Food Notes for March 6, 2023

Bonjour Bakery Relocates for the Long Term in Old Strathcona

Edmonton’s Bonjour Bakery has planned for a long future in Old Strathcona with the opening of a purpose-built space on Whyte Avenue.

Yvan Chartrand has been operating Bonjour Bakery since 2009, renting space in an 80-year-old building along the busy stretch of 99 Street and 87 Avenue NW. But after his son Kenny joined the company in 2017 in the role of head baker, Chartrand started exploring real estate options that would provide more stability.

“Looking at the future, I thought for him, if I wanted to retire, and he wanted to take over, I’m young enough that I can still make a move to help, so the timing was right,” said Chartrand.

It was important for Chartrand to stay in the area, and when he exhausted the possibilities of finding an existing building in the neighbourhood that would suit the bakery’s needs, he purchased land five blocks south at 99 Street and 82 Avenue NW.

“Being on Whyte Avenue is a dream,” said Chartrand. “My mother is from the Peace River region in northern Alberta and when I was a kid, I would hear about Jasper Avenue and Whyte Avenue. So being able to build a new building on Whyte is quite special.”

The land purchase went through in January 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic ground everything to a halt. For a time, Chartrand did not know if construction would move forward. “I put a foot on the brake pedal because I didn’t know which way things were going to go,” he said. “Restaurants were struggling and our wholesale business collapsed. So we would decide (whether to build) based on our sales.”

Fortunately, bakeries were permitted to continue operating throughout the pandemic. “Surprisingly for us, our sales stayed quite stable,” Chartrand said. “People still needed to eat.”

Last year, when he could see the pandemic waning, Chartrand finally initiated plans for the building. The one-storey, nearly 3,000-square-foot bakery opened for business on Feb. 1. The exterior offers a European flair, but the red paint is a nod to the many brick buildings on the street.

While the amount of space is nearly identical to the space Bonjour used to rent, the configuration is better for customers and staff. The retail area has doubled to accommodate more people, and Chartrand will be travelling to Montreal in the spring to source more specialty crisps, olives, spreads, and mustards to stock on the shelves (being careful to not compete too directly with K & K Foodliner across the avenue). Chartrand is also excited about the open concept that allows customers a full view of the production area.

“You can see the mill where we mill the flour, you can see the oven, the mixing,” said Chartrand. “People need to see how their food is made. I don’t have any secrets. Some places put up a wall because they don’t want you to see what’s in the back, but I’m the complete opposite. Who is making it, how it is made, it’s all part of the experience.”

This extends to the lineage of the flour he uses for the pain paysanne, made from heritage red fife wheat. He sources the grain to grind in-house from a farm near Bonnyville. “I can tell them where the grain is from, which field, who harvested it,” said Chartrand. “One day I hope to be able to say this for all of the flour I use.”

The new bakery will enable Chartrand to enhance some of Bonjour’s offerings over the next few months, but he intends to stay true to the bakery’s roots. “We will still focus on what we like doing and what we’re good at: bread, croissants, and that type of dough,” said Chartrand. “We will go more into pastries with some tarts, but we are not a patisserie.”

In early April, the bakery will also offer cold sandwiches. Some will be pre-made for people to grab and go, but the majority will be made to order at the cheese counter. “The sandwiches will be made from our bread and the cheeses we carry,” said Chartrand. “We will have a daily sandwich. It will be very European, like sandwich shops in Paris.”

Currently, Bonjour Bakery is open 8am to 4pm, Wednesday through Saturday. Soon, Chartrand will be extending hours, likely adding Tuesdays, opening later on Thursdays and Fridays, and in the summer, adding Sundays.

Even with minor shifts, Bonjour’s longevity can be attributed to Chartrand’s firm principles, which breed patron loyalty.

“Personally, I don’t sell anything that I don’t eat,” said Chartrand. “I couldn’t sell something that my heart is not in. Your customers will see it.”


  • Yelo’d has re-opened in Old Strathcona in a new location at the Dominion Hotel, 10324 82 Avenue.
  • Jeff Senger’s new butchery Modest Meats opens this week, a few doors up from High Dough. It is located at 7345 104 Street.
  • Manchester Square is really filling up – Western Sandwich Company’s standalone location (they also have a stall at Bountiful Farmers’ Market) opens on March 7. Find them at 10712 124 Street.
  • Mukja K-Street Food has taken over It Dog’s location (8621 109 Street). Their soft opening will take place on March 8.
  • Preston’s in the Coast Edmonton re-opened as of March 1, and is being run by A Capella Catering.

Upcoming Events

  • NAIT’s Chef in Residence Program resumes with Calgary-based Connie DeSousa and John Jackson from Charcut, among other restaurants. They are hosting a Chef in Residence lunch and dinner on March 16. Tickets start at $28.
  • Edmonton’s International Beer Fest returns to the Edmonton Convention Centre, March 24-25, 2023. Tickets start at $27.53 for general admission, with sampling tickets at an additional cost.

Local News

What I Ate

  • We picked up dinner from our neighbouhood XO Bistro on Friday. Their fusion pho beef dip was tasty and hit the spot.
  • XO Bistro

Vermicelli bowl and pho beef dip from XO Bistro

Food Notes for February 27, 2023

Greater Mill Woods Dining Week Spotlights Southeast Eateries

A desire to draw attention to the food scene in Mill Woods has grown into a new dining week offering deals at nine restaurants in southeast Edmonton.

The inaugural Greater Mill Woods Dining Week will take place from March 3 to 12. Each participating business will feature an item priced at $15 or less.

Event lead Daniel Witte said the idea was sparked during a participatory budgeting session with Coun. Keren Tang of Ward Karhiio last summer. “Participatory budgeting empowers people to create small-scale projects that would make an impact on people in the ward,” said Witte.

Volunteers were given a maximum of $2,000 to carry out projects. So far, they have included a wide range of activities, including painting a Pride walkway at Mill Woods Transit Centre (which Witte was also involved in), adding Google Street View for bike lanes, and creating welcome packages for new refugees.

Witte noticed that some of the restaurants he frequented in his neighbourhood were struggling. “I love these restaurants, but it would be great if more people knew about them,” said Witte. “We wanted to have a dining week to spread the word about some of these places to help them.”

Tang connected Witte with the Mill Woods Presidents’ Council, a body comprised of representatives from all community leagues located in Mill Woods, The Meadows, and Ellerslie. The council offered volunteers with event experience. It also broadened the boundaries to include parts of Ward Sspomitapi. Coun. Jo-Anne Wright of Sspomitapi stepped up to match the $2,000 in funding to support the project.

As a result, the Greater Mill Woods Dining Week encompasses businesses in the heart of Mill Woods, such as the 2nd Floor Café inside the Mill Woods Seniors Association, as well as restaurants situated in newer communities further south, such as Woodshed Burgers and Tiffin India’s Fresh Kitchen in Ellerslie.

Witte was adamant that a transparent process be adopted to ensure restaurants weren’t invited based on volunteer preferences and that the focus remained on small businesses. A form was sent out through community leagues requesting restaurant nominations; volunteers then reached out to the 30 nominated restaurants, of which nine agreed to participate.

Witte is pleased with the range of dishes represented. These include macarons from French patisserie Reinette Café, a Chinese food combo from Tasty World, and a donair meal from Magma Donair.

“The specials are a good introduction to the restaurants,” said Witte. “I know I have no clue where to start with a new menu when I go to a restaurant for the first time. This is a bridge in.”

During the event, diners are encouraged to share their experiences on social media with #MWDiningWeek. All posts will be entered into a draw to win $40 gift cards to participating restaurants.

As a lifelong resident of Mill Woods, Witte is hopeful the event encourages other Edmontonians to visit the area.

“Mill Woods feels like its own little city,” said Witte. “It has such a diverse array of food from restaurants who have been in Edmonton for a long time. It has its own little version of everything.”


  • New Irish gastropub Ashford House is now open at Manchester Square, located at 12026 107 Avenue.
  • Lalibela African Restaurant is now open in the former Langano Skies location (9906 72 Avenue).

Upcoming Events

  • The next Nosh Food Fest will take place this weekend, March 4-5, 2023 at the Strathcona County Community Centre.
  • This year’s Downtown Dining Week runs March 15-26, 2023. Nearly 60 restaurants are participating this year. The menus are up to peruse early.

Local News

What I Ate

  • My friend Su and I hit up Pip for a pre-theatre meal last week. It was my first time in their new space, and in spite of the larger space, it still felt really cozy, especially on that chilly night. I enjoyed the natural wine they had on feature that night, and the gnocchi hit the spot.
  • Pip

Gnocchi from Pip

  • We grabbed take-out from Dorinku Osaka on Friday. They had nifty containers for the ramen (not dissimilar from the containers used by Dagu), with separate compartments for the broth and the noodles. Emily enjoyed the chicken karaage, too.
  • Dorinku Osaka

Take-out from Dorinku Osaka

Food Notes for February 20, 2023


  • The Glass Cafe is now open Downtown, located at 10345 107 Street. They brew beans from Catfish Coffee Roasters.
  • A new butchery is open in Glenora, called Arpa Farm Fresh Butchery, from the folks behind Sofra and newcomer Zula Kitchen Wine Bar (located next door to the butchery). Find them at #110, 14055 West Block Drive.


  • Milk & Cookies Bakeshop is closing its storefront on March 11, 2023: “The last year has been really hard on us. Sales are way down, ingredient costs are way up, staffing the bakery has been a rollercoaster, and I had a baby 4 1/2 months ago. I need less stress & more flexibility, so it’s time to say goodbye to this part of the business.” The business expanded during the pandemic in 2020. The post references that it may not be the last that we see of Milk & Cookies, though!

Upcoming Events

  • Save the date: this year’s Seedy Sunday will take place on March 26, 2023 at the Alberta Avenue Hall.

Local News

What I Ate

  • We checked out a couple of restaurants participating in the Feed the Soul Dining Week before the event wrapped on Friday. First, we picked up lunch from Cafe Caribbean – I enjoyed the curry chickpeas with potatoes!
  • Cafe Caribbean

Curry chicken and curry chickpeas with potatoes from Cafe Caribbean

  • We also grabbed take-out from Mesobena – it was a massive amount of food. and a great way to try several dishes at once. I loved the kik alicha (yellow peas) and tikel gomen (cabbage and carrot).
  • Mesobena

Beef and vegan combos from Mesobena

  • I didn’t know Padmanadi has a separate brunch menu, served up on weekends! I tried the curried tofu scramble and would definitely order it again.
  • Padmanadi

Curried tofu scramble from Padmanadi

  • Love Pizza has a great deal on Mondays, with 2 pizzas for $25 – so we had to indulge in their mac & cheeza one more time before it retires for the year. It will be available until the end of February.
  • Love Pizza

Mac & cheeza pizzas from Love Pizza

Food Notes for February 13, 2023


Upcoming Events

  • Winefest returns to the Edmonton Convention Centre on February 24-25, 2023. Tickets start at $122 and include an all-inclusive sampling of wine and food.
  • Freson Bros. is hosting the 3rd annual Future of Alberta Food on February 25, 2023 at NAIT. Six teams will make 24 dishes attendees can sample. Tickets cost $75.
  • The Edmonton Craft Beer Festival will take place March 10-11, 202 at the Edmonton Expo Centre. General admission tickets start at $21; food and beer vouches are extra.

Local News

  • Vegan pizzeria Die Pie is planning to re-open as a standalone restaurant in April (they currently operate Seitans alongside other concepts in the 5th Street Food Hall). They have started a crowdfunding campaign to help them reach their goal.
  • Local restaurants, including the Robert Spencer Hospitality Group, and Transit Smokehouse, shared with the Journal how they are addressing rising food and utilities costs.
  • The Th3rd Wave Coffee Award results are in – congratulations to Rogue Wave for winning cafe and roaster of the year, and to Sorellina Cafe and Brew Bar for winning new cafe of the year.
  • Phil highlighted Wild Rose Cakes on his latest Best Dish column.
  • Twyla’s Edmonton AM column focused on Nepalese and Indian restaurant Green Bean Mountain Bistro.
  • Also from Edmonton AM – they featured one of the Feed the Soul participants, Cafe Caribbean.
  • Edmonton Convention Centre chef Serge Belair talked to CTV about the dishes that helped him with his podium finish at the Canadian Culinary Championships.
  • Between Bountiful Farmers’ Market introducing an import produce vendor and the Downtown Farmers’ Market selling oranges, it appears the Edmonton farmers’ market scene is moving closer to the Calgary model of markets offering more of a general grocery store selection instead of focusing on locally-grown options.
  • In honour of World Pulses Day on February 10, TechLife asked a chef for tips on cooking with beans, one of the most inexpensive ways to add protein to your diet.

What I Ate

  • I was invited to the media preview for the launch of the renovated Confederation Lounge at the Hotel Macdonald last week. An updated food and cocktail menu accompanies the refreshed space, and most notably features an old fashioned priced at $299 (they have since sold three such drinks, but the rest of their cocktails are priced between $21-24). I sampled some of their new food items, and particularly enjoyed the fried brussels sprouts tossed in a sweet chili sauce, and the pillowy bao buns with Korean beef. Thanks to the always hospitable staff for having me!
  • Confederation Lounge

The bar at the Confederation Lounge

  • Emily and I hit up Tea Bar Cafe on the weekend to take advantage of their extended Chinatown Dining Week deal – it was such a hit that they are continuing their promotion of a bubble tea + bubble waffle for $10 until February 28!
  • Tea Bar Cafe

Our order from Tea Bar

Food Notes for February 6, 2023

Feed the Soul Highlights Food and History of Black Communities

Edmonton’s newest dining week aims to increase support for Black food entrepreneurs, as well as raise awareness about some of the barriers they face.

The inaugural Feed the Soul Dining Week will run from Feb. 10 to 17, in the middle of Black History Month. The event will see 18 local Black-owned food and hospitality businesses offer deals during that period. For example, Jamaican eatery Flava Cafe will kick off festivities with $5 jerk chicken on Feb. 10.

Feed the Soul is the brainchild of Rochelle Ignacio of Enid Rose Collective, who separately manages the volunteer initiative Black Owned Market YEG. Ignacio is co-leading Dining Week with Sara Awatta, founder of YEG Services.

Awatta points out that the eclectic mix of participating retailers represents the spectrum of Black-owned businesses in Edmonton. “Our locations vary all over the city,” said Awatta. “We have businesses like Allegro Italian Kitchen that have been around for more than 10 years and businesses like PhatBar Bakery that are opening just this week. Dine-in, take-out, online-only — this reflects the diversity of the Black food scene in Edmonton.”

A volunteer-run event, Feed the Soul came about when Ignacio was housebound with COVID, and binge-watched a Netflix docuseries called High on the Hog. The show exposes the thread that links cuisines in Africa to those found in the United States, based on recipes adapted by enslaved people.

The idea of contextual changes to food resonated with Ignacio. “Both of my parents are from Trinidad, and growing up here, on Sunday we had traditional Trinidadian food,” said Ignacio. “One of the dishes they served is red beans and rice. I thought it always came with onion and tomato and bacon. But when I went to Trinidad, I learned that they don’t put bacon. My mom adapted the dish to ingredients she could find.”

Ignacio found similar modification stories when speaking to Black restaurant owners during her outreach. But what she also found was a striking number of Black businesses that simply didn’t make it through the pandemic. Her team consulted lists posted in 2020 by Linda Hoang and Ashley Otieno, and found that 14% of them had closed since then.

“Why aren’t Black restaurants thriving the way their counterparts are? Why are these restaurants empty even though the food is good?” said Ignacio. “We want Feed the Soul to expose people to new restaurants and make them household names. Sometimes people are scared to try new food or need the invitation to try.”Feed the Soul organizers

Sara Awatta and Rochelle Ignacio of Feed the Soul Dining Week

Ignacio and Awatta are also using Feed the Soul as an opportunity to build the capacity of the business owners themselves. For instance, all digital images and videos captured over the course of the event will be provided back to each business, so they can use the assets in their own marketing efforts.

In addition, by facilitating meetings between participating entrepreneurs, they have been able to foster the development of supportive connections.

“The business owners are talking about where they’re sourcing their chicken, where they’re renting kitchen space, what hours are working best, what are their expansion plans,” said Ignacio.

“I’m excited to see what future collaborations will happen,” added Awatta. “We’re starting to see things that are in the works from that networking.”

Feed the Soul has also partnered with Glass Bookshop to bring in resources to help Edmontonians learn more about Black food and history. Select titles from Feed the Soul’s book list are available at a 10% discount during the event, and a portion of the revenue generated will be redirected back to Feed the Soul.

At the end of the day, Awatta is looking forward to the gatherings that will happen as a result of the dining week.

“Especially post-COVID, we barely ate at the same table,” said Awatta. “What we’re hoping to accomplish is to bring people together in a capacity that has been lost over the years.”


  • PhatBar Bakery and Cafe is celebrating their grand opening on February 11. They are located at 10813 82 Avenue.
  • Da Kao Bistro is the newest Vietnamese restaurant to open in Edmonton, located at 9750 180 Street.
  • Kilmanjaro VIP, offering authentic Swahili cuisine, is now open at 12433 97 Street.
  • New coffee shop alert: Monacci Coffeehouse is now open at 2055 163 Street SW.
  • A new dessert concept called Mochi Waffle is now open inside the downtown location of Splash Poke (10079 109 Street).
  • On the heels of a Tiki Bar opening Downtown, a second will be opening in Old Strathcona called Tiki Tiki on Whyte.
  • I missed that Rigoletto’s opened in their new location in December (9802 Jasper Avenue).


Upcoming Events

  • One week left on La Poutine Week, which runs until February 14, 2023. 28 restaurants are participating with a feature poutine.
  • Old Strathcona’s Sweet Treats & Latte Festival runs February 4-20, 2023, and highlights 17 area businesses.
  • Taste of Africa is returning on February 25, 2023 to the Arden Theatre in St. Albert. Tickets are $10.

Local News

  • Congratulations to Fife N Dekel on 40 years in business!
  • In the lead-up to Waffle Bird’s one year anniversary, they are hosting some collaborations and pop-ups at High Level Diner this month, including a burger night with Phil Wilson on February 13.
  • Chef Serge Belair of the Edmonton Convention Centre picked up the bronze medal in the Canadian Culinary Championship that took place in Ottawa over the weekend.
  • Lots of great cafes and roasters are up for Th3rdWave awards – vote for your favourites before February 12.
  • It’s hard to believe Valentine’s Day is next week! I’ve shared before my thoughts on dining out on that day, but I do like the idea of picking up some themed treats to celebrate. There are lots of local options to choose from, including sweets from Sugared and Spiced, dinner from Culina, charcuterie from Meuwly’s, and BreadLove, Zwick’s, and Doughnut Party’s Valentine’s Day Drops through The Public.
  • Tenants at Manchester Square’s, including newcomer Rhubarb Cafe, feel optimistic about the development.
  • Alongside the Zellers popping up in Bay locations in the spring, you can also expect Zellers-branded food trucks serving up some of their classic items from the restaurant.
  • The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction updated its guidelines on alcohol consumption. Their recommendation is for no more than two alcoholic drinks per week.
  • A reusable container service called DishZero has launched at the University of Alberta.
  • 40 people from different organizations gathered to discuss food insecurity and collaboration possibilities.

What I Ate

  • Thanks to everyone who came out to support Chinatown Dining Week! We heard some great feedback from the businesses (including Kim Fat, who sold 1100 pounds of chicken skin during the event). My family certainly in our share of meals over the 11 days!
  • Co Chin Saigon

Pho and bun bo Hue from Co Chin Saigon


Ginger beef from Padmanadi

King Noodle House

Bun bo Hue from King Noodle

  • Mack and I were also able to duck out for another date night. We had a lovely dinner at Uccellino – on the rare occasions that we dine in, we remember why take-out will never replace great hospitality.


Goat ricotta crostini from Uccellino

Red velvet cake cups from Layered by Rissa

Culinary Highlights: 2022 Edition

No regularly scheduled Food Notes tonight – between launching Chinatown Dining Week and Emily’s birthday festivities, I’m giving myself the night off. But I did think it was a good opportunity to finally post my personal highlights from 2022. Thanks for reading!

In 2022, I dined indoors a whole lot more than in the previous two years, but even that meant eating in around a dozen times. My family still hasn’t resumed pre-pandemic habits, but in all honesty, I did not know how much joy I’d continue to find in having picnics outdoors, and with young children, embracing the sheer convenience of eating in our own space.

We also remained close to home for vacations, hitting up some familiar locales. Staycations will definitely be in our repertoire for years to come, even now after travel restrictions have eased. The pandemic has made us even more grateful for what we can access just a few hours from Edmonton.

But above all, 2022 will be remembered as the year our family became four. Things haven’t been the same since Elizabeth arrived in August, as Mack and I adjusted to having a newborn again, and Emily grew into her role as big sister. But we’re looking forward to new adventures as a family soon enough!

Here are some of my favourite food-related memories of 2022:

Mack and I had our first in-person date at a restaurant indoors in more than two years. We had been invited to try Hayloft, a new steakhouse that opened in 2022. Some dishes are just meant to be consumed hot at the table, and perfectly cooked steak is one such plate.

Hayloft Steak and Fish

Media night at Hayloft

We also had a wonderful night out together at Fu’s Repair Shop, a funky and delicious hot spot. I loved the story behind the restaurant.

Fu’s Repair Shop

Bites from Fu’s

With Emily in tow, we had a great meal at Otto in the summer as I finished up work before starting my maternity leave. Those garlic fries, though.


Emily hamming it up at Otto

Otto was one of the restaurants represented on the #YEGFoodFaves list I worked on with Linda in the fall (I was furiously writing out my sections while Ellie napped unreliably as a two month old). Kasey Ramen’s amazing kits also make an appearance on the list – I’m so glad I discovered them in 2022.

Kasey Ramen

Kasey Ramen at home

I was also really proud of reaching our five-year milestone with Chinatown Dining Week. It’s never a given for any event, and even more special for an entirely volunteer-run initiative.

Kim Fat Market

Sampling Kim Fat’s chicken skins

Jack’s Burger Shack, which opened up Downtown at the end of 2021, has become our go-to for take-out. I love their hangover burger, and Emily adores their cinnamon toast crunch milkshake.

Jack’s Burger Shack

Jack’s al fresco

We returned to Prairie Creek Inn for our annual retreat, with Emily now being old enough to remember it. Their breakfasts are always something to look forward to.

Prairie Creek InnBreakfast at Prairie Creek Inn

And though not a food-related memory, I have to end on sharing a photo of Elizabeth, though I am sure there will be more to come in the future!


Elizabeth Fengyi (楓怡) Male

Food Notes for January 23, 2023


  • Yianni Psalios (who has opened many Greek restaurants in his time om Edmonton, including Koutouki) has opened another called Agora Greek Market, located at 4620 99 Street.
  • Stephanie shared that a new dessert spot called Hadi Cocktail & Waffle is now open at 11844 145 Avenue.
  • Oil Burgers, another burger concept, has joined the 5th Street Food Hall: “OilBurgers is about sharing Chef Cam’s passion for making local ingredients – especially Alberta beef – shine through simple, yet elevated dishes.”
  • JustCook Kitchens is expanding to Old Strathcona in June 2023 at Station Park. The new facility, partnered with Beljan Developments, will feature three fast-casual restaurants, two higher-end style restaurants, and three bars.


  • After four years in business, cafe Caffiend announced their permanent closure: “This has been a very difficult decision for us and we need some time to process what happens next. I know many of you will want to send messages and may have questions but we ask that you give us some time to grieve, reflect and figure out what comes next.”

Upcoming Events

  • A reminder that Chinatown Dining Week kicks off this week, January 26-February 5, 2023. The menus are here.
  • Old Strathcona’s annual Sweet Treats and Latte Festival will be returning February 4-20, 2023.
  • Meuwly’s is hosting Valentine’s cooking demos while guests enjoy appetizers, cocktails, and wine pairings on February 4 and 5, 2023. tickets are $60 each.
  • In February, Just Cook Kitchens is hosting a Chef Takeover series, with chefs taking over the 5th Street Food Hall on select dates to serve up 5-6 course dinners. February 13 sees Oil Burgers and Seitans chefs team up, while on February 20, Meuwly’s chefs take over the joint. Tickets run $146-165 per person.
  • Silver Skate Festival’s Battle of the Neighbourhoods event is back.
  • Save the date for Downtown Dining Week, running March 15-26, 2023.It’s a friendly culinary competition between breweries, and the food challenge will see the chefs create the “perfect prairie comfort food and beer pairing” with locally-sourced ingredients. Tickets are $35 and include beer and food samples.
  • Edify has started selling tickets to their 2023 Best Restaurants event at the Edmonton Convention Centre on April 3, 2023. Tickets are $85 and include tickets for food and beverage tastings.

Local News

  • Great to see Alberta Avenue launch their Dining Pass, an app that currently provides discounts to 10 participating restaurants, including Battista’s Calzones and Mama Asha Cafe (both #YEGFoodFaves)! It’s free to download onto your phone, and more restaurants will be joining in the coming months.
  • The Currents of Windermere also has their own Dining Passport, featuring 11 participating restaurants. If diners visit 4 restaurants on Mondays or Tuesdays, they can be entered to win a $1000 shopping spree.
  • I love when local companies collaborate, so it was fantastic to hear about Twice Cream partnering with Remedy to produce Twice Remedy Chai Ice Cream. At present it is available only at Twice Cream, but soon will also be offered at Remedy locations.
  • Jack’s Burger Shack made a reasonable plea last week: “Please normalize not comparing restaurants, specifically ones that specialize in burgers to McD…d’s. ie. “Their milkshakes are bigger.” “Burger & Fries there are $4 cheaper.” Please consider size, quality and impact of these other restaurants”.
  • You’re not imagining how inflation has affected the price of staple goods – Jeff Nachtigall of Sugared and Spiced tracked the cost increases of his raw ingredients over the past two years. At the top, frozen raspberries at 143%, followed by oil at 82%.
  • Bliss Baked Goods now offers Kiwi Kosher Sushi on Thursdays and Fridays.
  • Twyla highlighted Pal’s on her Edmonton AM segment.
  • Edify checked out Oomami Dog, Rockin’ Robyn’s, and Chicken Haus, and featured the soups from Pal’s, Hu’s Noodle Nook and Viphalay.
  • Chef Matthew Potts opened up his kitchen at the Cook Country Saloon so Ukrainian newcomers could prepare food to sell in order to purchase supplies for newcomers arriving in Canada.
  • Edmonton AM also did a story on the Too Good To Go food app.

What I Ate

  • January might feel like a downer after the holidays, but I know I will always have Love Pizza’s Mac & Cheeza to lift me up. We indulged in two Big Love-sized pies to get us through. The Mac & Cheeza is available until the end of February!
  • Love Pizza

Mac & Cheez from Love Pizza

  • Mack, Emily, Elizabeth, and I met up with some friends at Shojo Izakaya for the first time. Based on that experience, we will certainly return! I really enjoyed the mushroom cream udon, but the kakuni (pork belly) and Koji fried chicken were delicious as well.
  • Shojo Izakaya//

Mushroom cream udon from Shojo Izakaya

Edmonton Food 2022 Year in Review

The Edmonton food scene in 2022 was a year full of tension. While this blog is primarily about restaurants, it is impossible to ignore the ballooning disparity between those who can eat out and those who can eat at all. It was reported that Albertans have the highest rate of food insecurity in Canada, while food bank usage in the province more than doubled the national rate of increase.

On the restaurant front, several long-standing restaurants closed, some due to declining revenue, while other independent restaurants were able to embrace opportunities to expand. Blue Plate Diner, an 18 year veteran, shuttered over the summer, while The Nook, Pho Boy, and Ono Poke all closed after five or more years in business.

Despite the losses, it was a pleasant surprise that so many small restaurant groups were able to grow their footprint in our community, and offer more unique choices for diners all across the city. These included: El Corazon and Leopard in Glenora; Takam Market at MacEwan University; Hayloft and Woodshed Burgers in Cameron Heights; Seoul Fried Chicken, Northern Chicken, and Birdog on 104 Street Downtown; Pal’s in Old Strathcona; and additional locations for The Colombian and Remedy Cafe in Parkallen and the University of Alberta campus, respectively.


Leopard was among the new additions to Edmonton’s food scene this year (photo credit: Mack Male)

It’s also worth noting that Windermere in particular had a banner year in attracting hospitality brands. The chain-loving spirit in Edmonton was in full force with the openings of California Pizza Kitchen and PF Chang’s. But those splashy outposts were joined by independents Black Pearl, Hello Mochi, Flame & Barrel, and Japonais Bistro (to open in 2023).

As inflation continues to increase, the reality of operating food businesses will be even more challenging. But after talking to many restaurant owners over the year, my takeaway was their gratitude towards their loyal supporters in these times. I am hopeful that this theme will continue into 2023.

A few other notable items from 2022:

  • The provincial vaccine passports (aka Restrictions Exemption Program) ended up being short lived, ending February 8, 2022, after being instituted in September 2021.
  • Most pandemic-related pivots restaurants had made in the previous two years ended, such as in-house delivery from Filistix and Duchess.
  • Some restaurants, such as Northern Chicken and Chartier, were transparent about why they had to increase their food prices.
  • In April, it was announced that Giselle Courteau and Jake Pelltier were stepping away from Duchess Bake Shop.
  • The Lingnan reached the incredible milestone of 75 years in business.
  • In October, Tres Carnales had to manage a high profile health-inspection related closure of the restaurant. This month, they announced their permanent closure.
  • No less than six Calgary-based brands set up shop in Edmonton, including Flirty Bird, Deville Coffee, Jerusalem Shawarma, Home & Away, Blanco Cantina, and PACT Coffee.
  • Many new national and international chains also opened in Edmonton this year, such as Fuwa Fuwa, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Vish, Mogouyan, Community Taps and Pizza, and El Furniture Warehouse.
  • Planned development in Strathearn led to the closure of community favourites Ralph’s Handi-Mart and Juniper.

You can check out previous year in reviews here (though I missed last year!).

Food Notes for January 9, 2023

Chinatown Dining Week Returns for a Sixth Year

Chinatown Dining Week is back for a sixth year, and will run January 26 – February 5, 2023. 15 restaurants will be offering $10 and $20 deals for dine-in or take-out. The full menu will be posted on January 13.

Having launched Chinatown Dining Week in 2018, the past six years have been a whirlwind. Getting traction for a new event can ben challenging, but we are fortunate that Edmontonians responded really well and embraced our campaign to encourage diners to discover culinary gems and revisit old favourites.

That said, the past few years have no doubt been tougher on our business partners. After the pandemic at the start of 2020 closed restaurants to indoor dining, a wave of anti-Asian racism related to how the pandemic started impacted businesses in Chinatown. The fifth wave of the pandemic continued into 2021 that brought another set of operating restrictions. In 2022, discussions about Chinatown were overwhelmingly linked to impressions of a lack of safety and security in the neighbourhood.

But through it all, the businesses who are a part of Chinatown Dining Week have soldiered on. While some restaurants are newer to the area, having opened over the last two years, such as China Marble, Co Chin Saigon, and Spirit Bistro, the majority of participating businesses have been operating for at least a decade. Hong Kong Bakery and Kim Fat, for instance, have both been open for more than 30 years. The presence of such long-standing businesses speaks to the resilience of the business owners and the community. We hope Chinatown Dining Week can play a role in continuing to raise awareness about these locally-owned establishments and support their longevity in Edmonton.



Local News

What I Ate

It’s been more difficult to blog with two kids than with just one, something I probably should have anticipated but didn’t think would be that much harder! As a result, I took a longer break than I originally planned – but did have a really restful and rejuvenating holiday with my family. I hope you had a similarly wonderful start to the new year.

  • Inspired by a piece by Ramneek Singh in Hungry Zine, my family tried Punjabi-style pizza for the first time over the holidays. Based on our first taste from Supreme Pizza, it’s a style we will definitely order again. The palak paneer pizza in particular was the crowd favourite.
  • Supreme Pizza

Palak paneer and butter chicken pizzas from Supreme Pizza

  • We can never get enough noodles – our go-to on a cold winter night was our neighbourhood Dagu. Their salted crispy chicken was a great side addition.
  • Dagu

Our Dagu take-out

  • Mack and I were also fortunate enough to get away for a date night at Birdog. We finished our night with their version of a Deep ‘n’ Delicious cake – and I can report that it was a dead ringer for the cake, complete with the foil-lined packaging. The texture and flavour is what you’d expect, but the cake is springier and the icing doesn’t have that sheen of oil. Thanks Birdog for the treat!
  • Birddog

Birdog’s chocolate cake

  • We tried Butternut Tree’s high tea for the first time over the holidays. It was pretty close to Emily’s dream meal, as it’s probably the only time in her life she was permitted to eat cookies for her lunch. We were satisfied with the spread of items, with our favourite bites being the bacon-wrapped dates and the turkey and gravy poutine rappe.
  • Butternut Tree

Emily cameos with our Butternut Tree high tea spread

Food Notes for December 19, 2022

Happy holidays to those who celebrate! Just a note that this will be my last Food Notes of 2022 – thanks for reading and supporting local businesses along the way.


  • Chain restaurant Chung Chun, serving up Korean-style hot dogs, is now open in West Edmonton Mall (Unit 2583).
  • Taiwanese dessert chain Meet Fresh has added a second Edmonton location in South Edmonton Common (1915 98 Street).

Local News

What I Ate

  • I had a lovely visit with a friend last week who offered to bring take-out from Pho Tau Bay over to enjoy. Needless to say, it hit the spot (as did the cup of broth I reserved for the next day!).
  • Pho Tau Bay

Pho Tau Bay take-out

  • Mack and I picked up lunch from our neighbourhood Northern Chicken last week. The chicken sandwich was very satisfying, and given its size, negated my usual need for an afternoon snack that day.
  • Northern Chicken

Fried chicken sandwich with Dorito mac and cheese