All you can eat (AYCE) is one of those phrases that simultaneously delights and horrifies me. I love the idea of choice and options for a single price but I also hate being overwhelmed by choices and trying to decide how much I can eat before feeling too full and wanting to throw up. So when everyone was telling me about It’ All opening up in Chinatown, I was very intrigued but also a little unsure about going. However, my awesome friend JP came to town last weekend and since I know he can eat a lot and would be able to polish off everything I take but cannot finish (no waste here), we decided it would be a great place for a meal.
It’ All is a Japanese and Korean all you can eat place and one of the selling features for us was that it had a ton of Korean side dish (banchan) options. I have seen photos of the massive banchan area in the buffet and couldn’t wait to try as much as possible. After some deliberation, we went with twelve different types of banchan…
Banchan Plates! This is only a small selection of all the banchan available
There has a been a mini-Korean restaurant explosion in Edmonton over the past year or so – every time I turn around, it seems like someone is talking about another new place! The newest restaurant on the scene is NongBu Korean Eatery and it is a good one – it is actually just off Whyte Ave in Edmonton instead of along the Ave like my title suggests but close enough? I originally had plans to go with a bunch of my Edmonton food friends, but alas I had a case of the flu and all my plans were nixed. However, good things come to those who wait and when friends up from Calgary asked if I was up for a visit to NongBu – my answer was an enthusiastic yes!
It was a crazy weather day when I popped over to NongBu as there was rain, sunshine and hail all in a very small time frame, but it was great to walk in from the hail/snow to be greeted with a glass of Soju mixed with Milkis (Korean soda)!
Soju and Milkis
Maehwasu – Plum Flavored Liquor
I know I’ve mentioned this before but I can’t help reiterating how much I love the Edmonton twitter community, in particular the food lovers! I’ve met so many awesome people that are no longer just “twitter friends” but wonderful “in real life” friends and nothing says friendship like cooking and eating together. So that’s what we did – a bunch of us have been bouncing around the idea of a Korean food dinner and it finally came together in early February as a Korean Feast potluck.
Lesley and Steve kindly offered to host our event in their beautiful home (I covet their kitchen so much) and Addie, Amanda, Andrea, Dan, Lillian, Kathryn, Michelle and I came over armed with Korean recipes – Thank you Maangchi!
We kicked things off with Apple-Lime soju cocktails and I was a happy happy camper with these, although I am always happy once the soju comes out.
Apple Lime Soju Cocktail
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! As I think of all the people drinking green beer today, it makes me think of one of my favorite places to drink (and eat) in Edmonton. The Common is a gastro-lounge that is part lounge, part restaurant and part club and while a lot of multi-function places don’t always deliver on every front, The Common does, and in my opinion, there is absolutely nothing common about it! I remember when The Common was this tiny space in 124 Street, but I cannot rave enough about the wonderful space they have moved into on 109 Street (bonus – it’s closer to the LRT station and home). One of the major reasons I keep going back to The Common are the pop-up dinners they host every so often. I’ve been to nearly every single one and I love the creative and interesting food served in these one night only events.
The events are generally posted on The Common’s twitter (@thecommonyeg) and facebook page so it’s worth following them just to see when a pop-up event is coming up. Most of these events do tend to sell out – at least during the 6pm seatings, I am not so sure about the 9pm seatings – so hearing about it right away is key to getting a seat. Another thing I love about the events is you email in your reservation and then you pay at the end of the evening so you only have to pay once (and they take credit card too!).
While I wish I could dedicate an individual post for each meal (they were all pretty amazing), I just don’t have the time to write up each post (and to be honest, I can’t remember all the details of my reactions either) – so I am going to try something new and use a slideshow instead. Below you will find the photos of all the Common pop up meals I’ve attended (starting from the most recent) with the menus of each event following in text form.
Obviously I must be feeling better as I am starting to venture back out into the real world and my usual habit of dining out. I had plans with JP to catch the preview show of Whisper (minor jaunt off track here) which is a collaboration between Catalyst Theatre and the University of Alberta Drama program’s Studio Theatre – if you’re in the Edmonton area, go see this production. It is not in the usual Catalyst Theatre style which always seems larger than life, hugely theatrical and bold – this is a quietly powerful production. JP learned that everything in Whisper is based on the experiences of the actors and it is incredibly compelling to hear their stories as they reflect on memories and experiences, while expressing their hopes, fears and thoughts of the future. I found that I could completely relate to a lot of their experiences like what are your plans after graduation (still grappling with that question myself), what does your future look like, memories of people you’ve lost and moments of pure joy and wonder from childhood. It was nothing like I expected and yet it was everything I would have expected from Catalyst and Studio Theatre – the unexpected is a beautiful thing. So I really recommend going to see it – the play runs until April 7. Ticket prices range from $10 – $20.
Anyways, since JP and I were both on campus, we decided to meet up for a very early dinner (4:45pm – early bird special anyone?) before heading back to our respective offices to do a little more work before the show. One of our favorite campus area haunts is GaYa Korean Restaurant.