The Pulse: Oct. 25, 2022

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  • 7°C: Mainly cloudy. 60% chance of flurries early in the morning then 60% chance of rain showers or flurries late in the morning. Clearing in the afternoon. Risk of freezing rain early in the morning. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 7. Wind chill minus 6 in the morning. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • Turquoise: The High Level Bridge will be lit turquoise for Dysautonomia Awareness Month. (details)
  • 6-3: The Edmonton Oilers (3-3-0) defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins. (details)

An overhead shot of soup and a rice dish from Kazoku Ramen

Food Faves We Crave offers alternative to usual 'best of' rankings

By Brett McKay

Prolific food bloggers Linda Hoang and Sharon Yeo have been exploring the city's restaurants and dishing out recommendations for years. Now the pair have compiled their top choices in the Edmonton Food Faves We Crave list as a way to openly share the advice they frequently find themselves giving to indecisive Edmontonians.

"We both field a lot of questions from Edmontonians who want to know where to find good food," Hoang told Taproot. "It really was more just born out of the fact that, instead of answering the questions and thinking about it every single time someone asks, we can give them this neat little directory or list that they can make their way through instead."

The list is not meant to be exhaustive, Hoang said, but the 15 categories do capture a diverse selection of food as well as types of restaurants and businesses. Lists like this don't always include mom-and-pop shops or places in Chinatown or hole-in-the-wall gems, she said.

"Those are places that we visit quite a bit, and those are places that I think a lot of Edmontonians love to frequent, too," Hoang said.

Hoang and Yeo made no claims of objectivity in their evaluations, which is part of the reason they chose to call it a list of faves rather than presenting their picks as a numbered ranking of top restaurants. Dropping the pretense of being critical judges also gave them the freedom to include trickier categories such as "Favourite Place to Take a Tourist" and to consider the harder-to-quantify elements that shape their opinions.

"I feel like this is not a scientific term, but just a really good overall vibe," Hoang said of what makes a good place to take someone from outside Edmonton. "We factor all of that in. So the food has to be really good, the service has to be great, but just the feeling, the vibe, the atmosphere when you're there, it's a place that you want to show off."

To celebrate the Food Faves We Crave launch, the list is available to download as a "passport" that people can check off and share online as they go for a chance to win prizes from the featured restaurants. The passport is a way to make the list more fun and lasting, Hoang explained, and reflects one of the reasons she and Yeo continue to write, blog, and post about local food culture.

"When we are trying different food and restaurants and when we are posting about it, one of the big reasons we're doing it is because we're also trying to support that small business owner," said Hoang. "So if the passport spurs a bit more takeout, a bit more dining, a bit more business for that restaurant, then we'll be happy with it."

So far there is no grand prize for the adventurous foodie who manages to black out the food passport before Nov. 16, but Hoang said they might have to put something together if someone pulls it off.

Photo: Kazoku Ramen is the shared pick for Favourite Date Night on a food favourites list compiled by Sharon Yeo and Linda Hoang. Yeo is a longtime contributor to Taproot and is married to co-founder Mack Male. Hoang has also written for Taproot.


Headlines: Oct. 25, 2022

By Kevin Holowack

  • Applications are now open for the city's Chinatown Recovery Fund, with a total of $1 million in grants available to projects that align with the Chinatown Strategy. The fund was announced earlier this year as part of the city's broader Downtown Core and Transit System Safety Plan.
  • Coun. Jo-Anne Wright plans to request bylaw amendments that would once again allow shisha lounges, which have been banned since July 2020. Wright said she's been approached by the industry and believes they've made strides in improving HVAC systems and separation of consumption areas. She noted shisha is an important gathering activity for many Arab, African, and South Asian communities. About 45 shisha lounges operated in Edmonton before the ban.
  • Bloomberg reports that Flair Airlines is negotiating a merger with New Vista Acquisition Corp., an American special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) backed by Dennis Muilenburg, a former Boeing CEO who was ousted in 2019 after two fatal 737 accidents. The merger would allow Flair to become a publicly traded company.
  • Wayne Oakes — who took up bird photography when he retired after 33 years with the RCMP — is easy to recognize in Edmonton's river valley because of the camouflage uniform he wears while photographing birds. Oakes has reached minor celebrity status for spending hours a day on the trail, helping others take photos and identify species. "Probably not many people around can say that they've invested 10,000 hours in one location and documenting every aspect of nature they can get their eyes on," said Oakes.
  • Premier Danielle Smith's new and expanded cabinet was sworn in at Government House on Oct. 24. Smith defended her choice to appoint 27 ministers — an increase from Jason Kenney's initial appointment of 23 and Rachel Notley's 12 — and said the ministries will be "really important economic drivers." She eliminated the portfolios of housing, status of women, and labour.
  • Alberta's major public unions — which together represent 122,000 frontline healthcare staff — are insisting on a meeting with Premier Danielle Smith to "develop a plan to deal with the crisis in health care." The group says a staff shortage has thrown the system into chaos. "We're seeing lower and lower staffing levels where the workloads continue to increase," said Raj Uppal of CUPE Local 41, which represents workers at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre and the Grey Nuns Community Hospital. "We need a provincial staffing strategy."
Fly and Fetch founders: CFO Victoria Celi Jaramillo, CTO Shane Brass, and CEO Shelvie Fernan

Accelerators help startups through the 'relay race'

By Karen Unland

A little more than a year after the introduction of a suite of accelerators through the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program (Scaleup GAP), several Edmonton startups have found themselves moving from one to the next as they work on strengthening their businesses.

Deeleeo, a same-day delivery platform and marketplace, and Fly and Fetch, a shipping company that enlists travellers to transport packages, just participated in the Batch 2 Demo Day for the Alberta Accelerator by 500 on Oct. 20. Now they're both part of the second cohort of the Alberta Innovates Revenue Accelerator powered by GrowthX.

Fly and Fetch's founders started out applying to every pitch competition and program they could find as they sought to learn more about what it takes to succeed, co-founder Victoria Celi Jaramillo told Telling It Like It Is.

"Now we (say), 'OK, we need help. What exactly do we need?'" she said. "And we try to apply to those accelerators that are going to be helping us to go to the next step."

Fellow Alberta Accelerator by 500 alumnus Electronic Grid Systems, whose Swift Charge helps parking infrastructure owners deploy EV charging stations, is now involved in the sustainability stream of Plug and Play Alberta's second batch.

Air Trail is another example of an Edmonton startup that has found success as it graduated from accelerator to accelerator, starting out with the Alberta Accelerator by 500 before gaining significant traction as part of the Alberta Innovates Revenue Accelerator.

In creating these programs, Alberta Innovates has made sure founders have the resources they need at each stage of the startup journey, Andrew Goldner of GrowthX told Shift by Alberta Innovates.

"What I've seen Alberta Innovates do... is really map the ecosystem from idea to exit, and begin to be intentional about making sure that founders are resourced along that entire relay race," Goldner said in a podcast interview during Edmonton Startup Week.

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