Wild Wild South

Kool Moe dee.jpeg

Kool Moe Dee: inventor of ‘the cowboy phase’.

Wild Rose Cafe and Bar

9743 60 Avenue, Edmonton

When I meet people from out-of-town, I make every effort to demonstrate Edmonton’s greatness. This city gets enough flack from some of the half-steppers who live here that the last thing we need is for out-of-towners giving it a bad rap.  Sure, the Gateway City’s downtown is dead and Whyte Ave is the resting place for the worst types of shit, but there is so much in this city if you take the time to look for it. As part of my never ending pursuit to show-off Edmonton, I took my Haligonian fiend Katherine to Wild Rose Cafe and Bar for pizza and a ‘mid-day Heineken’ (rap reference number one).

Off the beaten path in Edmonton’s southside industrial area, Wild Rose Cafe and Bar perfectly represents this fine western city. It is a blue collar lunch joint that serves ‘just-passing-through-town’ truck drivers,  it looks like a wild west saloon, and it serves fantastic pizza.

Photo-0019

I first came across Wild Rose while riding my bike to Millwoods a few months ago and, even though they had pizza on the menu, I ordered a plate of fish because I was in a rush. While the fish was terrible, I felt that there was something about the restaurant that deserved a second – more pizza focused – visit, so I called Katherine and we hit the dusty trail. After a visit to Marshall’s Discount Fabrics to change tags (rap reference number two), Katherine and I made our way to Wild Rose, tied our trusty bikes next to their troughs and moseyed on in.

Inside, Wild Rose resembles your standard greasy spoon/lunch diner, but there is something rustic and classy about its wood-heavy interior. The owner (ex-X-Wrecks owner, for those familiar with the Capilano institution) is very friendly, even bringing Katherine and I unsolicited beer refills (we had to pay for them, but his mind-reading skills were on point).

The pizza at Wild Rose is some of the best nooner, non-Italian Pizzeria, pub pizza that this city has to offer. The cheese is nice, the sauce is nice, and the hot bell peppers were freshly chopped and not from a can. The most impressive thing about Wild Rose’s pizza is its dense yet thin crust, which, in hindsight, reminded me a lot of a green onion cake (also, new idea: green onion cake pizza).

This place is amazing. I think you should go there.

Snoop Dogg: took the cowboy phase too far?…….

Advertisements
Published in: on July 31, 2009 at 11:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“Parkallen Pizza, ‘Pac put it Perfectly”

car-trolley

Parkallen Restaurant

7018 109 Street

People often say that living in Edmonton is no-good unless you own a car, with the standard argument being that The Town is too spread-out and that our transit system is shit. While both of these things are true, I never bought into the mentality. Instead, I bought a bike, got a pass, and generally tried to ‘get it where I lived’. However, ‘where I live’ is nowhere near my favorite roti joint, my favorite pizza joint, or my favorite jook joint. So, last month I put the call out that I was looking for a car.

A few weeks into my search, I received a tip on a used car from my friend Julie’s mother. The price was right and it had a baby of an engine, so I bought it. As a ‘thank-you’ to Julie’s family – who, besides the tip on the car, have successfully taken me under their wing as of late, teaching me life skills that my ‘pack-of-wolves’ upbringing failed to provide – I decided to treat them to a pizza dinner at Parkallen Restaurant. I chose Parkallen because a) I had heard that their pizza was really good and b) I was under the impression that they ate there on a regular basis. Neither turned out to be true.

Parkallen used to be a pizza restaurant with a single Lebanese dish on the menu. Over the years, the Lebanese portion of the menu grew and the restaurant’s decor got fancier. In order to deal with the demand for delivery and to control the intake of pizza-loving riff raff, they opened two satellite locations. Nothing illustrates the restaurant’s pizza personality crisis more than their website (also where i found these lovely pictures of typical Parkallen customers):

man2 girl5a

Our order: Grape leaf rolls and Fatouch salad to start,  a single-x L Greek pizza and an L vegetarian pizza to finish.

My Thoughts: The Grape leaf rolls and Fatouch salad were great.

Parkallen pizza is decent, I guess. It is no better or worse than any other mediocre pizza joint, but it is certainly not the “award-winning” pie it claims to be (also worth noting: pizza awards exist). Sauce is bland, too much cheese, and the vegetables weren’t particularly fresh. Not fresh at all. In fact, 2 of my 5 dinning partners insisted they tasted mold on the green peppers. Unfadeable, I continued eating, making it pretty awkward trying to send an empty tray back claiming bad pizza.

I was expecting original and tasty, but got generic and mediocre. The Lebanese food is probably good, but steer clear of the pizza. Thankfully I now have a car that can take me to places far from my home. I would tell you about our leisurely bike ride and dessert-run after dinner, but this blog is quickly turning into a personal one. Maybe next post will be all about my postponed trip to Texas.

Published in: on July 27, 2009 at 6:25 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , ,

“I noticed you, noticing me, and I just wanted to put you on notice, that I noticed you”

Pizza_bust_thumb

A Castledowns pizza spot that was being used as a drug-front in 2008 has been given permission to stay in business as long as they comply to certain conditions. One of the conditions requires that they write a training manual. Problem solved.

Full story here:

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Edmonton+pizza+joint+notice+drug+bust/1813332/story.html

The fact that they remain in business after this type of bust really demonstrates the power of a pizza joint, specifically on the North Side.

In related news, local nu-metal rockers and ambassadors of all things Castledowns The City Streets (aka Half Cut) are leaving Edmonton for Dreamier pastures. The City of Edmonton claims that the band, a staple of Edmonton’s live music scene, were “just not rockin'”. Their farewell show is on July 31 at the Pawn Shop, details below.

Also related to the pizzeria drug bust, a band called Cocaine Eyes is opening.

4971_1097622678777_1172915019_30248644_439273_n

Published in: on July 22, 2009 at 12:18 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Blog Lunch Party

Launch Party

Weirdcanada.com is having a blog launch party and bands are gonna play. Sliceoflifeedmonton.wordpress.com is gonna be involved and pizza will be served (in exchange for money). It’s on thurs. july 23rd, at Steel Wheels. Here are the details:

wcsol-feralchildren-poster

Published in: on July 20, 2009 at 9:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Flamingos

flamingosWEM

Real Flamingos. Really the West end.

Flamingo Restaurant and Lounge

15835 87 Ave

I grew up on Edmonton’s west end. While I wasn’t terribly deep in the west end – 156 street and 95th is the area i claim – i still spent most of my time trying to escape. There were two major bus routes out of my area: the number One towards downtown and the number Four towards the University and Whyte Avenue. I usually opted for the latter. In all the years that I lived in my father’s house I never once learned the bus schedule, which meant that I spent a lot of time standing at the corner of 87th Avenue and 158th Street waiting for the bus. This free time was shared with a handful of businesses, also waiting around for something to happen: my barber at the time (seriously, check for my barber blog in 2010), a music school, a pharmacist, a tanning salon famous for its shared taste in typeface with five other west-end kids, and more importantly, Flamingos Restaurant and Lounge. It had been a long time since my last visit to the joint, but on Tuesday I made the trek, and met my lil’ sis for dinner.

Photo-0020

Here’s what’s up:

Originally based out of the Mayfield Commons area, Flamingos has been serving Edmonton’s west end since the two sevens clashed. They eventually moved to Meadowlark Plaza and show no signs of leaving. It is a basic family restaurant, with wooden decor and ridiculously nice staff (after dinner, my sister asked me if they knew I was writing about them). They also have a dimly lit lounge with 4 TVs and the same number of VLTs. The menu is pretty standard, and the same goes for the pizza selection. Waitresses serve water out of amazing plastic faux-wood jugs, and did I mention that they are very friendly?

Pasta is 20% off on Tuesdays after 3pm, and pizza is 20% off on Mondays after the same time. It being a Tuesday i was a bit disappointed, but ordered an 8 inch Mush and Feta anyways. The pizza was fine. A little too greasy and wet (?), and their “home-made” sauce did not need to be advertised as such; it was pretty bland.

My sister talked pretty big about their milkshakes, so we ordered a vanilla (in related news, i bought a Toyota Corolla today), which she refused to sip simultaneously with me.

I was also a bit disappointed to find out that the restaurant has a southside location. I felt like this place – a staple of my youth – was somehow cheapened now that i knew it wasn’t one-of-a-kind. I got over it when I imagined that a southside kid likely shared an experience similar to mine: eating mediocre pizza in a great restaurant, trying to escape from his father’s house.

Published in: on July 16, 2009 at 3:08 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , ,

“Still With the Triple ‘S’ “

Thanks for the link Sandra.

don mega

Published in: on July 15, 2009 at 3:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

T.R.O.P

pharos-sumamo

Pharos Pizza and Spaghetti

8708 109 Street Nw

Pharos Pizza was an institution in the Garneau/University area and, while I have eaten there many times, I doubt I would do their legacy justice. Plus, there are many places that you can read about the restaurant and its June 2009 closure.

I will only say the following things:

  • I regret never eating their ‘thirty-minute-wait-time’ French fries.
  • That picture near the washrooms that showed all of Western Canada from the perspective of 124th street was amazing.

Big ups to Pharos and all of his.

T.R.O.Y:

Published in: on July 10, 2009 at 5:13 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Dallas

dallas

Dallas Pizza and Steak House

7834 106 Avenue Nw

Three years ago, I was really into record collecting. On weekends, my friend Aaron and I would hop in my dad’s mini-van and go from thrift stores to garage sales, estate sales to storage locker auctions, pawn shops to flea markets; any place that sold discarded items, you could find Aaron and I on our hands and knees sifting through boxes of dusty records. We would often arrive at a garage sale, quickly realize that the only records for sale were tepid and undesirable,  and move on to our next destination. We spent all day driving around, searching for that ‘grail’ of a collection.

As time went on, I lost interest in record hunting (‘digging’, as it’s called in the biz), while Aaron became more and more immersed. I have since tagged-along with buddy on his solo trips, but he had yet to share in my new passion (I hope that this is too strong of a word) until last night, when he joined me on a ‘pizza digging’ trip.

Following a tip from my brother, we set out in search of a pizza-serving Irish pub near the Faculté Saint-Jean. Never having been to the University of Alberta’s French campus and not knowing the name of the pub, we decided to wing it. After a few wrong turns and retraced steps, we finally came upon Devaney’s Irish Pub. A little too late though – their kitchen was closed and we could not order food. A single box of water-damaged Neil Diamond and Elton John records. Off we go.

Our back-up plan was Dallas Pizza, a joint that we passed on the way to Devaney’s. The closer we got to the restaurant, the more we realized that we may have stumbled on a huge score. Located in the the Forest Heights neighbourhood, Dallas is very much a pizza restaurant rather than a bar that happens to serve pizza. It is well-lit like a restaurant should be and it is wholesomely decorated like a restaurant should be. The walls are literally covered with paintings of pink and red flower gardens. Only three wall decorations deviate from this pattern: two ‘Travel Greece’ posters and this amazing (amazing!) woodcut:

IMG_0100

Our server was a very pleasant lady who knew how to tease customers and tell a joke – one of which ended with the line: “what are you, a longshoreman?”.

Aaron and I ordered a large Spinach Special (spinach, onions, feta and mozza), which, because of the owner’s Greek heritage, was a great choice. Spinach was perfectly cooked; lots of feta.  The cheese was a little thick and greasy, and it was a little stingy on the (very tasty) sauce, but still an overall excellent pizza. When I commented on the pizza’s square cuts, our server nodded as if admitting defeat. She knows that triangle slices are what’s happening in pizza today.

Our polite dinner conversation stuck to familiar topics such as music and records, but somehow the topic of pizza’s “ubiquity” came up far too often. Overall, joint: VG++ and Pizza: VG+ will eat again.

roy ayers

Published in: on July 5, 2009 at 4:02 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,