Duchess Bake Shop

Giselle all bundled up!

Duchess Bake Shop

Beignets (seconds, please)

Duchess Bake Shop

Gingerbread cathedral in progress

We met up with Hannah and Stephanie in the new neighbourhood Credo, which was bustling with patrons needing a break from the cold.

Credo on 124 Street

Geoff behind the bar

By the time we were done catching up, we realized we had missed the official light-up and fireworks. But it didn’t really matter – one of the best things about All is Bright is an excuse to acquaint (or reacquaint) yourself with all of the wonderful shops and galleries in the area.

All is Bright on 124 Street

Lights!

We did hustle back to the main site just in time to marvel at the lights and closing activities. Although crowds had dwindled down, it was still a wonderful scene of Edmontonians making the most of winter.

Steph, Hannah, Sharon

With Steph and Hannah

Mack and I thought better of slogging away in the kitchen that night, and left the cooking up to The Bothy. We snagged the last free table, and though we had to be patient with the kitchen, it was well worth the wait. Both our dishes were well prepared.

The Bothy on 124 Street

Roasted lamb sausage pasta

Kudos to the All is Bright organizers for putting together a fabulous event – I’m looking forward to what’s in store for next year!

Relish Fest: Food on Film

There’s a new film festival in town, and it’s all about food! Relish Fest, the brainchild of Maria Iacobelli and The Tomato’s Mary Bailey, celebrates food in all its incarnations on the big screen. Running November 13-16, 2014 in a variety of locations in the city, the festival will be highlighting a number of local, national and international films.

Relish Film Fest

Relish Fest organizers Mary Bailey and Maria Iacobelli with To Make a Farm director Steve Suderman

Although its inaugural year features a panel discussion and a Parmigiano & Prosecco party in addition to screenings, the organizers shared that their focus in coming year will be their “dinner and a movie” series, involving a dinner themed around a specific film preceding each screening. It sounds like a great way to spend an evening.

Relish Food Fest

Relishing some wine

On Thursday night, Mack and I were fortunate enough to be guests at the opening reception. The film To Make a Farm, was screened, a beautiful homage to small family farms in Canada. Director Steve Suderman did a wonderful job capturing the difficulties of farm life – the relentless demands, the unpredictability of mother nature, the loneliness – but also the joy and the rewards that can come from working the land and contributing to the community through food. I was particularly moved by a scene where one farmer said a heartfelt goodbye to the pigs she’d reared and loved, just before sending them to slaughter.

After the movie, a moderated discussion featured an all-female panel: Rhonda Zuk-Headon from The Cheesiry, Cathryn Sprague from Reclaim Urban Farm, Jenny Berkenbosch from Sundog Organic Farm and Vicky Horne from Tangle Ridge Ranch. The panelists expressed that they could very much relate to the stories they watched on screen (Jenny called them “kindred spirits”), and in the process of bettering their techniques, have undergone similar learning journeys. When asked a question about future growth, and in particular, “How big is too big?”, the goal for most was sustainability, while always improving operations.

Relish Food Fest

The panelists with Director Suderman

I felt the panel was a bit too rushed, and would have enjoyed more time with the panelists, but I recognize that the organizers were trying to keep things on time and moving along.

Although there was a second film screening to end the evening, we weren’t able to stay. Based on our first impressions, however, I think Relish is off to a great start! Congrats to Maria and Mary on this new addition to the city’s festival scene.

Check out the rest of the film line-up and ticket information here.

2014 What the Truck?! Wrap Up

Before autumn rolls in, I wanted to take a look back at our last two What the Truck?! events of the season.

What the Truck?! @ Borden Park

One of the things we’re most proud of about What the Truck?! is our commitment to mobility, and the fact that the festival has convened at at least one new location every year.

This year, that location was Borden Park, a green space that the City has spent a pretty penny revitalizing. The new walkways, benches, playground, washroom facilities and public art are definitely worth exploring, and we hoped our event would help draw out more Edmontonians who haven’t yet discovered this revamped gem.

What the Truck?! at Borden Park

In the shadow of Northlands Park

Though it was more stressful than we would have liked (involving the blatant overlooking of no parking signs), the event saw friends and young families gather to enjoy an outdoor picnic and take advantage of the park’s amenities.

What the Truck?! at Borden Park

Short lines

DJs – Thomas Culture, Chesterfield and Polyesterday played a danceable soundtrack, which more than one young attendee enjoyed.

What the Truck?! at Borden Park

Dancing!

As always, it was great to have a mix of veteran and new trucks, which on this occasion included Canicus Catering, Dolce & Banana and One Cool Cookie. Ice cream sandwiches were definitely on the menu for most on that warm day!

What the Truck?! at Borden Park

Chocolate chip and salted caramel sandwich from One Cool Cookie

Thanks to everyone who came out!

What the Truck?! at Borden Park

You can’t miss us in our t-shirts

What the Truck?! @ Churchill Square

Our season finale at Churchill Square also happened to be our biggest event ever, featuring a gathering of 24 trucks. To accommodate this, we closed off an adjacent street, occupying roughly the same footprint as the Taste of Edmonton.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

Churchill Square

It really was unfortunate the weather didn’t cooperate – overcast and drizzling for most of the afternoon, the grey skies intimidated many from taking in the last event of the year.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

Under the trees

That said, those that did attend were able to take in a dizzying variety of food, short lines, and ample space to mingle.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

99 Street

It was also the first event where we offered a printable, PDF version of the menu. We were happy to see many used this feature, which we will definitely be implementing again in the future.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

Menus in hand!

Thanks to our sponsors the Downtown Edmonton Community League and the Old Strathcona Business Association, and of course, a big thank you to our team of DJs – Thomas Culture, Chesterfield and The Hugonaut. And a HUGE (belated) thank you to our fabulous clean-up volunteers – the Square has never looked so good. We couldn’t have done it without you!

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

Dinner crowd

The organizing team will be taking a break over the winter months, but details about another season of What the Truck?! will be released in the spring. In the meantime, if you did attend any of our events this past year, please consider filling out our survey – we’d love to hear your feedback as we look towards 2015.

Until then – the trucks will be out for another few weeks before the frost rolls in – make sure to get your fix before then. See you next year!