One random Tuesday, in need of some well deserved quality time with one of my closest friends, I headed to Red Star Pub, located in Edmonton’s downtown (just steps below street level of Jasper Avenue), to savour some of her favourite Edmonton treats before her impending Westward departure.
Struttin’ to the sounds from the live DJ, I was excited to finally dine off the not-so-standard Italian influenced pup-fare menu, but first! I had to pick a beer from their extensive 60+ selection of domestic and import brews. A sucker for all things fruity, I went with the Belgian Früli Strawberry – always the perfect choice on a warm summer evening.
Daniel Costa’s One Man Show
Our appetizer, roasted tomato crostini (aka delicious bruschetta topped with oven roasted tomato, a mint leave and fresh-from-the-Italian-centre mozzarella cheese), arrived in short order from the one-man kitchen run by Chef Daniel Costa. Keeping in line with the Italian creations inspired by fresh local produce, Daniel Costa pleased both my friend and I with the ricotta pasta and the daily special, a pesto pasta dish with fresh peas (check out the recipe for the Spring Pea Crostini with Roasted Pine Nuts below!).
A Little Jamaican Jerk Spice in the Heart of Downtown
I often say Jamaica is where my heart is, so it’s no surprise that Red Star’s monthly Reggae party (the first Wednesday each month) always draws me in.
The dark wood decor paired with a blend of natural and candle-light makes feasting on homemade jerk chicken and cornbread (for only $12), sipping red stripe, and jammin’ to some Bob Marley one of my favourite wicked-spicy indulgences.
You Won’t Leave Empty Handed
Tucked in with the bill at Red Star I scored some take-home recipe cards for a couple of Chef Daniel Costa’s creations. Now I’m not a very good cook, but it never hurts to have some delicious recipes on hand – should someone feel inclined to cook for me.
Red Star Pub’s spread ranges in cost from $5 to $18; it is open for business Tuesdays to Thursdays 5pm to 2am, Fridays 4pm to 2am and Saturdays 7pm to 2am.
Spring Pea Crostini with Roasted Pine Nuts
1 Baguette, sliced into ¼” slices
2 ½ cups Green Peas, frozen or fresh (if frozen thaw out, if fresh blanch in salted boiling water for 1 minute and place in ice water to stop cooking process, drain well)
2 cloves Garlic
A few Mint and basil leaves
50 g soft goat cheese, room temperature
5 tablespoons grated Pecorino or Parmigiano Cheese
5 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
½ cup Pine Nuts, roasted in a 375° oven until golden, about 8 minutes, toss every few minutes to avoid burning
Kosher salt and black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450°
2. Using a mortar and pestle (or food processor): place garlic, mint, basil, 2 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt in your mortar. Crush the ingredients until a rough paste forms. Add 1 cup of green peas, continue to crush for 30 seconds. Add the goat cheese, pecorino, another pinch of salt and lemon juice. Crush until incorporated, add remaining peas. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.
3. Toast your sliced bread until golden, remove from oven. Cut piece of garlic in half, rub the inside of garlic on the bread. Spoon your desired amount of green pea mix on the toasted bread, top with roasted pine nuts, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a crack of black pepper.
Wine & beer suggestions
Prosecco, Rustico, Nino Franco
Falanghian, Feudi di San Gregorio 2008
Duchy Originals Organic Ale (Brittain)