Chef Lawrence Hui has brought a taste of the Hawaiian Islands to downtown Edmonton, a step away from the Ice District, with his new Ono Poke Co. Signature dishes of ahi and albacore tuna, salmon, spicy pulled Kalua pork, and a vegetarian option, come on a choice of seasoned rice, quinoa or mixed greens, dressed with fresh and pickled veggies, and topped with a crunch. You’ll find Chef Hui’s Hawaiian Chili Water on your table too!


Also in Edmonton, Vaticano Cucina (Vatican’s Kitchen) has opened in the old Koutouki Taverna location on Gateway Boulevard. Chef Dione Harwood is cooking up a storm of handmade pastas, grilled meats, fish and poultry, and a choice of nine trademark Neapolitan and Montanara (deep-fried) pizzas all named after saints, and cooked in the Italian wood-fired oven. We can’t wait for Arctic Char Focaccia Eggs Benny!


Chef Ben Staley’s Alder Room has opened next door to sister Edmonton restaurant, Alta, offering one prepaid dinner seating at 7:00 pm, and serving 12-20 courses with wine or nonalcoholic pairings over two to three hours, to a maximum of 12 people. The interactive experience of Chef Staley’s highly technical cuisine focuses on ingredients from producers in Alberta and close by.


Meanwhile in Calgary, Chef Keith Luce has opened Tavernetta on Edmonton Trail, with Chris McKinnon of Cilantro, and Proof’s Tony Migliarese. This little Italian tavern/wine bar is serving up Northern Italian inspired dishes marked by region, along with “Bastardo” for those of mixed origin. It’s unfussy and easy-going with a lovely touch of quirkiness. Try the Polpette – three big pork- and gluten-free meatballs, which you can also have as a Guiseppe Disordinato (untidy) sandwich in two sizes. Grab a seat at the bar or on the enclosed patio, and enjoy shared dishes and head bobbing beats. Open 11:00 am to late, Wednesday to Sunday.

1918 TAP & TABLE 

There’s a surprise waiting for you at the brand new Kensington Legion, now open next door to the old location on Kensington Road. 1918 Tap & Table is the first of its kind in Canada – a modern, family restaurant for members and non-members, seating 140 diners inside and 56 on the patio, with all locally sourced ingredients, and a small made-from-scratch menu of less than 20 items changing every three months. Executive Chef Chris Murphy CCC, of Earl Grey Golf Club and Deane House, is focusing on seasonal lunches and dinners; we loved his kale salad with goat cheese and his heavenly green goddess dressing – and that ling cod! Mmm! There’s a Calgary beer list, and Jake Stanley, from Cleaver and the Guild, is behind the bar making cocktails. Meals here are great value, and all profits go to support the community.


We’re excited for Calgary’s newest entertainment, dining and market destination, Granary Road, opening its doors! The 20,000 sq. ft. market houses over 30 hand picked vendors, including favourites like Soffrito, Chocolate Lab, The Perogy Guy, Urban Butcher, The Salt Cellar, Luc’s European Meats, Going Nuts, Taste of Quebec, and Sweet Relief, and an on-site greenhouse growing vegetables just metres from where they are sold. Three distinct eatery concepts – The Loft Bakery, Kitchen and Lounge – are by Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts,so we know they’ll be good! For kids, the 37-acre, imaginative, outdoor Active Learning Park has 11 educational themed exhibits including a giant ant farm, orchard treehouse, slides, wetland aquarium, animatronic spiders and frogs, and a Bat Cave!


We’ve been playing with ways to simplify summer dinners and have been impressed with the recipes from Irene Ngo, Head of Culinary at HelloFresh. You can choose the Family Plan, the Pronto Plan, or the Veggie Plan, all delivered (at no extra charge) in a box containing three meals for two or four people. All the meals come portioned and prepped, and take under 30 minutes to make – no shopping, no planning; easy to prepare, healthy and flavourful, fresh meals, for around $10- $12 a meal. The portions are generous, and by sending the exact amount of every ingredient, household food waste is cut by more than 60 percent. Boxes and packaging are also 100 percent recyclable.

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