Meals in the ‘Hood: MRKT and Blue Plate Diner

One of the best things about living where we do is the plethora of restaurants within walking distance of our home. Although we’ve definitely been eating in a lot more than in past years, on those evenings where we feel like retiring from the stove, it’s great to have many neighbourhood options to choose from.


Not too long ago, Jill, Mack and I had dinner at MRKT. Jill had never been before, but we knew she would like the atmosphere – laid back and unpretentious, it was the perfect place to have a casual bite to eat.

The MRKT ricotta was a lovely starter. Although the house-made ricotta itself didn’t have much flavour on its own, combined with the rosemary almond crackers and apricot-mango chutney, each layered bite begged for another.


MRKT ricotta

Like any of their soups, I couldn’t go wrong with the chickpea and beef stew (that night’s meat option). It was clear a lot of love went into that bowl – the meat and pulses were tender, the broth was well seasoned, and on that rainy day, the soup was thoroughly warming.


Chickpea and beef stew

Mack and Jill had both opted for the night’s special, a paella with chicken, mussels and shrimp. As far as they were concerned, the paella should have been on the regular menu.



With the kitchen’s consistency, you can never go wrong with MRKT. We’ll be back!

Blue Plate Diner

I cheered when Blue Plate Diner’s small, four-table patio was installed earlier this year (perhaps spring should not be measured in produce, but in patio resurrection?), but Mack and I hadn’t had the chance to enjoy it yet. The day finally came a few weeks ago before White Night, on an afternoon made for sipping a cool cocktail under the sun.


Cocktails always taste better on the patio

I love the new menus – laminated and sleek, they also feature a page highlighting which local producers and small businesses they source from! We weren’t all that hungry, so decided to split the Indian sampler platter.

The salad was unnecessary as far as we were concerned. Mack liked the samosas, chock full of potato goodness, while I actually preferred the cauliflower pakoras. Half the fun was experimenting with flavour combinations, as both cilantro yogurt and tamarind apricot chutney were provided for our dipping pleasure.

Blue Plate Diner

The spread

Like MRKT, Blue Plate Diner is another one of our go-to restaurants. Great for its proximity to our condo, but even better because we enjoy the food!

10542 Jasper Avenue
Lunch: Tuesday-Friday 11am-2pm; Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday 5pm-late

Blue Plate Diner
10145  104 Street
(780) 429-0740
Monday – Thursday 11 am – 10 pm, Friday 11 am – 11 pm, Saturday 9 am – 11 pm (Brunch 9 am – 1 pm), Sunday 9 am – 10 pm (Brunch 9 am – 2 pm)

Edmonton Foodie Meetup #1

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an upcoming first-ever Edmonton Foodie Meetup that would take place at Blue Plate Diner. I didn’t know at the time of course that tonight would be one of the coldest nights in recent memory, but I should have also known that Edmonton’s culinary community are made up of a hearty bunch – every one of the 12 individuals who signed up on the wiki came, in spite of the weather!


Edmonton foodies

It was a great opportunity to meet the authors behind some of the food blogs I read every day, and to chat about our love of food. Here’s a list of the bloggers (and their blogs) that attended tonight (Diane from NAIT and Mack were also there though they don’t have food blogs):

The acoustics of the Diner worked against talking to those at the other end of the table, but for the most part, I’m glad we chose this particular restaurant. Service was good, and portions were larger than I remember from previous visits.


Sweet Potato Fries (Mack loved the mayo dipping sauce)


Green Onion Cakes (I could have done without these, but Mack disagreed)


Mack’s Green Curry and Broccoli Soup and Mac-N-Cheese


My Pozole Chicken Enchiladas (not as dry as the last time I had them, I was happy with the generous amount of cheese on top)

Thanks to everyone for coming, and a special thank you to Hanne and Courtney for helping me organize the get-together! Based on the interest expressed, I think we will be having a second foodie meetup some time in the future. Keep an eye on the wiki for details!

The Best Weekends are Fresh: City Centre Market

This post is coming a bit late, covering our trek to the City Centre Market on its opening day of May 17, but as the market is open every Saturday, from 9am-3pm (rain or shine!) until Thanksgiving, there’s no excuse for you not to check it out!


Market Day

We started the day with brunch at my favorite pre-market haunt, Blue Plate Diner (10145 104 Street). It was filled to the brim, but they managed to clean and clear a just-vacated table for us almost immediately. While I originally thought I ended up with a dish outside my usual repertoire, it turns out my order of the Pancake Breakfast ($11.50) was the exact dish I ordered back in September – after my last trip out to the market. Mack decided on the Eggs Benny ($12), and of course, we both asked for coffee to start us off.

The kitchen was on an absolute roll, so despite the packed house, our food did not take long at all. The pancakes were great – giant by any comparison, they were thick and fluffy, perfect for sopping up the real maple syrup supplied on the side. Mack liked his benedict for the most part, though wanted the dish, particularly the hollandaise, to have been served a little warmer.

Pancake Breakfast

Eggs Benny

Full and ready to walk off some of our morning meal, by the time we got back out to the market (104 Street, between Jasper & 103 Avenues), it was already past 12:30pm. And as they say, only the early bird gets the worm, so many of the popular vendors had already sold out of their wares.

“Sorry, Sold Out”

Luckily, one of my favorite vendors – Greens, Eggs and Ham, had plenty of duck eggs still, and I picked up a few for my Mum. Mary Ellen Grueneberg was super-friendly, as always, and said that the piece that Judy Schultz did a few weeks ago resulted in many calls – from interested employees, pet owners, and of course, those keen on their duck products.

Greens, Eggs and Ham truck

Doef’s Greenhouses also had a beautiful array of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and cucumber (all grown year-round) that looked so tempting, especially in the face of the winter vegetable remnants sold at stands next door. As with most growing seasons though, things will look up in just a few short weeks – with fresh berries, beans, and corn just around the corner.



For those with a green thumb, there were plenty of potted plants available as well, though really, I can’t wait for the spicy edible flower salads from Inspired Market Gardens.

Plants from Inspired Market Gardens

Between the entertainment and the stalls, the samples and the snacks, there is lots for everyone to see. Mack, however, was waiting to pounce on the mini-doughnuts, and was rewarded for his patience.

Live music

First doughnuts of the season

Mack savours the last one

City Centre Market

There’s just nothing like a Saturday at the market.

“Solo Mish”: Blue Plate Diner

I watch movies alone at the theatre once in a while, and have been doing so for as long as I can remember (sad but true fact: there was a period where Bridget Jones was probably as much of a friend as anyone I knew in person). Inspired by an episode of Sex and the City where Carrie has lunch on her own at a sidewalk café, I wanted to get over the fear of eating alone at a restaurant.

So tonight, before attending a speaking event, I headed to the Blue Plate Diner for the ultimate in comfort food – meatloaf.

Walking in, I found it incredibly empowering just uttering the words “for one, please.” While I admit this could very well be one of my disillusioned soapbox moments, I could appreciate the feeling of freedom that comes with not having to dine with another, or select the always inspiring food court alternative. The hostess discriminatingly sat me against a wall (as opposed to a window), I’m sure to discourage the thought from pedestrians passing by that Blue Plate was the sterling choice for loners and workaholics. In that vein, I did haul out some writing to do, so in a sense masked my solo meal in a cloud of acceptable busyness. Perhaps that is my next step – to do as Carrie did and not hide behind books or stacks of paper.

As for the food, I’ve had the Herbed Meatloaf enough times to know what to expect – the best grilled vegetables in the city (maybe it’s the charcoal?), homemade mashed potatoes, and a hearty slice of ground beef heaven. I know I’ve complained in the past about the tomato sauce smothered on top, but I’ve come to like it as a sweet additive to the dish along the lines of last week’s Chicken Cannoli at Moxie’s.

So I can now cross off “eat at a restaurant alone” from my list of 43 Things. Hurrah!

Restaurant interior

The eternally cute “Drinking Jar”

Herbed Meatloaf with Grilled Vegetables and Mashed Potatoes

Charmingly Urban: Blue Plate Diner

I mention Blue Plate Diner (10145-104 Street) so often that you’d think I’d eat there more frequently, so I was more than happy to return on Friday night for dinner with Mack.

Just stepping into the restaurant makes me happy. Located in the warehouse district, the dining room retains some of the original brick, adorned with contemporary art, and accented with aged windows utilized as table dividers. I love the ambiance in the evenings, with swoony ’50s music, the natural buzz of conversation, and dim, candlelit tables.

The menu isn’t anything spectacular, but it’s like my favorite sweater – comfortable and good for all occasions. Something unique that they do offer is their Friday night dinner specials, with two featured dishes every week (and yes, it does remind me of dinner at the Gilmore residence). I ordered one of the two specials, a winter vegetable pie served with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. Mack chose the beef burger and regular fries.

I forgot my camera (the photos below are from their website), so you’ll have to bear with text, but the pie was huge! Baked in a large dish and topped off with a puff pastry crust, it was teeming with carrots, mushrooms, and fennel root (to me, tasted like a cross between celery and onions). It was a satisfying dish that wasn’t too heavy, and a great choice on a cold night. Mack’s said his from-scratch fries were good, and polished off his burger in no time!

Needless to say, I’ll be back!

Table for two