Edmonton – Monday (Ricky’s Grill, Sunterra, Lazia)

Breakfast at Ricky’s All Day Grill; eggs, hash browns and sausage, good coffee for 5 CAD. Much better than the hotel buffet for 15 CAD. Forget to bring a comb, so stop at the drugstore on the way back.

Sunterra has the Big Pan 1 & 2 — two huge metal pans with some sort of good slop cooking at any given time. I had the “jambalaya”, not exactly Cajun, but good — beef, sausage, peppers in a great sauce over rice. 10150 Jasper Avenue on the PedWay. Eric came later today (after a 50 CAD taxi ride — yow!) and ate at our favorite Japanese fast food place (Edo Japan) in the food court.

And then Lazia. In the mall, how good can it be? Someone at the office recommended the steaks, so what the heck! First of all, a cool place. Weird glass sculptures, pebbles on the walls, big circular leather seats. Window view if you like. Seating out the front into the walkway with pseudo-alfresco tables — outdoor seating inside. Thursday night is hoppin’.

Start off with a Trad from Calgary’s Big Rock Brewery. Our waitress, Kyla, encouraged us to go for the Trad, since it was a local beer and a big supporter of local events. And darn good too… I had one last trip, so it was an easy sell. (5.45 CAD, as opposed to the 7 CAD Guinness).

I had the grilled Mahi Mahi coated in sesame with rice and veges. Well prepared, not burnt to death, and nice and light for a dinner. Pricey at 19 CAD, but excellent. Eric had the Butter Chicken, an East Indian dish. (why Butter Chicken? Thangam?) It was good too, and was a lot of food for 17 CAD. I had a coffee (dark or medium roast? nice choice!). All in all an excellent dinner, good service, good food, good beer. I can’t come up with anything to complain about, anyway. Edmonton City Centre West, 10200 – 102 Avenue.

Edmonton – Haweli Indian

Right across 103 street from the hotel (or at least the City Centre, in which the mall and hotel are located) is the Haweli Restaurant. I found it by Googling food, and it is probably in the Edmonton magazine also.

I like Indian food — Thangam at work made wonderful Tandoori chicken for the office, so it was either that or a curry. So I ordered a glass of generic red wine (6 CAD) and the Chicken Tikka; “Boneless pieces of chicken marinated in homemade yogurt, ginger, garlic and tandoori sauce. Grilled in the clay oven.”

The waitress stood there, pad in hand, staring at me with a smile. “Am I missing something?” She asked if I had had Indian food before. “Yes, once or twice. At work.” I had had it several other times too, so I was puzzled. She explained it was just the meat on the first page. She had me order the Tikka, plus a vegetable off the vegetable page (Daal Makhni: Lentils and kidney beans cooked with ginger and garlic in a creamy sauce–looked good to me), and basic buttered naan off of the bread page (Naan Makhni: Bread baked in the tandoor and brushed with butter.)

The word: Excellent. The Chicken Tikka sizzled with some cabbage(?) and lemon wedge on a metal hotplate from the tandoor, just like Carne Asada in a Mexican joint. The chicken was red, tender and juicy. Actually, I could have just had the Daal Makhni – as a big chili and bread fan, that and three naan would be perfect. The three items were a lot of food but I ate them anyway. Mmmmm. With the chai tea — super hot (ow!), not too syrupy or sweet and poured with a flourish by my cute waitress, who nicely told me to go away for 1/2 hour when I first arrived at 4:30P; an excellent dinner.

The bad news. 12 CAD for Tikka, 10 CAD for a nice pot of Daal Makhni, and 2.50 CAD for the naan — $30 for one person. Ala carte is the expense account’s mortal enemy. We’ll see if she approves it in accounting.

The good news — they serve a lunch buffet for $11.95 CAD. I am so there. I hope Eric goes for it.

Haweli Fine East Indian Cuisine
10220 – 103 Street
Website: http://www.haweli.ca/

A good laptop is your best travelin’ friend

Here in Edmonton. Nice place. Went to see the West Edmonton mall yesterday — largest in North America — and nearly died on the roller coaster. They should have to mark the end that goes first. But a mall is a mall. Big, yes. Ice rink, yes. Santa Maria replica, yes. Underwater life viewing tunnel, yes. Amusement park, yes. But still a mall. And Bourbon Street (restaurant row) is a poor excuse when you have been at the real one.

Anyway, this laptop has been great. I can work at night, catch up on stuff, listen to tunes (although Rhapsody does not work in Canada, even though my account is USA), do email, watch movies. Makes me want to go out and buy one. Not. A company loaner is much better.

Forgot to empty out my digital camera. Go to the drugstore, and for 2.99 CDN get a CD with all the files. Copy, zip, upload to my FTP site. Now I have backups! Nice!

This is a Dell Latitude D620. T2400@1.83 GHz, 2GB RAM, 80Gb HD, DVD/CD, widescreen LCD and more! But keyboard is not great — I keep mixing up keys — and any laptop without a real mouse is minimally usable. At the office, I can use a MS Natural Keyboard and mouse. Not bad. And wireless is nice.