Taste of Edmonton near flawless

By Graham Hicks ,Edmonton Sun


It usually takes a while to get things perfect.
But did you have to wait until the very end, Giuseppe Albi?
Giuseppe is the long-time producer of A Taste of Edmonton. The event started under his watch as general manager of the not-for-profit Events Edmonton.
After the 2012 Taste of Edmonton, Giuseppe is retiring. He’ll focus on his other career, as a renowned abstract painter.
This Taste of Edmonton is his best.
Taste of Edmonton is the city’s premier food fest. Forty-two restaurants booths line Churchill Square and are open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day until Saturday. Each sells two food items, usually at $4 to $5 each.
Taste of Edmonton is now near-flawless. The food choices are outstanding, the balance between yummy grease-o-rama and healthier dishes has been found. There’s also balance in the variety of restaurant booths. All tastes are fulfilled.
The lay-out creates festivity. It’s crowded enough at peak periods to generate excitement, but still breathable. Meanwhile, oasises of sit ‘n’ snack spaces can be found throughout the square and its perimeters.
The growing food truck scene is acknowledged. Five food trucks off the northeast corner play by the same rules as the booths.
The admission-free beer garden in the middle of Churchill Square has great live entertainment, with huge beverage selection at decent prices in the Taste of Beer and Taste of Spirits tents.
On the square’s north edge is the more tranquil, cafe -style Taste of Wine tent, again with excellent choice at reasonable prices.
It’s all highly civilized.
The food! The food!
Decisions are difficult — old favourites, new attractions, the sinfully delicious, the healthy, the barbecue, the classics — that interesting dish you saw just go by, which booth line-up is the shortest…
Just plunge in, buy your tickets, and eat away. Here’s what we tried.
The weird: deep-fried pickles (pickle slices doused in bar-food batter and deep-fried) at The Canadian Brewhouse booth. Quite the combo of hot, sour and crispy… and unusual!
The classic: Palace Banquets has been at Taste of Edmonton forever. This year they have three hot, steaming, fresh big scallops on a stick, wrapped in bacon that oozes aroma and is packed with artery-clogging calories. But so good!
Equally off the tasty dial from the Palace is a delicious light, creamy chocolate dulce cake dessert.
Another sweet is Pazzo Pazzo’s authentic tiramisu, a last indulgence before this feast must be followed by temporary famine.
The healthy AND delicious! Caffe Sorrentino’s chickpea salad cleanses the palate of all that grease. Tzin’s panzanella salad — chopped tomato with crouton-sized soft bread — is another health-conscious winner.
The delightfully new: The calamari at La Pasta Trattoria is light, fresh, plentiful, coated in a whisper of flour and perfectly paired with a scrumptious lemon garlic aoli sauce.
The meaty new: IRIE Foods on Whyte is offering slow-cooked, falling-off-the-bone, flavour-saturated Caribbean jerk chicken with rice in a delicious meaty sauce. The spice is moderated to Canadian tolerance levels, but add the stand-by Calypso sauce and one’s mouth is instantly, pleasingly, on fire! Irie!
Sausage delights: Bistro Praha’s Hungarian sausage on hot garlic bread with saurkraut is garlic heaven. Back at Tzin, co-owner Kelsey Danyluk, with Irvings Farm Fresh meat processers, has created a new, moist-style chorizo sausage. It is out-of-this-world delicious, braised in wine and served with Spanish bean salad.
There’s been grumbling about prices. Most Taste of Edmonton dishes cost four to five tickets at $1 each. Sorry, but the cost of transforming Churchill Square into a foodfest, complete with free entertainment, eats up a big chunk of that ticket price, and the restaurants won’t be long in business if prices are below costs. The value for money spent is most reasonable.
Eat on! A Taste of Edmonton runs through Saturday evening.

Source: HicksBiz Blog 2012