Archive for the ‘Gastro Pub’ Category

Everyone seems to be doing a “Year in Review”, so I thought I might as well take a stab at it myself.

It has been an extremely busy year for me as far as my day job is concerned.  I ended up banking a whole pile of hours this past year.  This means that I did not get to spend as much time as I would have liked dedicated to blogging.  This equates to not as many invites to menu launches and special events which leads to some more hard work on my part to get out and get eating at Edmonton’s many new restaurants that have launched this year.

Not so much for blogging in 2015, but lots was going on for Twitter and Instagram.  I actually reached my 2015 goal on Instagram for 1000 followers.  Go me!

I was able to indulge in some old favourites this year as well as find some new ones.  I would like to share my top five with you.

B’s Diner

I finally had the opportunity to go and have breakfast at B’s one weekend and meet the lady that is a legend, Brenda Der.  There were previously two “Bs” that made up B’s Diner now there can be only one!  Brenda has taken the reins of the Diner and there are going to be some new and exciting menu changes that are coming up for 2016.

At B’s you will find traditional Diner fare as well as some menu items on special that are just good home cooking.  The Tocino (Filipino) breakfast special is something that I highly recommend you try!

Not only does this lovely lady run the diner, she also runs a not-for-profit school lunch program for children, a yearly Christmas dinner for the less fortunate, Christmas hampers for needy families, Christmas meals for seniors and the women’s shelters… etc.  Brenda has a huge heart and donates a lot of her time to charitable acts.  Watch out for her campaigns throughout the new year.

Downtown Diner – Fort Saskatchewan

Keith and Lori of the Downtown Diner in Fort Saskatchewan are also wonderful people.  It is a journey that is generally out-of-the-way for most people who live in Edmonton, but it is certainly worth the drive, and the wait at the doors.

Everything in the Diner is made from scratch.  The red glitter vinyl and 50’s style décor completes the ambiance of an almost authentic Diner experience; the only thing missing is the actual streetcar!

My favourite at the Downtown Diner has to be the BLT.  It is made with thick cut brown sugar bacon.  All of the fixin’s are fresh.  I always order a side of the Diner chips and an extra order to take home.  I still haven’t had enough room for dessert, but will make it a 2016 goal to go!

Daravara – 124 Street

Daravara is my new neighborhood “go to” for some really great eats.  Some of the staff, including the Chef, are transplants from Dadeo.  It’s a great place to go for drinks and dinner after a rough day at work.

After eating here several times before and after my review, I can tell you that you now will need to wait for a table on a Friday or Saturday night.  If Beth is working, sit in her section, she will take excellent care of you!  The burnt honey and garlic cauliflower is still my favourite food item here; I am hoping they will keep it!

Fairmont Hotel MacDonald – Downtown

The Mac is still on my top list of favourites.  Chef Jost and his staff are such wonderful hosts.

The Confederation Lounge is a little more on the casual side to enjoy some nice drinks and a beautiful view.  The “Classics Perfected” cocktail menu that just launched a few weeks ago is something that you really need to go and try.  The “Old Fashioned” has got to be my favourite here.

Privada Wine and Tapas – St. Albert

Privada was one of my favourites of 2014 with a wonderful meal that I got to experience from Chef Tony Krause.  To make a long story short, Tony went on an adventure for a few months and is now back at Privada.

Privada has as many locally sourced and grown ingredients as possible.  The charcuterie is cured in-house.  Chef has done some foraging so knows his wild ingredients and his seafood; he supports sustainability.  The owners are gracious and supportive of Chef.

For our anniversary dinner this year, we decided to switch it up a bit and go to a pop-up at Privada that was hosted by Chef Tony.   We were not disappointed.  This was my favourite meal of the year!  There wasn’t one dish that I did not enjoy.

There are so many wonderful eateries in Edmonton that it is hard to experience every one of them.  By supporting our local businesses, we support our local economy and help people flourish right here at home.  I am guilty of “grab and go” when I don’t have time to eat properly.  My goal for 2016 is to see how much more I can switch over to supporting local.

The three that I am most looking forward to in 2016;

The Buddha Boys are Chef Daniel Huber previously of the Pourhouse and Chef Levi Biddlecombe of “Attila the Hungry”.  They launched at the end of the 2015 Food Truck season and had some great things going on.  They have been busy with the launch of Hart House in Camrose the past few months.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with in the new year.  Completely my fault for them not being featured in my top five, I have been so busy with life that I have not had a chance to make it into Hart’s House.  I am a huge fan of Chef Daniel’s gourmet creations! And Levi, I really miss those damn Duck Tots!

The Local Omnivore is back in a new incarnation of a licensed deli very close to home here in Edmonton.  They previously had a Food Truck that had really great coffee and their own cured and smoked bacon. They have only been open a few weeks and I am excited to finally have the time to get over there and give them a try!

Duchess Bake Shop is opening up a breakfast eatery in the same plaza as The Local Omnivore boys.  Duchess has gotten so busy that they have had to expand into a four bay location!  If the pastries are to die for, I can only imagine what breakfast will be like!

Watch out for some blogs coming up on local charities that support feeding the city of Edmonton.  Charities are also a passion, I have put in many hours this past year getting to know some really great people.

I hope that you and your loved ones have a very happy and healthy new year.  Cheers to 2016!

 

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I have a friend that is a regular at Daravara and he had been recommending it to me for months. It has been a super busy year for me work-wise, so I finally decided I needed to make the time for a visit. It is relatively close to my home and I love the 124 street area; it is home to me!

Daravara is an unpretentious gastro-pub that has the neighborhood pub feeling. Head Chef Shane Loiselle hails from a background of Dadeo, The Petroleum Club, Zinc and the Harvest room at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald.

If you follow along with my Food Adventures, you know that my husband and I had our first official date at Dadeo. Our favourite Server was Beth. She was amazing at remembering the regulars and always smiling and friendly. We loved it when we got to sit in her section. We were sad when she was no longer at Dadeo and always wondered where she went. Imagine how thrilled I was to see that smile relocated to Daravara!

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Have you ever wondered longingly what lies behind the security gates at the Edmonton International Airport?  Wonder no more…

I need to tell you, I am not a flier.  I’m not scared to fly, in fact, I love it!  Sadly, my stomach does not. I have always wondered what existed for the passengers on the other side.

On the other side of the security gates lies shopping and supping nirvana.  Technically, because it is deemed “International” soil, normal Alberta rules do not apply.  The restaurants are licensed to serve alcohol 24/7, how cool is that?

I was fortunate enough to be invited with two other Social Media personalities; Sharon Yeo and Mack Male to experience one of a series of visits to #tasteofEIA.  Please keep you eyes on that hashtag to see the further adventures of other bloggers and social media people from #YEG visiting more of the businesses behind the gates.  In fact, check out the options HERE.

Our gracious hosts at EIA have almost convinced me that I need to book a flight, just so I can try some of the very unique culinary options that reside only in the Edmonton International.  They are trying to do the same with international passengers and convince them to start the vacation before the flight.  They have a great rewards program; monthly discounts for parking, shopping and dining.

Our first stop for our appetizers was Houston Avenue Bar & Grill.  What is so unique about Houston?  It is the only location in Western Canada, right here in our airport.  Not in Calgary.  Not in Vancouver.

The view from Houston’s is very pretty.  You can watch the planes land and take off.  They have a “patio” section just outside of the restaurant seating area that is not really outside, but it is more open than the inside of the restaurant.  The inside is also very open and inviting.

Houston’s is known out East for its “Sterling Silver Premium Beef”, which consists of only the top 12% of all grain-fed beef cattle.  They have a “fresh is best” attitude when it comes to their menu.  The menu is nicely balanced and varied for any discerning palate.

Houston’s is licensed 24 hours.  You can enjoy one of the creative and refreshing cocktails with your breakfast to calm your nerves before your flight.  The breakfast menu is served from 0600 to 1000 daily.

We were treated to the Beef Sliders, Crab Cakes and Warm Goat Cheese.

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Our Servers were all very helpful and friendly.  The three dishes chosen for us were some of the most popular that the resto has to offer.

The Beef sliders were really good.  They manage to pack the big burger taste into a small bite.  The sweet potato fries aren’t as good as Dadeo makes, but they are a nice partner for the sliders.

The Crab Cakes were also very good as far as taste was concerned.  The outside was nicely crispy.  The inner texture was very smooth, almost pate-like.  I wasn’t a fan of the texture, I like my crab cakes a little more chunky.

The Warm Goat Cheese was my winner out of the three.  The texture and the blend of flavours was perfect.  It was a little difficult to share.  The crostini could have been a bit smaller. The large pieces of spinach made it difficult to portion the goat cheese onto the crostini.  I would definitely like to experience another one of these!

Our next stop was the Belgian Beer Café for our main courses.

Edmonton is proudly the Belgian Beer Cafe’s first location in Canada.  The second is coming soon and will be located in the Calgary Airport.  There are 70 locations world wide.

The Belgian Beer Café has a wonderful Belgian Beer menu.  What a great place to take your beer lover to for dinner!  The menu also has some of the traditional Belgian food items like waffles and the Mussels and chips.

The venue is furnished with millwork from the 1930s that has been imported from Belgium.  It has lovely antiques decorating the space throughout.  The Café is right next to the living wall which is beautiful to look at while you enjoy your meal.

I just had to try the Belgian Chicken and Waffles.

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I was unfortunately disappointed with my selection.  Both the waffle and the chicken were over-cooked making them really dry.

Mack seemed to have the best experience with his choice of mussels.  They looked and smelled wonderful.

Our next stop on our journey was for dessert at Cookies by George.  We got a really great run through on the company by Faye, who has been with the company for many years.

Cookies by George is actually 32 years old.  15 of those years, the head office has been in Edmonton. They have 11 locations in total.  This location is unique because it is the only one in an airport, and they are doing a trial with soft ice cream.

All of the cookies are hand made in small batches.  They are packaged with recycled paper products printed with vegetable based ink.

Cookies by George is very aware of allergens and will make sure that if you have  a nut allergy, or are a celiac, that they have options available for you.

It’s not just about cookies either, there are a premium line of teas and espresso based drinks as well as Italian Sodas, ice cream sundaes, granola bars and cake (to name a few!)

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Cookies by George makes a lot of great gift options as well.  They have an online ordering system that enables them to ship worldwide.  Personally, I would like these a lot better than donuts at a presentation!

Faye spoiled us and we were able to try the sundaes.  These are completely decadent and I hope that they hit the rest of the Cookies by George locations soon! She also sent us home with a granola bar (I will never eat another store bought again!) and a selection of cookies to try.  They were all soft and delicious.

Sadly, that was the end of our evening.  We all got to leave with a new perspective and full bellies.

Consider going early for your next flight and trying out one of the many options that the Edmonton International has to offer!

 

As I am sure you can tell, “Gastro Pubs” are one of my favourite places to visit.   I am a bit of a beer snob, I would like to be MORE of a beer snob someday. (Of the non-pretentious variety) Beer goes great with food, just the same as wine, only you don’t need a sommelier to pour it for you.  The Pourhouse always has a rotating selection of taps and bottles as well as a regular selection.  The beer are all listed by flavour profile, which makes it easier for the non beer drinkers.

Ok, now that you know you can go to Pourhouse for a great brew, let’s talk about BurlyChef Lager… Pourhouse’s heart belongs to Chef Daniel Huber.  No, he isn’t the only one that brings the Pourhouse to YEG, but he is the flavour creator.  He wanted to bring a “normal” beer to Pourhouse, like the one Dad used to drink when they were BBQ’ing.  Before your start grumbling and complaining about the brewery he chose, please note that he did try the “local” breweries and they were not able to give him the flavour profile that he was looking for.  Labbatt’s brews “Burly Chef Lager” for the Pourhouse.  It is a nice, light lager that goes with anything that the menu has to offer for food.  For the entire month of August, $1 per pint will be donated to the Bissell Centre to help them with the rebuilding of the “Thrift Shoppe” after the two devastating fires.

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Krush Ultralounge located at 16648 109 Avenue in Edmonton, has a bit of a stigma attached to it.  It has been through many incarnations.  Most recently a “stripper bar”.   The lovely ladies are no more….  Now you have a posh space with two large, beautifully finished lounging areas, several televisions and a great sound system.

They have also found themselves a new Chef.  Chef Kelly hails from “Kids in the Hall Bistro” which offers on the job training, life skills, connection to school and outreach support for youth.  Kelly left Kids in the Hall to pursue the next chapter in life and ended up being the new gem at Krush.

Kelly also happens to be a friend and he had a little convincing to do to get a bunch of us out for some Tuesday Shenanigans at his new venue.  Previous to this, I had never had the chance to experience Kelly’s cuisine.  The following review is in no way colored by the fact that Kelly is a friend.

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Two of my strongest passions in life are food, and charities.  I don’t settle for the ordinary in either.  Food needs to be an experience.  Any charity that I support needs to be supporting youth or animals in need, and, needs to provide a lion’s share of a donation to the cause and not to administration.

Chef Daniel Huber managed to combine two of my favourite things into a fundraiser; food with proceeds going to YESS.  YESS stands for Youth Empowerment and Support Society.  They help get homeless youth off of the streets and back into productive, healthy lifestyles.  I highly encourage anyone reading this article to contact them and go for a tour of the main shelter facility.  I could go on for days explaining the programs and what they do.  To keep it short – they are phenomenal.  With one of the volunteer organizations I work with, we have a young man that is a YESS graduate and he says he wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for YESS.

Chef Daniel Huber is half of the culinary team that is the Pourhouse Bier Bistro. They are a gastropub located in Old Strathcona.  One of the many places you can go for some great eats and a wonderful selection of craft brewed beer.  Since he works in the same neighbourhood as the shelter, he has seen the struggle of the youth with homelessness, gangs and abuse.  Chef Daniel decided to try and make a difference and use his culinary talent to hold a fundraiser with proceeds going to YESS.

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The new Craft Beer Market is located in downtown Edmonton just off Rice Howard Way.  It is tucked away in the same block as Wood Work and 100 Bar and Grill.  I am a huge beer fan, and “on tap” is the best of the best that a beer drinker can experience.  The original Craft is located in Calgary; my Calgarian friends rave about how much they love it there.  I have been waiting for Craft to open for months and carefully watching the social media feeds for opening day.  Today is the day.

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