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
A few weeks ago, A. and I popped down to Whyte Ave after work to check out the Tuesday vegan buffet at Narayanni‘s. I have walked past Narayanni’s several times in the past, but have never gone in, so this was a first for me! To be honest, I had assumed that all the Indian buffet places were the same, so once I found one that worked, I kind of stopped looking for new places – shame on me… So really, I need to thank Narayanni’s for reaching out and inviting A. and I in for lunch/dinner. Unfortunately, I work all the way across the river so lunch is not an option but if you’re on the south side, Narayanni’s does offer a lunch buffet, which includes soup, salad, chicken curry and three vegan dishes for $12! The lunch buffet runs Tuesday – Friday from 11:30 – 1:30, but word to the wise – it’s a cash only lunch, so make sure you hit up the ATM before going.
Despite my social hibernation this month, I have taken some time to meet up with some friends and lengthy brunches have been on the agenda. Cured Wine Bar recently started offering brunch and my fellow food loving friend Cindy rounded a bunch of the “food friends” up to go for brunch (her review is already up!). Cured Wine Bar is located in Ellerslie and I have to admit, my preference is usually to head out to the city centre instead of the suburbs, but for good food, I am willing to make the drive.
Love the Cured Wine Bar space – especially the antler chandelier
There is a space that I absolutely love in downtown Edmonton and that is the restored Alberta Hotel on Jasper Avenue. When it was Tavern 1903, it was my go-to place for all occasions, so I was devastated when it closed. Recently though, the Alberta Hotel Bar + Kitchen has taken over the space and started serving up delicious bites and drinks.
Earlier this week, Alberta Hotel Bar + Kitchen had their grand opening with a set menu. A few friends were there for dinner and I heard it was a wonderful meal. I wasn’t able to make it but I did pop over during their soft opening phase! I am always dubious about reviewing soft openings and I tend to go in expecting to see kinks that need to be worked out. In fact, I was not planning to write about Alberta Hotel Bar + Kitchen, so didn’t even bring my camera with me (sorry for the lower quality phone photos), but *spoiler alert* my meal was so good that I had to share it with y’all.
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