With the weekend finally here, Vince & I had the chance to finally take a break from our busy lives and have a night all to ourselves. For our date? We chose to hit up the local festivities, Taste of Edmonton at Churchill Square, and Capital EX at the Northlands exhibition grounds.
Heading out for the day!
I didn't have the chance to look up the menu for Taste of Edmonton like I had in the past, and to my dismay, most of the food available was the same as the year before. Most of the food vendors were bigger restaurants with a couple locations around the city, such as Brewsters, Hudsons, New Asian Village and the Old Spaghetti factory, but there were also some smaller, local restaurants like Urban China and Korean Village.
Cloudy, but the weather was still nice :)
Now, is it just me, or is this event getting more & more expensive with each passing year? The food sampling plates are very small, and cost around 4-5 tickets with each portion. Food tickets are priced at $1 each, so the money you bring flies out of your pocket in no time, leaving you hungry! With this realization, Vince and I chose to eat food we never tried before, or was somewhat unique in comparison to the rest of the food available. I guess it worked out in our favour that we weren't too hungry either.
Pad thai from Krua Wilai
Our first choice was the Pad Thai from locally owned restaurant, Krua Wilai. My first impression was that it should taste okay, for it had the familiar orange-coloured noodles, but I was a bit thrown off by the uncooked bean sprouts sprinkled throughout the plate. Regardless, I took a bite, and wished I had chosen something else to eat! The noodles had none of the familiar flavours pad thai has to offer, but rather tasted like ketchup mixed with noodles! Thank goodness the bean sprouts were fresh and crisp, I guess. Needless to say, I don't think I will go there anytime soon.. or ever?
Deep fried wontons from Panda Hut Express
My next choice was the deep fried wontons filled with cream cheese and crab meat from Panda Hut Express. Being Chinese, my family and relatives have always warned me not to go to this restaurant, but I've always been curious about these particular wontons advertised on the radio & advertisements in the local newspaper. I was surprised when I bit into one, because I wasn't expecting so much cream cheese to be inside! It was really interesting, and I liked the melted texture of the cream cheese. I wish that there was an abundance of crab meat in the wontons, because I was hardly able to detect their presence. The cream cheese was rich and filling though, and I liked it! Time to make use of those BOGO coupons I find for their restaurant all the time!
Our last stop was at the stand for New Asian Village, where I usually go for my Indian fare. I chose this one since the food was familiar, and I had a little craving for Indian since I haven't had it in a long time! We picked up both offerings at the booth: Chicken Tika with Garlic Naan and Channa Masala with Saffron Rice. The chicken tika was new to me, as I have never tried it, and I was surprised that it was actually as spicy as it was! Good thing the garlic naan accompanied this dish to tone down the heat in my mouth as I ate the dish. The chicken was a little dry, but my favourite part to this plate was actually the onions and green peppers, because they fully absorbed the flavour of the sauce.
Channa masala :)
As for the channa masala, it was just like usual, the way I like it! Mmmm, yum :)
After taking our part in tasting Edmonton's offerings, we headed down to Northlands to check out the park grounds and meet up with some friends for some carnival games and gambling! As we arrived at the grounds, the sky was looming with grey clouds, and I hoped there wouldn't be too much rain to keep us from going outside to meet our friends later on.
Our first stop at the grounds was actually inside the newly renovated EXPO Centre, at the Sip! exhibit. Located right next to the casino, it was dimly lit, and I didn't quite know what to expect. Once we got closer though, we realized we were in a place where we could do exactly what we had done one hour earlier: buy food tickets and try out different food! The food here was a little different though, somewhat 'classier' and more exotic, as the dishes weren't items you could just find everyday. Unfortunately our stomachs weren't so accomodating and we didn't have a chance to sample any of it!
We saw a crowd in the distance, forming infront of a stage where two world renowned mixologists were giving a presentation. Gavin MacMillan and David Jennings gave a 40 minute presentation on how to make a couple different drinks. They focused mainly on the Caesar, which was first made in none other than our very own Calgary. Apparently, in the last year, over 343 million Caesars were made in Canada, equating to over 3 caesars per person in the country.. hm, I wonder who is drinking all the alcohol to accomodate the numbers of minors in the country?? Anyways, they made a bacon caesar and a dill pickle caesar.. super interesting! They said that in order to make it, you would have to make dill pickle and bacon infused vodka. They told the audience how to make it.. but it didn't sound too appetizing, especially when it came to putting bacon fat into vodka!
Very entertaining mixologists
After the presentation, we headed over to the Candyland exhibit, which showcased the different methods of making different Candy over the years. There was information on Jelly Bellys, Chocolate, Pez, Skittles.. you name it! It was fascinating to learn all the different facts out there about candy. For example, did you know it takes an average of 21 days to make one jelly belly? Or that candy corn isn't just for Halloween? They customize the colours for different occasions throughout the year, like red & green for christmas!
jelly belly galore!!
At the end of the exhibit was a chance to indulge and buy all the candy you read about. There were collectible Pez dispensers, and chocolates, but I headed straight for the Jelly Belly bar. All the flavours they had were in bulk containers for you to choose what flavours you wanted to buy. I was most interested in the 7-Up flavour, but I also picked up Red Apple, Cantaloupe, Margarita, and Berry Blue just to name a few. It was so hard not to pick every one they had, but I knew if I bought too many, I'd end up seeing the dentist for massive cavaties I would get!
From then on, we looked outside and the sky was ANGRY, pouring down sheets of rain. I felt bad for the people waiting outside at the Telus Stage, holding onto their good spots and waiting for Metric to come out and play their set. Then, we decided that if we couldn't go outside to play the carnival gambling games, we would head to the casino and play the slots! In the Casino they had Over/Under, which was nice, but just wasn't as thrilling as playing outdoors because the host was not very enthusiastic. Do you ever find that you tend to win more when the host is actually fun? You have a better time and end up winning more! I swear.
We decided to wander around the slot machines after having some bad luck with Over/Under, and I spotted my dream game: Sex and the City slot machines!!!! I first encountered the machines when I was in Las Vegas in May, and didn't have the chance to play since I am still underage (only 19!). I saw Vince's cousin playing and having so much fun (she won a lot, too!) and was so jealous that I couldn't play! There was one seat open and I took my seat, inserting a $5 bill. About 30 seconds later, I was up to $65! WHAT LUCK! It was so exciting, so I took a couple more spins, lost some money, and cashed out with my voucher! I left that machine with $50 in hand to use on anything I wanted!
FIFTY DOLLAAAA ;)
It seems like from that point on, the night turned around, because the rain had stopped and Metric was going to play on the Telus Stage as scheduled. Vince and I headed out to the grounds, looking for some games to play, and he won me my little Domokun plushie :) All in all, a great time again this year at Capital Ex!
Go baby go!
Another one to add to the collection :)