25 Favourite Things to Eat
Local Celebrities Make Their Picks for Essential Edmonton Eats
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Chief Weather Anchor, Global Edmonton
Tavern Burger | Mercer Tavern
For Jesse Beyer, going to the Mercer Tavern is like going home.
Beyer, the chief weather anchor for Global News here in Edmonton, had lived in the city while attending broadcasting school at NAIT, but then headed back to his hometown of Saskatoon for three years to start his career. When the opportunity to come back to Edmonton arose, he jumped at it.
And one of the first things he ate when he returned to the city was the Tavern Burger at the Mercer Tavern on 104th Street.
“I literally met my cousins at the pub after taking the Yellowhead for five hours! I fell in love with the atmosphere there,” Beyer says.
The Tavern Burger is topped with grilled onions, bacon and Gouda from Sylvan Star Cheese, but it was the patty — a mixture of ground chuck and brisket — that really stood out for Beyer.
“There was something about the seasoning of the patty. It had a unique spice, with a good spicy kick. I’m not what you would call a ‘foodie,’ but it tasted amazing to me and quickly became my go-to quick hearty late lunch after my morning shift.” —Glenn Cook
City councillor, Ward 5
From the Earth Salad | Characters Fine Dining
On the menu at Characters Fine Dining, the From the Earth Salad is simply described as a “beet salad with goat cheese, pine nuts and arugula.” But Michael Oshry knows that this humble description doesn’t do the dish justice.
For one thing, the salad is served on the blade of a shovel, making it look like the ingredients were freshly dug out of the soil. It’s a presentation that took the city councillor representing Ward 5 aback when he first ordered it.
“The first time I had that salad, I had no idea how it was served; [it was] quite the shock,” Oshry says. “It’s not kitschy but just cool and delicious. I would order it without the shovel, but it’s fun nonetheless.”
It may have been a shock, but Oshry keeps coming back — not just for the From the Earth Salad, but for the atmosphere, the service and the rest of the menu as well.
“Shonn [Oborowsky], the owner, runs a great place with fresh local dishes and really professional service. The place is not the trendiest in town but it is classy and consistent. It will be around for as long as he likes, I’m sure,” he says.
“I like that he also changes the menu from time to time. I order different items most times, depending what’s on the menu. Great fish, steak, dessert — I’ve really never had a disappointing meal there.” —Glenn Cook
City councillor, Ward 1
Green Curry Chicken Sandwich | S'wich Food Truck
Good things come to those who wait. But good things also come to those who aren’t willing to wait as long, as Andrew Knack found out.
When the city councillor for Ward 1 found himself hungry while attending a community event in the Parkview neighbourhood, he stumbled upon S’wich Food Truck and its green curry chicken sandwich, which has since become his food truck fare of choice in the city.
“I wasn’t going to get this, but the other food trucks had such long lineups that I picked the one with the shortest line,” Knack says.
Since that day, Knack will gladly stand in line to get his hands on the sandwich again.
“This sandwich reminds me of everything that I love about Edmonton during the spring, summer and fall. If they kept this truck going into winter, I’m sure I would add this season to my list as well,” he says.
“There’s nothing quite like going outside on a beautiful Edmonton day to see so many people out and about and enjoying a sandwich that doesn’t require me to sit down and only focus on the meal. I can take in all the sights and sounds of the city while enjoying the most delicious sandwich I can think of.
“It doesn’t hurt that they also have a wonderful peanut butter chocolate ice cream sandwich that I almost always have for dessert.” —Glenn Cook
Executive director/chief curator, Art Gallery of Alberta
Taro Root Pork Dumplings | Beijing Beijing
Catherine Crowston’s passion for art comes across in her extensive résumé, which includes everything from curating exhibitions to developing a seminar on curatorial studies for University of Alberta students.
However, she has another passion that may not be as well known. “I am a dim sum junkie,” Crowston confesses.
Her love of the compact Chinese treat has led her to sample the fare at most of the dim sum places in the city. She has been going to Beijing Beijing, a restaurant she says is “so good they named it twice,” for years.
It was named the best Chinese eatery in the city in Avenue’s Best Restaurants issue in March.
While Crowston says she can’t quite recall the first time she had her favorite dish there — the taro root pork dumplings — you can bet she’s ordering it any time she stops by.
“I love the combination of the crispy fried taro on the outside, the soft unctuous taro on the inside, with the salty richness of the pork filling. For me, it is both decadent and the perfect comfort food,” Crowston says.
In fact, it’s so good that she’s not willing to have it just once. “I usually order extra to take home for the next day.” —Adrianna Szenthe
Vegan Crêpes | Under the High Wheel
Sometimes, navigating Edmonton’s food scene can be a rough ride when dealing with dietary restrictions like sensitivities to wheat and dairy products. Fortunately for local folk-rock singer Colleen Brown, she doesn’t have to venture far for her favourite fare that agrees with her stomach.
When Brown — who just released a new album, Direction, in March and toured through Europe in May and June — is in the city and has a hankering for brunch, she needs only venture a few blocks to find the vegan crêpes at Under the High Wheel.
“It’s in such a great location for me, close to my apartment and right below my yoga studio,” Brown says. “This makes me sound like a walking new-age hippie artist stereotype. So be it!”
Brown’s love for Under the High Wheel goes beyond the crêpes — “I love all the wood in the room, and the delicious almond milk lattes,” she says — but it’s those light yet hearty buckwheat pancakes filled with roasted vegetables and topped with a red pepper sauce that keep her coming back.
“It’s just the right amount of food so that I always leave feeling satisfied but able to function without a nap. That’s my definition of a good meal!” —Glenn Cook