Friday, August 1, 2014

Eating my way through Edmonton in July

I visited Edmonton in May and was wowed with some amazing meals and super impressed with the city’s enthusiastic, energetic, and delicious food scene.

Work brought me back to YEG in July. It was a crazy, busy, work trip but I always seem to be able to find time to seek out good food. Because no matter how busy things get, life is too short to eat average or boring food.

Here are some of the dishes, restaurants, meals, and culinary experiences from this past trip.

Tavern 1903
Had a delicious lunch meeting at this downtown gem. Atmosphere is slightly upscale but accessible and the menu was wide ranging in its offerings. Lunch mains hovered between $16-20. I found the where the fare inventive, playful, and delicious with generous portions.

On our table:

Watermelon Feta Salad; Fairwind Farms Feta, Cucumber, Heirloom tomatoes, mint, extra virgin olive oil
Classic Pork Schnitzel, Lemon-Caper Sauce; with cucumber salad and warm potatoes
Atlantic Lobster Roll; with side salad
Tortilla Soup; Smoked Duck, Pasilla Chiles, Avocado, Goat Feta, Cilantro, Tortilla Strips, Tomato Broth, Crema and Fresh Lime
KFC; Korean Fried Cauliflower, Sesame Seeds, Scallions

I absolutely loved my order of Tortilla Soup. What a great lunch, light but full of intense, big, flavours. Smoky yet bright with pops of flavour and texture from all of the elements.

Tavern 1903 on Urbanspoon

High Level Diner

This seemingly cheap and cheerful, unassuming diner was a delight. Fast and friendly service, décor that made you feel like you were in someone’s living room, and a large menu full of classics and interesting twists. I didn’t get a chance to try their legendary cinnamon buns but I’ve been craving their delicious house-made ketchup ever since this lunch.

I split these two dishes and really enjoyed every bite. 

Middle Eastern Appetizer Platter ($20)A medley of hummus, tabouleh salad, chicken souvlaki, tzatziki, spinach pie and pitas.  

Smoked Salmon Quesadilla   $15)
Smoked salmon, Monterey jack cheese, jalapenos, capers, fresh dill and cilantro layered between two flour tortillas and baked.   Served topped with sour cream and fresh diced tomato with fresh fruit salsa for dipping.Choice of house cut fries, caesar, green or tabouleh salad.

Highlevel Diner on Urbanspoon

The Burg
This downtown burger joint was extremely close to where I was staying so I had a feeling I’d stop in at one point or another on this trip.

My colleague ordered their feature burger and thought it was okay but at $15-16 without fries, was unimpressed.

I went off the menu and decided to customize and “Build my own burger”- I called it the “Crazy Bitch”- and with my choices of Potato Scallion Roll, Red Bean and Rice Veg Patty,Lettuce, banana peppers, tomato, jalapeno, cucumber ribbon, sliced pickles, tomato relish, Ghost pepper ketchup, mustard, sautéed mushrooms, it ended up being around $11-12. I must say, I created a delicious masterpiece.

We also polished off a side….two sides of their fries at $4.00 each with some of their tasty in house condiments as dip. I remember them being thin, salty and delish but we were also ravenous and needed to eat something while waiting for our burgers. I was also soooo happy because The Burg served my favourite cider, Foundry.

The Burg on Urbanspoon


This bustling lunch spot was on my radar for their delicious soups but we ended up hitting Mkrt for dinner. Really nice experience. Feels classy but not pretentious. Wonderful, enthusiastic service. Amazing wine. And food that was delicious and actually invigorating. Fresh ingredients with care and love but keeping it simple. Loved my dinner here.

On our table:
Ceviche, warm crostini, balsamic gull valley tomato & summer greens.
Sauteed Prawns on Sweet Potato Mash, tomoato butter, white wine and miso-chimichurri
And an amazing bottle of wine

Mrkt on Urbanspoon

The Marc
Walking the line between casual and formal, I really was impressed by the Marc. The interior is simple, clean, classic with a slightly upscale feel. Service was absolutely amazing. Attentive, friendly, accommodating and really felt like the staff here care about the food and ensuring every customer has a nice meal experience.

My lunch of Smoked Salmon Potato Salad ($14); House smoked steelhead with a horseradish dill potato salad topped with pickled cucumber ribbon.
And other dishes at the table looked equally delicious, especially their Foraged Mushrooms which was incredible looking.

The Marc on Urbanspoon

Duchess Bake Shop
This place is THE Edmonton mecca for desserts and baked goods. They make all of their products daily in-house from scratch and they pride themselves in baking the best of the best. No shortcuts or fillers or preservatives. This place was busy and bumping but clientele all seem to know the rules and everyone seems to have their favourite treat that they get every time. Their glass wrap around display counter is a feast for the eyes as you take it the beautiful, delicious and artfully prepared breads, scones, pies, cookies, macarons, tarts, cakes…….I’m not a dessert afficiando but I was drooling.
We tried the Ginger Cookies, the Citrus Verrine, but the overwhelming favourite was the Key Lime Tart with was just exploding with a beautiful fresh and bright lime flavour.

Duchess Bake Shop on Urbanspoon


MEAT is a fairly new smokehouse/BBQ place located in the heart of Old Strathcona. An authentic BBQ experience with homemade sauces, savoury sides, and a casual welcoming room to indulge. Our table split a few of the meats and sides but I ordered a smoked tofu sandwich to spare myself a serious case of the meat sweats…which tend to happen when this quasi vegan consumes any volume of meat or dairy. My sandwich was good but not mind-blowing but this is worth a second visit for the great space with a fresh, funky vibe with communal tables, AMAZING sides (garlic fries, brussel sprouts, baked beans!) and an assortment of delicious BBQ sauces and mustards. I think I consumed about a half bottle of the mustard and spicy BBQ sauce.

Meat on Urbanspoon

Tres Carnales

LOVE this place! Visited this place twice on my May trip to YEG. Their food and vibe is amazing. Didn’t get any food pics but a colleague and I shared their Hongos Mixtos tacos (mushrooms sautéed with garlic and capers) and their Pescado tacos (lightly battered and fried fresh Pacific Red Snapper). SO DAMN GOOD!

Tres Carnales Taqueria on Urbanspoon