This weekend we celebrated my husband’s 50th birthday. I wanted to do something fun and unique, out-of-town but not too far away, worthwhile but not crazy expensive. So of course I called my creative genius pal Carla Howatt Nault for help. Carla is one-half of Cravings. She and co-owner Monique MacDonald offer culinary adventures in Sherwood Park. Of course, Carla knew that by “help” I meant “take care of everything and I’ll turn up with a cheque”, which she pulled off in spades. Sherwood Park (and Carla) definitely held a few surprises for us on Saturday night!

The evening began with a scotch-tasting adventure at Oscar’s Pub. This place is a traditional Scottish Pub (to our delight, the owner, Trish, came over to regale us in her genuine Scottish brogue with stories of confusing wine with scotch back in the homeland) with reportedly the best selection of scotch in the Greater Edmonton Area. They have, in the menu, info on the various scotch’s histories and so forth, which is a cool point of interest.

photo (6)Our samples

Trish and Carla conferred in advance and chose four diverse scotches for our sampling pleasure. I’m not a scotch drinker by any means, but I admit that by the end of this process I agreed to withdraw my generalized label of scotch as “boat gas”. There is indeed, it turns out, a wealth of notes and flavours to be discovered within a single taste of a good scotch. I believe the end vote was in favour of #1 (Oban) and #4 (MacAllan). Burnt my lip on the most tasty but very hot deep-fried dill pickles but thankfully the alcohol provided immediate sterilization.

Theo could have spent the whole evening in that pub, and I’m sure we’ll go back another time. They were very hospitable. But more adventures awaited, so off we went to the next stop, New Asian Village.

One of four, I believe the Sherwood Park location is the newest. Again, Carla had pre-ordered everything and all we had to do was sit back and enjoy.

Chana Massala
Chana Massala

The decor in this restaurant is stunning. There is an estimated $40,000 worth of drapery in this gorgeous place. I felt like I was on a luxury train in Southern Asia. The naan bread was out of this world, too! The staff was all very attentive and made us feel like particularly honoured guests. Our dinner was paired with Kingfisher beer. We’ve been told beer and Indian food are great together and though I’m not a beer drinker either I did find them terrific companions.

The evening progressed with more delights in store. After dinner we drove to a little strip mall where we came upon a deceivingly unassuming place called Cafe de Ville. What a surprise! This place was packed; obviously one of the most popular spots in town, and with good reason. I liked the feeling evoked by the art deco decor and I could tell the other patrons were taking their time, enjoying great conversation over sumptuous entrees and desserts. Renowned Chef Paul Campbell has made this great little place into a definite “go to”. I can’t wait to go back to Sherwood Park for dinner at this great place.

We sipped some delicious ice wine (now we’re talkin’ my style) and went straight to heaven with the first bite of the chocolate pate. Our friend was even able to enjoy a gluten-free chocolate molten cake.

Chocolate Pate
Chocolate Pate

Well! Just when we thought there couldn’t possibly be more to this spectacular evening, Carla pulled out the final surprise. Off we went to Overtime for Dueling Pianos. It was great; they sang the songs we requested and acknowledged Theo’s birthday. Carla’s business partner Monique and her hubby joined us for a fun end to a phenomenal evening. The sure sign that we were having a great time was that we managed to stay out until well after midnight (we’re old, remember)!

I can’t say enough about what a fantastic evening Carla put on for us, how surprised and delighted I was to discover all of the terrific dining out and entertainment spots Sherwood Park has to offer, and how grateful I am to Carla for her effort on our behalf. I highly recommend Cravings adventures to everyone in the Edmonton area.

Happy Birthday, Honey! Hope you had a marvelous time.

Birthday Ballons