This weekend’s dining experiences were brought to us by Twitter. Heading to Edmonton for Saturday night and not up to date on the best places to eat in the city, I put the call out. This new-fangled social media thing sure can come in handy, can’t it?
I was instantly answered with a flurry of #yeg dining suggestions – many for Culina, some for the patio at the Hotel MacDonald, a few suggestions for Indian, Turkish, Ethiopian and Japanese food, and some coffee shops. One for Tony’s Pizza, which a quick Google search showed to be directly between our hotel and Rexall Place, where Mike had to be to see Iron Maiden (the reason for our visit). We made haste as it was early dinner hour, and secured a spot on the patio.
It was a hit. I took advantage of the fact that our trip up to Edmontown had nothing to do with me, meaning I didn’t have to be presentable or really do any work, and so I jumped into the car in flip-flops and a t-shirt with no intention of changing. (Well. No intention of upgrading from an outfit of that nature.) Tony’s worked with my dress code – it’s an old school pasta-and-pizzeria that felt instantly comfortable. It was a full house, and most tables were occupied by families who you could tell were regulars. I left wanting a big plate of garlicky pasta, and to eat it at a long table of verging-on-rowdy friends and family with voracious appetites.
We ordered a classic New York style pie (extra large and thin, with spicy tomato sauce and cheese) and Sal’s Deluxe (prosciutto, capicollo, marinated tomatoes and bocconcini) and had more than enough to bring back to the hotel room for breakfast and lunch.
Sal himself was in the kitchen flipping dough high and wide into the air, the way you don’t see Italian pizzeria cooks do anymore, and W was so in awe that Sal (at least I think it was Sal – everyone in the kitchen seemed to be calling someone Sal, so we’ll assume it was him) invited W to stay and watch through an open window, within 4-year-old arms’ reach, as he patted, tossed and topped the dough and slid it into a hot oven to blister. He even gave W a little wad of dough to toss about himself. He was in heaven.
And so was I, on the other side of the glass door, sitting on the patio drinking a $4 glass of house red and eating wide slices of New York-style pizza I could fold in half and eat.
This morning, after what was supposed to be a good old-fashioned sleep in (W was up no later than 6:20, riling us to get up already and go to the pool!) we went to Culina Mill Creek for brunch, a teeny spot in the Old Strathcona district with wood chairs, wine bottles filled with cold water and lots of sunlight filtered through gauzy curtains.
We started with grilled cornbread and blueberry butter (wouldn’t you?) and followed with an egg, bacon, tomato and edam panini (me), mushroom frittata with spicy braised bacon (Mike) and eggs in a creamy basil sauce topped with crispy bacon (our friend Jen).
They made W a single egg, over-easy. I can’t wait to go back for dinner. Next door, buffered by a wee barber shop, is a new wine bar and charcuterie called Bibo, owned by the same great people I met this morning, that may warrant some further research too.
Sorry if this is reading a little like a junior high school book report – something has decided to take over my head/throat/esophageal area and render me at least partially useless, or at least tired and fuzzy-headed. More so than usual, that is. I’ll stop typing and attempt to sleep it off now.