Edmonton food

Greek to Go: Little Village Opens it's Brick & Mortar

March 23, 2017

When Edmonton's food trucks started to appear in and around the city in 2011 everyone was pretty excited to see that the trend had finally reached our city. If you were anything like me, you were determined to try every single food truck. That quickly became a difficult task when more and more trucks emerged onto the scene.

Little Village - 14816 Stony Plain Road - Edmonton AB

Fast forward a few years and there are still many food trucks parked curbside in the warmer months, but some of Edmonton's favourites have shifted toward opening up brick and mortar spaces. Filistix and The Local Omnivore are a couple examples, and the latest food truck to join them is Little Village.

If you've ever had the food from Little Village food truck you've met owner/operator Theo Psalios - the guy inside the truck that always greets you with a smile on his face. Theo brought Little Village to life in 2012 and has been serving up his take on Greek dishes ever since. Operating out of a food truck means food service is dictated by the weather, but now that Theo has a storefront where you can get a taste of Little Village any time of the year.

Located along the hustle and bustle of Stony Plain Road, Little Village occupies a small, brightly lit space in a strip mall. A few seats are available for those who wish to dine-in, but Little Village primarily offers ready-made meals for take out.

As you walk in you're greeted by large chalkboards and two glass displays with food ready for consumption. While the offerings have some overlap with the food truck (like the lamb sandwich and lemon potatoes), there are also a variety of classic Greek offerings like moussaka, pasticchio, and dolmades.

The chalkboards outline the grilled/rotisserie meat, sandwich, and salad options, while the glass display cases are stocked full of cold side dishes and hot Greek classics. Prices are very reasonable given the quality of ingredients and convenience, so I may just find myself here quite often given the close proximity to my home.

I stopped by with a friend on opening day and I knew I couldn't leave without my favourites - the roasted lamb and lemon roasted potatoes - so we picked up a 1/3 Lamb Shoulder ($14.75). All the rotisserie meats are served with a side of potatoes and tzatziki, rounding out the meal. The lamb had a beautiful crust, was well seasoned, and was fall-off-the-bone tender. The potatoes were soft and packed full of flavour, and everything together was a killer combination.

The Lamb Gyro ($10.50) was also on my radar, stuffed with roasted lamb, vegetables, and herbs. The pita held up well to the combination of ingredients and was fairly filling, but I found myself wanting a side with it.

Last but not least we picked up a portion of Moussaka ($6.50/slice), which I lovingly refer to as lasagna's eggplant cousin. The Little Village Moussaka is loaded with eggplant, tomato, ground beef, and creamy bechamel sauce. The mild flavours blend well together, and makes for pretty good comfort food.

The food truck will still be found at the 124 Street Grand Market and various events around the city in the summer months, but now that Little Village is open, lemon roasted potato lovers can get their fix year round. Trust me, they're that good. Stop by and grab a bite Tuesday through Saturday, 11am - 6pm (530pm on Saturdays!).

Little Village Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Downtown

Port to Prairie: Grandin Fish 'N' Chips

March 07, 2017

For months Edmontonians have been teased by five little words on the window of the space beside The Common: Fish 'N' Chips Coming Soon. Finally the coverings are off the windows and Chef Jesse Morrison Gauthier's second restaurant is ready to serve his take on a British classic.

Grandin Fish 'N' Chips - 9902 109 Street - Edmonton AB

Located right next door to it's older sister, Grandin Fish 'N' Chips is a fast-casual restaurant serving up fish 'n' chips with a prairie twist. Taking inspiration from dishes in London and the East Coast of Canada, the restaurant hopes to be a modern, sustainable, and health conscious seafood option in Edmonton.

As you walk through the door you'll find yourself below framed chalkboard menus outlining all the restaurant's offerings. When it comes to the fish 'n' chips at Grandin, the classic version features fresh fish coated in tempura batter and served with a side of fries, coleslaw, and tartar sauce. Haddock, Cod, and Basa are always available, and the 'fish of the day' is an additional option. Alternatively, you can ask for your fish to be pan-fried or cooked using a gluten-free batter, both of which are gluten-free options.

As the restaurant is fast-casual there is the option to dine in or ask for your order to go. The dining room can seat roughly 25-30 people and can get quite busy during the lunch rush from 11am-1pm. Dinner time is slightly different with sit-down service, so the pace of your dining experience is more dependent on your server.

The best thing about the restaurant space is the use of nautical-themed decor. I love the contrast between the stark white and blue, especially in the whimsical wallpaper designed by local tattoo artist Heath Smith. There's some fish bait in one corner, a fishing line in another, and there's even a cheesy collage of children and adults with their biggest smiles sharing some of their best catches. The space has a fun, casual vibe, and is a great space for a casual date or to meet with friends for a quick meal.

I met with a friend for lunch and we ordered a couple items to share. First up came the Cod + Chips ($16) with the standard accompaniments. We were surprised to find that for the price there was only one piece of fish, but it was perfectly cooked and flaky inside of the light tempura crust. The cod itself wasn't seasoned, which allowed for the sweetness of the fish to come through, and the fried batter was barely greasy. A quick squeeze of lemon and a dip into the slightly tangy tartar sauce gave the dish all the flavour it needed.

The Haddock + Chips ($14) came next with two pieces of fish and felt like better value given the portion size. It was cooked just like the cod - flaky and coated by a crisp batter. The coleslaw with both orders wasn't much to write home about, and the fries were pretty standard. We ordered a side of Jalapeno Mayo ($1.50) sauce for our fish, but found the kick of heat to pair better with our fries.

In addition to our fish 'n' chips we ordered a side of the Fried Brussel Sprout Bubble and Squeak ($5). I must admit I mostly wanted it just because the name was intriguing, but also because brussel sprouts are delicious! Bubble and Squeak is a traditional English dish made with leftover roasted vegetables fried together with mashed/crushed roasted potatoes. The name comes from the bubbling/squeaking sound that cabbage makes when cooked. This version at Grandin Fish 'N' Chips brings together roasted and caramelized brussel sprouts, parsnips, and potatoes to give you a unique side to accompany your main.


Flaky fish!

Using products from suppliers like Fins Select and Effing Seafoods, you can be assured that your meals at Grandin Fish 'N' Chips are responsibly sourced and sustainable. There is even the option to purchase fresh seafood to take home from the retail case by the entrance of the restaurant. While there are endless dining options in the downtown core, Grandin Fish 'N' Chips is a great addition as a seafood option, so check them out when you're nearby.

Grandin Fish 'N' Chips Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

bakery

Everyone's Invited: Doughnut Party

February 20, 2017

Word of mouth travels pretty fast in this city, so if you've got a sweet tooth I'm sure you've already heard about Edmonton's latest sweet spot. But if you haven't, you're in for a sweet deep fried treat.

Doughnut Party - 10938 119 Street - Edmonton AB

Simon Underwood and Matthew Garrett are the minds behind Moonshine Doughnuts - the delightful treats that you can find at various farmers markets throughout the city. For the past five years Moonshine Doughnuts has been one of the main sources for vegan and gluten-free cake doughnuts for customers with specialty diets, and they're pretty darn tasty.

A few months ago the duo secured a space at Holland Plaza for their first brick & mortar shop, sharing a kitchen space with Duchess Provisions/Duchess Atelier. But the vision for this storefront is a little different from their vegan market offerings - this sister shop is expanding into the world of deep fried doughnuts. Armed with a new mascot and hot pink pastry boxes, Doughnut Party quietly opened their doors at the end of January and have been selling out everyday since. They hoped to keep their presence in the neighborhood a secret, but like I said - word travels fast!

Although Doughnut Party isn't located on a main road, this little doughnut shop isn't difficult to find. In fact, you'll have more trouble finding a parking spot in the parking lot, but the trouble is worth it. As you walk in you're greeted by a bright space with pleasing symmetry of the horizontal and vertical lines accenting the counters and floors. Next you'll find yourself in a little lineup, but service is quick so you have just a bit of time to decide just how big of a doughnut party you want!

On any given day there's six different doughnut flavours available, and the options will change fairly frequently. Depending on how many doughnuts you want to order, you can go with a Party for One ($3/1), Half a Dozen ($16/6), or a full blown Doughnut Party ($30/12).

On the day of my visit, the six flavours on rotation were:
  • Almond Joy - dipped in chocolate & topped with coconut like the Hershey's candy bar
  • Birthday Cake - vanilla glaze & dusted with birthday cake crumbs
  • Hibiscus - light & dipped in pink glaze
  • Lemon Matcha Sugar - lemony and rolled in matcha green tea sugar 
  • Rhubarb Cardamom - sugar glazed with bits of rhubarb and cardamom
  • Pineapple Rum - heavily glazed with chunks of pineapple 
While each donut had it's own unique flavour, I found the dough to vary slightly from one doughnut to the next. The hibiscus and lemon matcha sugar donuts were light and fluffy, without the sugar/glaze weighing them down. These two were actually my favourite of the six given their light texture. The Almond Joy and Birthday Cake donuts were more cake-like and richer due to the weight of their toppings. Rhubarb Cardamom and Pineapple Rum had a lighter dough, but came across heavier with the presence of fruit and a heavy glaze.

Although each doughnut varied from one another, two things were consistent within the box - all the doughnuts were incredibly soft and weren't greasy when bit into. Doughnut Party fries up their donuts perfectly so that you don't feel guilty when indulging in their delicious treats. It's pretty much a win-win. I will mention though that if you happen to have any donuts left over from the day you buy them, they do dry out quite quickly! So buy what you can eat in a day, and it will give you a reason to return and try more.

A good secret is hard to keep, so it's no surprise that Doughnut Party has been selling out daily. Pssst, if you want to get your hands on some delightful doughnuts, arrive early - doors open (8AM Tues-Fri, 9AM Saturday) until the shop is sold out! That's the one secret I'm willing to share.

Doughnut Party Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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