The Tomato

A massive thank you to all the folks who tweeted, facebooked, emailed and phoned in their noms for the 2016 TomatoTop100. Now comes the hard work of tasting, interviewing, photographing and compiling the results. Watch for the Top100 in the March/April issue in print and online.
The 2016 Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna start Friday, February 5 with the Mystery Wine Pairing at the Delta Grand and continue Saturday morning with the Black Box Competition at Okanagan College. Then it’s back to the Delta Grande for the Grand Finale. It’s a spectacular weekend filled with drama, stellar entertainment and great food and drink. Jan Trittenbach of Solstice Seasonal Cuisine is the Edmonton champ gunning to win the national title. With the focus on food it’s easy to forget that Gold Medal Plates has garnered close to 11 million dollars for the Canadian Olympic Foundation in support of Canadian Olympic athletes. Don’t miss it! Purchase tickets at goldmedalplates.com.
The next Swine and Dine is at the Royal Glenora Club (11160 River Valley Road, 780-482-2371, http://www.royalglenora.com) with exec chef Steve Buzak . The St Paddy’s Day Swine & Dine YEG offers a four-course Alberta pork-inspired menu paired with craft beers. To book: steve.buzak@royalglenora
North 53 (10240 124 Street, 587-524-5353) invited the boys from Calgary’s Korean tapas house Anju (exec chef Roy Oh and sous Bern Glatz) for a sold-out pop up January 31. Guests were treated to cocktails, inspired bar snacks and four delicious courses featuring silky foie gras, Anju’s killer chicken wings, and a sashimi-style salmon with crispy won ton cracker. Come back soon!

From left, Exec sous Bern Glatz, North 53' Kevin Cam and Anju's owner/exec chef Roy Oh in the kitchen at North 53 pre-service.

From left, Exec sous Bern Glatz, North 53′ Kevin Cam and Anju’s owner/exec chef Roy Oh in the kitchen at North 53 pre-service.

Three Boars Eatery (8424 109 Street, 780-757-2600 http://www.threeboars.ca) will be closed February 16 to March 3 for menu development and renovations. Looking forward to the changes!
Mark your calendars for Winefest at the Shaw Conference Centre Friday, February 12, and Saturday, February 13 from 2pm-5pm and 7pm-10pm each day. The all-inclusive wine only event allows you to sip and savour specialty wines and hors d’oeuvres for one ticket price in a relaxed, casually refined atmosphere. For details and tickets visit celebratewinefest.com.
February cooking classes at Kitchen by Brad (10130 105 Street, 780-757-7704 www.kitchenbybrad.ca) One Pot Meals; Tuesday, February 16; Saturday, February 20; Tuesday, February 23 and Saturday, February 27. Just in time for Valentine’s Day— Cooking for Two Class, Tuesday, February 9, Saturday, February 13. Classes are $135/person, plus GST. Don’t be disappointed. Reserve your spot today: info@kitchenbybrad.ca or call 780-757-7704.
Spirits Business Magazine interviewed one of our favourite food and wine people, Tara Smith, buyer at Sherbrooke Liquore. Read it here: http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2016/01/confessions-of-a-retail-buyer-sherbrooke-liquor/
Chef Geoffrey Caswell-Murphy

Chef Geoffrey Caswell-Murphy

Chef Geoffrey Caswell-Murphy is the new face behind the stoves at The Westin (10135 100th Street, 780-426-3636, http://www.thewestinedmonton.com/edmonton-restaurant). Chef Caswell-Murphy has cooked in Halifax and Ottawa; most recently Regina where he was a bronze medallist at the 2014 Gold Medal Plates competition there. The Westin’s former exec, 2015 Canadian Culinary Champion Ryan O’Flynn, decamped to Toronto to work with the multi-concept restaurant group Oliver and Bonacini last November, but he’ll be back in the west to open The Guild in Calgary for O&B. Oliver and Bonacini made the news recently when it was announced that they have signed on to create restaurants in the arena district.

Wanna go to Rio? di Janeiro? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=592MkMV-Uog Enter the draw for a week in Rio at Pampa (99929 109 Street, 780-756-7030, http://www.pampasteakhouse.com), by dining there between now and February 29. It’s all part of Pampa’s fifth birthday celebrations — they are doing lots of fun stuff, giveaways, discounts, and such — a trio to Rio would be the ultimate, even without Peter Allen.
Unwined Fine Wine, Spirits and Ales (#203 Edmonton City Centre, 780-421-0015; #2 512 St. Albert Trail, St. Albert, 780-458-4777, unwined.biz) presents Dinner Pour Deux, wines to pair with that special Valentine dinner, Tuesday, February 9, at the St. Albert store, $35/pp, call to book.
Something new from The Volstead Act (Andrew Borley, Jordan Clemens, Evan Watson), a cocktail bar/bistro called Clementine in the Pearl Tower (11949 Jasper Avenue) opening late winter. Heading up the kitchen is chef Roger Letourneau (Three Boars, Staff Meal) so we know the food will be as high-quality and terrific as the drinks.
Upcoming events at Aligra Wines & Spirits (Entrance 58 WEM 8882 170 Street, 780-483-1083, www.aligrawineandspirits.com) February 10, Love wines with passion? Bordeaux Without Borders, discover a world of wines made in the Bordeaux style, $40/pp; February 23, Cheap & Cheerful, great wines under $20, $20/pp. Register for all aligrawineandspirits.com/events
Check out the new Local Omnivore. Bacon aficionados Ryan Brodziak and Mark Bellows have sold the truck and built a bricks and mortar location at 10933 120 Street. The revamped warehouse space (it was the home of Marc Holland Industries for decades) has a wonderful industrial vibe and lots of parking. It will also house the new Duchess Provisions come spring. Local Omnivore’s bacon-heavy menu (a good thing, as their toothsome cold-smoked bacon is a thing of beauty) is ideal for brunch.
Rosso Pizzeria (8738 109 Street, 780-433-5382, www.pizzeriarosso109.com) has a few new items on their already delicious menu; an appetizer of whipped buffalo mozzarella with polenta, fresh thyme and Parmesan cheese with confit tomato, topped with a dollop of house-made jalepeno jelly and micro arugula for a peppery hit. The trick is to get a bit of everything on your fork at the same time for the most sublime marriage of flavours. Another is the toothsome meatballs served in a cast iron pan with tomato sauce, homey and delicious. The salad is fire-roasted apple with mixed greens with goat cheese and pine nuts in a sesame seed apple cider vinaigrette. Add a piece of chicken to make that a meal on the days you don’t feel like pizza.
Check out Whyte Ave’s newest eatery, The Almanac (10351 – 82 Avenue, 780-760-4567, http://www.almanaconwhyte.com) serving a French-inspired menu and cocktails.
The Marc (9940 106 Street, 780-429-2828, themarc.ca) held a delicious wine dinner with former geologist Sean Boyd of the small, focused Rotie Cellars of Walla Walla, Washington January 31. Rotie Cellars specializes in the grapes of the Rhone valley, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Marsanne, Rousanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc, which have ideal growing conditions in this dry and slightly cooler part of the state.

Sean Boyd of Rotie Cellars

Sean Boyd of Rotie Cellars

Want to tell your chenins from your chards? Or learn why some wines taste like vanilla and others like butter? Learn to taste like a pro in a Wine Spirit Education Trust (WSET) program, taught in 58 countries. A special one-day Level One Foundation class is offered on Saturday, April 9. To book: Call Angela Landon 604-988-8009, 1-888-988-8009 or email alandon@aii.edu. Classes are held on the second floor of Fine Wines by Liquor Select, 8924 149 Street.
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