“ Edmonton has a growing number of urban and nearby market gardeners, protein producers and food artisans making cheeses, sausages and specialty foods. Our chefs are bravely risking it all to start independent restaurants to showcase this bounty of local. We’ve reached a critical mass in awareness in local consumers ready to appreciate this and support it. By changing where we all spend our dollars we are creating a more sustainable local food system and local economy for Alberta.”
-Karen Anderson, Founder, Alberta Food Tours-
Food is a statement, a culinary expression of love for the senses. A city can be defined by the experiences of cuisine offered; a single dish becomes a conversation centerpiece, alcohol is transformed into a mixology masterpiece. Edmonton is embracing the statements of sourcing and supporting local and of global expression and artistic creativity, and the transformation has resulted in a unique and intriguing scene for our downtown repertoire.
Alberta Food Tours is not your average tour operator. With an expansion of events in Calgary, Canmore and Edmonton that range from perusing Farmers Markets to a 2 km ‘Tasting Trail’ beneath Rocky Mountain peaks, the tours are an education, and an opportunity to bond with loved ones, strangers, creative minds, and the very heart of a city. The development of this company is based on a foundation of knowledge, passion and dedication to something much bigger than a single success. With a value that rings true to sustainability and providing the utmost hospitality to guests through an authentic cultural connection, Alberta Food Tours has carefully and purposefully chosen each of the guides, vendors and proprietors that make an appearance. The result is an itinerary that is paired as perfectly as the food and drink.
DOWNTOWN DELIGHTS TOUR, EDMONTON
The Downtown Delights Tour makes five incredible stops, running along Edmonton’s iconic and historic Jasper Avenue. Tours take place Monday-Friday, from 3:30-6:15 pm. There is a group maximum of 14, and attendees must be at least 14 years of age. For more information on the tour, or to book, visit: HERE
***Dishes and drinks at each stop are an evolution of creativity and inspiration, so be open to a delectable surprise.
1. The Marc
9940 – 106 Street – 100 Sterling Place
“I don’t want to be the No. 1. I want to be the favorite.”
-Patrick Saurette, Owner, The Marc
With it’s clean lines and polished, timeless elegance, The Marc continually makes an appearance on Edmonton’s finest gourmet lists. This popular french bistro is home to Edmonton’s most notorious steak….and owner. Patrick Surrette has been a staple in the YEG food scene for decades and is the epitome of host extraordinaire, offering unparalleled knowledge and charisma. Alongside his wife, Doris, this ‘Mom and Pop’ establishment embraces family values and a “wobbly table” approach in which the legs of Quality, Service, Value and Ambiance are equally vital in the balance of such a successful restaurant.
THE INDULGENCE: Deborah, our guide, put together a delightfully light salad with a dressing of organic canola oil, Alberta honey, vinegar and Dijon mustard. This was paired with a creation by Zach, who, when given the challenge, concocted a delectable cake of arctic char and zucchini. This was topped off with a glass of Andreas Bender Paulessen Riesling.
10328 Jasper Avenue
“Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere but our menu is decidedly regional —dictated by the change of seasons and the bounty each provides.”
With a single painting on the wall, and clean, sun bleached lines, ALTA’s decor is as unique as the philosophies and values it is built around. Owned by the brilliant and daring Chef Ben Staley, this sister to the ‘Alder Room’ (located next door) is a place that embodies foraging (sourcing only local ingredients) and supporting the growers in our own region. With no front end staff or defined roles, this visionary compilation of folks retain a strong “No Tipping” philosophy, continually working and evolving as one. With an expanse of windows facing Jasper Avenue, ALTA has seating for 24 and a menu in the shape of the province offering homemade sourdough, cold dishes that include raw, precooked, fermented and preserved ingredients, as well as a diverse drink list.
THE INDULGE: Keeping true to the core value of foraging can make for some difficulty in putting out a Chocolate Tart, especially when chocolate is not a native product to Canada. The solution? A genius concoction of a black malt, emulsified with beeswax over two days, and finally turned into a ganache. Topped off with a dusting of dried currants and coarse salt, it is like a dark chocolate truffle that was produced by the gods. It.is.that.good. The tart was paired with the First Light Cocktail, a sweet mix of gin, yellow chartreuse, bianco vermouth and prickly pear.
3. Bar Bricco
10347 Jasper Avenue
The sister to award winning, ‘Corso 32’ (located next door), Bar Bricco is yet another genius creation by Daniel Costa, that embraces the quintessential Italian love of intimate gathering. No reservations are required to cozy up to strangers in this 30 seat lounge that offers a mouth watering selection of small plates, house made pasta, crostini, an expansive selection of salumi and formaggi, and a beautifully crafted wine menu. Bar Bricco is based on an Italian Spuntini Bar and harbors those intimate touches that set it apart. From the record player offering an authentically vinyl experience to the original, hand cranked prosciutto slicer, Bar Bricco is one of those places where you immediately relax in an ambiance that only an Italian influence can provide.
THE INDULGENCE: If a ‘Rye & Speck Crostini with Ricotta, Cabbage & Pink Lady Apple’ sounds appetizing, you would be pleased to know it is delizioso. The crostini was paired perfectly with a glass of the fruity and bubbly, Cleto Chiarli Brut de Noir Rose Lambrusco.
Located in Edmonton’s historic McLeod Building at 10132-100 Street
“The name WOODWORK pays homage to the intersection of our passion for wood-fired cooking and barrel-aged spirits.”
Woodwork is that laid back, authentic, cool urban vibe you are searching for. The awards handed to the dynamic duo of Chef Mike Scorgie and Barman Andrew Borley are numerous, recognizing the vision and talent housed inside a restaurant that radiates artistic and innovative expertise. The scent wafting from the open wood fire used for cooking is just one of the highlight factors of the wildly successful menu. The aesthetically welcoming bar is a plethora of ingredients used to shake or stir what have been considered “The Best Cocktails in Edmonton.”
THE INDULGENCE: With a statement of revolving food and drink with the mood of the afternoon, the choice of melt-in-your-mouth Chickpea Fritters alongside a slice of pork sausage in fennel, paired with a traditional daquiri had us wishing to linger at the bar all evening.
5. Confederation Lounge
Located in the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, 10065 100 Street
The tour finishes up at perhaps one of the most iconic hotels, and patios, in the city. Confederation Lounge at the luxury, four diamond Fairmont Hotel MacDonald offers a stately interior based on an Estate-Library Lounge, complete with a massive fireplace and plush chairs. The outdoor patio offers sweeping views of the Muttart Pyramids and the Edmonton River Valley, Canada’s largest urban park. The perfectly manicured grounds with signature red Adirondack chairs and matching umbrellas, are the base to one of Edmonton’s most visually stunning buildings, where patrons soak up conversation, fine dining and an Edmonton experience unlike any other.
THE INDULGENCE: A perfectly chilled glass of HM Honey Ale, a craft beer out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, is the drink of choice. Paired perfectly with a dish containing one of Alberta’s 7 Signature Foods, the “Pulled Bison Mini Yorkies” are made up of mini yorkshire puddings, caramelized onions, pulled bison, natural jus and horseradish aioli. This is soul food that is pure food perfection and a reflection of life in Edmonton.
I cannot recommend this tour highly enough. While we are fortunate to have been very graciously treated to such a deliciously perfect afternoon, all opinions and thoughts are my own. I want to express the utmost appreciation and respect for the hard work of everyone at Alberta Food Tours as they embark on a journey that is so much bigger than business. The sheer passion for food, for supporting local and for education in the community is inspiring. Thank you.
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