Category: Casual Dining

Amore Pasta – New Downtown Location NOW OPEN!

Amore Pasta – New Downtown Location NOW OPEN!

From the makers of Cafe Amore Bistro and the Black Pearl Seafood comes the new and improved downtown location of Amore Pasta.

Family recipes passed down from Italy will tantalize your tastebuds on this budget-friendly, build-your-own menu.  Yes, there is an Amore Pasta on the south side, but that location is just pasta and pales in comparison to the new downtown location.  They are open at 8 am for breakfast – yes, breakfast!

There is a lovely cappuccino bar to serve up some espresso and baked goods in the morning.  If you need something heartier, they have some signature omelettes available as well as the build-your-own versions.  Choose how many eggs you would like, add your choice of veggies, protein and cheese.  You can even choose to have a side of Amore hash (crumbled Italian sausage, cheddar cheese, green onions, mushrooms and peppers).  Can’t decide?  There are five signature Baked Eggs al Forno and omelettes to choose from.

Franchise? No!

The Crudo Family will have none of that!  They would love to have Amore Pasta all over the countryside, but they want to ensure quality over quantity.  They have a central “warehouse” location where the sauces etc. are made lovingly called “Papa Giuseppe’s”.   They are hoping to have more “in-house” made fresh pastas in the future.

Lunch and dinner will knock your socks off!

You can order a beer or wine to go with your dinner creation.  Make sure you try the fried lasagne bites with Papa Joe’s red sauce to start off with, they are very tasty!

This is similar to a Subway concept where you go up and order your food and bring it back to your table to enjoy.  Lunch can be quick, delicious and painless.

The “Return of the Mac” shall be triumphant.  They have 5 signature choices and the macaroni is made fresh daily.  “Pizza Me” is pictured in my slideshow; red onion, mixed peppers, crumbled Italian sausage, cheddar and mozza cheese.  This rib-sticking delight will surely satisfy.

Create Your Own Pasta starts out with the pasta and sauce, you add your choice of veggies, your protein and cheese.  Again, there are five signature pastas to choose from if you can’t decide or are in a hurry.  I couldn’t get enough of the “Sicilian”; made with homemade Strozzapreti, marsala cream sauce, green onions.  All of the flavours blend together beautifully.   It was a delight to eat.

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Where is it?

10235 101 Street, right in the Ice District.  There is a surface Impark parking lot located across the street but that can get pretty pricey during a game night.  There is also parking available in the tower which is much more reasonable.  Open at 8 am for breakfast and closes normally at 9 pm on weekdays.  Open at 11 am and close at 9 pm on weekends.  They will be adjusting hours to the crowd and are wanting to be open for food and drink after the games.

Gluten Free options available.

Since you are building your own meal, you have the option to pick items that are gluten free.  Your food is cooked right in front of you. Ask your server for details.

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Rendezvous Pub

Rendezvous Pub

As I reflect back on some of my favourite moments in 2018, a large quantity of them came from Rendezvous.

As well as being a food judge, I am also a huge metalhead. Rendezvous is like a second home to me.  Calvin, Dez and the rest of the staff have always been welcoming and it feels good to be recognized when you walk through the doors of your favourite pub.

The Vous has stepped it up a lot over the past year.  I can remember the good old days when there wasn’t a lot of choice for what you were drinking when you sat down to enjoy a live show.  Now there are local breweries available on tap. There is a great selection of bottles as well. This beer snob appreciates the chance to enjoy local.

Although the Vous is not renowned for its food, the wings are some of the best that I have been able to find in Edmonton.  Thoughtful right down to the finger bowls, which no one else in the city seems to do any longer. Wing night is Wednesday and they are 40 cents per wing with a minimum order of 12.  You can’t beat that deal!

There is a menu featuring a selection of your pub favourites.  Nothing fancy, just simple, delicious food. If you go for food, be patient.  The kitchen is always open, but there isn’t always a cook for the late night hours.

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Earlier this year, the City of Edmonton had proposed a plan where the building that houses the Vous was to be demolished and the LRT track was going to be built there.  This gave a lot of us in the community a huge panic attack. Calvin and the rest of the crew were not going to stand for it and went directly to City Hall to let them know this was not okay!  Thankfully the decision was rescinded. Way to go team Vous!

The Rendezvous is so supportive of the local live music community.  It’s not a huge venue, but they bring in some great talent and there is a live band just about every weekend.  Calvin is awesome about supporting local charities as well. The Christsmash Eve event complete with Church burning at midnight was awesome for us Christmas orphans. The Edmonton Food Bank was the charity of choice for the night.

I almost forgot about karaoke!  I’m too chicken to get up on stage myself, but I know most karaoke places don’t have a lot of metal on the playlist.  It’s cool to see your favourite front man from a local band belting out some karaoke tune. Only at the Vous.

And we can’t forget about Calvin… Calvin has been the Manager of Vous for as long as I can remember.  He is generally quiet and can appear a bit intimidating, but don’t let that fool you. He works hard for our little community and brings all of his wrestling and Dead Jesus experience to the table.  It’s much easier to book shows when you have actually put in the time on the stage. Thank you for all that you do for us Calvin!

I am looking forward to many more Wednesday Wing Nights with my crew in 2019 and can’t wait to see what awaits the Vous for live shows.

Check out the Vous this year where the wings are hot, the beers are cold and the shows are live!  Tell them YEGfoodie sent you.

Otto Food and Drink

Otto Food and Drink

Anyone that knows me, knows I am not a fan of what Christmas has become…  To me it is not about all of the commercialism and who buys what for whom.  It should be about celebrating with family and friends, spending time with loved ones and enjoying wonderful food and drink together.

Otto was started on that premise.  It was meant to be a gathering place for families and friends where you can enjoy some great Alberta craft beer and some great company.  The food was not the focus, but is still a wonderful part of the celebration that is Otto.

Owner Ed Donszelmann (previously of Culina Mill Creek) is the creative force behind this little neighbourhood Gem tucked away in the Norwood community.  The decor is simple and warm. There is an overhead garage door that can be opened for the summer months. Ed ads to the warmth of the space by being present and making his rounds.  He makes sure each guest is well taken care of.

The liquor menu has a lot to choose from.  The focus is on the beer, but there is a full bar and a wine list available as well.  There is something to quench everyone’s thirst, or to pair with the simply delicious food.

The food… You can clearly see Ed’s Dutch influence on the menu.  Otto’s specialty is Fuge Fine Meats which are now exclusively available only at Otto.  You may have experienced some of Steve’s sausage at one of the local markets. The sausages are flavourful, tender and delicious – even the vegan option!

For our visit we tried the “Otto Dog” and the vegan “Smoked Apple Sage” sausage.  Monday night is a great time to visit with $6 pints of beer and $6 sausages. The sausage is served naked with a small serving of sauerkraut and a home made pickle. If you want a bun for that bad boy, it’s only an extra $2.  The mustards that you have to choose from are also amazing. If I remember correctly, Red Head Condiments supplies them.

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I don’t normally like many versions of vegan/plant-based “meat”.  It is usually an awful texture and not that tasty. Fuge has managed to make a plant-based sausage that is the same texture you would expect from a normal, every-day meat sausage.  The flavours were nicely balanced, slightly smoky and delicious. I enjoyed a side order of the deep fried cauliflower.

My handsome dinner companion was nice enough to give me a taste of the Otto Dog; Sylvan Star smoked Gouda, caraway and fresh garlic are the standouts in this undeniably rich, flavourful sausage.  They are not joking with that description. Juicy, tender and delicious. He had the garlic herb fries with spicy mayo as his side.

I thought that between two of us we would be able to try a few options, but we tapped out after the single sausage and side.  Not even room for dessert! (I hear good things about dessert too though!)

Otto does focus on local suppliers and ingredients, you can see the loving detail that went into the menu with each item that is shared.  You can taste the difference.

Children are welcome at Otto.  Sundays they have a kids meal for only $5.  You won’t break the bank with a visit to Otto, the prices are very reasonable.

Grab a couple of friends and enjoy some great beer, food and sparkling conversation at Otto.

 

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/otto_yeg/

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ottofoodanddrink/

 

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/OTTO_YEG

Swiss 2 Go

Swiss 2 Go

Swiss 2 Go is one of those places in Edmonton that you kind of take for granted.  They have been in Edmonton serving Swiss style sandwiches and desserts since 2012.  I have had the pleasure of attending a couple of events catered by Swiss 2 Go but had never stopped by the storefront.  Their specialty is soup, sandwiches and dessert.

Narcity made photos of their teacup cheesecakes go viral and my dessert loving friend Brenna insisted that we make a girl date of it.

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I wanted to pop in and see what the rest of the menu was like before I invited all my ladies out.

My husband and I stopped by one evening for a sandwich and dessert.  Plenty of free parking available out front. When you walk into the café it is like walking in off the street into a grandmother’s kitchen.  Very cute knick knacks everywhere. It is an environment that feels very comforting. The menus are all handwritten chalkboards and selections rotate regularly.  There is a coffee bar, a selection of teas and always some citrus infused water available.

The sandwiches run around $10 – $12 for the smaller size.  Since we were there primarily to try the cheesecake, we opted for the smaller sized sandwich.  They are big!

The sandwiches are served on a bun that is a combination of brioche and pretzel.  It has a beautifully soft inside and that nice chewy crust with the kosher salt. You could almost put anything on that bun and call it delicious!  The sandwiches are made with such care and attention to detail, presented with a Swiss flag skewer to keep it all together. The fillings are made with quality ingredients and piled high.  I don’t know how anyone could finish one of the larger versions.

The teacup cheesecakes will run you $13.  Pricey? Not for what you get. They were almost too pretty to eat.  Once you get over the artistry and dig in, they are just as delicious as they are beautiful.  Hand made with quality ingredients. No artificial flavours or preservatives. We got to try one of the green tea versions and a fresh fig version.

When I spoke with the lovely Drita about bringing my group of ladies in, she was telling me that they have 150 different varieties of cheesecake.  She is always willing to create something new with the caveat that if it is popular, it goes on the menu! Drita was lovely enough to print me off the list of flavours so that I could let the ladies choose and order ahead.

It was exciting being able to see all of the flavours to choose from, but also a bit overwhelming because it may take me a couple of years to try them all!

We got our favourites picked and ordered in advance.  All of my ladies dressed up and wore their fancy hats.  We arrived – the place was PACKED! (this was Saturday afternoon)

PRO-TIP:  Swiss 2 Go does not take reservations!  We had no idea.

We finally managed to sweet talk another table into trading so that we could get two tables together which would be enough space to fit our large group.  Mission accomplished.

We enjoyed our mochas and lattes, and caught up on each other’s lives.  We had a delightfully lovely afternoon. The cheesecakes were heavenly. My flavour was honey lavender.  It was garnished with a sprig of dry lavender. So pretty.

Hicks on Six gave Swiss 2 Go a pretty amazing review and he can be a bit of a hard ass.  Budget and epicurean friendly. Go support local and give them a visit!

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Swiss2Go

 

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/swiss2go

 

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/swiss2go/

 

OSFM Quarterly Local Food Tour – Picnic Edition

OSFM Quarterly Local Food Tour – Picnic Edition

One of the most epic places in the city of Edmonton to be able to support your local small businesses, find sustainable and healthy food choices and get that “Farm to Fork” experience is the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market

The market started outdoors in 1983 in the space that is now the free parking.  It is now Edmonton’s largest year-round indoor market with approximately 10,000 people through the door each Saturday. 

A team of Edmonton bloggers was invited to a meet and greet with some of the local producers and farmers this past weekend.  This was their first “food tour” and they called it the “Picnic Edition”. 

It was an early start for some, but the market gets busy (and quite crowded) quickly.


After we were all introduced to our lovely Hostess, April, we were on our way to our first stop which was Sunworks Farm

Sheila was very passionate when she was talking about her farm and the way that the animals are treated humanely and respectfully.  Coming from an indigenous background myself, this is something that has always been important to me.  The animals should be treated well, killed humanely and we should use as many parts from snout to tail as we are able.  Sunworks does all those things. 

Their farm was started because their daughter had such severe allergies and food sensitivities that they needed to be able to grow their own food.  They started out feeding themselves and through a few requests started raising a little bit more, and a little bit more until it grew into what it is today.  No farming background.  Amazing! 

Free range, BCSPCA certified humane, grass fed, certified organic and “as close to nature as possible”.

These folks are passionate about their farm and their animals and it shows.  The end products are delicious, good for you AND celiac safe and allergy free.  The Chicken Moroccan sausages are so good. 

 

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Sunworks has an open farm day on September 3.  Go and meet the family, have lunch and get a tour.  You need to REGISTER to attend.  See you there!  

 


Our next stop is now one of my new favourite things to eat!  

Alex from Golomein Noodle House introduced us to his fresh, healthy and convenient meal packs.

There is always a lovely story on how every small business started and Alex’s story is inspiring as well:

“Our Dad developed the recipe initially 52 years ago where he worked the streets of Brunei, as a hawker trying to earn enough money to support a family of 10.  Struggling agains all odds, he developed the awesome recipe he would later bring to North America”.

He made his noodles only to serve his friends, family and coworkers charging them only for their gas and their time it took them to visit his home.  He even delivered packages to his mother who always looked forward to the tasty treat. 

The fabulous noodles caught on and before long, everyone wanted more.  People searched for the delicious meals, but they were at the mercy of whenever Dad felt like making them and his kitchen was the only place this amazing taste could be found.

Alex, the youngest was unable to sleep one night , so he decided to do a marathon session of watching 5 episodes of “Dragon’s Den”.  Tired of beating his head in the corporate world, he decided a change was in order.

It brought back memories of the work his Dad put into his noodle recipe that he created over 50 years ago.  The noodles were so good that Alex’s childhood friend, Paris, would rid his way too small bike halfway across the city just to eat the noodles. 

Recognizing the incredible opportunity before him, he immediately told his 2 brothers, Albert and Allen.  Alex’s enthusiasm was infectious and it didn’t take much convincing to persuade his 2 siblings to join his quest to bring their dad’s noodle recipe to the masses.  All 3 brothers were excited about continuing their beloved Dad’s legacy and making noodles for future generations.”

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For the meal packs, the noodles are lovingly prepared and then packaged in a neatly folded square of butcher paper.  They are then frozen.  They are sold individually ($11) or in packages of 5 ($50).  You simply pop the frozen package, paper and all in the microwave for 5 to 6 minutes and then unfold the package to open and enjoy!  You don’t even need to transfer the contents to a plate or bowl.  They are available in beef or pork.  

If you crave them like I do, the family has a restaurant waaaaay in the south with a more varied menu. Worth the drive!


Next stop was Mojo Jojo Pickles and Preserves.  Johwanna has been an Edmonton staple for many years now.  She is definitely a pickling artist and knows how to make the vinegar bend to her will!

Salted caramel pear butter… Do I even need to say anything else?  We were treated to some very lovely marscapone grilled cheese sandwiches with some equally lovely pear butter to dip it in.  This was simply joy on the tongue!  The pear butter would go well with so many things, as do many of her pickled veggies.  Charcuterie anyone? 

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Johwanna was also sampling “Shrubs” which is a drinking vinegar.  I had no idea how tasty they are.  I am a new fan!  

If you can’t make it to the market, Johwanna has a store on the website where you can purchase most of the products. 


Nancy from Market Pizza was our next stop.  “Delicious take & bake pizza made with the finest ingredients”.   The booth smells amazing!  They offer samples all day. 

If you would like to make your own creation, they also offer frozen, ready-made crusts.  They have a secret recipe that makes it the lightest pizza crust that I have ever come across. It is not a thin crust, but it is light and airy, almost like the dough is whipped before baking.  

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The take & bake pizzas are frozen and are $15 each.  There are some amazing flavours available and it will be a different mix every Saturday at the market.  I tried the Bacon Cheeseburger and the Donair pizzas.  It was like you were eating a cheeseburger or a donair, just a flat version without the traditional bun or wrap.  Both of them were delicious, but my favourite out of the two was the donair pizza.  A donair eating experience without all the mess!  

I can’t wait to get my hands on another.  


Monica with Rainbow Acres was our next stop.  Berry farm extraordinaire!! 

How Rainbow Acres farms differently:

From Dave’s own market garden specific equipment to their modified old granary pack house, Dave and Monica are masters at making use of materials to fit their needs. This kind of instinctual innovation is part of what makes their operation so unique.

Their incredible variety of crops is a result of their eagerness to try anything new that comes to their attention. They like to “dabble” in many crops to see what will thrive on their land and add to their already diverse produce offerings. Anytime something new comes up, they want to try it out.

When they started in 1989, Dave and Monica were cautioned against doing fruits and veggies at the same time because their harvest seasons overlapped. While it can be an intense work load, they’ve been making it work for years. While most of their fruit is used in processing their delicious jams, jellies and juices, in her commercial kitchen Monica also processes many of the veggies that are leftover from market. To make sure none of their product ever goes to waste, Rainbow Acres regularly donates left over fresh produce to the Edmonton and Leduc Food Banks.

And those are just the Coles notes!  Rainbow Acres is famous for their carrots, but they have a wide selection of preserves to choose from at the market.  These are some hard working farmers!  

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I used to help my Grandmother with the canning, pickles and jam.  It’s a lot of hard work!  Rainbow Acres makes it easy for you to stock up for the winter and to pop a few of their products into a gift basket at Christmas time (its close folks!) 


Martina’s Vegan House, where veggies are sexy, is up next. 

I got the impression that the Peanut Brittle is what Martina’s passion is.  Vegan Peanut Brittle is available in the regular version, or the spicy version.  The spicy version is amazing.  

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Martina has frozen vegan meals, soups and stews at her booth for all of you folks that are passionate about plant based eating!


Doef’s Greenhouses visit was a bit of an eye opener.  The family has been farming since 1979.  What is grown today is all done hydroponically in greenhouses which allows vegetable production all year round.  Currently the greenhouses span 11 acres and employ 50 people. I had no idea that we even had such an operation near Edmonton.  

Tomatoes are what they started with, their grape tomatoes are juicy and full of flavour. The main crops continue to be Long English cucumbers, mini cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers, with small amounts of eggplant and hot peppers as well.

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Birds & Bees Organic Winery and Meadery was the next stop.  My Grandfather kept bees so I was fortunate to see the whole process of how the honey was extracted from the hives.  A sweet treat for me as a child was to be able to chew on the beeswax that had a bit of honey left behind.  As an adult I still love the smell of beeswax and used to be obsessed with making candles. 

From the website: 

“Birds & Bees Organic Winery and Meadery straddles the fine line between naughty and nice – and sometimes more. Flirtatiously flavored and seductively styled, our full-bodied wines and mead are always up for a one night stand or an evening rendezvous. 

But, you can’t have your Marilyn Monroe without your Jackie-O.

A little restraint can make a true romance.

So how do you like it? The purity and innocence of the Bird? Or the seductive tease of the Bee?”

The statement above from the website sums things up quite nicely.  Naughty names like “Kinky Cranberry” and “Big Tease Raspberry” adorn the bottles.  If you visit the website, it gives you the sassy profile of the wine and tells you what it pairs best with.  

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The wines and meads are available at some liquor stores in Edmonton. Liquor Connect can help you find them! 


Ben was next up with Farm Fresh Lamb/Blacksheep Farm 

Another reason why I love the farmer’s market: Sustainably grown & humanely treated without the use of animal by-products or growth promotants.  No antibiotics, no animal by-products.  The sheep are fed a mixture of oats, barley, yellow peas and alfalfa hay grown on the farm in the Peace Country, and allowed to pasture graze during the summer months.

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I find that when you treat the animals well and give them a good diet, the meat tastes much better.  With lamb, if it is butchered properly, it doesn’t have that “gamey” taste that a lot of people complain about.  I am going to be looking up all kinds of lamb recipes now!  

 


Last, but certainly not least was Sean from Mighty Trio.  (no website)  From Organic Box:
 
“Mighty Trio Organics is a family owned and operated business located on a beautiful acreage just outside of Redwater Alberta. They are both a manufacturer and distributer of highly nutritious, fresh foods such as hemp, flax, and canola oils. This allows them the opportunity to interact directly with customers and seed producers. By bringing people closer to the farms where their food is grown they are able to provide the freshest, most nutrient rich foods available. Mighty Trio Organics values the environment and supports local businesses, which is why they only use seeds that are grown as close to their facility as possible. By supporting Mighty Trio Organics you are also supporting local farmers and because their products have not traveled great distances, you are also making a friendlier choice for our planet. Mighty Trio Organics provides you and your family with the fats, fibers, proteins and nutrients essential for healthy bodies and minds. To your good health!”

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Smoke Point” is a thing.  Hemp is not recommended for frying.  Canola on the other hand has a pretty high smoke point compared to other oils.  So the hemp and flax oils are great for salad dressings etc.  In fact Culina has done a collaboration project with Mighty Trio to make their salad dressing. 

This food tour was an absolutely wonderful experience.  It gave me the opportunity to get to know the people behind the brand.  I am very passionate about shopping local, but not necessarily someone that will approach the owners to get to know them.  This was very informative and very fun.  

I look forward to meeting more of the vendors for the next round, and sharing them with you! 

 

Welcome to Canada Bubba Gump!

Welcome to Canada Bubba Gump!

Today at 11am, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company opens the doors to it’s first restaurant in Canada.

I was shocked to find out that there are only 28 restaurants across the United States.  The company has a relationship with the Mall of America, so West Edmonton Mall turned out to be a logical choice.  If you haven’t been to the mall in a while, Bubba Gump is located on the upper level near the Scotiabank Theatre. (Above RAAS for those of you that shop local!)

If you haven’t seen the movie “Forrest Gump“, you really should.  This restaurant is themed around the movie.  For the preview, they had a lovely gentleman playing Forrest who was greeting all of the guests, taking selfies with everyone and generally being an incredible conversationalist.  I manipulated the conversation into:

“You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.”

He didn’t quote verbatim, but he nailed it!  Forrest was such a nice touch for our preview evening.

The menu has a very southern Louisiana feel to it; with a bit of spice and a big dash of southern hospitality!  There is a kid’s menu as well – this is a family friendly environment.

I found out that each restaurant’s “kitsch” is hand picked.  They actually search garage sales and various other places to find all of the objects that adorn the walls of each restaurant.  I noticed some signage that was local.  The attention to detail in the environment lends itself to the total experience.  If you ignore the fact that you are in WEM, you can almost smell the salty air off of the ocean when you sit.

The food is presented beautifully.  There are a LOT of ways that you can prepare shrimp.  There are chicken, ribs and steak on the menu if you are not feeling the shrimp selections.  This is a restaurant that specializes in seafood though, so be prepared.

The food and the cocktails were fantastic.  I didn’t get a chance to take a peek at the beer menu, but it does sound like there is craft beer available.  The staff were so friendly and attentive that you feel that southern hospitality.

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OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:

EDMONTON, ALBERTA – Landry’s is excited to announce Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. will open its 15th international location in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on Thursday, June 28. The new restaurant will be located within West Edmonton Mall – North America’s largest indoor shopping destination.

“West Edmonton Mall presents a great opportunity for our brand. It is a unique attraction that brings a large, diverse group of tourists and locals through its doors daily,” said Jim Dufault, Chief Operating Officer of Landry’s. “Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is recognized around the world for its entertaining atmosphere, family-friendly service and quality seafood. We look forward to bringing our famous charm and hospitality to the Edmonton community.”

Inspired by the Paramount Pictures’ hit film “Forrest Gump,” Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. presents a down-home, family-friendly dining experience that perfectly captures the charm and American spirit that made the film a smash hit. Each location offers a taste of southern hospitality, friendly service made efficient with its famous “Run Forrest Run” and “Stop Forrest Stop” license plate signs, as well as scenes from the film played throughout the entire restaurant. It also offers interactive movie trivia, a retail market with regionalized merchandise and the iconic ‘Box of Chocolates’ for purchase, as well as photo opportunities with the famous Shrimp Louie mascot and replica bus benches near the front entrance.

Today, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. remains the first and only theme restaurant chain based on a motion picture, serving patrons around the world including Bali, Cancun, Hong Kong, London and Tokyo among many others, as well as major destinations across the United States like Universal CityWalk – Orlando, FL and Hollywood, CA; Santa Monica Pier in California; Times Square in New York City; the Las Vegas Strip; Navy Pier in Chicago; Mall of America; Miami, FL; and San Francisco’s Pier 39.

Known for its quality seafood, the restaurant offers 19 different preparations of shrimp, as well as an exciting variety of fish entrees, steak and chicken dishes, crisp salads, fun kid’s meals, creative desserts and award-winning ribs. Signature menu items include guest favorites such as Coconut Shrimp, Dixie-style Baby Back Ribs plus appetizers like Poutine, Bubba’s Far Out Dip, Shrimper’s Net Catch and the Run Across America Sampler featuring a taste of all of the appetizer favorites. Guests can also enjoy popular entrees like the Grilled Seafood Trio, Jenny’s Catch with Lobster Butter Sauce or the Jambalaya.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. will be located on Level Two of West Edmonton Mall, overlooking the famous Santa Maria – an exact replica of Christopher Columbus’ flagship that sailed to the Americas in 1492. West Edmonton Mall is home to more than 800 stores and services, including nine world-class attractions, two hotels, the widest variety of one-of-a-kind retailers, and entertainment for all ages. The new location will be open SundayThursday from 11 AM – 10 PM and FridaySaturday from 11 AM – 11 PM. For more information, please call 780-244-4867 or visit www.bubbagump.com 

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The Beer Factory

The Beer Factory

Once upon a time there were a bunch of guys that wanted to start up the craft beer industry in Edmonton.  They all got together and opened up a small brewery in St. Alberta and called it Hogshead. They made some wicked pumpkin spice beer.

Run badly was an understatement.  The 2015 end of Hogshead was an embarrassing mess.  The unfortunate end still continues to add backlash to the new establishment “The Beer Factory”.

Patrick Spilstead was a graduate from the NAIT culinary program that was hired in 2014 to head the kitchen of Hogshead.  When the whole thing derailed, Patrick and his father Richard rescued the operation and turned it into what is now “The Beer Factory”.

They were first on my radar after an event where they were networking and my boss from the Edmonton Muse had a pamphlet on her table.  I perused it and added it to my “hit list” of places to visit. They are most certainly a hidden gem.

Patrick is cooking today because of an unfortunate accident.  He was raised in a family that had a strong culinary background but he went to pursue being a Mechanic.  The accident would plague him with knee problems, so he found himself shifting focus – to culinary.

He was with Chop for several years and disliked the corporate environment of the kitchen.  On to smaller and better things with The Beer Factory.

Everything on the menu is infused with beer or moonshine.  You have some gastropub favourites, and then there are some awesome comfort food options as well, like spicy beef stroganoff.  Note: the menu has changed from what is posted on the website. The daily specials are still the same.

My first visit was because I had to try the Friday Prime Rib Special for $9.99.  That got me in a seat to see the menu and try one of their craft brews, the “Dark and Malty”.  This has become one of my favourite local brews. Not available anywhere but in their taproom. It has the darkness of a stout, but the smoothness of a lighter ale.

They also make a Mosaic Pale Ale, a “hop oriented beer that is a bit tamed”.  I’m not an IPA girl personally. I have not tried this one.

The ambience is casual.  This is more of a pub feel.  The staff are friendly and attentive.  There is a patio area for summer time and an overhead door to let the fresh air in.  You are in the middle of an industrial area in St. Albert, so there isn’t a pretty view.

The Prime Rib was delicious.  They were also putting out information for a special Valentine’s dinner that was taking place in a couple of weeks.  I read over the menu and completely swooned, and made reservations immediately. Patrick was let loose and given full creativity!

The Valentine’s Dinner was AMAZING!

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We had the Elk Carpaccio; thinly shaved Elk tenderloin seasoned with lime and cracked black pepper.  This was absolutely delicious and delicate. What a great way to get the taste buds ready for the rest of the meal.

Ginger Peach scented pork with mango chutney; pork tenderloin rolled in ginger peach tea, served with house made mango moonshine chutney.  This dish paired so well with the wild rose mead that was suggested.

Dessert was raspberry and white chocolate creme brulee, chocolate dipped strawberries and moonshine cherry tea cookies.

Patrick knocked it out of the park!  The whole meal was culinary heaven. The price tag on this experience was $50 for two. Beverages were not included, but what a great deal! I can’t wait until they do the next special event.

I was able to have a chat with Richard.  He is Patrick’s dad and co-owner of the brewery.  Richard is also a Chef. They like to source the menu locally whenever possible.  He was also telling me that they do BBQ in the summertime and they have a huge rig to be able to do mobile BBQ catering. That will be another article in the future for sure!

We have been back a few times to enjoy food and beer.  The taps rotate with local craft favourites and the two brews that The Beer Factory produces on their own.

Fun fact; they are the smallest craft brewery in Western Canada!

Advice for your visit:

  • Ignore the ratings.  There were a lot of angry customers with the whole Hogshead disaster.
  • Be patient!  The kitchen is small and there are a lot of regular customers.  Good food takes time. It will be worth the wait!
  • Try one of their brews!  They may not be geared towards everyone’s palate, but they are definitely worth a taste.

Website:
https://www.beerfactory.rocks/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Beerfactoryinc/

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/beerfactoryinc/

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Stump Kitchen Collaboration

Stump Kitchen Collaboration

When I was messaged by Alexis Hillyard of Stump Kitchen on Twitter proposing a collaboration, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I agreed.  This is a good thing!

I love people that are able to just let loose and have fun.  Admittedly, that is not always me.  I am very introverted, so making an ass of myself does not come easily.  Alexis is one of these people.  She is awesomely comfortable in her own skin and just an all-around beautiful human being.

Alexis really likes to work with kids, and it shows!  Stump Kitchen is her career, and besides making the Youtube videos, she also does cooking classes with adults and children alike.

Youtube recently went through a whole monetizing shit-storm with all of its makers.  People that were previously monetized channels are having to figure out other ways to get viewers and subscribers.  YouTube completely changed their platform and their algorithms. This is where Patreon comes in.

A lot of YouTubers have started using Patreon to make money on their videos.  You can become a patron by donating a few dollars a month and get rewards from the artist in return.  Rewards will vary according to the artist and the amount that you are subscribing with.  This also enables them to get things that they need to produce the art (cameras, video recorders, editing equipment, etc.) Alexis has all of this set up on her Patreon page.

The Stump Kitchen channel is vegan and gluten free.  Being a meatatarian myself, it was an adventure looking for a recipe that we could make together.  I have tried doing the whole vegetarian diet, but my health started to decline as I am unable to digest most raw vegetables.

My latest obsession is the Instant Pot.  It is the cooking gadget that everyone is raving about.  It is a pressure cooker, or a slow cooker depending on what you want to do with it.  It can make meals super quickly and saves a bunch of space in your kitchen. They are also better for the environment because they use less electricity and less water for cleanup. I bought one with Christmas loot and very impatiently waited for it to arrive. Sno-maggeddon stopped parcel delivery for several days in early January.  I researched the hell out of it while I waited for it to arrive, so I already had a reference book and a recipe book compiled for the arrival.

Alexis had also received an Instant Pot for Christmas and had been too afraid to open it and try it. A lot of people are too afraid to open it and try it.  The very first recipe I tried was actually the one that Alexis and I used as well.  “The Butter Chicken Lady” came up with the recipe and published a vegan version as well as one with chicken.

So I packed up my Instant Pot and dragged my butt through an insane blizzard to record my episode with Stump Kitchen: Vegan and Gluten Free Butter Chicken

SUPER EASY INSTANT POT BUTTER CHICKEN

For the rice:

1 cup aged basmati rice, rinsed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter chicken:

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced ginger (minced and jarred is easiest)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (minced and jarred is easiest)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2-1 teaspoons cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons good-quality garam masala, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, left whole (We used vegan “mutton” from Orii Vegan Market)
4 ounces butter, cut into cubes (use coconut oil, if dairy free)
4 ounces heavy cream (use full-fat coconut milk, if dairy free)
1/4-1/2 cups chopped cilantro

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients for the rice, place in a 6 or 7-inch heat-safe pan, and set aside.

Place tomatoes, ginger, garlic, chicken, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, salt, 1 teaspoon of the garam masala, and cumin into the inner liner of your Instant Pot.

Mix the sauce a bit, then place the chicken.

You are putting in everything except the butter, cream, cilantro, and 1 remaining teaspoon of garam masala. Mix well.

Place a tall steamer rack/trivet on top of the chicken mixture, and place the uncovered bowl of uncooked rice on the rack.

Press the Manual or Pressure cook button, set the timer to 10 mins, and cook. Once it is done cooking, allow the pot to cool for 10 minutes, undisturbed. Then, release all remaining pressure and open the pot.

Remove and set the cooked rice aside. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Using an immersion blender, blend together the sauce until it is smooth. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the cut-up butter, cream, cilantro, and garam masala.

Remove half the sauce and freeze or refrigerate for later.

Break up the chicken into bite-size pieces, add it to the sauce.

Serve with rice.


As you can see from the video, it was super easy to make and a lot of fun being in Stump Kitchen.  The recipe is a good one, it is also super tasty.  There is usually enough sauce left over to coat a second batch of rice.

It is super important to rinse the rice, it will turn out crunchy if you miss this step.  If you don’t have a trivet with handles, construct yourself a “sling” made from tinfoil so that you can take the rice pot out easily. My rice pot was purchased from a local Asian market.  It was a stainless spice container with a lid.  It is actually 8 inches in diameter and it will fit the Instant Pot.

I hope that you enjoy the recipe, I look forward to giving you some more recipes, Instant Pot and more!  Please “like” and “subscribe” to Stump Kitchen for more vegan hilarity.

I am also hoping to work again with Stump Kitchen in the future!

Like and follow on FACEBOOK

Follow on INSTAGRAM

Be a Patron on PATREON

Please take a moment and rate the recipe if you have tried it!

Native Delights

Native Delights

Here is a little sharing about me…

I am at least ¼ Cree on my father’s side.  My family always told us not to tell anyone about our Aboriginal roots because we would be looked at differently.  I never met my Kookum and that fact makes me sad. I was too young when she passed to know any different.

My father was adopted by his Aunt.  This is the lady that I grew up to call Grandmother.  She was a wonderful lady that raised my Dad and his brother as her own.  She had a huge heart and did a lot of charity work throughout her lifetime.  I really looked up to her. Out of respect, I waited until I was an adult and she had passed to do any kind of searching on my family history.  The first search I did came to a dead end because my Dad’s adoption records were sealed, even though I could identify myself as his daughter.

It struck me really hard as a kid in elementary school.  My brother looks very Aboriginal, looks very much like my father. I got the German looks from my Mom’s side; blonde hair and blue eyes.  Chief Dan George was coming to our school to do a presentation and a healing circle. All the Aboriginal children were allowed to attend and take time off of their regular classes to go.  I asked my teacher but was denied because I “wasn’t aboriginal”. My brother got to enjoy meeting a man that I had looked up to my whole life. I never did get to meet him before he passed a short time later.

That struggle continued for me my whole life.  Wanting to learn, wanting to belong but never fitting in.

Fast forward to meeting Ian and discovering Native Delights

It wasn’t just a restaurant and it is not just a kiosk.  It is an experience.

Ian was born in Treaty 8 territory.  When all the other kids wanted to grow up and play hockey or become doctors or scientists, Ian wanted to cook.  It spoke to him. He did go out and work in the oil patch like just about every Albertan does at some point in their life.  His dream was always to cook, to open that restaurant and he never swayed from that path. Ian overcame a lot of adversity to be where he is today, and I have nothing but love and respect for him and his family.  They are amazing human beings.

When I first experienced one of his bannock burgers, I was hooked from the delicious tastes and textures that hit me.  I am also one of those people that quietly observes (introverted) and you can see the people enjoying themselves and friends going up to talk to Ian.  It was good energy all around.

When Ian got to open a brick and mortar restaurant, I was thrilled!  Now there was flavoured bannock and locally made medicinal teas, stew and more.  I liked how there was no liquor on the menu and it wasn’t even something that Ian was considering.  The atmosphere here was one of family. When you stepped into the restaurant for dinner, many of the people there knew each other.  It was relaxing to be able to enjoy a meal with my family in a space filled with such positive energy.

The restaurant closed its doors a couple of years ago.  I miss it. Native Delights went back on the road with the trailers to different events.  I enjoyed the bannock when I could.

2017 brought back the Native Delights kiosk and “Pânsâwân”.  “Pânsâwân” is traditional dry meat. (Elder Approved!) Thin strips of Buffalo meat that are smoke to dry them.  No salt, no added preservatives. If you like a nice smoky flavour without all the crap that is in commercial jerky, then you really need to get yourself some Pânsâwân.  It is available at both kiosks. The smaller size is $20 and there is a lot of jerky for your money, and much healthier for you!

The kiosk in the Super Flea Market in Edmonton has a separate store area with the Pânsâwân, some products from local makers and Mother Earth Essentials.  I do need to give praise to Mother Earth Essentials. I first discovered their products on a trip to Ft McMurray. The hotel I was staying in uses their shampoo and conditioner in the rooms.  I looked them up and found out that they were Edmonton based and immediately went and bought items for home. Her products are AMAZING. I can see why Ian supports her. Give the store a visit.  The Peppermint and Sage line makes your scalp feel so good.

2018 brought the first franchise for Ian and family.  The Super Flea Market location is now owned by the lovely Melissa, who will be sure to uphold the same quality as Ian would himself.  I attended the grand opening of the kiosk on February 24th.  They know how to put on a party!  It all opens with a prayer… There was free bannock and stew, face painting for the kids, singers and drummers and so much more.  I was sad that I couldn’t stay longer. The place was super busy and the energy was amazing! The drummers overflowed my heart with pride and brought tears to my eyes.

I got to congratulate Ian briefly as he was very busy and also got to meet Melissa.

The menu at the Super Flea kiosk is a little different.  They took over a kiosk that had been there for years churning out breakfast, pub type foods and ice cream. They decided to keep all of these flea market favourites and add the Native Delights menu to it as well.  From what I can see, it works for this space!

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The Bison Bannock Burger is my favourite and the Indian Taco is a close second.  If you follow the Facebook Page, they are very good about getting the daily specials out there for the Athletic Club kiosk.  If you haven’t experienced bannock yet, this is a great place to get started. Their bannock is pretty damn good.

If you see Native Delights out and about on the streets of Edmonton this summer, be sure to stop and grab a burger.  A great local business that supports other great local businesses.

Thank you Ian for all that you do for the Aboriginal community here in Alberta.  Âyihây!

Website:
http://admin5005.wixsite.com/nativedelights

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/nativedelightsfnc

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/NativeDelights

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/nativedelights/

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The Northern Chicken Ultra Hot Sandwich Challenge

The Northern Chicken Ultra Hot Sandwich Challenge

Northern Chicken.  A favourite in both my family and my workplace.  Soul food brought to a whole new level by Chefs Matt Phillips and Andrew Cowan.  The food amazing, but they also have a great selection of craft beers, local spirits and whisky for you to enjoy.  Not only do they make my tastebuds sing, but they are also wonderful human beings that generously support a lot of local community initiatives.

When I saw the “Ultra Hot Sandwich Challenge” come up on my Facebook feed, it was too late to get my husband in. The sandwiches are limited and labour intensive.  I really wanted to see for myself though, so asked if I could tag along and watch the action.

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