Edmonton food

Your Favourite Dishes Delivered to Your Door: Foodora

October 18, 2017

Getting dishes from your favourite restaurants delivered to your door is becoming easier and easier with food delivery companies emerging in major cities across the country.

Berlin-based company Foodora entered the Canadian market in 2015 with it's launch in Toronto and Montreal, followed by expansion into Vancouver last year. Earlier this month Foodora brought it's on-demand food delivery services to Edmonton, Calgary, and Quebec City.

Similar to other food delivery companies operating in Edmonton, orders are placed through to restaurants using Foodora's user-friendly mobile app. The company takes pride in partnering with restaurants to deliver food to your doorstep in 35 minutes or less via car or bicycle. It's great to see that their delivery service is environmentally conscious!

While there is the option to place and pick up your own orders, most customers opt for delivery. There is the option to have an order sent as soon as possible, or you can schedule for a delivery time convenient for you. Order placement and payment processing are very straightforward, and you can track the progress of your order through the app. Your delivery is updated in real time, so you get a true sense of when you'll be digging into your delicious meal.

I gave the app a try with an order from Ono Poke one evening and everything went smoothly. The food arrived fresh and within the estimated timeframe, and I would definitely use the service again. The only downside is that Foodora has a relatively narrow area that they will deliver to within Edmonton (North to 153 Ave, East to 75 Street, South to the Anthony Henday and West to 119 Street). I am hoping to see their delivery services expand, as I currently live outside of their delivery zone and instead get my orders delivered to my workplace.

In celebration of their launch in Edmonton, Foodora is offering free delivery on all orders placed through to December 31st this year. If you ask me, it's a win-win when you get food from your favourite restaurant delivered for free! For $10 off your first delivery of $20+, click through my referral link and sign up.

As an additional perk for my readers, Foodora has also offered for me to give away $50 to one reader to use for food delivery. Head on over to my Instagram for all the details. Happy ordering!

*Disclosure: I was contacted by Foodora to partner for a blog review. Views expressed in this post are solely mine. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.

Canadian

Canadian Ingredients From Coast to Coast: The Butternut Tree

October 08, 2017

Just beyond the Alberta Legislature Building behind the High Level Bridge is Ledgeview Centre, home to The Butternut Tree. Floor to ceiling windows offer unobstructed views of the Legislature grounds and the river valley, which provide the beautiful backdrop to Edmonton's newest restaurant.

The Butternut Tree - # 101 9707 110 Street - Edmonton AB

Chef and owner Scott Downey has returned to his hometown after ten years of discovering ingredients and flavours abroad. Chef Downey brings with him the experiences of cooking in the highly acclaimed kitchens of Michelin-starred Daniel (New York), NOMA (Denmark), and most recently, Wildebeest (Vancouver). Opening his first restaurant is allowing him to pay homage to his experiences by showcasing the bounty of Canadian ingredients from coast to coast.

Growing up in St. Albert, returning to the prairies has always been in the plans for Chef Downey. Having spent many summers in New Brunswick with his family, the restaurant is named after the butternut tree in his grandmother's back yard. For him, the rings of the tree symbolize the vast number of ingredients growing on Canadian soil, and the ingredients yet to be discovered.


Elderflower Tonic

The Butternut Tree could easily be named one of the most beautiful restaurants in the city. This open-concept 58 seat restaurant with high ceilings and rustic wooden accents offers panoramic views and the perfect setting for intimate dinners. The glass-enclosed kitchen offers transparency and allows diners to get a closer look on how the dishes are prepared. For larger groups, a private dining room complete with a fireplace and a private entrance seats up to 12.

I was lucky to find myself dining in the private room amongst friends and fellow bloggers on media night for The Butternut Tree. Our dinner started off with an amuse bouche of salt-cured halibut dressed lightly with juniper oil, chives, apple, and marigold. The one bite was fresh and pleasing to the palate, setting the bar high for the dishes to come.

The menu at The Butternut Tree is a great representation of seasonal, Canadian ingredients. The menu is thoughtful, concise, and brings together unique ingredients in combinations that you may have never seen before. I found it difficult to choose my dishes for the evening since everything sounded so interesting, but I was also happy to see many vegetable-forward dishes.

The Broccoli ($16) brings together roasted pork belly, pickled garlic scapes, cereal grains, and a leek ash dusted soft boiled duck egg. Cutting into the duck egg made it apparent that it was the star of the dish, with the oozing, rich yolk bringing all the components together. The pickled scapes brought the perfect contrast against the richness of the yolk, and I quite enjoyed the texture of the cereal grains lining the plate. This dish was a unanimous table favourite.

The Grilled Bannock ($14) is a fantastic sharing appetizer, served as four individual portions. With a crispy exterior and tender centre, the bannock merries it's smokiness with the umami of wild mushrooms, winged kelp, berries, and pumpkin seeds. It's a dish I would easily order again and consider having all to myself.

The Crab Tart ($14) was arguably the most beautiful dish of the night, almost too pretty to eat with the garnishing of herbs and edible flowers. The crispy rye tart held a generous portion of flaked crab meat, herbs, smoked creme fraiche and thinly sliced unripe crab apples.

Moving onto the main courses I opted for seafood, as all the options at The Butternut Tree are Oceanwise certified. The Miss Tatum Rockfish ($36), caught off the BC Coast, is plated with Saskatchewan wild rice, herbs, and a mixture of dragons tongue, fava, and green beans. The dish is finished with a light kelp broth poured tableside, giving this dish an A+ for presentation. The herbs in this dish are quite prominent, giving each bite layers of flavour, but personally I did find one to have a bit of a bitter aftertaste that didn't quite suit my palate.

My fiance ordered the Bentley Bison Duo ($44) with a juniper butter brushed striploin cooked medium rare, and a fork tender braised bison short rib. The protein was accompanied by lentils, carrots, cauliflower and Saskatoon Berry jus, all which gave a nice contrast to the perfectly cooked bison.


Haida Gwaii Halibut

The Butternut Tree offers two desserts on their menu to end the evening on a sweet note. The Plum ($10) is lightly sweet with it's milk ice cream, honey meringue and oat crumble. Reminiscent of a fruit and granola parfait for breakfast, this dessert was right up my alley with the different textures and subtle sweetness.

The other option is the Ployes Cake ($12) where thin buckwheat pancakes are stacked and layered with black currant jam and finished with maple butter, whipped cream, Alberta rose petals and berries. Like the plum dessert, the ployes cake could also pass as a breakfast dish. Although dense, the cake was not overly rich and heavy like some desserts can be.

From the moment we ordered our drinks to the last bite of dessert, the we all had a wonderful evening of good food and hospitality. The Butternut Tree currently offers dinner service with a la carte plates or a tasting menu (5 course $90, $75 for vegetarian), with plans for weekend brunch in the works. Given the location and atmosphere, the restaurant does feel more upscale and is the perfect setting for an intimate meal. The use of local, seasonal ingredients also lends to a higher price point, making it a restaurant I would reserve for special occasions. With Winter around the corner, I'm looking forward to a return visit to see what Chef Downey puts on the next iteration of the menu.

*Disclosure: I was invited to a media night at The Butternut Tree. Views expressed in this post are solely mine. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.

The Butternut Tree Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Edmonton food

Farm to Table: Sunworks Organic Farm

July 25, 2017

I'm a city girl through and through, but my love for gardening and growing my own food has always made me wonder what it would be like to live on a farm. I love learning about where my food comes from so when Sunworks Farm invited me out for a tour of the farm, and dinner featuring their products, I was more than excited for the adventure.

Sunworks' certified organic farm is located about an hour south of Edmonton near Armena. Ron and Sheila Hamilton moved to this current property in 1992 and worked hard to build their dream. They have been raising chickens, turkeys, cows, and pigs organically since starting Sunworks in 1997, and the farm became certified humane in 2005. Isaac, the third partner in Sunworks' operations, became a partner in the last ten years.

Under their current operations the farm raises 130 000 chickens, 3000 turkeys, 150 cows, and a couple hundred pigs year round. It isn't an easy feat, but Sheila, Ron, and Isaac's passion for organic, humane, and sustainable farming tells me that their work is truly a labour of love. Our tour started with a stop at the shelter housing young chicks working hard on growing and gaining their feathers. All chicks come to the farm within hours of hatching, which allows for their first meal to be at Sunworks. This ensures they are fed 100% organically for the duration of their lives.

A quick walk around the corner brought us to the egg grading and washing station. With a capacity for up to 5000 hens, Sunworks Farm produces 300 dozen certified organic eggs per day. Let that number sink in. That means the farm produces 2100 dozen eggs per week, and what's more impressive is that all the eggs are hand picked and hand washed. On most farms eggs are sent elsewhere for inspection, but Sunworks' station is registered, meaning the eggs are inspected and packaged on site in a clean environment under federal regulations.


Heading out to the fields

As the tour continued we found ourselves in the fields where the cows and chickens spend their days. What was most interesting to me is that Sunworks farms by a practice called 'time controlled grazing' using their cows and chickens:

  • Cattle are fenced into a large area of pasture with fresh, tall grass where they graze.
  • Over time the grass becomes shorter as the cows feed, they are then moved into a new area with tall, fresh pasture.
  • The chickens are then moved into this area of shorter grass, which is comfortable for feeding.
Essentially, the method mimics natural grazing patterns but allows the farmer more control over the area the animals graze in and prevent overgrazing.

Across the field were the chicken shelters, and they were unlike any I've seen in the past. The shelters were open and very spacious - in fact, Sunworks must allot a certain square footage per bird in each shelter order to remain certified humane. Although each shelter is home to about 500 chickens, there's no overcrowding and every bird has plenty of space to run around.

The shelters were each fitted with a chain in the front to make it completely mobile. Each day the chain is hooked up to a tractor and the shelter is moved forward onto fresh grass for the chickens to graze. I'm no chicken expert, but if the birds singing and clucking away was any indication, I would say the chickens here are happy and really do live a fabulous life!

Of course, given the weather conditions in Alberta the cows, chickens, and turkeys are moved indoors when the cooler temperatures return. In order to maintain production, the animals are fed alfalfa meal and hay to maintain their organic grass-fed diets.


Happy Hens

One of the newest additions to the Sunworks farm is their on-site processing facility. After a period of time sending their animals to be processed off site, Ron and Sheila felt that in order to treat their animals humanely they needed to do the processing themselves. It's no surprise as Ron and Sheila are both such kind, compassionate individuals, but I think it's pretty amazing that Sunworks is committed to treating the animals so well even at the end of their lives. They make sure every part of the animal is used, including the bones, feathers, and offal. The facility is also incredibly clean - it takes up to 16 hours for a full post-processing clean!

At Sunworks Farm processing is done every Tuesday. Anywhere between 2500-3500 birds are processed and a government-issued inspector is on site ensuring each and every chicken is up to standard before being packaged and sold. Thursdays are saved for sausage production - if you haven't tried a Sunworks chicken sausage, put it on your to-do list! Sunworks' sausages are some of the best I've had - they're juicy, flavourful, and have a fantastic aroma when cooked. It's no surprise, though, as the sausages are 95% chicken and 5% organic spices. No fillers, just great ingredients.

To end our day on the farm we were treated to a delicious five course meal courtesy of Chef Kevin Zellweger of the Quarter Section Food Co. based out of Camrose. Our meal started with a charcuterie board featuring meats and sausages cured by Sunworks and an assortment of cheese from Alberta's own Sylvan Star Cheese.

Our meal continued with a light salad, confit chicken leg with risotto, and a beautiful gluten-free beef wellington before digging into our triple chocolate mousse cake for dessert. We were certainly well taken care of that evening, just like the animals on the farm.

The trip out to Sunworks Farm was an eye-opening experience. It really put into perspective the different farming methods that exist and how important it is to support the producers that align with your own values. Ron, Sheila, and Isaac truly care about organic and humane farming methods and are able to produce exceptional products without compromising their values. Taking into account the amount of work and passion that goes into raising animals can make supporting local producers that much more meaningful.

Sunworks Organic Farm produces quality product and is a vendor that I am happy to support. If you're interested in trying some of their products, you can find them at:

A big thanks to Sunworks Farm for bringing me out to the farm and sharing their story! It was a lovely day and a great reminder of why it is important to support local! If you're also interested in learning about where your food comes from, check out Alberta Open Farm Days next month!

*Disclosure: I was invited to Sunworks Farm for a tour and dinner in exchange for a blog post. Views expressed in this post are solely mine. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.

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