Cookie Pairing at Baseline Wine

Wine and cheese: standard. Wine and steak: played out. Wine and cookies: wait…what?

It might sound like an unnatural pairing, but Baseline Wine recently bit the bullet and put the two treats together in a Cookie Pairing event. In partnership with Kathy Leskow from Confetti Sweets, the two Sherwood Park businesses combined their wares to offer a selection of delectable cookies paired with wines and liquors chosen to enhance flavours, bring out subtleties, and shock those who thought it couldn’t be done.

However, if you’re an avid wine drinker or someone who likes the challenge of a pairing, you’d know that anything is possible. Ryan Tycholas, manager of Baseline Wine, was our gracious host during the Cookie Pairing event on November 14th, which focused on a variety of six alcoholic drinks selected to pair with six of Kathy’s cookies.

We started the evening with a glass of prosecco to cleanse our palates then dove right into a Hochheimer Königin Victoriaberg Riesling and coconut cookie pairing. These two tastes, when put together, brought out another depth of flavour in both the cookie and the wine. As we would learn throughout the night, a perfectly paired couple has so much more to offer as a pair than as individual tastes. In any case, I loved this pairing and bought myself a bottle of the riesling after the event–which is fairly significant, since I don’t usually drink white wine.

We moved onto the next pairing: Smashberry White with Kathy’s sugar cookie. I’m not usually a fan of sugar cookies and I wasn’t a huge fan of the Smashberry on its own, but I well and truly liked these two together. The sweetness of the cookie amped up the sweetness of the wine, making them a great mix. The vanilla flavouring of the sugar cookie was an excellent counter to the acidity of the wine.

Course three included a glass of Earthquake Zinfandel and a delectable chocolate chunk cookie with Skor pieces. This was one of my favourite pairings of the evening–rich, heady flavours with a beautiful hint of caramel decorated each bite and sip. Delicious.
Next up was Molly Dooker’s The Boxer wine with Kathy’s peanut butter cookie–a good pairing, as all the others had been throughout the evening. I’m not much of a peanut butter cookie person, though, and shiraz is always touch-and-go for me, so this was probably the least memorable pairing for me. (Which isn’t to say that I still didn’t enjoy it!)

My ultimate favourite came near the end with the Taylor Fladgate Port and breakfast cookie pairing. The breakfast cookie had a nutty flavour that went brilliantly with the heavy sweetness of the port. Together, they were a beautiful pairing with hints of cinnamon throughout.

Finally, we paired a glass of RumChata with a ginger snap cookie and enjoyed the combination of milky sweetness with the gingery bite of the cookie. I thoroughly enjoyed this pairing and thought it was a brilliant end to a great tasting event–akin to a glass of milk and cookie before bed time.

And with that, we were all stuffed to the brim with excellent sweets and drink. Ryan and Kathy provided a unique experience that takes a daring spin on the traditional wine pairing event. That risk paid off with a number of perfect pairings and a room full of convinced tasters. I’m looking forward to seeing what Baseline Wine and Confetti Sweets will come up with next!

Baseline Wine
11 Athabascan Avenue, Unit 172
Sherwood Park, AB T8A 6H2
(780) 449-4448

Confetti Sweets
41 Broadway Blvd
Sherwood Park, AB T8H 2C1
(780) 570-5080

Volcano Restaurant

Volcano is in a great location for those living south of Whyte Avenue–easily accessible by Calgary Trail and Gateway Boulevard, the restaurant offers both Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine in a well-decorated, spacious building. The combination of Asian flavour offerings is unusual but not unheard-of in our city, where one can get Korean short ribs at many Japanese restaurants, or enjoy a Pad Thai served up alongside a Curry Laksa.

When we arrived at the event, we were greeted with a glass of prosecco and given a chance to grab a seat at one of the many tables. The food samplings were laid out in platters: sushi, sashimi, and maki on one side of the table, short ribs, spring rolls, and pork chops on the other. The divide was interesting but not unwelcome–it’s nice to be able to pair cool raw fish with a cooked item or two.

I took a little bit of everything, grabbed a sake caesar, and sat down with my plate of goodies. Everything was good, although the short ribs will always come up tops for me. The tuna sashimi was light and fluffy, as it should be, and the unagi maki was filled with flavour.

We were lucky enough to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony, introduced by Ingrid Schifer de Dennis from Schif and the City and followed by a brief speech from the owner of Volcano. The event also had a photo booth set up by Mojo Photo, which was a great way to document the occasion (other than the usual flurry of tweets and food photos, of course).

I haven’t had a chance to try the full menu yet, but I’d rate Volcano as a tasty, reliable Japanese/Vietnamese restaurant based on my experience at the grand opening. I don’t feel like I can give it a fair rating until I dine there on a regular night, so my apologies for not including the usual wine glass ratings at the end of this post.

The prices are in the mid- to high-range for a sushi restaurant, so I’d estimate prices to be around $40-50 per person for sushi (depending on how much you can eat) and around $15-20 per person for Vietnamese. They also offer a variety of Western and Chinese dishes, including brunch omelettes and chicken stir fry. The menu on the website doesn’t appear to be working at the moment, but you can view their full offering on

Volcano Edmonton
4226 Gateway Blvd.
Edmonton, AB T6K 7J1
(780) 756-2218

Get Cooking (MacEwan Edition) is up and running!

If you haven’t already heard, Kathryn Joel’s Get Cooking Edmonton is now fully installed at the MacEwan University residence, inhabiting the former convenience store space. It’s a petite area, but beautifully outfitted with everything needed for a commercial kitchen and, of course, the guests who’ll be dining on that kitchen’s creations.

Get Cooking is a wonderful approach to the traditional cooking class experience, combining in-depth expert instruction with a comfortable, friendly atmosphere and plenty of hands-on experience.

Kathryn held the new location media launch party on October 17, where she and her team of skilled chefs served up an evening of instructional cooking and a variety of appetizer platters. Guests also got the chance to meet Arden Tse of Prairie Noodle Shop, which will be hosting frequent Ramen Pop-Up nights at Get Cooking until their location is ready. There’s a great post about them on Andrea’s blog.

To cater to the growth of Get Cooking’s clientele, the team is continuing to expand and now includes the skills of Wendy Mah and Eric Hanson, alongside Israel Alvarez, Stephen Baidacoff, Brendan Brewster, Professional Sommelier William Bincoletto, and Kathryn herself.

For more information on Get Cooking’s class schedule, visit To download my interview with Kathryn in the July/August edition of Edmonton Woman magazine, just click on the image below.

Luksusowa BBQ Caesar

If you know me even a little, or if you’re an avid follower of wine + dine, you’ll know that I have an unequivocal and robust obsession with gin caesars. I rarely drink the vodka version.

That being said, I’m not one to turn down a drink. When a representative of Luksusowa Polish Vodka contacted me to taste test their BBQ Caesar recipe, I was up for the challenge.

I’m not going to lie–I was hesitant that vodka wouldn’t suit my tastes. It had been so long since I had tasted a vodka caesar that I wasn’t sure I would like them any longer. I started my caesar journey with vodka, as most people do, and had narrowed down my favourite liquor to gin after trying tequila, rum, and even sake. (Note: sake caesars are delicious. Not as good as gin, but still fantastic.)

It turns out that I was wrong. A great caesar should be appreciated, no matter one’s preference for a particular liquor. I made the recipe, with a few substitutions/changes of my own, and discovered that I really and truly liked the BBQ Caesar. I suppose all of those Polish friends of mine were telling the truth when they lauded the greatness of their vodka. Who knew.

Most restaurants and bars use “well” vodka in their caesars, unless you’re flush enough to order a Top Shelf (usually with Belvedere or Grey Goose), and well vodka can (quite frankly) be disgusting. While I’m not generally a vodka fan, I found that the Luksusowa was smooth and didn’t overpower the taste of the Clamato juice. I used two ounces, too, so it wasn’t exactly a weak drink.

I’m a fan of garnishes, so the pepperoncini and garlic-stuffed olive were the perfect touch. It looks as if many BBQ Caesars are in my future, after all.

Here’s the recipe, modified by yours truly, for all you caesar fans. I’m not in the habit of shaking my caesars (as they request in the original recipe), so I went with a stir and it turned out just fine. Cheers!

Luksusowa BBQ Caesar


  • 2 oz Luksusowa Vodka
  • Matt & Steve’s Caesar Rimmer
  • 5 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp BBQ sauce (the original recipe calls for two, but I used Bull’s Eye, which is fairly thick)
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce (you can’t have a great caesar without it!)
  • 2 pinches garlic salt
  • 2 pinches freshly ground pepper
  • Clamato juice


  1. Put a small amount of lemon juice on a small cup plate. Place the rim of your cup in it and then dip the rim in the caesar rimmer to coat.
  2. Add 3-4 ice cubes to the glass.
  3. Add vodka, lemon juice, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, ground pepper, and Clamato juice.
  4. Stir.
  5. Top with choice of garnish, such as pepperoncini, garlic-stuffed olive, spicy pickled bean, pickled asparagus, or celery (if you aren’t too adventurous).
  6. Enjoy!


Facebook: LuksusowaCA

Twitter: @LuksusowaCA

In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to note that while Luksusowa and their marketing representatives did send me a complimentary bottle of Luksosowa vodka and Matt & Steve’s Caesar Rimmer (Canadian-made and totally delicious), all opinions of the drink in this post are my own and have not been sponsored by a third party.


As my coworker so eloquently put it, “Chew chew! Climb aboard the Sushi Train!”

Edmonton’s newest rotation sushi bar restaurant, Sushi Train, opened its doors on July 12th in a modest location by MacEwan University on 104 Street. The premise is simple: the chef makes a variety of different kinds of sushi and places them on a conveyor belt using different coloured plates. The plates reflect the price (blue = $3.50; red = $4.50; green = $5.50; black = $6.50) and each one is placed within a time slot on the conveyor belt so that you can tell how fresh everything is–for example, if you arrived at 12:30pm, a dish situated behind the 10-20 marker will have been made between 12:10pm and 12:20pm.

It’s a unique concept for Edmonton, but kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) is a pretty standard style of restaurant in Japan. Edmonton has seen train-style sushi restaurants before (Sakura in WEM), but they don’t seem to last. Due to the nature of how they serve food, kaiten-zushi requires a steady stream of customers during opening hours to avoid waste–too few customers, and food will have to be tossed. Too many, and the chef/kitchen will be overwhelmed.

It’s a delicate balance, much like the one between fish and rice on a perfectly made piece of sushi.

Luckily, MacEwan is home to a number of hungry students, including sushi fanatics, so Sushi Train certainly has a chance.

There aren’t many seats, since most are placed around the rotating bar, but luckily it wasn’t that busy when we arrived for lunch. It’s a really fun experience waiting to see what the chef will place on the belt next and there’s the nail-biting few minutes when you see something you want that’s just out of reach. Will it come around again? Will someone snap it up before it makes it to you?

As for taste, I was satisfied. The sushi was fresh (as we could see) and there were a number of options to choose from. Octopus balls, red snapper, crispy California rolls, gyoza, and much more. The quality isn’t quite the same as Kyoto or Mikado, but it’s still very good. A solid choice for sushi, in my opinion.

Price-wise, I could see a meal at Sushi Train getting very expensive, very quickly. For lunch, I tried five different dishes (2-4 pieces per plate, depending on what I ordered) and my total came to about $23, with no drinks other than water and green tea. A whole dinner at Sushi Train could easily get up to $50 per person, so be wary of those plates.

All in all, I’d definitely recommend this place, especially if you’ve never tried a kaiten-zushi before. The crispy California rolls are worth a visit alone!

Sushi Train
10725 104 Ave NW
Edmonton, Alberta
(587) 521-7788 


Taste of Edmonton 2014

Ten days of Taste of Edmonton is never enough.

This year, the festival amped up their Sip ‘n Savour tent, offering cooking workshops, local flavours, pop-up events, and even a children’s tasting and exploration session. As always, there were plenty of restaurant pavilions to choose from, each one offering two of their speciality treats.

Prices were reasonable this year–most items were only three tickets. At $1.25 a ticket, that’s only $3.75 a dish. I remember spending quite a bit more last year, so this was a welcome change.

I didn’t get the chance to do a full round of the festival, but what I did try was great. Here’s an overview of each dish I sampled and where you can find them.

Beef Short Ribs and Mash
Normand’s Bistro

As my first dish of the day, Normand’s knocked it out of the park. The tenderest boneless short rib peeled away with the touch of a plastic fork, complemented by a beautiful gravy and creamy mashed potatoes. There’s not much I can tell you about beef short ribs, which I’m sure you’ve eaten before–these ones, in particular, were simply an excellent version of the same.

Injera and Doro Wot (Chicken Breast) and Ater Kik Aletcha Wot
Langano Skies Ethiopian Restaurant

Doro wot with chicken breast was similar to a spicy, thick stew and, served with injera, was a beautiful kick to the senses. While not quite searingly hot, this dish had enough of a kick to merit the ater kik aletcha wot, a pureed split pea dish (similar to lentils). Eaten together, the split peas offered a cooling sensation that made the heat of the first dish much more bearable. Luckily, I love heat, so I could’ve eaten a big ol’ bowl of that doro wot. Yum.

Grilled Quail with Pomegranate Sauce
Hoang Long Casual Fare

This was definitely the winner of the day. Hoang Long grilled whole quails (which takes 15 minutes per quail) and served them with a pomegranate sauce that had just a hint of sweetness. Tender, perfectly cooked, and absolutely delicious, this dish caused people all around to take a seat and bask in the delicate flavours of this tiny bird. It was messy and a little awkward to eat, but completely and utterly worth it. If the whole point of Taste of Edmonton is to convince diners to visit their restaurants, then Hoang Long has me sold.

Bison Slider with Gorgonzola Blue Cheese
The Underground Tap and Grill

I’m not generally a slider kind of person. I’d much rather eat a big burger or something else. With that in mind, this bison slider with gorgonzola was pretty good, but not something that I’d normally spend my money on. I admit that the blue cheese was a nice touch–I’m a sucker for a nice blue cheese. Nothing about this dish particularly amazed me, but it was solid pub food. I can appreciate that.

BBQ Pork Spring Rolls
Hong Kong Bakery

I didn’t actually try these, but you can take Funmi‘s word for it that they were very good. Just enough meat without being overly greasy, apparently. I liked how Hong Kong Bakery kept it simple and classic: what could be more Chinese than spring rolls and green onion cakes?


It’s a weekend morning. Or afternoon. You’re not quite sure because the pounding behind your eyeballs is making it difficult to focus on your cell phone. You’re feeling a bit rough (but who wouldn’t after all those shots of Belvedere and your stint as queen of Flip Cup?) and you know–you just know–you need to eat some pho.

It seems as if pho is rapidly overtaking dim sum as the most popular brunchy Asian food and, luckily for Edmontonians, there’s no shortage of places to park your butt and eat some noodle soup.

We recently decided to give Hong Huong Vietnamese Restaurant, a small place on the outskirts of Clareview, a try. To be concise, it was pretty good. It didn’t blow me away, but I did have a good, solid meal.

One of the things that I really liked about this restaurant was the amount of natural light streaming in through the restaurants windows, which covered most of the building’s facade. It makes the restaurant seem more friendly, while also setting the scene for some great food photography.

Our table may have been sticky, but the service was decent. They were reasonably fast with our orders: a 6-colour bowl for Taner and soup with rare beef, flank, and brisket for me. The bun bowl exploded with meats: pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, and meatballs, all accompanied with the usual spring rolls. The pho was less colourful but just as tasty. I generally prefer a darker, full-bodied soup for my pho (as I like my wine)–Hong Huong’s soup was much lighter but was full of flavour. The rare beef had unfortunately already cooked to well done by the time it got to my table, but I ate it with relish regardless.

The vietnamese coffee was much too sweet for either of us to drink, so that was left mostly untouched. Everything else, though, was great. We were happy with the food, content with the service, and pleased with our overall experience. As with most Vietnamese restaurants, the prices are extremely reasonable. For two meals and a coffee, our bill came under $30. Bargain!

If you live in the south or west end of the city, you probably won’t need to make the trek to Clareview for a great bowl of pho. If you’re a northsider, though, give it a shot. It’s about time that you tried something other than Namao Centre’s Pho Hoan Pasteur or 97 Street’s Pho Song Huong.

Hong Huong Vietnamese Restaurant
14425 Miller Boulevard NW
Edmonton, AB T5Y 0L4
(780) 476-3024
Sun-Thurs: 11am-9pm
Fri-Sat: 10am-9pm 


Bacon, bacon, everywhere! Edmonton’s first BaconFest.

The inaugural BaconFest launched on July 4th, leaving behind a wealth of thoroughly-porked, completely satisfied event guests. Because who doesn’t love bacon?

While Americans celebrated the 4th of July in their own fashion, with the usual fireworks, barbecues, and excessive drinking, Edmontonians did things a little differently. Those inclined towards the edible flocked to the ATB Financial Arts Barns for a taste of the good stuff: bacon. The city’s first Bacon Festival had two back-to-back events, offering guests a 150-minute opening to the best of the city’s porkiest treats. A ticket to the inaugural BaconFest guaranteed entry and gave you unlimited access (within reason) to each of the booths at the event.

Upon entry, guests were given a ticket for a free Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, although those averse to hops and malted barley could go left instead of right and find themselves at the Bakon Vodka booth, where two lovely ladies were serving up tasters of Bakon Caesars.

Across the entry lobby, you’d find bacon wares from Chicken Scratch, nibbles from restaurants such as La Ronde, Cookshack BBQ Nisku, and Century Hospitality Group, wine tasters from Lifford Wine and Spirits, and a delightful lounging area for those wanting to sit and savour their porky treats.

In the main hall, guests were treated to everything bacon, from Acme Meat Market‘s smoked bacon, to Central Social Hall‘s Bacon Roses, to The Popcorn Shoppe‘s bacon popcorn and Passion Sucree‘s Beer and Bacon Brownies. At the centre of it all, a DJ played great tunes while a big screen flashed bacon trivia to entertain the guests lingering at cocktail tables.

This festival didn’t just focus on the food, though. Around 10:30pm (we had attended the later time slot), the MC introduced the Baconmeister–Edmonton’s answer to Alan Carr in a bacon suit, bacon socks, and beautifully classic handlebar moustache. Games were played and prizes were awarded while the Baconmeister entertained the crowd with his delightfully flamboyant character and worldly “knowledge” of languages. In all honesty, I couldn’t quite keep my eyes off of his socks.

The event wrapped up with an acrobatic performance from Edmonton’s own Firefly Theatre, in which one performer undertook great aerial feats while wrapped in long sheets of cloth, which happened to look suspiciously like large pieces of streaky bacon.

As if these elements weren’t enough, there were also a gaggle of food trucks waiting outside for those who simply just wanted more. From Big City Sandwich to Molly’s Eats, the trucks had your back with even more bacon-inspired nibbles. They weren’t included in the ticket price, but that would be nothing to deter a true bacon-lover.

Here are my highlights from the first BaconFest event:

  • Cookhouse BBQ Nisku‘s Bacon and Brisket Sandwich – Coated in mustard, this sandwich was perfect. They kept it simple and it really, really worked.
  • Century Hospitality Group‘s BBQ’d Bacon – Not for people who don’t like a little fat with their bacon, this mini-meal was served with a beautiful smoky bean and bacon cassoulet and jalapeño bacon cornbread. Smoky and delicious.
  • Passion Sucree‘s Beer and Bacon Brownies – Delightfully baked with a hint of bacon, these were perfectly sweet and oh-so-moist.
  • Acme Meat Market‘s Smoked Bacon – As a bacon traditionalist, I appreciated the fact that one vendor served only bacon…and what bacon! Thick, smoky, and beautiful. Mmm.
  • Baconmeister’s Socks – I think I’ve made my point.
  • Chicken Scratch‘s Bacon Board Game – Actually, I’m impressed that Chicken Scratch managed to bring in THAT many bacon-related items. Who knew bacon chapstick, wallets, and Christmas tree ornaments were a thing?
  • Vegan Protesters – Guests were first greeted by vegan protesters outside of the building, all three of whom appeared to hold a personal vendetta against the fact that people willingly choose to eat meat. Their presence made for some pre-show entertainment, at least. C’est la vie, protesters.

All in all, a bacony good time was had by all. Great food and amazing vendors combined with hilarious entertainment and a solid number of bartenders did much to make this event a success. At the end of the day, though, those who love bacon tend to really love bacon, so the buy-in was immense. I’ll definitely be back next year and can only hope to get another glimpse of those bacon socks. Heck, I might even have a pair of my own by then.

BaconFest YEG
July 4th, 2014
ATB Financial Arts Barns
10330 – 84 Avenue 
Edmonton, AB T6E 2G9

The Return of the Dishcrawl

Dishcrawl is back! YEG foodies rejoice. The next event will showcase the tasteful, the sumptuous, and the delectable of Edmonton’s 124 Street district. They’ve even opened up a second day of the event, since the first one sold out so quickly. More information on this upcoming Dishcrawl can be found here. 

Joining the Dishcrawl team as the new Edmonton Ambassador is Theresa Engel-Wood, a grade one teacher with a passion for gastronomy. I caught up with Theresa to learn a little bit about her background, her passion for food, and her plans for Dishcrawl’s future.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get involved with Dishcrawl?

I am a passionate eater of foods, sipper of drinks, and planner of events. I am also a devoted baker, cook, and urban gardener. These things are even better when shared with friends, family, and community! 

There is so much going on in Edmonton with our restaurants, farmer’s markets and festivals and I believe a lot of it is based on the strong foodie community in our city. As part of this and living on the cusp of downtown, so close to many new food experiences, I like to keep up on the latest innovations and discoveries in Edmonton. This led to my involvement with Dishcrawl. 

Originally, I started out as a member of the Dishcrawl community and, more recently, became the ambassador for Dishcrawl Edmonton. It has been really exciting to experience the overwhelming interest in these kinds of events!

What do you hope to bring to the Dishcrawl brand in Edmonton?

Events are only as good as the team behind them. I am a ‘details’ person and this is really important with Dishcrawl events since, in order to keep the evening running smoothly, we have to time things to the minute! I also love being on top of trends, whether it involves specific ingredients, preparation and presentation styles, or the general atmosphere and philosophy of a restaurant. This translates into some unique and delicious opportunities for Dishcrawl!

I love planning events that people remember and talk about for a long time afterwards. I want people to have a fun night and to taste foods that they might not have otherwise experienced! I love getting to know people and mingling and this is an important aspect of our events, since we are travelling as a group between restaurants. It is so gratifying when I see that I’ve helped people make new friendships and connections!

It’s also very important to me to build relationships with restaurant owners and staff. Dishcrawls are a fantastic opportunity for guests as well as for restaurants. I’m working hard to make sure that restaurant owners and chefs know just how much they can benefit from participating in our events, while at the same time growing the foodie community in Edmonton!

For those who have never been on a Dishcrawl, how would you describe it? What can they expect? 

A dishcrawl is sort of like a pubcrawl – but with food, and much better results! There will be 3 restaurants, kept a secret until the big day, with 3 delicious dishes served at each one. We get to know each other as we walk between each restaurant and enjoy the experience together. One of the best parts of a dishcrawl is hearing from the chef or owner. We get to hear the story behind the restaurant, the preparation and the ingredients. It’s not often one gets to enjoy a delicious dinner and also be educated about it in a fun way! Guests can expect to visit 3 amazing restaurants in 1 intriguing neighbourhood, eat 3 fantastic dishes and meet 39 other passionate foodies!

How often will Dishcrawl events be held?

I am aiming to hold Dishcrawl events in Edmonton every 1-2 months. You can hear about them via dishcrawl.comtwitterinstagram, or facebook, or you can sign up for our community email list!

Why should people attend Dishcrawls? What’s your elevator pitch?

Who doesn’t love a culinary adventure? Restaurant by restaurant, we introduce Edmonton’s local food scene on a neighbourhood level. Each one of our walking food tours are designed so you’ll be entertained, informed, and well fed. We’ll satisfy both your craving for good food and your curiosity about downtown Edmonton. Come hungry because on all of our food tours, you will get to try a variety of cultural foods from 3 unique establishments that showcase why Edmonton’s local food has become the NEWEST and HOTTEST culinary destination.

Are you doing anything new and innovative for the events in the future?

I have great ideas based on things like cultural/ethnic food trends as well as trends such as using local ingredients or one ingredient like…say…bacon! My next dishcrawl will be happening in the hip Whyte Ave. area!

Finally, if you had to pick one, what would you say is your favourite restaurant in Edmonton?

Agh! How can I pick just one restaurant? One that has been around for awhile would be The Marc, a newcomer would be 3 Boars Eatery, Eva Sweet food truck for authentic Liege waffles, Corso 32 for the ricotta and pasta, Remedy cafe for the extra spicy Chai, Rge Rd for the questionable bits, kitchen board and Hunter’s stew…the list goes on. Sorry – I just don’t know how to pick one!

Cover photo courtesy of Kristy L Photography.

Food Blogger Tweetup at La Ronde

On Tuesday, April 15, a host of local food bloggers–including yours truly–was invited to a Food Blogger Tweetup at Chateau Lacombe’s La Ronde Revolving Restaurant. As a promotion for their new Tieless Tuesday events, which include an evening of jazz and half-price bottles of wine, the restaurant offered our group of bloggers a complimentary three-course meal.

We were tasked with simply tweeting or blogging about it at our own discretion. La Ronde, while generous, did not ask anyone for a good review.

So here’s the honest truth: La Ronde is classic. It always has been and it likely always will be. The food, while good, is traditional. It’s not a place you’d go for the latest duck confit-kimchi-truffle salami innovative creation. It is, however, somewhere you’d go for the time-honoured classics: beef wellington, osso bucco, or pan-seared salmon.

And, to be fair, La Ronde does these well.

Scott Parker, the restaurant’s Pastry Chef, has an affinity for great desserts that have stood the test of time.

“I started baking when I was really young. A lot of the things I’m baking are things I had when I was a child,” says Parker.

“I do a lot of different things…trend things. But as far as flavours go, I suppose you’d call me a traditionalist.”

Below are the options we were given for our three-course meals, along with my selections and a brief overview.

Choice of
: Seafood Trio, Escargot Vol au Vent, or Crab Cakes.
My selection: Seafood Trio – sashimi-style tuna, chilled spiced scallops, and marinated shrimp served on miso ice, wakame, and tempura “crunchies.”
The verdict: very good. The spiced scallops were my favourite and, as YEGFoodie pointed out, there were a number of unique textures combined in this dish. The crunchy wakame complemented the silky smooth sashimi; the tempura “crunchies” gave substance alongside the whipped wasabi. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

Choice of: Alberta Rack of Lamb, Deconstructed Beef Wellington, Cyclopene of Alaskan Scallop and Prawn, or Free Run Supreme Chicken Breast
My selection: Alberta Rack of Lamb (of course) – mustard and herb-crusted with a triturate of potato and Tuscan jus.
The verdict: not bad. The lamb was cooked perfectly and had a nice flavour on its own, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the herb and mustard crust. This might be due to the fact that I’m a purist when it comes to lamb–rosemary, garlic, pepper, and rock salt is all I need–but I just found that it added too much, overpowering the flavour of the meat. Some bloggers found the dish too salty, but I’m a salt fiend, so that didn’t faze me.

Choice of: all of the desserts.
My selection: Chocolate Torte
The verdict: classic. Beautiful chocolate with a very thin, delicate crust on the bottom. This was lovely when paired with the berry compote and sorbet accompanying the dish.

Overall, it was a very good meal. The service was attentive, the Samurai Caesars (made with sake) were fabulous, and the company was top notch.

Tieless Tuesdays? Worth checking out, if only for a great atmosphere, soothing jazz, and a half-price bottle of wine.

Many thanks to Linda for organizing this event!

La Ronde
10111 Bellamy Hill
Edmonton, AB T5J 0S1
(780) 428-6611