January February 2019 Kitchen Sink News

What’s up on Edmonton’s food scene, right now

restaurant buzz

Cecilia Groblicka and John Brodie have purchased Cavern (10169 104 Street, 780-455-1336, thecavern.ca). Cecilia has worked at the shop for several years. “Words cannot express the joy I feel about the continuation of Cavern under this next generation leadership,” says Tricia Bell, founder. “Cecilia and John are young, talented and incredibly hard working. They intend to maintain the integrity of Cavern brand, however they will certainly put their mark on it and I trust achieve even greater results.”

XIX Terwillegar (5940 Mullen Way, 780-395-1119, dinenineteen.com) has a terrific new brunch menu with bao bennies and breakfast poutine, from 10am-2pm every Sunday. If earning your breakfast is more your style, there is a special Run & Brunch with the Running Room, Saturday, January 19, with a 5k beginning at 9am, then a breakfast buffet with bottomless mimosas. Tix: $35/p++, call to book.

Bar Bricco (10347 Jasper Avenue, 780-424-5588, barbricco.com) is going to start taking reservations, similar to its sister restaurant next door. Uccellino reserves half the room, leaving the other half for walk ins. “We originally thought if people encountered a line up at Bricco they would go next door and have an aperitivo at Uccellino, but we are finding that people don’t like to stand at the bar, and they are unhappy after they have Ubered or taken a cab downtown and can’t get into Bricco. So, we hope this allays the frustration,” says owner Daniel Costa.

The Local Omnivore folks are opening a pizza joint in the old Parkallen space. The Pink Gorilla Pizzeria (7018 109 Street, 780-660-0060, pinkgorillapizzeria.com) has green checkerboard floors, a casual vibe and a menu that incorporates many Local Omnivore specialities such as their delicious, house-made corned beef.

Noorish (8440 109 Street, 780-756-6880, noorish.ca) has a new look and a new menu created by chef Doreen Prei. The room is fresh and airy, in de rigueur soft corals and greens, and the menu is a bit more substantial. Many (but not all) of the dishes are vegan and raw, or gluten or soy free. Loved the fried halloumi with roasted vegetables and caper butter. There is small, yet well-chosen wine list and the elixirs and wellness shots are as interesting as ever. Until March, experience the nightly happy hour from 8:30pm until close—$5 wine, beer, bubbles and kombucha and small plates for $8. Check it out!

Wilfred’s (10429 121 Street, in the Brewery District, 780-757-7009, wilfreds.co) starts off the new year with a beefed-up dinner service. “We opened Wilfred’s with the idea of an elevated approach to a diner, comfortable, approachable and with good food. But we found that the lighter dinner options weren’t resonating,” said co-owner Shaun Brandt. The new head chef Chael MacDonald has created new dishes that resonated with this diner—a silky chicken pâté on a crispy, fluffy biscuit, no less; a juicy and flavourful (perfect) short rib burger; a 28-day aged steak served with mushrooms and scalloped potatoes; a delish warm potato salad and a reimagined smoked salmon with blini. As well, they’ve added a scrumptious Dutch baby pancake to the breakfast menu—two eggs with a fluffy, crispy-edged pancake, whisper of maple syrup, in a cast iron skillet. Noah Gado and pinch hitter Shaun Hicks round out the kitchen. Happy hour is still 5pm-7pm, lots of time to enjoy James Grant’s impeccable cocktails.

January winter breaks: Rge Rd is closed January 7-14; Hardware Grill is closed January 1-3 and January 6, 7; Butternut Tree is closed January 1-10; The Blue Chair, January 1-8.

Characters (10257 105 Street) has closed. Characters was a fixture on Edmonton’s fine dining scene for over 20 years. “Characters was everything I would want in a restaurant, nice food, nice wine list, parking lot,” says chef owner Shonn Oborowsky. Shonn does plan to cook only for his family from now on. “I’ve been cooking for 30 years. That’s enough,” he says. The Bearhill Brewery will be opening a brew pub in the location later this year.

A new pub has opened in the Daravara space across 124 Street from Meuwly’s. Three Vikings (10713 124 Street, 780-249-6302, threevikings.ca) offers a solid pub atmosphere. Yes, there is smørrebrød (delicious open-faced sandwiches) among the burgers, Shepherd’s pie and other pub fare on the menu along with frikadeller (Danish meatballs). I promise you, they are better than Ikea’s, which, of course, are Swedish.

Culina Muttart (9626 96A Street, 780-466-1181, culinafamily.com) offers several pop ups which highlight local purveyors. January16 is the Ukrainian New Years buffet, featuring Baba’s Own Ukrainian Food and the Medicine Hat Brewing Company. On January 23 it’s National Pie Day, featuring Meat Street Pies, Duchess Bake Shop and Hansen Distillery. On Feb 13 and 14 is the Hungry for Love pop up featuring a romantic fondue with Janice Beaton Fine Cheese and Jacek Chocolate Couture. The pop ups include a feature cocktail or glass of wine, $55. Reservations are a must, book at culinafamily.com, all events are 18+.

The Blue Chair Café (9624 76 Avenue, 780-989-2861, bluechair.ca) moves to winter hours in January, from 7am-7pm, Tuesday-Thursday; Friday and Saturday night with live music until late; 9am-2:30pm brunch on the weekends and closed Sunday night and Mondays. The Blue Chair’s breakfast is fantastic, try the Old Country Gritz, the Ritchie Scramble, or the Blueberry Yogurt Pancakes.

Enjoy Valentine’s Day at the Butternut Tree (9707 110 Street (Ledgeview Building, 780-760-2271, thebutternuttree.ca) with a choice between the à la carte menu and a special tasting menu on February 14, 15 and 16.

Cavern (10169 104 Street, 780-455-1336, thecavern.ca) is offering a set menu for cheese lovers for Valentines Day, Thursday, February 14. Will you Brie Mine? is $55/p for three courses or $95 for three courses and wine pairings. Call to book.

Madison’s Grill (10053 Jasper Avenue,780-401-2222, unionbankinn.com) consistently voted Most Romantic, is offering a special six-course dinner February 14, 15 and 16, $218/couple book online at unionbankinn.com. And, if that goes well consider the Grill for your wedding venue, it can fit up to 75 people.

wine tastings happenings and events

What’s the best thing you ate or drank last year? Be sure to nominate your favourite dish or libation for the TomatoTop 100. Nominations start January 7 and end February 7. Visit thetomato.ca for a nomination form; email hello@thetomato.ca or talk to us on facebook.com/thetomatofooddrink.

Do you make a great tourtière? Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival wants to know. Sunday, January 13 is Francophone Cultural Day, and the Deep Freeze Tourtière Baking Contest. Deadline to enter is January 10, visit deepfreezefest.ca/tourtiere to enter.

Get set for the 2019 Tour d’Alsace at The Marc (9940 106 Street, 780-429-2828, themarc.ca) from January 11-19 with a table d’hôte menu, (multi-choice) $57/p++. During that week, the Sunday Supper Club on January 13, will have an Alsation theme, many courses paired with some glorious Alsation wines and beers, $123/p all in. No word yet on the final menu but there will be choucroute, foie, Riesling and tarte flambée. February’s Sunday Supper club on the 10th, will see Caroline Decoster, of Fleur Cardinale, Saint-Emilion and Francois Xavier Maroteaux of Château Branaire-Ducru, Saint-Julien sharing lovely Bordeaux. Call the Marc to book.

Enjoy the Best Wines of 2018 Dinner with Vines Wine Merchants, at XIX Terwillegar, Monday, January 28 (5940 Mullen Way, 780-395-1119) or at XIX St Albert (150 Bellerose Drive, St. Albert, 780-569-1819) Tix: $125 all in, call to book.

Taste five delicious beer-friendly courses by chef Peter Skwaruk with iconic Belgian beers at the Best of Belgium Beer Dinner, at Craft Beer Market (10013 101A Avenue, 780-424-2337, craftbeermarket.ca), 6pm, Wednesday, January 30. Tix: $60 all in, email RiceHowardEvents@CRAFTBeerMarket.ca to book.

Sample and learn Everything IPA, from the original British IPA to the newest, haziest, brutiest IPA, at Sherbrooke Liquor (1819 St Albert Trail, 780-455-4556, sherbrookeliquor.com), Thursday, January 24, 7pm. Tix: $20.

Love cats? Love brunch? The Edmonton Humane Society (13620 163 Street, 780-471-1774, edmontonhumanesociety.com) is having a Cat Yoga Class with Brunch, Saturday, February 2, 10:30am. Expect yoga, meditation and brunch, $30.

Discover Rioja’s remarkable wines at Winefest, February 15 and 16, at the Edmonton (Shaw) Conference Centre. Early Bird tix until Friday, January 11, winefestedmonton.tix123.com.

at the cooking schools

Discover your inner baba at Kitchen by Brad’s Ukrainian Cooking Class, Saturday January 5, and Saturday, January 19. Learn to make all the good stuff—pyrohy, nalysnyky, nachynka, Ukrainian gravy and cabbage rolls. Tix: $145/+, 12:30pm start, kitchenbybrad.ca to book.

Registration opens in February for NAIT’s legendary Boot Camps held during the summer: Pastry Boot Camp is July 8-12 or July 15-19; Culinary Boot Camp is July 9-12 or July 16-19; Cured Meats, Cheeses and Pickles Boot Camp is July 9-12, 2019 and the Gourmet Boot Camp is from July 16-19. NAIT also holds a raft of other cooking classes from five general kitchen skills classes, to baking, pizza, vegan and vegetarian and international cooking. Visit nait.ca for more information and to register.

The Atco Blue Flame Kitchen (10035-105 Street), has several fun classes in the next two months, especially for kids. Book at atcoblueflamekitchen.com. Thursday night classes start at 6pm and are $65. Comfort Food Classics Made Healthy, January 10; Make Your Own Pasta, January 17; Diverse Delicious Dumplings, January 31; Time for Thai, February 21. Tapas Night is 6pm, Thursday, February 14 or Friday, February 15, $100. Kids Cooking Classes: Pizza Soup and Sour Cream Biscuits, Saturday, January 19, 9:30am; Kid’s Valentine’s Day Dinner class is 9am Friday, February 1 or Tuesday, February 5 and PD Day: Asian Appetizers is 9am, Friday, February 28, $60.

Learn to make The Perfect Pie, January 20, at The Ruby Apron (780-906-0509, therubyapron.ca) or, there may be a few spots left in the Advanced Sourdough Workshop, February 5, or the Alberta Table, February 8. This is the go-to place to learn about bread making and just about any other cooking skill. Check the website for the entire schedule and the latest info and get cooking!

product news

Cavern (10169 104 Street, 780-455-1336, thecavern.ca) is introducing beer and cheese pairings. Enjoy in house or join them for a tipsy Sunday afternoon at a Cavern Beer & Cheese School.  Give the gift of eating well with bespoke Cavern Valentine Gift Boxes, $60 and up. Call 780-455-1336.

FanFan’s (10330 80 Avenue, 587-524-9899) Galette des Rois are now available in three sizes: for four ($17), six, ($23) and eight people, ($29). The French cake that celebrates the Epiphany has a feve (favour) hidden within. The celebratory cake comes in two flavours, apple and frangipane.

We have become fans of the high-quality cookies made by Täfeli Gourmet Cookies (5647 Riverbend Road, 587-521-7841, tafelicookies.com) excellent renditions of classic tea, gingerbread and Linzer cookies for example. Their main business is corporate gifts (who wouldn’t love to receive a dozen cookies?) but they do have cookies available there. Check out their web site for gift giving ideas and the menu at tafelicookies.com.

In more cookie news, Bloom Cookie Co, the vegan, egg and dairy-free cookie maker, has moved into a storefront right next to Prairie Noodle on 124 Street. Find them at 10350 124 Street, 780-429-0437, bloomcookieco.ca.

Meuwly’s (10706 124 Street, 587-786-3560, meuwlys.com) offers their famous Secret Meat Club Superbowl Party Snack Packs. You can expect several salty, meaty, savoury snacks made from quality local ingredients. Pre-order at the store or at meuwlys.com for pickup February 2 and 3, $60/pack. For Valentine’s Day, enjoy a custom charcuterie platter, a perfect meal for two, with a delicious selection of cheeses and house-made preserves to complement the meats. Prices range from $50-$70. Call 587-786-3560 to order by February 5.

Bella Casa (9646 142 Street, 780-437-4190, bellacasadcl.com) has launched a brand new website with even more products online. It’s ideal for browsing from your desktop to send a gift or to decide on new things for the kitchen. Check it out!

Send new and/or interesting food and drink related news for Kitchen Sink to hello@thetomato.ca.