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Rosario’s: Go for the Karaoke, Don’t Stay for the Food

Rosario’s: Go for the Karaoke, Don’t Stay for the Food

We used to go to Rosario’s on a weekly basis, it was in our ‘hood and the manager at the time knew us by name. We mostly went for the wings and the pint specials that were on during happy hour.

We had stopped going because the service was always hit and miss.  The bar took away all of the specials on the food menu, and the quality of the food went downhill fast.  Who wants to pay $11 for 12 wings that have been fried so long that there is nothing left to them?

Just for nostalgia’s sake, we thought we would go back and give it another try.  We heard that the management had changed.  The place was empty with the exception of a group of pool players.

Go to Rosario’s for Karaoke and pool.  They have a decent selection of brews on tap.  Rosario’s is popular on the weekend for it’s Karaoke “bible”.  There are a lot of songs to choose from and it is usually a fun night out with friends.  Due to the popularity though, you will usually only get a few chances to sing.  The queue can get quite long with the weekend regulars.

Don’t go to Rosario’s for the food.  It is average pub food at best, with above average pricing.  You just don’t get the same quality that you would be paying for at a similar pub.  The menus have not been re-printed or changed in years.  They used white-out to cover up the old prices and the new prices are hand written.

There were 7 of us.  The kitchen managed to mess up 3 of the seven meals:

The patties on the burger were of the frozen variety.  He asked for no condiments – he got all kinds!

The Philly Cheese Steak was served lukewarm and he still got onions when he had asked for none.  The solution offered was to microwave the sandwich and bring it back out. My guest just refused the sandwich and went home hungry.

The “house made” lasagne I suspect was a frozen product as well because it was also served cold in the middle.

Service was also an issue on this visit.  Empty glasses and plates littered the table.

Will I ever go back for the food?  No.  I have been disappointed too many times.

Will we go back for Karaoke on the weekends?  More than likely, yes.  We will make sure we are properly fed before we go!

Rosario's Pub Karaoke Central on Urbanspoon

Hawkers Market Comes to Edmonton

Hawkers Market Comes to Edmonton

Hawkers Market is based in Vancouver, BC.  They have most recently set their sites on Edmonton as a place to launch their event.  A Hawker Centre or “Cooked Food Centre” is usually in an open-air market format.  Thanks to our lovely Alberta weather, this particular version of the market was held indoors.

Hawkers Market’s Edmonton edition was held in the Mercer Warehouse basement.  If you are a patron of the “Mercer Collective” popup events featuring local artists, then you are familiar with the space.  The walls have some great graffiti art that gives the space that “underground” ambiance.  The market’s intention is to introduce food makers to the consumers to help launch local businesses.  All done with some great live DJ’s and some of the city’s best and future best eateries.

With Hawkers Market, you pay an admission fee to cover the rental of the venue and the entertainment.  You need to bring cash for payment for the dishes and the wares from the vendors.

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23rd Annual Chili Cook Off – River City Roundup

23rd Annual Chili Cook Off – River City Roundup

When I worked downtown, I would always make sure I had the afternoon off to attend the RCR Annual Chili Cook Off. The shear creativity and flavour that go into some of the creations that you can sample were simply mind-boggling. You go and purchase your bowls, pick the ones that you would like to sample and enjoy! You could even vote for your favourite.

This year I get to do things a little differently… Sadly, I don’t work downtown any longer.  I do have the best boss around at my new day job, and she gave me the go ahead to take the afternoon off to be a special blogger guest at this year’s cook off!  <Insert Happy Dance Here>

This year the event will take place in Churchill square underneath the big tops. The event will take place from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Friday, November 1st. This year there are 19 contestants:

Now if some of those names don’t get you excited to try this culinary experience, you may not be a foodie!

There are four different categories that we will be basing our tasting opinions on.

  • Best Locally Grown Chili – This award is given to the highest scoring chili cooked with locally grown ingredients.  Fifty percent of the ingredients MUST be produced in Alberta.
  • Best Vegan/Vegetarian Chili – This award is presented to the highest scoring chili cooked with only vegan or vegetarian ingredients.
  • Best Overall Chili – The highest scoring chili takes home this trophy.
  • Best Booth Decor – This award is given to the competitor who has the most creative decor, unique names and best crowd engagement.  Judges will select their top three and the booth with the most points will win.

Social media of course is an important aspect of any blogger’s assignment.  I would love to hear your opinions if you can join us for the competition.  The Twitter hashtag for the event is #rcr13.  My Twitter handle is @yegfoodie – let me know what you think about your samples!

**From Yelp.ca:

River City Round Up (@RiverCityRndUp) is a 10-day celebration of Edmonton’s agriculture and western heritage that takes place with events across the city from November 1 – 10. Whether you’re from the city or the country – or you’re just a country kid at heart…this is an opportunity to get your cowboy on through music, food, edutainment and good ol’ fashioned country fun with events across the city.

Two of Northland’s signature events will also be taking place during RCR including the 40th anniversary of Farmfair International from November 3-10 and the adrenaline pumping Canadian Finals Rodeo from November 6 – 10.

Come on down to Sir Winston Churchill Square on Saturday, November 2 for the official Kick-Off Celebration of the week with a day of free family fun beginning at 9 a.m. with a pancake breakfast and family activities from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

I look forward to seeing y’all there!

Edmonton and Area Halloween Haunts

Edmonton and Area Halloween Haunts

There is one thing that I am more passionate about than food, and that would be Halloween!  I have either put on my own haunt or been a live actor in someone else’s.   In fact, that is how my wonderful husband and I first met; we were both live actors in a haunt to raise money for the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

We have been hoping for an indoor haunt for a few years now.  We almost had it but it unfortunately fell through.  I am sure we will be able to finally get it up and running next year.

PROFESSIONAL HAUNTS

It was a slow year for us this year as our plans were cancelled, but we were able to make a guest appearance at the ZED Haunted House in Red Deer for their Midnight Madness.  ZED has been going for many years now.  All of the proceeds go to the Red Deer Boys and Girls Club.  This is NOT your average haunt, it is professionally run and combines animatronics with live actors.  They rely on their team of dedicated volunteers to staff and scare the patrons.  I HIGHLY recommend the trip out to Red Deer – it will not disappoint!

Please find more information on their website: ZED Haunted House

“Catch The Keys Productions”  is another that looks like it will be fun.  They are haunting the floors above Block 1912 cafe on Whyte Avenue in a unique “immersive theatre experience” presented as “Dead Centre of Town”.  It is part theatre, part history lesson.  The shows run at 8pm and 9pm.  Tickets are available at yeglive.ca Don’t forget to head down to Block 1912 for some creepy cupcake goodness made by my lovely friend Amy!

For more information, please see the Journal article here:  Dead Centre of Town

COMMUNITY HAUNTS

If you are a fan of Candy Cane Lane, then you will appreciate Haunted Alley.  This is a group of private homes that have all pooled together and decorated their homes in spooky Halloween fashion.  These folks are accepting donations for the Edmonton Foodbank.

Haunted Alley is located in the Grovenor Community at 104 Avenue & 148 Street.  Open until 9pm.

Jasper Park Community League is putting on a Halloween Haunted House this year as well.  Admission is free with a Food Bank donation. Warning – this is a graphic event.

“If you’re wondering if your children are too young … they are!”

Jasper Place Community League 8751-153 Street.  Open from 6pm to 8pm.

PRIVATE HAUNTS

The Plunkie family haunts their garage annually.  An excellent stop on your trick or treating journey!
2706 124 Street in Edmonton.

The McDonald family has downsized this year, they normally do a back yard walk through haunt.  I highly recommend putting this address on your trick or treating map, Grants props are all handmade and they are simply AMAZING!  Accepting donations for the Edmonton Food Bank.
57 Henry Avenue in Edmonton.

The Tobin family has been doing garage haunts for a couple of years now.  They used to be the driving force behind “The Tour of Terror” where my husband and I met.  I helped them set up this year – great candy and a mix of live actors and props.
11241 167A Avenue in Edmonton

The Carli family’s haunt is always phenomenal.  They have thousands of guests sign the guest book yearly.  We worked this haunt as live actors last year.  They are accepting donations for the St. Albert Food Bank.
64 Embassy Place in St. Albert

The “Ward of Terror” is located in Stony Plain.  It is a garage haunt that has been lovingly put together to scare you to death.
31 Willowbend Court in Stony Plain

And last, but not least, the Pettigrew family haunt.  This is the one that I will be working at this year.   The RCMP has graciously agreed to shut down the street.  Rigor Productions will be on site and will be dancing every half hour.   The haunt opens at 5:30pm.  We are accepting donations for the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
29 Michagan Street in Devon

There is so much to see and do in and around Edmonton on Halloween.  Be safe and enjoy some good scares!

Eden’s Market/Jaime’s Corner

Eden’s Market/Jaime’s Corner

The grand opening of Eden’s Market was Sunday June 23, 2013.  It was a beautiful and sunny afternoon and many of the vendors sold out.

I have been following Patricia and the market since inception.  My alter ego is in a dance troupe that supports Y.E.S.S. so of course I was excited to see another organization helping them out! Eden’s combines two of my passions; food and charity.

It was wonderful to finally meet Patricia in person.  She is a lovely, bubbly lady that just emanates “happy”.  Putting together a market is a big job and it is the only one of its kind in Edmonton.  Since the market is called “Eden’s” I suspected there was a story behind it – and I would love to share that with you here.

Eden happens to be Patricia’s daughter.  They were driving to the Strathcona Farmer’s  Market one day about two years ago and were having a discussion about a US documentary on the economic downturn.  The documentary was discussing families that had to give up their homes and live in their cars.  These children had no place to do  homework, stretch out,  or sleep properly.  They did not go to their friends houses in fear that their friends might want to go to their house and find out they were living out of their cars.  They also could not afford to have social services find out or the parents would risk losing their children. The picture Eden saw was very difficult for her to reconcile with, as it is difficult for even us adults to swallow.  Patricia had images of Eden having to go through this and decided that they wanted to do something about the local homeless youth situation.

The family faced many hurdles to bring you what Eden’s Market is today.  They had to get zoning changes done, scramble for vendors due to time of year, and face the elements.  Friends and family were supportive every step of the way and work their butts off to make the market happen every Sunday.

So Patricia has learned many new lessons – including how to use Twitter and Facebook to promote the new market.  So be nice to her – she’s still new!  <3

On to the grand opening…

I had a monthly brunch to attend so unfortunately I couldn’t stay to see the Chinese Dragon Dancers, but was able to sample some really good eats and bring them to the brunch to share with the other guests.

THE MALLOW FELLOW

ImageArtisan Marshmallows FTW!  This wonderful company hand crafts marshmallows in many different flavours for your palate to enjoy.  I sampled the root beer and I was sold!

They make microwaveable SMORES kits with different kinds of chocolate to choose from.  The marshmallows that come in the kit are flat  – which is very handy for the melting.

HOUSE OF THE RISING BUN

House of the Rising Bun

Nothing but compliments for this vendor! House of the Rising Bun had many of the cakes that you would see your Grandmother cooking – which is a high compliment because my Grandmother was a very good cook! I was able to try the Red Velvet Cinnamon Buns and the Coca Cola Chocolate Cake.

The Red Velvet Cinnamon buns were moist and not overpoweringly sweet with a hint of chocolate.  The other guests eyes were rolling into the back of their heads on the first bite.  The Coca Cola Chocolate Cake was a hit as well.  Moist, rich and chocolatey without being too heavy.

ANDY’S BEEF JERKY

Andy's Beef Jerky

Hot and Spicy FTW!  Slightly sweet with a nice mellow after-burn.  Andy’s is always a good choice!

CHEF MON’S

Chef Mon's

I tried the Jerk Pork Spring Rolls and the Jamaican Rum Cake from these folks.  Just the right amount of spice in the Spring Rolls.  The Rum Cake was rich and delightful.

I do need to add that there is a face painting and activity tent run by Jamie.  There is always a balloon animal twister professional and always activities going on.  If you are a food truck that would like to participate – please make sure you get in touch!

So many thanks to Patricia and Eden for your vision.  Your family and friends deserve a big “high five” as well!   Thank you for sharing your caring and your hard work with the youth of Edmonton!

Please help support Eden’s vision by following the market on Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter: EdenMarketon124

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/EdensMarketJamiesCorner?fref=ts

Mercer Tavern – A Series of Unfortunate Events

Mercer Tavern – A Series of Unfortunate Events

I know I haven’t written a review on WordPress in a very long time.  I have been enjoying some great food experiences and will have to catch up at some point!

I really don’t enjoy having to write about a negative experience.  I would much rather leave it in the past and move onto something more positive.  Really. On the other hand, I would not want someone to have to experience the same thing if it can be avoided. 

Here is a bit of the back story:

We are a group of friends that started getting together once a week on Tuesdays.  There can be as few as 6 of us, or as many as 20.  We are very laid back.  When we see that the restaurant is busy, we are patient with our server.  I would like to think that we are a pretty fun group to have in your restaurant.  We tip well for good service.  We have been doing this for a little over two years now. 

We are currently looking for our next “Cheers” – It was Social Modern Pub, which is alas, no longer. 

Our friend Paul was the kitchen manager at Social Modern.  We LOVED his food.  It has been a while since SMP closed its doors and we really missed Paul and his cooking.  Paul started working at the Mercer Tavern and asked if we would be interested in stopping by. I made it happen the following Tuesday.

Everyone that knew Paul was excited to try Mercer, because if Paul works there, it has got to be good, right? I had one bad experience there about a month or two after they had opened. The food was bland and the service was extremely slow.  I decided that I would give them another try. 

 We had a group of 17 people.  As the server started to seat us she told us about the beer bucket Tuesday special and informed us that groups of ten or more people are charged an automatic gratuity of 18%.  My guests were instantly not impressed.  We had never been to a pub in our two years of doing this that charged an automatic gratuity.  I can understand in a restaurant – but not in a pub. 

 Looking at the menu and trying to decide what we wanted to drink turned out to be a chore.  The menu had not been updated.  What was listed as being on tap was not what they had. A pint runs you a minimum of $6. Yes that is correct – the draught is expensive.  The bottled beer was also expensive and surprisingly didn’t have a lot of the “local” breweries to choose from. 

 On to the menu…  The time that I had visited previously,  there was some decent selection on the menu.  This time around it was your basic gastro-pub fare with appies, burgers and a small amount of entrees.  Fish and chips $20?  I checked the menu to see if it said “Sawmill”anywhere – nope!

 One of my guests asked if there was a food special and he was told “no”.  There was a steak sandwich special listed on the board coming into the tavern as well as on the chalkboard specials overhead. Disappointing.

 I had ordered the Reuben with fries.  It was nothing spectacular, but at least my choice was edible.  Not so much for my other guests.  The one guest that did order the steak sandwich – it was cold when it finally came out.  The burgers were charred.  The chicken burgers were also charred so badly that one of my guests only took a couple of bites of her burger and couldn’t eat any more. 

 There was nothing at all spectacular about the food.  The one positive thing I can say is that the presentation of the one steak sandwich at our table was beautiful. 

 Now the service… I have worked as a server in a high end steakhouse once-upon-a-time.  I know how it feels to deal with difficult and demanding clientele.  I always tried to smile and go the extra mile for the folks that I was serving.  I wanted a great tip and I wanted for them to come back and ask to be seated in my section! 

 Our server was awful. The drinks were so slow that you had to order the next one while she was dropping off your current one.  One of my guests went to the washroom to refill her water after she had already requested a refill twice.  The couple of guests that arrived a little bit later than the rest were watching what was going on and decided not to order food at all.

 The one pickier guest decided he would test the bar and order a Manhattan.  Although he said it tasted good, it was served in a rocks glass with ice! 

 I am sure near the end of our stay the server could hear at least someone complaining about the experience. Did she ask any of us if there was anything she could do – nope! 

 We were done and out of there by about 8:15.  This never happens with our group.  We like to keep the beer flowing until at least 9 with the stragglers staying until around 10.  Unusual for this bunch. 

 When Paul came out to say hello, I gave him a big hug and told him “I love you – we are never coming back!”.  The look of horror on his face said it all.  We asked him about the food special and he told us “steak sandwich”. I told him what had happened and he was angry he went to back of house to speak with someone but again – no management came out to speak with us and no one (besides Paul) apologized for the bad experience.

 Now here is the kicker; at about 10 pm I get a text message from one of my friends that reads that her roomie has her head in the toilet and can’t stop vomiting.  My heart sank.  I asked what she ate and kept it in mind just in case someone else ended up getting sick as well.  Thankfully that did not happen. 

 So the next morning I did my homework on Urban Spoon and Yelp, reading most of the reviews that had been posted and started to see a theme.  The service and the price points seem to be the biggest complaints. Everyone loves the building – it is stunning! 

 So my suggestions; if you want to charge that much for your food and beverages the service has to be of the highest standard.  If you wish to enforce an automatic gratuity,please make sure that your servers aren’t “coasting” like ours was.  I can see 10% or 15% but 18%… really??  

 Please ensure that you have a cocktail recipe book under the bar to make sure that you have it right when you have newer staff behind the bar. 

 Please make sure your grill cook has taken the food safety course.  Internal food temperatures are important so that your patrons don’t get food poisoning from eating something that is charred on the outside and raw in the middle. 

Tres Carnales – Tacos for the People!

Tres Carnales – Tacos for the People!

You know when you have friends that continually bring up a specific restaurant several times that you should probably take their word for it and just go! It took me a little over two years to finally try out the infamous “Tres Carnales”.

They are neatly tucked into Rice Howard Way in downtown Edmonton. Finding parking is always a chore – I guarantee you they are worth the effort.

You walk into the restaurant and you line up to give your order. The menus are on overhead chalkboards. I check in on Foursquare and the tip was “I don’t normally like guacamole – but you have to try the stuff here”. Noted. Done. Their menu is also online so you can prepare yourself for the experience.

Along with the guacamole, I ordered the fish tacos and a sangria to wash it all down.

When you are done ordering your food, you are given a table card which kind of looks like a Mexican tarot card. You are then directed to seat yourself.

The restaurant is designed to have that Mexican Barrio feel to it. The wooden tables have famous Mexican actors laminated into the table tops. The walls are full of sacred hearts and luchadores. There is also a nook wall filled with calaveras and various knick-knacks. I just happen to collect calaveras so I had to take a few photos. Love!

Your food and drinks are delivered to your table when they are ready. The tip on Foursquare was completely correct – I am not usually a fan of guacamole either but this stuff is to die for! Garlicky, creamy goodness!

The sangria is freshly made by the ever friendly staff of Tres Carnales. It is a nice refreshing companion to the meals.

The fish tacos were also really good. Lightly battered red snapper on a bed of coleslaw, served on a soft tortilla. Very tender and full of flavour.

Many thanks to Jake for recommending Tres Carnales – and many thanks to the staff for making a great dining experience!

** This place is always busy so to have a great experience as well, please give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the food and the atmosphere!

Tres Carnales Taqueria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Coffee and Bacon FTW!

Coffee and Bacon FTW!

The Mercer Warehouse downtown and I have had a love affair that has been going on for years.  From the art installments, to the Halloween Parties and Ghost Tours to the building being empty for years.  When I was at the City Market downtown one weekend, I saw that they were restoring the building and it looked like maybe some new tenants.  I hoped that they were businesses and that they were not turning it into condos.

My prayers were answered and Roast Coffeehouse and Mercer Tavern were soon to be opened.

You would think that with my food obsession I would be one of the first people in on opening day…  Due to the busy summer I did not get to visit Roast until almost the end of August.  I had saw a tweet about a Maple Bacon Latte and knew I would have to drop in to see what they were all about.

image

This is a Maple Latte – it is garnished with whipped cream and then a couple of pieces of caramelized Bacon.

The Bacon is fantastic! Crispy and gooey at the same time – it stuck to my teeth. Bacon lovers would love this taste experience.

If you want the latte to have any Bacon flavour in it you need to dunk one of your pieces of Bacon into the latte and let it float – that is, if you can resist eating it!

The Baristas at Roast took a while to get the latte out but it looked like they were having problems with one of the spouts on the espresso machine pulling shots. It was worth the wait – the shots were perfect.

The atmosphere and decor in Roast make for a very comfortable experience. The hardwood floors and open beamed ceiling are the originals from the warehouse. It has a rustic feel while the fireplaces give the atmosphere warmth and the stainless steel bar type chairs give it a touch of modern class. There are overstuffed leather chairs by the fireplaces so there are “homey” feels to certain areas as well. Sure to please many different types of customer.

Currently Roast’s kitchen is not open, but the Barista assured me that it would be soon.

If you like to avoid the hustle and bustle that the “Green Giant” offers – then you should give Roast a try. I can see myself curling up in front of a fireplace with a good book and a great cup of coffee for an hour or two.

Kudos Roast!

Roast Coffeehouse + Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

It’s All About the Bacon…

It’s All About the Bacon…

Part of the reason that I love Social Modern Pub so much is that the Kitchen Manager, Paul Hoshowski, likes to try his menu items with actual customers before they end up on the menu.  He likes to get honest feedback on his items and is constantly striving to improve the experience.

Our Tuesday Shenanigans group adores Bacon.  It’s all about the Bacon…  Rumour has it that this lovely appetizer is going to end up on the next menu:

Bacon Wrapped Bacon

image

On a bamboo skewer you have six pieces of Canadian Back Bacon drizzled in maple syrup and then rolled in brown sugar.  This is then wrapped with Bacon strips and drizzled in some more maple syrup.  The skewer is then put under the broiler until the bacon is nice and crispy.

Bacon lovers rejoice!  The angelic choir sings as you bite into this succulent creation!

Seriously though – for fellow Bacon lovers biting into one of these is a marriage of flavours that are perfect for one another.  Maple and Bacon already pair well together – so adding the back bacon just makes the experience that much better!  The crispy outside makes the Back Bacon inside tender and juicy.  The sweet hint of Maple is not overpowering and would go well with a Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale (which Social Modern does not have on the menu – just sayin’!).

So as soon as the new menu is out – I will be sure to share it with you all.  Until then…  It’s all mine!