Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Taste of Edmonton

Lamb Tostada from Zinc
Taste of Edmonton is part of the regular line up of summer festivals that occur in Edmonton. It has grown on a yearly basis to include more restaurants, as well as different niche tasting areas such as Taste of Beer, Taste of Wine, Taste of Beverages and Taste of Liqueurs and Desserts. Although it has become somewhat stagnant, with the same restaurants serving up the same dishes on a yearly basis, they are clearly doing so as people return time after time looking for their favorites.

As this year's festival began, the organizers imposed a new rule that an item can only be done two years in a row, then a new item must be introduced by restaurants to the Taste of Edmonton line up. With this rule in place and a handful of new restaurants participating, it is likely that the bar has been set higher for future years and I'm confident that everyone will step up to the challenge in upcoming years.

BBQ Pulled Pork from Fairmont Hotel Macdonald
Some of the standout dishes this year included new comer, Zinc. A mildly spiced, soft  lamb was served on a bed of crispy lettuce a top a tostada, and crowned with avocado creme fraiche. Their second offering that my entourage consumed, was Alberta feeb petit tender with blue cheese potatoes. Despite my protests, they ate it anyway and said they thoroughly enjoyed the tender feeb and very mild, yet delectable blue cheese potatoes.

Prosciutto wrapped bocconcini from Lit Italian Wine Bar
Lit Italian Wine Bar also breathed new life into the festival with their prosciutto wrapped around soft, warm and gooey bocconcini. Even the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald changed things up this year by serving a juicy bbq pulled pork slider with coleslaw.

Grilled quail from Hoang Long Family Restaurant
The most memorable and innovative dish however, goes to Hoang Long Family Restaurant for their grilled quail with pomegranate sauce. Although it was slightly awkward to eat a whole quail standing up with disposable utensils, the presentation of a whole quail was dramatic and refreshing. The meat was moist, juicy and succulent, and the slight spiciness was balanced with the sweetness of the pomegranate sauce.

I was a bit disappointed with the new Taste of Liqueurs and Desserts, expecting that restaurants would want to feature the best they had to offer being the inaugural year. The chocolate raspberry mousse we got from Hong Kong Bakery was not too bad, but also not fantastic. Although the raspberry mousse was airy upon the chocolate cake base, it lacked a sweetness one would come to expect from a dessert with fruit as it's main ingredient. L'Espresso Cafe's chocolate eclair was very large and dense, resulting in a too high dough to filling ratio. Although their baklava was quite good with just a hint of honey to give it a touch of sweetness and the perfect level of crispness.

Hopefully in upcoming years, we can expect other restaurants to bring new, innovative and fresh dishes to Taste of Edmonton, making it as exciting every year as if it were the first.

More photos on Flickr.

Taste of Edmonton
Sir Winston Churchill Square
Usually the 3rd and 4th week of July.
Twitter: @TasteOfEdm


  1. Just stumbled across your blog from urbanspoon. So cute!! love your blog, keep up the good work ! :)

  2. How I wish I'd tried the quail but I ran out of tickets! Great photos and recap.


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