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Taste of Edmonton 2014

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  • #16
    Strawberries in Grand Marnier w/Vanilla Cream - Bistro Praha - ****
    I get this every year, and it's always a matter of the degree the strawberries are infused with the Grand Marnier. Early festival seems to be better, but this time I think they pre-anticipated demand better.

    Strawberry/Banana Waffle w/Whip Cream - 3 Bananas - ****
    Very nice, but basic, unadventurous.

    Banana Bread Pudding w/Caramel Sauce, Whipped Cream & Bruleed Banana - Zinc - *****
    Wow. Loved every part, and loved how they sat together. Plate lickingly fantastic. Very refined desert.

    Zinc ran away with this competition.

    About the layout of the festival, I hear the lack of seating criticisms, and signage criticisms, but strictly on use of space, I was simply amazed. They're running out of space on the square, but the efficiency of the layout was brilliant.

    I hope they find a way to put in more chairs and tables (at the Winspear? City Hall terrace?) but in the meantime, I always use the Courthouse Garden tucked behind AGA. Nobody around except a few hungry looking lawyers strolling to work and some playful magpies chasing each other through the trees. Could also easily have sat behind the bouncers in the beer garden, as there were lots of empty seats out in the burning sun, but didn't know that till after the fact.

    If they find a way for more chairs and tables, and improve the signage I would easily now put this in the top 5 festivals in the City. Maybe top 3.
    Let's make Edmonton better.

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    • #17
      More seating around the wading pool. Me and my lady snagged two loose free chairs and sat in the shade for almost an hour. Seats in shade was heavy finding on that hot day.
      Live and love... your neighbourhood.

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      • #18
        Went back to Taste of Edmonton last night. Mostly retried the items I liked before, the only new item for me being the quail from Hoang Long (tasted alright but there wasn't much meat on them). Massive lineup to get into the beer garden. Taste of Wine was turned into a mud pit, they seriously should move it onto the square next year or erect a tent. I still don't understand why it ends on a Saturday instead of a Sunday.
        “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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        • #19
          ^ There simply is no space left. If Taste of Wine moves, something else has to go in the grassy location, and whatever it is will have the same mud issues. This is exactly the reason for the much maligned large expanse of concrete already in the square, but now that the festivals are growing (yay!), we're running into the old problem again. Perhaps they could lay down some kind of artificial turf over the natural turf.

          Agree about extending to Sundays.

          Love the way the trees are growing in on the East side of the concrete area. Overall I think the Square designers are getting into safe "told ya so" territory.
          Let's make Edmonton better.

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          • #20
            I wonder if they could expand into Centennial Plaza. The separation might be problematic, but the sidewalk on the west side of the library is probably wide enough to host a row of booths, which would provide for some continuity of the space. Unfortunately, the pedway entrance cuts off the corner from the rest of the square.

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            • #21
              Lack of space is a nice problem to have for sure, but activating Centennial Plaza would take a considerable leap of faith. Almost nothing has worked there over the years, it's completely unserviced space, and 102 Ave + Library are very real barriers. Might work, but if I were a restaurant, I wouldn't want to be the canary in the coalmine.

              Might be easier to spread somehow into the Winspear Plaza first, but if I were directing the festival, I'd want to entrench for a few years before even considering Centennial.

              Definitely once 102 Ave is reduced to one lane with the Valley Line I would reconsider.

              So perhaps in 2020?
              Let's make Edmonton better.

              Comment


              • #22
                Downtown Edmonton festivals facing LRT Valley Line construction woes

                And it sounds like it's going to get worse before it gets better:


                Festivals calling Churchill Square home might have to consider a new location or face reduced space as the city starts talks on LRT construction.

                The popular downtown square will be part of the Valley Line LRT construction, with parts of the square to be blocked off starting in summer of 2016, according to city officials.

                “The best information we have is approximately a third of the square would be impacted
                http://metronews.ca/news/edmonton/11...truction-woes/
                Let's make Edmonton better.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by JayBee View Post
                  And it sounds like it's going to get worse before it gets better:


                  Festivals calling Churchill Square home might have to consider a new location or face reduced space as the city starts talks on LRT construction.

                  The popular downtown square will be part of the Valley Line LRT construction, with parts of the square to be blocked off starting in summer of 2016, according to city officials.

                  “The best information we have is approximately a third of the square would be impacted
                  http://metronews.ca/news/edmonton/11...truction-woes/

                  Plenty of underutilized space along 102a ave between 97st and 99st up to the Chancery Hall and Law Courts Building parkade entrances. Also space available on 99st up to the City Hall parkade entrance. I don't imagine closing 100st is possible for the festival, too much of an impact on traffic flow. Same with 103a ave.


                  The only compromise I can see with 102 ave lrt construction is the size of the beer gardens, and the location of a few drink tents and the ticket booths. There wasn't much else in the area beside Three Bananas Cafe and Tix On The Square. I would assume the festival will be dynamic, and don't see any drastic moves happening like the move to Abbey Lane Park when Churchhill Square went thru a total makeover.


                  I agree with pulling the sod and going to astroturf or more interlock. With the rain on thursday and friday, the grassed area became an unused soggy muddy mess, just like before the Churchhill Square renos that were supposed to introduce better drainage.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    No big deal. Federal plaza/108st will work great, provided it's done by 2016.
                    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

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                    • #25


                      Remember that one year they had it on 102 street in the ' Occupy ' park next to RBC.

                      Top_Dawg watched the whole goat rodeo unfold day after day perched on his bar stool at the Hawk.

                      On the third day the only thing you could smell was the portable $hitters.

                      Sip and Savour.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by blainehamilton View Post
                        Originally posted by JayBee View Post
                        And it sounds like it's going to get worse before it gets better:


                        Festivals calling Churchill Square home might have to consider a new location or face reduced space as the city starts talks on LRT construction.

                        The popular downtown square will be part of the Valley Line LRT construction, with parts of the square to be blocked off starting in summer of 2016, according to city officials.

                        “The best information we have is approximately a third of the square would be impacted
                        http://metronews.ca/news/edmonton/11...truction-woes/

                        Plenty of underutilized space along 102a ave between 97st and 99st up to the Chancery Hall and Law Courts Building parkade entrances. Also space available on 99st up to the City Hall parkade entrance. I don't imagine closing 100st is possible for the festival, too much of an impact on traffic flow. Same with 103a ave.


                        The only compromise I can see with 102 ave lrt construction is the size of the beer gardens, and the location of a few drink tents and the ticket booths. There wasn't much else in the area beside Three Bananas Cafe and Tix On The Square. I would assume the festival will be dynamic, and don't see any drastic moves happening like the move to Abbey Lane Park when Churchhill Square went thru a total makeover.
                        I agree they'll tough it out, but the City did say it would only affect one summer's edition.

                        About 102a Ave, good point, and perhaps something they will have to consider, but I'm not sure they would be permitted. That along with 99 Street wrapping around AGA is pretty much their heavy haulage lifeline, and will become even more important during the Valley Line construction. More importantly, I think they might need emergency access there.

                        If they could get permission, perhaps they tent-up the Eastbound lanes and have the foot traffic on the sidewalk.
                        Let's make Edmonton better.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Could you close the southbound lanes of 99th street from Jasper North to Centennial Plaza (leaving a gap for the libraries loading dock)? You could have people cross the street to some restaurant tents north of Jasper, which would then create a natural path to additional tents/beer guardians at Centennial Plaza. You'd need a pair of volunteers to halt pedestrian traffic when the loading dock is in use, but otherwise I think it would be workable. There are no bus routes on that section to interfere, and keeping the northbound lanes open will keep the Citadel accessible. The tents would face away from the northbound lane and towards the sidewalk to keep anyone from wandering into traffic, and to guide them to Centennial Plaza.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            I wonder if there would be any interest or if it would be feasible to have a main site (Churchill) and a few smaller satellite sites (Centennial Plaza, ATB Place, Rice Howard) nearby. An arrangement like that might actually increase overall sales because there would be options closer to some offices.

                            Just a thought.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              ^^ That would make sense to me after the Valley Line disruption for sure.

                              ^ Whether the event producers themselves want it, with the festival's current momentum as well as the steady numerical growth of decent restaurants in town, sattelites might have to happen. Would sure be nice under the EDACC Galleria, if it turns out to be suitable.
                              Let's make Edmonton better.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by JayBee View Post
                                ^^ That would make sense to me after the Valley Line disruption for sure.
                                Agreed, it only makes sense once construction begins; that's what I had in mind when I made the suggestion.

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