Last fall, I went on my first Red Shoe Crawl, a fundraiser for the Ronald MacDonald house in Edmonton. The event was on 124th street and it was a really fun time. The Red Shoe Crawl is actually a biannual event and this time the crawl was on Whyte Avenue.
So last Sunday, despite some pretty ominous looking clouds, I met up with Allie, Nick and Lauren to crawl our way down Whyte Ave. The crawl started at McIntyre Park where we picked up our passports. Check-in was simple and we headed towards Tutti-Fruitti, our designated first stop.
At Tutti Fruitti we were provided a small, clear plastic cup and told that we could fill it up with yogurt and 2 toppings. I think we were a little spoiled starting here, as this ended up being one of the best offerings all day. It was interesting to see how different each of our creations were. Can you tell which one is mine? Those who know me well should be able to pick mine out pretty easily I think…
Mango yogurt and candy! Classic Robyn. 🙂
Then, we headed next door to the Sabzy Persian Grill and were given a quinoa salad with an almond dressing. Due to my super awesome (not) allergies, I didn’t take a serving of this dish. I had a tiny bite of Allie’s, but not enough to really taste much. It didn’t seem like anyone was overly thrilled with the quinoa salad.
Next, we headed to Marble Slab. Ice Cream is always a good thing in my book, but I was a little apprehensive about the portion they were going to give us. Because clearly if they gave me a huge portion of ice cream, I would have to eat it. Luckily (or maybe not) they gave us each a small scoop of the ice cream of our choice. I chose a scoop of Irish Cream, which tasted, no surprise, like Irish Cream liqueur. We all agreed that the portion was quite appropriate, but we would have liked it if they had offered us each a little sprinkling of one of the mix-ins or sauces. I think that would have showcased their product a little better.
Our next stop was at the Plaid Giraffe. In my past experience with the Red Shoe Crawl, stores usually provide some sort of food or drink, maybe some wine, chocolates, cheese, fruit… something to munch on while you are browsing the store. We walked up to the Plaid Giraffe and were informed that everything was 20% off…. and that’s it. We did an obligatory 30 second lap of the store and made our way on to the next stop. Sorry Plaid Giraffe, but that was a little lame.
Next, we headed over to MKT, or as I like to think of it, the old I-Ho. MKT is actually a huge improvement over I-Ho (despite my “fond” memories, Iron House was kinda gross, like most Edmonton bars I guess) and it was great to see how nice MKT looked in the light of day. This was another one of the best stops during the crawl as MKT gave us a choice of any one of their 60 beers on tap and a Kobe beef slider. I really, really don’t like beer, but Allie suggested I try Frulli, a beer mixed with juice. Yum, that’s my kind of beer! It was actually pretty good!
The Kobe beef slider was also excellent. The beef was so flavourful and juicy. I thought MKT really made the most of their stop on the Crawl, we were all really impressed and thought that MKT was somewhere we would want to go back to.
That’s when we headed outside and it started to downpour. Luckily, we were a couple of blocks away from Nick’s car, so we ran there for cover. We decided we’d stay out of the rain by driving to our next location, Planet Organic. Here, we were given the choice of either an organic chicken and herb hot dog or an all beef hot dog. I chose the chicken. I guess it was just fine, but I really wasn’t in much of a hot dog mood. We wandered around the store for a bit and then headed to the next stop, Crave Cupcakes.
I was really looking forward to trying a cupcake from Crave, but we actually didn’t get a cupcake there, instead we got a cookie. There were a couple of different cookie options and we all ended up choosing the oatmeal toffee cookie. The cookie itself was pretty good, although I found it a little overly sweet and didn’t end up finishing it. Truthfully, I like my own oatmeal cookies a lot better and I would have preferred to have tried a cupcake.
Next, we hit up the Keg where I was crossing my fingers for some steak or prime rib. Alas, instead we were given a sample of some the appetizers on the menu; Sante Fe Chicken Dip and Mini Hot Dogs. Maybe it was because I had been hoping for steak, but I found the food to just be pretty mediocre. Or maybe it was because I had already reached my hot dog limit. Either way, the food was fine, I guess, but it certainly didn’t give me the itch to go to the Keg again any time soon, which is too bad, because sometimes a good steak dinner from the Keg really just hits the spot.
By then, the rain had finally let up and we made our way to Chianti’s. At Chianti’s they seated us in the restaurant and we were told we could pick almost any appetizer off the menu. We decided to each choose something different off the menu and share. We had prawns, mussels, calamari and zucchini. Everyone’s favourite dishes seemed to be the fried zucchini and prawns. The wonderful garlic butter, wine sauce that the prawns had been cooked in was to die for; it was the type of sauce that tastes best mopped up by some really good white bread. The mussels were the biggest disappointment, contrary to the prawns, the sauce on the mussels was a little strange. It just seemed like they had put some thick tomato sauce on the mussels, which was a little weird, as in my experience, mussels are usually served with more of a broth.
Although it was nice to get to choose something off the menu at Chianti’s, the consensus was that it was a little time time consuming to have to sit down and order, rather than there being a sample ready to go.
Next up, we headed over to Yianni’s where there was no sign of life. The door was locked and there was no sign mentioning that they had run out of food or anything. I still don’t really know what happened there, but it was a little disappointing as we were all looking forward to the food. It all seemed a little strange to me.
After Yanni’s we had a couple of shopping stops. First was Ten Thousand Villages, where we were given some coffee and chocolate to snack on while purusing the store. Then at the Tin Box we were given some carrots and dip, seasoned peanuts and pretzels to munch on while we looked around. I was really impressed with both stores and noticed a few different items that I liked at each store. The last shopping stop was the Eye Care Group, where we were given a bit of wine to sip on while looking at all of the different frames.
We continued down Whyte Ave and stopped at Second Cup where we were given a sample of a Chillatte, Second Cup’s frozen coffee beverage. It was just fine, but I actually think that I liked McDonald’s frappe iced coffee drink better. (I know crazy, right?)
At Bubbles Car Wash we were given our choice of a small can of different Coca Cola products. Super random, but a Coke Zero always tastes good.
At the Food Fighter food truck they were serving up an assortment of bruschettas. I chose the bruschetta that was topped with fig butter, panchetta, arugala and parmesan. The flavour combination wasn’t bad, I just found the dish itself seemed a little dry. It kind of seemed like the bread was a little dried out from sitting out, rather than having a nice toasty crunch.
Next up we went to Cha Island where we were provided a small tea sample. It was good, but truthfully, not that memorable for me.
And lastly, we ended up at Naanolicious where we were each given an island drink and a dessert naan; naan bread with butter and cinnamon-sugar. The naan was really good; warm, chewy, buttery and sugary, the perfect way to end the crawl.
Overall, although I had a really good time on this Red Show Crawl, I don’t think I enjoyed the stops on this crawl quite as much as I liked the stops on the 124th Street crawl. Maybe it’s because 124th Street seems to have a few more interesting restaurants these days or maybe it was because of the rain. Weather can really make or break an event.
One thing that I thought was quite interesting was how differently each business treated their stop on the crawl. I think events like this are such wonderful opportunities for businesses to show themselves off, so I was a little surprised by some of the offerings or in fact, lack there of. I was most impressed with Tutti Frutti, MKT and Famoso (who ended up having to pull out, so provided each crawler with a $10 gift card), but at the end of the day, the real winner is Ronald McDonald House, who, I’ve heard, ended up raising over $15,000 from the event!