For a second week in a row, we actually made it down to the City Market early (don’t expect to happen again).
Saturday was Food Day Canada, a “national celebration of restaurateurs, suppliers, growers, farmers and citizens.” To recognize the day, the Market had organized a full day of chef demos, and had put a call out to local food bloggers to volunteer. I agreed to help out, in addition to staffing the Slow Food Edmonton community tent, where we would be selling Wild Boar & Beer BBQ tickets.
Jo and Thea from Slow Food Edmonton
Five chefs demonstrated dishes throughout the day, all that had been put together using ingredients from the market.
Chef Brad Smoliak
Chef Elaine Wilson
Chef Blair Lebsack (of Madison’s Grill)
Blair’s salmon with corn succotash and potatoes
Blair’s guinea fowl clubhouse (one of the special features on Madison’s Food Day Canada menu)
Chef Julianna Mimande and Bianca
Carrot dip from Julianna’s We Eat Together
Chef Duane Hicks from Blue Plate Diner cooks with a blowtorch
Before I started my shift, Mack and I did our shopping. Our first stop was at Sundog Organics, to once again marvel at their beautiful produce, and pick up some beets, cabbage and garlic.
Steve & Dan’s is another weekly stop. Blackberries went into our bag this time around, but their stone fruits were looking delectable.
When I saw zucchini at Kuhlmann’s, Mack could tell you I stopped in my tracks – I love zucchini! Last year, we weren’t able to buy the monstrous zucchini, knowing that we would have to lug it home eighteen blocks. This year, being just upstairs, I anticipate my fridge and freezer to be full of zucchini!
Perusing the monsters at Belua Designs this week, we came thisclose to adding another monster to our family. We also saw Sarah’s first two-headed creation a couple of weeks ago, and saw that she had another one this week – too cute!
It was great to see some new-to-us vendors as well, including Shannon and Danny Ruzicka of Nature’s Green Acres. When I visited their farm last summer, they were discussing eventually having a booth at the market, but I didn’t know it would be so soon – apparently, this was their third week already! Visit them for great pasture-raised, hormone and antibiotic-free chicken, beef and pork.
Danny and Shannon
O Sol’ Meatos, purveyor of air-dried charcuterie, was also at the market. I tried their product at Indulgence this year, and it was tasty.
O Sol’ Meatos
Last week saw the first time the veggie valet was introduced at the Market – a complimentary service at the information tent where patrons can leave their purchases until they’re ready to leave the street. On Saturday, a pair of shoppers were the first to use the service!
Veggie valet in action
Though it was a long day, the best thing about being at the market for that length of time was running into people – coworkers, friends – and being able to leisurely chat with my fellow Slow Food members. I was also fed well – some fatty pork belly and slaw from Filistix kept me going.
After an exhausting day, I was looking forward to unwinding at a dinner out. Mack and I met up with Maria and Jeff for a late meal at Madison’s Grill, where they had a special menu commemorating Food Day Canada. With entrees starting at $10, it made sense that Madison’s had more than 100 reservations that night.
Maria’s Peas on Earth organic salad with Bles Wold dressing (the strawberries were picked specifically for Blair the day before!)
Jeff’s amuse bouche trio with cold Doef’s cucumber soup, hummus crostini, smoked Greens, Eggs and Ham guinea fowl tart
When I had seen the menu, I immediately gravitated towards the Big Rock-battered Alberta whitefish fish and chips ($10), with a malt vinegar gastrique and a sweet pea aioli (their play on mushy peas). It was everything I was expecting – a crispy coating, fork-tender interior, and a welcome sweetness from the gastrique.
Alberta whitefish fish and chips
I also ordered the duo of sliders ($10) – a Spring Creek Ranch beef slider with Sylvan Star gouda and apple-cherry compote and an Irvings pulled pork slider with coleslaw and Brassica mustard. The pulled pork slider was darn messy to eat, and was worth every bite, but I liked the beef slider better, with its melted layer of cheese and sweetness of the fruit compote.
Duo of sliders
Mack and Jeff also ordered the steamed PEI mussels ($16), Mack with the Irvings habanero sausage and rose sauce, and Jeff with the spicy Gull Valley tomato compote. They both had fun comparing popping the generous serving of mussels to eating pistachios.
We ended the meal with a “made in Canada” cheese cart, with two soft cheeses from Quebec, two Sylvan Star cheeses and a blue cheese (for Maria, heh, the rest of us abhor blue). Of the condiments, Maria and I liked the apple-walnut compote the best.
It was a day full of food – just as it should have been.