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Les Clefs d’Or 2017 Silver Service Award

Photo by Jennifer Linford

Les Clefs d’Or Canada and WHERE Edmonton Magazine would like to congratulate the Edmonton winner of the 2017 Silver Service Award, Rostizado! Clefs d’Or Nella Mirante of the Fairmont Macdonald chose this Mexican hotspot as she’s had only the best experiences there and all of the guests she’s sent return raving about their excellent service. “They really take care of you,” says Mirante. “Whether you’re a new or old guest, they welcome you and express well what’s on the menu and what it’s about.” Mirante recommends the restaurant to anyone looking for a fun atmosphere that feels like an escape from the city—plus mouthwatering food.

Though the restaurant does not do reservations, you can put your name down using the NoWait app when you arrive so that you’ll be notified as soon as your table’s available. Many of the dishes here are enjoyed best when shared, including the platter of roasted meats—with juicy rotisserie chicken and Cuban-style pork shoulder—and the Queso Fundido: Mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheese, chorizo sausage, and potatoes served in house-made tortillas. Mirante also highly recommends saving room for the fried Churros coated in sugar and cinnamon, which you dip in a creamy salted pasilla milk chocolate.

Rostizado | #102, 10359-104 St. | 780-761-0911

The prestigious Clefs d’Or Silver Service Award is given to a local restaurant that has displayed excellent service and outstanding food.

2017 Best New Restaurants in Edmonton

Every year, the editorial team at WHERE Edmonton Magazine reviews the new restaurants that have opened in Edmonton and awards their pick for the Best New Restaurant. Here’s a look at their choices in 2017 for the overall best new restaurant! (Check out our January/February 2018 issue for more great spots, including our winners for best new casual, bakery, and menu.)

Photo by Jamie Tweedy of Tweedy Studios

1st: Biera
When one imagines a brewpub, usually a basic burger and fries with the hockey game on in the background comes to mind. But Christine Sandford—head chef at Biera, which is attached to Blind Enthusiasm Brewing—has elevated the menu to fine-dining heights. And with a beautiful open space featuring the brewery tank visible behind a glass wall, the restaurant offers a unique and memorable dining experience. Sandford has worked in the industry for over a dozen years, spending some time interning with Belgian chef Kobe Desramaults, and has put that training to use in crafting this upscale brewpub’s menu. Her menu made it a clear winner for our Best New Restaurant Award, as she uses innovative cooking techniques to expertly pair each beautifully plated dish with the brewery’s craft beer.

Diners here need to start with the soft, house-made sourdough bread that you can savour with a salted lard spread. The tender, charcoal-grilled ACME Pork Shoulder is almost upstaged by the accompanying beets, which have been dehydrated, rehydrated, and glazed to give them a pleasant fig-like texture. Finish off your meal with the Sourdough Ice Cream, which will hit that sweet spot.

2nd: The Butternut Tree
Chef Scott Downey’s return to Edmonton has led to a welcomed fine-dining establishment, which focuses on often underused and underappreciated Canadian ingredients. For several years Downey trained at Michelin-starred restaurants in New York and Denmark that have influenced the unique ways he showcases his food.

The highly seasonal and concise menu is frequently shifting, but you’re guaranteed an incredible dish no matter what you order. An early stand-out is the broccoli, which is served on cereal grains with chunks of succulent boar belly and a soft-boiled duck egg. With large, wall-length windows, the restaurant offers a gorgeous view of the Alberta Legislature and river valley. From the plating to the view, the Butternut Tree will impress any diner or client you bring with you to experience it.

3rd: Bündok
Derived from the word “boondocks,” meaning off the beaten path, this restaurant is another honourable mention that focuses on the flavours and foods of the region. Chef Ryan Hotchkiss’ small 38-seater features a focused menu with sharing plates such as the tender Gnocchi Parisienne—with Brussels sprouts, kabocha squash, and breadcrumbs—and Beef Tartare, which gives a flavourful kick with pickled celery, mustard aioli, and horseradish.

Located in the central downtown area near Ice District, Bündok also serves up a delightful lunch. Must-tries (especially for the wintertime) include the soul-pleasing Parmigiano Soup with peas and bacon, and the crisp Fried Chicken Skin, seasoned with honey mustard and thyme.

Chef Spotlight: Scott Downey

The chef and owner of the newly opened Butternut Tree, Scott Downey, had always planned to return to Edmonton to open his own restaurant—but he wanted to ensure he had something to return with. “I realized if this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I wanted to get the right training and the right base to be able to support that,” says Downey. “If I was going to be showing someone how to do something, it needed to be the correct way.”

While in business school, Downey started as a dishwasher in a Vancouver restaurant and fell in love with the atmosphere, and he soon followed that love to New York to train at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. His repertoire now includes positions at Michelin-starred restaurants Daniel (New York City) and Noma (Denmark), both of which Downey credits in helping to shape The Butternut Tree: “I found that balance between the two—the warm and approachability of French food, but still utilizing and showcasing some of the products here in unique ways that I’ve pulled from Noma.”

In particular, both restaurants work with the availability of the land to help plan and execute their dishes, and Downey worked with their experienced foragers—sometimes scoping forests, fields, and beaches for 12 hours a day. “It was such a cool thing that all these things we were eating came from the wilderness,” says Downey. When he returned to Canada, he was surprised to discover similar plants and herbs, and the concept clicked: “I started asking, ‘Why aren’t these being utilized here? Why can’t we explore our ecosystem more in depth?’” The menu at The Butternut Tree thus seeks to reflect the Canadian landscape and to show guests what’s available all around them.

Downey’s excited to rediscover his own backyard and to witness the changing seasons in Alberta. “It’s different from the environments that I’ve been foraging in before,” he says. “I’m still learning about the Alberta products.” But as a life-long learner, Downey is eager to share his discoveries and grow with his community.

An important part of this education is checking out and supporting local restaurants. Among Downey’s countless recommendations are Wishbone and Baijiu.

Jay-Z’s 4:44 Tour

Photo by Chris Baldwin

Considered by many as a response to his wife Beyoncé’s album Lemonade, Jay-Z’s 13th studio album 4:44 touches on a variety of issues from hip hop culture and racism to his own family life and personal issues. On his 4:44 Tour in support of the album, you can expect a raw evening of music and emotion as the American rapper bares his complicated life on stage. The iconic artist will be joined by special guest Vic Mensa, who’s collaborated with heavyweights such as Kanye West and Pharrell.

Jay-Z | December 9 | $39–$396
Rogers Place | 1-855-985-5000

Winter Wine & Vodka

Nothing’s more comforting on a cold and snowy morning than a warm cup of mulled wine! Silk Road Spice Merchant’s Mulling Spices are a simple way to turn any bottle of red wine into a soothing cup of sweetness. With Indonesian cinnamon pieces, allspice berries, mace, cardamom pods, and dried orange peel, you’ll add this mulled wine to your list of winter-time traditions after only one sip!

Add a unique kick to your Irish coffee this holiday season with Park Distillery’s Espresso Vodka. With a rich coffee flavour and hints of dark chocolate, this bold spirit is distilled from 100% Alberta triticale grain and steeped for 18 days with a Banff Roasting Co. espresso blend. Buy a bottle at Color de Vino.

You Are Here: West Edmonton Mall

1. Hunting for cool collectibles, including one-of-a-kind sports cards, action figures, and rare coins? Visit the large selection of neat games and toys at West Edmonton Coin & Stamp! #1390, 780-444-1156

Photo courtesy Chachi’s

2. With a huge selection of tactical gear and handy tools, Supply Sergeant carries everything first responders, military, and law enforcement need! #1424, 780-444-1540

3. Need a satisfying meal after a long shopping trip? Chachi’s scratch-made, gourmet sandwiches—like the Spicy Italian, thick with Calabrese salami, dry-cured Capicollo, and fresh veggies on a soft ciabatta bun—will satisfy anyone. #1612, 780-705-2160

4. Find the cutest trendy products from Japan at the very first Japanese 100-yen concept store in Alberta: Oomomo! Most of the products are under $3 and make great stocking stuffers. #1192, 587-855-0118

Photo courtesy Frank + Oak

5. Book an appointment with one of the personal stylists at Frank + Oak to refresh your winter wardrobe, and then get a fresh cut at the Barber Ha located inside the store. #1820, 780-652-1153

6. Build a special piece of jewellery that fits your personality with Pandora’s unique collection of charms—each piece is handcrafted in 14-karat gold and sterling silver. #1886, 780-484-6477

7. One of Canada’s leading fashion retailers, this was Simons’ first store to open outside of Quebec. Find some of the world’s hottest design labels for women, men, and your home. #2401, 780-487-3630

8. An export from Germany and opened just in the fall in West Ed, Marc Cain has offered high-end women’s fashion since 1973, with looks that are great for the office or going out. #2332, 780-436-6866

9. Newly opened, the first Michael Kors Men’s store in Canada features ready-to-wear designer fashions, including footwear, watches, handbags, and other accessories. #2307, 780-484-5672

10. Natural ingredients and essences are used at Escents to create oils, aromas, and bath products that can add calm and relief to your daily life. #2298, 780-443-0020

11. Ideal for any adventurer, all of Icebreaker’s outdoor clothing is built to be lightweight and breathable in any outdoor environment as it’s made from high-quality and tough merino wool. #2863, 780-760-3300

Photo courtesy the Rec Room

12. Based in Canmore, Rocky Mountain Soap Co. handcrafts soaps, body butters, bath salts, and more from natural products. All of their products smell good enough to eat! #2888, 780-732-0888

13. Try out the immersive virtual reality games at this new Rec Room location! After you’ve worked up an appetite, stop into the restaurant for a wood-fired pizza or one of their eight varieties of poutine. #2065, 780-900-8714

Disney on Ice: Follow Your Heart

Photo courtesy Feld Entertainment

Follow Dory’s advice and just keep swimming to this fun-filled show! Enjoy high-speed stunts and learn about the importance of self-discovery, compassion, and bravery with everyone’s favourite forgetful fish and her friends from Finding Dory in Disney on Ice: Follow Your Heart. All your Disney and Pixar favourites will be there—from Mickey and Buzz Lightyear to Princess Jasmine and Elsa—and get ready to welcome Joy, Sadness, and the rest of the emotions from Inside Out in their first-ever Disney on Ice show.

Disney on Ice | November 30 – December 3 | $16–$100
Northlands Coliseum | 7424-118 Ave. | 1-855-985-5000

Artist Spotlight: Julia Reimer

WHERE: What made you want to become an artist?
Julia Reimer: The beauty of our natural environment. I have some really clear memories of walking across the Louise Bridge in wintertime and being awestruck by the light reflected on ice floating down the river.

W: What mediums do you prefer to work in?
JR: Glass, glass, and glass—and sometimes metal and wood.

W: What themes or issues do you explore in your art?
JR: The structures and gestures that demonstrate life blooming. Specifically I am interested in how the force of life is manifested in ordinary and minor structures in nature. I feel that, by paying attention to these moments, we can be aware of the daily beauty surrounding us.

W: What artists or works inspire your own?
JR: My husband, Tyler Rock, also works with glass and he is one of the most talented and interesting artists I know. Also, there are a whole host of artists working with glass in Canada (including John Paul Robinson, Caroline Ouellette, Katherine Russell, Jamie Gray, and Ione Thorkelsson) that are creating beautiful objects.

W: What do you hope people take away from your work?
JR: When people look at my work, I hope they respond initially to the beauty of the material. Glass is so gorgeous—the way it plays with light, it is like no other material. I also hope that the viewer will respond to the aesthetics of the piece, and I hope they come away from the work feeling like they have had a glimpse into the beauty of life blooming—even if it’s an ordinary moment.

W: Where can readers view and purchase your work?
JR: There are some world-class galleries that carry our work in Alberta. They are the Alberta Craft Council, Alberta Branded, Bluerock Gallery, Stephen Lowe Art Gallery, and Oeno Gallery. Our studio is also open to visitors for purchases and classes. More information can be found at our website.


Photo courtesy Press + Post

The shop local movement has expanded in Edmonton in an exciting way! An entire wing of Londonderry Mall, called the #ShopCanada Runway, is now dedicated to Alberta-based retailers in support of the local economy and fashion industry. Among the eight new stores is the first-ever PARKSHOP—whose team started at a Calgary pop-up market and highlights Canadian designers—as well as Edmonton-based shops Opulence, Step In Shoes, and LemonDress.

Londonderry Mall | 137 Ave. & 66 St. | 780-476-1441

Ask The Expert: Les Clefs d’Or Corner (November/December 2017)


Photo by Jamie Tweedy of Tweedy Studios.

We asked Edmonton expert and Les Clefs d’Or Nella Mirante at The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald for her advice about holiday and winter activities in the city!

1. What’s your recommendation for a restaurant to host a holiday party?
I recommend Rostizado. The private room is perfect and intimate for a group celebration, with fun music and mouth-watering food!

2. What’s a great store to shop for stocking stuffers?
My go-to for stocking stuffers is Harlow Crestwood. You can find everything for him, her, and even the little ones!

3. What’s your favourite treat to enjoy from a bakery in the city?
I like to treat myself to the numerous flavours of sweet macarons and delicious lattés at Duchess Bake Shop.

4. What’s your favourite holiday event in Edmonton?
My favourite holiday event is the Singing Christmas Tree at the Jubilee Auditorium. 150 singers fill a 35-foot tree with dancing Santas, acrobats, and more, making for a glorious evening!

5. What’s the best way to spend a chilly Saturday afternoon?
On a chilly afternoon, escape to the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald and warm up on the Royal Tea and Tour! Savour the little sandwiches, housemade scones, and marmalades and jams, and then take a tour of the hotel and the Queen Elizabeth Suite, where many celebrities have stayed.

Les Clefs d’Or Concierges have been opening doors for hotel guests in Canada since 1976, and today there are more than 150 members from coast to coast and more than 3,500 members worldwide! You can find Nella at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald.

20 Holiday Activities in Edmonton Under $20 in 2017

Celebrate the season throughout December at the Alberta Legislature!

1. Celebrate the Season
Cost: Free!
Where: Alberta Legislature Building, 10800-97 Ave.
When: December 7 – 23
About: The first day of this month-long event features a choir performance and the Premier’s ceremonial turning on of the colourful lights outside the Legislature buildings. During the rest of the month, guests can enjoy afternoon and evening choir performances when visiting the Legislature rotunda.
More info here!

2. All Is Bright Festival
Cost: Free!
Where: 124 St. between 102 Ave. & 108 Ave.
When: Saturday, November 25, 3 pm – 8 pm
About: Celebrate the coming of winter with a stunning showcase of fashion, food, and entertainment on 124 St. Enjoy holiday-themed storefront displays, hot holiday drinks and food truck specialties, live music, and more!
More info here!

3. 124 Grand Market’s Holiday Bazaar
Cost: $2 entertainment fee; Free for kids under 12
When: December 8 & 9
Where: Vignettes Building (Former Re-Use Centre), 10004-103A Ave.
About: The annual Holiday Bazaar features live music, food trucks, a cash bar, and many amazing vendors to help complete your holiday shopping!
More info here!

4. Luminaria
Cost: $13.50 Adult; $9.75 Senior; Children 4-12 $6.25; Children 3 and under are FREE
When: December 1–3, 5 – 9 pm
Where: University of Alberta Botanic Garden (formerly Devonian Botanic Garden), 5 km north of Devon on Hwy 60
About: Thousands of hand-lit candles sparkle along the paths of the Kurimoto Japanese Garden. Strolling singers, ice sculptures, hot apple cider at the bonfires, and illuminated Snow Sprites create an enchanting display that you will not want to miss. This event sells out early. Call for tickets 780-987-3054 ext. 2223 to avoid lineups or order them online.
More info here!

5. Zoominescence, a Festival of Light
Cost: $7.50 Adult; $5 Child
When: December 1 – 31, 5 – 9 pm
Where: Edmonton Valley Zoo
About: Every weekend in December will include this celebration of light, artistry, and imagination, including several special submissions to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary and its future. Admire the dazzling light installations created by local artists, participate in festive crafts, and visit the animals at the Edmonton Valley Zoo!
More info here!

6. Make It!
Cost: $6 Full weekend; Children 12 and under are FREE
When: November 23–26
Hours: Thu & Fri 11 am – 9 pm; Sat 10 am – 6 pm; Sun 11 am – 5 pm
Where: Edmonton EXPO Centre
About: This handmade revolution includes more than 265 exhibitors and their handcrafted wares, with everything from bodycare and papergoods to woodworking and jewellery. Enjoy live music, food trucks, and even a beer garden while you shop!
More info here!

7. Santa’s Parade of Lights
Cost: Free!
When: November 18
Where: Jasper Ave., between 100 St. & 108 St..
About: Santa’s coming to town! Celebrate the wonders of winter at this festive parade with the jolly old man. And grab a tasty treat from one of the food trucks near the parade route! View a map of the parade route to find the best viewing spot here.

8. Candy Cane Lane
Cost: Free, though donations for the Edmonton Food Bank are accepted and appreciated. Extra fee for sleigh rides.
When: December 8 – January 2
Where: 148 St. between 100 Ave. & 92 Ave.
About: Grab a hot chocolate and take a stroll down Candy Cane Lane—a 10-block stretch of impressive residential displays of colourful Christmas lights and decorations. Or, see the sights while taking a festive sleigh ride!
More info here!

9. Festival of Trees
Cost: $10 Adult, $5 Senior (65+), $5 Youth (13-17), $2 Children (2-12), Infants under 2 are free
When: November 30 – December 3
Where: Shaw Conference Centre, 9797 Jasper Ave.
About: The University Hospital Foundation’s annual fundraiser is a family-friendly event with magnificently decorated trees, festive displays, uniquely decorated cakes, and the most intricate gingerbread houses you have ever seen! Enjoy family scavenger hunts, live entertainment, and a special visit from Santa.
More info here!

10. Amahl & the Night Visitors
Cost: $15 Adult; $5 Child/Youth under 16 ($35 Family: 2 adults over 16 & up to 3 children under 16)
When: December 27 – 28
Where: Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 10037 84 Ave NW.
About: In this English opera, a young boy offers his only possession—a crutch—as a gift for the three wise men to take with them for Jesus. This traditional holiday tale will renew your spirits and remind you of the special gifts each of us have to offer in the holiday season.
More info here!

11. Santa’s Arrival at West Edmonton Mall
Cost: Free, though donations for the Edmonton Food Bank are accepted and appreciated.
When: November 12, 10 am
Where: North Pole Place, West Edmonton Mall, 8882-170 St.
About: Come and welcome Santa to his home-away-from-home for the holiday season! Enjoy exciting entertainment and a pancake breakfast.
More info here!

12. Indigenous Artisans’ Holiday Market
Cost: Free!
When: November 23
Hours: 11 am – 2 pm
Where: Enterprise Square, 10230 Jasper Ave.
About: This craft sale features handmade items by Indigenous artisans and artists, including pottery, art, candles, blankets, and more.
More info here!

13. Winterfest
Cost: Free to browse!
When: December 1 – 3
Where: Snow Valley Ski Club, 119 St., one block south of Whitemud Dr.
About: Kick off the new skiing season with fun activities for the whole family! Try your hand at a special obstacle course, learn some helpful tips at a Winter Safety Carnival, and enjoy a pancake breakfast.
More info here!

14. Blue Christmas
Cost: $12.50 Adult; $10.50 Senior (65+); $10.50 Youth (13-17); $6.50 Child (2-12): Children under 2 are free.
When: Sunday, December 10, 11 am – 3 pm
Where: Muttart Conservatory, 9626 – 96A St.
About: The Muttart Conservatory is throwing an event to get you into a festive mood! Activities include singing, crafts, planting, and even bannock roasting over the fire. Come see how some traditional toys are made and take in the new wintery Feature Pyramid.
More info here!

15.The Nutcracker (In a Nutshell)
Cost: $13.50
When: December 15 & 16; 10:30 am & 12:30 pm
Where: ATB Financial Arts Barn, 10330-84 Ave.
About: Bring the kids, toddlers, and babies to this 30-minute family-friendly rendition of The Nutcracker! Make Christmas crafts before the show, enjoy Tchaikovsky’s music, and then take part in the creativity workshop after the performance.
More info here!

16. Royal Bison Craft & Art Fair
Cost: $3; Kids get in free!
When: November 24 – 27 & December 1 – 3
Where: Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre, 8426 Gateway Blvd.
About: Browse the beautiful boutique-like displays from local, independent vendors selling unique handmade clothing, jewellery, accessories, artwork, toys, and zines. This is the perfect fair to find a speciality, hand-made holiday gift! The fair has expanded and now welcomes all that is weird and eclectic from across western Canada.
More info here!

17. A Prairie Christmas
Cost: $13; Children under 2 are FREE
When: December 9 & 10
Where: Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farm, 56311 Lily Lake Rd., Bon Accord, 25 km north of Edmonton
About: Bundle up and enjoy some seasonal family fun at the cozy, rustic setting of Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm. Decorate cookies with the elves, ride the magical Polar Express, get a family photo with Santa, make ornaments and gifts at the craft station, and enjoy hot chocolate and other treats in Mrs. Claus’ kitchen.
More info here!

18.CHiMPROV Christmas Shows
Cost: $12
When: Saturday, December 9 & 16, 10 pm
Where: Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Ave.
About: Rapid Fire Theatre’s long-form improv show is doing two Christmas specials! Enjoy an improvised Super Special Xmas Special on December 9th, or check out what happens in Scrooge & Friends when three improvised holiday spirits teach Scrooge (special guest Glenn Nelson, who plays Scrooge in the Citadel’s A Christmas Carol) a holiday lesson on December 16.
More info here!

19. Edmonton Oil Kings’ Teddy Bear Toss
Cost: Tickets start at $20
When: Saturday, December 2, 7 pm
Where: Rogers Place
About: Watch WHL hockey teams Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Prince Albert Raiders and enjoy special holiday-themed entertainment, such as the Teddy Bear Toss on to the ice in support of Santa’s Anonymous.
More info here!

20. Christmas Films at Metro Cinema
Cost: Adults $13; Seniors $10; Student $10; Child $8
When: Throughout December
Where: Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712-109 St.
About: Watch a favourite holiday classic on the Metro’s historic screen, including A Christmas StoryNational Lampoon’s Christmas VacationDie HardIt’s A Wonderful Life, and more!
More info here!




Photo by Joan Marcus

The ancient Greek myth of Orpheus tells the tale of a man who journeys to the underworld to save his beloved, Eurydice. Anaïs Mitchell’s retelling, Hadestown—featuring music in American folk and New Orleans jazz styles—takes place in a Depression-era landscape, where the aboveground post-apocalyptic world juxtaposes the factory of Hadestown. This hot production began as a folk opera concept album, developed into an off-Broadway musical, and is stopping off in Edmonton before heading to the lights of Broadway.

Hadestown | November 11 – December 3 | $30–$118
Citadel Theatre | 9828-101A Ave. | 780-425-1820