Brunch in the ‘Burbs: Branches at Greenland Garden Centre

We rarely find ourselves in Sherwood Park, so there are few opportunities to try some of the restaurants I’ve had my eye on for some time. In early June, Mack, Emily, Grandma Male and I made an occasion to sample the brunch at Branches in Sherwood Park.

Located inside the Greenland Garden Centre, the restaurant, greenhouse, and retail area reminded me of (a much smaller) Enjoy Centre – between having a meal and shopping, one could easily spend a couple of captive hours on the grounds.

I had called ahead to inquire about reservations, but had been told they weren’t accepted. They had advised to arrive before 11am on weekends (although the restaurant opens at 9am, their full brunch menu is served from 11am until 2pm). Though it was quite busy, our arrival at 11am thankfully didn’t mean we had to wait for a table that day.


Grandma Male and Emily at Branches 

Branches has quite a lovely set up, with expansive windows in the dining room that look out onto small patio and the trees and shrubs for sale outside, in addition to a view of the kitchen. The brunch-specific menu is quite small (we could also have ordered from the regular lunch menu), but Mack and I were content with the Branches breakfast bowl ($15).

There was a modest wait for our food, but our server was responsive in topping up our coffees in the meantime. The bowl itself was enjoyable enough – I would have preferred poached to fried eggs for maximum yolk creaminess, but the potatoes, sausage, and bell peppers underneath were cooked well. The accompanying “green onion cakes” were more akin to fried bread than actual green onion cakes, and seemed out of place on a menu without any other hint of fusion.


Branches breakfast bowl

Before heading out, we did spend some time exploring the greenhouse, and picked up some flowers and compost. While I’m not sure Branches is worth visiting on its own accord, if you were also in the market for some garden supplies, I’d recommend a trip out to Greenland Garden Centre for a pleasant afternoon.

Branches (located in the Greenland Garden Centre)
23108 Highway 16, Sherwood Park
(780) 467-3443
Monday-Wednesday 9am-6pm, Thursday-Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 10am-5pm

Suburban Disappointment: Square One Wye Road

Mack and I always seem to end up in Sherwood Park when we’re having a meal with Grandma Male. Though it’s typically driven by convenience (given she lives on the far east side of Edmonton), it’s also given us an excuse to scour the suburb for independent eateries. Though I wouldn’t say it’s easy to come by, like Edmonton, once you start looking, they’re everywhere.

The most recent addition is Square One Wye Road, which opened back in December. It was immediately intriguing because not many establishments in Sherwood Park have identified themselves as such in their name. The inclusion of “Wye Road” was a loud and proud statement, and if they lived up to their promise of being a unique, “contemporary speakeasy”, it would put the Park on the culinary map in a new way.

Square One Wye Road


Like nearly everything else in Sherwood Park, Square One is located in a strip mall. On that Sunday evening in April, it was quiet, with only three other tables occupied. With its central oval-shaped bar featuring television screens and banquet-lined room, my first impression was that it very much mirrored a Cactus Club Café lounge. I did appreciate the pressed-tin underlay on the bar, but the sophistication didn’t jive with the random portrait of Darth Vader on the wall. I assume the owners were attempting to be quirky, but it really seemed out of place.

Square One Wye Road

Mack with Vader

I tried an Amelia Earhart cocktail, comprised of gin, June flower liqueur, pineapple juice and sage. Great presentation, and quite refreshing.

Square One Wye Road

Amelia Earthart

The menu was relatively small, which we hoped would mean the kitchen was focusing on their strengths. It was also great to see local producers named on the menu, including Sylvan Star and Irvings. We ended up ordering arrancini ($11) to share, and an entrée each.

We knew it would be hard for Square One’s arancini to live up to Daniel Costa’s version at Corso 32, and unfortunately, we were right. They were lacking in flavour and forgettable.

Square One Wye Road


The mains fared somewhat better. Mack’s enjoyed his grilled Lois Lake salmon ($24) well enough, though noted that the risotto lacked the horseradish punch that had been promised.

Square One Wye Road

Grilled salmon with horseradish risotto, burnt orange butter sauce and jicama slaw

My patty melt ($17) was the equivalent of a diner burger, and it was a bit odd to find it on the same menu as Mack’s decidedly more refined dish. That said, the chopped steak patty had been grilled to a nice medium rare. I did find the pimento cheese to be a bit strong, however, given the beef really should have been the star of the dish.

Square One Wye Road

Patty melt with fries

Grandma Male enjoyed her steak sandwich ($19), commenting that the meat was quite tender. The issue on her plate, as it was on mine, were the fries, which had been egregiously over salted. It was a shame, given how hot and crispy they were. Service had been friendly but timid thus far, but I have to say our server handled the criticism about the salt content very well, thanking us for the feedback in the context of being a new restaurant.

Though I recognize the desire to appeal to the widest cross-section possible, I think Square One needs to refine their menu further to live up to the identity they’ve crafted on their website. To become a destination, or even to attract the locals, it has to rise above the rest of the upscale casual chains and assert a distinguishable identity; the use of Alberta product is a good start, but just one facet. I would also hope that as time passes, the kitchen becomes more consistent. I think there is a lot more room for independents in Sherwood Park – let’s hope Square One (with some improvements) is here to stay.

Square One Wye Road
Unit 32, 993 Fir Street, Sherwood Park
(780) 705-4321
Open daily 11am-2am

Smashburger lands in Edmonton

The number of fast casual burger restaurants in Edmonton just keeps on growing. On July 3, 2013, the Edmonton area’s first Smashburger franchise opened up in Sherwood Park, joining the likes of Fatburger, Five Guys, Rodeo Burger and The Burger Joint in an increasingly crowded burger scene. In many ways, it’s not surprising – North America’s love affair of the hamburger is well-documented, and with palates leaning more towards fresher alternatives, those offering something a step above drive-thru fare are blossoming. The Sherwood Park location is Canada’s third Smashburger, adding to Alberta’s glut, with two already situated in Calgary.

Mack and I attended the media reception in early July, eager to see how Smashburger would differentiate itself from others. It turns out, Smashburger attempts to distinguish its beef burgers with its proprietary cooking process: meatballs, rolled fresh daily, are “smashed” on the grill to order, a method, they promise, provides a caramelized sear that  seals in the patty’s natural juices.

We were invited to order whatever we desired from the menu, a very generous offer. Featuring a number of pre-designed beef and grilled chicken burger creations, salads, and sides, prices ranged from $5.99-$8.49 for burgers. For more creative (or particular) eaters, Smashburger also offers a “create your own” option.

Mack immediately gravitated towards the Edmonton burger (each city features a recipe inspired by regional flavours). In this case, a beef or grilled chicken patty is topped with grilled onions, cheddar, BBQ sauce and a fried egg. A Saskatoon berry shake and poutine are also exclusive to the Canadian menu.

I decided to stick with the Classic Smash, with American cheese, Smash sauce, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion on an egg bun. Mack chose a poutine side, while I chose the Haystack onions.

We were happy to run into Su and Joveena, two of Edmonton’s prolific #yegfood tweeters. Dinner is always better with good company!


Su and Joveena

Portions were generous, and everything was delivered piping hot. Both of us enjoyed our respective burgers, but save my sweet egg bun, I’m not sure I’d be able to identify the burger in a blind taste test. I did appreciate that the Smash sauce was given as a side, which gave me control over how much I wanted to add, but Mack commented how much it reminded him of a certain “special sauce” at a rival quick-service giant.


Edmonton Burger and poutine

The sides, however, left something to be desired. Shoestring fries are not ideal for poutine, as they aren’t as suited to be weighted under the layers of gravy and cheese. My Haystack onions were more like the onion straws used as a textural addition to burgers, instead of the substantial battered and fried rings I’m used to. They were also incredibly salty. I’m sure this is just a personal preference, but I prefer my onion rings whole and not shredded.


Classic Smash and haystack onions

The service that night was over the top, as expected, though I’d be curious to see how it has toned itself down as the staff settle into a more typical rhythm.

Located in Emerald Hills, one of the newer neighbourhoods of Sherwood Park, it was a bit of a shame the Edmonton attendees didn’t decide to carpool before hand. The drive was close to 45 minutes from downtown in rush hour traffic, so it would be doubtful we’d undertake such a commute if we didn’t already have plans in the area. That said, if we were looking for a fast casual burger in Sherwood Park, we wouldn’t mind returning to Smashburger just for their namesake dish. Thanks to the restaurant for the invitation!

Want to give it a try yourself? For a chance to win $25 in Smashburger gift certificates, leave a comment below (with a valid e-mail address) with the name of the burger you’d order off of the local menu. Contest closes on July 26, 2013 at 11:59pm. Winner will be chosen by a random number generator and contacted by e-mail.

EDIT (July 28, 2013): Congratulations to Jessica for winning $25 in Smashburger gift certificates! Thanks to everyone who entered.

Check out the plethora of reviews from other local bloggers: Andrea, Courtenay, Eva, Diane, Karlynn, Lillian, Liv and Phil.

#530, 500 Emerald Drive, Sherwood Park
(780) 410-0999
Hours: 10am-10pm daily

Date Night: Pasta Pantry and Jacek Chocolate Couture Tasting

The weekend prior to Valentine’s Day, Mack and I headed to Sherwood Park for dinner and a paired wine and chocolate tasting. The latter was the primary reason that drew us to the suburb, but we decided to take advantage of that excuse and have dinner nearby as well.

I had heard of Pasta Pantry through work colleagues, and a quick gander on their website gave me the impression that dinner would be an inexpensive affair (a small pasta was advertised at $7.95). Given the $65 tickets to the tasting were on the high end of the spectrum, we thought this dinner would help balance things out.

We arrived at a non-descript strip mall just after 5pm, and were surprised to find an absolutely frenzied restaurant. I would not have guessed that a cafeteria-style cantina would be the most hopping place in Sherwood Park on a Saturday night, but I was wrong. We queued up, doing our best to scan the whiteboard menu quickly, and eyed our options on the other side of the glass. I probably should have taken more time to consider the possibilities, but I didn’t want to hold up the growing line behind me, and hastily chose a small pasta topped with alfredo sauce and one meatball. Mack ordered a large pasta with the four cheese sauce and two meatballs. Our total bill was just under $25.

Pasta Pantry

Pasta Pantry

As we had dinner, we couldn’t believe the number of people streaming in – the line was consistently out the door for the duration of our meal. Most were take-out customers, but given the very basic sauce over pasta in front of us, we had to wonder if there was something we were missing. Mack’s four cheese sauce was the better of the two, and sure, the meatballs were tasty, but we were hard pressed to say the fare at Pasta Pantry was much better than dishes found at an Italian food court kiosk (we heard later that their pasticcio is their specialty, but they were out when it was our turn to order).

Pasta Pantry

Pasta with alfredo sauce

Pasta Pantry

Pasta with four cheese sauce

Service was speedy, and the owner made the rounds to check in with diners. We appreciated that personal touch, but what stood out most from our dinner was actually the live music. A young duo, led by Jordan Kaminski, played an assortment of pop covers and originals during our visit, and really helped elevate an otherwise bland experience. Given most of the customers didn’t stay, I would imagine the entertainment wasn’t the primary draw for the restaurant, but it should have been. Though we likely won’t be returning to Pasta Pantry anytime soon, we will be keeping an eye out for the talented young singers!

Following dinner, we headed over to Baseline Wines. About a year ago, the store moved from Baseline to a brand new space on Athabascan Avenue, and before the tasting, we wandered the store to peruse their displays and inventory.

Jacek Chocolate Couture & Baseline Wines Tasting

Baseline Wines

We also couldn’t help but admire the glassed-in tasting room, minimally decorated but stunning. Mack and I had to restrain ourselves from indulging right then and there!

Jacek Chocolate Couture & Baseline Wines Tasting

Beautifully set table

After all the guests had arrived. we took our seats. Ryan, Manager of Baseline Wines and Jacqueline, the Jacek Chocolate Couture Cocoanista herself, would be leading the tasting. As the evening went on, we found out how fortunate we were to have a wine and a chocolate expert at our disposal, as each of them shed insight on how each pairing worked. Ryan explained that chocolate was inherently difficult to pair with wine (contrary to popular belief) because the amount of tannins in the cocoa most often react negatively with wine. As a result, Ryan shared that he tried to either complement or contrast with the flavours in each piece of chocolate.

Jacek Chocolate Couture & Baseline Wines Tasting

Jaqueline Jacek

We were served a total of seven wines (one reception wine, and six to be paired with the six chocolate pieces in front of us). Ryan and Jacqueline guided us through each pairing, providing background on the chocolate and wine, and then encouraged us to sample each individually, then together.

Jacek Chocolate Couture & Baseline Wines Tasting

The spread

Though this wasn’t my first time sampling Jacek chocolates, it was the first time I’ve been able to listen to Jacqueline speak about her creative and production process in a detailed way. Her attention to detail absolutely blew me away, and was something I wouldn’t have appreciated without such a measured opportunity to learn about her chocolates. Her current Spring 2013 collection is all about nostalgia, so it is no surprise to find childhood throwbacks like old fashioned root beer celebrated. But what I didn’t expect was for Jaqueline to tell us that instead of reducing down store-bought root beer, she sourced the needed roots like sassafras from Chinatown herbal stores for the syrup. And to simulate the froth of a root beer float, she sprinkled each truffle with citric acid for a pop on the tongue – genius.

Jacek Chocolate Couture and Baseline Wines Tasting

Mack takes a whiff of the root beer syrup ingredients

My favourite truffle that we sampled that night was the Shirley Temple. I loved the bright and creamy citrus flavour, but even better was the way the grenadine drop bled into the ganache. For Jacqueline, this was a representation of the coloured layers blending together when one stirs up a Shirley Temple.

Our favourite pairing was a Quinta de La Rosa Port with a single-origin Mokaya Mexican chocolate (unfortunately, not available for sale). I’m not a fan of port, but I found the dark chocolate complemented the smooth port perfectly.

Baseline Wines and Jacek Chocolate Couture partner for these tastings on the release of every new collection (this was their third pairing event). Based on our experience, we thought the tickets were well worth the price (we even got to take home a box of chocolate each!), and was a wonderful way to learn about chocolate and wine. Sign up for Jacek’s mailing list to keep informed, and make sure to reserve your tickets early!

Pasta Pantry
305, 101 Granada Boulevard, Sherwood Park
(780) 467-3777

Baseline Wines
11 Athabascan Avenue, Unit 172, Sherwood Park
(780) 449-4448

Jacek Chocolate Couture
406 Kaska Road, Sherwood Park
(780) 464-5200

Pho in the ‘Park: Taste of Vietnam

On Family Day, Mack and I made plans to have lunch with Grandma Male. We were hoping to find an independent eatery in Sherwood Park so we could stay close to her neighbourhood, but it proved to be more difficult than one would think. Many of the restaurants were either closed on Mondays or on statutory holidays. Although we did end up finding a place that could accommodate us, it’s a reality that Sherwood Park isn’t exactly a diner’s paradise. With the  interest in independent restaurants increasing in Edmonton, with some exception (Cafe Haven and Cafe de Ville come to mind), this trend hasn’t quite hit Sherwood Park yet. Given the average income level in the area, I would think there would be plenty of room for more interesting and unique options, but perhaps the appetite there is still quite conservative?

At any rate, we ended up at A Taste of Vietnam. It turned out Grandma Male had already been there once, albeit years ago, and prior to their renovation. Located in a strip mall on Broadmoor Boulevard, it looks like it had been updated recently. It was sleek and modern inside, with brown panelling, tasteful art on the walls and granite tables. It was also fairly busy inside, with a number of pairs and families taking advantage of the holiday.

To start, we shared an order of green onion cakes ($6.95 for 2). Curiously, they weren’t cut in half, even though it was evident there were more than two of us at the table. Although they were crispy, they weren’t seasoned very well – the accompanying sweet chilli sauce was necessary to add flavour.

Taste of Vietnam

Green onion cakes

Mack ordered what I think will become his Vietnamese standby, the bun bo hue ($9.95). It definitely wasn’t as visually pleasing as other spicy noodle soups we’ve come across, but Mack appreciated the heat. He also noted that the kitchen was quite generous with the beef and pork provision.

Taste of Vietnam

Bun bo hue

I opted for their special beef noodle soup ($9.95), which, unlike at most Chinatown outlets, only contained a pedestrian selection of meat: medium rare beef, well done beef and beef balls. Similar to Mack’s dish, my bowl contained a great deal of meat. The beef balls were tasty, but the medium and rare done beef bordered on dry and chewy. I also wished the broth had been a little more fragrant.

Taste of Vietnam

Special beef noodle soup

Mack’s grandma chose the wor wonton soup ($9.95 for small). She liked that the vegetables were still crisp, and enjoyed the broth.

Taste of Vietnam

Wor wonton soup

The prices at Taste of Vietnam were much steeper than what I’m used to paying, but then again, we weren’t in Chinatown anymore! Though it wouldn’t be at the top of my list of favourite pho in the city, at least it adds another family-owned option in the ‘Park. It’s one I might return to but only if I were in the neighbourhood to begin with.

A Taste of Vietnam
56, 975 Broadmoor Blvd, Sherwood Park

(780) 416-4436
Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-10pm, closed Sundays

Paninis in the ‘Park: Fresh Healthy Cafe

Grandma Male is always game to try new restaurants with us, so we knew she’d be up to catch up over dinner at Fresh Healthy Cafe, a new soup and sandwich joint in Sherwood Park.

I first heard about this international chain on City and Dale, in a post written up by Tracey Hill (who, with her weekly contributions about the happenings in the ‘Park, is helping to change perceptions about the town, bedroom community or not). At first glance, it seemed to be very similar to Edmonton’s Health Fare, with its focus on providing nourishing and balanced meals for time-crunched individuals. We were curious to see what the restaurant was like in person.

Fresh Healthy Cafe


The name aside (it reads like it should be Fresh and Healthy Cafe), the strip mall storefront was bright and clean. The local artwork on the walls were a nice touch (Giselle Denis’ floral portraits would brighten up any space). I also appreciated the open kitchen; it is always reassuring when diners can see their food being prepared.

Fresh Healthy Cafe


The menu options were even fewer than Health Fare, limited to sandwiches, salads and soups. There were ten panini options (all priced at $7.49), all of which could be made into a wrap or turned into a salad. Mack and Grandma Male decided on the turkey bacon avocado, with turkey breast, turkey bacon, cheddar, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and low-fat ranch dressing. I ordered the very similar turkey club, with turkey breast, smoked ham, turkey bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and the same ranch dressing.

Fresh Healthy Cafe

Turkey bacon avocado panini

There is no doubt that Fresh is generous with its ingredients – the sandwiches were just bursting. I liked that they had been lightly pressed, but given the filling amount and the runny consistency of the dressing, a thicker focaccia would have been ideal. But as a whole, we all enjoyed the sandwiches.

Fresh Healthy Cafe

Turkey bacon club panini

Because Fresh had a smoothie menu longer than its food menu, we knew we’d have to try their drinks as well, with eighteen options (medium $4.79, large $5.99) to choose from, not including the freshly squeezed juice, juice blends, and optional fortifiers. We sampled the pomegranate punch (pomegranate-blueberry juice, non-fat frozen yogurt, blueberries, strawberries), Caribbean splash (passion-orange-guava juice, mango sorbet, mangos, strawberries) and strawberry banana supreme (strawberry juice, raspberry sorbet, strawberries, bananas). I thought the addition of frozen yogurt to a smoothie was inspired – it was a great thickener, with the side bonus of turning the drink into a dessert of sorts. Together with the paninis, we were content with the meal.

Fresh Healthy Cafe


Although we had a pleasant experience at Fresh, we agreed that it was a bit out of the way for us to satisfy a sandwich craving. However, if we were in the area (or a resident of Sherwood Park looking for something new to try), we would return again.

Fresh Healthy Cafe
#82, 4005 Clover Bar Road, Sherwood Park
(780) 570-5950

The New Wave? Fulton Market Burger Company

Mack is still teasing me for calling ahead and asking for reservations from a restaurant with the word “burger” in the name, but since we were dining out with Grandma Male, I just wanted to confirm the wait wouldn’t be too burdensome!

Fulton Market Burger Company

Mack and Grandma Male

I stumbled across Fulton Market Burger Company earlier this year when searching for lunch options in the Sherwood Park area for a staff function. We ended up choosing a different caterer, but my curiosity was piqued, especially after reading mostly positive reviews for the restaurant, and finding out it was the sole Alberta location.

Grandma Male is always up for trying new restaurants, and given her proximity to Sherwood Park, it made sense for the three of us to pay Fulton Market a visit.

Fulton Market Burger Company

Cold winter’s night

The decor slants towards a New York homage – photos of the skyline and the famous Lunch atop a Skyscraper. For that reason, we weren’t sure why the floor was partially covered in tile patterned after cow hide…

Fulton Market Burger Company


The menu itself reminded us of Rodeo Burger – the opportunity to build your own burger (base, bun, 50 toppings), or select one of their pre-designed creations. Perhaps this is the new wave of burger joints?

Fulton Market Burger Company

Grandma Male and Mack decide on their burger combinations

The ordering cards did seem wasteful though – one card per person? I’m glad they are double-sided, but given they utilized the technology of displaying orders on LCD screens in the dining area, one wonders if another step would have been to invest in order kiosks too (or maybe I’m just hankering for a local version of FoodParc).

Fulton Market Burger Company

Order up!

We all decided on the pre-designed burgers – I chose their Signature Burger ($7.45 for 1/3 lb), featuring smoked cheddar, smoked bacon, pickle slaw and Fulton signature sauce. Mack selected the Empire State Burger ($10.95 for 1/3 lb), with two prime rib patties, shiitake mushrooms, jalapeno jack cheese and the signature sauce. Grandma Male decided on the Bronx Burger ($7.47 for 1/3 lb) topped with jerk sauce, cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes and Jalapeno jack cheese. Though Grandma Male and I both upsized to a fry and fountain drink combo for $1.99 extra, Mack opted to treat himself to Coke in a glass bottle.

Fulton Market Burger Company

Not too many places serve Coke in bottles any more

The burgers were a tad more expensive than at Rodeo Burger, but given the patties were easily double the size (though they did not claim to use local beef), it was worth the price. The flavour and seasonings were good, not exceptional, but it was a pre-fabricated patty – for whatever reason, I was expecting something better.

Fulton Market Burger Company

My burger

I liked that the standard bread offering was an onion bun, but it was dry – as if it had been left out to air for too long. The onion rings were all right, and though we probably should haven’t have enjoyed the poutine, for all of the salt that was in that murky brown gravy, it hit the spot on that cold night.

Fulton Market Burger Company

Our meal

Like Fatburger, Fulton Market also offers milkshakes, made with Chapman’s ice cream (they even had some not-so-common flavours, like blueberry acai). Anything to help it stand out – if only it had been the food.

Fulton Market Burger Company
160 Broadway Boulevard, Sherwood Park
(780) 467-8388
Monday-Saturday 11am-9pm, Sunday noon-9pm

Charity Fall Fair at the Salisbury Farmers’ Market

Though the Salisbury Farmers’ Market in Sherwood Park is year-round, it’s a little out of range to be our weekly winter market. That said, I hadn’t been back to Salisbury since visiting one of their Christmas markets last year, and with the excuse of having to run some errands on the south side anyway, Mack and I stopped by again last night.

Salisbury was having their first annual Charity Fall Fair, with the MS Society chosen this year to benefit from proceeds collected during a special supper. The BBQ featured products that had been donated from various market vendors.


Banquet set-up

It was quite the spread they were offering, and all for a minimum donation of $7 a plate: hickory-smoked pork from Johnson Family Farms, buns from Prairie Mill, potato and pasta salads from Earthly Delights, vegetarian chili from Mixes R Us, all finished off with a cookie from Confetti Sweets.


Yes, it all tasted as good as it looks!

It was a little cool eating outside as the sun was starting to disappear, but the festive atmosphere made up for the cold – there was a petting zoo set up nearby, with the delighted sounds of children encountering miniature horses, goats, chickens, bunnies and (yes) a pot-bellied pig floating joyfully in the air.


Geese and goats and bunnies, oh my!

After devouring our supper, we headed inside to warm up, and to check out the market. The greenhouse really is a lovely place, with inviting, cheerful seasonal displays by the entrance.


Who doesn’t love decorative gourds?

Of course, their Christmas section had also been set-up, much to Mack’s dismay. I didn’t mind so much, particularly because we will be buying our first tree this year.

Christmas time!

About two months to go

The market section of the greenhouse was equally merry, the lively mood partially attributed to The Dirt Merchants (such a great name) who were playing up a storm – music and markets definitely go hand in hand!

The Dirt Merchants

The Dirt Merchants

There seemed to be more vendors at this market than at the one we visited last year, but some people we talked to said several vendors (including Belua Designs) were there specifically for the special event. The lighting also seemed to be a bit better, which definitely helps when the space is void of natural light!

Salibury Market


It was great to see Smoky Valley Goat Cheese out, as well as Steve and Dan and Prairie Mill (the latter two being our City Market mainstays).

Salibury Market

More vendors

We were also excited to finally be able to try Jacek Chocolate Couture, a chocolatier based in Sherwood Park that has been much buzzed about for their beautiful creations. Jacqueline Jacek changes her collection regularly, with the Winter 2010 collection coming out next month.

We picked up a box of her current LouLou Belle collection, coloured pink in recognition of breast cancer awareness month ($2 per box is donated to Rethink Breast Cancer), but were happy to hear that her truffles are also being carried at our neighbourhood Credo (she recently started making their hot chocolate base for them). My favourite of the four varieties was the pink grapefruit sherbet – similar to the citrus/white chocolate combination of Chocophilia’s Lemon Dream, I loved the smooth centre that encased chewy bursts of grapefruit. Jacek will also be participating in the upcoming Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival.

Jacek Chocolate Couture

Jacek Chocolate Couture

Salisbury is a charming market out in the ‘Park. Make sure to check it out Thursday evenings from 4:30-8 p.m. if you’re in the area!