Thursday, October 27

Let's Talk About Food

Since moving here I have been a bit lazy on the food front.  Attempting to remedy that I headed down to that local, organic, hormone-free, had-a-happy-life butcher, picked up some chickpeas at the store and whipped up an old favourite.  One of my very favourite things that my dad makes is chickpea meatloaf.  How hard could it be?  Not that hard except when the recipe says you need a food processor you should probably have a food processor and not improvise with a blender and a fork for smooshing rogue chickpeas.  In the end, though, it was more than edible (although a bit chunky and not as good as my dad's).  To top that off I baked some coffee bread but ended up with my worst batch so far.  My excuses, I've decided, are going to be 1) it is a new oven with which I am not familiar to explain away the uncooked centre of one of the loaves, and 2) I didn't put enough flour in and the bread ended up disappointingly flattish.






Upsidedown mushy meat brick and an oh-so-tasty-one at that
And since we're on the topic of food I have decided to be a bit of a self-made human Zagat guide to Red Deer.  Let's be honest, someone needs to do it.  Since it is early in the "DapperDame Eats Red Deer Zagat" my focus has mainly been on the "ethnic" cuisine.  Skipping over Italian because "East Side Mario's" isn't ethnic.

Here is the list online under "Ethnic" that I will be eating my way through + reviews:


East Side Mario's Italian Eatery  2004-50 Ave. Red Deer - NOT ETHNIC....but I have eaten here.  It tasted like carbs. 

Las Palmeras Mexican Restaurant  3630-50 Ave. Red Deer - This place has the prices of a schwanky pub but the look of a diner.  It is missing that cheesy charm of the traditional Mexican restaurant and the lights are not dim is-that-a-drug-deal-going-down-in-the-corner-or-a-jukebox that is the typical backdrop for Mex food.  What it lacks in cheesy-charm it makes up for inside its enchiladas.  Seriously.  One visit and I'm already in a rut:  do I get the enchilada again because I *know* it is awesome or try something else that *could* be awesome? - 4/5 tastebuds agree this place is worth the visitLucky's Lounge 

Pho Thuy Dong Vietnamese Restaurant  5108-52 St. Red Deer - Looks just like any other viet restaurant inside including requisite lucky cat statues and fish tank full of angry creatures.  A restaurant that would be hardly memorable were I still in Toronto I know my  selection is limited and I would definitely return.  Plus they try hard and give a bit extra.  Order the lychee juice and they will put whole, fresh, peeled lychee in your drink to give it flair.  Not the place to go if you don't eat animals.  After asking for the vegetarian menu I was told anything could be made "vegetarian".  Halfway through a good, if not a bit bland, pho it came out that the broth was chicken broth.  Woops.  No puffy fried tofu either (but you can't blame them for not serving it - the market might not be there in beef country).  Big props for the variety of perfectly steamed veggies in the pho.  3/5 tastebuds.

Red City Donair & Pita - The miniature downtown core actually houses 3 donair (read: shawarma) restaurants.  The first I wandered in to was slow and as I waited to try what they were offering I glanced at the condiment selection and was left disappointed.  I decided to take my chances somewhere else and stumbled upon Red City.  Not only was the pita dude extremely friendly the chicken shawarma was pretty darn good.  The chicken was the best quality I have seen in a shawarma place.  My decision to order was made up when I spied the neon pink pickled turnips that keep me going back to middle eastern restaurants.  Even though I specified "everything" the gentleman left out the turnip and was surprised when I requested it specifically.  Go to Red City, get a dang chicken shawarma and risk it - order the pickled turnip!  4/5 tastebuds

Wok Box  5250-22 St. Red Deer - I have fallen for this one twice.  Mostly because I love Asian food of (almost) all types and this place is right in my view.  Let's not fool ourselves though - 'tis a chain.  The pad thai is tasty and flavourful and NOT PAD THAI.  Not in the least. Not a hint of tamarind and, in my mind, the tamarind makes the pad (or the thai?).  If you have yet to eat Pad Thai (or any asian dish for that matter) do not try it for the first time here.  The chicken teriyaki was better but perhaps I'm just less familiar with what it SHOULD taste like.  - 2/5 tastebuds....er....1.5 tastebuds


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