Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Eat Alberta 2014

I'm a little late with this, but tickets are still available! I volunteered for Eat Alberta back in 2011 (the first year) and am happy to be able to volunteer again this year - Their fourth conference! Here's the info:

'Eat Alberta is pleased to announce our fourth hands-on food conference, taking place on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). This year’s theme is “Seed the Possibilities”.

Eat Alberta is a non-profit association, managed entirely by volunteers. Our annual, one day, workshop-style conference features a mix of hands-on learning, food tastings, and presentations that focus on local and regional Alberta foods. Participants come together with farmers, chefs, foragers, botanists, and bakers to learn about what is produced in our province, how to prepare it, and what it tastes like.

This year’s conference features fifteen different presenters and fourteen different sessions, many of which are new to Eat Alberta. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about jowl bacon, pumpkin ravioli, cider-making, Alberta cheese tasting, and much more. The full list of sessions can be found on our website.

Our keynote speaker for 2014 is John Schneider, from Gold Forest Grains. He will give his thoughts on how to re-focus our attention on food advocacy and real-life ways to pressure law-makers to improve our food and agriculture systems. He will also offer a glimpse into life on his farm, and how he produces food for his family.

The day will close with three “Seedy Business” discussions –  5-10 minutes presentations on backyard bees, backyard chickens, and raw milk – followed by “Taste of Alberta” tasting boards and a wine down.

Tickets for Eat Alberta are $150 each and include the keynote and lightning talks, four sessions, breakfast, lunch, the “tastes of Alberta”, and the wine down. Registration opens on Tuesday, March 25.

For full event details, session descriptions, presenter bios and more, please visit our website at -'

See you there!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

PDX 2014

We are heading to Portland tomorrow, for a very short trip... We're back Tuesday. I'm doing my best to balance spots we loved last time, whilst trying to get some new ones in there. Details on our last visit to PDX are here.

My current list is below, sort of arranged by neighbourhood. If you have any musts, please leave 'em in the comments below.

Buckman/SE (where we're staying)

Ken’s Artisan Pizza (304 SE 28th Ave)

Heart Coffee (2211 E Burnside St)

Screen Door (2337 E Burnside St; Dinner and weekend Brunch; Southern food)

East Burn (1800 E Burnside St – Beer and Food)

Café Castanga (1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd)

Little T Baker (2600 SE Division St)

Apizza Scholls (4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd)

Church Bar (2600 NE Sandy Blvd)

Coava Coffee (1300 SE Grand Ave)

Pok Pok (3226 SE Division St)

Ava Gene’s (3377 SE Division St; Cocktails and Italian food)

Olympic Provisions (107 SE Washington St)

Eastside Distilling (1512 SE 7th Ave)


Tasty N Alder (580 SW 12th Ave – Walk down Burnside Bridge)

Clyde Common (1014 SW Stark St, Portland)

Little Bird (219 SW 6th Ave, Portland)

Blue Star Donuts (1237 SW Washington St)

Ken’s Artisan Bakery (338 NW 21st Ave)

Pearl Bakery (102 NW 9th Ave)

Bailey’s Taproom (213 SW Broadway)

Cacao Drink Chocolate (SW 13th Ave)

Stumptown Coffee (128 SW 3rd Ave; 1026 SW Stark St)

Courier Coffee (923 SW Oak St)

Barista (539 NW 13th Ave)

PSU Farmers Market (SW Park Ave & SW Montgomery St; 8:30-2)

Tenth Avenue Liquor (925 SW 10th Ave)

NE (our local last time)

Nedd Ludd for brunch (3925 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd)

Other Plans

Food Carts Portland Tour (1000 SW Washington St)

St. Vincent (Crystal Ballroom 1332 W Burnside St)

Other Reference

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Martinez

I've been staring at the Martinez for awhile now, ever since Food 52 shared this recipe in January. After trekking around {a little} for a bottle of Luxardo Maraschino, I finally got to make one. While it still doesn't oust my favourite Negroni, this comes pretty close.

The vermouth provides a lovely sweet spiced note, whilst the gin takes things in the other direction with juniper and florals; The maraschino (with an almond like flavour) balances the two. Finally, some orange bitters and an orange twist for extra complexity.

This is certainly a fall/winter cocktail, with the sweetness and spiced notes of the vermouth and maraschino, but it coincided perfectly with our 'New York night' on Friday. We made kale crostini with harissa aioli, meatballs (and spaghetti) and caesar salad, all inspired by Frankies Spuntino in NY... And ate and chatted with two friends in our very tiny apartment.

A martinez recipe is below, and you can find a recipe for Frankies' Meatballs here.

Adapted from Food 52

2 oz gin (I used Victoria)
1 oz sweet vermouth (VYA)
1/2 oz maraschino (Luxardo)
2-3 dashes orange bitters (Victoria)
Garnish - Orange peel

Fill a mixing glass about half way with ice, add everything but the garnish and stir. Strain into your glass of choice and garnish with an orange peel.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Food Blogger Meet-up at The Common

Wow. When Maki and I chose March 4th as the date for the food blogger meet-up, we thought it was relatively free of conflicting events. The High School Culinary Challenge, a celebration of Avenue's Best Restaurants and a Taste of Iceland preview all happened between Monday and Tuesday. Busy couple days. Nonetheless, we had a great turn out at The Common, with 20 bloggers in attendance and a total group of about 30. You can find the final list of attendees, and links to their blogs, here.

The Common was at the top of my list when I emailed Maki back at the beginning of February. We had no real idea of numbers, but considering our guesstimate - 20 to 30 - their south room seemed perfect. It was sort of funny arranging what was basically a restaurant reservation for a group of 30 or so individuals - Can you keep that many individual bills separate? Do we need to do a set menu? Will we need to sell tickets beforehand?

Kyla at The Common was breeze to work with. She said they could easily allow everyone to order separately off the regular food and beverage menu, and they kept track of tabs using peoples' names. They also allowed us to use the room for free, which eliminated any sort of ticketing process ahead of time, and offered up two $50 gift cards - one for best food photo and one for best drink photo - tweeted during the event. Incredibly generous. The servers at the restaurant were lovely, and the kitchen impressively turned out all our food orders quickly.

We couldn't have asked for more from the room itself. Their staff added tables throughout the space so we could move around as needed (also why keeping tabs under names was genius), and had coat racks set up upon arrival. The only extras we brought along were some name tags, pens and the RSVP list.

It's sort of amazing when that many food bloggers get together. Things you sometimes feel awkward about - 'Don't touch that plate I need to take a picture.' - are automatic (see below). Not only that, but this is a random group of people (...super cool people) that happen to LOVE to eat. Fantastic.

A giant thanks to Maki for co-organizing this event with me! And of course to The Common for hosting. Already looking forward to the next one.

I didn't take any photos at the event (check out Maki's post!), but happened to be glued to Twitter. We chose the hashtag #yegfoodblogs and got lots of traffic. So instead of photos, I thought I'd post tweets from the evening.

Once again, you can find the list of attendees here, and my blog roll (where I'm trying to list as many food and beverage bloggers from Edmonton as possible) here.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Old Fashioned for the North

This drink is actually named the Toronto, but given the outstanding rye produced just south of us, I feel like it's okay to appropriate it. I also didn't want to call this post 'The Toronto', because I've got nothing to report on Rob Ford, and have driven through TO once on the way to the airport.

I wish I would have gotten it together to share during the -20 weather - The Fernet-Branca lends extra warmth to the whisky, making it the perfect cozy-up-indoors beverage. But I'll likely still enjoy one or two whilst watching the snow head out. Summer is coming fast, people!

Toronto for Edmonton
Adapted from 'Bitters' by Brad Thomas Parsons

2oz Alberta Springs Dark Horse Whisky
1/4oz Fernet Branca
1/4 simple syrup
2 dashes aromatic bitters (I've been using Scrappy's)
Orange or lemon garnish

Fill a mixing glass half way with ice and add everything but the garnish. Mix and enjoy in whatever glass you would like (I have accumulated a giant ice cube tray, and really wanted to use an ice cube...).

Monday, March 3, 2014

Things I ate {But didn't take photos of}

{Are you a food or drink blogger in Edmonton? Come to The Common on March 4th and meet up with fellow food bloggers from our fair city! Details here.}

That lengthy blog break (let's face it, it was like two years) really did a number on my relationship with my camera. It's slowly making its way back into my bag, but I ate a bunch of excellent food sans camera that I thought was worth reporting on.

Bistro India {10203 116 Street}

Somehow Bistro India has worked their magic in that once cursed house turned restaurant on 116 Street. When we lived nearer to them in Oliver, we got take out all the time (which is why it's even stranger I haven't posted about them here). To stay or to go though, what you really need to get your hands on are the dosas... and maybe some of the Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani, and anything else on the 'Southern Favourites' menu. During the day, they have a wider range of dosas, but you can get masala and paneer dosas any time of day. We had a little feast of take-out on Valentine's Day, and watched House of Cards.

97 Hot Pot {10602 97 Street}

So, hot pot. I just tried hot pot - for the first time - a couple weeks ago. A friend and I were driving down 97th late on a Thursday evening, looking for soup, and saw the bright neon sign.

We arrived around 10pm (they are open until midnight), and there were only a handful of tables filled... It sounds like this is a rare occurrence, with the place normally packed. Our table for two was equipped with an induction burner each (with a temperature control... keep it on one) and a little gadget that allows you to alert the server, ask for more water, etc. It's buffet style - You mark your order on the menu, and they bring it out. Everything on the menu (unless you want a specialty broth) is included in the $25.95 per person price.

Our order consisted of a bunch of things... Thinly sliced lamb and beef, taro, winter melon, bok choy, cuddlefish balls, minced, spiced lamb and some sweet potato noodles. Make sure you ask about portions if it's your first time there; The sliced lamb and beef, for instance, is piled high, but when you order a cuddlefish ball or the minced lamb or taro, you get one.

They also have a condiment station with everything imaginable (minced ginger, red bean paste, vinegars, etc.), where you can grab items as needed.

Everything was delicious, but my favourite was certainly the cuddlefish and minced lamb. We ordered a second round of those. For dessert we decided on the osmanthus cake, a cube of tea flavoured gelatin, which was beautiful, tasty and delicate. A perfect way to finish the meal.

Since there was barely anyone in the place, we found the service pretty good (water and broth refills, mostly), and they were happy to answer any questions we had. Can't wait to head back!

Woodwork {10132 100 Street}

Probably no more needs to be said about Woodwork, but I can't not. We share an alley with the restaurant, which means I get to smell the delicious woodsmoke every day I head out the door. We've been for drinks, snacks, lunch and dinner a number of times. And I went to a work Christmas party (just before they opened) where they roasted an entire pig and made a six foot bûche de Noël... I have one photo of a Violet Fizz.

The lunch special is excellent - $15 gets you one of four hot options (if they have the meatball sub, do it), with a side kale salad or soup. They also have a few excellent house sodas, well worth shelling out an extra $3 for.

For dinner, we rarely stray away from an order of Smoked Chicken Drumsticks with house bbq sauce ($8 for three) and the full rack of ribs with fennel slaw and the best beans ever ($25). If we're with others, we like to add the Steak Tartare ($13), made a little more delicious with pickled beets and smoky chips served in lieu of bread, and maybe some Mac n' Cheese ($14), famed from their food truck days.

And dessert. The PBJ thing ($10) is quite good, but if you like liquorice and a good cocktail, and something a little more delicate, make sure you try the Tiger Tiger ($8). Although a little more hearty, the Pear and Goat Cheese Galette ($10) is also well worth your time.

If you enjoy cocktails, you've likely already treated yourself at their bar. My favourite continues to be the house sour, which has the added benefit of a fire display and a resulting smoky flavour. But the 'Savoy Shuffle', a random, daily creation, has yet to disappoint. They also have a tidy, carefully chosen beer list, and feature bottles.

As for the cold thing, they've recently installed a fabric panel (which I heard will be turned to bison hide next winter) to direct the air into the corner; It seems to do the job. And as you can probably tell, this is about the meat. The only real vegetable (and vegetarian) dish is the kale salad, which is delicious as well, by the way.

Lunch is served weekdays only from 11:30-2
Dinner service starts at 5pm weekdays
They are closed Wednesdays

There it is. A food blog post without many pictures... I'm not sure that's a thing these days. Next time I'm at these spots, I'll be camera ready.