Best Places To Eat (when you’re thrifting)

June 2, 2007

I’ve been tagged by Humuhumu to participate in a meme, something I only dimly comprehend, but I guess it’s like a chain letter, so I’d better play along if I want love and wealth to come my way.

First I’m supposed to add a direct link to my post below the name of the person who tagged me (I put it at the end – I didn’t want to start this post with a list of links).

Now I’m supposed to write about the top 5 places to eat where I live (which is Edmonton, Canada). Since my blog is mostly to do with thrifting, I decided to confine my choices to places that are (1) in close proximity to the thrift stores I frequent (within a block or two), and (2) cheap (a meal or snack for under 10 bucks). In no particular order:

1. Westgate Hallal Meat and Deli
A few doors north of Value Village on 163rd Street.

Westgate Hallal

This is a Lebanese grocery store with a food counter. You can shop for all your Middle Eastern grocery needs such as pomegranate molasses and zatar (a mixture of oregano, sumac, sesame seeds, etc), but if you’re hungry right now order a delicious chicken shawarma wrapped in pita or some samosas (beef, veg or chicken) fresh out of the hot oil (99¢ each or $10 a dozen). Sometimes it’s hard to get served here because everyone is busy in the back cooking up mountains of food (for weddings they’re catering, I think). I order whatever they just made because fresh is always best. To drink: non-alcoholic malt beverage in fruit flavors – pineapple is my favorite. Eat in (there are a couple of tables at the front) or take out.

2. Maurya Palace
In the same shopping centre as the Bissell Thrift store on 34th Avenue.

The Indian buffet at Maurya palace, served 7 days a week from 11:30 to 2:30, is possibly the best dining bargain in town at $7.95 on monday through thursday (going up to $9.95 friday through sunday). I would be happy loading my plate with delicious sag paneer (spinach curry with cheese) and sopping it up with naan hot from the tandoori oven, but there’s so much more: an impressive array of cold salads (they even used to have macaroni salad but they discontinued it), fresh vegetables, spicy pickles, chutneys, meat and vegetarian curries, saffron rice, fresh fruit and three kinds of desert.

Maurya Palace

Dawat, right next door to the Bissell, also has an excellent lunch buffet (with samosas, to boot) but I give the win to the Maurya on the strength of their excellent kir (rice pudding). At Dawat it’s bland and boring but Maurya’s is rich and creamy and liberally studded with cardamom and almond slivers.

3. El Rancho Spanish Restaurant
87th Street, just off 118th Avenue

Enchiladas Salvadoreñas

This Salvadorean/Mexican restaurant is two blocks east of the other Bissell Thrift store. There’s always lots of Spanish speaking people eating here which must be a good sign. When I come here for lunch I usually order the Enchiladas Salvadoreñas off the appetizer menu. For $6.95 the three corn tortillas topped with fried beans, chicken (or tofu) and pickled cabbage are totally satisfying.

4. Handy Bakery
118th Avenue and 87th Street.

Just across the street from El Rancho is Handy Bakery, a Portuguese bakery and deli with about a half dozen tables. You can have a soup and a freshly made deli sandwich for lunch or snack on Portuguese pastries – sweet or savory – washed down with café-com-leite, while watching Portuguese TV beamed in by satellite. My favourite sweet is sonhos (literally: dreams) which are like a fritter or cruller but light as a feather and soft as a prayer (or something poetic like that).

Handy Bakery - pastry and coffee

5. Absolutely Edibles
118th Avenue and 104th Street, about two blocks from the northside Value Village.

The burgers here are both better and cheaper than the ones at that pretentious place in the west end that says it has the best burgers in town, and they come with a choice of sides (potato salad, creamy pasta salad, vegan pasta salad, mixed field greens, wild rice pilaf or homemade soup). My fave is the South Meets West burger ($7.95) which is made with a buffalo patty topped with grilled vegetables and goat cheese and served on ciabatta.

burgers at absolutely edibles

These guys also cater big-name concerts which is why their walls are covered with autographed photos of Englebert Humperdinck, Nelly Furtado, Ann-Margret, Anne Murray, The Tragically Hip, Diana Krall etc. all praising the food. After you’ve eaten, you can go bowling next door at one of the last 5-pin alleys in town – it’s almost unchanged from the 1950s (but you have to know how to keep score ‘cuz the lanes aren’t computerized).

Now I’m supposed to tag 5 other people to do the same. I’m not sure I even know 5 people with blogs:

I’ve never met thriftygirl but I heart her for being the first person to ever to leave a comment on my blog.

garyb’s blog is still in the testing phase – maybe this will be the push he needs to finally add some content.

Sunny Jim, I don’t know if you remember me, I’m the one who sent you Bruno Gerussi’s cookbook.

Not much of a stretch for dogbytes to write about and/or photograph food.

The list

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Todd (Louisville, Kentucky, United States)
miss kendra (los angeles, california, u.s.a)
Jiggs Casey (Berkeley, CA, USA)
Tits McGee (New England, USA)
Joe (NE Tennessee, USA)
10K Monkeys (Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA)
Big Stupid Tommy (Athens, Tennessee, USA)
Newscoma (Weakley County, Tennessee, USA)
Russ McBee (Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)
Atomictumor (Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA)
Oh Really? (Oak Ridge, TN, USA)
Mark Steel (Knoxville, TN, USA)
Swanky (Knoxville, TN, USA)
Humuhumu (Seattle, WA, USA, and Silicon Valley, CA, USA)
swankola (Edmonton, AB, Canada)

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2 Responses to “Best Places To Eat (when you’re thrifting)”

  1. Nicole Says:

    haha don’t worry no evil shall be bestow upon you if you hadn’t do the meme…:) but men I’m so hungry now looking at those pictures!!! I like all the 5 places!!! Westgate Hallal Meat and Deli looks like a place I would just stand and drool over their display…Maurya Palace if was near me would be favourite joint for dinner atleast once a week (there is just a thing about cheap buffet I like)…El Rancho Spanish Restaurant and the food looks good..Handy Bakery looks heavenly!!! is that a drink there??? and the burger at Absolutely Edibles…drool!!!!

    Ps thanks for doing the tag. I hope you enjoyed it.. If you know of anyone else doing it please feel free to send me a message and I’ll update them too on the updated list of tag doers

  2. velverse Says:

    Okay… the pictures is enough to kill me! I will die for a bite of food at El Rancho’s
    They look just so good!

    Thanks for sharing and doing the tag! LovelY!


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