PAMPA’S SECOND ANNUAL BACON FEAST

Edmonton, for some reason, has become bacon crazy in the last couple of years.

Did I just say, “for some reason”? The obvious reason: bacon is THAT delicious. What with Baconfest, an influx of bacon-inspired cocktails (think Caesars), and more and more restaurants offering items like pork belly and pulled pork on the menu, food options throughout our city can get a little pig-heavy. Even Sailin’ On has a vegan BLT–it’s coconut, but you get the idea.

Pampa, my beloved Pampa, has joined the bacon ranks with their annual Bacon Feast event. The restaurant, which normally serves up cuts of meat rodizio-style (i.e. rotisserie that’s carved tableside), is offering a bacon-inspired special for the month of April. Alongside their usual dinner service, guests can add on the Bacon Feast menu for $14.95, which includes bacon-wrapped boneless veal leg, marinated crispy pork belly (my favourite), and a chocolate petite gateau for dessert (warm chocolate cake filled with bacon-infused caramel sauce and topped with vanilla-bean ice cream and caramelized bacon bits). Bacon Caesars are also on special for $10, each one featuring Bakon Vodka and a slice of bacon–although be sure to eat that bacon strip immediately before it gets soggy.

This is Bacon Feast’s second year and, from my experience, offers a nice variant to the traditional Pampa dining experience. The inclusion of dessert is a huge selling point–even though I couldn’t eat it because of the gluten, I had a nibble at the bacon bits and ice cream, and everyone else at the table seemed to devour their cakes with reckless abandon. Bacon Feast is also a good reason to go out and try Pampa’s pork belly, which I raved about in my review of their brunch. Like I said, it’s not for those who are afraid of fat on their meat (again, I’m surprised those people exist).

My dinner plate. Note: the roasted whole garlic is AMAZING.

The bacon-wrapped veal leg was tender and cooked to medium–this was my first time trying veal, so it was a little unusual for me, but it was filled with flavour. And, of course, anything wrapped in bacon is a good thing. Other than the Bacon Feast offerings, there were the standard ten cuts of meat for Pampa’s dinner service: signature rump steak, top sirloin, bottom sirloin, striploin (which we unfortunately didn’t get to try), pork sausage, parmesan pork loin, bacon-wrapped chicken thighs, marinated Frenched chicken legs, marinated leg of lamb, and garlic rump steak. I go to Pampa for the beef cuts because I’m a huge fan of how they’re cooked: seasoned with rock salt and fired over a charcoal grill. The rump steak will always be my favourite–I think I had three servings of it during this dinner.

Cold salad bar

Marinated pork belly (image from brunch)

There’s also Pampa’s endless cold salad bar which, as always, is great…but be careful not to fill up on pasta salad. You’re better off saving that room for more meat!

Image courtesy of Pampa

Along with Bacon Feast, there are other exciting new things happening at Pampa. The restaurant is starting to offer spring and summer Brazilian cooking classes, which is a really neat idea for a date night or friend date. They’ll teach you to prepare and grill Brazilian-style BBQ using hardwood charcoal, how to make meat-stuffed bread, and how to cook Brazil’s national dish, the Feijoada–a stew of black beans with beef and pork. The Churrasco Master cooking class includes three hours of demonstration and hands-on instruction, lunch, a Pampa apron, a recipe booklet, and a tropical guava cheesecake for dessert. I believe they’ll also be teaching people how to make the delicious (and gluten-free) cheese bread that Pampa serves complimentary with every meal!

Cooking classes take place from April to July and only eight students are permitted per class. Cost is $119 per person, with GST included. Find more information here or register for a class by calling (780) 756-7030.

If you’d rather have someone else do your Brazilian cooking for you, head to Pampa and check out Bacon Feast before the end of April! Find more information on the event here or book a table online here.

Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse
9929 109 St
Edmonton, AB
(780) 756-7030

2015 Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival

This year was not my first time attending the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival, nor will it be my last. With more than 130 wineries, more than 180 breweries and distilleries, and 31 restaurants and food vendors in attendance, this year’s festival took indulgence to a whole new level.

Held again at the Shaw Conference Centre on November 6th and 7th, the festival brought together wines, beers, and spirits from across the globe, offering them alongside food samples from some of Edmonton’s most popular restaurants. The entire main hall was filled with booths doling out samples of anything from Chinese vodka to chips and salsa.

As per usual, the RMWFF operated on a tickets-per-sample basis. Unlike Winefest, which has an all-inclusive ticket price, the RMWFF allows guests to purchase sample tickets at fifty cents a piece so that they can control how much they spend. Drink samples ranged upwards from 3 tickets, with the most expensive sample belonging to the festival’s pièce de résistance: the Ledaig 42 Year Old Scotch–worth more than $7,000. A 1/2 oz sample of this treat went for 240 drink tickets. That’s $120 for half of a regular shot. For what it’s worth, some friends of mine were able to sample this scotch and I had to listen jealously while they told me it was the greatest thing they’ve ever tasted…and they don’t even like scotch on a normal day.

Going on the Saturday evening session of the RMWFF can be somewhat trying because it’s one of the busiest times of the festival, but we never felt like we waited too long for a sample. If a line-up at a booth was too long, there were plenty of others within a stone’s throw away to fill the gap. Here were some of my food and drink highlights from the show:

Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus – Sweet Sticky Ribs. Imagine rib ends rubbed and smoked, tossed in their signature sticky sauce, and infused with Original 16 Copper Ale. I mention these first because they were, in fact, phenomenal. “Impressed” doesn’t even BEGIN to describe how much I liked these.

Masi – Campofiorin (Italy). A favourite of mine. Ruby red colour, dry, and medium-to full-bodied.

Canadian Club – Chairman’s Select Maple. Smoky, full-bodied, and delightfully sweet, this is definitely one for sipping and not for mixing. For those who don’t generally drink whiskey, I feel like this would be a good segway into a whiskey education.

Three Amigos Authentic Mexican Restaurant – Tequila Lime Chicken Tacos. There are a number of great Mexican restaurants in Edmonton, so it’s saying something when a particular taco stands out above the rest. These had a surprising amount of heat, which I appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed.

Chayee Bourras – Reserva (Argentina). A lovely red wine. Tasting notes: a rich and full-bodied wine with dramatic aromas of black cherry, vanilla, spice and coffee.

Central Social Hall – Albacore Tuna Tataki and Won Tons. These are an ongoing favourite of mine, which I eat without the won tons (gluten intolerance, and all). Light, delicious, and beautiful when paired with both whites and reds. Yum.

Okanagan Premium Cider – Dry Pear. I’m a huge fan of Okanagan cider and pear ciders in general. This was refreshing without being too sweet. Much better than Palm Bay, in my opinion.

With delicious food and more drinks than you have time to sample, you can’t go wrong. Always a pleasure, Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Fest. Always a pleasure.

Giveaway: Tickets to the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival

It’s one of Edmonton’s biggest foodie events of the year–filled with tasty nibbles and more booze than you have time to taste–and, this year, it will be even bigger.

Here at Wine + Dine, we’re giving away two tickets to the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival Saturday afternoon session (12-4pm) on Saturday, November 7th!

Simply enter by retweeting the following tweet BY MIDNIGHT ON OCTOBER 31, 2015:

You can learn more about the event, which vendors will be present, and what breweries and wineries to expect at rockymountainwine.com.

And that’s it! Best of luck! We’ll announce the winner on Monday, November 1st.

Please note that tickets include admission to the event; tasting coupons must be purchased separately.

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

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?

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!

www.dishcrawl.com

Cover photo courtesy of Kristy L Photography.

Avenue Magazine’s Best Restaurants Party

A gallery of photos from the Avenue Edmonton Magazine’s Best Restaurants Launch Party.

I realize that I’m a little late in the day with this post, since the Best Restaurants launch party happened a month ago. I’m also extremely late in the day in comparison to Cindy at Let’s Om Nom, who posted a great review literally the next day.

This post isn’t a review – there’s a reason Avenue named each of these guys as the city’s best restaurants this year. Those judges know what they’re talking about.

Instead, I’m sharing a little gallery of the event with you. Like I said, it’s late in the day–but who doesn’t love pictures of food?

Ernest’s @ NAIT and the Urban Cultivator Program

I’m all for locally-grown produce. I like the taste. I like that it promotes sustainability. And I like supporting our fabulous local suppliers and farmers.

NAIT’s Culinary Arts program has recently taken a gigantic step in the direction of local produce – so local, in fact, that they’re growing microgreens and herbs on-site. Enter: the Urban Cultivator.

In a strategic, innovative move, NAIT has partnered with a British Columbia-based company that is becoming known for its hydroponic gardens. The Urban Cultivator allows NAIT’s Culinary Arts students to grow pesticide-free herbs, flowers, and micro-greens in their very own kitchen. The machine simulates perfect growing conditions to foster crisp, tasteful greens at a fraction of the cost. A machine of the same size as NAIT’s costs $8,000 and can save an organization anywhere from $400 to $1200 a month on vegetables and herbs.

Personally, I think it’s a great addition to the program, not least because it’s teaching Edmonton’s chefs of the future that locally-grown produce can be both affordable and delicious. It’s teaching them that there are alternatives to buying GMOs in bulk. Likewise, when you grow your own vegetables, you have the ultimate freedom to decide what you want and when you want it.

I was intrigued by the Urban Cultivator project because St. John’s Institute, my current employer, is also getting involved with local produce and urban farming. They’ve recently partnered with Reclaim Urban Farm, who will be using the organization’s free land to grow organic veggies. I’m hoping that more and more projects such as these will surface as the weather grows warmer – people might just begin to see that it IS easy being green!

After touring the kitchen with Culinary Arts instructors and hearing about the Urban Cultivator from founder, Tarren Wolfe, we were treated to a three-course lunch that utilized many of the herbs and vegetables recently harvested from NAIT’s own hydroponic garden.

Our first taster was a carrot, beet, and bull’s blood sprout juice. The flavours were rich and hearty, although the sprouts were a chunky surprise for those who thought they could down the drink in one fell swoop.

The juice was followed by the salad course, which consisted of pickled carrots, sprouts, a beet horseradish emulsion, ash-covered chevre, in-house made fresco with maple syrup, and a peanut breaded soft cheese. Beautiful, diverse, and delicious.

For our main course, we were treated to a pan-seared wild sockeye salmon with a trio of carrots, pearl onions, pea shoots and sprouts, and a white beet puree. I would’ve liked a little more seasoning (i.e. salt) on my salmon, but it was perfectly cooked and the carrots were crisp and caramelized. The pearl onions were a delightful addition and the beet puree was a lovely, savoury touch to the dish.

We took a break between courses by drinking chocolate almond milk with amaranth. The amaranth puffs weren’t my favourite thing in the world, but it was a nice palate cleanser and prepped us up for the final course: dessert.

We received a trio of beautiful desserts that, for me, really brought Ernest’s culinary game to the table. A wobbly, jiggly, perfectly-made panna cotta sat between a refreshing prickly pear sorbet on a sesame cookie and an orange marmalade topped with a microgreen salad. The marmalade, alas, tasted like marmalade, which I despise. The panna cotta, though! The prickly pear sorbet! Beautiful, delightful creations from some very talented chefs at NAIT.

The microgreens and herbs from the Urban Cultivator were excellent additions to an already fabulous meal. I’m looking forward to trying more creations from this restaurant in the future…and, in the meantime, maybe even looking into a small Urban Cultivator of my own.

Ernest’s Restaurant
NAIT Main Campus
11762 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T5G 2R1
(780) 471-8676