a sad tale – in search of food
We went on a rather fruitless search for food last night. Mike scored some tickets to his beloved Oilers game and we thought – we will just grab something quick on the way to Rexall. We live in southwest Edmonton. Rexall is in northeast Edmonton. That’s a lotta restaurants in Edmonton to drive past to get to the game.
I said – no fast food chains. Just quick and good food. We had 90 minutes before puck drop. Could it be done?
Well, in a word: No.
I had a hankering for sweet potato fries. So we snagged a parking spot on Whyte Avenue and headed to Dadeo. I remember going to the Cajun diner 14 years ago when Isaac was a baby. They’d pull out a retro high chair and we’d happily dig into our po-boys and fries. Sadly, with all the smoking kufful in Edmonton, Dadeo’s decided to become a bar (to keep kids out? Smokers in?) and even after smoking was banned in bars here, they kept their bar status. So no kids are allowed.
Anyhow, why am I rambling on about this? I think I’m still bitter that they banned kids. We didn’t even have any kids with us last night, so Dadeo’s was still a viable option.
Except the wait for a table for two, even at the bar, was an hour long. Strike one.
We walked back to our vehicle as dejected losers. Who knew you needed reservations?
But surely there is somewhere heading east on Whyte Avenue that serves quick food? By this time, we did not have time for table service – grab and go is what we needed. But NO fast food chains.
We decided to continue heading east, towards Rexall, and stop at Charles Smart. Pretty it ain’t, but it does serve up good donairs. Except it was all dark and locked up. Is it closed? Or oddly just closed on Saturday nights?
Things were getting desperate. I was getting hungry, which isn’t a pretty sight. I said – oh god, please anything except Rexall concession food! Please!
So we decided to start heading north, up 97 Street. And sure, there are restaurants along that strip that would fall into the category of fast and good. But there was no parking to be found. None. Every stall was gone.
So we turned east again on 118 Avenue. The Avenue of Nations has been getting some press as a food destination. We stopped at Carrot Café, found parking, and ran in. The chalkboard menu listed drinks. And muffins and danishes. No food-food. Sigh.
Now it was only 20 minutes to game time. Believe me, this is the worst time to head to Rexall before a hockey game. We had to park a mile away in the south lot. A little glimmer of hope occurred when a SHUTTLE pulled up and whisked us away to the arena. (Sadly there was no shuttle on the way back, where the Weather Network tells me it was -24 with the wind chill. No kidding. I’ll add that walk back to the vehicle on my pile of memories of being bone-numbingly cold in Edmonton).
So what did I end up eating? Rexall concession food. I had a ‘German sausage’ which I think is a fancy term for a bratwurst that is really a hot dog disguised as a German sausage. But this time I was starving and I gobbled it all up. For dessert, I had a packaged ice cream bar with almonds. At Rexall, it is best to stick with the hot dogs, and the packaged stuff. The hamburgers often come with the processed cheese unmelted on top. And the pizza comes with a thick layer of grease swimming on the top.
Here is an amusing link to an article about how to eat healthy at NHL arenas. Don’t drink alcohol? Buddy, 95% of the crowd had a beer in hand. Eat a salad at a hockey game? I think the one-handed shoveling of food into one’s mouth is ideal at sporting events. Are there hockey arenas with good food? This I do not know. I think in this case, good does not necessarily mean healthy.
I do know the Oilers won. And I ate that hot dog out of desperation. And that made it good.
I also ate a hot dog at Costco on Thursday, so my quota for hot dogs is done for the year. The quality of eating here is in free-fall mode, folks.