Friday, July 19, 2013

Taste Of Edmonton

I'm in Edmonton this week, visiting family this week. And today was the opening of Taste of Edmonton, an annual event where local restaurants try and convince you that you should never eat anywhere else. So, on two sides of Churchill Square in downtown Edmonton, a double row of food stalls line the streets offering samples of two of their foods--a taste of either one should convince you that this is the restaurant in which you should spend your life.

Each food stall has a poster with their two features and a picture of the head chef. At Normand's Bistro (above) they were offering beef short ribs and mash or smoked bison carpaccio. As I seldom eat beef anymore and can seldom resist a piece of bison, I convinced my brother-in-law that we should try the smoked bison.

Very small plate. Bit of salad with a spiced oil/vinegar dressing. And three pieces of smoked bison.  The dressing was nice, but the bison was great. Excellent flavour and good texture; I just wanted a big chunk to rip and tear at with my teeth and wash it down with a strong red wine.

Kyoto was an easy choice--Canada maki. A salmon roe added colour and Bob snagged my wasabi after my sushi (below) disappeared in a single bite.

I loved the massive cauldron of Chicken Bhoona bubbling away. I'm a sucker for drama--especially when it involves food--but I didn't try the bhoona, just loved looking at the cauldron bubbling away. With my volunteering at the soup kitchen, this is a scale of cooking I can appreciate.

Bob tried the beef and wasabi slider, which was tasty, but the wasabi mayo was a little under-spiced.

 The Hat resto Bar looked interesting. I thought I'd look at the Mahi Mahi sliders.

 It was decided that I wasn't going to be allowed to leave with only one slider. I was supposed to eat two.

The sliders were really just filet o'fish reinterpreted by a chef. Excellent fish, battered, with a tartar mayo on a slider bun.  Two of these with a beer? Yeah, I'm down with that....

 Select was a last minute addition. I was getting pretty full in the day's heat, and was more interested in my nephews lemonade (lots of lemon, not too much sugar) than in eating something else. But Smoked Mac and Cheese with Boar Bacon?
 This is about the correct amount. Both the cheddar and the boar bacon were apple-wood smoked. Select offers the mac and cheese as a table serving--enough for everyone to get a small amount. That's a great idea. This was all I could reasonably eat before feeling my heart slow down. The boar bacon was terrific!

 Post exploration, my niece had to have her Chocolate-dipped Strawberries for dessert. I completely understood.

 There was a tonne of great flavours available for the tasting. And the day was perfect for it. There was a general agreement to use local products where available, but not to be restricted to local foods. Boar bacon, bison, beef, all these were local products. Bacon-wrapped scallops? Not so much. Nor was the mahi mahi. But the food I sampled was prepared with care and attention (of course, the sample was a bit self-selecting). All in all, a great time, and an interesting contrast to the local food fair at Peppers (just up the block from my home) the day before I left for the week.

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