Thursday, 13 June 2013

Golden Fork Mini Tour

Chris and I celebrated our Two Year Anniversary a couple days ago. Chris planned our first anniversary, and so I was happy to take on the challenge this year. My goal was simple- a fun night with good food. Something that felt a little different and outside of what we normally do, and something that felt a little extra special.

We knew one thing early on- we wanted to go to Von's Steakhouse. We have only been once before, and it was before we were even married. I still talk about that meal as the best steak I have ever had in my life. The filet mignon was to.die.for. For reals.

My original plan was to go for an early dinner, then to go to Putting Horse Ranch. I like to call it Adult Mini Golf. It's super fun, and if you've never heard of them, definitely check them out! Unfortunately, the day started out quite gloomy that day. No rain, but it was overcast and the temperature wasn't that great. Chris and I talked about it the night before and decided to cancel, so I was left with the task of coming up with an awesome, fun, exciting Plan B on the day of. No pressure, right?

So what does one do on their anniversary, other than go for dinner? Chris and I like to do fun and new things together. My mind swirled with possibilities, but none of them seemed easy to pull together in a few hours. Then it came to me. A progressive meal. The concept is something I'm familiar with probably due to my childhood in girl guides, or now my adulthood serving in youth ministry. When I picture a progressive meal I picture a large group of people moving through a large room, or a building with multiple rooms, stopping at different stations for different portions of the meal. My idea was a little different. Why not move from restaurant to restaurant, trying something different at each one?

Enter, the Golden Fork Awards. I had come across the article in VUE magazine of the 2013 winners not too long ago, and knew that Von's had won again for Best Steak in Edmonton. No surprise there people, it is seriously amazing. Get the Goat Cheese Filet. You'll thank me later. So anyways, my idea was to try out a couple other winners. That being said, this is how our night went:

We started out at the winner for "Best Appetizer", Three Boars. I'll be honest- I was a little nervous about this one. I considered subbing in the second place winner, Tzin Wine & Tapas because I had heard a few bad reviews of Three Boars- that they were pretentious and overpriced. I am SO glad we did go though, because the food was AMAZING. We sat on the main level, which is not for a claustrophobic individual. I don't know how much larger the upstairs dining area is, but I imagine it's a bit roomier. Either way, we didn't mind. The atmosphere is fantastic. Very trendy/hipster meets earthy woodsman (Perhaps I'm basing that off the giant beard on our waiter?) Chris ordered a tonic water and was quite impressed to hear that they make their own tonic. Who makes their own tonic? He said it was delicious, but keep in mind this comes from a man that enjoys drinking tonic water ;)

We ordered three appetizers - Pork & Chicken Liver Ball (Pulled pork and chicken liver meatball in a crunchy coating, deep fried and served with house dijon mustard), Patatas Bravas with Sriracha Mayo (Roasted baby potatoes with sriracha mayo dipping sauce) and Devils on Horseback (Dates stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon) The clear winner of all three was the pork and chicken liver ball. I think Chris was surprised to have liked it so much, given the word liver in the name, but we both agreed it was delicious. Had we not been on our way out the door, I would have ordered another. The patatas were good, but perhaps not $8 good, and the devils on horseback were also super tasty. The dates were a bit sweet for me, but the cheese (we think it may have been a mild blue cheese?) and the bacon balanced it out perfectly.

Ok. The appetizers took the edge off our hunger, but just barely. We were ready for the main event. I had been waiting more than 2 years for this steak, and I wanted it in my belly, approximately 10 minutes ago.

We made our way to Von's, and were seated in a booth in the lounge, which was quite lovely for us- gave us a chance to sit nice and close and stare dreamily into each others eyes. ;) We tried to take a picture, but the lighting was much too dim. You'll just have to take my word for it- it was romantic. We both ordered filet mignon. Mine was the Goat Cheese Filet, and Chris chose the Oscar. They. Were. Amazing. The green beans on the plate were a bit dry, but even that couldn't possibly take away from this meal. Worth every single penny for the melt in your mouth, perfectly cooked steak of my life.

Folks, I may be in love.

I somehow passed up creme brulee (and I know from last time, it is delicious!) to follow through on the rest of this tour.... on to the 3rd Place Winner for Best Sweet Shop- Block 1912. 1st Place is held by Duchess Bakery for obvious reasons - if you've ever had their lemon tart, you won't argue their title. 2nd Place, Carol's Quality Sweets sounded intriguing, but Block 1912 was a stone's throw from Von's, so it was an easy decision.

Block 1912 is a cute, eclectic little coffee shop (Well, actually it's quite large inside!) It is filled with mismatched vintage tables and chairs, and the clientele is just as mismatched. Near where we were sitting there was two older couples enjoying coffee together- they looked to be in their 80's, and then right next to them was a group of 4 middle aged women who were obviously meeting to discuss the book they all had in their hands. Among all the singles there were college student age, elderly, and a few punk rock looking 30ish year olds. Block 1912 draws in everyone under the sun! Chris ordered a macchiato, and I an Americano. He ordered Tiramisu, and I chose the Chocolate Trio Mousse Cake. The coffees were fantastic, and the desserts so-so. I've never been a huge fan of desserts served out of a large refrigerated display case. I find they end up taking on that yucky fridge taste. It wasn't too bad in this case, but definitely evident. It certainly didn't spoil our experience by any means, but is worth mentioning. All in all, the coffee and the atmosphere more than made up for it, and we had a great time. I would definitely return.

And that's it! it was quite an adventure, and I can't wait to do it again. The Golden Fork Awards have quite a few categories worth perusing...

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