Thursday, March 26, 2009

Epicurious in Edmonton 3

We've done a lot of hanging out with our friend Juli this past. Which is great, because Juli is amazing. She and her husband John are both the kind of people who are wonderful to be around since they are both brilliant and interesting, well-informed on a variety of subjects, and so comfortable in their own minds. And I am not just saying this because I know that John occasionally reads my blog.

John and Juli moved to Edmonton around the same time we did (from Chicago!). As fellow vegetarians, they have been great friends with whom we have explored the culinary delights of Edmonton's dining scene.

Last Friday, John was out of town. Craig and I were exhausted, having survived intense on-call shifts (me) and the Chandra proposal deadline (Craig). We wanted to go out, but nothing too taxing. So we decided on pizza. Fortunately, the best pizza in town is just a few blocks from our place: Famoso Neopolitan Pizza (apparently, they are a franchise - I just learned this going to get the link - but at this time, the only franchise is the one in our neighborhood. I guess they are seeking to build a franchise). We have been to Famoso before with Juli and John, so it was a known entity, known to be spectacular. However, we had only been to Famoso on a weeknight, never a Friday night. And as someone who prefers lazy, non-taxing Friday evenings, I don't imagien we will go back on a Friday again. At Famoso, you wait to be seated, then you go to the counter and put in your order. As your order is ready, they bring it out to you. On Friday nights, the place is so packed, you can't even see the sign which tells you to please wait to be seated. So upon walking into the restaurant, one cannot tell if people are waiting for tables of waiting at the counter to order. This led to some people inadvertantly cutting in front of a whole line of people and snatching a table as soon as it was vacated. Though I didn't want the role, I became "line enforcer" - ugh! After about 45 minutes, we were seated. We then enjoyed a scrumptious gorgonzola, walnut salad and a gorgeous quattro fromaggi (with roasted mushroom) pizza. The food was fabulous, as it had been previously, but I think I'll stick to weeknights for Famoso.

Yesterday, Juli called and invited us to head to Don Antonio's Mexican Food, Ltd. I called Craig to see if he was up for dinner with our friends, only to learn that he had John, who had returned home from his trip, in his office asking him the same thing. Apparently, they had launched a coordinated, bi-directional invitation. We could hardly refuse. Don Antonio's is another restaurant a few blocks from our place (have I mentioned that we live in a fantastic neighborhood?). As a Texan, I was raised on good Mexican. Being a vegetarian living in Canada, I know good Mexican is hard to come by. And Don Antonio's is actually surprisingly good. Homemade chips, salsa, and guac put it a step above most restaurants in the states. And while the menu is not necessarily vegetarian friendly, the kitchen staff is quite accomodating and they will prepare most dishes without meat upon request. (We didn't want to ask about lard, but I get the impression it is not so common in Canada). The chilis relenos has unique, delicious, sweet flavor, unlike any I have had before. The tamal was quite bland, but the enchilada, while not as spectacular as mine, was tasty. Perhaps someday I will open "Raquelita's Cucina Vegetariana", but until then, I'll return to Don Antonio's when I get a craving for the comfort food of my youth.

So were our epicurian adventures (w/ Juli) this past week.

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