Everyone seems to be doing a “Year in Review”, so I thought I might as well take a stab at it myself.
It has been an extremely busy year for me as far as my day job is concerned. I ended up banking a whole pile of hours this past year. This means that I did not get to spend as much time as I would have liked dedicated to blogging. This equates to not as many invites to menu launches and special events which leads to some more hard work on my part to get out and get eating at Edmonton’s many new restaurants that have launched this year.
Not so much for blogging in 2015, but lots was going on for Twitter and Instagram. I actually reached my 2015 goal on Instagram for 1000 followers. Go me!
I was able to indulge in some old favourites this year as well as find some new ones. I would like to share my top five with you.
I finally had the opportunity to go and have breakfast at B’s one weekend and meet the lady that is a legend, Brenda Der. There were previously two “Bs” that made up B’s Diner now there can be only one! Brenda has taken the reins of the Diner and there are going to be some new and exciting menu changes that are coming up for 2016.
At B’s you will find traditional Diner fare as well as some menu items on special that are just good home cooking. The Tocino (Filipino) breakfast special is something that I highly recommend you try!
Not only does this lovely lady run the diner, she also runs a not-for-profit school lunch program for children, a yearly Christmas dinner for the less fortunate, Christmas hampers for needy families, Christmas meals for seniors and the women’s shelters… etc. Brenda has a huge heart and donates a lot of her time to charitable acts. Watch out for her campaigns throughout the new year.
Downtown Diner – Fort Saskatchewan
Keith and Lori of the Downtown Diner in Fort Saskatchewan are also wonderful people. It is a journey that is generally out-of-the-way for most people who live in Edmonton, but it is certainly worth the drive, and the wait at the doors.
Everything in the Diner is made from scratch. The red glitter vinyl and 50’s style décor completes the ambiance of an almost authentic Diner experience; the only thing missing is the actual streetcar!
My favourite at the Downtown Diner has to be the BLT. It is made with thick cut brown sugar bacon. All of the fixin’s are fresh. I always order a side of the Diner chips and an extra order to take home. I still haven’t had enough room for dessert, but will make it a 2016 goal to go!
Daravara – 124 Street
Daravara is my new neighborhood “go to” for some really great eats. Some of the staff, including the Chef, are transplants from Dadeo. It’s a great place to go for drinks and dinner after a rough day at work.
After eating here several times before and after my review, I can tell you that you now will need to wait for a table on a Friday or Saturday night. If Beth is working, sit in her section, she will take excellent care of you! The burnt honey and garlic cauliflower is still my favourite food item here; I am hoping they will keep it!
Fairmont Hotel MacDonald – Downtown
The Mac is still on my top list of favourites. Chef Jost and his staff are such wonderful hosts.
The Confederation Lounge is a little more on the casual side to enjoy some nice drinks and a beautiful view. The “Classics Perfected” cocktail menu that just launched a few weeks ago is something that you really need to go and try. The “Old Fashioned” has got to be my favourite here.
Privada Wine and Tapas – St. Albert
Privada was one of my favourites of 2014 with a wonderful meal that I got to experience from Chef Tony Krause. To make a long story short, Tony went on an adventure for a few months and is now back at Privada.
Privada has as many locally sourced and grown ingredients as possible. The charcuterie is cured in-house. Chef has done some foraging so knows his wild ingredients and his seafood; he supports sustainability. The owners are gracious and supportive of Chef.
For our anniversary dinner this year, we decided to switch it up a bit and go to a pop-up at Privada that was hosted by Chef Tony. We were not disappointed. This was my favourite meal of the year! There wasn’t one dish that I did not enjoy.
There are so many wonderful eateries in Edmonton that it is hard to experience every one of them. By supporting our local businesses, we support our local economy and help people flourish right here at home. I am guilty of “grab and go” when I don’t have time to eat properly. My goal for 2016 is to see how much more I can switch over to supporting local.
The three that I am most looking forward to in 2016;
The Buddha Boys are Chef Daniel Huber previously of the Pourhouse and Chef Levi Biddlecombe of “Attila the Hungry”. They launched at the end of the 2015 Food Truck season and had some great things going on. They have been busy with the launch of Hart House in Camrose the past few months. I can’t wait to see what they come up with in the new year. Completely my fault for them not being featured in my top five, I have been so busy with life that I have not had a chance to make it into Hart’s House. I am a huge fan of Chef Daniel’s gourmet creations! And Levi, I really miss those damn Duck Tots!
The Local Omnivore is back in a new incarnation of a licensed deli very close to home here in Edmonton. They previously had a Food Truck that had really great coffee and their own cured and smoked bacon. They have only been open a few weeks and I am excited to finally have the time to get over there and give them a try!
Duchess Bake Shop is opening up a breakfast eatery in the same plaza as The Local Omnivore boys. Duchess has gotten so busy that they have had to expand into a four bay location! If the pastries are to die for, I can only imagine what breakfast will be like!
Watch out for some blogs coming up on local charities that support feeding the city of Edmonton. Charities are also a passion, I have put in many hours this past year getting to know some really great people.
I hope that you and your loved ones have a very happy and healthy new year. Cheers to 2016!