Okay, before I go on let me get one thing out of the way…
Fantastic. Now, onto the review.
As some of you may know, I’m a HUGE fan of the Edmonton International Fringe Festival (which starts Aug. 11 and runs until Aug. 21. Check it out because it’s one of the biggest festivals of its kind in North America…/endpromotion). For the past 6 years, I’ve been a box office volunteer and have seen countless amounts of shows since I first started “fringing”. But there was always one question I constantly ask myself every single season: What should I eat?
(For some of you rolling your eyes right now going, “of course the foodie is always looking for places to eat!” Just work with me on this one okay?)
Yes, that’s a question we ask ourselves everyday. But at festivals like the Fringe that are located in busy hot spots like Whyte Ave, you have a TON of a options and sometimes you become indecisive about what you should eat. Whenever I’m on Whyte, I usually gravitate towards 3 places:
The Next Act
These places have always been safe bets for me, but I can only visit these places so many times during the Fringe before I begin to crave a change in scenery after repeat visits. Plus, one can only consume so much taco-in-a-bag before the shame settles in.
But thankfully, I stumbled up on a neat little brew pub called Situation Brewing.
First off, let me say that I was a little hesitant checking this place out. When I think of pub food, I often think of places like Hudson’s or Elephant and Castle (RIP December 2015) and “okay” burgers and fries that you wash down with whatever beer was on special that afternoon. But let me tell right now that the food here is *SPOILERS* SCRUMPTIOUS. *SPOILERS Over*
Their menu is very straightforward:
As you can see, you can get a variety of pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and mains that range from mac and cheese their “Swine and Succotash”. It may look like your average pub fare, but take a closer look at the ingredients for each dish. For example:
The Angry Bison (which is what I ended up ordering)
6 oz. bison patty
Spicy cheese croquette (THIS. MY GOD. MANA FROM HEAVEN.)
Angry BBQ sauce
Oh and perfectly seasoned fries
Here’s a photo of it:
If your mouth isn’t watering after that…I have no words. I don’t often wolf a burger down, but I did when I went to Situation. Every single bite out of this thing was god tier levels of delicious. The bison patty was succulent, the cheese croquette had actual cheese in it and was super gooey, and the sauces were flavourful but not overpowering. Hell even the fries were great and well seasoned!
Alright I gotta ease up on the praise because I’m getting super hungry talking about this place. If there was any criticism I had about Situation Brewing, it’s that the service was a little slower than I expected. It could be due to the fact that the place was pretty busy when I went there or because was super hungry and I was just being impatient (I may have missed out on lunch at the time). Other than that there isn’t a whole lot of negative things I can say about this place. It’s that good.
But that’s it. I had a really positive experience overall. Although I didn’t get a chance to try out any of the beers they had on tap (I was driving), I highly recommend that you give this place a shot. The food is good enough to warrant a visit AND you could check the place out between shows at the Fringe because it’s a hop, skip, and a jump from the main festival grounds! 😉
I know I’ll definitely be going here more often now because this place has definitely earned a spot on my Whyte Ave list:
Pizza. It’s the one food that can be eaten during any situation. Birthday parties, parent/teacher interviews, staff parties, funerals, you name it. It’s that versatile and is always a safe bet when you’re hungry.
Which brings us to today’s post: My journey to this little pizza joint called Love Pizza (10196 109 St).
I came across this place as I was driving down a busy street along 109 St during rush hour. While I was waiting for traffic to move again, I noticed this sign that simply said, “Love Pizza.” My immediate thought was, “Yes. Yes I do love pizza.” But then I began to realize that I have never noticed that sign before because I tend to drive down that stretch of road quite frequently. It was then I made it my mission to give it a shot. Seeing as though I haven’t really gone out to try new restaurants over the past few months (being a full-time student is hard okay…STOP DEMANDING PERFECTION FROM ME), I figured I would take a small break from my busy life and give Love Pizza a go.
Let me start off by saying that Love Pizza is one of the most aesthetically pleasing restaurants I’ve visited lately. The minute you walk into the place, you’re hit with this very “hip” and “modern” atmosphere. It works for the downtown area and I liken it to places like The Burger’s Priest (which is located a few doors down from LP). The decor is simple and the walls are lined with large black and white photos and a list of “rules” you’re supposed to follow (and occasionally break) while you’re visiting. Everything about the interior is just bright and inviting and would easily make for a great place to take a date to. I dug it.
Now when it comes to the food, things are done a little differently. It has a similar structure to Quizno’s where you get to see your food built from scratch and gets shoved into an oven where it bakes for minutes and you can watch it all unfold as you move down the counter. You walk up to the counter to order your food, where at this point you could either order a signature pizza or build your own from scratch. If you choose to build your own pizza, you get a wide variety of ingredients to chose from such as:
Farm Fresh Egg
Basil and Spinach Pesto
And the list goes on…
I was quite impressed with the selection overall, although I was a little bummed to see that gluten free options were not offered at the time (wouldn’t recommend this place if you can have gluten). I ended up building my pizza from scratch, topping it off with tangy tomato sauce, pepperoni, jalapeños, and roasted mushrooms. Don’t judge, I’m a man of simple tastes.
Cooking time was relatively quick, but that’s mostly due to the actual size of the pizza itself. With regards to the size, I was surprised to see that my pizza was a little smaller than I expected, especially for the amount I paid for (pizza was about $11). But this can be easily overlooked because the pizza was actually quite good. It wasn’t the absolute best pizza I’ve ever had but it’s a definite step above places like Panago or Famoso (Full disclosure: I’ve never been the biggest fan of Famoso. I like my pizza to have a consistent texture thanks) The crust wasn’t too doughy, nor was it overcooked. It wasn’t incredibly oily and the sauce was evenly spread out.
It was a good pizza.
The only criticism I have is the price. For the amount money I paid (pizza + drink came to around $14), I can’t help but feel like I could’ve gotten more for the amount I paid. But I think this detail is very minor. I mean overall Love Pizza is a solid choice if you’re in the downtown area looking for a place to chow down and if you’re with a couple of friends. But if you’re looking to feed a large party, maybe shoot for a place that will give you more bang for your buck.
Overall I was quite pleased with Love Pizza. You should check it out because food definitely lives here.
When it comes to big events in the city, Edmontonians have a large variety of events to look forward to. Eskimo fans have the Grey Cup. Families have K-Days. Oilers fans have the NHL Draft. But when it comes to Edmonton foodies like myself, we have the release of Avenue’s list of Best Restaurants in the city to look forward to every year.
Looking at this years list, I was actually surprised to see some restaurants that I hold near and dear to my stomach make this years list. One of them being Thanh Thanh (10718 101 St NW). I’ve been going to that place for over a decade and it’s definitely nice to see them get the recognition they deserve! With that said, expect a review for Thanh Thanh in the near future!
Now that Avenue has released their 2016 list, I’m going to make it my goal this year to visit each and every single restaurant on this list. I said the exact same thing last year and failed miserably in this endeavour but hey I’m not perfect! But this year is going to be different! Starting May 11, I’m going to kick off a delicious adventure where I travel across the city to eat at the places that Avenue considers the best of the best.
So keep your eyes peeled in May because I’ll be kicking things off with a visit to Japonais Bistro!
Stay tuned for more my hungry readers because we’re about to go on one scrumptious adventure!
To the 5 of you who read this blog regularly, you’ll notice a lack of content this week. This is mostly due to the fact that I’ll be focusing on getting my last batch of assignments out and studying for my final…Because Mikey needs that degree!
With that said, here’s a little teaser of what you can expect next week 🙂
I have a confession to make guys and gals: I ate at McDonalds a couple of weeks ago…You may proceed to judge me…Okay stop judging me, we all make mistakes okay?
If you haven’t stepped into a McDonalds lately you’ll notice that they’ve started to update the look of a large portion of their restaurants. And by that I mean they’re starting to look a little more “upscale”.
But what surprised me the most was not the new interior design, but their new menu. No, they haven’t made changes to classic items such as the Big Mac or McNuggets, but they added an option to create your own burger…Complete with services you would normally expect from an actual restaurant.
Labelled as the “Create Your Taste” option on the menu, McDonalds gives you the ability to build your burger from the bun, right down to the veggies and other condiments. These options range from “ciabatta” to a “lettuce wrap” for the bun, to adding “grilled mushrooms” or a “large pineapple slice” (excuse the quotation marks. I feel as though you need to really include those when describing ANY ingredient from McDonalds) to your burger.
Sounds fancy right? As I was ordering this I had to constantly ask myself: Am I actually ordering this from McDonalds? Legit. It was the weirdest feeling ordering up a burger on a “brioche bun” with “jalapeños”, “colby jack cheese”, “spinach”, and “Big Mac Special Sauce”. Adding the Big Mac Sauce made the burger sound god awful on paper (my body hated me after) but damn for a burger I ordered from McDonalds, it wasn’t…completely terrible (that’s a good thing…I think).
But having a half-decent custom burger wasn’t even the weird bit about that meal. I was more stunned by the fact that all of my food (and drinks) was brought to my table by a server. It was the weirdest experience for me because McDonalds is the last place I expect this level of service. I mean the server asked what kind of drinks my buddy and I wanted and delivered them to our table. The rest of the meal was all served on a wooden board with a fresh batch of “fries” served in a small metal basket. When we got our meal, I shot my buddy the weirdest look. I couldn’t help but ask “Is this actually happening? Am I supposed to tip?” This meal wasn’t cheap either. Between the two of us, the entire thing costed a cool $25 for two meals.
After the meal the marketing side of me couldn’t hep but think, “What is McDonalds trying to get at?” I mean, if they’re aiming to improve their fast food image, it’s a step in the right direction…Sorta. It will be hard to shake off the reputation of being the #1 place you go to after a night of drinking with friends (or by yourself. It’s okay I won’t judge). But this can change once people start to realize they can now dish out $14 for a meal and receive full service…after a night of drinking with friends (or by yourself).
If this “Create Your Taste”becomes a big hit, I can kind of see a slightly brighter (and greasier) future for McDonalds. Will the food become healthier? Oh hell no, don’t be silly. Will McDonalds, or other fast food establishments, be moving towards a more traditional/high class full service restaurant? Maybe. We’ll wait and see…Or you could just click on the picture below.
Hey guys! I just thought I would give you guys a big apology for completely neglecting this blog for the longest time. I guess I was in over my head here and didn’t plan out how I was gonna carry on with this blog. I was easily overwhelmed with everything else in life and just didn’t put in the time and effort towards my food blog. So to everyone who reads this blog, I’m sorry.
Now with that said, I will be updating this blog on a weekly basis now (I promise!) Starting today (with my review of Lan’s Asian Grill), you can expect a new post from me every Friday! I’ve got some new ideas for content I’ve been working on that breaks away from the usual restaurant review…Because I love food and I want to talk about food related things!
So keep your eyes peeled every Friday for new posts!
With that said, I hope you guys stick around because my journey to eat everything that Edmonton has to offer is underway!
Alongside tacos and pho, dim sum will forever be one of those foods that I can never say “no” to. I was introduced to the scrumptious world of dim sum at a young age and ever since I have made it my goal to try to find the best dim sum restaurant in the city. With that said, it goes without saying that I have high standards when it comes to critiquing dim sum. So when I was told that Beijing Dim Sum & Seafood Restaurant was the place to go in Edmonton for dim sum, I immediately became skeptical because I have started to develop an affinity for places such Cha For Tea Palace and Jumbo (if you haven’t been to any of these two places, stop what you’re doing and go eat there…Like right now).
For those of you who are unfamiliar with dim sum, I am going to try to explain it as best as I can: Most of it is steamed. There are various types of dumplings. Everything is delivered to you on a giant cart. It’s delicious and it’s a definite adventure that I would highly recommend you try. Trust me.
With that in mind, if you find yourself hankering for some good dim sum, Beijing Dim Sum & Seafood Restaurant (South Park Village Shopping Centre #700, 3803 Calgary Trail South) is definitely a good place to start (oops, spoilers). When you walk in, the place looks like your usual Chinese restaurant complete with large tanks of fish (usually tilapia), lobsters, and crabs. The atmosphere is welcoming and clean enough to not make you want to second guess the decisions you’ve made that have led you to this point. Upon being seated, the staff was quick to provide the usual tea and refreshments and the parade of food carts began pouring out of the kitchen. Between with my buddy Kyle and myself we shared about 7 dishes:
– 2 Steamed Pork dumplings because these are amazing
– Steamed Shrimp dumplings
– Pan Fried Sticky Rice with Sausage
– Beef Tripe with Ginger
– Chicken Feet in Black Bean Sauce (All star dish in my opinion)
– Deep Fried Shrimp Dumplings
I really wish I could order more, but almost all dim sum places have 15+ dishes to choose from so, it’s hard to try everything in one sitting (notice I said that it wasn’t IMPOSSIBLE…). When we went to dine, I kind of took the reigns when it came to ordering because Kyle wasn’t all too familiar with the food here and I ended up ordering (what I consider anyways) a “dim sum beginners kit.”
The portions for each of the dishes were decent. I’ve definitely had bigger portions elsewhere for the dumplings, but for the amount we paid for we definitely got a fair amount of value. Everything we had that morning tasted fresh and was steaming hot. The dumplings definitely did not disappoint and really stacked up to places such as Cha for Tea Palace and Jumbo. Nothing tasted insanely salted or super bland, which are the markings of a great dim sum restaurant.
If you’re brave enough, I definitely urge you to try the chicken feet here because it’s probably the best chicken feet I’ve had in the city. I get it, the image of munching on a chicken’s foot doesn’t scream “decadent”, but believe me when I say that it’s something you have to try at least once. Also, if you’re feeling REALLY adventurous, I would definitely recommend trying the beef tripe. Don’t ask me what tripe is because I’m still trying to figure that out. All you have to know is that it’s got an interesting texture and the sauce is unlike anything you’ve had before.
When it comes to making a recommendation for a place, I always ask myself one question: Was the food good enough to make me want to come back? This question has always guided me when it came to eating out in Edmonton and has made deciding which restaurant to eat at much easier. I mean at the end of the day, it’s all about the food. You could have an immaculate looking dish or something that looked like a 5 year old prepared blindfolded with their feet, but if the dish tastes amazing why not come back for seconds?
Overall, I had a great experience at Beijing Dim Sum & Seafood. Even though the portions were slightly smaller than what I was expecting, the dim sum here is definitely delicious and the service was quick and friendly. If anything, I would recommend checking this place out at least once. It’s not what I would consider the greatest dim sum restaurant, but it’s definitely a restaurant you should put on your lists.
With that said, food definitely lives here.
P.S Oh and I know that there’s more to this place than just dim sum, but I’ll leave that for another night 😉