Recap: Swine and Dine at Dogwood Cafe
Chef Stuart Whyte helped give Swine & Dine Edmonton a Latin infusion. On Wednesday, February 8, 2016, the founder of Original Redhead Condiments served up a five-course Mexican inspired menu featuring Alberta Pork from appetizer to dessert at the Dogwood Cafe in the Victoria Golfcourse.
Before the dinner started I popped into the kitchen to say hello to chef Whyte; the busy chef told me that he felt that he had just enough food to serve to the 50 guests registered to Swine & Dine with him. Boy was that an understatement.
Dogwood Cafe utilizes the Victoria Golf Course in Edmonton’s river valley as a space to serve Nordic brunch as well as dinner on Thursday to Sunday evenings. For Swine & Dine, the fireplace was lit and the room was set with round tables of six. We were promptly served platters of pork rinds, or piggy puffs as I prefer to call them, to top with an assortment of pickled veggies, sour cream, and Original Redhead Condiment hot sauces on each table.
The Dogwood Cafe crew helped officially kick off Swine & Dine by passing out a complimentary shot of Jose Cuervo Reserva tequila. Once all were seated, chef Whyte provided an explanation of our upcoming courses.
For our first course, chef Whyte chose to feature an alternative cut of pork for his Pork Lengua Tostadas.
The crunchy tostadas were topped with cojita cheese, jalapeño leek sauce, and featured brined Bear and The Flower pork tongue. Next up were Braised Pork Tamales – a handmade labour of love by chef Whyte.
Bear and The Flower slow braised pork shoulder and hock, salsa roja, and queso fresco were sealed alongside masa dough and steamed inside corn husk parcels. In case that wasn’t enough pork, chef Whyte plated the dish alongside additional slow braised pork.
After using the pork rinds to taste all of the salsas, finishing two tostadas, and topping my pork stuffed tamale with more pork, I was stuffed. However, chef Whyte still had his main course to come. The star of the next course for me was the Bear and The Flower Agave Pork Belly.
Plates of grilled smoked cactus, the agave pork belly, and pork stuffed enchiladas were all served family style along with house-made tater tots and salsa verde.
Chef Whyte explained how he tolled over another time consuming dish – the bacon bit stuffed tater tots. The photo of these adult tots, or croquetas as they appear on the Dogwood Cafe at Riverside brunch menu, does not do the dish justice. I had one friend in attendance sheepishly confess, they were his favourite bite of the night.
While I loved the sticky sweet flavoured agave pork belly, I also made room to indulge in the enchiladas. Topped with copious amounts of cheese and crunchy pieces of kale, the pork-stuffed enchiladas were filling enough to be a main course just on its own.
By the time the family-style dishes were cleaned up I was ready to burst. Thankfully chef Whyte kept things light with a take on a Oreo cookie – the Ibarra chocolate wafers were filled with a vanilla-lard icing. Simple looking yet effective – I watched as one friend collected a few extras that were on the plate and put them in her purse to take home.
The only complaint I heard at the end of the night was that it was too much food, that it was too good to stop eating, and that people were just plain stuffed. In addition to the bounty we enjoyed at Dogwood Cafe, each Swine & Diners went home with a bottle of chef Whyte’s Original Redhead Condiments – salsa verde or salsa roja.
Swine & Dine- Mexican edition – at Dogwood Cafe was a huge success. I’d like to extend a heart-filled thank you to chef Stu Whyte for taking on the Swine & Dine challenge and sharing his passion for pork with all of those who attended.
Thank you to Brad & Cindy Lazarenko of the Culina Family for hosting Swine & Dine at Dogwood Cafe, and thank you to all the kitchen and service staff for a great night at the Victoria Golf Course.
Take advantage of a unique dining opportunity in Edmonton’s river valley. There is still time to try out chef Whyte’s Sunday brunch at Dogwood Cafe Riverside, as well as the nordic brunch or dinner at Dogwood Cafe Victoria, but only until the start of golf season.
Dogwood Brunch at Victoria 9-3pm Saturday and Sunday
Dogwood Brunch at Riverside 9-3pm Sunday ONLY
Dogwood Supper at Victoria Thursday to Sunday 4-9pm
Visit www.originalredhead.ca for more information on chef Whyte’s condiments and where you can pick up a bottle of his salsa.