Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Press'd - The Bird

The Bird by raise my voice
The Bird, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I dropped in to the newest location of Press'd on Jasper Avenue and 112 Street this afternoon for a quick late lunch. I was already familiar with Press'd's wide selection of sandwiches, served as a half or whole (which translations to "huge" and "even bigger") on one's choice of bread.

I opted for the familiar: a half Bird with smoked turkey, avocado, sprouts, and mayo on whole wheat bread. I held the cream cheese. I find Press'd's sandwiches to be very flavourful, filling, and very well-priced. You won't do much better pricewise at Subway, and these taste way better (as in, the turkey actually has a flavour).

Press'd is a great choice for a quick lunch on a budget.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Santo's Encore: Gnocchi in Tomato Sauce

I'm in post-Viva Italia Viva Edmonton afterglow and still feeling Italian. As a result, I headed back to Santo's today and indulged in a plate of gnocchi in tomato sauce.

The sauces at Santo's are totally homemade, and the tomato is one of the best I have ever had: not spicy, but rich and thick and full of flavour. The gnocchi is also special - the tiny potato dumplings soaked up the sauce and were perfectly chewy.

At around $10 the portion was excellent and kept me satisfied all afternoon. When it comes to Italian food served right, Santo's is hard core.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ichiban Again - Bento Box

Bento Box by raise my voice
Bento Box, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I am so glad that Ichiban expanded their hours to include Sunday evenings, because I am strapped for a place to go when I became hungry on my way home today. The only other dining choices in my immediate vicinity were greasy fast food places.

So, without shame I entered Ichiban and sat at a table for one. It was early enough that the supper rush had not begun (it was in full swing when I left, though). I ordered a bento box. Supper menu bento boxes come with miso soup, salad, rice, and your choice of three items. I called my bento creation the "triple teriyaki" because I decided to have teriyaki chicken (an entire breaded breast slicked), beef (tender and moist on a bed of sprouts), and salmon (a filet, still on the skin - salmon skin, when cooked properly, is delicious and full of essential fatty oils).

It is a meal large enough to share and reasonably priced at $18.50. I enjoy eating a variety of foods within one meal, so my love affair with the bento box is surely to continue.

Viva Italia Viva Edmonton (VIVE) - Pizza

Viva Italia Viva Edmonton (VIVE) was the final event of the East meets West festival, a week-long celebration of the cultures in McCauley. Since this was an Italian festival, food was a central component of VIVE.

Pizza and steakhouse Santos on 95 Street and 108 Avenue was selling pizza by the slice. Santo's is a popular neighbourhood hangout - prices are low and the food is excellent. The atmosphere is more like a bar than a restaurant and there is betting on horse races that takes place within the premises, but if you are looking for a solid meal and great service instead of a family restaurant, Santo's is a place with a lot of colourful local culture.

I eagerly got a slice of vegetarian pizza. At only $3.50 it was a bargain - it was around a quarter of the size of one of their pizzas (their pizzas only come in one size) and loaded with toppings. There is just enough pizza sauce to make everything nice and moist without compromising the compusre of the crust. Someone also pointed out to me once that a great thing about a Santo's pizza is that the topping go all the way to the edge of the crust - there is no huge wedge of dough there.

This formidable slice of pizza was the only thing I ate at East meets West, because it filled me so much! I am going to have to head to Santo's again soon, because just writing about it is making me crave their pizza again. However, I will have to bring someone to share it with.

How Sweet It Is - Eva Sweet Waffles

World Market by raise my voice
World Market, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I attended the World Market on Saturday, which was part of the East meets West festival in McCauley. As part of the festivities, a free Belgian waffle was offered to the first 100 attendees.

Free waffles were still available when I arrived, so I gladly took advantage especially when I saw they were being provided by Eva Sweet. I have been a fan of Eva Sweet and their waffle trucks for a while now, often enjoying one at City Market or other outdoor locations.

I usually get a plain vanilla waffle - today, I had it dressed up with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. The whipped cream melted into the hot waffle almost immediately, mixing with the sauce to form a unique syrup. The waffle was hot and crispy, with a sweet buttery taste.

I was in sweet heaven, and did not even know I spent the next couple of hours going around with a dot of chocolate on my cheek. It looked like a mole, so no one said anything. Oh well - it was worth it!

Ichiban - Avocado Maki & Sushi, and Smoked Salmon

Ichiban is tucked away in a west end strip mall along 149 street and 88 Avenue, yet people flock there from all over the city. The prices, selection, and service make it one of the best Japanese restaurants in Edmonton.

I come here regularly either for a bento box or sushi. They have a good selection of vegetarian sushi or sushi with cooked fish or meat (I am not much into raw food).

As a light supper, I ordered a roll of avocado maki, and an order of avocado sushi and smoked salmon sushi. It hit the spot on a hot evening. I like avocado in just about anything, and it goes well in sushi with the rice and tempura crumbs. Smoked salmon on rice also tastes like a natural combination.

The restaurant was very busy - all the tables were going and people were waiting in the lobby - so service seemed a bit rushed. However, this is still my favourite place to go for sushi.

The Pho Files: Pho Tau Bay

Pho Tau Bay by raise my voice
Pho Tau Bay, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Pho Tau Bay (98 Street and 106 Avenue) is considered by many to be the best pho restaurant in Edmonton. I would argue that claim, but agree it is definitely amongst the best, particularly because of the broth.

Despite the blazing heat of the late August sun, I ventured in for a bowl of steak and well done brisket. I love how the brisket is in cubes. The steak could have been more tender, but is definitely not the worst I have had.

I had a lemonade to go along with my meal - yes, it seemed weird drinking ice cold, fresh lemonade with steaming hot soup, but I was so thirsty from riding my bike around the area that I needed the extra fluid.

I walked out of Pho Tau Bay with sweat emanating from all of my pours and a smile on my face.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Curry Veggie Steak with Rice: Fo Guang Tea House

Anyone who loves vegetarian cuisine and is on a budget should head to the Fo Guang Tea House. It is located in the basement of the International Buddhist Progress Society on 103 Street and 103 Avenue (the northeast corner of the Revillon Building).

From Tuesday to Friday, you can pick one item from the menu for only $5. Service is quick, and comes with tea and an amuse bouche.

I went for the curry veggie steak with rice. At first I was told they were sold out (amongst other menu items) so I ordered something else. Imagine my surprise when my server brought me a plate filled with rice, curried potatoes, carrots, and something else that tasted like the sea, and a small piece of breaded veggie steak. Apparently, there was one order left.

The curry was light and not too spicy, and mixed well with the rice. The steak was in a gravy, possibly mushroom-based, but was cold. That was odd, since everything else on the plate was piping hot. However, since the meals are prepared and served by volunteers, I can easily forgive this. I would offer the constructive criticism of making sure the temperatures of everything are even.

Alongside was a small bowl of cabbage soup, which was a pleasant addition. The dining area is very clean, and was still buzzing at 1:30 (hours are 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.).

Menu items include lots of rice, vegetables, tofu, and imitation meats. You don't have to be Buddhist to enjoy the meals!

Fringe Festival 2011 - Green Onion Cake

Fringe Festival 2011 by raise my voice
Fringe Festival 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

The Fringe is one of my favourite summer festivals. It also marks the end of the major summer festivals, so it is almost like a seasonal transition. This was my first year at the Fringe as a volunteer. I was part of the multimedia team, taking photos. Unfortunately, a bad cold forced me to cancel most of my shifts and did not allow me to visit the grounds as much as I normally like.

As a result, I did not eat as much festival food as normal, which was a shame because there were a lot of new and interesting choices. I did manage to swing an onion cake - they are almost obligatory. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, it is not quite as flavourful as the ones I order in Chinatown, but was satisfying nonetheless.

I'm already looking forward to hopefully being able to do more Fringing next year!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Pho Files: Pho with Medium Rare Beef at Basil Leaf

Nothing helps drain the sinuses when getting over a cold like a steaming bowl of pho. So, when I was attending the Chinatown Festival this afternoon, I headed into Basil Leaf as the festivities were taking place literally right outside its door at 100 Street and 107 Avenue.

Judging by the symphony of people sniffing and coughing inside the restaurant, it sounded like other people had the same idea. And for good reason - the soup was piping hot, filled with noodles and tender beef. I love it when the meat is tender, rather than tough. It sets the bar higher when it comes to the soup, rather than using second-rate cuts of meat.

Besides the meat, for me, an excellent bowl of pho is in the broth. The broth in this serving was a little on the greasy side, and a bit one-dimensional as far as seasoning went. The tasty meat and huge portion almost made up for this, however.

All in all, this was a respectable bowl of pho. It even got me to join the sniffle choir.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Veggie Pho - Longan

Veggie Pho by raise my voice
Veggie Pho, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Longan is a gem of a Vietnamese restaurant at 10582 100 street. Because of its location down what is effectively a sidestreet, it is also often overlooked.

Well, if you enjoy excellent Vietnamese food like pho and vermicelli noodle bowls, head here for excellent food, prices, and service (a friend of mien and I call the restaurant "The Smiling Lady" because the owner/cook is always at the front fo greet us with a big smile on her face).

Another exciting aspect of Longan is the extensive list of vegetarian choices on their menu. As far as I have been able to tell, this is one of the only placed in Edmonton to get a vegetarian bowl of pho. And by "vegetarian," I don't mean it's just broth (which is often beef-based anyways) and noodles without the meat - the whole meal is vegetarian.

Lots of vegetables and fried tofu is used in place of meat. The vegetable broth is still seasoned with the same aromatics as the meat version, but is admittedly not as rich in flavour. It also doesn't leave a greasy residue on your lips either. This is a hot and satisfying bowl of soup even for diehard pho lovers like myself. It's pho without the fat, but all the flavour.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chicken Pho (Pho Ga) - Ninh Kieu

Chicken Pho (Pho Ga) by raise my voice
Chicken Pho (Pho Ga), a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Vietnamese noodle soup (pho, pronounced fuh, traditionally) is one of my favourite foods. Perhaps it is because it is economical - you can get a huge bowl for only around $7 or $8. Perhaps it is because it is so filling - the mountain of meat and noodles to be found within is overwhelming. Perhaps it is the flavour - the mix of seasonings and herbs are aromatic and delicious.

Pho is comfort food, an emergency meal, and just plain wonderful. Especially when one is feeling under the weather. There is something about a steaming bowl of hot soup that clears the sinuses.

This bowl of chicken pho is from the Chinatown restaurant Ninh Kieu. Ninh Kieu uses an excellent combination of seasonings and aromatics in their broth. The slices of white chicken meat were tender and flavourful. The bowl depicted is a small serving. Sizes range all the way up to extra large, if you would like to go swimming in the bowl perhaps.

I had a green onion cake with the soup. To drink? Green tea, of course.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Latin Fest 2011: Beef Empanada

Latin Fest 2011 by raise my voice
Latin Fest 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I was writing a preview of the second annual Edmonton Latin Festival for a local magazine, when the organizer I was speaking with told me that her mother owned Roma Bistro and that her empanadas always steal the show, whether it is ast Latin Fest or Taste of Edmonton. I attended the second day of the weekend festival and decided to try it out for myself.

The fact there was a huge lineup at the Roma Bistro food stand indicated a good sign. That, and there was not much else in the way of food other than ice cream and treats. However, when the lineup thinned out later in the afternoon I grabbed the opportunity to try a beef empanada.

The crust was corn-based and much lighter and crispier than other empanadas I have had. Inside was a huge amount of pulled beef mixed with seasonings like onions and a hint of cilantro. I was left wanting more, but it looks like I am going to have to head to Roma Bistro to have my cravings satisfied!

Fish and Chips - Rose and Crown

Fish and Chips by raise my voice
Fish and Chips, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I am a stickler when it comes to fish and chips. A friend of mine and I have been trying fish and chips at just about every restaurant and pub we've been at, rating them (to ourselves) as we go. Personally, I find that besides places that specialize in the dish, like Joey's Only and Back Home Fish and Chips, the best place to get a delicious, large portion is at pubs.

This meal of fish and chips from the Rose and Crown is enough for two to share (and we did). Rose and Crown's fries are the battered, bottleneck variety which, when served crispy, are excellent (and they were). The two pieces of fish were large, not greasy, and had seasoning mixed in with the batter, which was just right, without being too thick.

My beverage of choice was a bottle of Pilsner, which is my favourite domestic beer (other than microbrews). This was a wonderful summer lunch for two.

Grilled Chicken Breast - Brewsters

Grilled Chicken Breast by raise my voice
Grilled Chicken Breast, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Brewsters is a regular stop for me, as there is one near where I live. Plus, I find their craft beer to be amongst the best I have ever tasted. After a long day of road trips and photography, Brewsters was the best way I could think of to unwind. I opted for the teriyaki grilled chicken, which was served with a corn salsa, basmati rice, and vegetables. The plate was warm, which helped retain the heat of the meal. It has been pointed out to me that many establishments serve hot food on cold dishes, thus compromising the temperature of the food.

The flavour combination was almost perfect, except Iwould have loved for a little more teriyaki sauce to go with the rice. I mixed in some of the salsa, which helped save it from dryness. The chicken breast was large and grilled to perfection, as it was quite juicy. As for the vegetables, I applaud Brewsters for using cauliflower instead of broccoli, which I also like, but is over-used by most restaurants. The beets were just soft enough without being overcooked and added bright colour to the plate, especially once I cut through them and unleashed their juices.

I paired my meal with a blueberry beer, which is a wheat beer topped with fresh blueberries. The flavour of the beer complemented the flavours of the dish very well.

Service, as always, was wonderful.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Folk Fest #7: Yam and Salmon Onigiri

Food - EFMF 2011 by raise my voice
Food - EFMF 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Onigiri is a Japanese rice cake sandwich. The fillings are placed at the centre of the rice cake (which is not the dry, flavourless variety but is a ball of fresh rice) and wrapped in seaweed. The Onigiri Company, from Calgary, presented these delicious little morsels at the Folk Fest.

I tried the yam and salmon variety. The flavours blended together beautifully. I used a fork to eat it - I can't quite imagine picking up the sandwich over the seaweed layer and it not falling apart in my hands - and it was the perfect size for a snack. The operative word here, is "snack." I would need to eat two or three of these to make it a meal. However, they were less than $4, making having more than one economical if had chosen to do that.

I hope to see onigiri in Edmonton again some time soon.

Folk Fest #6: Pulled Beef

Food - EFMF 2011 by raise my voice
Food - EFMF 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Filistix was conveniently located near one of the west stages I was frequenting, so I decided to finally give the vendor, known for its presence downtown at the City Centre Market, a try.

The pulled beef bunwich was a feast for the eyes as well as tastebuds. A pile of pulled brisket sat between a layer of sweet hoisin sauce on the bottom and pineapple salsa on top, contained within a fresh bun. I needed a fork to eat it all. The flavour combination was quite unique, and based on this experience I will try Filistix again in the near future.

Folk Fest 2011 #5: Rock Creek Cider

Food - EFMF 2011 by raise my voice
Food - EFMF 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

The lineups for the beer garden on Saturday were so long, I decided not to even try to get in. Blame it on the hot afternoon, but it seemed like a large portion of the crowd was craving beer. Sunday was a different story. Cloudy skies and a cool breeze made for no lineups at all. I ventured in and bought a drink ticket.

I opted for cider instead of beer. Cider is a recent discovery of mine, having tried Strongbow and found it a refreshing alternative to beer. After trying several other brands, both imported and domestic, Strongbow has remained my favourite.

Rock Creek Dry Cider is a product of Calgary-based Big Rock Beer Company. I found it slightly less dry than Strongbow and just as refreshing. It is probably the best domestic cider I have tasted thus far.

Folk Fest 2011 #4: Turkey Sausage

Food - EFMF 2011 by raise my voice
Food - EFMF 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Fat Franks was the one vendor I visited twice during the weekend. First, I had a veggie hot dog, which is nothing new to me. While I was paying, I noticed a new addition on their menu - turkey sausage. Fat Franks has had other kinds of sausages for a while, but being a non-pork eater for religious reasons, I have never tried them. This one, I could.

The next day, I ventured up to the Fat Franks stand and ordered a turkey sausage. I was told it had been a hot seller, despite being a new product. After my first bite, I could tell (or taste, as the case may be) why. The skin was perfectly crispy, with juicy turkey within. It was not spicy in the least bit, and much thicker and a bit longer than their Jumbo Dog. It was a lot of meat. It was also not cheap, at $6, but sometimes festival prices are inflated. I am going to definitely order another one of these on the street and see if it lives up to this first one.

Folk Fest 2011 #3: Frog Lake Bannock

Food - EFMF 2011 by raise my voice
Food - EFMF 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

A piece of bannock would make a nice snack, so I thought, and at only $2 from Homefire Grill I went for it. The bannock was much drier than other bannock I have had, which is usually deep fried, retaining some of the grease, and chewy. I did not use the accompanying butter, admittedly. The texture was more like a dense sponge cake, without the sweetness.

Folk Fest 2011 #2 - Veggie Pita

Food - EFMF 2011 by raise my voice
Food - EFMF 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I decided to have each meal or snack at the Folk Fest from a different food vendor. I noticed a Mediterranean food stand offering wraps and platters. When I go to the Folk Fest, I tend to be in a vegetarian frame of mine, such is the hippy that I am. As a result, I went for the veggie pita wrap. It was filled with grilled eggplant, zucchini, and peppers, as well as lettuce. A thick spread of hummous was on the inside of the pita, while the veggies were covered in a refreshing tahini sauce. While the pita bread was crisp, the fillings were all cold, which I believe was intentional - the veggies were chilled, not room temperature from sitting. The wrap was a great flavour combination and the perfect lunch on a very hot afternoon.

Folk Fest 2011 #1 - Got Grease?

Food - EFMF 2011 by raise my voice
Food - EFMF 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Consuming greasy food at a festival is mandatory. Whether it is some kind of fried dough or this shown example, the basic small French fry, there is something both comforting and satisfying about eating something I would likely never crave if not for the festive atmosphere. I always have either fries or fresh cut potato chips at the Folk Fest. I used to have fried Oreos, but the portion size (as well as the price) increased, and I have found that lately I cannot consume as much fried dough as I used to. Talk about a First World problem, LOL!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Heritage Festival 2011 #11 - Caucara Con Papas

Heritage Festival 2011 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

This is another Heritage Festival staple for me. Available at Ecuador for seven tickets, it is a huge, deep platter of strips of spiced beef, cilantro/onion salad, and sliced potatoes. The potatoes are in an oily dressing and could have been a bit crisper, but this is still one of the best values in the park. Two people can easily share.

Heritage Festival 2011 #10 - Sno Cone

Heritage Festival 2011 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I don't know what is Irish about a sno cone, but I am glad it was available and only two tickets. It was a perfect, sweet, cold soother on a very hot afternoon. Cherry is my favourite flavour.

Heritage Festival 2011 #9 - Papa Rellena

Heritage Festival 2011 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Although it cost more tickets than advertised in the Heritage Festival program, I decided to head to Peru and try Papa Rellena. A large ball of mashed potatoes was lightly fried and filled with (besides the potato) ground beef, hard boiled egg, and a black olive. It was almost like an empanada, but in potato rather than dough. I loved the texture of the potato, and the flavours mixed well.

Heritage Festival 2011 #8 - Poffertjes

Heritage Festival 2011 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

It is pronounced "pofferties" and is as fun to eat as to say. They are small, pancake-like pastries with a hint of butter, covered in icing sugar. These poffertjes were light and fluffy and available at the Dutch pavilion. I love pancakes, so there was really nothing not to like about these.

Heritage Festival 2011 #7 - More Kebabs

Heritage Festival 2011 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Sometimes the Heritage Festival is referred to as the "Meat on a Stick Festival" because of all the grilled choices at many of the pavilions. These kebabs were from Iraq. The meat was nicely marinated and quite juicy. I could have taken or left the salad - the meat was the star of this stick.

Heritage Festival 2011 #6 - Bolani

Heritage Festival 2011 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Bolani was one of the first things I ate when I started attending the Heritage Festival some years back. It is from Afghanistan and is a crispy, pan-friend dough filled with mashed potatoes and green onions. The creamy cucumber dip adds a just the right coolness. The different tastes and textures, plus the ample size, makes this a Heritage Festival favourite.

Heritage Festival 2011 #5 - Leek Soup

Heritage Festival 2011 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

This leek soup from Wales was my biggest surprise of the Heritage Festival. I loved it. It was hot and creamy and full of leek and potato. At only three tickets, you can afford to go back for a second helping - it is that good. Even though it was a hot and sunny weekend, the soup was surprisingly refreshing.

Heritage Festival 2011 #4 - Kebabs

Heritage Festival 2011 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

These kebabs from the Afghanistan pavilion keep me coming back to the Heritage Festival every year. The ground beef balls are perfectly spiced and taste delicious from the grill. Same for the veggies, that are grilled to perfection. This is by fat the most mouth watering meat on a stick in the park. It is expensive at eight tickets, but the taste makes it worth it.

Heritage Festival 2011 #3 - Persian Ice Cream

Heritage Festival 2011 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Imagine ice cream on a hot day. Now, imagine that ice cream laced with saffron, pistachios, and some rose water. The result is Persian ice cream, and it was unlike any ice cream I have ever had. This treat was served at the Iran pavilion, and my biggest gripe was the portion size. Four tickets for maybe a little over a tablespoon of ice cream. They could have at least filled the cup up halfway.

Heritage Festival 2011 #2 - Cornish Pastie

Heritage Festival 2011 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I spent a fair bit of time at the England pavilion, one reason being that there was a rocking band playing many of my classic rock favourites. I decided to try a Cornish pastie, which is a short crust pastry filled with beef and vegetables. It was like a pot pie in a pizza pop. The insides were piping hot, and although very basic, it was tasty and filling. At four tickets, it was also a bargain. Jolly good!

Heritage Festival 2011 #1 - Latkes

Heritage Festival 2011 by raise my voice
Heritage Festival 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Latkes are potato pancakes usually made for the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, when oily foods are customary. However, these latkes produced by the Israeli pavilion at the Heritage Festival feel short. The texture and flavour reminded me more of the potato pancakes I order in a family restaurant, than the smooth, crispy ones I remember from home. Other patrons were commenting as well along similar lines. The portion size was good, although some sour cream would have been nice along with the apple sauce.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Taste of Edmonton 2011 #9 - Lucky Pockets

Taste of Edmonton 2011 by raise my voice
Taste of Edmonton 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I have a real sweet tooth, and it is hard to show me something I have never heard of before when it comes to desserts. Lucky Pockets was a new to me dessert courtesy of Blue Willow. Fried, wonton-like pastries were filled with red beans and banana. Red beans are sweet and have a unique flavour. The bananas tended to dominate, however (which is fine by me, as I like bananas). The pockets were a bit hard to chew and did not make for an elegant experience in public. However, I would try these again some time - in private.

Taste of Edmonton 2011 #8 - Tiramisu

Taste of Edmonton 2011 by raise my voice
Taste of Edmonton 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Tiramisu is one of my favourite Italian desserts. This version from Pazzo Pazzo was a bit more dry than others I have had, but was bursting with amaretto and chocolate flavours. Several passers-by asked me what it was and where I got it.

Taste of Edmonton 2011 #7 - Sirloin Beef Bowl w/Sesame Sauce

Taste of Edmonton 2011 by raise my voice
Taste of Edmonton 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Japanese Village obviously could not bring out an entire teppan grill for their booth, but the beef for their sirloin rice bowl was perfectly thin and cooked. The rice was plain and white, and the sesame sauce like any other I have had on similar dishes. It was a nice combination of flavours and textures, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Taste of Edmonton 2011 #6 - Chicken Souvlaki

Taste of Edmonton 2011 by raise my voice
Taste of Edmonton 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Hot, simple, and delicious, this chicken souvlaki from It's All Greek to Me was quite memorable. The spices were perfect, giving the chicken flavour without being overpowering. The buttered crusty bread on the side was a nice touch. I definitely wanted another skewer when I was done - but I controlled myself.

Taste of Edmonton 2011 #5 - Scone w/Berry Compote

Taste of Edmonton 2011 by raise my voice
Taste of Edmonton 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

I had this scone with Saskatoon berry compote a few years ago from the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald stand at Taste of Edmonton, and I never forgot it. It is an entire scone sliced in half, with a generous portion of compote and whipped topping. Not too sweet, it's an adult dessert - all I needed was some coffee or tea to go with it!

Taste of Edmonton 2011 #5 - Green Onion Cakes

Taste of Edmonton 2011 by raise my voice
Taste of Edmonton 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

These green onion cakes are the reason many people come to Taste of Edmonton. I frequent Chinatown, so I know my onion cakes - and this is among the best I have ever had, hands down. Crispy on the outside with flaky layers of salty onion goodness on the inside, it is thick and just chewy enough. The ultimate festival snack.

Taste of Edmonton 2011 #4 - Ginger Beef

Taste of Edmonton 2011 by raise my voice
Taste of Edmonton 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Ginger Beef, as we know it in these parts, is actually an Alberta-made invention by early Chinese restauranteurs in the province. I visited a museum in Stony Plain recently, and the feature exhibit was about Chinese restaurants in Alberta - it was quite enlightening. Urban China's serving of Ginger Beef was reasonably large, crispy, and had the right amount of kick. There was nothing not to like about it. I happened to be craving Chinese food at that moment, so it hit the spot.

Taste of Edmonton 2011 #3 - Perogies

Taste of Edmonton 2011 by raise my voice
Taste of Edmonton 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Years ago, I took a tour of the Cheemo perogy factory for an article I was writing about the company. I've never been a huge fan of the mass-produced Ukrainian dish, although when made from scratch can be one of my favourites. Alas, the offering by Taste of Ukraine fell short, not just in taste, but also presentation. The serving was small for the price, and the fried onions were hardly anywhere to be found. This was a disappointment.

Taste of Edmonton 2011 #2 - Mini Steak Sandwiches

Taste of Edmonton 2011 by raise my voice
Taste of Edmonton 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

On The Rocks created my personal favourite entree for the Taste of Edmonton Festival. These little steak sandwiches were cooked to perfection - tender and juicy. The corn salsa added the right touch of spice. The only problem was that On The Rocks had no forks at their stand. I was told they were meant to be eaten in one or two bites - maybe for someone with a really big mouth (no jokes, please!). It was impossible to pick up all of the delicious salsa otherwise, even using the crisp cheese croutons. Delicious food, beautiful presentation - but this is definitely not finger food.

Taste of Edmonton 2011 #1: Hurricane Potato

Taste of Edmonton 2011 by raise my voice
Taste of Edmonton 2011, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Korean Village is known for bringing the vegetable tempura to many Edmonton festivals, but this year, at Taste of Edmonton, the restaurant also featured the Hurricane Potato. It is almost an entire potato cut into a spiral, fried in a light tempura batter, and served on a stick. I love vegetable tempura, so I really enjoyed this treat. I also notices Korean Village were selling quite a few of them at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Festivals are known for offering meat on a stick - why not potato on a stick too?