Explore BC: Oliver

This is the third post about our trip to BC back in October. You can read about our Kelowna and Penticton highlights as well.

While we didn’t stay in Oliver (we chose to overnight in Osoyoos instead), we ended up spending some time there at some key attractions.

Festival of the Grape

Our Penticton bed and breakfast hosts convinced us that the Festival of the Grape was worth attending, and since it fit in with our plans to head south, we built it into our itinerary.

Festival of the Grape

Festival of the Grape

Located in Oliver, the "wine capital of Canada", the festival was celebrating their 20th year. 60 wineries from the area were represented, in addition to a number of food vendors. It was an efficient way to sample from new wineries (favourites that day included Pipe Dream gamay and Kismet pinot grigio) in a beautiful setting. I also couldn’t resist the sparkling apple wine from meadery Meadow Vista.

Festival of the Grape

I love wine puns

The grape stomping competition was also a lot of fun, with lively competitors that had travelled from as far as Saskatchewan to compete.

Festival of the Grape

Grape stomping

Hammer’s House of Hog

It’s doubtful we would have ever come across one of Oliver’s few food trucks without Jennifer’s handy guide. We managed to get to Hammer’s House of Hog, parked at Lions Park in Oliver, on his last day of his season.

Hammer's House of Hog

Hammer’s House of Hog

The pulled pork sandwich, customized with one of three house-made barbecue sauces, weighed nearly a pound each, and was tender, tangy and messy. It was everything you would want from a pulled pork sandwich.

Hammer's House of Hog

Pulled pork sandwich

McIntyre Bluff

Looking for a more physical activity, we chose to hike up to McIntyre Bluff, a fairly recognizable South Okanagan landmark and a sacred place for the area’s Indigenous peoples.

Covert Farms

View of McIntyre Bluff from Covert Farm (can you spot the “face” of the rock?)

Being the inexperienced hikers that we are, it took us close to 4 hours to complete the 10km round trip. While the trail itself was clearly marked, distance markers would have been great so we could better pace ourselves.

Hiking to McIntyre Bluff

Increasing elevation

The trail itself traversed some varied terrain, from rock faces painted a dazzling red from the sagebrush to mossy, shaded meadows layered with pine needles to barren, dry desert.

McIntyre Bluff

Loved the colours

The payoff was better than we expected, offering sweeping views of Oliver and the adjacent Okanagan river. We were also able to see Covert Farms, located at the base of the bluff from above (we chose to tour the farm separately the day after).

McIntyre Bluff

We made it!

Covert Farm

We decided not to do a multi-winery tour during our trip, and instead chose a few wineries we would visit and tour in a more in-depth way. One of these was Covert Farm in Oliver. The tour price is on the high side at $49, but we lucked out and ended up with a private tour. Campbell Kearns was our knowledgeable and passionate guide, and ended up spending two hours with us along the way.

Covert Farms

We had fun riding in the beautifully restored truck

Covert combines a number of agri-tourism aspects on their 700 acre property, including tours, children’s programs, on-farm dinners, and a u-pick, and will be looking at collaborating with Indigenous communities to develop a forage/hike up to McIntyre Bluff.

Covert Farms

Squash patch

He introduced us to their Scottish Highland cattle, who are actually protected by a small herd of alpacas (we didn’t know they had been domesticated for this purpose). The manure is helpful for fertilizer, since Covert is a certified organic operation. We also visited the small u-pick area of the property, featuring a small orchard, tomatoes, and strawberry patch. Campbell told us the strawberry variety actually bears fruit twice a year, and they’ve been able to pick strawberries as late as December.

Covert Farms

They had to drag me away from the strawberry patch

We spent the bulk of the tour learning about the organic practices they employ on their 25 acres of vines. To mitigate weeds, they plant competing crops such as vetch, which also have the added benefit of fixing nitrogen in the soil. To dissuade birds from feasting on the fruit, they planted fields of sunflowers (the unintended consequence from this was that it ended up attracting more birds than they’d ever seen before, but it opened up the skies to their predatory friends). Recognizing that they do lease about 300 adjacent acres to Sandhill, which is not certified organic, Campbell was careful to say that Sandhill is expected to be respectful of the land. One of the technologies that Sandhill does employ are propane-powered fans, which automatically kick in when frost is a possibility to sweep the cold draft up and away from the vines. The cost to run a single fan for one evening is $800.

Covert Farms

Covert Wine grapes

During the tour, we also had the chance to sample some of their wines, though many of their varieties had sold out for the year already. They paired the wines with a lovely cheese and charcuterie board.

Covert Farms

Cheese and charcuterie

While we chose not to stay in Oliver, we found there were many reasons to linger!

Recap: 2016 Alberta Open Farm Days with Northlands

Last year, Mack and I were invited to enjoy a long table dinner in the evening at Northlands Urban Farm during Alberta Open Farm Days. This year, we decided to spend most of the day with them.

For just $5 per person, Northlands had organized bus tours that would visit Edmonton-area farms. Mack and I signed up for the morning tour, which featured Gold Forest Grains and Horse Hill Berry Farm.

We boarded the coach across the street from Northlands Urban Farm, joining about two dozen other people already on the bus. Quite a few of them had been on the tours led by Northlands the year prior. Although both farms we visited were open to the public that day, it was a much more efficient means of transportation to go with a group – if they decide to organize a third year of tours I can only hope even more people take advantage of this deal.

Gold Forest Grains

Gold Forest Grains

Gold Forest Grains has been a fixture at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market for many years. John Schneider and his family grow heritage and ancient varieties of certified organic grain on 300 acres near Morinville. Unlike other grain farmers, who typically have to farm between 2000-3500 acres, they can make it work on a smaller scale by selling directly to consumers.

Gold Forest Grains

John Schneider

Gold Forest Grains mills their own flour (they had a small hand mill on display, but most is done in large quantities now), but they offer value-added products as well. For many, their introduction to Gold Forest Grains is through their excellent pancake mix or Sturgeon River Cereal. John also mentioned that they continue to experiment with other varieties, including corn he obtained from local farmer Deb Krause that matures on the stalk, which may mean an unprecedented source for non-gmo, local cornmeal in the future.

Gold Forest Grains


While we didn’t venture too far onto the farm, John toured us around the perimeter of their straw-bale home, featuring a small fruit garden (including heritage apples and haskaps), poultry coop, and a cob oven.

Park wheat is one of the grain varieties they grow, and John shared that he has some gluten intolerant customers that can eat this type of wheat. This is the type of flour used to make the whole wheat crust at Love Pizza. As a treat, he had put together some park wheat-based dough, which he used to fire up some focaccia in the 800 degree cob oven.

Gold Forest Grains

Park wheat focaccia

I would have appreciated it if John had also spoken about some of the other products they grow, including lentils and farro, but I recognize that we didn’t have much time.

Next up, we headed to Horse Hill Berry Farm in northeast Edmonton. Operated by Dave & Jackie Wilson, the 10 acre u-pick farm opened in 2010.

Horse Hill Berry Farm

Horse Hill Berry Farm

They currently offer six different types of raspberries, but have been thinking about adding other fruit. Although they are not certified organic, they do not spray their crops. They will be putting in drip irrigation (the plants require about 1 inch of water a week) and will continue to prune using machinery, though labour-intensive hand pruning is more effective. The ideal air and sunlight penetration Dave described is similar to what grape vines need to thrive.

Horse Hill Berry Farm

Dave demonstrates pruning

It was actually the last day of operations for the farm this year, what they termed the “bonus” week as the growing season typically only lasts five weeks. As their gift to us, we were all given a carton to fill with raspberries.


My bounty

Until Dave mentioned it, I didn’t realize that they had deliberately planted grass between the rows to make the raspberry patch more patron friendly (so parents and kids alike wouldn’t have to worry about trekking through the dirt or mud). This, combined with their raspberry guide of the types of berries better suited for canning, freezing or wine-making, points to the thoughtful design of many aspects of their farm.

Mack and I also wandered to the look-out on the property (where you can see the North Saskatchewan River), featuring an old family heirloom. The rusted truck is also apparently a haven for snakes, which I found out first hand (it was one small garter snake, but I wasn’t expecting it).

Horse Hill Berry Farm

Family heirloom

The bus ended where we started, and by that time in the afternoon, the Northlands Urban Farm activities were up in full swing.

Northlands’ beekeeper Patty Milligan was leading a honey demonstration, and crafts and a petting zoo provided entertainment for the young ones.

Open Farm Days at Northlands

Family activities

We also swung by the newly-installed chicken coop, where the heritage chicken breeds were happily picking at apples and greens.

Open Farm Days at Northlands

Northlands’ chicken coop

Before we left, we had a bite to eat from the Northlands 1879 food truck, and regretted choosing to share the garlic fries instead of ordering our own.


Meatball sub and garlic fries

Thanks to Northlands for organizing an economical and seamless way to visit a few of the region’s farms – check out the Alberta Open Farm Days website for more ideas next August on how you can meet some of our rural neighbours.

Back in the 6ix: Toronto Attractions

My sister Amanda moved back to Toronto in the fall, and I promised to visit her in the spring. I was finally able to keep that promise in April. It’s no secret I love visiting the city, and each trip allows us to discover (and in some cases, rediscover) our new favourite spaces, places and events.

Toronto Trip

Nathan Phillips Square

Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market

Many years ago, Amanda and I had complained our way through a covered-but-outdoors Toronto Underground Market at Evergreen Brick Works. I haven’t been back since then, but their weekly farmers’ market seemed like a great opportunity.

Evergreen Bick Works

Evergreen Brick Works

We probably shouldn’t have taken her boyfriend Jason’s vehicle, given the number of times we had to circle around, but it did make us wonder why anyone would drive there on a regular basis at all – it would incite road rage in most people. Inside, there weren’t as many produce vendors as we were expecting (recognizing that farmers are now down to their cellared products), and not one greenhouse producer. We did pick up some Best Baa sheep’s yogurt to try (not as tangy as the cow’s yogurt we’re used to), and refilled our supply of my favourite mustard, Kozlick’s.

Evergreen Bick Works

Shipping container vendors

The covered part of Evergreen housed vendors in shipping containers (great idea, though it must have still been chilly for the vendors), and some food trucks. It was our chance to try Eva’s Chimney Cakes, a genius marriage of Hungarian cinnamon-sugar doughnuts (available one year at K-Days) and soft serve.

Evergreen Bick Works

With my doughnut cone

The "cone" had to be cooled in order to not immediately liquefy the ice cream, and lost its chewy doughnut quality in the process. I did enjoy the mix-in of apple preserves though.

Gladstone Flea Market

The Gladstone Hotel is considered (along with The Drake Hotel) the anchor of West Queen West. They host a monthly flea market curated with unique, independent vendors.


Gladstone Flea Market

Amanda and Jason sampled some sustainable pasta sauce (with mealworms blended in), while Mack and I picked up some Toronto Bee Rescue honey, made from undesired hives rescued from homes or construction projects. Best of all, there was no entrance fee to the market.

The Social

Mack had never been to a television taping in Toronto, but was still a good sport when he agreed to accompany me to an episode of The Social. It’s not something I watch regularly, but on and off if I happen to be home during the day. Still, it’s always interesting to see how they produce the show behind the scenes (set changes, cues, etc.). Mack’s highlight was getting a high-five from actress Arielle Kebbel, who was the guest host that day.


With The Social hosts Melissa Grelo and Cynthia Loyst

Battle Sports

I stumbled upon the Battle Sports website after learning about their Rage Room on a segment on The Social. They were featuring 50% off their archery dodgeball, and Amanda and Jason were game, so we tried it.

Battle Sports

Our Battle Sports team

In hindsight, even an hour in the arena wasn’t a good idea for our out-of-shape bodies, as we were not used to all of the crouching and quick movements required of us to stay in the game. At any rate, this sport required the use of foam arrows and axes to fell opponents, and between the adrenaline-inducing music and some overly aggressive participants, it was much more stressful than I thought it would be. While I enjoyed the actual archery, I could have done without the format.

New Urbanism Film Festival

I convinced Amanda to join us for the New Urbanism Film Festival, in its second year. It was a screening of a collection of North American short films, ranging in topic from the blight of raised freeways to the failure of pedestrian malls. As expected, some films were more engaging than others, but I would have appreciated a more localized context following the screening. A panel discussion about ideas as they related to Toronto would have been fascinating.

Toronto Blue Jays

Mack hadn’t been to a live Blue Jays game before, so Amanda made sure that was on our agenda.

Go Blue Jays!

Our view at Rogers Centre

The tickets were so reasonably priced ($26), and there was even a giveaway that day – Josh Donaldson bobbleheads. It was great to be in a packed house (46,000+), much different than the last game I attended. And even better, the Jays beat the White Sox, 6-2!


With our Bringer of Rain bobblehead

Toronto Raptors’ Jurassic Park

Before our date with Real Sports (a tradition whenever I’m in Toronto), we had the chance to visit Jurassic Park outside the Air Canada Centre before Game 4 during their series with the Pacers.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

It wasn’t as packed as we expected (we learned later that the crowd is smaller for away games), but there was great energy in the square, with a live DJ, a big screen, and alcohol available.

Jurassic Park

Ready to beat Jason one on one

I know there are plans for something similar in Ice District’s winter plaza (if the Oilers ever get to the playoffs), so it’ll be interesting to see how an Edmonton version of Jurassic Park would play out. And yes, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for an Edmonton branch of Real Sports in the District.

Jurassic Park

We the North!

I’ll be back with a food-centric post later this week.

Just Off 124: The Local Omnivore

Mark Bellows and Ryan Brodziak are among a small but growing number of entrepreneurs who’ve successfully transitioned to a brick-and-mortar establishment from a mobile food truck. The Local Omnivore has been open since January, located a few blocks away from the burgeoning 124 Street restaurant district. However, given the impending arrival of Duchess’ long-awaited expansion next door, there is no doubt this area will soon see its own increase in foot traffic. After work on Saturday afternoon, Mack picked me up and we seized the opportunity to finally give this incarnation of The Local Omnivore a try.

The space is much larger than it seems from the outside, accommodating a lengthy open kitchen and bar, 40 seats, and a generous prep kitchen. The interior has a DIY feel to it, with painted walls seemingly unfinished, tools visible, and repurposed wood pallets used as space dividers. As a result, the room seems lived-in and comfortable, even though they are still growing into the space (their liquor license was just granted last month). Lunch and weekend brunches remain their focus, but they will be easing into evening hours at some point in the future.

The Local Omnivore


The brunch menu is small but interesting, with six dishes on offer, some incorporating the house smoked and cured meat they’re known for. Mack selected the Fraulein sandwich ($12.50), while I couldn’t pass up the brunch pirate poutine ($12.50).

So many brunch purveyors feel the need to tack on a fruit cup, so I appreciated that The Local Omnivore doesn’t mess around with unnecessary garnishes – our plates arrived in their unapologetically indulgent glory. My poutine layered spicy shoestring fries with cheese curds, vegetarian gravy, green onions, two fried eggs and a citrus hollandaise. The hollandaise cut through the spice for me, and the fries stayed remarkably crispy.

The Local Omnivore

Brunch pirate poutine

Mack’s Fraulein sandwich was comprised of a Russian rye grilled Swiss cheese sandwich stuffed with super smoked bacon schnitzel topped with a fried egg and citrus hollandaise. He struggled to finish the generous portion, and really liked the bacon schnitzel.


Fraulein sandwich

Service was relaxed but solid throughout, with just a few other tables during our stay. For those interested, The Local Omnivore also runs a deli counter that sells their bacon, garlic sausage, corned beef and smoked turkey, but I’m keen to return to try their lunch menu.

The Local Omnivore was a great place to kick back and start our weekend off. A belated congratulations to Mark and Ryan on the  space, and I look forward to what is still to come.

The Local Omnivore
10933 120 Street
(780) 660-1051
Tuesday-Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday-Sunday 11am-2pm, closed Mondays

From the Sea to the Streets: La Mar Food Truck

It’s daunting to open a new business at any time, but to do so during an economic downturn is even more difficult. So it’s been heartening to see local restaurants supporting budding businesses who need a leg up to get going or to test out ideas. Recent examples including Dovetail Deli (RIP) hosting pop-ups for Northern Chicken and Honest Dumplings. Alberta Hotel Bar and Kitchen opened up their doors this weekend to La Mar, a forthcoming food truck hoping to hit the streets this month.

La Mar is the brainchild of Larissa Martinez and Chef Victor Hugo. Offering up the flavours of Mexico, this seafood-forward truck has developed a menu that differentiates itself from other local vendors. Mack and I were invited to a menu tasting at Alberta Hotel on Sunday to taste what La Mar has to offer.

La Mar Food Truck Pop-Up

Larissa and Victor of La Mar

The historic bar inside the Alberta Hotel wasn’t perhaps the most congruent space for a tasting of Mexican street food, but we didn’t come for the surroundings. We were told that no item on the menu would be more than $7, which is a competitive price point to start with, especially if the actual serving portions match the size of the dishes we were provided that day.

The Vallarta shrimp tostada layered creamy avocado, tomatoes, shrimp, chilies, and their house “chimichile” sauce over a crispy tortilla. The fried base was balanced by the freshness of the shrimp, tomatoes and citrus. Our only complaint was that it would be very difficult to eat as a take-out item, and would fare better as a street eat if converted to a dish comprised of dips and chips.

La Mar Food Truck Pop-Up

Vallarta shrimp tostada

The chicken Itza taco was easily our favourite plate. The shredded chicken retained its moisture and absorbed the flavours of the marinade. Unadorned with the exception of pickled onions, it allowed the chicken to remain the star of the show – but really, if allowed, I would have eaten the chicken up with a spoon.

La Mar Food Truck Pop-Up

Chicken Itza taco

Our third and final taste featured the fish taco. The battered and fried fish was topped with tomatoes, cabbage, and their house “chimichile” sauce. The textures spoke for themselves, crisp and light.

La Mar Food Truck Pop-Up

Fish tacos

Chef Hugo was in his element, hamming it up for the camera between the kitchen and the dining room. It’s clear he’s passionate about his food, and I can’t help but think the food truck will be the perfect stage for someone with his energy and enthusiasm.

La Mar Food Truck Pop-Up

Chef Hugo

There are still a few hurdles for La Mar to clear before they can officially join the fleet of food trucks in Edmonton, but I look forward to the day when La Mar is out on the street! If you’re hoping for an early taste of La Mar, Alberta Hotel Bar & Kitchen is hosting a Cinco de Mayo and patio launch party on May 5, 2016 which will feature Chef Hugo’s menu.

Thanks again to Larissa and Victor for the invitation and hospitality!

Follow La Mar on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates.

A Personal Farewell to What the Truck?!

It seems wrong to talk about food trucks when there’s snow on the ground, but I wanted to get one final post in before the end of the year for reasons of sentimentality. You see, this will be my final year with What the Truck?!, the food truck festival I co-founded with Mack five years ago.

What The Truck?!

Our first WTT event in 2011 at Beaver Hills House Park

In some ways, it seems like just yesterday Mack and I stumbled upon Off the Grid in San Francisco, the inspiration behind our desire to see something equally vibrant at home. But in other ways, given the exponential leap the Edmonton food truck scene has made since 2011 (from 7 to over 70 vendors in 2015), looking back, it’s easy to see how far we’ve come in that time.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

Our first WTT event in 2015 at Churchill Square

I will always have a soft spot for food trucks. I admire the passionate entrepreneurs that put their hearts and souls on the line, creatively finding a niche in the ever-competitive street food market, and often braving unpredictable weather conditions. I’m so proud of the vendors who made the leap from mobile to storefront (Filistix, Nomad/Woodwork, Drift/Dovetail, S’wich and soon, The Local Omnivore) and believe their success is a testament to their hard work and the quality of their food.

But I know that it is time for me to step away. I don’t have the same energy to foresee the calendar of events for the summer season, and want to avoid doing a disservice to the trucks. That said, it has always been a goal for Mack and I to, with a sustainability plan in place, transition out (Mack will be staying on for one final year). We’ve since applied for non-profit status to solidify What the Truck?! as a formal society. In addition, over the past two years, we’ve deliberately grown our team of volunteers to include individuals with an equal passion for food trucks who also believe in the power of creating gathering spaces. I am more than confident that this team will carry the torch of What the Truck?! for years to come.

In some ways, it was fitting for our little festival to receive a proclamation from the City at our final event of the year (awarded by Councillor Andrew Knack, who has been a big supporter of What the Truck?! from year one). At our September 11, 2015 finale, the day was declared “What the Truck Day” in Edmonton. Knowing it was my last event, it was bittersweet.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

With Councillor Knack and the proclamation

Even though the weather was fantastic, we didn’t see the extensive crowds that helped us inaugurate our fifth season back in May. We continue to learn about the ebb and flow of patrons, and recognize now that by September, food trucks don’t really have the same cachet as in the spring, when Edmontonians are eager to shed their layers in anticipation of enjoying all things al fresco.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

Last event of the season

Still, those that attended had a great time. We awarded our first ever front-of-the-line golden tickets (which enabled pre-event access to the trucks), and hosted two DJ stations for the first time.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

Our Golden Ticket winners!

We also welcomed several vendors into the What the Truck?! fold. It is definitely true that our scene has been enriched by the diversity of choices now available on the streets of Edmonton.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

Churchill Square

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to come out to these events over the five years – we would never have been able to grow What the Truck?! to this point without you. And to the team – Mack, Melina, Caleng, Katherine, Mikhaila and Su – I am looking forward to being on the other side next year. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish in 2016!

Recap: Food Trucks at the St. Albert Grain Elevator Park

Mack and I don’t frequent St. Albert very often, but a food truck event and a housewarming party were good reasons as any!

Given the St. Albert administrators haven’t been that supportive of food trucks so far, unless things change, the appetite for food trucks in the city will only be satisfied at farmers’ markets and special events.  And as we’ve done with What the Truck?!, the Heritage Museum in St. Albert has organized these events as a way of drawing people to visit an area they may not have otherwise chosen to explore.

A small group of us headed to St. Albert Grain Elevator Park on a Friday night in August for supper before a housewarming party. We joined a robust crowd already feasting at the 15 different food trucks gathered.

Food Trucks at St. Albert Grain Elevator Park

St. Albert Grain Elevator Park

It’s been several years since Mack and I have been to the Park (coincidentally, that last occasion was also for a food event), but we both agreed it is a picturesque location, with the stately grain elevators waiting to be captured in every frame.

Food Trucks at St. Albert Grain Elevator Park

The organizers had a great line-up of live music, and had even arranged a small beer garden. Seating was at a premium, but it would have been difficult to add more given the space limitations.

Food Trucks at St. Albert Grain Elevator Park

It was the first time we had come across the 12 Acres food truck. While we were aware of the new restaurant in St. Albert, we had no idea they had purchased and rebranded the former Perogy Princess truck, too. They can be found at special events and at the St. Albert Farmers’ Market.

Food Trucks at St. Albert Grain Elevator Park

12 Acres

The food truck, like the restaurant, focuses on farm-to-table dishes. That day, they were serving up dishes featuring their pasture-raised beef, including burgers and pasta bolognese. We tried their Grain Elevator Burger, with MoNa mushrooms, fried onions and Swiss cheese. We were delighted to see that the patty came out a nice medium rare.

12 Acres

Grain Elevator Burger from 12 Acres

Meat Street Pies had the quickest turnaround time of any of the lines we joined, and everyone in our party loved their pies. Mack had the spicy Jamaican patty, while I enjoyed their tourtiere – the pastry crust was flaky and delicious.

Meat Street Pies

Meat Street Pies FTW!

Our last shared entrée was from S’wich. We ordered a new Chinese barbecue pork sandwich Lex recently added to his menu. It may not replace my favourite rootbeer braised brisket, but it was tasty all the same!

St. Albert Food Truck Event

Mack enjoys his S’wich

The events at the Park have been so successful I’d be surprised if they didn’t continue next year. Check the website for more information.

Of course, if you missed it, but still have a hankering for food trucks, What the Truck?! is hosting our finale at Churchill Square this Friday, September 11 from 4-8pm: 35 food trucks serving up over 125 different items. Whet your appetite here, and hope to see you there!

Recap: What the Truck?! in the Outfield

Our penultimate What the Truck?! of the season had us storming the outfield for the very first time on August 22, 2015.

What the Truck?! at Telus Field

We’d been considering Telus Field as a possible event location for a few years. It fits in with our desire to highlight underutilized spaces, and is situated in a beautiful part of the city that more people should explore. It’s also centrally located, public transit accessible and (perhaps the primary reason why the feedback was positively off the charts) there is loads of free parking.

What the Truck?! at Telus Field

One of the other reasons we embraced Telus Field was its enclosed nature, perfect for families with small children. It was heartening to see kids let loose on the pristine, manicured grass in and amongst a field dotted with picnic blankets.

What the Truck?! at Telus Field

Some also took advantage of the opportunity to play catch right on the ball diamond. Checking out the perspective from the mound is definitely not something you can do every day!

What the Truck?! at Telus Field

The twelve trucks that joined us that afternoon offered the most diverse line-up of food we’ve had at a single event. Cuisine choices included Filipino, Indian, Jamaican, Mauritian and Mexican food.

What the Truck?! at Telus Field

Although the event wasn’t as busy as we would have hoped, it meant short lines for those who did come out. Mack and I finally managed to try a grilled cheese sandwich from Cheddaheads, who has driven up from Red Deer twice this year for What the Truck?!


We also had a fantastic new DJ join the ranks of our What the Truck?! crew – DJ Elekin kept it light, and by request, even spun “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch.

What the Truck?! at Telus Field

Thanks to our in-kind sponsor, the Downtown Edmonton Community League, our fabulous volunteers, and the Telus Field liaison for helping to make the event happen.

Our last event of the season takes place next week, returning to the place where we kicked things off back in May:

What: What the Truck?!
Where: Sir Winston Churchill Square
When: Friday, September 11, 2015
Time: 4-8pm

RSVP on Facebook!

This will be our biggest event by far, with a record 35 trucks joining us that day. We’ll be posting menus to whet your appetite on September 4. Hope to see you there!

Recap: What the Truck?! at Park After Dark

On July 11, 2015, What the Truck?! partnered with Northlands to co-host an event during Park After Dark.

What the Truck?! at Northlands Park

Park After Dark was established to introduce those who may not be familiar with the track to the excitement of live horse races. With an extensive outdoor patio and licensed area, we thought it would be a good way to incorporate an adjacent beer garden into What the Truck?!, something attendees have been inquiring about for some time.

What the Truck?! at Northlands Park

We hosted 15 trucks that night, including 5 new to the festival. 1879 Where the Flavour Begins, Northlands’ own food truck, made its debut at the event, and seemed to be a crowd favourite, incorporating product from Mojo Jojo Pickles into one of their dishes. Mack and I split a “Big Mock” burger from another new truck, The Hop, enjoying the quality of a homemade patty but a flavour inspired by the Golden Arches.

The space ended up being very conducive to a food truck event, with the backdrop of horse races creating an atmosphere of anticipation and exhilaration. It was neat to see folks crowd around the track at the bugle call to post throughout the evening.

What the Truck?! at Northlands Park

Linda Hoang even decided to introduce visitors to What the Truck?! in her Explore Edmonton video for Edmonton Tourism. Thanks, Linda!

If you missed our event at Park After Dark, you only have two other chances to catch What the Truck?! before the end of our 2015 season. Our penultimate event is another first for our festival – Trucks in the Outfield.

What: What the Truck?!
Where: Telus Field (10233 96 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB)
When: Saturday, August 22, 2015
Time: 4-8pm

RSVP on Facebook!

We’ll be lining up the trucks inside Telus Field so you’ll be able to have a picnic in the outfield! Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and even baseball gloves and balls to play catch on the ball diamond.

Three trucks, The Hungry Dodo, Roots Patties, and Spiced! Food Truck, are new to What the Truck?!. All menus are now up for your viewing pleasure.

Hope to see you there!

Date Night: Beverly Farmers’ Market and Historical Tour

A few years ago, Mack and I had dinner followed by a carriage ride, and in that post I wrote that this was only possible in Highlands. Well that wasn’t true.

On Tuesday, Mack and I headed to the neighbourhood of Beverly. I’d been meaning to visit their farmers’ market for some time, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine a few activities.

A smaller market open Tuesday evenings from May to September, it is definitely modest in its offerings, but anchored by two recognizable vendors, Riverbend Gardens and Steve & Dan’s, it does draw regular shoppers.

Beverly Farmers Market

Beverly Farmers’ Market

Rounding out the offerings are more than a dozen other vendors, with wares ranging from baked goods, seafood, and crafts. It was nice to see that the Beverly Farmers’ Market had an incentive program in place – if customers purchased $10 from the featured vendor of the week (in this case, it was the kettle corn truck), they would receive $5 in market dollars to spend at a future market.

Beverly Farmers Market

Steve & Dan’s

An inflatable play structure was set up in an adjacent field (accessible by admission), and we were told that live music was also a mainstay. Three food trucks were present, but Dolce & Banana immediately drew our attention. We had the chance to sample their mojito-flavoured Italian sodas at our last What the Truck?!, but we were keen to finally try one of Ernesto’s sandwiches on this occasion.

We ordered the The Soprano, filled with spicy salami, mortadella, banana peppers, muffelata and vegetable spreads, basil pesto and mozzarella. Made fresh and pressed to order, the focaccia was hot and delightfully crispy, each bite layered with salty pops of flavour.

Dolce & Banana

The Soprano from Dolce & Banana

We actually ended up taking our sandwiches on the carriage ride. A part of Doors Open Edmonton (on until July 12, 2015), the free historic tours of Beverly provide a chance to learn more about a neighbourhood that just celebrated its centennial in 2014.

We had to pre-register, and given the group was at capacity, I was especially glad we did so. Seated in a horse-drawn wagon, it was a comfortable introduction to Beverly. Mack and I were particularly taken with the Cenotaph Park. Built to commemorate the men who served in the first World War, we were told it is the oldest cenotaph in Alberta.


Cenotaph Park

Unfortunately, the majority of the tour, led by a member of the Olde Towne Beverly Historical Society, was difficult to follow. The chronology of the events shared were not linear, and given a vast majority of the historical buildings are no longer standing (another discussion altogether), some photographic resources could have been shown for reference. In some ways, it was disappointing that a quick perusal of their website and Wikipedia was more informative than the in-person tour.

Beverly Historical Tour

Horse and wagon

Still, we were directed to some beautiful murals we wouldn’t have otherwise looked for, such as Beverly Beginnings, which shows, among other things, the town’s coal mine foundations.


Beverly Beginnings

To end our evening in Beverly, we stopped by Take 5 (11801 48 Street), a doughnut shop I hadn’t heard of until recently. Lucky for us, they still had multiple varieties for us to choose from. The ones we tried tasted really fresh and springy, and both agreed that the most straightforward flavours of honey glazed and raised sugar were the best.

Take 5

Hawaiian and banana cream

It was great to spend the evening in a corner of the city we haven’t frequented before. It has been said before, but a stay-cation in Edmonton over the summer is a blessing in so many ways.