Category: Family Dining

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

Sunworks Farm

Sunworks Farm

Sheila is very passionate when she talks 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.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend “Family Farm Day” at the beginning of September to see where my food comes from.  This is an annual event put on by Sheila and family where you can come out and meet everyone, have lunch and a farm tour.

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I am guessing there were about 800 people in attendance.  The weather was pretty crappy that day, so they cleaned out one of the winter chicken coops for everyone to gather in.  We had some lovely live entertainment while we were waiting.

Lunch was simple elegance.  Smoked chicken wings with organic salad and apples for dessert. It was delicious!

After lunch we got to see some happy animals!  The turkeys and chickens are about as “free range” as it gets.  They are in outdoor shelters, but the buildings are moveable. So they get to run around and just “be”.

All of the meat is processed on site.  Always treated respectfully. They gave their lives so that we could be nourished.  These folks have their family values that they live by and refuse to compromise quality.

If you are like me and have a hard time making it out to the farmer’s markets on the weekend, you can try Blush Lane Organic Market, or Planet Organic on Jasper Avenue to find the chicken, turkey, beef, pork and eggs.

You can taste the difference!

Twitter: @sunworksfarm

Instagram: https://instagram.com/sunworks_farm

 

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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Calle Mexico; A Neighbourhood Gem

Calle Mexico; A Neighbourhood Gem

Calle Mexico is a hidden gem located on 107 avenue and 111 street. Juan Taiango and Angelica Del Carmen started out in Edmonton with their food truck of the same name in May of 2015. It was so popular that they were able to open a tiny restaurant in March of 2016. This restaurant expanded to double the size on December 1, 2016 and they got a liquor license!

Juan is a red seal chef, the man behind all of the social media, and the face that you will see on the food truck. His partner Angelina is the sweet smile you will see at the restaurant when you pop in to enjoy some really great food. Both are from Mexico and have been in Canada for 8+ years now. They used to manage a Cora’s before they ventured out on their own.

Calle Mexico is truly unique. When you walk through those doors, you are greeted warmly; like walking into someone’s home as guests.  There is always some great music playing in the background.

Everything on the menu is FRESH! Juan and Angelina pride themselves in making everything from scratch on a daily basis. I love the salsa verde so much that I suggested Angelina should bottle it and sell it. When she explained to me that it was made fresh daily and would be so hard to get it to the customer as fresh, I think I finally understood.

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The menu is absolutely awesome, with a little of this and a little of that. The Foodtruck menu is also available on their website. My favourite is the Alambre Tacos with sirloin, bacon and ham.  The salsas are “help yourself” but my favourite is the salsa verde made with tomatillos.

The daily specials are also a “must try”.  Brisket tacos are amazing and Angy always has something sweet and wonderful made for dessert.  I highly recommend the tres leches cake (three milks cake).  It was absolutely delicious!

Now that they are licensed, they have cerveza, margaritas and tequila to add to the already awesome selection of Jaritos flavoured sodas, horchata and Jamaica (a drink made with hibiscus flowers).

Now that there is more room to sit, you can invite all of your friends to come and join you for some awesome food!  They are closed on Taco Tuesday unfortunately, but that is the only day that they are not open during the week.  If you have a large group, you may want to call ahead for reservations.

If you can’t make it down to the restaurant, they can deliver through Skip The Dishes.

Summer brings the food truck back to the streets, often seen in Leduc as that is where Juan and Angy live.  If you haven’t downloaded the Streetfood App yet, you really should!  You can find out Calle’s schedule as well as other popular trucks in the Edmonton area.

If you love Mexican food as much as I do, you really need to come down to the restaurant, or find the food truck and give these guys a try!

 

Calle Mexico Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sabor’s Sweetheart Supper

Sabor’s Sweetheart Supper

Sabor is a marvel that lives right here in Edmonton;  “classy with a family feel”.   It is listed as one of the top 100 restaurants in Canada for the “Open Table” reservation app.

Located near the Boardwalk in downtown Edmonton, Sabor is run by Chef Lino and his childhood friend Christian.  Chef Lino is very passionate about what he does, and influenced by growing up in Portugal.  Christian is the showboat of this partnership, and can sometimes be seen singing for the guests in the restaurant.  It is a treat, he has a lovely voice!

The food at Sabor “features the flavours of Iberian coastal cuisine using sustainable seafood—served alongside the passion and energy of live music with a Latin flare”.

The vibe can be casual or dressy.  There are always both when we go.

The live music is on Wednesday thru Saturday.  There is a grand piano or a musician of some sort to serenade you and your sweetheart during dinner.  Pro tip:  bring cash to tip the musicians.

You don’t need to be a seafood lover to visit Sabor, but it certainly helps!  Iberian coastal cuisine features a lot of seafood.  What is different about Sabor though, is that they use Oceanwise sustainable seafood.  This means that they are using seafood that is in season and not at risk of being extinct.  It was actually quite interesting to learn about, and I now ask before I order at other restaurants.

There are daily lunch specials listed on the website.  They are very good about keeping everything updated.  I would highly recommend phoning ahead and finding out what the “Family Style” dinner is that night.  It is a daily 3 course menu which is awesome to make into a date night with your sweetheart.  This is what my husband and I did for our last anniversary and it was awesome!  The price-tag is $55 per person, but worth every penny and you are not walking away hungry!

The “Family Style” meal is served exactly like you would have it at home.  The food comes out on a serving plate and you help yourself.  It really does make it feel like a more intimate meal than having it come out plated.  I love this about Sabor.

The food is amazing!  I am from the West Coast, so I am used to fresh seafood.   Sabor does not disappoint. The seafood is fresh and cooked to perfection.  It can be difficult to cook scallops, calamari and prawns.  A lot of restaurants tend to overcook and make them rubbery, which turns a lot of people off those particular items.  Chef Lino and his team only turn out perfection.  The Piri Piri Prawns and the Lobster Risotto were favourites at our table.

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The beverage list is equally amazing.  The “Chocolan” house wines are really good to this “not wine” palate.  Your servers are all very knowledgeable about what pairs well with what you are eating, so if you don’t know, just ask and they will give you some great options.

Let’s take a moment and talk about the service.  Our server the last time we went was named Darren,  he was amazing.  When he found out it was our anniversary, he went above and beyond.  He brought out a Triple Chocolate Slab on the house complete with sparklers, AND he took photos of us on our phones.  All of the servers at Sabor are attentive, taking care of every little detail and making you feel at home.

Sabor is on my “Special Occasion” favourites list.  If you have a special someone and you want to surprise them with a romantic date night, this is the place!

For more information, please give the website a look: http://www.sabor.ca

All of the menus and daily specials are online.