Last week the Red Ox Inn hosted the third installment of Taste Alberta’s new Prairie on a Plate dining series. Red Ox Inn, an intimate restaurant owned by Frank & Andrea Olsen and located in mature Strathearn neighbourhood, has been a long-time supporter of local farms and featuring the best of Alberta on their seasonal menus.
For the event, chef Sean O’Connor created a four-course menu for $60, with an optional wine pairing for $30. The event was limited to one seating and just 30 of us had the opportunity to taste his Prairie on a Plate menu.
The first dish of the evening featured Erdmann’s Gardens zucchini fritters served with a green goddess aioli. Chef O’Connor recently received some CO-OP Gold Pure extra virgin cold-pressed canola oil from Simone with Alberta Canola Producers Commission, which he paired with Reclaim Urban Farm herbs for his made-in-Alberta aioli.
For our second course Chef O’Connor married confit of Irvings Farms pork howl with soft polenta using corn from Erdmann’s Gardens. The beautifully plated dish was garnished with pickled onions and a salsa verde (that again featured the cold-pressed Alberta canola oil and Reclaim Urban Farms herbs).
The main course featured Four Whistle Farm fried beef brisket plated with salt roasted Erdmann’s beets along with Reclaim Urban Farms black kale and horseradish crème.
Chef O’Connor explained that the salt beef was lightly cured, like pastrami, but then braised and pan fried for a fork-tender finish.
Chef O’Connor used sour cherries from his wife’s grandparents home to create sour cherry donuts that disappeared from almost instantly after landing on the table.
The only complaint I heard at the table from my friends was that they wished there was more donuts for dessert – clearly the sour cherry donut was a hit.
I was jealous of the donuts, but thankfully Chef O’Connor took care of this gluten-free girl and I received a personalized serving of sorbet, strawberries and Chantilly cream for dessert.
A huge thanks to owners Frank and Andrea, chef O’Connor, and the team at Red Ox Inn for hosting Taste Alberta’s Prairie on a Plate. I’m not so secretly crossing my fingers that their sister restaurant Canteen will be a future location for another taste of Alberta dining adventure.