This week is a very food heavy week with both Taste of Edmonton and Capital Ex running. I have plans to go to both and will be hitting Taste of Edmonton a few times over the weekend, so hopefully I will be able to get a combined review post up for y’all soon. Before we move on to all the street eats, let’s talk about the Dishcrawl I participated in on Tuesday (I’m going to apologize now for some of the poor photo quality – sorry!).
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Dishcrawl, it is like a pub crawl where you meet up in one location and hit up 4 restaurants in an area to sample a variety of dishes. This was my first dishcrawl but JP has gone before and Teresa actually organizes the Edmonton area events so I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into. JP came along with me but it turns out I knew a bunch of people attending as well so we had a dining group of 6 “troublemakers”. I had a great time eating and talking with everyone but what can I say – I like trouble.
We started out our night at Red Star Pub, where I actually managed to have a beer that I enjoyed – it turns out I really like fruity beers so my Strawberry Fruli was great! We were served three dishes at Red Star: Roasted Tomato Crostinis, Cannellini Bean Crostinis and Mini Burgers.
I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned that I am not a beer drinker – in fact I generally avoid drinking beer when I’m out. But Red Star gave us beer menus so I asked JP to suggest a beer and he hooked me up with a Strawberry Fruli. I really enjoyed it because it doesn’t have the yeasty beer taste you get with other types of beer (people are are probably going to tell me that I’ve just only had crappy beer!).
I’ve decided that Red Star has amazing crostini – this roasted tomato crostini was delicious! The tomatoes were so lovely and the bread was beautifully crunchy. The mozzarella didn’t really add much in terms of flavor but it did give the crostini an additional layer of texture as it was really soft compared to the crunchiness of the bread.
The roasted tomato crostini was delicious but I loved the cannellini bean crostini even more. It was seriously my favorite dish of the night. The cannellini bean had a hummus-y texture and was just perfect on the crunchy bread. I met Teresa for leftovers the next day and even cold, they were amazing.
The mini burgers were pretty tasty, the only thing I would have preferred is if the bacon was a bit crispier but I really really like crispy bacon so it’s probably a personal thing. Other than that, I was happy with my burger. Overall, I enjoyed our first stop but I have been to Red Star before and definitely like it. I even went back on Friday night for more crostinis!
Our second stop included a walk through Churchill Square and beyond – I was a little worried that we were heading into the more shady areas of downtown but we stopped just along the edge of that area at the Oil Lamp, which is across the street from the Law Courts and next to the Church of Scientology. The Oil Lamp is a small Greek restaurant and no one on our crawl had ever been there so it was definitely a new experience for us. I have driven by it many times and vaguely remember when it was a coffee shop of some sort, but I’ve never stopped in before.
The plate of food from the Oil Lamp was big! I wasn’t expecting this much food at the stop and was a little worried about eating it all, and in the end I gave JP my spanakopita after a taste. The chicken souvlaki was tasty – the chicken was tender and moist and had some good flavor (not bland at all). The spanakopita was not bad but I’m going to be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the dish so personally it’s not something I would order although I thought it was pretty good. The phyllo was nice and flaky and I think JP enjoyed it since he ate mine as well as his. The greek salad was salad-y and tasted fine but that is pretty much all I have to say about it.
I managed to guess our third stop of the night so Teresa had me lead our group to Crepe Symphony. I have been out to Crepe Symphony several times since they have opened and I’ve tried many things on the menu so obviously I like their food. We had the chicken mushroom crepe and the nutella banana crepe. I was excited since this was our first dessert item!
A normal order of the chicken mushroom crepe normally comes with two of these bad boys but one was perfect for an event like the dishcrawl because you don’t want to get too full at each stop. I like the chicken mushroom crepe, it is packed full of deliciousness but I did pick off the sliced pickles on top. Usually it comes with slices on the side so it is even easier for me to avoid eating the pickles.
Ahhhh dessert! The nutella and banana crepe is amazingly yummy. I don’t really like raw bananas and I happily ate this. The chocolate, banana and whipped cream combination in a thin crepe was just perfection. Again, a regular order would come with two of these but I don’t know if I could have two (who am I kidding, I would totally eat two). We were also offered a sample of their caprice cake which is a layer cake with honey and cream – it is off the charts delicious. I would come back to Crepe Symphony again and I am looking forward to stopping in for more dessert soon!
Our final stop of the night took us close to where we started as we made our way to the Free Press Bistro. I’ve walked by the Free Press Bistro many times and may have stopped in once but I don’t recall much of my previous experience. I have to admit I was pretty full by the time we made it over here and didn’t have much before packing it home for lunch the next day.
It was a super humid day so when we got to the Free Press Bistro I ordered their special drink of the evening – the Blended Ricky. I wish I could remember everything that is in it, but there was strawberry syrup, vodka, lime(?) and I think ginger ale? It was really good though and I would order it again.
We got another big plate of food which include homemade chips, a Russian potato salad and the Philly press Sandwich. I don’t really like potato salad much (I associate potato salad with food poisoning – it’s happened to me more than once) and this one also had a pickle flavor that I am not personally a fan of, so I passed it over to JP who enjoyed it. The rest of the dish was great though. I adore homemade chips so these were a special treat for me. They were super crunchy and just so wonderful. The Philly Press sandwich consisted of lean steak, peppers, and onion pressed with dijon and mozzarella and while I only had a bite during the crawl, I ate the rest the next day and it was still good. The dijon just gives the sandwich a small kick of flavor and I would definitely come back for this and those chips again in the future.
My dishcrawl experience was filled with great people and great food as my dining companions certainly enhanced the whole experience and the restaurants were very welcoming. My only suggestion is to have dessert at the last stop but that’s a small quibble as I understand why our path was laid out the way it was – it is better to end near where we started so people don’t have to backtrack very far to their cars. Thanks Teresa for organizing a fun filled experience!
So What Would Argenplath Pay?
My dishcrawl ticket was $45 plus a $3.24 processing fee so a total of $48.24. The ticket price does not include drinks so including my two drinks, my evening cost about $65. I think that the price is pretty reasonable for being able to eat at 4 different restaurants and have relatively large portions at each stop. That’s about $12 per restaurant (not including drinks) and I was full before we even hit the last stop. I would definitely consider going on another dishcrawl but tickets sell out really quickly (sometimes in less than 24 hours). If you’re interested in trying a bunch of different restaurants in an area, I think this is a great experience, but I would recommend taking a friend along as most people on our crawl came in groups so it can get a little awkward if you come by yourself, although we did have someone join our group and she was a great addition!