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Edmonton’s 104th Street is a magical place in the summer

Edmonton’s 104th Street is a magical place in the summer. With numerous cafes spilling out onto the sidewalk, it is a hot spot for people watching, while also offering the perfect opportunity to indulge in a range of high-quality food and drink. You can sip cocktails while sampling tapas at Tzin Wine and Tapas, relish a craft brew with poutine at Blue Plate Diner, or choose from a selection of Canadian and international cheeses at Cavern, paired with a glass of thoughtfully curated wine.

Perhaps the best way to get a good sense of 104th Street is to visit the bustling City Market held every Saturday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. between the May long weekend and Thanksgiving. Some 20,000 visitors will join you of a pleasant day. All of you will be able to pick up a great selection of produce, prepared foods, sumptuous desserts, flowers, and crafts. But the market also supplies something else; the chance to get to know the vendors on site, each of whom has been carefully vetted for inclusion in the City Market, named the best in the world, yes, by Andrew Evans, a food blogger with National Geographic online.

Edmonton Food Tours hosts a Market Box Challenge and food tour of the market along with lunch at nearby Kitchen by Brad. I’ll talk about a few of our favourite City Market vendors here.

There’s Alysia and Tammy Lok of Caramia Caramels – sister-in-laws and best friends who quit their secure day jobs to pursue their dream of making the best possible, European-style caramels. Plus, Ray Ma and Chris Lerohl, who make Honest Dumplings, a line of gourmet Chinese-style dumplings. Theirs is not only a business success story but also a love story; the two met while studying at the University of Alberta, where Ray learned to follow her passion for dumplings instead of a law career. Ryan Mason of Reclaim Urban Farm sells lettuce from a booth that represents a new generation of urban farmers growing crops on borrowed city plots, thereby reducing their capital outlay while creating a sustainable source of local produce for Edmontonians.

If you feel like venturing a bit further afield after an exhilarating day at the market, there are several top dining options less than a block from 104th St. on Jasper Avenue. You may choose from an innovative restaurant by chef Ben Staley,  Alder Room  or venture across the street to one of chef Daniel Costa’s three Italian eateries, Uccellino, Bar Bricco and Corso 32 (both Alder Room and Corso 32 have been featured in enRoute magazine’s top 10 new restaurants in Canada).

By: Liane Faulder