Once again, Twyla Campbell, Edmonton AM's food columnist, takes on Taste of Edmonton — with suggestions for how best to use those precious food tickets by offering her top three picks at Churchill Square this year.
The winners include a Thai dish, a good old Alberta roast beef dish, and a Mexican dish: all very different and representing different cultures — "what I love about Edmonton, the best part about Taste of Edmonton," Twyla says.
With only a couple of days left in the festival, let's get right to it, starting with number 3:
Almond Satay Thai Noodle Salad - Noorish
Twyla called this salad a welcome change from the high-calorie, deep fried foods that seem to be the mainstays of food festivals.
This salad is made with kelp noodles.
The satay sauce is made with almond butter, tamari, molasses, sesame oil and apple cider vinegar
Julienned red and yellow peppers, green onion and bean sprouts top it off.
Twyla calls it very light, refreshing with lots of depth in the satay sauce.
She liked that they got creative, offering something that truly reflects their mission: Healthy, vegetarian, raw foods
The salad "should entice people to come to their restaurant – that should be the goal of all the vendors," she said.
At number 2:
Roast beef sandwich - Farrow
Farrow is a little sandwich shop on 109th Street on the south side of the river. It is the offspring of Three Boars and known for its wild combinations of food.
Twyla says it is one of the top, if not the top, sandwich spots in the city, and the roast beef sandwich reflects that.
The roast beef is ridiculously tender with the perfect amount of horseradish, she says.
The miniature bun is pillowy soft and spread with horseradish, mayo, arugula, pickled onion, ripple chips.
That's right. Ripple chips on a sandwich. That's the sleeper ingredient, Twyla said. "Makes everything better."
She also gave bonus points for offering something easy to eat.
Now for Twyla's top choice at the 2016 Taste of Edmonton:
Vallarta shrimp tostadas - La Mar, a Mexican food truck
For me, the hands down winner, Twyla says. "I would definitely look for this truck and this item when they're back on the streets."
Tostada means toasted and refers to the fried tortilla used for the base.
The tortilla is cut into four pieces for easier handling. ("Appreciate that!" Twyla says. "Don't want to fight with food or have food spilling everywhere at an event like this.")
The topping consists of pico de gallo, red cabbage, chili threads, which LOOK really cool and add a bit of smokiness, she says.
The shrimp is topped with "secret sauce" called chimichile, which is similar to an Argentinian red chimichurri sauce, but is creamier.
Like Farrow's ripple chips, this is La Mar's sleeper ingredient – that one component that completes the dish, Twyla says.
As food trucks rotate through and can't stay for the duration of the festival, you should check the schedule to catch a particular truck, she says.