Food Notes for May 13, 2019

Bountiful Farmers’ Market Announces Opening Date

Edmonton’s first three-day indoor farmers’ market will open on June 21, 2019. Bountiful Farmers’ Market, located at 3696 97 Street, is planning a grand opening celebration over the summer solstice weekend. They will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9am-5pm.

In addition to vendors, they will have other activities to appeal to shoppers, including an entertainment stage and children’s play area. A Bountiful Farmers’ Market representative did an interview with Edmonton AM about what people can expect when the market opens.

Openings

Upcoming Events

  • The Edmonton Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association is hosting a gathering at Smokehouse BBQ. They will be serving up gluten-free smoked meat sandwiches and sides. Tickets are $24 for adults and $10 for children.
  • The next Swine and Dine will be held at RGE RD on June 6, 2019. Tickets are $75.
  • Food Bike Tours are returning this summer with a new tour – the Doughnut Cycle Crawl. The two hour tour will lead cyclists to “hot spots for savoury doughnuts”.

Reviews

Local News

Urban Agriculture and Farming

What I Ate

  • It was a happy accident that I forgot my lunch one day last week. Deviating from my usual vermicelli bowl at T & D Noodle House, the Bun Bo Hue really helped move my cold along.

T and D Noodle House

Bun Bo Hue at T & D Noodle House

  • Mack and Emily took me to a special Mother’s Day dinner held at The Foundry Room in the Oliver Exchange Building, organized and catered by Culina. It’s a beautiful space, with lots of room for kids to wander and explore. We enjoyed the food as well, a family-style meal of Ukrainian classics.

Culina To Go Mother's Day Dinner

Salad platter (I loved the briny cabbage salad)

    5 Questions about the City Market’s New Downtown Location

    When the news broke in March that the City Market would not be returning to its outdoor home on 104 Street this year, reaction was mixed. While some were excited about the idea of a permanent, year-round space, others grieved the loss of something that has become a summer tradition for many.

    The City Market was one of the reasons why we decided to move to 104 Street, and I had already been looking forward to showing Emily how our front step transforms every Saturday. There’s no question the setting of 104 Street will be hard to replicate elsewhere; the combination of historic facades, mature trees, independent businesses, and residential concentration all helped create the welcoming and lively atmosphere that attracted visitors from across the city.

    City Market

    With Emily at the last City Market on 104 Street on October 6, 2018

    That said, I recognize that the success for outdoor markets is very much weather dependent. Although rain, sleet, and snow has never deterred our family because of our proximity to the market, we acknowledge that many vendors rely extensively on fair weather customers. The last few years have also seen rough inclement conditions, including several windstorms that resulted in early closures as precautionary measures.

    So although I’ve slowly come around to being open to the City Market’s new home, I know that many people have some unanswered questions:

      1. What will the new City Market look like?

      The market announced that its opening weekend in its new location will take place May 18-19, 2019, transitioning from one day per week to twice weekly. The Board worked with the City on securing a lease for the Great West Garment Building (also known as the GWG Building), at 97 Street and 103 Avenue, in addition to the permission to animate some of the nearby streets.

      GWG Building

      GWG Building

      The building has been vacant for more than a decade, having most recently operated as the Red Strap Market that closed in 2007. Built in 1911, some of the original features, including the hardwood floors and pressed ceiling tiles, remain as historical marvels. If the renovations are done right, it could be stunning.

      GWG Building

      Inside the GWG

      However, given the short timeline, we’ve learned that the market will operate outdoors this summer. When we toured the space in mid-March, washrooms were under construction, and they hadn’t moved to creating vendor stalls yet.

      GWG Building

      Planning for two floors of vendors

      When completed, vendors will occupy the first and second floor of the building. The market is currently exploring options to program the third and fourth floors.

      2. What can visitors expect from the City Market this summer?

      The outdoor City Market will have quite the footprint in the Quarters, taking place not only on 103 Avenue but also spilling onto the Armature on 96 Street.

      City Market

      The Armature

      Although a majority of the street may be the same width as its previous home of 104 Street and 102 Avenue, the lack of mature trees and active street-front retail make it feel quite different. In addition, the size of the two adjacent parking lots on 103 Avenue may provide convenience to some shoppers, but ultimately may bring a level of car traffic and noise that can disrupt the ambiance.

      City Market

      103 Avenue, looking west

      Dog owners will be happy to hear that the market will permit four legged visitors. Guidelines for etiquette are in place, but otherwise, bring your puppy!

      I do think the market’s new location could open up new opportunities for Chinatown South. In touring people through the area over the past two summers, people were interested in learning more about the cultural buildings and services located in the Quarters. Some in the Chinese community have already routinely organized events in Kinistinaw Park on the Armature, so it would be great to see even more engagement from the public because of the market’s presence.

      City Market

      Kinistinaw Park, along the Armature 

      3. How will the new indoor City Market experience compare to other indoor markets?

      Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market has held exclusive court over being Edmonton’s only year-round market. Because of that, some have wondered why they haven’t shifted to a multi-day operation.

      A newcomer to the scene has shaken things up, and is perhaps one reason the City Market has already committed to Saturday and Sunday hours. Bountiful Markets, set to open in June in a light industrial area at 3696 97 Street, will be operating three days a week, Friday to Sunday. Some of the same vendors who sell at both OSFM and the City Market will be at Bountiful, including Irvings Farm Fresh, Riverbend Gardens, and Doef’s, but it’s likely a multi-day public market will also attract new vendors who could benefit from the additional hours. Bountiful also promises a food court with multiple options, which may be more appealing to many, in addition to an entertainment stage and a kids play area.

      Bountiful Markets may be Edmonton’s answer to the revamped Calgary Farmers’ Market, which moved off Blackfoot Trail in 2014. The renovated flea market has survived its competitors (for a variety of reasons), and is so successful it will be opening a second location in northwest Calgary in 2020.

      Calgary Farmers' Market

      Calgary Farmers’ Market

      The Calgary Farmers’ Market seems designed with the intention of getting customers to linger – through a large food court with ample seating, a kids play area, and special events. I’ve also always found it very easy to navigate the wide aisles – even on our most recent visit in April with a stroller.

      Calgary Farmers' Market

      Food court at the Calgary Farmers’ Market

      Given Bountiful’s opportunity to transform an empty warehouse to spec, it seems the Calgary model (including choosing a location really only accessible by car) is what they may be trying to emulate.

      4. Will the new indoor City Market have a food hall?

      Food halls are a hot trend in North America, with choices carefully curated and the quality elevated from a typical food court. The City Market has a food fair in its plans, with a dozen vendors proposed.

      Mack and I checked out Calgary’s Avenida Food Hall & Fresh Market in April. It opened last fall, and though they have a few fresh food vendors, a majority of the stalls are dedicated to prepared food (interestingly enough, they also had a hybrid vendor – Sunworks Farm had a stall selling their fresh cuts of meat and some other products, but it was also equipped with an oven so they could sell hot rotisserie chickens).

      Avenida Food Hall

      Ample seating in Avenida

      My favourite thing about Avenida was the diversity of the food they were offering. In addition to the more conventional Italian and Southern Barbecue stalls, there was impressive representation from other ethnic cuisines, including Mexican, Salvadorian, Ethiopian, Indonesian, Thai, Indian, and Japanese.

      Avenida Food Hall

      Some of the food options in Avenida

      There are currently plans for a food hall downtown, located in the revamped YMCA Building at 100 Street and 102A Avenue to be known as Williams Hall. The tentative opening date is fall 2019.    

        5. Will the new City Market continue to be a summer destination?

        Although those aforementioned parking lots may make it easier for some to reach the market in its new location, parking doesn’t create a destination. Only time will tell if the City Market will be able to retain and attract a strong mix of vendors, create an atmosphere that encourages visitors to linger, and hopefully promotes some of the area’s nearby amenities as additional attractions. If not, those seeking better outdoor market experiences may end up heading to competitors like the St. Albert Farmers’ Market or the 124 Street Grand Market.

        I’m hopeful that the City Market will make the most of this change, and I am looking forward to the long weekend in May to see what they have in store.

        Food Notes for May 6, 2019

        Culina Muttart to Close in July

        Fans of Culina Muttart will want to head to the restaurant soon. Due to renovations at the Muttart Conservatory to commence this summer, Culina has announced that their last day of service will be July 1, 2019. The Muttart will be closed for 18 months of rehabilitation.

        However, Culina will soon be opening up Culina To-Go in the trendy Oliver Exchange Building. In the May issue of Avenue Magazine, chef/owner Brad Lazarenko shared that this concept is inspired by take-out establishments like Pret a Manger, but will feature many local suppliers.

        Openings

        Upcoming Events

        Reviews

        Local News

        Urban Agriculture and Farming

        • Congratulations to Winding Road Cheese, who will no longer be selling at farmers’ markets effective in mid-May because they will be shifting to support wholesale and retail business. Their product will be available in over 20 Sobeys and Safeways in Alberta.
        • You may soon see local shrimp on the menus of your favourite restaurants – a shrimp farm based in Calgary called Waterford Farms will be harvesting their first “crop” at the end of the month.
        • There is an opportunity to grow the food processing sector in Alberta – this article highlights the successes of the Little Potato Company and Sylvan Star Cheese.

        What I Ate

        • Any day I can get to Pho Tau Bay is a good day.

        Pho Tau Bay

        My usual at Tau Bay

        • Linda introduced Mack, Emily, and I to Jack’s Drive-In in Spruce Grove. It’s a casual little diner with red vinyl booths that was right up our alley, and it’s been around for almost 60 years! The burgers were basic but tasty.

        Jack's Drive-In

        Our spread at Jack’s Drive-In

        Food Notes for April 29, 2019

        Elm Cafe Closes to Make Way for a New Concept

        Back in 2010 when Elm Cafe first opened, I wrote, “With his passion for good food and community, I think Nate [Box] is on to something great.”

        Elm Cafe

        Nate Box on Elm Cafe’s closing day

        Nine years later, Elm has spawned the Black Box Hospitality Group, a cluster of popular casual eateries in central Edmonton, including District Cafe and Salz. Last year, they undertook their most ambitious project yet in the historic Gibbard Block in Highlands, where they will open new concepts Fox Burger, June’s Delicatessen, and Highlands Liquor this summer.

        Last week, Elm Cafe announced that it would be closing on April 27, 2019 to make way for another chapter for the space. Speedy’s Cantina will open in mid-May, serving “simple, affordable, delicious burritos” for lunch and dinner, and “eventually late night”. Notably, while Rostizado offers their La Mision burritos at lunch and through food delivery services in the evenings, there is definitely room for others on this front. Elm Cafe will be missed, but the strength in Black Box is one that evolves to meet changing community needs. I look forward to trying the new concept!

        Openings

        • Say Uncle has taken over the space formerly occupied by Aarde at 10184 104 Street, and is aiming for a May opening. The restaurant comes from some of the folks behind Sandwich and Sons (which, at one time, was actually housed at this location), and Chefs Andrew Cowan and Matt Phillips of Northern Chicken are involved in designing the small plates menu.
        • Mimi’s is a new pub-style restaurant that opened over the weekend in Greenfield, located at 11403 40 Avenue. The restaurant has been a long time coming, with a restrictive covenant having held up the process starting back in 2016.
        • Although news about Misoya Ramen’s forthcoming location was shared in February, it is now under construction at the Icon site at 10148 104 Street.
        • Century Mile Racetrack opened out near the airport in April, and features a restaurant fittingly called The Derby.
        • Thanks to Tamara for the heads-up about a new-to-me halal grocery and bakery called Baba that opened last summer. It is located at 9848 63 Avenue.
        • I had also missed the opening of Kusina Filipino, at 12329 97 Street, last summer.

        Closures

        Upcoming Events

        • Due to its popularity during Downtown Dining Week, Kitchen by Brad is hosting another Ukrainian pop-up lunch on May 18, 2019. Tickets are $18 and must be purchased in advance.
        • The Edmonton Craft Beer Festival runs May 31 – June 1, 2019 at the Edmonton Expo Centre. Admission starts at $20.
        • Diner on Blanc will be returning to Edmonton for the first time since 2016 (when it was held on 104 Street). If interested, mark your calendar for July 17, 2019, and join the waiting list. As per Diner en Blanc guidelines, the location is kept under wraps until attendees are notified the day of the event.

        Reviews

        • Graham found the flavours and execution of the food at Revel (under new Executive Chef Kunal Sawhney) to be exceptional.
        • Twyla comments on some inconsistencies at Chef Hung.
        • Crystal offers a pair of reviews on Die Pie and Hanjan.
        • There’s a new blog called Like Mother like Daughter, which chronicles the adventures of Monique and Ali. Their first post covers a trip to Destination Donuts and Formosa Bistro.

        Local News

        • Graham reported that Chef Tony Krause left Revel to join Chartier.
        • Chef Doreen Prei will be returning to helm ZINC at the Art Gallery of Alberta as the Executive Chef in mid-may.
        • A Western Living columnist gripes about Edmonton’s poor showing in the recent Canada’s 100 Best list.
        • Liane published the first of her articles focusing on “walkable food-centric areas” on Chinatown.
        • Phil’s latest Fast Food webisode centres around a Venezuelan street food dish from the chef/owner of Avila Arepa.
        • Stephanie shared her experience at the recent Hokanson Chef in Residence luncheon at NAIT, led by Chef David Hawksworth.
        • The former Il Portico restaurant is finally being demolished, and will make way for a new downtown park.
        • In partnership with Travel Alberta, German-based FoodBoom put together a video featuring Chef Blair Lebsack butchering cuts of meat at RGE RD, demonstrating their food philosophy.
        • Beyond Meat products are now available at all Sobeys locations. The products have also been available for some time through SPUD.

        Urban Agriculture and Farming

        • It’s time to gear up for the outdoor market season! Callingwood kicks things off on May 5, 2019, with the Thursday iteration of the 124 Street Grand Market (a public market) not far behind on May 9, 2019. Check out the full list of Alberta Approved Farmers’ Market list here.
        • On the topic of markets, some news out of the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market: City Market vendor Sundog Organic will be taking over for August Organics, and long-time vendor Maru Ukrainian Food had her last day after 16 years over the weekend.
        • Northlands is currently recruiting youth for their free Beekeeping Project.

        What I Ate

        • Mack and I rarely get out for meals on our own any more, so it was a treat to partake in brunch at Baijiu’s new monthly pop-up. There was a solid crowd lined up out the door before the 11am start, so although this was just their second pop-up, word has clearly gotten out! The vibe is similar to The Common’s Hip Hop Brunches, with a DJ and boozy drinks for those inclined. The menu is brief, but with enough variety for most groups. We enjoyed the bao (a must order when at Baijiu), but the gem of our meal was the very unique eggs benny spring roll, with two perfectly soft poached eggs and Meuwly’s ham wrapped in rice paper and fried, and served over crispy potatoes. Follow Baijiu on Instagram for the details on their next pop-up.

        Baijiu

        Eggs benny spring roll from Baijiu

        Food Notes for April 22, 2019

        Local Chefs Vie for “Fire Masters” Title

        A new show on Food Network Canada called Fire Masters will features some local talent in upcoming episodes.

        From the Food Network website description: “In each episode, three chefs push their grilling talents to the limit as they do battle in fiery culinary challenges, cooking up creative, mouthwatering, flame-kissed dishes. One chef is eliminated in each of the first two rounds. The last chef standing then goes head-to-head with a Fire Masters judge in an epic third and final round, vying for $10,000 cash and the coveted title of Fire Masters Champion!”

        Chef Lindsay Porter of London Local is up on the April 25, 2019 episode (they will be hosting a viewing party that night at the restaurant). Lindsay already has a competitive title to her name, having previously won Guy’s Grocery Games.

        Chef Steven Brochu, formerly of Chartier, stars in the episode airing May 9, 2019.

        Two other local participants include Chef Serge Belair of the Edmonton Convention Centre and Steve Buzak of the Royal Glenora Club.

        Openings

        • A franchise location of Eat Clean is opening up in the Mayfair building on Jasper Avenue and 108 Street. There are already locations in Sherwood Park and Spruce Grove.

        Closures

        • Old Strathcona chocolatier Francois Le Roi is now closed.

        Upcoming Events

        • Rogue Wave will be hosting regular free public coffee cupping events, starting on April 28, 2019. RSVPs are necessary, and are limited to 10 people each time.
        • The next Dinner with Canada’s Top Chefs at the Shaw Conference Centre is taking place on May 11, 2019. Chef Levi Biddlecomb of Why Not? will be joining Executive Chef Serge Belair to prepare an 8-course meal. Tickets are $150.
        • The Stony Plain Road and Area Business Association is organizing another Taste of Stony Plain Road on May 23, 2019. Tickets are $10.

        Reviews

        Local News

        • E-Town Eats is a new-ish YouTube channel launched by the some folks behind Re/Max Real Estate. So far, they’ve highlighted some local restaurants, cafes, and microbreweries, including Baijiu, Awake Coffee House, and Sea Change Brewing.
        • Open Table released a list of the 100 best restaurants for a “big night out”, which included 4 Edmonton entries: Biera, Sabor, Pampa, and The Melting Pot.

        What I Ate

        • Mack, Emily, and I were in Calgary for part of last week, which meant indulging in some old favourites and discovering new ones. We usually stay in the East Village, meaning we’re within walking distance of Village Ice Cream. I love their salted caramel.

        Village Ice Cream

        Salted caramel from Village Ice Cream

        • We also checked out Mari Bakeshop near our flat, which had the cutest bread display. The sourdough we brought home was pretty good!

        Mari

        Bread display from Mari Bakeshop

        • We ordered from POW Pizza, opened by the same folks behind Without Papers Pizza. POW serves “Detroit-spirited” pizza. The braised pork on the Crime Wave was so tasty.

        POW Pizza

        Crime wave from POW Pizza

        Food Notes for April 15, 2019

        Edmonton Jollibee Location Under Construction

        Back in January 2018, rumours about an Edmonton location of the popular Filipino international fast food chain Jollibee were confirmed, but with no set opening date.

        While that date hasn’t yet been announced, the location is now under construction at 3803 Calgary Trail. South Park will very soon become a hub of Asian cuisine/staples, with the forthcoming Korean grocery store H-Mart joining the existing T & T Supermarket next door.

        Openings

        • Another Downtown location of Remedy is forthcoming, in the space formerly occupied by La Prep in the Bell Tower.
        • Rush Bowls, a Colorado-based franchise that sells smoothie bowls, opened in the space vacated by Remedy on Whyte at 10404 82 Avenue.
        • Spotlight Cabaret, offering cocktails, food, and stage programming, opened today in Old Strathcona at 8217 104 Street. Check out the menu here.
        • The Writer’s Room opened at 11113 87 Avenue with the tagline, “A bar with surprisingly good food.”

        Closures

        • The South St. Burger located in the Brewery District closed at the end of February.

        Upcoming Events

        • The Edmonton Resilience Festival posted its schedule for the event on April 27, 2019. Workshops include sauerkrauting 101, mead making, and apple cider making. Tickets for sessions range from $5-25, depending on the session and the sliding scale.

        Reviews

        Local News

        Urban Agriculture and Farming

        • Since grocery delivery is all the rage these days, it’s not a surprise to learn about a monthly meat delivery service called TruLocal. They promise clean, locally-sourced meat; in Alberta, their suppliers include TK Ranch and Effing Seafoods.

        What I Ate

        • It took me long enough to finally hit up Bloom’s brick and mortar location, but I was rewarded with the choice of their full slate of cookies. Their London Fog cookie was delicious, but the oatmeal stout special was also great! I hope I’m in the area again soon.

        Bloom

        I shamelessly stole Linda’s staged photo idea

        • Mack and I took Emily for a pretzel date at Zwick’s over the weekend too, to make the most of the beautiful spring conditions. Though really, the pretzels really are an all-weather food…

        Zwick's Pretzels

        The cheddar black pepper pretzel from Zwick’s

        Food Notes for April 8, 2019

        The Wired Cup Announces Closure

        It’s the neighbourhood gems that are the hardest to lose, and The Wired Cup fits that description. Dave and Ann Jackson, owners of the Strathearn mainstay, shared on Facebook last week that they will be closing their doors effective June 1, 2019.

        The post reads, “This decision hasn’t been made lightly and there have been many factors (yes, the LRT construction is one of them), but what it comes down to is we’re not getting younger and we’ve still got things we’d like to do with our lives.”

        The owners were interviewed in early February when TransEd’s proposal to close a stretch of 95 Avenue came up. At the time, Dave Jackson was quoted as preferring the annoyances of piecemeal closures compared to a total closure.

        Openings

        • Toast Culture seems to be Edmonton’s first establishment built around “fancy toast”, a trend seen in other cities. Expected to open in late spring, it’s taking over the space formerly occupied by Bru at 11965 Jasper Avenue.

        Closures

        • The Downtown location of Montreal Hot Dogs at 10503 104 Avenue has closed.

        Upcoming Events

        • Cafe Linnea is hosting a Cabane A Sucre (Sugar Shack) on April 13, 2019. Tickets are $48 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under.
        • Indulgence returns on June 10, 2019. Tickets go on sale May 1.
        • Early bird tickets for the annual Feast on the Field on August 14, 2019 are now available. Tickets are priced at $175.

        Reviews

        Local News

        What I Ate

        • One of the benefits of returning to work is being surrounded by some great food options, such as Battista’s Calzones.

        Battista's Calzones

        The New York Mama from Battista’s Calzones

        • Now that we’ve limited our dining out experiences, I find more and more that I’m just drawn to familiar restaurants (either that, or this is a sign of age, haha). Over the weekend, Mack and I returned to Tau Bay with Emily to satisfy our pho craving.

        Pho Tau Bay

        My usual at Tau Bay

        Food Notes for April 1, 2019

        Made by Marcus to Open in Edmonton

        First OEB brought its brunch stylings to Edmonton, and now Calgary-based ice cream purveyor Made by Marcus is heading north.

        Made by Marcus branched out into a brick and mortar shop on 17th Avenue in 2016. They followed that success with a second location last year. Their product is currently available at some retailers in Edmonton, but a full-service parlour is a welcome addition to Old Strathcona. Look for it this summer, to be designed by local company Oliver Apt.

        Openings

        • It’s odd that they would choose April Fool’s Day to make this announcement, but Workshop Eatery shared that they’re behind the forthcoming burger shop The Woodshed, moving into the space formerly occupied by Solstice on 124 Street.
        • Firecrust Pizzeria is opening another location, this time in the Meadows at 3820 17 Street.

        Closures

        Upcoming Events

        • Culina is hosting a Ukrainian pop-up dinner in The Foundry Room, the second floor event space located above their forthcoming Culina To Go space in the Oliver Exchange building. The Mother’s Day event runs May 12, and tickets are priced at $45.

        Reviews

        Local News

        • Congratulations to Kevin Kossowan, who has been nominated for a James Beard Foundation award for Visual and Technical Excellence, alongside Parts Unknown and Chef’s Table.
        • Spoiler alert for the first episode of Top Chef Canada season 7: Edmonton’s first local contender, Alexei Boldireff of Baijiu, failed to make it into the main competition.
        • Katy Ingraham of Cartago shared her view that the increased minimum wage is good for business.
        • As Solstice has now closed, the chefs have moved on to The Almanac.
        • What the Truck?! shared an update that they will no longer be organizing events, but will continue to promote food trucks online.
        • Sharman recapped the latest Swine & Dine that took place at London Local.

        Urban Agriculture and Farming

        What I Ate

        • It was nice to catch up with a friend over pasta at Uccellino last week. Even better, we ended our meal sharing our go-to dessert: the olive oil cake and olive oil gelato.

        Uccellino

        Olive oil cake and gelato from Uccellino

        Food Notes for March 25, 2019

        Loblaws CityMarket to Open Downtown

        The plans for Ice District have included a grocery store for some time, but the details were elusive until today. Loblaws announced that they will be opening an “urban concept” CityMarket in fall 2020, to be located at 103 Avenue and 103 Street.

        The 22,000 square foot facility will feature “chef inspired grab ‘n’ go meal items for lunch and dinner; a wide selection of products to suit a variety of dietary needs, including organic and gluten-free choices and all the fresh food and grocery items customers will need to complete their weekly grocery shop.”

        CityMarket opened its location in the Brewery District in 2016.

        Openings

        Closures

        • Cafe Caribe on Rice Howard Way has shuttered, and will be replaced by Korean restaurant Cup Bap.
        • Munch in the Milner Building on 104 Street has closed.

        Upcoming Events

        • Cafe Bicyclette’s annual Sugar Shack dinners have begun. They take place on Fridays and Saturdays until April 13. Tickets for the 7-course long-table dinner in a wood-heated tent are $75.

        Reviews

        • The Journal was impressed by the food at Artisti Pizzeria. However, it’s disappointing that all three featured photos were supplied by the restaurant.
        • Also on the pizza front, Graham sampled fare from Pink Gorilla, Rosso, Blaze Pizza and Love Pizza.

        Local News

        • Baijiu is now offering Sunday brunch once a month. The first took place on March 24.
        • Normand’s is celebrating its 30th birthday with a special menu, running from now until the end of April.
        • Pampa introduced a Lunch Club – diners can purchase a card for $25, which can be redeemed for 10 adult lunch rodizio experiences for $14 until the end of April.
        • The newest episode of CBC’s Fast Food features a simple pasta recipe from Chef Daniel Costa.
        • Where Edmonton lists six independent cafes worth checking out.
        • Sharman recapped the latest Prairie on a Plate held at Cafe Linnea.
        • Avenue Edmonton now has a companion podcast to their magazine called Sidebar Edmonton. The first episode covers their latest Best Restaurants issue, and includes Chef Christine Sanford from Biera.
        • Another podcast from Shift Workplace features Teresa Spinelli of the Italian Centre.

        Urban Agriculture and Farming

        What I Ate

        • Now that I’m back at work, I’ll definitely be frequenting El Fogon more often again! Their beef and gouda arepa is so good.

        El Fogon

        Beef and gouda arepa from El Fogon

        • The crowds at OEB show no sign of slowing down; I’m finding that even on a weekday, reservations are absolutely essential. Their breakfast poutine hit the spot for me today.

        OEB

        Confit de canard from OEB

        Food Notes for March 18, 2019

        City Market Relocating to the Quarters

        On Tuesday last week, Taproot Edmonton broke the story that the City Market will not be returning to 104 Street this summer. Instead, they’ll be relocating to the former Great Western Garment building on 97 Street, with plans to operate a year-round indoor market on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to vendors, the building will provide the opportunity to operate a “Food Fair” with outdoor seating. Some on street presence will be maintained on 103 Avenue.

        Reaction has been mixed so far, and only time will tell whether this iteration of the market will attract the same type of crowds as it did on 104 Street.

        Openings

        • It looks like a burger restaurant called The Woodshed will be moving into the space formerly occupied by Solstice on 124 Street.
        • Mill Woods bakery Reinette Cafe will be opening a location in West Edmonton Mall.
        • The floor plan for the JW Marriott in the Ice District indicates that an Oliver and Bonacini restaurant is still forthcoming.

        Closures

        • Aarde on 104 Street closed over the weekend, despite only opening its doors back in November 2018. It’s perhaps even more unusual given they received a positive review from the Journal at the end of January; typically restaurants will see a bump in business after such coverage.
        • It’s not a restaurant, but will be sad news for some home cooks: Williams Sonoma is closing their West Edmonton Mall location.

        Upcoming Events

        • The 14th annual Edmonton International Beer Festival takes place on March 22-23, 2019 at the Edmonton Convention Centre. It’s the biggest year yet, with 120 vendors and 300 beers to sample! General admission tickets start at $19 plus fees.
        • The City of Edmonton is hosting an information session on March 25, 2019 for restaurant and pubs wishing to add a patio or sidewalk cafe to their business.
        • The next Passion for Pork dinner will take place at London Local on March 27, 2019. Tickets for the four-course meal are $50.
        • It’s interesting to see that the Edmonton Expo Centre, led by their their recently appointed Executive Chef Jiju Paul, will be offering their first Winery Spotlight Dinner on March 27, 2019. Tickets for the seven-course meal are $125.
        • The Ritchie Community League is hosting its 6th annual Chili Cook-off on April 20, 2019. Tickets are $20.
        • The Edmonton Food Council is hosting a free unconference called Let’s Talk Food on May 25, 2019. They invite attendees to discuss the following question, “What is required to achieve an exemplary food system in the next 10 years in Edmonton?”

        Reviews

        • Stephanie shared the photos from her visit to Dauphine’s new space in Montrose.
        • Crystal was impressed by the quantity and quality of the ramen at Tokiwa.
        • Also from Crystal, she tried the pastries ordered from a relatively new business called Glaze Dessert Bar.
        • Twyla was reminded of her trip to Vietnam after a recent visit to XO Bistro downtown.

        Local News

        • Graham applauds the marketing behind this year’s expanded Downtown Dining Week. It seemed to be pretty busy at the restaurants we visited, and some, like Hardware Grill, have decided to hold over their special menu for a few days due to popular demand.
        • Some people were quite upset when the Hotel Macdonald revealed their plans to update the Confederation Lounge.
        • Elise had a great opinion piece about liberalizing Alberta’s public drinking laws.
        • Speaking of alcohol, liquor store separation distances are among the topics discussed on the latest episode of the Speaking Municipally podcast.

        What I Ate

        • Mack and I fit in one more Downtown Dining Week visit before the end of the week with a lunch at XO Bistro. They had a great $18 special, so it was a good reason to finally try them out. I enjoyed the flavours of the pho beef dip, but I’ll have to return for soup some time.

        XO Bistro

        Pho beef dip and parmesan fries from XO Bistro