Travel and exploring new places is one of the biggest forms of self care for me, but with the pandemic going on, my dreams for a trip to Spain + Portugal in 2020 have been completely dashed. To be honest, I don’t know if I am ready to travel too far away from home in the near term future, so all my big trips have been sidelined until probably at least late 2021. So instead, I decided to take a page out of my friend Linda’s book and explore off the beaten path within Alberta. One of the things I love are road trips with some of my best friends as we always have a fun time and the rides are always filled with good convos!
This past weekend, we decided to head down to Red Deer and wander beyond Gasoline Alley for an afternoon. It was pouring rain when we left home and I was very concerned that we wouldn’t be able to do more than have lunch, but just as we were pulling into Red Deer, the skies cleared and the sun started to shine!
As Food Day Canada approaches (August 5, 2017), I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to highlight Alder Room, which does a fantastic job of highlighting what we can do with regional ingredients. The tasting menu at Alder Room is regionally and seasonally inspired, so it will probably be a different experience each time you go. The Alder Room website describes itself as follows, so that gives you a hint of what’s to come.
Alder Room is a modern, experiential restaurant; a place to interact with regional, seasonal cuisine and those who prepare it. Our menu is inspired by our connection to the land.
Alder Room can host up to 12 diners at its single 7pm seating (Wednesday to Saturday) and we arrived for our reservation on a Friday night. We had a group of four and there was another couple there as well, bringing the total number of people in our seating to 6. This was certainly an intimate meal and it definitely helped that the initial bites were served in the front seating area, where we would be able to chat while having champagne and snacks.
Before diving into the snacks, Chef Ben Staley (owner of Alta and Alder Room) gave us an overview of Alder Room’s philosophy and noted that he uses regional ingredients from Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. In particular, he indicated that he had a partnership with Vesta Gardens (in Thorhild) where they supply both his restaurants with produce. Each week, he heads out to Vesta Gardens to see what is available and tailors the Alder Room tasting menu to whatever is ripe and in-season.
Snacks (Clockwise L to R): Pickled carrots, Dried fermented peach, Quail egg rolled in vegetable ash, Fried sunchoke skin
If you know me, or follow me via social media (or on the blog), you can probably tell that I’m a pretty solid city slicker, so any time I get an opportunity to check out a farm to see where my food comes from, I’m down. Several bloggers (obviously including yours truly) were invited to visit Sunworks Farm on a beautiful Sunday to see how their certified organic farm operates and as well as to partake in a dinner catered by Quarter Section Food Co. using Sunworks products.
Sheila, Isaac and Ron as they give us a quick intro to Sunworks Farm and what they’re all about