December 6, 2012

Recipes of the week: Ousia Restaurant’s Matthew Lakis shares his recipes for a Cypriot Christmas.

Left to right: Randall MacDonald, Darcy Kaser and the Marchesa Carla Sersale.

Edmonton bon vivant Randall MacDonald shares his experience dining at La Sponda in the Hotel Le Sirenuse on the Italian Riviera.

Finding the best spot for business dining is now as close as your phone. Eat Canada is the ultimate restaurant guide for the business traveller with recommendations for over 200 restaurants in 11 major Canadian cities complied by Gold Medal Plates senior judges. Find the ideal downtown resto for a power breakfast, business lunch, or client dinner, or scout out where the locals go for after-work drinks and private functions. Available at the App store or through the Eat Canada website.

Boars do brunch! Three Boars Eatery plans brunch on Sunday December 16, 10am to 3pm. One day only, no resos. Details on their website and Facebook page.

A few spots left for NYE at Moriarty’s Bistro | Wine Bar (10154 -100 Street, 780-757-2005). Enjoy four courses $80 plus optional cheese course and wine pairing $80 plus tax & tip. Check out the website to book.

Rock New Year’s Eve at the Blue Chair Café (9624 76 Avenue, 780-989-2861). One seating, fun menu, and a great band. Visit their website for the latest info.

More New Year’s Eve frivolity: The southside Bothy’s (5482 Calgary Trail 780 761-1761) NYE is a sit-down dinner with choice paired wine or whisky for the night. $110 a tix. The downtown Bothy’s night (10124 124 Street) 780-760-8060 is a masquerade party with appys through the night and drink tix. $100 /person. Call to book.

Madison’s Grill (10053 Jasper Avenue, 780-423-3600) has a new executive chef, Charla Padilla. It’s a homecoming of sorts, as chef Padilla worked in the kitchen at Madison’s early in her career. She’s now at the helm after gaining experience at golf courses, the Westin Edmonton and teaching culinary arts at NAIT. Madison’s holiday schedule has a few reservations still available: four-course Christmas Dinner, $85/person; New Year’s Eve Dinner is a decadent six-course affair, $95/person; with wine pairings an additional $65/person. The lovely New Year’s Day Champagne Brunch is $39.95/ person, with two seatings. All Madison’s holiday menus are now available online.

The just-opened Smokehouse BBQ on 124 Street will be out of commission for a few months while they rebuild the back end of the resto after a fire earlier this week. The important thing? Nobody was hurt. In the meantime visit their Leduc location (5410 Discovery Way, 780-996-2010) for deliciously smoky ribs, brisket and their amazing turkey gumbo.

Shelley Boettcher has done it again with the second edition of her guide to the thriftiest and best tasting wines under $25, Uncorked! Shelley’s choices range from casual after work sippers to as serious-as-you-can-get wines given the price point. All 150 wines are readily available, yet she doesn’t stick with only the tried and true. Shelley offers suggestions from less well-known wine-producing countries such as the Republic of Georgia, as well as all the usual suspects. Uncorked! is the perfect companion for your next trip to the wine shop. Buy at Audrey’s, Edmonton’s indie book store.

We’re sad to see the Blue Pear shuttered after 11 years (their last night is December 31) but at least the space will be put to excellent use. Chef Blair Lebsack and front of house manager Caitlin Fulton will open RGE RD (10643 123 Street) featuring Blair’s seasonally expressive cooking, what he aptly calls untamed cuisine. Expect 35ish seats and a warm ambiance with a rustic contemporary look. The duo are shooting for an April opening.

Chef Mike Scorgie of Nomad Food Truck and cocktail impresario Andrew Borley of the Volstead Act team up to open a restaurant downtown. Ballpark opening is early summer. Expect 50 seats and “those great flavours you get from wood aging or cooking slowly over wood,” says Andrew. The name? TBA. “We’ve got a short list right now.”

Six of Alberta’s premiere female chefs will be featured in a fundraiser for Heart and Stroke Foundation at the Edmonton Petroleum Club (11110 108 Street, 780 474-3411). Few details as yet, but the culinary event features Alberta canola oil. Mark the date! Monday, February 25, 2013.

Super-cool knife shop Knifewear by super-sharp Japanese knife nerd Kevin Kent is now open! 8422 109 Street, right beside Three Boars Eatery. Expect sexy knives, meaty cookbooks, cutting boards, even classic shaving gear. Knifewear is open until December 23, then December 28 to 30 from 10am – 6pm daily and from 10am – 2pm on December 24 and December 31. Closed December 25, 26 and 27. Don’t delay a visit, as it’s a holiday season location only. December 31 it’s poof! Like Cinderella’s carriage.

Bon Ton Bakery (8720 149 Street, 780-489-7717) offers sweet holiday treats: German stollen with an ample marzipan filling; panforte packed with nuts and dried fruit; Provence-style mendiants, chocolate medallions topped with fruit and nuts; fig and walnut biscotti bites, and traditonal light English fruitcake. Their cookie boxes are easy and delicious gifts to go, packed with fancy cookies — always welcome.

On Tuesday, December 11, The Urban Diner South (8715-109 Street 780 437-7275) taps the only two kegs of Yukon Brewing’s Raspberry Jelly Donut Ale in the province along with six renditions of the hot dog, featuring both Nathan’s Famous beef and Field Roast vegan dogs, with help from local sandwich guy Oldirtybenson, which has to be the best name I’ve heard all day. Combo Yukon pint and a dog $12.50, way too much fun!

Help make Christmas happier for many less fortunate families. Attend the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton’s Face Off Against Hunger Luncheon, Friday, December 14. Call Lauren, 780 409 5820 or visit the website for tickets.

Wine and Beyond is one of the many Currents of Windermere tenants who are providing winter hay rides every Saturday until Christmas to benefit the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton. A minimum $2 donation/person and $5 /family will be collected for the Edmonton Christmas Bureau. Hot chocolate and treats provided in a heated tent at the Currents Canadian Tire parking lot.