Dine the Ave: Eats on 118 Continues!

Eats on 118 was an initiative that the Alberta Avenue Business Improvement Area (BIA) launched in 2016, in order to highlight some of the great restaurants located in an often overlooked area. The BIA contracted Wild Heart Collective to organize restaurant walking tours; each tour featured a visit to 4 or 5 different businesses with a meal or an activity served up at each stop. Over the last four years, more than 500 guests have attended the tours that have involved more than 45 businesses. I was fortunate to have been attended several of those tours over the years, and given my office relocated to 118 Avenue two years ago, it was especially fortuitous as a means to get to know my culinary neighbours better.

This year, the BIA wanted to continue Eats on 118, but in a different format, and Dine the Ave was born. Although they found that the tours were a great way to expose new people to the area, only a few businesses could participate in each round, and they found that it limited participants to restaurants. Through Dine the Ave, 20 hospitality businesses from NAIT to Northlands will be offering special menus priced at either $10, $15, or $20 from June 17-23, 2019. Last week, I was invited to attend a media preview that saw us sample our way through 5 stops (portion sizes were scaled down to ensure we’d be able to maintain our appetite throughout!).

The first featured restaurant is a favourite of mine: Battista’s Calzones. In my opinion, the calzones here are the best in the city; the dough (a family recipe) has just the right chew and is always baked to perfection, and their filling varieties mean there is something for everyone. They will be celebrating 10 years in business in the fall.

During Dine the Ave they’re offering three of their most popular calzones (the Spicy Italian, Giovanna, and Pesto Presto) for just $10 each.

Dine the Ave

Co-owner Doug Mah of Battista’s Calzones

Next, we headed half a block down to T & D Vietnamese Noodle House, another restaurant on my regular rotation. Laura Truong has been running the restaurant with her family for five years, and chose the 118 Avenue location specifically so they could grow with the evolving community (she currently sits on the Board of the BIA). For Dine the Ave, T & D will be serving up 2 house-made spring rolls and chicken on rice or noodles for $10.

Dine the Ave

Rice plate from T & D Vietnamese Noodle House

I was looking forward to trying our third restaurant, La Bodeguita de Cuba. Early this year, it replaced the neighbourhood stalwart El Rancho. Although I was sad to see the restaurant go, the spot is the perfect size for a start-up establishment looking to make their mark. This was exactly what owners Yordanis and Jennifer Lamoru are hoping to do, having dreamt of opening a restaurant for years.

We received a taste of their $20 Dine the Ave multi-course menu, featuring Cuban comfort food like rice and beans. The ropa vieja (shredded beef in an onion, pepper sauce) was the standout on the plate, and for some at our table, it was also their first time encountering plantains.

Dine the Ave

Cuban comfort food from La Bodeguita

The highlight of the stop was a serenade from Yordanis, who is also a musician. Expect live music at La Bodeguita on weekends; it’s an understatement to say the couple are doing it all themselves!

Dine the Ave

A performance by Yordanis Lamoru

I had also never been to Simba’s Den Pub & Bistro. It opened in May 2018, and owner Senait Tamene, recognizing the “up and coming” nature of the neighbourhood, purchased the building and opened the newest pub on the block. Also, Senait, like Laura Truong, is also on the Board of the BIA.

Although they do offer nachos, chicken wings and burgers, Simba’s Den prides itself on the Ethiopian and Eritrean fare on the menu, which is what we sampled that evening. The heat level was pretty tame in the chicken, beef, and lentils, and I particularly enjoyed the house-made enjera. For $20, Dine on the Ave guests can have their own vegetarian or meat platter with enjera or rice.

Dine the Ave

Meat platter sample from Simba’s Den

Our final stop is a community landmark – The Carrot, which operates under Arts on the Ave as a non-profit, has been open for twelve years. The baristas are volunteers, and the shop showcases and sells art and jewelry from local artisans. They just changed their sandwich menu, which they will be featuring during Dine the Ave as a $15 special, in addition to a dessert combo of carrot cake and a house-made beverage for $10.

Dine the Ave

Carrot cake and coffee from The Carrot

Thanks to the Alberta Avenue BIA and Wild Heart Collective for hosting a fun evening – it was great to discover even more gems on 118 Avenue. Check out the menus for Dine the Ave here!

Food Notes for June 10, 2019

New Ice Cream Parlour Adds to Ritchie’s Cachet

Ritchie, already home to award-winning restaurant Biera, popular butcher Acme Meat Market, and branches of local favourites Transcend and Farrow, gains another food destination this week.

Kind Ice Cream, a new small batch ice cream shop, is poised to open on June 12, 2019 across the street from Ritchie Market at 9551 76 Avenue. They’re just off the heels of a successful Kickstarter campaign which raised more than $20,000. They’ll be serving up both dairy and vegan scoops and ice cream sandwiches from recipes crafted by Chef Chael MacDonald (he has worked or consulted at District, Little Brick, and Wilfred’s).


  • The Art of Cake has opened a second location in Oliver fittingly called The Baker’s Son, run by Jeremy Hess, the son of Gloria Bednarz and Guenter Hess. It is located in the Allin Clinic at 10155 120 Street.
  • Watch for DangerKat Waffles, coming soon with sweet and savoury waffle wraps in Old Strathcona, at 8115 101 Street.
  • New coffee roaster alert: ADD Coffee is now open at 12003 145 Street.
  • Sian City BBQ Bar opened earlier this year and is located at 5728 104 Street.

Upcoming Events

  • Just a Little Night Market is coming up again June 21 and 22, 2019, with a marketplace, live music, and food and wine.
  • Just in time to commemorate one year after his death, the next Book Club at Audrey’s will focus on Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. It will take place on June 24, 2019.
  • The Common will be hosting another Prairie on the Plate on June 25, 2019. Tickets for the 5-course meal are $40.
  • The next Fruit & Veggie Sale run by Food4Good is scheduled for June 25, 2019.


Local News

  • The Journal had a great piece about Filistix’s new digs downtown.
  • Certain restaurants have chosen to control their own deliveries (moving away from companies like Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats), so it seems natural that the next frontier are pre-order apps: Remedy will be launching their own skip the line app soon.
  • Edmonton Food Tours is back for another season of tours Downtown and in Old Strathcona.
  • Sustainable Food Edmonton’s second annual Golden Wheelbarrow Awards are now accepting nominations. The awards celebrate businesses that are environmentally-friendly, including favourite “locavore” restaurants.
  • Sharman recapped the recent Swine & Dine at RGE RD.
  • Dream Donair & Pizza on Argyll Road and 99 Street joins a short list of restaurants in Edmonton, including Indian Fusion, that offers a free meal to those who cannot afford it.
  • The newest episode of Seconds, Please! features Siu To, known to be the person who introduced green onion cakes to the masses in Edmonton.
  • This dining guide on an upcoming conference is such a great resource for eating out in Edmonton, I had to share it!
  • Jason Foster (aka the blogger behind On Beer) is back after a hiatus.
  • Congratulations to authors Karen Anderson and Matilde Sanchez-Turri, whose book Food Artisans of Alberta was shortlisted for the 2019 Taste Canada Awards.

Beyond Edmonton 

Food Notes for June 3, 2019

Addition of Youth Wage Prompts Pay Equality Website

Last week, Premier Kenney announced that a youth wage would come into effect on June 26, 2019, which drops the minimum wage for part-time workers under 18 to $13 an hour. In response, some restaurants are vowing to maintain the $15 minimum wage for their staff in spite of the changes.

Alberta15.ca is a website that is trying to create a directory of provincial businesses, including restaurants, that will continue to pay their staff a “living wage”. More than a dozen Edmonton and area food businesses are listed, including Northern Chicken, Meuwly’s, Love Pizza, and The Next Act.


  • Edmonton’s first “fancy toast” establishment, Toast Culture, is set to open on June 4, 2019.
  • Although the Hotel Macdonald’s summer hot dog and ice cream cart was out last year, the operating hours were inconsistent. They’ve changed it this year to open 7 days a week from 11am-6pm at the top of the funicular.
  • Milk Crate, a sandwich shop and cafe, is now open in the Epcor Tower.
  • I hadn’t come across Hungry Birds before, a family-owned “not so typical fast food restaurant” located at #182, 4211 106 Street. It opened back in November.


  • Blue Plate Diner, spurned by the potential development of the Mackenzie Tower, will be closing in its current location on 104 Street on June 30, 2019. They hope to reopen in another location Downtown.
  • The Bottega in Old Strathcona is now closed.
  • It’s probably been closed a while, but I just noticed that Back Home Fish and Chips is also closed.

Upcoming Events

  • This year’s Filipino Fiesta, featuring entertainment, vendors, and of course, food, will take place June 22-23, 2019 at Borden Park.
  • Save the date: Sturgeon County’s 2019 Culinary Cookout will take place on August 9, 2019. They released a video this week to help promote the event.


Local News

  • Congratulations to Edmonton Convention Centre Chefs Francis Derrick Flores and David Dubuc-Poirier who won gold at the Worldchef Regional Semi-Finals of the Global chefs Challenge. They will represent the Americas at the Worldchefs Congress and Expo 2020 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
  • Wilfred’s playful decor is featured in this Eat North piece about restaurants using illustrators to help their vision come to life.
  • NAIT’s forthcoming Centre for Culinary Innovation, opening in the fall, is the focus of a piece in Avenue this month.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

What I Ate

  • A single La Mision burrito from Rostizado is probably easily shared by two people, but for some reason Mack and I still decided on one each. It was delicious but induced a food coma.

La Mision

Chicken burrito from La Mision

  • It may be dangerous to have Tiffin so close to us – they’re super efficient and the food is tasty. I especially enjoyed the mango paneer.


Take-out from Tiffin

  • The bagels from District are a beautiful thing. They will eventually be available at June’s Delicatessen, part of Black Box Hospitality’s presence in the Gibbard Block in Highlands. They hope to open (along with Fox Burger) some time in July.


Cheese and everything bagels from District

Food Notes for May 27, 2019

Filipino Food on the Rise in Edmonton

Just over a year ago, Chef Edgar Gutierrez (of Tres Carnales and Rostizado) opened Kanto 98 St. in Chinatown, making Filipino food trendy in Edmonton in a way it hadn’t been prior to that. Serving up his interpretation of Filipino street food, people took notice, including the prestigious EnRoute Best New Restaurants list who shortlisted Kanto 98 St. in 2018.

In April, Jollibee finally confirmed that construction was underway for their first Edmonton location. The international fast food chain is a gateway for Filipino cuisine, and when open, will help expose many more to some of their signature dishes.

Today, Filistix adds to the city’s Filipino culinary scene with the opening of their new restaurant downtown. Filistix began as a food truck, then became a fixture on several Edmonton post-secondary campuses. Their take on Filipino comfort food was so popular with students and faculty at the University of Alberta that after their lease was unexpectedly cancelled by Aramark last year, the outrage eventually landed them a new space in the Students’ Union Building.

That said, co-owners Ariel Del Rosario and Roel Canafranca wanted to showcase even more of the flavours of home, in a more upscale setting. Cue their restaurant, located at 10621 100 Avenue. While some of the Filistix favourites appear on the menu (their namesake salad, for instance), most of the dishes highlight the grill and the wok. They are also ambitiously serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


Mack, Emily, and I had dinner during their grand opening tonight. Their grilled meat skewers were fantastic, but the highlight for me was their Filistix caesar. It incorporates Bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) in place of anchovies, and coupled with the char of the grilled romaine, pork chicharron, and lotus root chips, it’s a salad I’ll be returning for.


It’s also notable that the menu features several Indonesian dishes, a nod to the heritage of some of their kitchen staff. Mack’s favourite dish of the evening was the mee goreng fried noodle.


It’ll be interesting to see how diners will respond to having more Filipino options in Edmonton.


  • It’s been a great week for new restaurants in #yegdt – Bianco, Rosso’s sister restaurant is now open on Rice Howard Way at #120, 10020 101 A Avenue.
  • 104 Street Downtown also had two restaurant openings this week: the first was Tiffin Fresh Kitchen, which, after numerous delays, was finally able to throw open their (garage) doors last Tuesday. This second branch is located at 10404 Jasper Avenue.
  • Say Uncle, from the folks behind Sandwich and Sons and Northern Chicken, opened last week as well. They took over the space formerly occupied by Aarde at 10184 104 Street. Their menu, as described by Chef Cowan, occupies a space between the neighbourhood pub next door (Kelly’s), and the upscale steakhouse on the other side (DOSC).
  • Dagu Rice Noodle, a chain with locations in Ontario, Quebec, and Calgary, will be joining the 104 Street establishments, filling in one of the vacant bays next to Tiffin Fresh Kitchen, at 10408 Jasper Avenue.
  • We’ve seen mobile coffee carts and cafe trucks, but a cafe built out of a seacan is new to Edmonton – coming soon, Yeg Coffee Can.
  • The folks behind the popular ice cream food truck Scoop N Roll have opened a new food truck called Mish Mash Parfait, focusing on parfait and soft serve. Find them at Kingsway Mall.
  • A Lebanese restaurant called Root of Beirut opened this spring at 10208 127 Avenue.

Upcoming Events

  • To celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival, Formosa Bistro is hosting a workshop on June 2, 2019, with a dumpling lesson, dumpling craft, and information about the history of the Dragon’s Festival. Tickets are $10.
  • Rogue Wave Coffee is hosting The Unconventional Brewer’s Cup on June 8, 2019. 4 knockout rounds will determine a winner; the cost of participating is $15 for 16 competition spots.
  • Wild Heart is organizing a preview food crawl for Dine the Ave, the new iteration of Eats on the Ave that will see restaurants offering special menus priced at $10, $15, and $20 from June 17-23, 2019. Tickets for this preview on June 12, 2019 are $47, and include meals at 3 restaurants.
  • Kevin Kossowan is leading several foraging workshops this summer. The cost is $68 per person.


Local News

  • Back in February, as a part of the lead-up to the provincial election, Restaurants Canada was pushing for some labour law changes in a campaign called “Restaurant Realities”. The foodservice lobby group had released a video featuring several local restaurant and food business owners vocalizing their desire to roll back holiday pay increases and advocating for a lower wage for youth workers. Delivering on his campaign promise, Premier Jason Kenney announced his proposed labour law changes today.
  • Western Living released the list of finalists for the 2019 Foodies of the Year. Local representatives include: Ryan and Roselina Hotchkiss of Bundok, Adam Smith of Strathcona Spirits, Ben Staley of forthcoming restaurant Yarrow, and Shane Chartrand of SC at River Cree. The top 10 winners will be announced on July 12, 2019.
  • Duchess now offers a line of ice cream, with three flavours to choose from: tonka bean, passion fruit rasperry, and Valrhona chocolate salted caramel.
  • Presale tickets for Taste of Edmonton, which runs this year from July 18-28, 2019 at Capital Plaza are now on sale. Sheets of 40 tickets are $10 off in advance.
  • Sharman shared her experience at the Edmonton Expo’s recent Winery Spotlight Series dinner.
  • Global News covered the special meal prepared by some local chefs, including Chefs Shane Chartrand, Lindsay Porter, and Nate Henry for clients of The Mustard Seed last week.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • The City Market announced last week that in fact, they will be setting up shop on 104 Street this year. As of June 15, 2019 (so long as LRT construction doesn’t get in the way), they will be back on 104 Street on Saturdays. On Sundays, however, they will still set up adjacent to the GWG Building on 103 Avenue and 97 Street.
  • The Edmonton Food Council is recruiting new members. The deadline to apply is June 5, 2019.

What I Ate

  • We’ll be eating a lot of asparagus over this next month; nothing says spring like fresh asparagus from Edgar Farms (for those interested in seeing how they grow it, they’re hosting their wonderful Asparagus Festival again on June 2 and 9, 2019).

Edgar Farms

Edgar Farms asparagus at the City Market

Food Notes for May 20, 2019

Padmanadi To Open Second Location

The popular vegan restaurant Padmanadi is opening a second branch on the south side. To be located on Gateway Boulevard, north of 68 Avenue, the restaurant is intended to meet their customers’ demands, many of whom reside in south Edmonton.

However, it will be a fraction of the size of their main location, and, as befits the current shift in dining culture, will focus on delivery and take-out business. They hope to open in late July or August.


  • Congratulations to Reinette Cafe for opening a second location in West Edmonton Mall (Phase 1).
  • It looks like Farrow will be opening a location on 124 Street, just south of Remedy.
  • A new all-you-can-eat sushi joint called Sushi Toshi will be opening at 13619 St. Albert Trail.
  • Ono Poke will be adding a second location at South Edmonton Common.
  • Tiffin Fresh Kitchen’s Downtown location at 10404 Jasper Avenue may finally be open on May 21, 2019.
  • Milk Crate, Chef Steve Brochu’s new cafe/sandwich venture in the Epcor Tower, will open May 29, 2019.
  • O’Byrne’s Irish Pub on Whyte Avenue re-opens on May 24, 2019 after restorations.

Upcoming Events

  • Seconds, Please!, a locally-produced web show highlighting ethnic foods, will be premiering their latest episode about green onion cakes at the Green Onion Cake Man on June 1, 2019.
  • Eats on 118 has changed formats to Dine on the Ave, with participating restaurants offering special menus at $10, $15, and $20 price points. The event runs from June 17-23, 2019.


Local News

  • I am enjoying Liane’s current series featuring walkable, food-centric neighbourhoods. Last week, she wrote about Old Towne Beverly’s charming and delicious gems.
  • Also from Liane – she interviewed blogger and author Karlynn Johnson on her latest cookbook, The Prairie Table, to be released May 21, 2019.
  • Liquor consumption laws at some provincial parks and at festivals have been relaxed as of this long weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how this manifests itself at events this summer.

What I Ate

  • It’s been some time since I’ve been to Cafe Amore. The daily pasta special is no longer available at dinner, but all of the former daily pastas are on for $10 at lunch. So although it wasn’t Thursday, I was able to order my usual pasta alfredo, delicious as always.


Pasta alfredo (with chicken)

  • We took Emily to Love Pizza on Friday, one of our #yegdt staples. We had been wanting to try the “Not Just for Breakfast-Za”, featuring our favorite Irvings Farm Fresh bacon. The feature is available until the end of the month!

Love Pizza

The Meatatarian and the Not Just for Breakfast-Za

  • The City Market’s new location is just short walk away from Chinatown – I hope others take advantage of this as we did on Saturday. I foresee more weekend visits to King Noodle House on the horizon because of it!


Bun Bo Hue at King Noodle House

    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.


    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”.


    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.


          Upcoming Events


          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!


          • 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.


          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.


          • 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.


          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.


          • 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.


          • 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.


          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!


          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