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Specialty Food Shops in Edmonton?

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My husband and I recently moved to Alberta and are going to Edmonton for a couple of days this summer for a bit of a break. Can you recommend any specialty food and restaurant supply stores in the city? We have been to the Italian store already and love it. We do not have the dates set (are flexible) but it would be ideal if our visit were to correspond with some sort of culinary/food event. We read about the food event in St. Albert July 13.

We are planning to go to Hardware Grill for one dinner and are open to other finer dining recommendations as well (2 or 3 lunch spots, 1-2 more dinner spots). We are looking for adventurous, creative and innovative culinary dining (am a chef myself) adventures!

Thanks!!

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  1. Here is a pretty comprehensive thread on food shops in e-town. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/109304

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bryn

      Oh, so sorry. I did not do a thorough search prior to my asking. That really is a great list - thank you so much! : ) It will definitely come in very, very handy.

    2. I'd recommend:

      Culina. Great food. Nice, intimate place. Interesting dishes on the menu. 9914 89 Avenue

      Red Ox Inn. Another tiny little place tuck in a quiet neighbourhood. Simple menu for not so simple tastes. 9420 91 Street

      Delux Burger Bar. Not fine dining but hip and fun if you want to throw a curve ball into the mix, say, for lunch :). I've been 3 times in the last few months and LOVE their sweet potato fries and their beet salad. The Urban classic and Delux burger were both tasty and they have a burger of the day that switches thing up. Also, I've tried the Kobe Beef burger for $20. It was good but, not $20 good. Next time I'd try the Delux sliders (made with Kobe beef). Yum. 9682 142 St

      17 Replies
      1. re: livetocook

        I agree with your first two but disagree with Delux. I think it is a lot of hype and very pretty, but my food (i've only been once) did not live up to either. Nor did the prices. Plus, the waiters and waitresses were all too busy flirting with each other to refill my water glass.

        1. re: ihatepickyeaters

          nope sorry, gotta disagree, was just at Delux again and I still love it as does every one of the other five eaters at our table. Great burger, good service. manger came around to ensure we were happy. There were slow at the end with the tab, but, hey, it's Alberta and we gotta spend time pumping oil, not waiting tables!

          BUT...Kobe burgers? You mean the meat that is good because it is so nicely marbled, which means nada once ground up into a burger? Com'n people on this board should know better than to be tricked by that gimmick. Kobe beef loses its worth once ground. Great steak, pointless to use in a burger. lol

          1. re: ihatepickyeaters

            sorry pickeaters to hear about the service you had. We had great service all 3 times and just like foodiesnorth, the manager came to our table on the first visit to see how everything was. I can't recommend the beet salad enough. The mix of red/yellow beets, candied pecans and goat cheese was amazing. Not to mention the dressing with it's perfect sweetness. It was nice. Also that Delux burger was touted by my FIL, with out a doubt, as the best he's ever had. For myself, they were all good but, the best, nahhh. I figure some greasy diner in the US somewhere has that title! LOL. I just gotta go on some crazy road trips to find it

            I've never had a Kobe beef steak so I'm not sure how the burger loses its worth. I do know that tons of high end burger joints in other cities offer this type of burger, at an exorbitant price, of course :). Are they pulling the wool over our eyes? Maybe? My husband's favorite burger ever was at FIX lounge at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. They were tiny Kobe burgers. He knows a good burger when he taste one. That's kind of his thing. Next time I see that steak choice (Kobe) on a menu I'm going to try it! You've piqued my curiosity

            1. re: livetocook

              While you are going to get a slightly different taste in the beef much like the difference between grain and grass finished beef. The selling point for waygu and kobe beef, as I've said, is that it is extremely tender because of the immense amount of marbling present. The cut is nearly half white from the marbling. Personally you wouldn't see me buying Kobe beef because that says it is from the Kobe region of Japan. I would buy kobe-style beef raised in Canada though because who really wants to eat a fresh product that has been shipped over the ocean when you can eat a fresh product shipped an hours drive?

              1. re: Bryn

                "...who really wants to eat a fresh product that has been shipped over the ocean when you can eat a fresh product shipped an hours drive?"

                There's a HUGE taste difference when it comes to fish but, would beef really be that much different? I'd love to try fresh Canadian Kobe vs shipped Japanese.

          2. re: livetocook

            Thanks lots - Culina and Red Ox Inn both sound intriguing. I am so glad that there is more diversity than I had imagined in Edmonton (in shops and restaurants).

            I am so pleased to hear about the markets that I was unaware of. Looks like a couple of days won't be enough to do proper exploring! Where I live I cannot get kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, szechaun peppercorns, great cuts of meat, galangal, chorizo, great cheeses, artisan breads, etc. so this will be a pleasure.

            1. re: chefathome

              BTW we love our butcher Blaine at Buffalo Valley Variety Meats (Whitemud Crossing on the southwest corner of Whitemud Drive and Calgary Trail South. Look for the Red Robin and he is in the building across the lot. He has wonderful beef, pork etc, but also carries the exotics like musk ox, caribou, boar, elk and bison. He tells me they also sell kangaroo and snake.

              Not sure I saw refernece to Paddy's Cheese Market (near the Museum) or Artisan Bakery (on Whyte Ave). It is mostly out there and with some help, you can find it.

              1. re: foodiesnorth

                Oh, wow - that sounds precisely like the butcher I am seeking. I have not had caribou for a few years. My husband hunts elk, moose and wild boar so depending on his success we have game (but that is not a guarantee, of course!).

                Thanks for the info. I will definitely look into that.

                1. re: chefathome

                  and for Alberta raised yummy alpaca (HIGHLY recommended) as well as other great fresh food try

                  Ocean Odyssey Inland
                  10027-167St.
                  930-1901
                  Tues – Sat 10:30 – 5:00pm


                  I just took their info from a slow food post....and join slow food Edmonton too.

                2. re: foodiesnorth

                  There's a pretty good family-run Afghan restaurant just across the parking lot from that butcher, in case you're hungry the next time you head there.

                  1. re: littlegreenpea

                    That sounds great - we are really into Middle Eastern food and dining. We'll be going to Edmonton about once a month or so to stock up on food and ingredients so I welcome your ideas on great restaurants.

                    1. re: littlegreenpea

                      littlegreenpea, just took a look at your blog - love it! It's great.

                      1. re: chefathome

                        chefathome: Thank you! Still kind of a new project, but I'm slowly building it up.

                        As for the Afghan resto: It's called Ariana. They don't have a webpage, but here's a recent review:
                        http://www.vueweekly.com/article.php?...

                        It's definitely a simple place, not really extravagant or anything. But the food is good, and, from my experience of talking to the couple who runs it, you can really tell how much love they put into making it.

                3. re: livetocook

                  I second Red Ox. It's lovely!

                  1. re: livetocook

                    Am I the only one who just doesn't get the point of Kobe and kobe-style beef burger or meatloaf? I mean the whole selling point is that it is really tender and well marbled, but you're grinding it up anyways so it is going to be tender and you can all kinds of fat during the grinding process so it will be as marbled as graound meat can get.

                    1. re: Bryn

                      Actually no...ironically I made precisely the same point about Kobe beef about 60 seconds after you (above)...lol. I too fail to see the point beyond the gimmick factor.

                      1. re: foodiesnorth

                        yeah I'd like a nice tough flavourful piece of meat to make ground meat out of.

                  2. I don't generally do much fine dining around here (though I definitely recco Red Ox, as I mentioned above). Culina gets a lot of mention on these boards; it's okay. Hardware Grill is supposed to be fab.

                    For a lunch or cheap dinner spot, I like Langano Skies (Ethiopian). It has a sister restaurant (Blue Nile) which I've heard wonderful things about, though I've never been.

                    If you're looking for a quick bite on the north side near Jasper Ave, Famoso is pretty good (stick with their pizza bianca).

                    There's a small Mexican grocer on 118th Ave I believe (just NW of the northside Italian Centre). On Saturdays they do a wonderful hot table of things to go around lunchtime. (Someone one these boards pointed that out to me when I first moved here, and I'm very grateful, though I've haven't been in a while).

                    I've found the responses on this thread to be immensely helpful:
                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/376628

                    Also, you *must* go to the Tree Stone Bakery on 99th Street for some freshly baked bread and brioche. It really is the best that I've had in Canada (and I've lived all over the place). If it's a Saturday, go early, or call on Friday and place an order. The lady who runs the place, Nancy, is fantastic. She puts so much care into the making the bread.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: littlegreenpea

                      I agree. Tree Stone has always been a little treasure for me, although I have been known to not show up early enough and find slim pickings.

                      1. re: raidar

                        As have I.... too many times actually. Now I just pre-order! It helps to know the baking schedule too (e.g. baguettes come out of the oven at 11:30am on Saturdays)!

                      2. re: littlegreenpea

                        You all have been most helpful. And now you have me salivating for fresh bread and brioche! I love to make my own (as I am sure many of you do, too) but I do not do it when it is hot out (no A/C in our house).

                        We have loads of things to do while in Edmonton, thanks to you - I appreciate it very much.

                        1. re: littlegreenpea

                          I second Famoso's. It's a counter service place but, it's done well and the pizza choices are Fab.

                          Is Hardware Grill really that good? I've never really had an inkling to go there. Not sure why. I guess I don't know of anyone that's been there or that's raved about it etc.

                          1. re: livetocook

                            My husband has been to Hardware Grill on business and had a great experience the first time, a little less the second time. While it does not sound spectacular compared to many places we have eaten at I thought it may be one of the few great Edmonton options from what I have heard but I could be wrong. We will definitely eat at Red Ox Inn, though. Is Jack's better than HG?

                            1. re: chefathome

                              Hardware Grill has high-end food, but it is not very good for what it is. I ate there at the end of December 2007, and it was disappointing. The perogies were alright, but just adding truffles to something, and a bit of salmon doesn't make it THAT much better than what a good perogie is!

                              I'll pay for good food, but this was overpriced, with enormous portions....we ordered three courses...not knowing! My husband's veal chop took up his entire plate... which is fine....but aren't veal chops supposed to be small to be tender? This was not tender at all. Overall, it was...OKAY. We're definitely not going back, I am looking for a good value at any price. (ie. for that price, it better be REALLY good, and not JUST because the portions are extreme, and there are a few expensive ingredients used...)

                              1. re: hornvixen

                                restaurants:
                                Culina for any meal, but I especially recommend it as one of the most innovative breakfast menus, I believe their breakfast & lunch menu are both served until 3pm)
                                Red Ox Inn dinner, consistently great food, but I don't find it all that exciting
                                The Blue Pear (high end, creative, fixed menu changes monthly, very original)
                                Sage (best steaks in the city)
                                =go to one of the last 2 instead of HG or jacks (I completely agree with the last posters comments about HG)
                                Cafe de Ville or Manor Cafe for dessert (plus Manor has one of the nicest patios in the city) they both have fantastic pastry chefs
                                Soul Soup is a great little counter service place downtown on Rice Howard Way that specializes in fresh made daily soups, always great for lunch

                                Cameron's meats, local fresh meats, frozen specialties such as stuffed rabbit legs

                                enjoy!

                        2. In the same vein, we (me, my fiancee, and my parental units) have grown to love the Galloway Beef from Second to None meats in Calgary. Are there any butcher shops here that stock the same beef?

                          http://www.canadianceltic.com/

                          It might be a little pricey, but one try and we were all hooked!

                          Thanks...