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DISH

Words: Bryan Birtles / Photographs: Eden Munro

Food is one of life’s constants. There is never a time when food isn’t being consumed

in this city: whether it’s a quick muffin on the way to work, an important business lunch, a snack in the afternoon, a dinner at home amongst friends or a late-night bowl of cereal, food is ever-present in our lives. Far from just being something that keeps us alive, however, food nourishes us in much deeper ways. It’s preparation is meditative, its consumption life affirming. The work that goes into making sure this city stays fed is considerable and goes on at all times, yet it’s something we often think very little about. For the 13th annual Golden Fork Awards, Vue Weekly presents a day in the life of Edmonton’s food scene, and a look into the work that nourishing us entails.

VUEWEEKLY // MAY 12 – MAY 18, 2011

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FOOD: A DAY IN THE LIFE

Bon Ton Bakery (8720 - 149 St) Bon Ton Bakery has been an institution in Edmonton since 1956. During the day, the warm and inviting shop is filled with cakes, croissants, sweets and breads, but during the night the preparation work begins. Hours after the bakery has closed for the day, the bakers arrive to fill the shelves with baked goods for tomorrow’s customers. >> CONTINUED ON PAGE 15

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FOOD: A DAY IN THE LIFE << CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12

"By the end of the night, 850 loaves of bread and 50 dozen bagels will have been made, in addition to hundreds of other pastries, rolls and buns."

Led by head baker Minh Giang—who has been with Bon Ton 31 years—they work throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning, finishing around , mixing the dough in the bakery’s industrial mixers, then forming and cutting it into loaves, croissants, bear’s paws, bagels and buns, before finally putting it into one of the two enormous ovens—one of which can hold 160 loaves at one time, the other 180. They work meticulously and in near-silence, without need to instruct each other: all of the recipes are in Giang’s memory, and the timing comes naturally to the seasoned workers. By the end of the night, 850 loaves of bread and 50 dozen bagels will have been made, in addition to hundreds of other pastries, rolls and buns.

5 or 6 am

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FOOD: A DAY IN THE LIFE << CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15

The Wired Cup (9418 - 91 St)

As Bon Ton’s bakers head home for their 7 am dinner and then bed, Dave and Ann Jackson are sweeping the floor of their café/art gallery, the Wired Cup. With the Constantines playing over the café’s stereo, the Jacksons prepare for the day, bringing in the milk they bought the night before, boiling kettles to make the coffee in French presses, arranging the tables after the previous night’s mopping and putting the Wired Cup’s sandwich board out front, inviting customers in at

7:30 am.

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FOOD: A DAY IN THE LIFE << CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16

The Wired Cup is in the heart of Strathearn, reachable from major commuter roads but far enough off the beaten path that it feels like a true neighbourhood café. The Jacksons know many of their customers by name and chat jovially with them as they order, or agree to save a muffin for them for after yoga. As the morning rolls into afternoon, the people of the neighbourhood continue to visit for coffee, or to buy a piece of art or a gift.

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MRKT (10542 Jasper Ave)

While the day is picking up for Dave and Ann Jackson, preparation for the lunch rush is just beginning at MRKT. In the space’s small kitchen, owner and chef Carla Alexander begins early, heating up the day’s soup and prepping the sandwiches and specials. By 9 am the rest of the staff begins to show up and the prep work begins in earnest: mopping floors, cutting vegetables, ensuring the bar is stocked and the till is ready. Alexander puts the soups and specials up on the chalkboard wall and Daminh Nguyen disseminates them over Twitter. By 11:30 am, everyone braces for the rush. >> CONTINUED ON PAGE 23

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FOOD: A DAY IN THE LIFE << CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20

12:15 pm

A few people trickle in, and by the place has exploded with life. It’ll stay that way for at least an hour, the tables constantly full, the lineup snaking to the door. By 2 pm the place closes and the staff gathers for a meal together before sweeping, wiping the place down, cashing out and beginning preparations for dinner. >> CONTINUED ON PAGE 24

VUEWEEKLY // MAY 12 – MAY 18, 2011

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FOOD: A DAY IN THE LIFE << CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23

Hardware Grill (9698 Jasper Ave) By the time the staff at MRKT has swept up after lunch, 10 blocks down Jasper Avenue Hardware Grill is abuzz with activity for the restaurant’s busiest time: dinner. It's a flurry of preparation: chefs man their stations cutting vegetables and preparing appetizers, waiters fold napkins and shine glasses at a furious pace. All of the activity takes place under the watchful eye of Larry Stewart, owner and head chef of the nearly 15-year-old restaurant. >> CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

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FOOD: A DAY IN THE LIFE << CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23

As the dinner hour nears, the basement becomes the centre of activity: the chefs take a break from their prep work at 5 pm to eat Croque Madame sandwiches together, while the waiters press their uniforms. When dinner begins, the kitchen comes alive—there are no pre-prepared meals, no heat lamps or steam tables, so everything rests on the chefs’ timing. As soon as a table’s food is done, it’s whisked away by hovering waiter. The dishwasher hums, the dish pit a furious struggle. As the last clean dishes are put away at Hardware Grill and the last customers pay their bills and step out into the night, the bakers at Bon Ton are arriving at work ... V

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BEER

Oak is no joke

A little wood is good for your beer

One day, all these could be filled with beer

I mentioned a while back that oak-aged beer might red ale profile, softly sweet, but then gets complex be the next big thing in the Canadian beer scene. with brown sugar, vanilla, some smoke and fruitiOak aged means exactly that: completed beer is ness. A bit of wood plays in the background. I sussiphoned into an oak barrel that previously held pect the sake softens the beer. another spirit and aged for a few weeks to a few Mikkeller is a Danish brewer infamous for its months. After writing the article, I meandered to experimentation. Currently in Alberta, there are my favourite liquor store to see what might althree different Mikkeller beers aged in bourbon ready be on offer. Oak aging might be the or cognac barrels, but for an original experinext big thing with Canadian brewers, but ence, try the It's Alive White Wine Barrel. clearly it is already the "in" thing with Aged in white wine oak barrels, the base craft brewers around the world. There beer is a pale Belgian Abbey-ale, mean.com ing it has spicy, earthy yeast character to were more than a dozen oak-aged beer weekly e u v int@ tothep sitting on the shelf—a number that I begin with. The beer is quite light bodied Jason can only imagine will get higher in the with a noted earth and barnyard accent Foster and a sharp hop finish. The oak addition coming years. Always helpful, I am here to offer a walk is subtle, adding fruitiness and soft butterthrough the world of oak-aged beer to get you scotch. The wood is subtle here, simply adding anoriented. The first thing you need to know is that other dimension to an already multi-layered beer. wood aging affects beer flavour and aroma in three The lightest and most refreshing of the oak-aged ways: it imparts a woody character to the beer, the beer available. characteristics of the previous spirit also find their The best place to finish our tour is with the darkest way into the profile, and alcohol soaked into the and richest of oak-aged beer. Scotland's Harviestoun wood is leached into the beer, raising the alcohol Brewery makes an impressive line of beer, including content. In general, oak adds complexity and multitheir Old Engine Oil, a truly remarkable beer. What dimensionality to the beer. may be their piece de resistance is the Ola Dubh seClearly the place to begin is Innis & Gunn. Their ries (which is Gaelic for "black oil") where the breworiginal, aged in bourbon barrels, is one of the ery ages Old Engine Oil in Scotch barrels of various biggest-selling imports in the country, and is the vintages from the famed Highland Park distillery. most-subtle of oak-aged beer. I suggest you pick We can get beer aged in barrels that formerly held up the Original and then one of either the Highland 12-year-old, 16-year-old and 30-year-old Scotch. I Cask, the Canadian Cask (aged in Rye barrels) or splurged and bought a bottle of the 30. the Rum Cask. For many—including me—the beer It has intense scotch aromas of wood, vanilla and is too sweet and has too much butterscotch, but it a touch of peaty smoke. The flavour engages in a provides a nice baseline for your palate. complex tussle of dark roast, chocolate and coffee against sharp Scotch alcohol, smoke, vanilla, The next step is Edmonton's first local oak-aged butterscotch and dark fruit. This is a rich, complex beer, Glenn Sherbrooke—a collaboration between beer that comes across as half beer, half whisky. A Alley Kat and Sherbrooke Liquor Store. The first lesser beer would not hold up against the wood version is Alley Kat's Amber aged in a single-malt character, but this one is the better for it. The wood whisky barrel from the Glenora distillery in Nova sharpens and warms the base beer. Scotia. This beer really shows the effects of the This short tour has proven two things, if nothing wood in both aroma and flavour. It offers a light else: any kind of beer can go into an oak barrel, caramel and toffee front taken over by a woody, and what was in the barrel matters. The combinascotch-like warming. The second version, due on tion allows for a limitless array of beer potential, shelves this spring, uses Old Deuteronomy, Alley which is why I suspect this is the next big trend in Kat's barley wine, so it should pack quite the wallop. craft brewing. V So far you have tasted beer aged in whisky barrels. To get a sense of what other spirits can do, Jason Foster is the creator of onbeer.org, a website try Hitachino Nest XH. It is aged in casks used for devoted to news and views on beer from the prairies Shocyu—a form of distilled sake. It starts with a and beyond.

TO TH

E

PINT

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VUEWEEKLY // MAY 12 – MAY 18, 2011


Best Appetizers

Chain: Joey Restaurants Indie: (Tie) Corso 32 (10345 Jasper Avenue, 780.421.4622, corso32.com) & TZiN (10115 104 St, 780.428.8946, tzin.ca)

Best Soup

Chain: Famoso Indie: Soul Soup (10020 - 101A Ave, 780.409.8272)

Best Salad

Chain: Joey Restaurants Indie: Greenhouse Restaurant (8623 - 112 St, 780.757.1731, thegreenhousesalad.com)

Best Steaks

Chain: The Keg Indie: Vons Steakhouse (10309 - 81 Ave, 780.439.0041, vonssteakhouse.com)

Best Sushi

Chain: Mikado Indie: Furusato (10012 - 82 Ave, 780.439.1335, furusatojapaneserestaurant.com)

Best Tapas

Chain: Culina Indie: Blue Plate Diner (10145 - 104 St, 780.429.0740, blueplatediner.ca)

Best Budget Dining

Chain: Famoso Indie: Sugarbowl (10922 - 88 Ave, 780.433.8369, thesugarbowl.org)

Best Suburban Restaurant

Chain: Original Joe's Indie: Café Haven (9 Sioux Rd, Sherwood Park, 780.417.5523, cafehaven.ca)

Best Hamburgers

Best French Fries

Best Pizza

Best Organic

Best Desserts / Sweets

Best Takeout

Best Chicken Wings

Best Butcher

Chain: Famoso Indie: Tony's Pizza (9605 - 111 Ave, 780.424.8777, tonyspizzapalace.com)

Chain: Melting Pot Indie: Duchess Bake Shop (10720 - 124 St, 780.488.4999, duchessbakeshop.com)

Chain: Brewsters Indie: The Junction (10242 - 106 St, 780.756.5667, junctionedmonton.com)

Chain: New York Fries Indie: Dadeo (10548 - 82 Ave, 780.433.0930, dadeo.ca)

Best Baking

Best Brunch

Best French

Best Chinese

Best Breakfast

Best Mediterranean

Chain: Culina Indie: Sugarbowl (10922 - 88 Ave, 780.433.8369, thesugarbowl.org)

Chain: Cora Indie: Highlevel Diner (10912 - 88 Ave, 780.433.0993, highleveldiner.com)

Best Coffee Shop

Chain: Transcend Indie: Credo (10134 - 104 St, 780.761.3744, credocoffee.ca)

Best Tea Shop

Chain: Steeps Indie: Cally's Tea (8608 - 99 St, 780.432.3294)

Best Greek

Chain: Koutouki Indie: Yianni's (10444 - 82 Ave, 780.433.6768, eatmorelamb.com)

Chain: Fife n' Dekel Indie: Elm Café (10140 - 117 St, 780.756.3356, elmcafe.ca)

Best Pub food

Best Fine Dining

Best Mid-Price Dining

Best Sandwiches / Wraps

Chain: Delux Indie: Rodeo Burger (8525B - 112 St, 780.435.6733)

Best Breads

Chain: Melting Pot Indie: (Tie) Hardware Grill (9698 Jasper Ave, 780.423.0969, hardwaregrill.com) & Red Ox Inn (9420 - 91 St, 780.465.5727, theredoxinn.com)

Golden Rice Bowl (5365 Gateway Blvd, 780.435.3388, goldenricebowl.ca)

Chain: Joey Restaurants Indie: TZiN (10115 - 104 St, 780.428.8946, tzin.ca)

Chain: Original Joe's Indie: The Next Act (8224 - 104 St, 780.433.9345, nextactpub.com)

Chain: COBS Bread Indie: Tree Stone Bakery (8612 - 99 St, 780.433.5924, yvanchartrand.com)

Best Dim Sum

Chain: Café de Ville Indie: The Creperie (10220 - 103 St, 780.420.6656, thecreperie.com)

The Lingnan (10582 - 104 St, 780.426.3975, thelingnan.com)

Best Japanese

Chain: Mikado Indie: Furusato (10012 - 82 Ave 780.439.1335, furusatojapaneserestaurant.com)

Best Italian

Best Vietnamese

Best Eastern European

Bistro Praha (10117 - 101 St, 780.424.4218)

Best Thai

The King & I (8208 - 107 St, 780.433.2222, thekingandi.ca)

Chain: Oodle Noodle Indie: Elm Café (10140 - 117 St, 780.756.3356, elmcafe.ca)

Chain: Save on Foods Indie: (Tie) Acme Meats (9531 - 76 Ave, 780.433.1812) & Ben's Meats (15726 Stony Plain Rd, 780.489.1424, bensmeats.com)

Chain: COBS Bread Indie: Duchess Bake Shop (10720 - 124 St, 780.488.4999, duchessbakeshop.com)

(Tie) Sofra (10345 - 106 St, 780.423.3044) & Co Co Di (11454 Jasper Ave, 780.425.1717)

Chain: Sicilian Pasta Kitchen Indie: Corso 32 (10345 Jasper Ave, 780.421.4622, corso32.com)

Chain: Planet Organic Indie: Skinny Legs and Cowgirls (12202 Jasper Ave, 780.423.4107, skinnylegsandcowgirls.com)

Best Seafood

Chain: Red Lobster Indie: Vons Steakhouse (10309 - 81 Ave, 780.439.0041, vonssteakhouse.com)

Best Vegetarian

Chain: Culina Indie: Padmanadi (10740 - 101 St, 780.428.8899, padmanadi.com)

Chain: Doan's Indie: Thanh Thanh (10718 - 101 St, 780.426.5068, thanhthanh.ca)

Best African

Best Indian

Best Pub

Chain: New Asian Village Indie: Khazana (10177 - 107 St, 780.702.0330, khazana.ab.ca)

Langano Skies (langanoskies.com) [Closed until further notice]

Chain: Brewsters Indie: The Next Act (8224 - 104 St, 780.433.9345, nextactpub.com)

Best Mexican / Latin American

Chain: Julio's Barrio Indie: (Tie) Acajutla (11302 - 107 Ave, 780.426.1308) & Burrito Libre (8525A - 112 St, 780.436.4375)

VUEWEEKLY // MAY 12 – MAY 18, 2011

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Best New Restaurant

Best Wine List

Best Pre-theatre Restaurant

Best Beer List

Corso 32 (10345 Jasper Ave, 780.421.4622, corso32.com)

Chain: Culina Indie: The Next Act (8224 - 104 St, 780.433.9345, nextactpub.com)

Best Restaurant for Lovers Chain: Melting Pot Indie: The Creperie (10220 - 103 St, 780.420.6656, thecreperie.com)

Most Innovative Menu

Chain: Culina Indie: Corso 32 (10345 Jasper Ave, 780.421.4622, corso32.com)

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Chain: Melting Pot Indie: Hardware Grill (9698 Jasper Ave, 780.423.0969, hardwaregrill.com)

Chain: New Asian Village Indie: Sugarbowl (10922 - 88 Ave, 780.433.8369, thesugarbowl.org)

Best When Going Solo

Chain: Boston Pizza Indie: Sugarbowl (10922 - 88 Ave, 780.433.8369, thesugarbowl.org)

Best Late Night

Chain: Denny's Indie: Corso 32 (10345 Jasper Ave, 780.421.4622, corso32.com)

Best Service

Best Place for People Watching

Best Sports Bar

Best Atmosphere

Chain: Melting Pot Indie: (Tie) The Marc (9940 - 106 St, 780.429.2828, themarc.ca) & Hardware Grill (9698 Jasper Ave, 780.423.0969, hardwaregrill.com)

Chain: The Pint Indie: The Twisted Kilt (17328 Stony Plain Rd, 780.489.4100, thetwistedkiltpub.com)

Best Patio

Chain: Earls Tin Palace Indie: Black Dog Freehouse (10425 Whyte Ave, 780.439.1082, blackdog.ca)

Best Hotel Restaurant

Chain: Hotel Macdonald Indie: Madison's (10053 Jasper Ave, 780.401.2222, unionbankinn.com)

Chain: Julio's Barrio Indie: Sugarbowl (10922 - 88 Ave, 780.433.8369, thesugarbowl.org)

Chain: Melting Pot Indie: Sugarbowl (10922 - 88 Ave, 780.433.8369, thesugarbowl.org)

Best Kid-Friendly

Chain: Cora Indie: Blue Plate Diner (10125 - 104 St, 780.429.0740, blueplatediner.ca)

Best Indie Grocery Market

Chain: Italian Centre Indie: Earth's General Store (9605 - 82 Ave, 780.439.8725, egs.ca)

VUEWEEKLY // MAY 12 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; MAY 18, 2011

Best Beer Store

Sherbrooke Liquor (11819 St Albert Tr, 780.455.4556, sherbrookeliquor.com)

Best Wine Store

Devine Wines (10111 - 104 St, 780.421.9463, devinewines.ca)

Best Food Festival or Event

Heritage Festival (heritage-festival.com)

Best Beverage Festival or Event Rocky Mountain Wine Festival (rockymountainwine.com)


VUEWEEKLY // MAY 12 – MAY 18, 2011

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Vue Weekly 812 GFA