Zinc Restaurant At The Alberta Art Gallery

scallop dish with pinkish bacon tinge, potato leek foam, confit tomatoes and pickled Mona mushrooms

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When trying to decide where to dine for our first date anniversary on February 11th,  I knew right away where I was going to book. Zinc has been top of my list for places to try in Edmonton for a long time now and with the restaurant also entering the Culinary Arts Cook Off it was almost a no brainer.

Speaking of the Culinary Arts Cook Off, I'm going to take a moment here to thank Chef David Omar of Zinc for being such an avid supporter. I don't even think that avid covers it enough, his enthusiasm and zest for this competition has helped keep me excited as well, something that gets lost sometimes when you are planning a huge event. He was the first one to sign on, indeed he filled out the entry form within 5 minutes of first meeting me and hearing about the competition and then proceeded to ask how he could help.

That would be him on the left side of the photo and on my right is Chef Shane Chartrand, whom I'm sure everyone knows by now is helping me out with the Cook Off.
woman in between the two chefs during Culinary Arts Cook Off

He also puts up with me when I tell him how to cook. Oy. I don't think my husband or our friend Kevin are going to let me forget that any time soon.

Here's the short story made long, which is something I am talented at to the nth degree.

We attended the Downtown Dining Week Media launch which was held at the Alberta Art Gallery and hosted several different tables from restaurants that are participating in that week. Those tables were bursting with delightful fare that would make its appearance during the Downtown Dining Week. We sampled, we savored and then the party was over.

But oh no, you can't kick us cool kids out of anywhere. Mike, Kevin and I proceeded to head to the Zinc bar and made ourselves comfortable. I will add that we stayed later because Chef Omar wanted us to taste-test his latest creation for the Mac N' Cheese contest. How on earth is anyone supposed to resist that offer?

So we waited at Zinc's lovely bar – which has super comfortable seats I might add- while being thoroughly entertained by Zinc's very talented sommelier Alex, who regaled Kevin with lovely wine talk as I tried to learn something from their conversation. If you want a great time, go plunk yourself at the bar,find Alex and ask him to pick out your wine for you. He is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about wine, which made for an amazing time while waiting for our treat from Chef Omar. Indeed, we stayed on far after we sampled the confection because we were having far too good of a time trying out wines that Alex suggested.

And then the sneak peek appeared as pictured below. The “telling a chef how to cook” part occurred when we were talking about this dish. He simply asked a question or two….and then I forgot who had the many years of  chef's school,experience and runs one of the finest restaurants in town and starting bugging him about how much he worked the dough…asked what he did and how he did it…telling him a few things to try…

…and that's what you get for inviting me places.

That's nothing, just you wait. I'm headed to Zinc on the 9th for lunch during Downtown Dining week and I think I'll just go straight into the kitchen and start telling him what to do. *insert rolling eyes and head shaking at myself*

sneak peek of new dish

On to the food the night of our anniversary!

Mmm tofu. Now those who know me usually know that I have no use for tofu. It annoys me greatly, I don't use it in my cooking, it has no appeal whatsoever and I am just biased against it. One of those things that I just won't get over.

Kudos to the chef for this dish of BBQ smoked tofu, basil and tomato salad.

I forgot I was eating tofu and that takes something. Not only that, I enjoyed it. Immensely. Don't tell anyone.

BBQ smoked tofu, basil and tomato salad in a white plate

I always preview menus before I visit a place and knew that I was going to try this sautéed Foie Gras. It's a wonderous melt-in-your-mouth concoction served on lightly fried brioche topped with salted pear purée . You have to enjoy the texture of Foie Gras however because the ingredients are all the same texture, thus the melt-in-your-mouth sensation. Brioche is buttery and rich, the pear purée a sweet softness and the Foie Gras was the requisite silky richness as well. This bothers Mike -not sure what's wrong with that husband of mine- but I adored this.

The only thing I regret is ordering this by the bite because I didn't get the yogurt fig ice cream with it. Chef Omar's “By the Bite” concept is brilliant, allowing people who have picky husbands to still enjoy a dish like this. However I am gunning to try this with the ice cream next time.

sautéed Foie Gras - appetizer made with foie gras, a grapefruit-Chardonnay sauce and apple purée


Mike has developed a love for scallops due to Edmonton's wonderful chef's. He's not a fan of seafood as a whole but has discovered many dishes that thanks to superior preparation he enjoys.

This scallop dish was a winner for him. I thought we might come to blows having to share the house-made Lagavulin scotch bacon which is bacon perfection, I was completely taken aback at how much I enjoyed it. I took a bite and I think my eyes widened with surprise. That my friends, is how bacon should taste. If you take a peek at the photo below, it's the small block in the lower left hand side, with the pinkish bacon tinge on the front. Included in this dish is potato leek foam, confit tomatoes and pickled Mona mushrooms.

scallop dish with pinkish bacon tinge, potato leek foam, confit tomatoes and pickled Mona mushrooms


My entrée was a beautiful braised veal leg that fell apart as soon as your fork pierced it with brie béchamel macaroni and cheese,grilled green onions, Campania tomatoes, and wild mushrooms. You did see the mac n' cheese in that sentence, correct? Ah the irony, as soon as I saw that listed I knew I was going to try this. Those wild mushrooms tickled me pink. I was just in at Mona mushrooms days before picking up some chanterelles and was shown the beautiful hedgehog and black trumpet mushrooms. I was thrilled to taste the black trumpets that I had just perused over in a local store.

braised veal leg, macaroni and cheese, grilled green onions, Campania tomatoes, and wild mushrooms


Dessert, my favorite course of any meal.

This beauty picture below is Callebeaut chocolate mascarpone  tarte with champagne sorbet topping delicate honey marinated berries. You can just imagine how lovely this was. The champagne sorbet was to die for, the slight tang a perfectly foil to the honeyed berries.

They had me at chocolate, you always do. Rarely can you ever sway me from the chocolate side, but I was actually torn this time, the Almond Crème Brule sounded so amazing that I swayed. Perhaps for lunch next week….

white plate with Callebeaut chocolate mascarpone tarte, champagne sorbet topping and honey marinated berries


So two delightful evenings at Zinc have been wrapped into one post, how efficient is that? I can't wait to go for lunch, the lighting will be so much better for photos and I can do proper justice to the lovely creations that come out of their kitchen.

I hope everyone is enjoying their Thursday, I have my little monsters at home due to teacher's convention, which means this post took me approximately 3.5 times longer to write than it usually would. My house is also messier, louder and I wouldn't have it any other way.


I'm So Awesome I Tell Chefs How To Cook Magpie  (I'm still cringing)

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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