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Stages Kitchen – Big Business Supporting Local

Recently, a group of local bloggers and media were invited to a tasting event put on by the brand new “Stages Kitchen and Bar” which is being run by the Silver Birch Hotels Management Group.  This is the former “Mayfield Hotel”.   The Mayfield Dinner Theatre has been an Edmonton staple since 1975 and thankfully will remain the “Mayfield Dinner Theatre”.  Stages of course was named and themed to be a partner to the already established dinner theatre.

Silver Birch has done a BEAUTIFUL job of renovating the aging building.  They tried to use natural light wherever possible and modern conveniences are everywhere.

DoubleTree Conference Room

One of the beautiful conference rooms with natural lighting.

Edmonton is the first place in Canada to have “Home2”.  The Silver Birch family wants to provide their patrons with a second home.  The hotel units will each have their own kitchen and all the comforts of home.  From what I understand they are not finished building the new portion of the hotel yet.  This would be where the Trade Centre once stood.

Our first stop on our journey was the “Connections Cafe”.  This is a great new concept for business meetings and conferences.  Rather than having a specific meal served during your day, they have a “mini buffet”  centre set up just outside the conference room, where you can duck out anytime you are feeling peckish.  There are many different options available so that any appetite can be sated.  They have a low calorie zone as well as gluten free and vegetarian options.

DoubleTree Connections Cafe

Part of the spread at the Connections Cafe

DoubleTree Connections Cafe

Low Calorie and Gluten Free Zone

While we were waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive, we were able to sample a couple of the appetizers available on the Stages menu.

Stages Kitchen Appetizers

Crab Cake, Angus Beef Carpaccio and Pave Truffled Potato Cube.

Out of these three, the Angus Beef Carpaccio was my favourite; Shaved Parmesan, Rocket Greens, Organic Flax Seed Oil.  The beef was beautifully cured and moist.  Very nice.

To accompany our appetizers, we were offered a brand new martini creation and were asked to submit names for it.  This is a Victoria Gin Martini with mulled mint and saskatoons, garnished with Rosemary.  A very refreshing floral bouquet.   Victoria Gin may be my new favourite.  Made in small, numbered batches in BC.  The aroma of the gin by itself was heavenly.  The name?  “The Valley Affair” by Edmonton Blogger Little Miss Andrea.

Stages Victoria Gin Martini

On our way back from the conference area this wall caught my attention:

DoubleTree by Hilton

The “Edmonton” wall.

People were asked to use a word or phrase to describe Edmonton.  This artistic wall is the result.

Our last stop for the evening was Stages Kitchen and Bar.  They have seating to make anyone feel comfortable.  They have casual lounge seating all the way up to intimate dining.

Stages Kitchen

The hotel does have a buffet area as well.  I hear that they serve a mean brunch on the weekends.

DoubleTree Buffet

We were seated in the lounge at the high tables.  I am really short so this would not be my first choice – but at least they were comfortable.  I got to have the very lovely company and conversation of Graham Hicks at my table.  I was also able to finally meet the lovely Jessica Rogers from the Mayfield Dinner Theatre, it was nice to finally be able to put a face to a name. The evening was off to a very pleasant start.

Chef Willie White is formerly from the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald and the River House in St. Albert.  Stages was ecstatic at the opportunity to work with a Chef of this caliber.  Chef White has a warm and inviting personality which seems to be a great match for the Stages Kitchen environment.

Stages is a wonderful concept where big business supports local.  Many of the items on the menu are specially sourced from local and Western Canadian vendors. Stages celebrates the “Farm to Table” philosophy and uses the best ingredients available.

Our hosts really put a lot of thought into the tasting event.  Each food item was paired with an alcoholic beverage.  There were some great BC wines that we were able to try.   Chef White would come around to each table and introduce the food item and right behind him the drink pairing would be explained.

Our first taste was of the thin crust pizzas; Sun Works Organic Chicken Pepperoni & Mushroom, Jerk Shrimp & Pineapple, Bocconcini & Smokin’ Elk Ranch Sausage.  These were paired with a Yellowhead Lager and an Alley Kat Brewery “Aprikat”.  Both breweries are on tap at Stages.  The Bocconcini and Elk Sausage was my favourite of the three pizzas. The crusts were thin and crispy.  The Arpikat always pairs nicely with pizza as it is light and fruity.

Next up was the Tuna Tataki (Wonton Crisps, Sesame Oil, Crème Fraiche) and the Elk and Bison Bangers (Selection of Local Sausages, Organic Greens, Balsamic and Olive Oil). These were paired with some lovely BC wines.

Stages Kitchen and Bar

Tuna Tataki with Elk and Bison Bangers

The tuna is lightly seared on the outside.  This dish was quite light and tasty.  The bangers are usually five pieces of sausage, each served pierced on its own fork.  The sausages are from local farms.  Very flavourful.  I really like wild meat, so I did not find the flavour at all gamey.  Unfortunately I could not scribble down the wine quickly enough, but they were very good choices for each of the food items.

My newly minted dinner companion is a vegetarian so Chef Willie White made sure that she was able to indulge with the rest of us with the Grilled Portobello Mushroom.

Stages Kitchen and Bar

Grilled, Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

Our next three bites were the Pan Seared Arctic Char (Tomato, Ginger & Fennel Chutney), the Seared Prairie Chicken Breast (field mushroom sauce) and the Local Alberta Bison Ranch Meatloaf (Caramelized Onion & Rickards Red Beer Sauce).

Stages Kitchen and Bar

As you can see above, beautiful presentation.  The vegetables were cooked to perfection and full of flavour.  The Char was cooked perfectly, not too mushy.  The chicken was nice and tender.  The Bison meatloaf was perfect with the Rickard’s Red gravy.

Last, but certainly not least, we have the dessert line up.

Stages Kitchen and Bar

From left to right; Dark Chocolate Molten Cake with Salted Chocolate Earth and Cappuccino Ice Cream. Creme Brulee. Vanilla Bourbon Cheesecake  served with Wild Berry Compote.

This is me telling you that I couldn’t pick a favourite dessert!  They were are heavenly.  The cheesecake was light, fluffy and absolutely divine. The flavour combinations were spot on with all three choices.

What a wonderful evening!  Chef White and all of the staff from Stages spoiled us rotten.

So when you are passionate about supporting local businesses and you would like to enjoy a great meal in a warm and inviting environment, then look no further than Chef Willie White and his team at Stages Kitchen and Bar.

Local vendors include:

Alley Kat Brewery – Edmonton

Yellowhead Brewery – Edmonton

Victoria Spirits – Victoria

Sylvan Star Cheese – Red Deer

Sunny View Farms – Tofield

Smokin’ Elk Ranch – Morinville

Alberta Bison Ranch – Mayerthorpe

Sunworks Farm – Edmonton

Mo-Na Food – Edmonton

Mighty Trio Organic Oils – Redwater

So yes, this was a media tasting event.  I am in no way obligated to blog about any event that I attend.  Stages has left a great impression and level of service.  I will be back for to support local again and again!

#YellowheadBrewery #AlbertaBisonRanch #Elk #SupportLocal #StagesKitchenandBar #AlleyKatBeer #ChefWillieWhite #SmokinElkFarms #Bison

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