Negroni week, June 6-12
Here’s to the classic Negroni.
Several Edmonton and area bars and cocktail lounges join a continent-wide promotion featuring the world’s greatest cocktail (it’s our desert island drink) and donations to the charity of their choice at the same time.
Ampersand 27, The Common, el Cortez, The Chvrch of John, Three Boars, Woodwork, Little Brick, Almanac, The Black Dog Three Boars, Famoso Pizza, Von’s and To the Lost in Red Deer. (That’s got to be the best bar name in Alberta, followed closely by Church of John.)
The Negroni, equal parts gin, Campari and vermouth, was invented early last century in Florence for Count Negroni. Legend has it that the count wanted something with a bit more kick than his usual Campari and vermouth, hence the gin. The cocktail has spawned countless iterations, such as the Boulevardier made with bourbon instead of gin.
At el Cortez bartenders Brandon Baker and Nicolas MacDonald have come up with four versions of the Negroni including one with, you guessed it, tequila — Don Julio Blanco. Their charity of choice is hart, the Humane Animal Rescue Team and on Sunday June 12 there is an adoption event on the el Cortez patio. Bring your pals and your pup, have a Negroni and maybe go home with another pup in need of a good home.
Negroni Week is a charitable initiative presented by Imbibe Magazine and Campari. For more info visit http://negroniweek.com/
|wine of the week
Looking for an affordable bubble? Think crémant. These are the sparkling wines made in the traditional method (like Champagne) in regions of France other than Champagne, such as crémant d’Alsace, or crémant de Bourgogne for example, giving you a similar high-quality wine for a lot less cash. We are especially taken with the crémant de Loire made by Langlois-Château. The house grows 71 hectares of vines in the Loire Valley, 45 in Saumur, 11 in Saumur Champigny and 15 in Sancerre, all Terra Vitis certified (sustainable viticulture).
The Blanc Brut is made from 60 per cent Chenin Blanc, 20 per cent Chardonnay, and 20 per cent Cabernet Franc hand-picked in six different terroirs — the Côtes de Saumur with its chalky-silico soil; the chalky Coteaux de St Léger; Layon’s schist and the chalky-clay of Puy Notre Bas, Montreuil Bellay and Haut Layon. This care and attention means more complexity in the bottle. The wine spends 24 months on the lees creating a fine and rapid mousse always a sign of quality for bubbly wines. We loved its minerality and elegant citrusy flavours.
Prefer pink? The Rosé Brut is 100 per cent Cabernet Franc, spends a minimum of 18 months on its lees and possesses delicious fresh strawberry aromas and flavours.
Both are dry, elegant and ready for all sorts of festive occasions, $27-ish in better wine shops.
|Go for gold
Just in: Edmonton’s Gold Medal Plates chef contenders. What a lineup — lots of young talent and seasoned competitors: Steve Brochu, Chartier; Nathin Bye, Ampersand 27; Geoffrey Caswell-Murphy, Share in the Westin Edmonton; Shane Chartrand, Sage; Andrew Cowan, Pack Rat Louie; Eric Hansen, Prairie Noodle Shop; Tony Krause, Privada Wine & Tapas; Lindsay Porter, El Cortez Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar; Doreen Prei, Get Cooking and Paul Shufelt, Workshop Eatery. The competition and fundraiser for Canadian Olympic athletes is Thursday, October 24 and it’s not too soon to get tickets: http://goldmedalplates.com/web/?page_id=5706
Police, fire, and paramedic teams pair up with chefs from several local restaurants including Brad Smoliak from Kitchen by Brad at the Edmonton’s First Responders’ Day chili cook-off, Thursday, June 9, in Sir Winston Churchill Square from 11am– 2pm.Judges include chef Ryan Hotchkiss and the Marc’s Patrick Saurette, former Edmonton Eskimo Patrick Kabongo and world champion boxer Jelena Mrdjenovich,Aside from the chili cook-off, the inaugural event features over a dozen emergency response vehicles on display, demonstrations including the Jaws of Life, live music and a variety of food trucks. It’s all to raise funds for the Legacy Place Society.More info: https://www.facebook.com/yegfirstresponders/?fref=ts
Dine under a starry sky with Kitchen by Brad beside Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park, an exquisite setting for a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. The adventure begins at 6:30 on June 18, July 9, July 30, August 20 and September 10. The menu? “It’s inspired by early settlers and there will be bison,” says chef Brad Smoliak who has created the dinners to showcase this jewel of a park a half hour from downtown Edmonton.
You could make a weekend of it, golf during the day, then camp overnight. Tickets include admission to the park, an Elk island interpretive experience and a family-style dinner with local craft beer and appropriate wines, $150+GST.
Register by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 780-757-7704. You can also book your own private dinner party (minimum 12 people) in the park with chef Brad.
|Opening soon: Bundok
Let’s not forget about another new resto opening soon downtown, Bundok in the Fox Towers on 104 Street and 102 Avenue. Chef Ryan Hotchkiss (Jack’s, Red Star, Central Social) is the owner/ operator, a lovely man and a really good cook. Can’t wait.