Downtown

Weekend Brunch for Downtown Dining Week 2019

March 05, 2019

March in Edmonton is always a delicious month as diners can look forward to the Downtown Business Association's annual Downtown Dining Week. This year from March 8th - 17th you can enjoy prix-fixe menus for lunch ($18), dinner ($30/$45), and weekend brunch ($18) at the 49 participating restaurants in the downtown core.




For 2019, Downtown Dining Week has gathered a record number of participating restaurants for the 10 day event. It's a great time to try out a new restaurant or visit your favourites, as the multi-course menus are attractive and the prices are very reasonable and often feature dishes that aren't on the regular menu. While weekday schedules may not always accommodate time to dine out, I'm happy to share that for the first time ever, 11 restaurants will be offering $18 two-course brunch menus on both weekends over the course of the dining week. Weekends were made for brunch, and I've got a little sneak peek of some of the dishes you can find on menu this year during Downtown Dining Week.

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Blue Plate Diner

The Blue Plate Diner is a staple on 104 Street, serving up globally-inspired comfort food for lunch, brunch, and dinner 7 days a week. For weekend brunch during Dining Week they are offering Harissa-Spiced Shakshuka paired with an Orange Juice Mimosa for $18. The shakshuka is fragrant with a touch of heat and features 2 eggs simmered in a North African tomato sauce. Finished with crumbled feta cheese, it is delicious served with pillowy Turkish flatbread and crispy Lebanese-style potatoes. This dish won't be around for long as it is an off-menu special for Downtown Dining Week.


Central Social Hall

At the corner of Jasper Avenue and 109 Street you will find Central Social Hall, which is more than your average restaurant or bar. It's a gastropub where good food, drinks, and friends come together any time of day to unwind and enjoy the social atmosphere. For Downtown Dining Week, Central Social Hall is offering a two-course brunch for $18. You have the choice to pair Belgian Waffles, The Cure (an incredible brunch poutine), or the Oil Country Benny with either Made-to-Order Doughnuts or Nutella Cheesecake. I know what you're thinking - the choice is difficult!

The Oil Country Benny brings together locally-sourced Italian sausage, bacon, caramelized onions, and two perfectly soft poached eggs on English muffins. Finished with a roasted poblano and white cheddar sauce, the sweet and savoury notes are a winning combination. The dish is served with house greens or crispy potatoes, and I recommend the latter - you can trust me on that one.


As part of Downtown Dining Week, Central Social Hall has partnered with Herbologie, a new local spice merchant in Edmonton, on one of their desserts. The Made-to-Order doughnuts come as an order of three and are deep fried and rolled in icing sugar that's mixed with Herbologie’s cinnamon from Tanzania. The doughnuts aren’t your usual light and fluffy doughnut holes, but rather are a little heavier and remind me of little fried bread balls. The cinnamon has fragrant notes of pine and citrus which are enhanced by the rosemary anglais dip. They aren’t much to look at, but the textures and flavours make them a must-have to round out your brunch.


Craft Beer Market

Craft Beer Market is a great casual spot to grab a bite and a beer (there’s over 100 available on tap!) in the downtown core. For Downtown Dining Week you can get a three-course brunch for $18, which is seriously good value. Start your meal with locally sourced yogurt, then choose breakfast tacos, a taquito skillet, or a farmhouse benny and finish with snickerdoodle waffles or housemade cookies. The Red Racer IPA Taquito Skillet was calling my name and the dish was well worth the calories. The crispy taquitos with tender pulled chicken were cheesy and had a nice kick of heat to them. Combined with the soft poached eggs and creamy guacamole it’s a dish I could indulge in over and over again.


DOSC Restaurant

DOSC Restaurant (Drunken Ox at Night Sober Cat in the Morning) occupies a beautiful space in a heritage building along 104 Street. Cafe by day and restaurant by night, DOSC is offering three two-course options for $18 during Downtown Dining Week. I opted for the Brisket Benny which features Montreal spiced brisket on an English muffin and is finished with a maple hollandaise. The pulled brisket was moist and tender and the subtle hints of maple in the velvety hollandaise was delightful. The accompanying fresh fruit bowl was beautifully filled with mangoes, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and gooseberries and was topped with a light syrup. It’s a brunch combination that’s indulgent but not too heavy.



If you are a brunch lover there are plenty of great options during Downtown Dining Week. Head on over to the Downtown Business Association’s website to browse the full menu listings from the 49 participating restaurants and start making your dining plans - most restaurants accept reservations too!

There’s also some exciting events that have been planned over the 10 days for the public to take part in that you may be interested in:

Wherever you make your reservations, happy eating! And Happy Downtown Dining Week!

*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Downtown Business Association. 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.

Diner

An Elevated Diner Experience: Dinner at Wilfred's

January 25, 2019

A 100-year-old heritage brick building in the Brewery District is the home to Wilfred's, a contemporary diner and cafe. The space is gorgeous - lit with natural light, accented with beautiful blush pink tones, and brightened up with a playful mural of Mayor Wilfred in his town.

Wilfred's - 10429 121 Street NW - Edmonton AB


Dutch Baby Benny

Wilfred's bills itself as a place to meet and gather, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. The menus offer a contemporary take on classic dishes for an elevated diner experience. To kick off the new year Wilfred's has launched a new dinner and cocktail menu, and I had the opportunity to taste a handful of dishes and drinks.


Irish Coffee: Irish Whiskey, Ace Coffee, Demerera, Cream

The dinner menu is split between lighter fare and larger dishes but sharing is encouraged to get a better taste of the menu. The offerings are comforting and affordable and there's something for everyone.

The House Biscuits ($10) are crispy and flaky and come with your choice of velvety chicken liver mousse or mushroom herb duxelles. Of the two the mousse was my favourite, it was very well seasoned and smooth.

The Deviled Duck Eggs ($5 for 2) feature Four Whistle Farm's duck eggs with dijon, horseradish and chives. The eggs are creamy and tangy little morsels with a hint of smokiness, making them perfect as a pre-dinner snack.


Turms of Endearment: Irish Whiskey, turmeric, Strega, vanilla, lemon juice

Roasted baby potatoes, mustard dill vinaigrette, capers, onions and dill come together to make the Warm Potato Salad ($12). The dressing has all the right notes - it's sweet, savoury, acidic and well balanced. It isn't quite what comes to mind when you think of a potato salad, but this is a very good kind of different.

An exciting addition to the dinner menu is the new Bourbon Burger ($20) featuring a Meuwly's beef patty with bourbon braised short rib, lettuce, tomatoes and aioli on a soft brioche bun. It's a juicy, hefty burger patty, and would be delicious for dinner with a side of fries.


Lamplighter: Irish Whiskey, apricot, Verjus, vanilla

The Smoked Salmon and Pancakes ($18) is a light, shareable option for dinner featuring Sgambaro's smoked salmon. The salmon is served with buckwheat pancakes, creme fraiche, fresh dill, capers, and a cucumber salad.

My surprising favourite of the night was the Southern Cornbread ($12), made with sweet corn and sourdough. The cornbread was fried to a beautiful golden crisp which broke to reveal a creamy, sweet and savoury bread pudding. Paired with the refreshing fennel and parmesan salad topping I could eat this all day.

One of the largest offerings on the menu is the One Month Dry Aged Striploin ($36). 10 oz. of medium rare striploin is served with flavourful cambozola butter and scalloped potatoes. The meat is flavourful, tender, and such a good deal for the price.

To round off the meal we enjoyed the Kaffir Lime Pie ($6). It was tangy, sweet, and so fragrant from the kaffir lime - a must have to end your meal.

Being the go-to neighbourhood spot to meet and gather, the menu at Wilfred's has great offerings at affordable prices and the menu can cater to vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets. Wilfred's is on the way to becoming the prime location for all meals of the day, but considering their delicious cocktails it is an excellent spot for post-work drinks or dinner with friends.

*Disclosure: I was invited to a media night at Wilfred's. 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.

christmas

12 Days of Local Food Love

December 13, 2018

The holidays are my favourite time of year. The season is cheerful, bright, and there's a real sense of giving - in the form of gifts, or giving back to the community - in the air.

I have more fun giving than receiving, so in the spirit of the season I've partnered with 12 local businesses and restaurants to bring you the 12 Days of Local Food Love! I'm sharing these 12 businesses that I frequent and support - I truly love what they are doing in the Edmonton food scene. It's so important to support the community by shopping and dining locally, so I hope you'll love and share these businesses that I'll be featuring. Over the next 12 days I hope you either discover a new business or learn something new about them!

Each day I'll be posting across my social media platforms (Instagram/Facebook/Twitter) about a different business, and lucky for my readers each business has generously provided items to give away. Entrants must be from Edmonton & surrounding area only. Entries for each giveaway will be accepted up until midnight on December 24th, and the winner for each giveaway will be chosen at random on the 25th from across my three platforms! 12 winners will be contacted on Christmas day - Merry Christmas!

I'll be updating this post daily with links to each giveaway, so check back frequently and enter often! As always, thank you for the love and support. Good luck and Happy Holidays!

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Local Food Love Day 1: Jacek Chocolate

Enter to win a Sipping Chocolate + Jackie Bar
(Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

Jacek Chocolate was born in 2009 out of a love for fashion & chocolate by owner Jacqueline Jacek. As a self proclaimed ‘Cocoanista’ she combines her two passions in creating artisan chocolate bars, seasonal chocolates, and even a bean-to-bar collection. I love the beautiful designs and flavour combinations, but what I always look forward to in the summer is the weekly collaborations made with City Market Downtown vendors. Jacek is so innovative and I truly admire their commitment to giving back to the community through various fundraising projects. What’s not to love?

Congratulations to @avaoxia on Instagram!

Local Food Love Day 2: XIX Nineteen

Enter to win Sunday Brunch for Four People
(Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

Headed by Chef Andrew Fung, the kitchen at XIX Nineteen cooks up a delicious range of dishes using locally sourced ingredients at their two locations - Terwillegar & St. Albert. Nineteen is truly a great spot to celebrate any occasion, and I’ve celebrated two of my birthdays there with their famous Ahi tuna twists! The restaurant recently launched their new brunch menu and it’s worth checking out, as XIX is a solid choice for the weekend’s finest. The Five Spice Bao Benny is unique and I highly recommend the house-made cookie top cinnamon buns! Add a pear-jito and you’re set!

Congratulations to @jasonwoods780 on Instagram!

Local Food Love Day 3: Apollo Donuts

Enter to win an Apollo 13 (Baker's Dozen of Donuts!)
(Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

Some people like their donuts cakey, others like them light and fluffy. Apollo Donuts likes them handmade in small batches with a light brioche-style dough. Made for preorders only, Apollo creates unique flavour combinations that pack a punch in each bite. Production occurs in the early hours of the morning with fresh ingredients, and the donuts are free of preservatives and artificial flavourings. Blackberry yuzu and passionfruit glaze are my two favourites, but the lime mango and Uncommon Cider Co. apple fritter are top contenders too. Flavours change weekly, but the production days are always Friday + Saturday with order pickup at Ritchie Market's Transcend Coffee or The Colombian Coffee & Roastery. These guys donut mess around.

Congratulations to @pika.bao on Instagram!

Local Food Love Day 4: Meuwly's & Secret Meat Club

Enter to win a 3 Month Subscription to Secret Meat Club ($120 Value)
(Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

Meuwly's is an artisan marketplace in the heart of the 124 Street area known for their house-made charcuterie, sausages, pickles and preserves. All their products are made and cured on site, and a wide variety of their offerings can be found on menus of restaurants in and around Edmonton. Prior to opening, owners Will & Peter created Secret Meat Club – the city’s first monthly artisan food box subscription delivering sausages, charcuterie and condiments straight to your door. What started as a project to test products and gather feedback has become one of the best ways to sample local charcuterie in the city!

Congratulations to Kelty Coburn on Facebook!

Local Food Love Day 5: Rostizado

Enter to win a $80 Gift Card to Rostizado
(Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

Mexican food isn't just tacos and burritos, and Rostizado is a testament to that. Taking inspiration from the rosticerias in Mexico, Rostizado puts a modern twist on dishes made with old-world cooking techniques. Located in the heart of the Ice District, Rostizado is a great spot for lunch downtown, dinner prior to the game, or any sort of celebration. The atmosphere is fun and the food is delicious. The Rosti Burger and Mission-style burritos are my favourites off the lunch menu, but if you're heading there for dinner round out your meal with the charred carrots or roasted cauliflower, which are not to be missed. And don't forget to save room for churros!

Congratulations to @swooned on Instagram!

Local Food Love Day 6: Syphay Restaurant

Enter to win a $75 Gift Card to Syphay Restaurant
(Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

When I have a hankering for Thai food Syphay Restaurant is one of my go-tos. Opened in 2004 by Sye and Phay Sayaphet, this family-owned restaurant truly is a local gem when it comes to Thai and Lao food. The restaurant has since been passed down to the Sayaphet's eldest daughter Katherine, but the dishes have remained as delicious as always at both the south and downtown locations. The dishes are authentic, the flavours are bold, and you can taste the fragrant herbs in every bite. You might be drawn to ordering pad thai, but I highly recommend the Pad Lao! Add a big bowl of Tohm Yum and you’re set.

Congratulations to @hammy.law on Instagram!

Local Food Love Day 7: Caramunchies

Enter to win a Caramunchies Gift Pack! ($58 Value)
(Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

Buttery rich caramels are a decadent treat, but they’re even better when they don’t stick to your teeth! Meet Alysia Lok, the maker behind Edmonton’s tastiest caramel treats at Caramunchies. A blend of crispy cornflakes and salted caramel come together to make a sweet snack that hits all the right notes. They’re salty, sweet, crunchy and chewy! Another delightful treat are her individually wrapped caramels - they are buttery morsels that won’t stick to your teeth. You can pick up your Caramunchies on weekends at City Market Downtown, but if you run out (trust me, they’re addictive!) you can get your fix at Brown Butter Cafe, Golomein, Milk & Cookies Bakeshop, and Williams Sonoma (WEM) throughout the week.

Congratulations to @shevonlam on Instagram!

Local Food Love Day 8: Gruger Family Fungi

Enter to win a gift from Gruger! ($58 Value)
(Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

My Saturday mornings are usually dedicated to visiting my favourite vendors at City Market Downtown, including Gruger Family Fungi! When I learned that a local Edmonton business was growing pink and blue oyster mushrooms I had to see them with my own eyes and let me tell you, these mushrooms are stunning! Sure, they’re beautiful to look at, but one taste and you’ll discover that they also have unique flavour profiles and lots of nutritional benefits as well. This small family farm grows a variety of mushrooms ethically and organically for purchase at farmers markets and you can also find their mushrooms on various menus throughout the city. My favourite variety is the pink oyster mushroom for it’s texture and smoky bacon flavour, but the meaty king oyster mushrooms are a close second!

Congratulations to @jessfc3 on Twitter!

Local Food Love Day 9: Yelo'd

Enter to win a platter of Yelostix! ($45 Value)
(Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

One of my favourite places for ice cream in Edmonton is Yelo’d for their perfectly swirled soft serve and charcoal waffle cones. The Filipino-inspired ice cream at Yelo'd is unique and taste true to their flavours. Their secret? Using real, fresh ingredients in their soft serve ice cream base - there’s nothing artificial here. The ice cream is incredibly smooth and creamy, just the way it should be. Better yet? They hand-make their waffle cookie cones in house, stuffing marshmallow in the bottom to prevent drips. Genius, if you ask me!

Congratulations to @wwnaut on Instagram!

Local Food Love Day 10: Ono Poke Co.

Enter to win two $20 Gift Cards!
(Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

When I’m craving something healthy, fresh and filling, the poke bowls at Ono Poke Co. always come to mind. Chef Lawrence Hui is behind the menu, pulling inspiration from trips to Ka’anapali, Maui to bring an authentic taste of poke to the prairies. The chef-driven signature bowls are delicious (the Ono is my go-to!), but I also love having the option of building your own bowl. You can even turn your poke bowl into a burrito to eat on the go! The fish is fresh and well seasoned, and flavours are balanced. It’s the closest you’ll get to Hawaii without hopping on a plane, but when the poke is this good you can save yourself the trip.

Congratulations to @teegzmum & @cbuyze on Instagram!

Local Food Love Day 11: Revolution Ice Cream

Enter to win three pints of ice cream!
(Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

Revolution Ice Cream Co. came about when owners Jess & John wanted to bring the ice cream flavours they fell in love with abroad back home to Edmonton. Their ice cream is handmade in small batches with local ingredients, then packed into pints and cups for purchase at various farmers markets around the city (like the City Market Downtown + 124 Street Grand Market) or delivered to your home via SPUD. The ice creams are creamy without being overly rich and some of their flavours also cater to dairy free and vegan diets. My favourite flavours are the Lavender Lemon, Key Lime Pie, and Vanilla + Tonka Bean, but their ice cream sandwiches (featuring Milk And Cookie Bakeshop cookies) are one of my bigger weaknesses.

Congratulations to @vandamadventures on Instagram!

Local Food Love Day 12: Canova Pasticceria

Enter to win a Chocolate Panettone & Caffe Umbria Coffee Beans!
(Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)

For the final day of the 12 Days of Local Food Love I’m sharing with you one of my favourite holiday treats. Panettone (literally translated to 'big bread' in Italian) is a traditional holiday sweet bread made with candied oranges, raisins, and citrus zest, and the one produced by Canova Pasticceria is the best I’ve ever tasted. Owners Carla and Kris produce their panettone using old world methods with a sweet dough starter. This is no easy feat, as the dough requires multiple feedings, additions, and time to rise. It takes 36 hours to produce a batch of Panettone, and the results show that the time commitment is well worth it. My favourite panettone is the chocolate variation, which is also amazing as French toast! Brew up a fresh cup of coffee to pair with it and it’s the perfect holiday treat.

Congratulations to Violet Poon on Facebook!

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