#YEGNoodleSoups

#YEGNoodleSoups: Bun Bo Hue @ Trang Tien

November 30, 2014

Holy moly there is a lot of snow outside on the ground in Edmonton. We got a whole 20-25cm of the powdery stuff over 24 hours! Lucky for me I am enjoying the so-called "balmy" weather in Vancouver right now, taking in the Grey Cup festivities in town.

As I promised last week, I want to spend this winter sharing some of my favourite bowls of noodle soup here in the city. There is nothing more comforting to me on a cold winter day than a slurp of noodles with hot soup.

Trang Tien - 9449 Jasper Avenue - Edmonton AB

One of my favourite noodle soups is the Vietnamese bun bo hue. Everyone always talks about pho, but I like bun bo hue better. This spicy Vietnamese speciality originated in Central Vietnam, and features pork, beef, and thick rice noodles. Lemongrass is the predominant flavour in the broth and the heat from the chillies just opens up the sinuses when the cold weather hits.

My go-to spot for bun bo hue in Edmonton is Trang Tien. This little family-run restaurant claims to have the best bun bo hue in the city - and I won't argue with that claim. The location is a bit sketchy with a hole-in-the-wall feel to it, but I love it. The restaurant has never been full on any of my visits, but there's always a smiling little boy that takes my order and serves me my food.

This massive bowl of Hue's Beef Noodle Soup (#22, $10.25) always arrives steaming at the table with a plate of basil and bean sprouts to add into the bowl. Not that it needs any, though - the bowl is filled to the brim with noodles, beef, pork balls, fish cake, raw onions, green onions and shaved red cabbage. The soup has an amazing aroma and the depth of flavour in the broth comes through with every bite. The rice noodles are a great al dente texture and I like the contrasting crunch you get with the vegetables. Seriously, it is such a great bowl of noodles to warm the soul on a cold winter day.

So there you have it. Best bun bo hue in the city. Do you have a different opinion? Please let me know, I'd love to try your suggestions. Come back next week for the next #YEGNoodleSoups adventure!

Trang Tien on Urbanspoon

Edmonton is a cold, snowy city for the majority of the year. During the winter months I'm always looking for ways to warm up from the cold, and nothing is more comforting to me than a bowl of steaming noodle soup. I'm going to be highlighting some of my favourite noodle soups in the city, and I'd love for you to share yours with me so I can try them too. Follow along with #YEGNoodleSoups and let the fun begin!

Downtown

Downtown Japanese: I Love Sushi

November 27, 2014

As I have said in the past, it's really hard to find good sushi in this city. A while back my friends and I were downtown and craving sushi. Hoping to find a hidden gem, we checked out a little spot right off of Jasper Avenue.

I Love Sushi - 10106 105 Avenue - Edmonton AB


Kara-Age Tofu ($5.50)

There have been multiple times where I've driven down Jasper Avenue and spotted this little family-run restaurant. The sign is just too cute (for reference, the 'o' in love is a heart instead), and I've been told it's a go-to place for many people downtown given it's convenient location and affordability.

To start off any Japanese meal I usually go with Beef Tataki (small, $9.95) as an appetizer. The beef slices were sliced thinly and served with onions, seaweed and radish for garnish. Unfortunately the ponzu sauce was too sweet for my liking, and I felt that the tataki was pretty underwhelming, considering the price for the amount of food on the plate.

My boyfriend chose to try the Stir Fried Teriyaki Chicken with Vegetables ($12.75), one of their set dinner options. All of the set dinner dishes come with a serving of miso soup, house salad, and rice, so the whole meal is a pretty good deal. The chicken was well cooked and moist, and with all the components considered together, the portion was very filling.

I was in the mood for some warm soup that evening, and chose to try out the Tempura Udon ($9.25). The noodle soup came steaming to the table and the tempura was fried to a beautiful golden yellow. The tempura wasn't overly oily and the sauce was savoury and slightly sweet as expected. Unfortunately the udon was a different story. I found the broth to be quite bland and lacking in flavour, as it didn't have the umami I expect from a dashi stock. The udon noodles were also overcooked and much softer than desired.

Friends we dined with ordered some fresh fish options like the Chirashi Don ($14, above), in which the fish was fairly fresh and was a good price for the portion size. Although I Love Sushi has a great downtown location and very affordable prices for Japanese cuisine, it really isn't a restaurant that I would look forward to returning to. There were some hits and misses that evening, so this restaurant may be good if you're in the area and in need of a quick fix, but don't expect to have your minds blown by high quality fish.

I Love Sushi on Urbanspoon

Edmonton

Winter Warm Up is Back at Original Joe's! [GIVEAWAY]

November 23, 2014

Edmonton winter hits hard. My skin is dry, my toes are frozen, and my driveway just keeps collecting snow. With the temperature dropping further and further below zero, I always look for something warm and comforting to eat. For me, that's a steaming bowl of noodle soup. What do you like to eat?

When the winter chill sets in, the Original Joe's Winter Warm Up menu returns. To help get us through the cold weather, Original Joe's wants to send one of my readers a $50 gift card to get warm and cozy with one of their winter comfort foods.

The selections on the winter menu include the Bacon & Tomato Soup, which is served with garlic grilled cheese croutons. If you're looking for something a little lighter, the Kale & Quinoa Salad features chopped olives, dried figs, and candied almonds tossed in a creamy mint yogurt dressing and is topped with panko crusted goat cheese. There's also the French Onion Boar Burger, where the patty is made with wild boar and topped with caramelized onion jam, Swiss cheese and mayo on a toasted brioche bun.

The dish I'm most curious about is the Miso Ramen Bowl. The bowl features fresh ramen noodles in a white miso broth and is garnished with BBQ pork, green onions and togarashi. The great thing about this item is that Original Joe's has teamed up with Mealshare, a non-profit organization that provides meals to those in need. For every Miso Ramen Bowl purchased throughout the winter season, one meal will be provided to someone who needs it. Buy one, and you're giving one too.

------------------------------------------------

THE GIVEAWAY

One $50 Gift Card to Original Joes

To enter, tell me which winter menu item you're most interested in by commenting on this post. Please make sure you leave a valid email address in the giveaway widget as this is how I will be contacting you.


ADDITIONAL ENTRIES

1. Follow me via Twitter (@littlmissandrea)
2. Tweet about the giveaway: "Warm up with the @originaljoes winter menu! Enter to win a $50 GC from @littlmissandrea #yegfood" and link back to this post
3. Follow me via Instagram (@littlmissandrea)
4. Visit (& hopefully like!) my Facebook page


a Rafflecopter giveaway


This giveaway is open to anyone 18+ years of age. You have until November 28 to enter and the winner will be selected by random and be contacted via email. Good luck!


#YEGNoodleSoups

#YEGNoodleSoups : Prairie Noodle Shop Pop Up #2

November 22, 2014

Edmonton is a cold, snowy city for the majority of the year. During the winter months I'm always looking for ways to warm up from the cold, and nothing is more comforting to me than a bowl of steaming noodle soup. Starting today I'm going to be highlighting some of my favourite noodle soups in the city, and I'd love for you to share yours with me so I can try them too. Follow along with #YEGNoodleSoups and let the fun begin, starting with this post!

------------------------------------

Noodles with bite. Broth full of flavour. Know what I'm talking about? Prairie Noodle Shop's (PNooSh) second pop-up! I gave you a sneak peek of what PNooSh had in mind for the second pop up a few weeks back, so hopefully you had a chance to get your hands on a bowl. If not, keep on reading!

On the evening on November 12th Prairie Noodle Shop tested out a new method for customers to get a taste of their ramen. Through the ticketing service Eventbrite, tickets could be reserved for one of four seatings at 6, 7, 8, or 9 PM. In just 8 minutes the tickets were sold out. I honestly can compare the excitement and anxiety of securing a ticket to being a teenager trying get One Direction concert tickets. So stressful, but so satisfying when you know you've secured your ticket!

Prairie Noodle Shop stuck to their roots and pulled inspiration from beer can chicken for their second bowl, because what's more Albertan than that? The soup, like last time, was made up of two components: dashi (konbu, dried shrimp, anchovies and bonito flakes) and chicken stock. The tare was meant to give the palate those earthy flavours found in beer, as it was made using three different types of toasted barley and sweetened with local Albertan honey. As with the first pop up, the chicken was highlighted in the bowl three different ways: a deep fried chicken wing marinated with the tare, a tare marinated yakitori chicken thigh, and a piece of baked chicken skin. Other toppings included some pickled pearl onions, smoked kale, green onions, and that delicious umeboshi egg.

Just like the first bowl I ever had, one bite and I was done for. The soup had depth, umami tones, and hints of the earthy flavours thanks to the barley. The noodles are still sourced locally and have a great bite that lasts through the entire bowl. All of the chicken was flavourful, cooked perfectly, and I loved the sweetness from the honey in the marinade. It was quite the surprise to see kale and the pearl onions in the bowl, but they both provided different texture and flavour elements to the bowl. The pickled onions gave a crisp punch of tanginess, while the kale imparted smoky flavours to the bowl. And as always, that egg with soft whites and an oozing yolk was killer. Every bite of ramen was full of flavour, and reaching the end of the bowl made me just a little sad.

Congrats to the PNooSh team for another successful pop-up and for knocking the socks off everyone's feet. This bowl of ramen was fantastic and the team is really setting the bar high for ramen here in the city. If you missed this pop-up, never fear! The next pop up should be scheduled sometime in March of 2015, so keep your eyes peeled on Twitter and Instagram through @YEGNoodles (and me of course!). With all the demand for a good, hearty bowl of ramen, I think they should just open up shop! It's time for this city to have a dedicated ramen shop. What do you think?

*Disclosure: This bowl of ramen was provided to me free of charge by Prairie Noodle Shop to celebrate my birthday. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.

Delivery

Skip the Dishes, Order In!

November 21, 2014

Over the past two months I've been noticing large advertisements in the windows of many Edmonton restaurants. It's the big red and white logo for Skip the Dishes, a start-up company based out of Western Canada. Skip the Dishes aims to push the boundaries of home delivery beyond pizza and Chinese food. Partnering up with local restaurants in 14 different cities, Skip the Dishes looks to offer locals the ability to order food from their favourite restaurants online for delivery right to their door at a specified time. Last week I took the opportunity to test run the service to see what they had to offer.

The process was easy to follow and the website was very user friendly. Upon reaching the home page you can type in your address, then a list of restaurants partnered with Skip the Dishes able to provide delivery to your address comes up. I was quite surprised to see what restaurants were on the list, as some of my favourite Edmonton restaurants were on there. Restaurants like Viphalay, Japonais Bistro, T.H.I.S. Place and Lan's Asian Grill popped up, just to name a few! Unfortunately given my location in the far south, many of the restaurants couldn't deliver to me. Hopefully this changes in the future, because I would love some of my favourite jalapeno yellowtail from Japonais Bistro delivered right to my door!

Most restaurants partnered with the website charge a $5-6 delivery fee with no minimum order amount, but there are some exceptions. Out of the restaurants able to deliver to my address, my boyfriend and I decided to try food from somewhere new. We settled on Thai Basil, a restaurant based in the west end of Edmonton. The website listed out the entire menu with descriptions of each dish, prices, and the ability to customize the dish to your liking (e.g. level of spiciness, type of sauce or proteins being used in the dishes). It was very easy to use and place the order, and through the website you can leave a tip for the driver too. I placed my order at about 5:30 PM, selecting the delivery to arrive within the time period of 7:00-7:30 PM.


Tom Yum, Pad Thai & Papaya Salad

Waiting is the hardest part. Shortly after placing my order, I got an email to my inbox telling me that a staff member at Thai Basil had verified my order and they confirmed that the food should be delivered to my door at 7:15 PM. At 7:10 PM I got another email update stating that the order would arrive at 7:30 PM, which was still within the time frame that I had originally selected. I was quite impressed with the timely updates that were given to me, and sure enough my doorbell rang right at 7:30 PM. The driver had the food in an insulated bag and upon opening the take out boxes the food was still hot.

Of course the food probably isn't going to be as delicious as if you were sitting in the restaurant and being served at the table, but Skip the Dishes does their best to deliver the restaurant experience to you in the comfort of your own home. Utilizing Skip the Dishes is going to be perfect for me on those nights where I don't want to cook, but am too lazy to go out and have a sit down meal at a restaurant. Gone are the days of just pizza and Chinese being delivered at home...welcome to Edmonton, Skip the Dishes!

Disclosure: I was provided with a $30 credit to try out Skip the Dishes. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.

Eyeshadow

Makeup Monday: Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow

November 17, 2014

Happy Monday! Hope you're all rested from the weekend, ready and recharged for another week! Life has been a bit of a roller coaster lately - ever feel like the days are just passing by too fast?! Where does the time go?

Since I have such a busy schedule, I need my make up to keep up with me. This year marks Make Up For Ever's 30th anniversary and they've been releasing so many products that I am constantly reaching for. Not because they're new and hot, but because they're long wearing and put up with my 12+ hour days. The latest product to be released to celebrate their anniversary is actually a relaunch of their first ever product: eyeshadow!

Meet the new Artist Shadow collection: 210 eyeshadows in 5 different finishes (matte, satin, iridescent, metal & diamond), which took over three years to produce and perfect. The launch of this product officially makes the Artist Shadow line the most extensive one available on the market. Leave it up to MUFE to set the bar high! The collection promises vivid colour payoff and superior blendability and I am loving the performance of this product so far.

The product is available in single, duo, and trio formats which are fully customisable, as the pans easily fit in and pop out of the case. I typically gravitate to neutral shades and received shades S-556 (left) and ME-658 (right) to test out. Both are in the brown family, with S-556 being mushroom/taupe shade with a satin finish, and ME-658 being a warm bronze with a metal finish. The pigment payoff in these shadows is amazing. As you can see above, the swatches were done with a very light touch and came out highly pigmented. The consistency of both shades is soft, smooth, and easily blendable, giving over 8+ hours of wear before fading. Although the metal shade gives off a great shine, the satin shade has my heart with it's soft sheen. It appears as a matte shade in the pan, but it is easier to work with given that it isn't overly shimmery.

I had a chance to see many of the shades in the range up close and many of them are stunning. If you're in the market for new shades and a shadow that will last throughout the day, check out the new collection. After all, you've got 210 shades to choose from!

Available via Make Up For Ever Boutiques and Sephora across Canada for $24 (Discounts apply when you buy more!).

*Disclosure: This product was sent for consideration of a review.

Edmonton

Crafted to be Different: Lunch at Ampersand 27

November 15, 2014

On the weekend following Halloween, Edmonton's newest local restaurant opened to the public with an unadvertised soft opening. When I first found out about Ampersand 27 a few months back I was extremely excited to see what Chef Nathin Bye had up his sleeves.

Ampersand 27 - 10612 82 Avenue - Edmonton AB

So what's the hype around Chef Nathin Bye? He has extensive experience in the culinary world, with experience as the previous Corporate Chef for the Lazia group, he has been an Avenue Edmonton Top 40 Under 40 award recipient, and he's the youngest competitor to have won Gold Medal Plates competitions twice. With Ampersand 27 being his first solo adventure, there were definitely high expectations for him to meet.

Ampersand 27 has taken over the space previously occupied by Murrieta's Bar and Grill and the interior has undergone a major facelift. The restaurant is much brighter due to the open concept dining space and the chic, modern decor brings aesthetic appeal. I'm absolutely in love with the main dining room, where two large communal tables sit beneath low hanging bulbs and a lattice of lights. The room is beautiful and can host many different party sizes.

Earlier this week I stopped by for lunch with a friend, but I had a quick glance at the menu online beforehand. The lunch menu is split into three parts: flatbreads, sharing plates, and larger plates. The sharing plates are a bit larger than your average appetizer, but small enough that you can order a few to share amongst your table to try out more of the menu. There is substantial variety and inspiration from different cuisines from around the world, so I'm sure there is something to satisfy even the pickiest eater.

For lunch I wanted to pick something that wasn't available on the dinner menu. The Albacore Tuna Banh Mi ($16) fit the criteria with it's honey chipotle tuna, cilantro, carrot, cucumber, and nuoc mam cham. I love a good Vietnamese sub and was hoping this version would be just as good as my go-to Vietnamese cold cut combo. Unfortunately this dish left me thinking I should have ordered something else. The banh mi itself looked beautiful on the plate, but my biggest problem with the sandwich was the bread. Vietnamese subs are known for the warm, toasted baguettes with a crunchy crust and soft interior. The crust crumbles with each bite, making your shirt a ridiculous mess, but it's totally worth it. Ampersand 27's version had a cold, heavy, dense bun which really took away from the experience of tasting the sandwich toppings. The bread really sucked the moisture out of everything and the nuoc mam cham dipping sauce couldn't save it. The tuna was fresh and had great flavour, but there was so much cilantro that it accounted for about half the toppings, meaning there wasn't much of the carrot or cucumber to give the sandwich the fresh crunch it needed. With a little bit of work this sandwich could be pretty tasty.

My friend ordered the Kale & Spinach Salad ($14) as her main, and I ordered it as a side to accompany my banh mi. After we made our order our server informed us that it is their most popular salad at the moment. Rightly so, it is delicious. Baby kale and spinach are combined with crunchy toasted barley, dried cranberries and apricots, ricotta, and mint, then tossed with an Italian dressing. The greens are fresh and the salad is light, and the different textures keep things interesting. It probably wouldn't be filling enough on its own, but it would be great to accompany another sharing plate split between two people.

Just like dinner, lunch is not complete without something sweet. Ampersand 27's pastry chef, Tim Androschuk, makes five different desserts and they're all pretty enticing. We ultimately opted for the Neaveau Misu ($8), which is a toffee pudding with flavours of coffee, caramel, amaretto, hazelnut, and brown butter featured in different elements on the plate. The presentation is beautiful and there are so many different elements on the plate that you won’t know where to start! The toffee pudding is light, moist, and not too sweet, which made it a winner for me. The house-made amaretto ice cream is smooth and not overly creamy, and both the macaron and marshmallows had a slight chew, just the way I like them. A ribbon of stiffened chocolate pudding ties the whole dish together, and I love that each portion of the plate features a different texture. I'm not surprised that this is the most popular dessert in the restaurant.

This restaurant proudly supports Edmonton's producers, artisans, and craftsmen, which is to be admired. Although lunch wasn't perfect, I'm still looking forward to my return to Ampersand 27 for dinner. The dinner menu features many dishes that sound fantastic, and a section of the menu is dedicated for customers to DIY their own charcuterie board. As it is a fairly new restaurant that is still working out the kinks, we still had a great dining experience with well spaced dishes and a knowledgeable server. I'll be celebrating my birthday in the dining room a week from today - and that Pig Ear Pad Thai is calling my name.

Ampersand 27 on Urbanspoon

bakery

Duchess Bake Shop: The Cookbook [GIVEAWAY]

November 12, 2014

If you've followed this blog long enough you will know it's no secret that I have a sweet tooth! Pastries, cakes, ice cream...anything sweet at any time of the day is likely to satisfy me. To make things even sweeter, Edmonton's French patisserie, Duchess Bake Shop, is releasing their cookbook today.

The cookbook has been nearly a year in the making, and it's finally here! I was fortunate enough to attend the cookbook preview and launch party over the weekend while nibbling on a few (okay, a lot) of their most popular offerings.


Maple brulee marshmallow macarons

Duchess Bake Shop has always been a dream for Giselle Courteau. Her love affair with the macaron is what lead her to pursue her dreams, and Edmonton sure is lucky to have her living here! Upon opening in 2009, Duchess Bake Shop was a small space and operated with only 4 staff. Five years later, this humble patisserie has expanded in both size and number of staff, opened a retail shop, and has become an afternoon hot spot each business day. That's no surprise, given that the National Post pinpointed that Duchess may just be the best patisserie in Canada.


Chocolate cream puffs

The kitchen is home to two large, hardworking ovens, and staff are working from 4AM - 11PM baking goods to keep up with the demand. The bakery is known for their delicate macarons, and I was shocked to find out that they are made by hand - bakers are churning out an astonishing 2000 macarons each day! The glass display cases are home to 65 different baked goods throughout the year, with seasonal flavour changes every once in a while.

Alongside her business partners Garner Beggs and Jake Pelletier, Giselle's dream to "put Edmonton on the map" with the launch of this cookbook is about to come true. Their self-published cookbook goes on sale to the public today and is available for purchase ($45+GST) at the bake shop, as well as online through the Duchess Provisions website to anywhere in Canada.

It was amazing to see how much hard work was put into making this cookbook and to hear Giselle's passion for her craft. With nearly 90 recipes in the book, everyone can try their own hand at making their favourite Duchess treat in the comfort of their own home. All the recipes in the book have been tested in a home kitchen with readily available ingredients and tools, so there's no fear of failure (hopefully!). So many of my favourite pastries are in this book, and the pictured step-by-step instructions are my favourite part. A huge congratulations to Giselle and her team for this accomplishment!

If you're not running out to get the book yet, I've got a surprise for you. Duchess Bake Shop has graciously provided me with two copies of their cookbook signed by Giselle herself to give away to two of my readers to celebrate the occasion. Follow the instructions below to enter, and hopefully this baby will be yours just in time for the holiday season!


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THE GIVEAWAY

TWO Signed Duchess Bake Shop Cookbooks
($45 value each)

DETAILS

To enter you must leave a comment on this blog post answering this question: What is your favourite treat at Duchess? If you've never visited Duchess before, tell me what you would love to try out of their offerings on their website here. Please make sure you leave a valid email address in the giveaway widget as this is how I will be contacting you.

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES

1. Follow me via Twitter (@littlmissandrea)
2. Tweet about the giveaway: "The @DuchessBakeShop Cookbook is here! Enter to win a copy from @littlmissandrea! #yegfood #DuchessBook" and link back to this post
3. Follow me via Instagram (@littlmissandrea)
4. Visit (& hopefully like!) my Facebook page

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to my readers across Canada. All entrants must be 18+ years of age. You have until November 22nd to enter, and the winners will be selected by random and contacted via email. Good luck!

outfit

Black, White & Blue All Over

November 11, 2014


Old Navy Chambray (similar) | F21 Skirt (similar) & Belt | H&M Necklace
Coach Watch, Rings & Audrey Bag (old) | Massimo Booties (similar)

It snowed this past weekend. A lot. To be fair, Edmonton made it well into November before having a big snowfall that stuck! These pictures were shot a little while back over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend and I can't believe how fast time flies! I already miss the red and orange shades in the trees and the crunch of the leaves beneath my feet. Winter is out in full force, seemingly out of nowhere. I'll just sit and think about the warmer temperatures while I sip my hot chocolate and more snowflakes fall from the sky. Stay warm out there!

124 Street

New Look, New Chef, New Dishes: North 53

November 09, 2014

The executive chef at North 53, Chef Ben Staley, said goodbye to the restaurant at the end of October in order to start his own venture. Chef Staley was known for his "progressive Canadian" cuisine and knack for producing one of the few tasting menus available in Edmonton. I had the chance to check out the tasting menu mid-October and I must say I can't wait to see what his new restaurant brings to Edmonton's dining scene.

North 53 - 10240 124 Street - Edmonton AB

But enough about the past, let's talk about the here and now. North 53 took a week off at the beginning of this month to prepare for a grand re-opening. There was quite a buzz stirred up with their promises of a "new look, chef and dishes." With a countdown to the evening of November 7th, my boyfriend and I knew where we would be spending our Friday night.


Nutty Ice Tea

Arriving at the restaurant 3 hours after their re-opening, the place was packed! To be honest I didn't expect the restaurant to be quite so busy later into the evening, so it was great to see all the excitement around the new menu offerings. "People who love to eat are always the best people" - this phrase at the top of the menu immediately caught my eye and I was drawn into what the menu had to offer. Gone are the days of tasting menus, as North 53's new dishes are separated into three categories: snacks, plates, and plates to share. Since we wanted to try as much as we could, we opted to share some snacks and plates, leaving the larger plates to try on a future visit.

First up to the table were the Chicharrones ($6) seasoned with dried scallops, mussels and salmon. Pembina Valley pork skin is cooked, dried and deep fried before seasoning, and a surprising amount of work goes into making this dish. Scallops and mussels are dried and ground as part of the seasoning, which also incorporates salmon katsuobushi, which is essentially salmon that is dried, cured and grated. I love the airy, crispy pig skin and contrary to what you may think, it isn't oily at all. There was a generous portion to be shared between two people and notes of umami flavours from the dried seafood came through.

The Marinated and Griddled Mushroom ($8) was our next snack of choice, served with a poached egg. A combination of crimini, shiitake, beech, and oyster mushrooms are featured in this dish and I really enjoyed the different textures of each. The mushrooms are first brined with Maggi sauce, grilled, then tossed with a pickled brown mustard seed and cold pressed canola oil from Mighty Trio Organics. A house made curry blend made with spices sourced from Edmonton's new Silk Road Spices is used to season the dish before a 63 degree egg yolk is placed on top. On their own I found the mushrooms to be a bit on the salty side, but the creamy egg yolk bound everything together made it a fun dish to poke at and eat with skewers.


Orgeat Fizz

For our mains we chose three plates to split between the two of us. First to arrive was the Carrot Salad ($12) with green cardamom goat cheese and pistachios. Locally sourced carrots are steeped and pickled for this dish, and I love visual appeal of the colourful carrots. The dish is tossed with olive oil and Saskatoon berry vinegar and topped with parsley, pistachio, and a carrot caramel made from carrot juices. Fairway farms goat cheese is mixed with green cardamom and a generous helping makes it on top of the salad. I wasn't expecting the cardamom to be prominent in this dish, but you can really taste it in every bite. I've always paired goat cheese with beets, so this creamy cheese paired with carrots was a fresh take for me.

Shrimp Chorizo ($15) was the next dish to our table, served with fried potatoes and ham broth. I had to do a double take then the dish arrived, because the shrimp almost resembled scallops to me! For this dish, half the shrimp is ground while the other is chopped, then seasoned with spices and formed into what would resemble a slice of a sausage. Each piece had the characteristic texture of shrimp and flavours like that of chorizo. Little fried potato chunks surrounded the plate and underneath the shrimp was a bed of braised savoy cabbage. The ham broth was made with prosciutto oil, stock, and sherry vinegar, but I wish there was a bit more in the dish as I couldn't quite taste it.

Our last plate was the Short Rib Glazed in Beer ($22) served with navy beans and bone marrow. This 12 oz. bone in short rib is cooked sous vide at 67'C for 24 hours and glazed with beef stock, Blue Buck Beer, Worcestershire Sauce and caramelized onions. The glaze was flavourful and gooey, but the real star of this dish is the melt in your mouth short rib. The navy beans that line the dish are cooked with bits of parsnip, carrot, onion, celery, butter and Dijon mustard. The beans are incredibly buttery (so, so good) and I love the change in texture with the different vegetables. The dish is finished with raw bone marrow, maldon salt and fresh thyme.


Rutabaga & Oxtail Tart

To round off our meal we picked out two desserts - the Blue d'Elizabeth ($12) and Iced Milk ($3/scoop). The Blue d'Elizabeth (not pictured) featured a beautifully marbled blue cheese from Quebec, a roasted BC Bosc Pear and a quick salad from greens grown in the Urban Cultivator. If you're a blue cheese lover, definitely go for that one. The naturally sweet flavours of the pear go incredibly well with the savoury blue cheese and the greens are there for some freshness. For myself, I personally enjoyed the Iced Milk as it was simple and light and dusted with Italian instant coffee for a fragrant kick.

At the end of my meal I was able to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen. It is extremely well organized and literally everything is labelled. There are so many neat gadgets and kitchen tools used on a daily basis, I feel like it would be fun environment to work and experiment in.

With a wider range of food options available at North 53, there’s something for everyone here. For a restaurant that fully embraces supporting local producers and sustainability, prices are very reasonable for the amount of work and attention to detail that goes into every plate. The list of craft cocktails alone can be a reason to visit, but it’s always the food that’s on my mind. Service is attentive without being overbearing, and all the servers know the menu very well. North 53 also offers a late night menu starting at 11:15 PM, and there’s some fried chicken on the menu with my name on it. Whether you’re going for dinner or a late night bite, check them out and let me know what you think!

North 53 on Urbanspoon

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