12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert
Food, Reviews

Review: 12 Acres Restaurant (St. Albert)

Last week, Mike and I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek into St. Albert’s newest restaurant 12 Acres. We were invited to try sample sizes of a variety of their dishes – from soups to salads, sandwiches to entrees, and to learn more about what they’re all about!

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

Inside 12 Acres, located at 8 Mission Ave., in St. Albert

12 Acres is located at 8 Mission Avenue, in the same building where the old Riverhouse Restaurant used to be. For a lot of people, the Riverhouse was something of an institution in St. Albert. Always very good – and often the spot to go to for your occasions. That was the problem (12 Acres staff tell me). People only ever came for occasions. There was the notion that Riverhouse was too fancy, too special, too not-kid-friendly, all the other days of the year.

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

They like to show off the cuts of meat they’ve broken down in-house at 12 Acres.

Courtney and Nathan Henry, owners of 12 Acres, want people to know their new restaurant is not fancy, it’s not stuffy, and certainly families/kids are welcome. It’s elevated comfort food, with a stress on the farm to table (pasture to plate) concept. But it’s going for approachable, affordable, and eventually – sustainable.

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

Charcuterie at 12 Acres shows off their cured meats (done in house), bread (done in house), pickled veg (done in-house) and cheeses (some done in house!)

You hear a lot about farm to table concepts and restaurants lately. More people (thankfully) are caring about where their food comes from, and so the surge in eating local (shopping local, anything local) has been a welcome trend. At the very core of it, all restaurants employ the farm to table idea – at some point in the process, the food/ingredients they’re serving came from some farm (we hope). The better type of farm to table of course is when those farms are local and when the restaurant owners/chefs have relationships with the farmers. Many do a good job of sourcing from local farms and suppliers and letting their customers know they do that, so it’s not as unique anymore to have a restaurant tout itself as “farm to table.”

That’s the impression one of my friends had when I told him 12 Acres had opened in St. Albert and it was towing the farm to table line. “Isn’t that all new restaurants now?” he said, with a smirk.

But 12 Acres is different! They’re really taking the whole concept to the next level. The relationship they have with the farm they’ve partnered with – City Life Farms – is very symbiotic. The farm will only ever have as many cows (for example) as the restaurant needs to serve, and vice versa. If they run out of a cut, that’s it. Try a different cut. They’ll use all parts of the animal in everything they make. Some greens come from the farm, eventually they hope all greens will. The goal is that in a few years the farm will completely sustain the restaurant. They want the farm to exist for the restaurant and the restaurant to exist for the farm.

It’s ambitious, but so very exciting!

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

12 Acres Chef Nathan Henry says 12 Acres is a labour of love – and meant to change how we eat.

Chef Nathan Henry, whose been in the business for 20 years, said with 12 Acres, he wants to change how Edmontonians (and Albertans) eat and think about eating, and sustainability. Their menu will change frequently (depending on what ingredients/cuts they run out of) and that’s why they opted to go with iPad menus instead of printed menus. You can learn more about 12 Acres’ concept on their website.

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

iPad menus at 12 Acres aren’t just there to be flashy/gimmicky – it’s there to reduce cost on printing, and also makes sense because their menu is always changing based on what the farm’s got going on.

Overall, Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed all the dishes we sampled at 12 Acres!

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

Mike and his Cucumber Gin drink at 12 Acres Sneak Peek!

The Reuben sandwich, especially, was so damn good. Sandwiches generally don’t excite me (some stuff in between some bread? meh.. lol), but I am itching to get back to 12 Acres to try the full version of their Reuben. The spicy mustard, sauerkraut, pickles, and juicy brisket left us wanting more.

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

A sample of the home-style Reuben Sandwich (fresh rye bread, brisket, pickles, sauerkraut, and spicy mustard). The standard size would cost $12.

12 Acres pickles everything in house, cure everything in house, butcher in-house, make all of their bread in house, their pasta is made in house, and they’re working on making all of their cheese in house. Totally awesome and despite all of that, their prices are relatively low.

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

Steak and sausage with smoked mash, green beans and cippolinis at 12 Acres. Standard size would cost $32.

Their most expensive dishes are $30-$32, and there are only a few in that price range. Mostly everything else is between $15-$25, with a lot in the $15 and $18 range. For almost everything done in-house and sourced locally, that’s really good.

Here are a few more photos from the dishes we sampled!

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

Pickled Salad – farmed greens, goat cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, shallots, radishes, with a dill dressing – at 12 Acres. Standard size would cost $10.

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

Fresh pasta! There will be feature pasta daily at 12 Acres. Standard size would cost $12.

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

Ling Cod in a ramen broth with roasted fingerling potatoes, tomatoes, and farm greens was the feature fish of the night. The standard size Feature Fish at 12 Acres will be $16.

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

Delicious fresh Rhubarb Fritters for dessert at 12 Acres wrapped in a “secret donut recipe.” Would cost $8 normally.

At the end of the night, Chef brought out the rest of the kitchen team for a big round of applause.

12 Acres - Edmonton - St Albert

Overall a wonderful night – great service, pace, and food. We’ll be back to 12 Acres soon!

It was a very smooth sneak peek in terms of service and pace, and again, we really enjoyed the food. I am very excited for 12 Acres and wish them all the best in their ambitious and exciting endeavour. I love the concept, loved the food we tried, and I already have dates being planned there for lunch, brunch, and dinner!

Let me know what you think when you try it!

Linda

Follow lindork on Instagram

12 Acres on Urbanspoon

Eescape Edmonton Live Action Escape
Giveaways, Reviews

Recap & Giveaway: Edmonton Escape (Eescape) Live Action Escape Game

There’s a new live action escape game in town! Eescape Live Action Escape Game is the latest company to bring the popular escape game concept to Edmonton.

From the website:

Eescape offers people a chance to participate in an emerging world phenomenon. We offer some of the most exciting sleuthing action to be found. Experience real life adventure gaming and entertainment. Challenge your intelligence with a variety of different missions. Find the clues, solve the riddles, and find a way out of each of our meticulously designed rooms with logical reasonings. Let’s face it, few things are as exciting as the thrill of completing a mission in a trapped environment!

For those new to the live action escape genre: basically you choose a themed room, get locked in, briefed on the room’s scenario/problem you need to solve, and then you get 45 minutes to work with your team on solving various puzzles within the room in order to escape before the clock runs out.

Fun, right?

Eescape is located downtown at 10132 105 Street in the basement of Sylbert Place building.

They just opened last weekend and had been offering free beta testing to anyone who signed up on their site. They’re kicking off with three rooms: Held Hostage, Back to the Future, and National Security.

Mike and I went to try two different rooms with our friends – Held Hostage and Back to the Future – during the beta testing.

Eescape in the basement of the building – perfect.

You’re asked to put your cell phones/bags in a locker before you enter the rooms and obviously I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I’ll just give the site summary for the rooms we tried, and a quick summary of our thoughts on it.

Creepy Eescape hallway – you get blindfolded before being led to your room!

Before you enter into any room, you get blindfolded. It’s a simple, yet very effective way to set the tone for the rest of the game.

Held Hostage is where my close friend Elizabeth is kidnapped by a group of gangsters who are asking for $1 million cash for her safe return – or else they’ll kill her. They’ve locked her in an abandoned building. We’ve tracked her down to the building but need to find where she’s been locked up before the gangsters (who have stepped out for food) return!

In Back to the Future, we’re sent back in time to 1955. You’re confused, stunned, and your team members need to solve puzzles in the room in order to get back to present day.

We weren’t able to solve and break out of Back to the Future (though we were VERY close). We also found it very difficult (we basically solved nothing on our own – and relied solely on the hints that were given – you get 2 hints per game). We also found the backstory to be a little lacking. Held Hostage on the other hand – we all loved! It featured a lot more puzzles (that were a good mix of easy and difficult). There was also more individual success in Held Hostage, where there was at least one sort of shining moment or puzzle solved by one member on the team. We did end up solving Held Hostage – so that could also be why we think more favourably towards that room (only 20% of all teams who play escape games manage to escape).

Sad faces because we failed to escape Back to the Future.

Eescape becomes just the second live action escape game in Edmonton – the first – BreakOut Entertainment – launched fall 2014 (see my recap of the experience here!)

Winners of Held Hostage!

Eescape’s owner, Crystal, says the niche industry is gaining more popularity in Canada (and obviously thought there was enough interest here in Edmonton to launch Eescape!)

In fact, BreakOut is launching a Calgary location soon, and just glancing over their online bookings today show that they’re still pretty booked up – even more than a year later (good for them!)

Eescape costs $24.99 per game, per person, which is on par with BreakOut.

If we’re comparing the two, I think they both do some things better than the other – for example we thought the production value/set-up of the rooms in Eescape were very good (better than the ones we’ve tried in BreakOut). But Eescape’s hint system wasn’t as strong as BreakOut’s (where BreakOut will try to get a feel for what you’ve discovered so far and where you’re at in the puzzle before they give a hint or ask if you’ve checked something, Eescape’s hints were much more blunt).

Our biggest feedback for both escape games (and maybe all escape games) is that room scenarios/backstories could be just a bit more in-depth.

But overall, lots of fun! And as I’d written with the previous escape game, it’s just such a great alternative to your usual nights out (either date night or friend hang outs, or team building!) Eescape is a welcome addition to the Edmonton entertainment scene and I’m sure it won’t be the last we’ll see of local live action escape.

I’m giving away three pairs of passes to Eescape!

I’m excited that Crystal of Eescape has given me three pairs of Eescape admission passes to give away to readers!

** GIVEAWAY **

ENTER TO WIN ONE OF THREE ADMISSION PASSES TO EESCAPE!

I’m giving away three pairs of admission passes (each pair valued at $50) to Eescape!

There are multiple ways to enter (commenting in this post answering the question below is mandatory, everything else are additional/bonus entries.)

  • Leave a comment on this blog post answering: Why do you want to try Eescape Live Action Escape Game? This is mandatory. You must do this in order to be eligible to win.
  • Tweet this exact sentence: I’m excited to try @info_eescape live action escape game! Enter @lindork’s giveaway: http://bit.ly/1ArqxvA #yeg
  • Follow @info_eescape on Twitter (let me know you’ve done this)
  • Follow @lindork on Twitter (let me know you’ve done this)
  • Like Eescape – Live Action Escape Game on Facebook (let me know you’ve done this)
  • Like my Facebook Page – Lindork (Linda Hoang) and leave a comment on my Eescape post. (let me know when you’ve done this)

Please note comments are moderated so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t appear right away! This giveaway closes on Friday, June 5, 2015 at 10 p.m. I will randomly choose three winners based on the entries after the contest closes.

Good luck and spread the word! :)

Follow lindork on Instagram

Linda

Honey & Hot Sauce
Food, Giveaways

Giveaway: Tickets to Honey & Hot Sauce (May 26) at The Common

I love The Common! I don’t go as much as I should for the amount of good times I have there, but that really needs to change.

The Common just announced their new Three for Thirty – 3 courses for $30 feature happening every Tuesday night, so in the never ending quest to have awesome but affordable meals out, that shoots right up high on the list!

They’re also pretty well-known for the fun pop-up dinners they host! The latest one – The Common Presents: Honey & Hot Sauce – takes place this Tuesday, May 26, 6 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. seatings! It will be a spicy & sweet dining event with a fun, delicious sounding (and sure to be delicious tasting) menu from Chef Jesse Morrison-Gauthier!

The Common presents: Honey & Hot Sauce!

The Common presents: Honey & Hot Sauce!

The Common Presents: Honey & Hot Sauce (Menu)

  • Wings ‘n Things: Chicken wings, sweetbreads & rabbit wings with honey walnut, sriracha, and green onions
  • Honey Glazed Bacon with hot & sour cabbage salad
  • Chili rubbed lamb popsicles with honey caramel
  • Chili chocolate doughnuts with foraged honeysuckle

4 courses for $40 

I’ve unfortunately got a work event I need to attend that same night (just the worst timing) so I’m sad I can’t go to Honey & Hot Sauce, but the lovely folks over at The Common are letting me give away a pair of tickets to one of you lovely readers so you can go and enjoy in my place!

If you’re not sure about your chances, you should just book anyway! They’ve got a couple of spots left for 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.  You can email kyla@thecommon.ca or call 780-452-7333 to make your reservation! And RSVP on their Facebook Page here!

** GIVEAWAY **

ENTER TO WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS TO HONEY & HOT SAUCE AT THE COMMON (valued at $80)

Pair of tickets is for the 6 p.m. seating

To enter, you must retweet the following tweet:

I’m excited for Honey & Hot Sauce pop-up dinner @TheCommonYEG on May 26! http://bit.ly/1JDttat #yeg #yegfood 

You can get additional entries by doing the following (but note you NEED to retweet the above linked tweet in order to qualify):

I will randomly draw a winning entry from all entries after the contest closes on Sunday, May 24, 2015.

Please note comments need to be moderated so if you don’t see your comment appear right away, don’t worry!

Good luck and spread the word! :)

Follow lindork on Instagram

Linda