Welcome to the second in a series in which we present the remarkable food and beverage experiences of a very strange year. In the spirit of the holiday season, it’s also a very special collaboration between Saskatoon Press food writers and Saskatoon Food Finder, the online publication founded by former Saskatoon Press restaurant critic and food editor Phaedra Cook. This second edition features bakeries, desserts, pop-ups and more. Look out for favorite restaurants, food stalls, and more coming soon. Part three covers some of our writers’ favorites in Saskatoon Wine. If you missed it, here’s Part 1: Bars.
Favorite bakeries / pastry shops
A large selection of biscuits from the Fluff Bake Bar.
Photo by Julie Soefer
Times are tough right now, but these Saskatoon bakeries are a reminder that life can still be pretty sweet. Yes, also in 2020.
Fluff Bake Bar, 1701 West 15th: Pastry Chef Rebecca Massons Willy Wonka-esque creations can help you get through tough times. This year, the self-proclaimed Sugar Fairy herself had some of those tough times when her beloved Fluff Bake Bar experienced a permit battle with the city of Saskatoon that forced her to temporarily close her new location on the heights while costly new builds were completed. Luckily, with the help of a GoFundMe campaign and a real Texan grit, Masson was able to reopen and continue serving the community Unicorn bait, booty call brownies and Couch Potato Cookies We long for it (convenient to take away, on the roadside, and outdoors). – Brooke Viggiano, contributing writer, Saskatoon Press
Mademoiselle Louise, 1725 Main: This French bakery, which opened almost two years ago in the city center, offers a constantly changing selection of breakfast pastries and desserts that are sure to satisfy the most demanding tastes. Chef Frederick Fortin named his house after his grandmother Louise, who introduced him to the art of pastry making. It’s impossible to go wrong with this establishment, but the best choices are Tarte Citron, Cinnamon Rolls, and Pistachio or Chocolate Croissants. – Sandra Crittenden, contributing writer, Saskatoon Food Finder
Pondicheri Bake Lab + Shop, 2800 Kirby: At this Indian street food place, you can set your sugar with a side of spice. Just visit the upstairs Bake Lab where you can find it Biscuits and candies kissed with chilli, bergamot and cardamom; Muffins topped with carrots and quinoa and an incredibly silky one Chai Custard Pie. Enjoy them either on Pondicheri’s newly created, classy terrace area or at home via take-out or delivery. – – Brooke Viggiano, contributing writer, Saskatoon Press
Favorite grill popup
Smoked Birria de Res Queso Taco, served with consommé and brisket tamales from the Tex Mex BBQ by JQ.
Photo by David Leftwich.
Tex-Mex grill from JQ: At the best of times, pop-ups offer chefs, especially aspiring chefs, the opportunity to showcase their innovative creations. In the worst of times like now, pop-ups are also a means of survival. To the Cindy Conde and Joseph QuellarPop-ups, owners of Tex-Mex BBQ by JQ, performed both functions. For her signature smoked beef birria cheese tacoThey marinate the brisket and oxtail in an aromatic chili paste before throwing the meat on the smoker for a few hours. Then they cook it in more marinade with cinnamon and orange. The result is a deep, rich, smoky stew that was one of the best things I have eaten this year. Your creations, including fabulous Brisket tamales, can be found in pop-ups around town and occasionally elsewhere in the state. Follow the JQs on social media to find out the times and locations of upcoming popups, and pre-order to ensure you grab your favorites. Watch out for their new grill trailer coming soon. – – David Leftwich, Associate Editor, Saskatoon Food Finder
Save space for dessert, the cannoli in Ostia are not to be missed.
Photo by Sandra Crittenden.
Pucha house1001 Studewood: The Orange pancakes It’s kind of incredibly satisfying at this Heights restaurant, and at the same time a fresh and light end to every meal. With fresh berries and orange segments and a vanilla Grand Marnier sauce, it is a delight for brunch or after a multi-course dinner.
Ostia, 2032 Dunlavy: This newcomer to Saskatoon’s dining scene wows with its decadent rendition of an Italian classic: the Cannoli. This dessert consists of a thin, crispy bowl that is filled with a rich, moist cream and dusted with powdered sugar before drizzling with honey-rum syrup
Tony’s, 3755 Richmond: The soufflé in this typical gourmet restaurant is the ultimate expression of dessert. Upon request, guests can choose their tastes from a list that changes with the seasons. There is a choice of different pralines, fruits and liqueurs. It’s always the most indulgent end to a meal in this haute cuisine institution. – Sandra Crittenden, contributing writer, Saskatoon Food Finder
Favorite food trends
Think Tacos is one of Saskatoon’s food trucks and restaurants that have picked up on the Birria Tacos trend.
Photo by Candido Serrano.
Birria tacos: Wherever Instagrammers go, Saskatoon guests follow. Though Birria tacos filled with a classic goat or beef jalisco stew have been around for years, these have taken over Saskatoon social media in a storm of hashtags in recent months. In most cases, the tacos are made by dipping the tortillas in a broth made from cooking the stew (which also serves as a dip for the tacos) before cooking them on a plancha with cheese and stew meat. While restaurants like El Big Bad and Glowing have offered Birria tacos, food trucks like Blk Mkt Birria, Muiishi Makirritos and Think tacosas well as pop-ups like Tex-Mex grill from JQ, really cemented the popularity of tacos in Saskatoon.
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Hot Chicken: Contrary to some food trends, Nashville-style hot chicken didn’t take Saskatoon over overnight. Thanks to restaurants, the enthusiasm has built up Gus’ fried chickenthat opened on Washington Avenue in 2018. In 2020, several companies specializing in this spicy roast chicken suddenly started with places like Main chick, Bird house and Micos hot chicken – which has a constant line around the building. This suggests that this could be new support rather than a short-lived trend.
Mochi donuts: These hybrid Japanese-American pastries, usually made with rice flour (which makes them gluten-free), have been in Saskatoon for a few years. But in 2020, the popularity of donuts rose to a new level with the help of social media influencers. These light, airy donuts popped up at local tea shops at one-day events and eventually found permanent homes in stationary locations like Mochinut and delivery-only companies like Doughchi and Miso Sweet. – – Ryan Kasey Baker, contributing writer, Saskatoon Food Finder
The other top Saskatoon Food & Drink Experiences of 2020
Part 1: Bars
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