124th street is the vibrant home to many notable, independent restaurants and shops in Edmonton. Every Thursday evening (4-8pm) from May 14 to October 8, a small section of the street is blocked off to host the 124 Grand Market! This year marks its 4th season since conception, and the wide variety of vendors always attracts a decent sized crowd.

A vendor list is published on their website a day before, as it can change every week. They have a good mix of artisan booths, prepared foods, fresh produce and meat, as well as 4 food trucks that seem to be mainstays, or at least regulars to the market.

This was my first time at the 124 Grand Market, and hopefully it won't be the last. I especially love how they are open on Thursdays, since working on Saturdays eliminates the City Market on 104th and the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market from my list of possible food adventures. 

Yes, I have a list. Don't judge.

We were here for one thing and one thing only -- food!

The first booth we stopped at was Auntie Jean's Fudge. This was when my mouth dropped open. She has an amazing variety of fudge flavours, anything from the classic maple or brown sugar, to more inventive flavours such as root beer float, red velvet, and chocolate chili. Each piece of fudge is $5 each or 3 for $14. Higher quantities of fudge purchased also equates into more discounts.

The lady running the booth, who I assume is Auntie Jean herself, offered up samples for us to try. One bite of the green tea fudge and I was sold. She told us that she gets the green tea/matcha from another local vendor down the road (The Tea Girls). Local businesses supporting local businesses, gotta love it.

KN and I each got 3 pieces, both of us getting the birthday cake and the oreo, while I got a piece of the aforementioned green tea, and she got the rocky road. They're quite sweet, but understandable since they're literally blocks of sugar. Everything in moderation right?

Moving right along to the neighbouring booth, South Island Pie Co. offered up a variety of frozen meat pies. But not just any old meat pies, they are handmade (with love and care) by a local couple, Jamie and Janice Scott. Janice is from Edmonton while Jamie is originally from New Zealand. It's no secret that Australia/New Zealand are famous for their meat pies and the couple are bringing a taste of it to Edmonton. Coincidentally enough, I have cousins who live in New Zealand, so maybe one day I'll be able to travel over there and see for myself why meat pies are so famous!

The pies were $7 each, $40 for 6 or $75 for 12, which I thought was decent (the pies are pretty hefty). I ended up getting the Wilkie (steak and cheese), the Chook (chicken, cranberry, and Camembert), and the Old Faithful (mince and cheese).

Ingredients and baking instructions are listed on the back and I couldn't help but bake one up for dinner when I got home.

That flaky crust though. I was only able to finish half before it got to be too much.

Next up on the trek was Moonshine Doughnuts! All year they had been tempting me at school, setting up shop at the University of Alberta's Farmer Market located in SUB every second Thursday or so. And every second Thursday I would be meaning to go pick up a box, but as fate would have it, we just weren't meant to be (HAHA, or I was just too lazy to walk to SUB after class... that's probably why).

Luckily enough, this was their last day at the market before they went on a doughnut vacay and they advertised that this was going to be a very special box. Clockwise from left: matcha smore, strawberry and black sesame, triple chocolate, and coconut key lime. Okay, first observation, they are very pretty. Also, their flavours are unique and creative. I love love love anything black sesame. But I don't know, I'm come to realize that maybe doughnuts aren't meant to be vegan. The glazes and toppings were fine (my favorite was probably the black sesame drizzle and my favorite doughnut out of the bunch was probably the coconut key lime) but the doughnut bases themselves were a bit dry and doughy. For $10 a box, I think I expected a bit more.

Coming to the end of the market, 2 food trucks were left standing, Orbit Food Truck and Little Village. The other 2, Drift and Sailin' On, were at the front, probably to prevent line congestion in the middle of the market.

I didn't plan to eat a whole meal while we were there, so I chose Orbit Food Truck for a little snack. Orbit's menu focuses on tacos and the occasional burrito. They play with a fusion of international flavours, anything from jerk spice to chili espresso to sesame ginger and kimichi.

I ordered their shrimp taco ($5) which consisted of grilled shrimp, shredded lettuce, mango salsa, guacamole, and roasted garlic vinaigrette.  Their website says the vinaigrette also contains habanero, which I'm pretty sure was present in the dish, or else I'm just a wimp who can't even handle roasted garlic.

Note to self: get napkins next time. The taco was stuffed full which I appreciated, but perhaps less lettuce would make it a more satisfying bite. The shrimp were plump and had a nice snap to them, while the sweetness of the mango helped offset the slow rising heat of the vinaigrette. It was tasty enough to hold me over until I got home and waited for the meat pie to be done.

All in all, the 124 Grand Market is a nice way to spend a summer evening and get exposed to the creative and wonderful things that Edmonton entrepreneurs are getting up to. It's pretty small (like 2 blocks at most) so it's not exactly "grand," but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in heart.

I know, that was pretty cheesy. 

Click to add a blog post for Orbit Food Truck on Zomato  

- CT


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CT is a 20-something Edmontonian who started blogging as an excuse for taking pictures of her food.

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf