Monday, May 24, 2010

Fort Edmonton Park- Johnson's Cafe, JHH Bakery and Kitchens

We decided to head over to Fort Edmonton Park this afternoon for Victoria Day festivities and the opening of the park itself for the summer season. Activities included a toast to the Queen in the Fort courtyard, entertainment from the Edmonton School Boys Alumni Band in the bandshell, and Victorian themed activities around the park. And of course, there was food.

The Bakery at the Jasper House Hotel (1885 Street)

The bakery on the main floor of the Japer House Hotel is always a fun stop, and it was worth our lengthy wait in line today. Fresh bread, cinnamon and cheese buns, rhubarb cake, brownies, cookies and raspberry lemonade make for a refreshing stop after the Fort area, and we certainly took advantage of it.

Everything was great - chewy gingersnaps, sticky, sweet cinnamon buns, a crumbly piece of  rhubarb cake and a rice crispy square got us around the park for the rest of the day, and made great after dinner treats at home this evening.

Johnson's Cafe at the Hotel Selkirk (1920 Street)

Hoping for a new menu to kick off the season, we decided to check out Johnson's Cafe in the Hotel Selkirk to see if anything had changed since our visit last summer. Arriving around 2pm just after the lunch rush, a table for two was immediately available.

As expected, their menu is short and to the point, trying to appeal to everyone who steps foot in the door, and it appeared to be similar to the one we perused last July. Both of us thought the menu was lacking in personality, and after spending a nostalgic day wandering through the park, it seemed unfortunate that , considering its surroundings, the restaurant was not offering any regional or 'period' dishes. In the end, Charles decided on the Wellington Burger with salad ($10), while I went for the roast beef sliders with salad ($8).

Our food was brought out shortly after ordering, and we found the real thing no more intriguing than its write up on the menu. Charles' burger was dry, thin and seriously lacking in flavour, and while the roast beef in my sliders was alright moisture wise, the squishy white buns the beef sat on didn't add anything to the sandwiches, and the horseradish mayo topping them was lacking any sort of bright, spicy kick.
And while the idea of sliders is lovely, I wish they would take the concept further, maybe offering different toppings on each of the sandwiches. The salad was certainly the best thing on both our plates. While standard, the combo of greens, apples, cranberries and a berry vinaigrette always works for me.

While we understand the restaurant's need to play it safe, we left disappointed and bored, wishing the restaurant would take a chance, be inspired by their surroundings and offer patrons something fun and inventive. Next time we will likely head over to the Masonic Hall for a bison burger, or the Jasper House Hotel for chili or soup.


Either we've always missed it, or there were a few more parts of the various houses open today with the season's opening celebrations. Anyhow, here are some kitchen things we enjoyed:

Fort - Rowand House

Gingersnaps at Egge's Stopping House

Lauder's Bake Shop and Residence

Rutherford House

1 comment:

A Canadian Foodie said...

I love your kitchen photos! I love the old kitchens and am just old enough to remember my grandmother stoking the fire in her oven when I was very young. There is something warm and welcoming and wonderful about each of these kitchens... I love them all...
PS - Marianne - I have - somehow - lost - misplaced - your e-mail... could you e-mail me as I am planning on hosting an Edmonton Bloggers event and want to send the information to you!!!