Downtown Red Deer EATS!

I was approached a few months ago by Downtown Red Deer Business Association to do a campaign to help promote the Downtown Red Deer Restaurant scene. You can read a bit more about the promotion here. YYCfoodjunkie, a Calgary food blogger, was also doing a similar promotion to entice Calgarians to pay a visit to Red Deer! I was really excited to participate in this; Red Deer holds a close place to my heart. As some of you might know, I was born in Red Deer, and moved to Edmonton for school. My family still lives in Red Deer, so I do go back often (or at least I used to, I can’t remember the last time I visited now…). Unfortunately, the promotion was delayed a couple times due to restaurants being shut down, and I was ultimately unable to get time off work for when the promotion was launching. That being said, Lequyen, my sister, was more than willing to help. She is a local business owner in Red Deer, and lived in Edmonton for almost 10 years, and really wanted to encourage all of her Edmonton friends to pay a visit to Red Deer to help support the local restaurant scene. So, without further ado, I’ll let my sister take over this post!

This post was sponsored by Downtown Red Deer Business Association

The 6 restaurants participating are: (Click to Jump)
Taco Loft
The Velvet Olive
Original Joe’s
Famoso Pizzeria
La Casa Pergola
Tribe

Taco Loft

Taco Loft was the first place that I checked out! I used to go for Tacos once a week before the restaurants had to close. When they re-opened, I was really eager to go so that I could support the restaurant. The interior of the restaurant is cute, with several art pieces by local artists on display. They are available for purchase, and really goes with the theme of the restaurant! The tacos here really remind me of the tacos I used to eat from Tres Carnales.

To start, we had the raspberry rhubarb and the Hibiscus margaritas! Both were super light and refreshing. One of my favourite places in Red Deer for Margaritas! I like how they have unique flavours to choose from. For food, I had the Daily-made, fresh guacamole and the trio of salsa with chips. Very delicious! The guacamole was really fresh and limey, which I really enjoyed. It comes with some of their house-made hot sauce for some added kick! It’s available for purchase as well so you can have a taste of Taco Loft at home! Speaking of which, during this time, they’ve really adapted and made some DIY taco kits and enchilada kits so you can enjoy their delicious food at home!

The tacos we tried were the smoked brisket, the tequila lime fish, the blackened pescado, and the Al Pastor. All of them were amazing! The smoked brisket comes with their 14 hour smoked beef brisket, tossed in a chocolate saskatoon mole. So much umami! The Tequila Lime Fish was very bright and acidic. It was a light taco to eat and I could have eaten so many of these before getting too full. The blackened pescado is blackened white fish with their house unique spice blend. Finally, the Al Pastor was perfectly tender, served with caramelized pineapple. and was melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Absolutely recommend checking this place out if you’re ever in the Red Deer area!

The Velvet Olive

Breakfast! Arguably the meal with the best kind of food. The Velvet Olive offers breakfast foods all day long! So you can enjoy amazing food as early as noon, and late into the evening. They! I, like many other of my generation LOVES brunch! What’s not to love? Breakfast foods available late into the afternoon? Combined with the best that lunch food has to offer, it’s the best of both worlds! They used to have live music, and entertainment, which I used to frequent, but unfortunately, due to Covid, they have since stopped. Luckily, they still offer their amazing food to patrons.

For food, I had the eggs benedict waffles. Fresh waffle, topped with a perfectly poached egg, hollandaise, smoked salmon, red onion, served with fresh dill and pickled radishes. This dish has everything! from a perfectly runny yolk, delicious salmon, and fresh ingredients to top it off. A very light option, and a waffle is the perfect vessel to deliver all the ingredients.

Original Joe’s

Original Joe’s is a restaurant part of a group that originally started out in Calgary. After success, they’ve managed to branch out and now have locations across Western Canada. In terms of franchises, this one is still fairly small and local. I am a local business myself. The name of my store is Herc’s Nutrition, and it is a supplement chain that’s found now across Canada! That being said, I am local, all of the staff I have is local, and it’s important to me to support these types of businesses as well, so I’m glad they are participating in this campaign!

For food, I got the bruchetta, which is baked mozza and parmesan garlic crostina, served with their housemade bruschetta. So cheesy and delicious! For mains, we had the kona – which is OJs classic burger topped with grilled pineapple, bacon, mozza, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo. Our other main was the Pacific Rim noodle bowl, which comes with shrimp, rice noodles, fresh veg, spiced chicken stock, chili, and garlic oil. The burger was massive and came with a lot of greens! Super filling and delicious! The noodle to me felt to be a relatively healthy option, and similar to foods that I would make at home. Overall, it was an excellent meal! Their menus are always getting updated with current trends and foods, so definitely check them out! Calgary or Edmonton!

Famoso Pizzeria

Famoso is now another group of restaurants that is found across Canada, but they originally started out in Edmonton! Their first and flagship location is actually the Jasper avenue location, which was very close to me! I lived in Edmonton for almost 10 years, and I’d often go to Famoso when I was looking for some good eats that I knew that I would enjoy. They’ve only recently come to Red Deer, and when they did, I was so excited! My mom doesn’t eat out often, especially in Edmonton or Calgary, so when Famoso came to Red Deer, I was excited for my mom to try it! Growing up, we’d occasionally order pizza when my mom didn’t feel like cooking, and now, Famoso is one of my mom’s favourite pizza places! She really likes the style of crust!

For food, we got the cauliflower artichoke dip and the prawn rose to start. Great appetizers! Cauliflower has become increasingly popular in restaurants and in home cooking as a super vegetable that you can use to substitute for a number of ingredients for a healthier alternative! I mean it’s still a cheese dip, but it makes me feel much healthier! The prawns were perfectly cooked and went great with the garlic flat bread.

For pizzas, we got the marguerita, the abruzzo, triple double peperoni, and pepperoni and roasted mushrooms. Classic Neapolitan crust, with great toppings. Each pizza was really good and flavourful! We ordered extra to bring home and it reheated really nicely in the oven (or airfryer!)

La Casa Pergola

La Casa Pergola is self-described as an Italian-inspired restaurant. They have a large space and a few spaces that are available for booking for larger events/parties. From the decor, space, and ambience, it really is like transporting to small Italian restaurant. This place is a little bit special to me, because it’s one of the first places that I ate with my fiancée, Ricky.

To start off, we had their Lobster Fries! This was shoestring fries topped with langostino cheese sauce, topped with diced tomatoes, green onions, and a generous portion of lobster. Really delicious and a delicious way to eat lobster!

For mains, we had the ravioli tartufo, which is roasted mushroom ravioli in a brandy trugffle cream sauce. The ravioli was cooked perfectly al dente and had a very nice chew! The sauce was very decadent and tons of meaty-hearty flavour from the mushrooms. A great dish, and one I would order again.

The Alberta tenderloin was cooked perfectly inside! We added the truffle mushroom sauce and the lobster risotto. The mushroom sauce goes perfectly well with the tenderloin, and the risotto is a great side to really bring the meal together.

Lastly, we had the strawberry cheesecake. It was plated beautifully and served with chocolate strands which really added texture to the dish. La Casa Pergola is a great restaurant for special occasions, or even for casual dining. They have large space and do private bookings for special occasions as well! Stop by if you’re ever in the city!

Tribe

Last spot for my Downtown Red Deer Eats series! TRIBE is located right in the heart of downtown. They are a lounge and used to have a lot live music, but again, due to Covid, had to pivot. It’s really important to me to support these restaurants during this time. My business was deemed essential, and though traffic was severely compromised, I was able to remain open, while following recommended health measure.

Tribe is all about the social experience, and tries to create an atmosphere to encourage people to have fun with the group that they’re with. Right down to the custom curved tables, everything was carefully thought out! These tables allows for people on the opposite side to interact with each other. The bar space is very beautiful and open, inviting guests to order cocktails.

For food, they have a variety of food from small plates, large plates, casual dishes, and pizza. I was winding down from a week of eating, so I opted to get a couple of pizzas to share and the steamed mussels.

The pizzas that we got were the fungi and fromage, which is cremini and portobello mushrooms with smoked gouda and asiago cheese. Very tasty! the crust is nice and thin and more on the firm side so it really held all the ingredients well. The other pizza we got was the snappy dresser, which is italian sausage, green pepper, mushroom, onion, mozzarella, tomato basil sauce. Both very delicious!

We also got one larger main to share, the shared mussels. This is one pound of steamed mussels, served in a spicy white whine sauce, on top of wilted spinach, served with housemade rustic bread. The sauce was very delicious and had a nice kick to it! It went really well with their bread, and was the perfect entree item for me.

Fini

Overall, I had a great time working on this campaign. Red Deer has a really soft spot in my heart. I’ve lived in Edmonton for over 10 years, and now in Red Deer for a cumulation of almost 30 years. There are lots of neat and unique restaurants that are special to Red Deer and I think everyone would be able to enjoy the food scene here! We have tons to offer here (more than just the Donut Mill!). I hope this post highlights some of the great restaurants and dishes that Red Deer has to offer and entices you to come check it out! I am a local business owner in Red Deer as well, and supporting the community is very important to me! Hope you’ve all enjoyed. Check out our instagram for a couple of Giveaways to these businesses!

-Lequyen

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