Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Taste of Edmonton 2013 media launch and hearing first hand about some of the cool events they are planning as well as getting a small sample of the items that will be on the menu during the event. This year’s media launch took place in the Art Gallery of Alberta, which is one of my favorite places in the city, the lobby area is a great space for events like this and the natural light that comes in is perfect for photos!
As you can see from the cover of the program, there are definitely some new things brewing and I am very excited about them, especially the Sip n Savour area where workshops, competitions, al-fresco dinners and a daily market will be going down. I am not 100% clear on how the Sip n Savour area works just yet, as my program lists admission as 10 Taste Tickets, but I don’t know if that is for the whole day or for individual workshops (I will check in with the awesome Taste of Edmonton folks and update as soon as I get an answer). The strong focus on local foods and businesses in the Sip n Savour area makes me really happy and excited – I think it’s a great way to introduce more people to the great local businesses in the city so thumbs up Taste of Edmonton! In addition to the Sip n Savour, there will be a variety of musical acts performing through the event and who doesn’t love a little music with their dinner?
Now onto the heart of what Taste of Edmonton has to offer – the food. Although the program above shows that there are 12 new restaurants, we were told during the media launch that there are 9 new restaurants this year, but regardless of how many new restaurants are participating, 40% of the menu items are new, so I am sure you can find something different from last year! I am glad to see some of my favorites still available this year though (i.e Guru’s Tandoori Chicken Samosa – see last year’s post for a photo). The food trucks are also back this year and that makes me happy.
Another awesome change to the menu this year is the option to purchase taste size portions as well as larger portions – this is ideal if you’re on a mission to try as many items as possible without getting super stuffed. I might even try to round up a few friends and attempt to sample everything on the menu (I am an ambitious woman?) – I even have a head start this year as I managed to sample a number of items during the media launch!
So without further adieu, here is everything I tried, although I don’t think it is fair to review these items as they had to sit in chafing dishes and under lamps for awhile, but I did flag my 3 favorites from yesterday and I hope this will give you an idea of what you can look forward to.
I kicked off the event with a small glass of Granville Island’s Ginja Ninja beer (I still had to run back to work after the launch) and as a non-beer drinker, I thought it was pretty good. It didn’t have the very strong beer flavor that I can’t stand, although I remain a fruity beer kind of person.
I know I said I wasn’t going to review the dishes but there was one dish that I LOVED and I definitely think y’all should try. That would be the incredibly delicious Banana Bread Pudding from Zinc – this is my idea of comfort food perfection and the flavours were spot-on for me.
The North Shore Beef Ribs from Mercer Tavern was also high on my list – it had good flavour and what I like to call “good barbeque char” on it (Argenplath Mama just cringed right there). While it all looks like barbeque char – I do believe the dark colour is partially due to the marinade – I promise you it wasn’t all char.
Another dish I thoroughly enjoyed was the Craisin Papri from Naan-o-licious. I thought it had interesting flavours with a tiny bit of heat and a nice contrast in textures. I also liked that it was served in a cone (what can I say – I’m a sucker for street food presentation). The picture below doesn’t really show the cone part but I just wanted to focus on the contents inside… you know the tasty part.
So while those are my top three dishes from the media launch, I did sample a few others as well. They were all not bad, although I think the chafing dish/heat lamp/long wait time situation did affect the dishes a little bit – I will definitely give them a try in their tents though!
I did miss out on eating a few other dishes due to being too full and my pesky shrimp allergy. They looked pretty yummy though!
Wow I guess that was a lot of food, but only a very small sample of everything the Taste of Edmonton has on the menu! I hope some of these have captured your attention and that you will venture down to one of my favorite summer festivals to check out the amazing line up of events and sample what some of Edmonton’s restaurants have to offer.
So What Would Argenplath Pay?
If you are planning on attending Taste of Edmonton this year, I would encourage you to purchase your tickets before July 18, 11am from Tix on the Square as you would save 10% off and that works out to $27 for 30 tickets. And with the smaller taste portions, I think it’s a great opportunity to really take advantage of the huge menu and try all the things you want without having to make multiple trips (although multiple trips are fun too).
I am planning to be there on the weekend of July 20-21 to support my friends as they compete in the Black Box and BBQ Brownie competition in the Sip n Savour area, so if you’re there – please come by and say hi (just tweet me)!
*Disclosure: I was invited to the Taste of Edmonton media launch but I was not monetarily compensated (or otherwise) for this post. All opinions remain my own.