What’s new and notable
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Baijiu (10359-104 Street, baijiuyeg.com) The eagerly awaited Baijiu, Kevin Cam’s new spot in the Mercer building is now delayed, opening soon. Drinks by Tommy Cheng, food by Alexei Boldireff, with a focus on fine cocktails and Asian-inspired plates, including late night dumplings, bao and dim-sum inspired dishes. The location is ideal for pre- or post-game drinks at Rogers.
End the weekend with aperitivi at Bar Bricco (10347 Jasper Avenue, 780-424-5588, barbricco.com) Order a cocktail or glass of wine while servers walk around with platters of spuntini and explain what delightfully delicious little nibble you are eating. That sounds like the perfect Sunday evening, from 3-9pm.
The Marc (9940 106 Street, 780-429-2828, themarc.ca) holds their popular explorations of French regional cuisine: Tour d’Alsace featuring the toothsome food and drink of Alsace; Thursday, January 12 to Saturday, January 21. Le Tour de Burgundy starts Thursday, February 10 to Saturday, February 18. Both are terrific value, $49/pp for a three-course dinner.
Micheal Giasson is the new chef at Have Mercy (8232 Gateway Blvd, 780-760-0203, havemercy.ca). Micheal has over a decade of experience as a Red Seal chef including working with Emmanuel David and at Earl’s.
Bündok (10228 104 Street, 780-420-0192, bundokyeg.com) the new project by chef Ryan Hotchkiss opened quietly in late December. Expect seasonal Canadian cuisine with a short and sweet wine and cocktail list. In the Fox Tower, open Tuesday-Saturday 5pm till late.
Check out the new restaurant in Norwood called Otto (11405 95 Street.) It’s the latest project by Ed Donszelmann, who some may remember from his days as the Big Rock beer guy. The highlight of the accessible menu by Thomas Spacinsky (Culina Mill Creek) is the tasty sausages by Steven Furgiuele (Fuge Meats).
La Boule Patisserie and Bakery (8020 101 Street, 780- 760-2253, laboulebakery.ca) is now open with 20 or so seats for coffee and outstanding pastry. Coming soon, fine breads and there is a chocolate room, oh yes! Open Tuesday through Sunday.
We are thrilled there is a new steak house in town, Atlas Steak + Fish in the Grand Villa Casino (Rogers Place, 10224 104 Avenue, 780-413-3178, atlassteakandfish.com). Atlas is the real deal. They have a fantastic Spanish Josper grill which cooks meats perfectly at an extremely high temp. The entire culinary operation at Grand Villa is overseen by chef Shelley Robinson, considered to be one of the best chefs in the country. Open for lunch Monday-Friday and dinner seven nights a week.
The Victoria Weekend Brunch at the Dogwood Cafe (12130 River Valley Road, 780-442-1636, culinafamily.com) is back! Saturday and Sunday from 9am-3pm. No reservations required for counter service offering classics like eggs benny, cheese omelets and French toast. Enjoy the new Winter City Patio fire pit or snuggle around the fireplace with Baileys and coffee. Dogwood Brunch at Riverside Golf Course is on Sundays only, from 9-3pm. The Mexican-influenced brunch menu features fresh salsas and sauces from chef Stuart Whyte of Original Redhead Condiments.
Culina Muttart (9626 96A Street, 780-466-1181) is open Thursday nights for dinner from 5pm-8pm with weekly specials by chef de cuisine, Stephane Alcasabas. Drop in for dinner at the Dogwood Café after an afternoon ski on the Victoria Golf Course. The fun menu features ski lodge cuisine such as cheese fondue and French onion soup. Thursday-Sunday from 4pm-9pm, for reservations and menus, visit culinafamily.ca.
wine tastings. happenings and events
Enjoy a Valentine’s menu filled with delicious choices, 12 appetizer selections, 10 entrée selections and four dessert selections on Monday, February 13 at XIX Nineteen Terwillegar (5940 Mullen Way, 780-395- 1119), and Tuesday, February 14 at XIX Nineteen St Albert (#104, 150 Bellerose Drive, 780-569-1819). Reservations, dinenineteen.com, $85/pp.
No word yet on the menu for Valentine’s at The Cavern (#2, 10169 104 Street, 780-455-1336, thecavern.ca) but you know it will be elegant and romantic. The cheese shop space transforms into candle-lit Parisian boite in the evening. Also available, Valentine’s Gift Boxes, yum.
Aligra Wine and Spirits (#1423, West Edmonton Mall, Entrance 58, 8882 170 Street, 780-483-1083, aligrawineandspirits.com) hosts their 10th anniversary Robbie Burns Night with a blind Scotch tasting event on January 24, from 7-9pm, $65/pp. The Mid-winter Rum Tasting is guaranteed to warm you up, February 21, from 7-9pm, $50/pp.
Century 21 Platinum and Easter Seals is encouraging local coffee shops to design a special hot chocolate for the Edmonton Winter Festival in February. Proceeds to Easter Seals helps send kids with disabilities to summer camp. Visit YEGhotchocolate.com for entire round-up of participating coffee shops.
Keep an eye out for a series of events at the Prairie Noodle Shop to help fund Gold Medal Plates Edmonton champion Eric Hanson’s trip to the national Culinary Competition in Kelowna. The chef ’s costs are covered but Eric is hoping to bring his wife and mother, prairienoodleshop.ca. Go on, give the chef a hand!
Northern Lands promises to be a stellar opportunity to taste both the best of Canada and Italy. And, if you work in the hospitality trade and register for the Northern Lands Canadian Trade Tasting by January 31 you could win some cool prizes. Edmontonians could win a mixed case of Canadian wine. Out-of-town trade could win two nights at the Westin and two tickets to Meet Your Makers Saturday, May 6. Sweet!
Two opportunities to meet and taste with Luis Pato, who Jancis Robinson calls “one of the most inventive winemakers anywhere, and most certainly within Portugal.” Thursday, March 23, tasting at Vines of Riverbend (2331 Rabbit Hill Road), $30/pp, email@example.com, and dinner at Ernest’s (NAIT, 11762 106 Street) Friday, March 24. Tickets $95/pp, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Italian Centre Shops are starting a monthly Chef ’s Inspiration Series with recipes, demos and dinners. Here’s how it works: on the first Saturday of each month customers can sample the dish and pick up their free recipe card at all three locations. The groceries needed for each recipe are tagged as such, making the shopping easy. (If you have ever gone to the store three times for parsley, you’ll appreciate that.) Each chefs presents a pop-up dinner at Spinelli’s Southside (104A Street and 51 Avenue) featuring the recipe paired with wines selected by Juanita and Kelsey Roos of Color de Vino. Chefs include Brad Smoliak (Kitchen by Brad), Blair Lebsack (RGE RD), James Szutarski (NAIT), Lino Oliviera (Sabor), Sonny Sung (Bistecca) and Doreen Prei (Get Cooking). Dinners are $65-$75 for three courses paired with wine. Sean O’Connor’s (Red Ox Inn) chocolate pot du crème is featured at the first dinner on Tuesday, February 7. Book at the italiancentre.ca.
Cooking classes at The Pan Tree (#550, 220 Lakeland Drive, Sherwood Park, 780-464-4631, thepantree.ca) January 18, Rawsome Adventures with Sarah Foster and Jade Wu; January 25, Chinese New Year with Sarah and Jade; January 31, Guacamole and Dips with chef Israel Alvarez; February 7, It’s Pizza Time with chef Stefan Cherwoniak; February 22, Adobos and Moles with chef Israel Alvarez; February 28, Sausage Making 1 with chef Richard Toll. Book on the website, the pantree.ca
Winter Wine and Cheese Pairings is the theme for Cavern Cheese School (10169 104 Street, 780-455-1336, thecavern.ca), Sunday, January 15 and January 29. Call to book.
Cooking Class line up at The Ruby Apron (780-906-0509, therubyapron.ca): Vegetarian, January 13; Pastry Workshop, January 15; Intro to Yeast Breads, January 22; Middle Eastern, January 27. Bring Back the Dinner Party, February 3; Pizza Workshop, February 10; Winter Weeknight Meals, February 17. Visit the website for descriptions, times, prices and to book.
Something gorgeous for your sweetheart at The Pan Tree (#550, 220 Lakeland Drve, Sherwood Park, 780-464-4631, thepantree.ca), enameled cast iron heart- shaped cocottes from Le Creuset ($250) and Staub ($240).
Chef Steven Furgiuele has jumped into the crowd funding arena with an ATB Alberta Boostr campaign. The idea is to build a proper salumeriera (a larger production facility) with a walk-in curing refrigeration unit. Fuge Fine Meats are on offer in several restaurants around town and at Bon Jour Bakery. If you love Fuge charcuterie and want to move this project along, visit albertaboostr.ca before January 29.
Wayne Kaiser and Christina Jiang are the owners of the newest Cobs Bread now open in The Brewery District (11956 – 104 Avenue, 780-423-9955). Their charity partners include Hope Mission and the Breakfast Club of Canada, COBS Bread’s national partner.
Prairie Mill Bakery is closing its retail location to concentrate on the wholesale business. The good news is things won’t look much different; Confetti Sweets, who is taking over the southwest storefront, will still carry the bread as will Earth’s General, Blush Lane, Spud, Organic Box and the Planet Organic stores. We will miss Owen the baker’s happy face at the farmers’ markets.
Cococo Chocolatiers (10103 124 Street and 11004 – 51 Avenue, cococochocolatiers.co) uses only certified sustainable chocolate made with Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM cocoa and cocoa butter that supports farming communities in West Africa. Their chocolate is also couverture quality, using added cocoa butter instead of waxy vegetable fats or oily substitutes. Explore their Valentine’s collection: chocolate cupids, molded hearts, fresh cream hearts or a custom copper box filled with your sweetie’s favourites. For more info on the Rainforest certification visit Cococo’s web site.
February is Masakage knives month at Knifewear (10820 82 Avenue, 587- 521-2034, knifewear.com) For the entire month of February, Masakage knives are 15 per cent off at all Knifewear stores. Kevin Kent, founder and former chef, has worked closely with Masakage master blacksmiths to develop knives suitable for the western kitchen. “These knives are our most beloved brand and they all have a sexy look to boot,” says Kevin.