Alberta Hotel Bar + Kitchen – Soft Opening Review

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.

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Having It All at It’ 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

Banchan Plates! This is only a small selection of all the banchan available

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Pizza Party at Urbano Pizza Co.

Remember when you were a kid and the best birthday parties you were invited to involved pizza and pop? Those were my favorite kind of parties and this past week my Gastropost Edmonton friend Brittney invited me and a bunch of pizza loving bloggers out to Urbano Pizza Co. for a pizza and pop party!

Urbano Pizza

Urbano Pizza Co. is the newest restaurant from the owners of Sabor Restaurant and Bodega Tapas and Wine Bar and it’s a place where you can either build your own pizza or try one of their signature pies. The pizzas are cooked super quickly (90-120 seconds) and you could theoretically be in and out with your pizza in 5 minutes! The pizzas are cooked in these very cute and colourful personal ovens – I do believe I even heard that one of them only does gluten-free pizzas, so that’s really great for people with gluten allergies!

Super cute pizza ovens

Super cute pizza ovens

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A Recap of the Prairie Noodle Shop Ramen Pop-ups

Ramen… I remember the very first time I had ramen that was not instant “ramen” – it was at Kintaro Ramen in Vancouver and it was pretty much a life changing experience. Every since then, I have been on the hunt for the rich, umami taste that I experienced back in Vancouver. I have had ramen-ish experiences in Edmonton but nothing that was reminiscent of that very first bowl. But I think Prairie Noodle Shop is out to change the ramen landscape in Edmonton and I, for one am 100% on board for the Edmonton Ramen revolution.

Prairie Noodle Shop has been hosting a series of pop-ups over the past year to help them develop and refine their core recipes and I have had the privilege to make it to all four pop-ups. The frenzy surrounding the pop-ups have involved all seats (100-150 bowls) being sold out in 5 minutes or less! The good news is that Prairie Noodle Shop is going to be moving to a permanent bricks and mortar location on 124 Street some time this year – the timing is dependent on when the City approves their development permits etc.

The very first bowl I had from Prairie Noodle Shop was in October of last year where they sold the bowls as a first come first serve – the line for the 8pm seating started early and was sold out by 7:45pm. Edmonton was definitely chomping on the bit to get their first taste of Prairie Noodle ramen. The initial bowl was an Alberta pork based ramen using Irvings Farm Berkshire Pork – I vaguely remember hearing something about smoking the bones outside, so they did use every part of the pig that they could. The Alberta pork ramen had a shio style broth that was made with the smoked bones, dashi and dried shrimp. The toppings with this included pork done not one, not two but three ways: char-siu style, shredded ham and shoulders, and a crispy chicharon, sweet corn and an umeboshi (Japanese salted plum) egg. For someone who doesn’t love eggs, this umeboshi egg is *almost* enough to change my mind… I just end up giving the egg yolk to one of my friends and eating the rest myself. Finally, I want to talk about one of the most important things in a good ramen, the noodles – the Prairie Noodle Shop partners did try making their own noodles, but in the end decided it was a better option to have them made fresh by a Chinese lady (who remains a secret) instead. The noodles are very good and have that delightful “bite”/chew that you want in your ramen noodles.

Alberta Pork Ramen - Shio broth with pork done three ways (char-siu style, shredded ham and shoulder, crispy chicharon), sweet corn, and umeboshi egg

Alberta Pork Ramen – Shio broth with pork done three ways (char-siu style, shredded ham and shoulder, crispy chicharon), sweet corn, and umeboshi egg

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All You Can (M)eat at Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse

Oh the trials of being a food enthusiast (and occasional blogger)… some weeks I pack my schedule with so much eating that food eventually becomes public enemy number 1 (cues up a very tiny violin). The last few weeks have definitely been food heavy as I rarely had dinner at home – of course that means a much healthier eating plan for the next few days. While I eat my fruit and salads, I want to recap a fantastic meal I went to at Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse. June is Pork Month and as we have it, BaconFest YEG is back for a second round on June 30. Pampa is participating in BaconFest YEG and as part of that, they are offering a special BaconFest menu for the month of June. My awesome friend Brittney of Gastropost Edmonton fame invited me + a date (my sister Bel) and a few others (like Linda – who is also giving away tickets to BaconFest Yeg!) to head out to Pampa to try the Pampa BaconFest menu.

Pampa's BaconFest Menu

Pampa’s BaconFest Menu

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