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


Off the Beaten Path: Bündok

February 09, 2017

With a new year comes the anticipation of new exciting restaurants. A handful of eateries have announced their intentions to open in and around the Ice District in early 2017, so there is plenty to look forward to this year. One of the latest to is Bundok - a trendy spot along 104 Street committed to celebrating the community and local ingredients.

Bundok - 10228 104 Street - Edmonton AB

Located in the Fox condo tower, Bundok (derived from the word Boondock - meaning rural place/off the beaten path) is a 40 seat restaurant with Chef Ryan Hotchkiss (Jack's Grill, Bar Bricco, Red Star Pub) at the helm. As you walk in you are greeted by a beautiful stocked bar followed by the open kitchen, both of which are surrounded by ample seating for post-work drinks or a casual dinner. Throughout the dining room, dim lighting and minimalist decor give the space an upscale feel perfect for a more intimate dining experience.

The menu at Bundok is separated into two sections - breads/tartines and larger plates. While the menu isn't extensive, there's enough variety between the plates that there will be something for everyone. Everything on the menu can be shared, so we started our evening with the four different tartines on the menu.

All the tartines are served on lightly crisped bread made in house. First up came the Grilled Apple Tartine ($9) featuring grilled Pink Lady Apples, Oka cheese, and clover honey. I've never bought into the appeal of combining cheese with apples, but the combination worked on this tartine. I loved the softened, grilled texture of the apples against the bread, and the sweetness of the honey paired great with the cheese.

The Lamb Merguez Tartine ($10) with mint salad and yogurt with baby kale arrived next. The tartines were topped with a generous amount of the sausage, which was well seasoned and not overly gamey. There were hints of the mint and yogurt, but I would have appreciated a bit more.

Next up came the Chicken Liver Tartine ($8) with onion jam and a sprinkling of coarse salt. The pate was very smooth and the sweetness from the onion jam helped bring out the flavour of the liver, while the bits of salt added a hint of savoury to balance out the sweet. The tartines themselves didn't look appetizing, but the flavours definitely made up for it.

Last but not least came the Beef Tartare ($11), which at first I didn't realize was served as a tartine. The tender cubes of beef had been mixed with egg yolk and pickled black mustard seeds before being garnished with a citrusy kale leaf. The beef was just lightly seasoned and I enjoyed the bits of acidity coming through from the mustard seeds.

Our last appetizer was the one that had the interest of the entire table the moment we first scanned the menu: Fried Chicken Skin ($8). Each order comes with two pieces of melt-in-your-mouth, crispy chicken skin. It's a salty, one-bite appetizer complemented well with a dab of honey mustard. You'll want to order enough for one piece per person because you would be a fool to share your piece with someone else.

For our dinner we opted to share three larger dishes off the menu amongst the four of us. Our first choice was the Pan Fried Trout ($25) served with carrots, great northern beans, and a rich beurre blanc. The trout was seared perfectly golden, giving it a nice crust before breaking away into the soft flesh of the fish. Unfortunately we found the dish to be underseasoned, and the beans could have been cooked a bit softer for my liking.

Our second protein dish was the Grilled Game Hen ($25), herb marinated and accompanied by charred cabbage, mushrooms, and wheat berries. I was happy to see wheat berries on the menu as they're a great Canadian grain and one that I feel are underappreciated. I love the chew and texture to them! Like the trout, our game hen was beautifully cooked, but again the other components of the dish could have used more seasoning.

As a side to our mains we ordered the Gnocchi Parisienne ($18) cooked in a brown butter sauce with roasted squash. The gnocchi looked amazing covered in a dusting of grated cheese. Each piece was a soft pillow of dough with a hint of nuttiness from the brown butter. Unfortunately, like our mains, a heavier hand could have been used in seasoning to make this dish truly stand out.

We ended our meal with one of each of the desserts available on the menu. The Chocolate Tart ($9) looked different from a typical tart, this one with a cookie-like tart base topped with a layer of dark chocolate and three little meringues. I found the base to be a little thick and dry for my liking, but appreciated that the tart wasn't overly sweet.

The Citrus Posset ($9) was my preference of the two. A posset is a cream-based pudding-like custard, similar to a panna cotta, but just a little heavier. Possets are also usually citrus-flavoured as they require acidity to thicken the cream. Bundok's version was silky smooth with a sharp, but not overpowering, hit of citrus. The posset was topped with chunks of apple, fennel, and earl grey syrup, all which added contrasting texture and contrasting sweetness. I would happily have a bowl of this dessert all to myself.

Fried Chicken Skin - salty, crispy goodness

I applaud Bundok's commitment to using and showcasing Canadian ingredients, so the menu will be changing seasonally to reflect availability of produce. I personally loved the feel of the space and it's a great spot for dinner before a concert or game at Rogers Place given that it's within walking distance to the arena. With so many restaurants coming into the Edmonton food scene, new restaurants will have to work hard to be noticed. Our dinner at Bundok had some hits and misses, but hopefully a bit of time will bring more consistency to the dishes coming out of the kitchen.

Bündok Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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