Food Notes for November 23, 2020

Specialty Spirit and Mead On Order

The pandemic hasn’t halted the development and production of new alcoholic beverages. Strathcona Spirits, even in the midst of their escalating production of hand sanitizer, found the time to create absinthe.

Distiller Adam Smith learned the craft in Europe two years ago, and worked his way through the process. Smith shared with the Edmonton Journal:

“It takes an immense amount of botanicals. We used European wormwood in the initial maceration (mashing), and then we did a secondary one using different botanicals, including local wormwood and mint. It was a long and very tiring process.”

Although the limited run bottles have since sold out, Smith has committed to making more in the future.

High Water Honey & Mead will be the Edmonton area’s first craft meadery when it opens next August. It will be based out of an old firehall in New Sarepta, Leduc County, opened by couple Will and Mika Munsey.

Like Smith at Strathcona Spirits, Munsey required some experimentation to create a consistent product, including adding in locally-sourced herbs and berries to flavour the batches. They also have big plans for the space,

“It won’t only be a meadery. We’d have space for local artisans, music nights, farmer’s markets. There’s a lot of creativity in these parts, and a lot of hard working people. We need to be taking advantage of these aspects, even if it’s a scary time to open a business.”

COVID-19-related News

  • Love Pizza voluntarily closed their St. Albert location after a staff tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Northern Chicken also voluntarily closed due to a positive COVID-19 case on staff. They plan to re-open on November 29, 2020 at the earliest for take-out and delivery.
  • The Dapper Beaver has chosen to remove in-store seating at the shop.
  • Hookah bar Mist has been closed by Alberta Health Services due to protocol violations related to COVID-19 management.

Openings

  • RGE RD’s sister business The Butchery opened last week at 12229 107 Avenue.
  • After the season was cancelled, an Edmonton Football player Diego Viamontes opened a cafe called Ch at 14802 Stony Plain Road in the fall. They serve Brave Fox coffee (roasted in Beaumont) and serve Mexican chocolate.
  • Damso Izakaya is the city’s newest izakaya at 10352 82 Avenue (the space formerly occupied by Hanaichi Express in Old Strathcona).
  • Arcadia Brewing had to postpone their soft launch in Manchester Square this weekend due to a COVID-19 positive case on their staff. When they are ready, find them at 10712 120 Street.

Upcoming Events

  • Biera opened up a pop-up shop in the Bottle Room of Ritchie Market on November 19, 2020 featuring Biera-made products in addition to other locally-sourced gifts.
  • The St. Albert Indoor Christmas Market runs Saturdays from November 21 – December 19, 2020 at The Enjoy Centre. The Green Onion Cake Man is among the vendors.
  • Filistix is hosting their first two installments of Filistix: After Dark on November 27 and 28, 2020, a platform to “try out new recipes, experiment with various flavours and techniques, and encourage us to step out of our comfort zone.” Take-out is available in addition to dining in.
  • Cafe Lavi is hosting an Indonesian food pop-up on December 5, 2020.
  • Ernest’s next Virtual Culinary Series will take place December 10, 2020. Tickets start at $133, and include the option for a cooking kit in place of shopping for your own ingredients.

Reviews

  • Sharon was invited to try a hosted dinner at Del Posto Italian Kitchen.

Local News

Beyond Edmonton

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • Global featured local cheesemaker Lakeside Dairy, based in Sturgeon County about 45 kilometers north of Edmonton. It is owned by Jeff Nonay, known in Edmonton for his beef.

What I Ate

  • While it wasn’t an official #AdoptAShop entry, it really had been too long since my last visit to Battista’s Calzone Co. We rectified that Friday with take-out. The shop is open just Friday through Sunday now, and is cash/e-transfer only, but the food quality hasn’t changed. The New York Mama is still my go-to!

Battista’s Calzones

New York Mama from Battista’s Calzone Co.

  • Nothing says the weekend like a box of Rosewood Foods sweet and savoury treats! Their online ordering system also makes pre-ordering for pick-up a breeze.

Rosewood Foods

Treats from Rosewood Foods

Food Notes for November 16, 2020

Restaurants Voluntarily Close Dine-In Services

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in alarming numbers, several Edmonton restaurants have proactively decided to close dine-in services.

Last week, NongBu, Fleish, Cartago and Northern Chicken transitioned to take-out and delivery only. Dagu Rice Noodle had also closed their dining room in late October. On social media, Fleish shared the following statement:

This is not a decision we made lightly, and not one we’re making strictly out of the goodness of our heart. As employers and responsible citizens of our city, we feel it’s important to stand up for our people and what we feel is the right thing to do…But we feel this is larger than us and it’s the responsibility of our officials to listen to the experts on the front lines – physicians, nurses, and healthcare workers who are calling for a strict, short shutdown to sharply reduce our COVID numbers and the current spread.

Some of the above restaurants made the decisions to close dine-in services even before the Alberta Government announced targeted public health measures on November 12, effective from November 13-27, 2020. Restaurants and pubs will be required to stop liquor sales by 10pm and close by 11pm. This falls short of the drastic “circuit-breaker” lockdown recommended by more than 400 Alberta physicians that would include a temporary ban on indoor dining, among other things.

Although Premier Kenney continues to deny the connection between COVID-19 transmission and indoor dining, recent American studies would say otherwise. In September, a U.S. Centres for Disease Control study suggested those who tested positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant than those who tested negative. And last week, a study published in Nature indicated that restaurants were four times riskier for COVID-19 transmission than gyms and coffee shops.

Given the significant proportion of cases that cannot be traced to origin, Premier Kenney’s delay of imposing stricter measures is baffling. It also allows the myth of safe indoor dining to continue to be propagated, as was the case today. In an interview with the Edmonton Journal, Steven Sachse, the general manager of MKT said:

“The overall feeling kind of in the restaurant industry is that we’re just such an easy target, when the data does not show that restaurants are the cause of these outbreaks.”

Restaurants are doing their best under incredibly challenging circumstances, and operating and abiding by current public health guidelines. But what if the guidelines are failing to protect the public?

COVID-19-related News

  • Staff at Meat and Pip have tested positive for COVID-19, so they have chosen to voluntarily close. In addition, as a precautionary measure, sister business The Next Act has also temporarily closed.
  • I was a guest on last week’s episode of Speaking Municipally, where I referenced some of the COVID-19 infection studies mentioned above.

Openings

Closures

  • Curry Vibes at 10827 Jasper Avenue is making way for a Queen Donair.

Upcoming Events

Local News

  • Linda’s second iteration of #AdoptAShopYEG runs November 13-22, 2020, and locals have already claimed all 200 sign-up spots, committing to collectively spend $12,000 at 64 small businesses across the city!
  • Social enterprise Edmonton Eats has launched Holiday Cultural Boxes that feature family recipes from cultural hosts.
  • Kari Skelton has a list of the best winter patios in Edmonton.
  • Chef Jan Trittenbach (formerly of Lyon and Solstice) has landed at Boxer.
  • Phil Wilson began a new column on Radio Active today that focuses on the best dishes in Edmonton. First up: Thai cuisine at Siam Thai Kitchen (15883 116 Avenue).
  • Colleen’s Chocolates has started an ATB BoostR campaign in the hopes of crowdfunding $15,000 towards business expansion.
  • Alberta Food Tours has launched an Alberta Cares Package containing curated Alberta-made products. A portion of each $79 will also go towards programs that support vulnerable youth.
  • To celebrate his tenth birthday, a young hockey fan was hoping to have pizzas donated in his name to Boyle Street Community Services. He’s already exceeded his goal of 100 pizzas!
  • AGLC is again recognizing bars that “take your fun and safety seriously”, and are currently accepting votes for the People’s Choice Category in Edmonton.

What I Ate

  • We enjoyed one last Downtown Dining Week meal on Friday, this time from Dagu Rice Noodle. As mentioned above, they’ve been closed to dine-in services since late October. Their containers seemed tailor-made for their noodle soups, and the salted crispy chicken was tasty (Emily was a fan!).

Dagu Rice Noodle

Take-out from Dagu Rice Noodle

  • We made the best decision this weekend to order some treats from Sugared and Spiced (their online system makes things a cinch!). Their brownies are so good.

Sugared and Spiced

Brownie from Sugared and Spiced

  • Bistro 99 is a great addition to #yegdt, especially when it’s a stone’s throw from the playground at Dick Mather Park. We also enjoyed their sweet liege waffles, dipped in chocolate.

Bistro 99

Coffee from Bistro 99

    Food Notes for November 9, 2020

    Premier Kenney Downplays Restaurant Transmissions

    On Friday, Premier Jason Kenney urged that Albertans display “responsible freedom” in the face of mounting COVID-19 positive case numbers, and refused to commit to any mandatory restrictions.

    When asked about the potential of closing restaurants, he stated,

    "Our data indicates that 0.7 per cent of identifiable transmission has occurred in restaurants and similar businesses. So what we’re doing today is we’re focusing on an area of much more significant transmission and a much less-structured environment, which is at-home social gatherings and social gatherings more generally.”

    By comparison, in Ontario since August 1, restaurants and bars have accounted for two per cent of outbreaks in Ottawa and fourteen percent in Toronto.

    While no Edmonton hospitality businesses are currently on the list of outbreaks in Alberta, two Calgary restaurants are listed.

    In her remarks on November 9, 2020, Dr. Deena Hinshaw did share her concerns about the increasing growth rate and the rate of hospitalizations:

    “We are assessing measures closely. If needed, we do not need to wait 14 days before recommending additional measures.”

    COVID-19-related News

    • DOSC has chosen to voluntarily close due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19. Back in June, DOSC had implemented a “self-imposed” closure to dine-in services during a period when several hospitality businesses were experiencing outbreaks.
    • Credo’s 104 Street location re-opened last week after staff received negative test results.
    • Bodega’s Downtown location has closed their “COVID-pivot” Bodega Pantry, in favour of re-extending Bodega seating.
    • Strathcona Spirits, who began making hand sanitizer early on in the pandemic, is still going strong.

    Openings

    • Flava Cafe is now open at 8307 118 Avenue. They serve authentic Jamaican Jerk food.
    • The Hat at 10251 Jasper Avenue will become Black Ship Restro & Pub.
    • Bonne Vie, made up of a father and son team, now has their microbakery up and running! They had supplied sourdough for Glass Monkey over the summer.

    Closures

    • Al Centro, opened in January 2019 by the folks behind Da Capo, has closed.
    • Frickin Delights, a hidden gem offering fresh doughnuts in Devon, has announced they will be “closed for the foreseeable future” and “taking some time to decide how we will be moving forward with our business.”

    Upcoming Events

    Reviews

    Local News

    • Several restaurants have opened winter patios, including firepits at The Greenhouse at Victoria Golf Course and The Next Act, and winter tents at Boxer.
    • Bar Bricco may re-open in December after months spent repairing water damage.
    • Fried chicken enthusiasts likely already know about Ralph’s Handi Mart in Strathearn and Sunshine Food Store in Londonderry – the proprietors are brothers and both prepare fried chicken based on a secret family recipe.
    • Credo’s 124 Street location just launched a new hot breakfast menu.
    • EDify featured businesses Benny’s Bread and Butter, Irie Foods, and Shack à Patate.
    • Congratulations to Northern Chicken who celebrated their fourth birthday last week.
    • Linda is organizing a second #AdoptAShopYEG from November 13-22, 2020. This time, businesses will be grouped into one of 8 neighbourhoods, with the hopes people will collectively spend $12,000 at selected small businesses. ATB is also sponsoring the event, and will award 15 participants with $100 Visa gift cards. Business nominations are currently open until November 12, 2020.
    • The Grocery Run, a program run by the Multicultural Health Brokers that supports families experiencing chronic poverty, is hoping to crowdfund $5,000.

    Beyond Edmonton

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    What I Ate

    • I treated myself to one of my favourite pastries in the city last week: the kouign amann from Lock Stock.

    Lock Stock

    Kouign amann from Lock Stock

    • Mack and I had lunch from Craft Beer Market last week. We ordered take-out from the Downtown Dining Week menu, as it was an opportunity for us to taste the Impossible plant-based burger. The plant-based patty replacements are always impressive with their ability to so closely simulate meat.

    Craft

    Impossible Burger from Craft Beer Market

    • On Sunday, I checked out the first Winter Market held at Campio Brewing, primarily because I was looking forward to snagging some of TYP TOP Bakery’s amazing cinnamon buns. They’ll be back at the next market on November 22, 2020.

    TYP TOP Bakery

    Cinnamon buns from TYP TOP Bakery

    Food Notes for November 2, 2020

    Hospitality Sector Well Represented on Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2020

    EDify (formerly Avenue Edmonton) released this year’s Top 40 Under 40 list, and it includes several members of the Edmonton food community.

    Braede Harris, co-founder and co-owner of LOVEPIZZA, is being recognized for their charitable initiatives:

    “We want to be a business that sets an example of what having a business in Edmonton can look like. We’re proud of the city we live and operate in and giving back to our city has always been a priority.”

    Caitlin Fulton, co-owner and Director of Operations at RGE RD, shares the joy of community they have built through the restaurant:

    “When I think about the connections I have had with people over the years, that is when I think that our restaurant is really making a difference. I never take for granted that we are part of the milestones in people’s lives.”

    Felix Irnich, founder and COO of DaVinci Gelato & T-Rex Distillery, has managed to grow his business even in the pandemic:

    “When you pour your heart and soul into something and get such a positive response, it’s an indescribable feeling,”

    Joti Dhanju, owner/operator of Tiffin – India’s Fresh Kitchen, aspires to revolutionize the Indian food industry with an eye on sustainability:

    “I am lucky to be able to reintroduce Indian food to the masses in a creative way. Tiffin might not look like a family business in a couple years, but I always want it to feel that way.”

    COVID-19-related News

    Openings

    Upcoming Events

    • This year’s Taste of Home Gala is taking place virtually on November 19, 2020, to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Adult tickets are $100 and include a choice of a meal to enjoy from one of the participating restaurants, plus a $50 tax receipt. Restaurants include Sabor, Sawmill, Rebel, Workshop Eatery, and Share Restaurant at the Westin.
    • Chef Steve Buzak of the Royal Glenora Club is hosting a pad Thai virtual cooking class on behalf of the Rotary Club of YEG Passport on November 21, 2020. The event raises funds for a cataract surgery project in Ecuador. Tickets are $25.
    • Campio Brewing Co. is hosting Winter Markets on Sundays from November 8 – December 20, 2020. Vendors will be announced on social media, but will include TYP TOP Bakery on November 8.

    Local News

    • Wild Heart Collective has announced the location of their forthcoming Christmas Market, taking place November 27 – December 20, 2020. They’ll be setting up in the Army & Navy Building in Old Strathcona.
    • Chef Addie Raghavan is making cheese out of the kitchen at Meuwly’s under the name Fleur Jaune Cheese.
    • Fleisch has a new retail market stocked with “food, cocktails, curated bottles, gifts, and more.”
    • Edmonton Eats is launching a Holiday Cultural Box Event on November 16, 2020. This will include recipe kits from Libyan, Bangladeshi, and Syrian cultural hosts, plus cookies baked by first year NAIT Baking and Pastry Arts students.
    • Arno’s French Pastry has earned the “Best of France” label. It “promises to recognize and empower the food establishments offering original French recipes using fresh and local ingredients” in Canada, with half of their menu representing authentic French recipes.
    • Daily Hive rounds up the best comfort food in Edmonton.
    • Edmontonian Amanda Lemay plans to travel around Canada, and eventually the US, to learn from the best bakers in North America.

    Beyond Edmonton

    • Food Day Canada founder Anita Stewart passed away on October 29, 2020. Although she was based in Ontario, her influence was national. Tributes have poured in, including from Chef Blair Lebsack of RGE RD.

    What I Ate

    • Though we’re still not comfortable dining in, Downtown Dining Week makes it easy to still enjoy quality meals from the comfort of your home. Many of the 40+ participating restaurants are offering take-out, and at least one is doing delivery! Mack and I made a date night out of it – I ordered from the Confederation Lounge at Hotel Macdonald. I loved the forest mushroom bisque and braised Alberta beer short rib (and had to save dessert for another day as there was too much food). Check out $20 brunch/lunch and $35/$50 dinner menus, on until November 8, 2020. Thanks to the Downtown Business Association for gifting us the meals!

    Confederation Lounge

    3-course take-out meal from Confederation Lounge

    Food Notes for October 26, 2020

    Premier Kenney Pledges That Restaurants Will Remain Open

    Premier Jason Kenney spoke at the United Conservative Party’s annual general meeting on October 24, 2020, and is adamant that current information does not warrant shutting down indoor dining. He said,

    "We have [NDP Leader] Rachel Notley calling for new restrictions on restaurants and bars. That’s based on politics and not public health data. I give my absolute commitment to that sector that is struggling, that, barring some absolute catastrophe, which we do not see, there is no likelihood of restrictions on their ability to operate like we had in the spring, and I do not see any data to support that."

    An update on October 26, 2020 provided by Chief Medical Officer of Health indicated that there has been one outbreak linked to a restaurant in the past two weeks, and less than one percent of active cases in Edmonton and Calgary are linked to exposures in restaurants.

    ATB’s The Owl paints a dire picture for the hospitality industry, in spite of a lack of indoor dining restrictions. While sales in Alberta’s restaurants and bars were up in August from July, year-over-year sales are still significantly down.

    COVID-19-related News

    • Remedy Cafe’s Jasper Avenue location is temporarily closed for deep cleaning due to a link to a positive COVID-19 case.
    • Rosewood Foods is re-opening on October 27, 2020 after all staff tested negative and sanitization procedures have been undertaken.
    • Health Canada recalls more than 50 hand sanitizers, including those produced at Blindman Brewing.

    Openings

    • Breadland Organic Bakery has completed their move to Garneau – find them at their new location at 8440 109 Street.
    • Syphay’s southside location opened earlier this month, at 4428 Calgary Trail.
    • RGE RD’s sister space The Butchery is opening in “about two weeks”. In the meantime – they’re offering a sneak peek of the interior!
    • Flava Cafe, offering quick-service Jamaican Jerk food is opening soon at 8307 118 Avenue, next to Battista’s Calzones.

    Closures

    Upcoming Events

    • The latest Swine and Dine event is nearly a week-long affair from October 26-31, 2020 at both Woodshed Burger locations. Chef Paul Shufelt has created a trio of pork-based dishes to choose from.
    • Restaurants and curbside options continue to be added to Downtown Dining Week, running October 28-November 8, 2020. At present, 40 restaurants are participating.
    • The second annual Pizza Pig-Out fundraiser has been adapted to a pop-up drive-in format this year. It takes place on October 30, 2020 at the Expo Centre, at the cost of $125 per vehicle. The event supports KidSport.
    • La Cite Francophone’s patio series has been extended until December 11, 2020. Special menus will be offered by Cafe Bicyclette during the occasions.

    Reviews

    Local News

    What I Ate

    • Through Taproot Edmonton, Mack and I were gifted a Bessie Box. They deliver seafood and Alberta-raised beef, chicken, and pork to your door. Like many other services that have flourished this year, they offer convenience coupled with the ability to support local farmers.

    Bessie Box

    Classic Bessie Box (with chicken add-on)

    • I’ve been itching to try the tocino burrito from Filistix for some time. It didn’t disappoint – I loved the combination of ‘salt and sugar’ cured pork loin, garlic fried rice, Filistix ailoi, and pico de gallo. It was definitely worth the chilly walk over to pick up our order!

    Filistix

    Tocino burrito from Filistix

    Food Notes for October 19, 2020

    City of Edmonton Extends Temporary Patio Program

    In response to demand from the hospitality industry and the ongoing pandemic, the City of Edmonton has extended the temporary patio program until March 31, 2021.

    However, in anticipation of snow clearing needs, patios will not be permitted to extend across sidewalks as pedestrians will no longer be able to use the curb lane as a detour.

    This has impacted the plans for businesses such as Tiramisu Bistro, whose application to set up three heated igloos on the sidewalk was denied. Owner Seble Issac was frustrated with the decision:

    “This is the only hope of keeping everyone employed and implementing COVID-19 restrictions. You can’t just tell people, ‘Put on your warm jackets, we’ll put up some lights and you go enjoy the winter.’ You cannot do that. You’ve got to create an experience and this is an experience I’m trying to create.”

    Although pedestrian safety is the basis cited for the rejection of the proposal, it’s challenging not to believe the real reason is to preserve vehicular traffic flow. 124 Street from Jasper Avenue to 109 Avenue is identified as a Main Street: they are “pedestrian priority streets” that “entice people to linger on the street”. Coincidentally, on the Main Street front page, the opening photograph is of Tiramisu Bistro. While the photo is of the restaurant in warmer climes, the guidelines state that Main Streets are designed for all seasons.

    In many ways, restaurants situated along a main thoroughfare will be disadvantaged in the colder months because of limitations to sidewalk expansion. It’s not surprising that two of the most popular cool-weather patios so far this year are Little Brick and Cafe Bicyclette, who are unencumbered by space due to their yard and courtyard access (and to their credit, heavy investment in heating implements). Will these regulations lead to closures of more businesses along main streets? Only time will tell.

    COVID-19-related News

    Openings

    • Bistro 99, a “European cafe and bar”, opened this week at 10504 99 Avenue.
    • There’s a new Tunisian restaurant called Golden Fork, located at 12118 90 Street.
    • Taste of Lebanon is now open in Old Strathcona at 10105 82 Avenue.
    • The folks behind the original Fat Franks have opened a food trailer called Dick’s Tater Ship at 10319 82 Avenue. They had planned to remain open as long as the weather cooperated, but the recent temperature dip has led to an early closure.

    Upcoming Events

    • Back in March, Downtown Dining Week was cut short due to the pandemic. The Downtown Business Association is relaunching the showcase from October 28 – November 8, 2020 to “reignite hope in Downtown’s hospitality scene.” The 26 participating restaurants are offering fixed price menus of $20 lunch/brunch and $35 or $50 dinners.
    • Jason Foster is returning to the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension to host a course called Brewed in Alberta: Exploring Alberta’s Craft Beer Industry (the previous sessions offered over the summer sold out). The 4-week sessions begin November 3 or 4, 2020. Course registration costs $75, plus $100 for 16 beers to be discussed.
    • Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is hosting a weekend Swine & Dine, featuring cooking demonstrations from several Edmonton-based chefs, including RGE RD’s Blair Lebsack and Edgar Gutierrez from Kanto 98 St.

    Local News

    • CTV featured the story behind BIPOC and queer-friendly cafe Intent Coffee, located in Southgate Centre.
    • Both Sugared and Spiced and Cartago debuted new online ordering systems this month. It’s great to see more local businesses investing in their online systems.
    • Global checked in with Chef Medi Tabtoub of Vivo Ristorante about their pandemic pivots and fall menu changes.
    • Jack’s Burger Shack pulled out of joining the Stadium Yards development after the start of the pandemic.
    • Uber Eats has launched liquor delivery from local liquor stores in Edmonton and Calgary.
    • A new food bank has opened that supports military veterans and their families.

    What I Ate

    • Our Friday night take-out from King Noodle House satisfied my weeks-long craving for Bun Bo Hue.

    King Noodle House

    Takeout spread from King Noodle House

    • We ordered some cinnamon buns from TYP TOP Bakery over the weekend. It’s a social enterprise run by the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton that provides paid work experience to at-risk youth. Led by Chef Kelsey Johnson (of Cafe Linnea), they offer breads and sweet treats. We were impressed with the size and quality of the buns (not too sweet, and super fluffy!), and we’d definitely order them again!

    Typ Top Bakery

    Cinnamon buns from TYP TOP Bakery

    • We’re glad we pulled out our potatoes last weekend, given how quickly the temperatures have fallen this month. It was another good season at Alex Decoteau Community Garden; Emily certainly had her fill of tomatoes this year. Until spring!

    Alex Decoteau Garden

    With our final harvest at Alex Decoteau Community Garden

    Food Notes for October 12, 2020

    Indoor Dining Continues as COVID-19 Cases Rise in Edmonton

    Alberta’s COVID-19 case counts continue to increase, with last Thursday’s total recording as the highest single day case count since the start of the pandemic. With a majority of new cases in Edmonton, Dr. Deena Hinshaw imposed additional voluntary measures last week in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

    These restrictions included limiting family and private social gatherings to no more than 15 people, and recommending masks for all indoor work settings where social distancing is not possible. The restrictions do not include closures of some in-person services such as indoor dining, which was the direction taken by Quebec for certain jurisdictions at the end of September, and by Ontario last week for regional hot spots.

    Even if indoor dining service continues to be an option in Edmonton, some patrons will continue to seek alternatives. As fall sets in, restaurants continue to ponder whether the investment in a winter patio will bear fruit as temperatures drop. Others, such as Little Brick, have already shored up their outdoor seating with tents and heaters.

    Openings

    • Love Pizza’s Spruce Grove location opens on October 13, 2020. It is located at #314, 11 Westwind Drive.
    • There’s a new restaurant at West Edmonton Mall called Five and Dive (modelled after a dive bar), where all of the food is priced at $5.55 or less. It opens October 15, 2020.

    Upcoming Events

    • Like most other festivals this year, LitFest is completely virtual. The launch of a book called Beyond the Food Court, an anthology of literary cuisines, takes place on October 15, 2020 and is free.
    • The Butternut Tree is hosting a high tea on November 15, 2020. Tickets are available for $65 per person.

    Local News

    • A reminder that the episode of Food Network’s Wall of Chefs, featuring Edmontonian Alexis Hillyard (of Stump Kitchen fame), airs on October 13, 2020. She will be reacting to the show on Facebook live.
    • Tres Carnales Rostizado is aiming to re-open with a new look, new menu, and expanded hours on October 19, 2020.
    • Amy’s famous dry spicy chicken is now available frozen through Uproot Food Collective. When it was first released in September, it sold out within 48 hours.
    • Cibo Bistro teased a forthcoming project from Chef Rosario Caputo called Impasto Lab.
    • Duchess and RGE RD have collaborated to make tourtiere, made with high-quality pork from small-scale producers. It is available frozen from both Duchess locations, and through their delivery service.
    • Chef Steven Brochu of MilkCrate has started a culinary video series called Brochu + You. The first video features a recipe for a one-pan Thanksgiving dinner.
    • Lincoln Ho of YEGventures is collecting nominations for his “Best of Edmonton 2020” list, which includes categories for different cuisines of food, and as fitting for this year, “restaurant with the best pandemic safety measures”. Nominations will be accepted until October 31, 2020.
    • The latest episode of NAIT’s Mawji Centre Let’s Do Coffee podcast features Nevin and Kara Fenske of Drift Food Truck.
    • There’s a new distillery in town called Lone Pine Distilling.
    • An episode of Serena Mah’s podcast Untold Stories highlights the Pandemic Planting Project launched by a lawyer and vice-chair of the Edmonton Food Bank that yielded 100,000 potatoes for those in need.

    Beyond Edmonton

    • Linda shared a sponsored travel guide of Stony Plain (just 30 minutes west of Edmonton), including where to eat.
    • Karen Anderson of Alberta Food Tours launched Alberta Food Finder, an innovative way to explore Calgary’s Kensington area. The mobile-based app encourages players to “discover clues, solve puzzles and complete fun challenges while experiencing the best tasting food and atmosphere Kensington has to offer.” It costs $45 per team, and is designed in a way that follows public health guidelines. Expansion of this initiative could include Edmonton in the near future.
    • Uber Eats has launched an Eats Pass for $9.99/month, which provides subscribers with $0 delivery fee and 5% off orders over $15.
    • Canada has released a plan to ban six single-use plastic items by the end of 2021: checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery, and food ware made from hard-to-recycle plastics.
    • Yelp has instituted a new alert that will flag businesses who have reports of racist conduct.

    What I Ate

    • I was disappointed that the turkey sandwich was already sold out by the time Mack and I made it to Melt Sandwich Co. in the Bell Tower on Friday, but their Cubano was still pretty satisfying.

    Melt Sandwich Co.

    Cubano from Melt Sandwich Co.

    • To satisfy a pasta craving, we walked over to Amore Pasta downtown. The staff were incredibly efficient, and we were out with our order in less than 15 minutes. My “show me the balls” mac and cheese hit the spot.

    Amore Pasta

    “Show me the balls” mac from Amore Pasta

    • Mack and I were able to get away for a lunch date this weekend, finally trying Yoshii Express, which experienced a social media bump over the summer. The owner Alan was gracious and hospitable. We enjoyed our steaming bowls of tonkotsu ramen on the patio (nothing says shoulder season better than soup!). Unfortunately for Alan, business has slowed down again, with less foot traffic as the temperature has dropped.

    Yoshii Express

    Ramen on the patio at Yoshii Express

    • We capped off our Thanksgiving weekend with an annual tradition – enjoying the Lovesgiving pizza from Love Pizza (featuring mashed potato spread, pulled turkey, stuffing, cranberry chutney, gravy, and brie cheese drizzle). Emily happily ate all of the cranberries off our pizzas.

    Love Pizza

    Lovesgiving pizza from Love Pizza

    Food Notes for October 5, 2020

    Local Filmmaker Kevin Kossowan Debuts Show on PBS

    Edmonton-based filmmaker Kevin Kossowan, known for his series From the Wild, debuted a new show which began airing on PBS last week.

    Les Stroud’s Wild Harvest follows host Les Stroud and Calgary-based chef Paul Rogalski as they cook with ingredients they’ve foraged themselves.

    Experience breathtaking landscapes, discover unexpected wild edibles, and witness the wild harvest become extraordinary and delicious cuisine. Outdoor and culinary enthusiasts will learn how to harvest and cook with ingredients like Cattail, Wild Radish, Walking Stick Kelp, Milkweed, Wild Turkey, Wild Mint, Pine Mushrooms & Mussels.

    Much of the series was filmed in Canada, with four of the thirteen episodes featuring Alberta locations.

    Openings

    • Mood Cafe opened in Belgravia last week. They are located at 7601 115 Street.
    • Intent Coffee opened back in September in Southgate Centre.
    • Typ Top Bakery is a new social enterprise run by the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton. Youth gain paid work experience under direction of Chef Kelsey Johnson (of Cafe Linnea). They launched subscription boxes but their goods can also be found at markets and local cafes.
    • A location of Browns Craft House (an offshoot of the Browns Social House chain) is coming soon to 124 Street and 102 Avenue.

    Closures

    • Downtown pub Rose and Crown has closed.
    • Prairie Noodle, which announced that its last day will be October 24, 2020, has some parting words of thanks for its customers and the community.

    Upcoming Events

    • Atco’s Blue Flame Kitchen has transitioned their in-person classes to an online format. Unfortunately, the ingredient kits sold separately to help attendees cook alongside the chef are only offered out of their Calgary location. Classes are $25 each.
    • Ernest’s at NAIT is offering a take-home high tea package, at $40 per person, for pick up on October 24, 2020.

    Local News

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    • The City of Edmonton’s City Farm had a successful first year, so far yielding 9,000kg of vegetables that have been distributed to families in need. The five acre farm is located at Old Man Creek Nursery in northeast Edmonton.

    What I Ate

    • What glorious weather we had over the weekend! We continued our Friday picnic series with take-out from Otto (who had a great seasonal Oktoberfest menu) – the schnitzel burger was delicious, and well, I can never turn down their garlic fries.

    Otto

    A selection of our order from Otto

    • I met up with a friend on the super sunny Cafe Versailles patio on High Street. Friendly service, and I was pleasantly surprised by the mushroom garlic danish.

    Cafe Versailles

    The view from the Cafe Versailles patio

    Food Notes for September 28, 2020

    This week’s installment was written by Mack. “This is an inning of good relief pitching from a fresh arm,” to quote one of Sharon’s favorite shows. She’ll be back next week!

    Beverly’s Take 5 doughnut shop is up for sale

    Take 5, a popular doughnut shop located in the Beverly neighbourhood, has been listed for sale for $248,000. The listing says the original owner of 41 years is retiring and that “training would be provided to new buyers to learn the business.”

    The tweet first shared by Kris Andreychuk has received dozens of replies from Edmontonians concerned about any changes new owners might make.

    In an interview with Global News, Heather Tomsan with the University of Alberta School of Retailing encouraged the new owners to “do your research and do your homework so you know what was a win and a hit and what was a miss.”

    Openings

    Closures

    • Prairie Noodle Shop will close on Oct. 24. “It’s been amazing five year run and we want to end on as positive a note as we can!” the restaurant tweeted.
    • Artisti Pizzeria has closed with its previous location at 11998 109A Avenue now listed as for lease.
    • Hoang Long’s Fresh Market location at 10057 Jasper Avenue has closed.

    Headlines

    Reviews

    What I Ate (written by Sharon)

    • Earlier in the week, I met up with Linda for an outdoor lunch at my go-to neighbourhood spot, Rosewood Foods. It was time to change it up and have their Rosewood Bar Burger on this visit!

    Rosewood Foods

    • We finally ordered the make-at-home ramen kits from Tokiwa Ramen – it’s great that this option still exists, even though they’re re-opened to dine-in service for folks like us who aren’t yet comfortable with indoor dining. While it was a bit on the tedious side to put together (requiring 3 different pots), it did taste like restaurant quality.

    Tokiwa Ramen

    • We threw a surprise wedding shower for my sister and her fiancee over the weekend in advance of their big day. There are lots of great individually-packaged snacks available from local vendors to help promote social distancing during gatherings. In this case, we ordered the mini bowls from Splash Poke.

    Splash Poke

    • A friend also brought along these adorable Caramunchies favours, customized with their names on the label. They were a hit!

    Caramunchies

    • To celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary, Mack and I hit up brunch in the park with Drift and Laker Coffee (a brand new mobile coffee trailer!). The pork sammie and tater tots really hit the spot. Drift is on their last week of service – so catch them before they retire for the winter!

    Drift

    Food Notes for September 21, 2020

    City of Edmonton To Consider Extension to Patio Program

    At present, the City of Edmonton’s relaxing of rules around outdoor patios and sidewalk cafes expires on December 31, 2020. With some restaurant owners pushing for extensions to support the local hospitality industry, the City is exploring an extension to the program.

    City spokesman Anthony Toderian said, “We have been hearing from businesses and associations that they would like to continue to operate their temporary patios into the colder months…Administration is investigating options for winter patios but a decision has not been finalized.”

    The current guidelines allow for electric and propane heaters and one tent.

    COVID-19-related News

    Openings

    • Love Pizza quietly opened their southwest location at 5011 Mullen Road on Friday to “overwhelming” response. They had to restock over the weekend and will re-open on September 22, 2020.
    • It looks like Mood Cafe in Belgravia (7601 115 Street) is gearing up to open on September 25, 2020.
    • Old Strathcona’s newest cafe La Bosco Cafe is hosting their grand opening on September 29, 2020. They are located at 10413 79 Avenue.
    • Julia’s Cafe is coming soon to the Standard Life building Downtown at 10405 Jasper Avenue.
    • Back in the spring, Sneaky Pete’s on Alberta Avenue was rebranded High Note Bar and Grill under new ownership. Find them at 12315 118 Avenue.

    Closures

    Upcoming Events

    • The Westin has been offering “experiential date nights” in the form of a 3-course dinner, chocolate tasting presentation with Colleen Heidecker of Colleen’s Chocolates, and a one night accommodation. The next date is October 3, 2020; tickets are $303.

    Local News

    Beyond Edmonton

    • The Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye by Alberta Distillers took top honours in this year’s Whisky Bible as the “World Whisky of the Year”.
    • An agri-food industrial park is being planned for Vegreville, to be completed by 2022.

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    • Shirley Ross, co-founder of the University of Alberta’s Green and Gold Community Garden passed away on September 3, 2020.
    • Producers, including those from Reclaim Organics, share their experiences of farming during the pandemic.

    What I Ate

    • We hit up Rosewood Foods for another Friday night picnic. Mack, Emily, and I shared their katsu chicken sandwich and patty melt – so delicious.

    Rosewood Foods

    Patty melt from Rosewood Foods