When it comes to date night – we find the best date experiences combine an experience that takes you out of your comfort zone, maybe trying something new, and events that allow you to eat. Just us? Okay, maybe the food part of date night excites us a little bit too much – but in our defense, there are just so many fantastic food experiences you can have in Edmonton.
Secondary to the experience of tasting of the food on the Strathcona Feast tour we went on this weekend, was learning the stories of the restaurants, and the vendors at the market on the tour. The passion was evident in the first thing we learned during a breakfast of Chilequilas at El Cortez – when we learned that the doors to the building were one-hundred years old, and the dishes in the restaurant had been source first, with a menu to be designed around them.
Breakfast started with tea and continued with a cocktail and Chilequilas, while we got to know other members of the group. Liane, our guide, was a natural leader, filling up brunch with visits around the table, taking the time to get to know everyone. Through the meal, she shared facts about El Cortez that I hadn’t known, despite the fact that we’ve been there multiple times before for Tuesday night Tacos.
Remember earlier, when I talked about being taken out of your comfort zone? The Chilequilas dish from El Cortez is something that I wouldn’t have ordered on my own, but it was delicious – and even though I had a split second of uncertainty before I dug into the dish, it turned out to be one of the best things that I’ve eaten all month. There was this delicious combination of flavours, that started the meal off with a bang, and a perfectly cooked egg. It was delicious, new and exciting. That’s why I love taking part in food tours, pop-ups and set menus for a date night experience – the whole new factor.
After the group finished breakfast, we continued the tour with a walk to the close-by Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market. There, we tasted and sampled our way through nine vendors, learning more about their stories, and how the businesses came to be. It was so interesting to hear the common theme, of vendors being unable to find the products they needed, so they created them. After the tour, we left with a bag of tomatoes, a lovely fig hand-pie, a duo of dumplings and stories that brought us closer to the local producers we see every week at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s market, among other things.
Finishing up the tour, we took a walk over to Situation Beer where we had the chance to choose a beer from the menu, paired up with a lovely banana bread pudding, and a tour. When we arrived, I asked the server to surprise me and she returned with the Saison Afternoon Tea. Unsure of what to expect, as a non-beer drinker, I was immediately drawn to the fragrance of it. It was delicious. Yet another instance of ‘I loved it but would have never ordered it for myself’, so much so, I ordered it at brunch the next day.
Edmonton Food Tours offer year round Farmer’s Market tours, Summer tours downtown and the latest addition, Strathcona Feast. It’s $115/person, and includes all tabs, tips, taxes and the tour guide.
We were provided with the Strathcona Feast experience, in exchange for this feature. All opinions are our own – and we can’t wait to sign up for the downtown tour, later in the season!