November 12

Alex Sneazwell (formerly Manor Café) has joined Shane Chartrand’s kitchen at Von’s Steak House & Oyster Bar (10309 81 Avenue, 780-439-0041). Now, that’s an energetic and talented combo — expect more good things from this kitchen.

The Unheardof (9602 82 Avenue, 780-433-0480) celebrates 33 years in business (which IS unheard of) by offering a 33 per cent discount on food throughout November. Small print: Available Tuesday to Friday, four people per table max. That’s a very good reason to go out mid-week.

attachmentYes! Mike Scorgie and Andrew Borley’s Woodwork in the McLeod Building, and North 53 (10240 124 Street) will be opening soon! In the meantime, their twitter feeds are fun, @north_53 and @woodworkyeg.

Create a mitten friendly drink and win! Concoct, brew, mix or mull Edmonton’s first official winter drink. Hot or cold, with or without alcohol, your original recipe could win fabulous prizes, endless acclaim and the gratitude of hundreds! Bonus points for drinks made from local stuff grown around here—things like Alberta grain-based spirits, honey, rhubarb, beets, saskatoon berries, carrots. The competition begins November 14. Visit the Winter City Facebook page for all the details and entry forms. Follow the fun on Twitter.

Enjoy top-quality cheeses from Everything Cheese at the Continental Treat (10560 82 Avenue, 780-433-7432) wine dinner November 13, featuring Church and State wines. Four courses with paired wines, cheese reception and Newget, November 13, $100 inclusive. Call 780-433-7432 for reservations.

Don’t miss Campbell Liquor’s (3 Curial Drive, St. Albert, 780-419-3444) 17th Anniversary Celebration, Saturday, November 16, 1-6pm. Snacks, wine and spirits sampling, and 15 per cent off most products in the store (plus tons of cool prizes including an HD TV!).

Meet Masi ambassador J Wheelock at Nello’s Restaurant (#4A, 512 St. Albert Trail, 780-460-8505) Monday, November 18, or Tuesday, November 19 at Nello’s South (2920 Calgary Trail South, 780-988-6699). Both dinners start at 6pm, $125 inclusive. Call the restaurant to book.

Aligra Wine & Spirits (1423, 8882 170 Street, West Edmonton Mall Entrance 58, 780-483-1083): Enjoy a taste of the sweet life — dessert wines, ports and liqueurs, all perfect for the upcoming holiday season. Wednesday, November 20, 7-9pm, $35/pp. To register: or online.

This should be somebody’s Christmas party — a private cooking class with the Truffle Chef Carlo Zarri, with white truffles, hazelnuts and Tuscan wines. $150/person. Sorrentino’s Truffle Class, Wednesday, November 27, call 780-474-6466 to book. Limited room.

GMP_podium2013 Gold Medal Plates Results


Paul Campbell’s (Café de Ville) deconstructed beef Wellington paired impeccably with Red Rooster’s 2010 Meritage Reserve. The wine’s bright red fruit notes and lively acidity played off the richness of the supremely tender sous vide beef and accoutrements; and big points for the silky texture and rich flavours of the goose liver purée.


Doreen Prei’s (Edmonton Petroleum Club) duck breast was impeccably cooked. Its cherry and black tea (Smith Tea’s Kandy) marinade and reduction and savoury charred edges played off the Kettle Valley Pinot Noir’s sweet red fruit and woodsy notes, with the subtly smoked mushrooms providing a bridge to the wine’s earthy, smoky undertones. Dotting the plate were tiny Alice-in-Wonderland-style turned vegetables. The grace note: a hazelnut-dusted cube of duck liver pate, a bonne bouche that would not look out of place in a bon bon box.


Paul Shufelt (Century Group) took a lot of chances with his gold medal-winning dish, pomegranate-braised Tangle Ridge lamb with farro risotto, chanterelles and candy cane beet pickle. Technique: risotto for 800? Generally a gooey mess. Perfect risotto? From an ancient grain no less, rather than the more forgiving Arborio rice? Tricky, prepared perfectly. Visually: it’s almost impossible to make risotto and braised meat look like anything more than plops on a plate. This dish? Appetizing and appealing. The whimsical shells of lightly-pickled candy cane beet contributed a spark of colour and acid to balance the dish, yet didn’t interfere with the forthright wine pairing with the 2010 Mission Hill SLS Syrah. Knowing when to stop: the dish demonstrated the old adage, simple isn’t easy. All in all, a winner.

Of note: Shane Chartrand’s (Von’s Steak and Seafood) visually stunning plate — Skuna Bay farmed salmon with Saskatoon berry, accented with burnt pine, and kaniwa (an ancient grain similar to quinoa) dust adding a toasty, nutty note, which played well against the sultry richness of the fish. Jan Trittenbach’s (Pack Rat Louie) flavourful pork cheeks, well matched with the Wayne Gretzky Cab-Syrah blend. Jesse Morrison-Gauthier’s (The Common) casually artful plate and impeccable scallops.

The Manor Café’s Alex Sneazwell and Andrew Fung from X1X made us eat offal and we liked it! Loved chef Sneazewell’s puffed tendon, yup tendon, perhaps the best bar snack ever? Serge Jost’s (Fairmont Hotel Macdonald) toothsome elk and clever take on cannelloni. Chef Robert Simpson’s (Blackhawk Golf Course) masterful handling of the harissa in the Morroccan-inspired lamb dish. Spice can be a wine-killing monster, but the heat level was just enough to keep things interesting.