Friday, July 31, 2015

Festival Food: Interstellar Rodeo

I attended the Interstellar Rodeo music festival for the first time last weekend, as I was covering the event for a couple of publications. Like at most of Edmonton's festivals, food played a role. Food trucks were organized in several areas in the ampitheatre in Hawrelak Park and included some food choices that were new to me in this sort of venue.

Food at Interstellar Rodeo

The vegetarian chili pot pie with a corn bread crust from The Pie Eatery was the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. The zesty, rich chili was balanced by the sweetness of the crust. There was some cheddar in the crust making it non-vegan. Interesting, The Pie Eatery is operated by the same people who do Smokehouse BBQ.

Food at Interstellar Rodeo

No festival is complete for me without some kind of fried potato. In this case it was the crisps from Drift. The combination of seasonings on the thin chips was definitely a step up from simple salt. The dipping sauce was also incredible - I could do shooters of it.

Food at Interstellar Rodeo

Speaking of potatoes, the roasted ones from Kitchen by Brad (Brad being local chef Brad Smoliak) were small, tender, local, and delicious. A great alternative to fries. The generous dollop of sour cream added creamy richness.

Food at Interstellar Rodeo

The Mercury Room brought vegan fare to the fair (sorry about that - I couldn't resist), and the perogies were a hit. I had the potato-filled ones (mushroom and sauerkraut was the other option), which were served atop a bed of greens and covered in vegan sour cream, fried onions, and sauerkraut. As someone who generally does not like sauerkraut, this was fresh and not overpowering. The "sour cream" was the best part - it definitely did not taste like sour cream. It was more like a non-dairy tzatziki, but it added needed moisture to the dish.

Food at Interstellar Rodeo

I went back to The Pie Eatery for something sweet. The pecan pie proved they know what they are doing. Pecan pie is not just pecans on top of a butter pie. Here, the pecans were integrated in a filling that included raisins and chocolate. I just wish I had a stronger fork - mine was too flimsy to stand up to the dense filling and hearty crust.

Food at Interstellar Rodeo

Filistix was offering a variety of rice bowls. I had the green lentil vegetarian bowl, which also featured a variety of vegetables atop rice, with their signature slaw. I had a half portion and it was large enough. The full portions were simply huge (and also rather price at close to $15). The bowl was filling, flavourful but not spicy, and definitely a healthy option. Although I normally love the slaw, I actually did not think it went well with the flavour combination in this case.

Food at Interstellar Rodeo

For a light supper on the Sunday, I had the chaat papdi from The Spice Rickshaw. Crispy samosa strips covered in yoghurt, red onion, chutney, and seasonings. Very flavourful, and very wet. I thought the serving could have been larger for the price ($7) but it was refreshing.

Food at Interstellar Rodeo

I ended where I began: The Pie Eatery. Their tarts of mini-versions of their sweet pies, and I had a chocolate peanut butter one. The centre is thick, gooey chocolate, while the peanut butter is baked into the soft crust. A win if you are a fan of this combination.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hot Turkey Sandwich at Highlevel Diner

Turkey Tuesday #yegfood

Hot turkey is one of my favourite comfort foods, so when I was in the University area earlier this week, I went to Highlevel Diner for their weekly "Turkey Tuesday." Hot turkey sandwiches are on special for lunch. It was a pile of locally-raised turkey on fresh, multigrain bread with gravy and a choice of side. I went with the home cut fries because those fries are some of the best fries in the city, especially when paired with the house-made ketchup. But this lunch was about the turkey - oh, the turkey - this was real turkey off the bone, with pan gravy, just like home made. Not a turkey roast, not shriveled, dry pieces of leftover turkey, with thick, brown mystery gravy - this is the real deal. One of these days, I am going to have to come back later in the day for the full-fledged turkey dinner.

Chicken Shawarma Plate at Argana

Chicken shawarma plate #yegfood

I've read rave reviews and heard glowing testimonials about Argana Donair (4547 118 Avenue NW), located in the Beverley neighbourhood in northwest Edmonton. So, I was thrilled to finally try it out last weekend. I had the chicken shawarma plate, which featured a mountain of chicken roasted in-house on top of aromatic rice, with fries and garden salad. The fries were almost superfluous, as the chicken and rice were the stars of the plate. The chicken was tender with some acidic notes and the salad helped balance the plate with a bit of lightness. A hearty and affordable meal that is worth a trip to the north side.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fish and Chips at Brewsters

Fish and chips, and Pimms and Sprite. #yegfood

Thursday night is British Pub Night at Brewsters and this meant a two-piece haddock and chips at a reduced price, with Pimms and Sprite as a drink special. So, guess what I had? The Pimms and Sprite was an extremely light and refreshing cocktail. I could see myself enjoying this more often during the summer months. Pimms is gin with a sort of caramel taste (and colour). The drink went well with the fish and chips, in a crispy beer batter full of moist fish. The tartar sauce had a slight citrus flavour to it, and the coleslaw was made with grainy mustard, which I found quite unique flavour-wise as far as coleslaw goes. I actually enjoyed dipping my fries in the tartar sauce more than the fish. In general, I found the whole British-inspired meal to be jolly good.

Teriyaki Chicken Dinner at Ichiban

Chicken teriyaki for supper #yegfood

I have had the teriyaki chicken lunch special at Ichiban (8750 149 Street NW) several times, but never the supper portion. I enjoyed a couple of breast's worth of lightly battered chicken in a mildly sweet teriyaki sauce, with a generous scoop of white rice and salad, with miso soup to start. A definite step up from fast food chicken rice bowls

The Pho Files: Vietnamese Beef Stew at Pho Rice Pot

Beef stew #yegfood

Although I have been to Pho Rice Pot numerous times, I have never had one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes: the brisket stew with carrots and rice noodles. The portion was huge, as is typical for Pho Rice Pot, and the amount of reasonably lean cubes of brisket was quite ample. The broth was flavourful but not too spicy. Perfect comfort food for a cooler day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Smoked Meat Sandwich at Route 99

Smoked meat and fries #yegfood

Route 99 (8820 99 Street) is one of my favourite diners. I usually have breakfast food there, but on a visit over the weekend I decided to have a smoked meat sandwich. A decent amount of warm smoked meat deli was served with mustard (choice of regular or hot) on toasted rye. Simple and satisfying. There was butter on the toast, which I would have held had I known (the mustard was enough to add moisture. I don't like to dilute the flavour of the main filling with too much). Another couple of dollars had me pair the sandwich with fries and coleslaw. I also added gravy - and it was one of the best gravies I have had, with a rich and meaty taste without the greasy texture some have.

Breakfast for Lunch: Breakfast Special at Highlevel Diner

>Breakfast for lunch. #yegfood

While riding my bike around the Garneau area, I stopped in for lunch at Highlevel Diner This proved to be a good choice on a number of levels. First, cyclists who come into the restaurant hold their helmets get ten percent off their meals Second, I discovered the weekday all-day breakfast special, which is two eggs, bacon, potatoes, and toast for $7.99. I had an extra egg instead of the bacon. The portion was large, especially for the price, and I loved the roasted potatoes - a nice break from typical hash browns. Breakfast on a budget.

Vegging Out: Tofu Vermicelli Bowl at Delicious Pho

Tofu vermicelli bowl #yegfood

I was riding my bike home on a hot weekday evening, and stopped in to Delicious Pho at the halfway stop to grab some supper. I wanted something on the lighter side, so had the vermicelli bowl with tofu. The tofu was fried and covered in a mild garlic teriyaki sauce which also permeated into the noodles below. I asked for peanut sauce instead of fish sauce, but I actually did not need it. The serving was a good size and I like how the salad part is served to the side of the bowl instead of under the noodles (where the lettuce and sprouts end up getting hot).

Just Desserts: Raspberry Chocolate Mousse at Block 1912

Coffee break #yeg

A trip to Block 1912 on a rainy afternoon tempted me with the dessert display so much that I had to have something sweet with my coffee. I had a raspberry chocolate mousse - and sweet, it was. The chocolate mousse was perfect in texture and flavour. The raspberry ganache was incredibly cloying, however, even when cut with the chocolate and moist cake at the bottom. Chocolate and raspberry is one of my favourite dessert combinations, but it just did not come together well this time.