July 29, 2015
So many of you may have seen it, many perhaps not. There was an article written in the Edmonton Sun by “food critic” Graham Hicks trashing this year’s Taste of Edmonton. I’ll be blunt, I have never been a fan of his work. This just adds to it. I understand he didn’t like many of the offerings, I also understand he has some dietary issues. Here’s a thought Graham, if you have some pretty strict dietary issues, maybe Taste of Edmonton wasn’t for you. It’s fine, you can say, “none of this stuff looks good to or for me”, way too much deep fried etc. But he took it another step further, basically ripping so many people a new one without even thinking of their efforts involved. For those not named directly, he lumped us all in as being just too cheap or too easy. Borderline insulting, in my opinion. Look, I’ll be the first to admit, there is too much deep fried stuff at Taste. At the same time, as someone that has participated in it for 3 years now and brought 4 different dishes in those three years, I have a pretty good grasp at how much work it takes. We are trying to feed anywhere from 500-2000 portions of food in a day for 10 days. We only get to bring 2 items. We only have so much space. It costs money to register, purchase product and pay staff. In all of that, we need to come up with two dishes that offer people a “taste” of some of our menu. They’re items that have to be on our in house menu. It’s a crap shoot. In my first year, I served 2 pasta dishes; Gemelli with Tomato Sauce ( great with kids and vegetarians) and Mushroom Cream Sausage Rotini (spicier & meaty) They did pretty well. Year 2 I ditched the Gemelli and brought in Affogato ( espresso over ice cream) a nice dessert option, ties in great on hot days and nights and brought back the Rotini. Going into this year, I wanted to raise the bar a bit for myself. I kept the affogato because it’s an easy dish to prepare. It’s a scoop of ice cream with an espresso shot over it. However, I thought it would be a great opportunity to serve up my meatballs on a much larger stage. I came up with an all beef meatball slider. The same meatballs we have available at the cafe, simmered in our own tomato sauce served on a baby bun from the Italian Bakery. I went with beef, because as I learned from two years of pasta with pork sausage, not everyone eats pork. Plus, I wanted to gain some traction and exposure as hopefully the meatballs will be retailing come the fall. (Fingers crossed on that note.) Thru all of this keep in mind the number of people we are trying to feed, the number of expenses we have incurred. Now, we are allotted 6 tickets to plan our payments. That means of between your two dishes, they can’t be more than 6 tickets combined. So you have many 3 & 3 or 4 & 2 combinations depending on where you went. I went with a 3 & 3. This way no matter what, I’m making the same amount. Here’s a key thing to remember; profit is not a dirty word. Yet there are a handful of “foodies” that want to go on a tirade about how we are all trying to do everything as cheap as possible and not worry about the quality of our product. Clearly you have no idea of what happens at Taste then, so just don’t come. Or at the very least, explore all of us, do some research and if you can find a way to turn Alberta raised prime rib into a cost effective meatball, I’d be happy to hear from you. Until then ground beef works fantastic so shut it. Don’t lump all of us together. I know I spent a lot of time putting things together and my staff and I spent a lot of time rolling meatballs by hand. Taste of Edmonton had a record turnout. People love Taste for whatever reason. Great! Come on out have fun. Try something new, indulge in some of your favorites. But please, don’t sit there and tell me we all do it for the cheap and to just make money. I do want to introduce people to my business and make money, and I do so working pretty hard at it, many of us do. In turn we go out and spend our money on everyone else’s stuff. It’s a wonderful thing. Rant over. Time to make lunch. See you at noon. Hopefully not Graham Hicks though, I just don’t like that guy.
VACATION ALERT: The cafe will be closed the week of August 10th-14th as I take a much needed vacation with the family. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Today’s UberFact: While watermelon is a fruit, it’s rind can be used as a vegetable.
THE PASTAS: includes Garden Salad w/House Balsamic Vinaigrette or Caesar Salad & Garlic Toast
Gnocchi w/Rosee Sauce $10.50
Spaghetti w/Meat Sauce $10.50 w/Tomato Sauce $10.00
TODAY’S SOUPS: Includes Garlic Toast Small $4.70 Large $6.15
Soup Is Taking The Summer Off
Saintly Good Meatballs $1.40
Sensational Spicy Sausages $1.60