On Saturday King Crabby, Betty Cracker and I took a road trip to Red Deer to see our dear friend and former colleague Jane Fondant. We did some visiting, poked around in thrift stores and ate a morsel or two.
After checking out Jane’s new digs, our first stop was the Red Deer Public Market in the parking lot of the Red Deer Arena. We got there about an hour before 12:30 pm closing time but many vendors had already folded their tents, no doubt because of the cold and rain.
Crabby checks out some funky wind chimes.
I had an excellent bratwurst on a bun from Rocky Mountain Meats of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. The onions frying on the grill (you can see them on the right) called out to me like a siren song. The others wanted to have a sit-down lunch out of the rain (and I was okay with having lunch #2) so we headed downtown to look for Restaurant 27, about which we’ve heard very good things.
Turns out the address we found online was their old location, which is now a Japanese restaurant called Momo. Jane had been there before and liked it, so we went in.
It’s a narrow, elegant space.
The lunch menu was very reasonable. For $10.50 I had a “sushi & sushi box” which consisted of a dynamite roll, a spicy tuna roll (with cucumber and avocado), two pieces of nigiri sushi, gyoza, salad and miso soup. The gyoza was very unusual – it wasn’t a dumpling but a deep fried roll. I really liked Momo – if I lived in Red Deer I’d eat here a lot.
Then we hit the thrift stores. The Bibles for Missions and Bargain Treasures stores downtown are dirt cheap. Crabby picked up a record for a quarter and a stack of cookbooks. Jane and Betty found some nice bits and bobs for their kitchens.
I thought about buying this portrait of “Mr. Squarejaw” for 3 bucks but walked away from it.
At the south end of Gaetz Ave. we hit the Salvation Army store and Value Village. Thrifting is hard work, so naturally we needed to boost our blood sugar levels with donuts. We kept going south to Gasoline Alley and the venerable Donut Mill…
which made Crabby jump for joy.
Jane is crazy for the Mill’s old fashioned coconut donuts…
which were fresh and still warm.
Zesty lemon cream.
We headed next door to Cindy’s, a shop that sells tacky tourist tchotchkes and loose tea. It’s next to Glenn’s Restaurant (the place with the big tea pot sign, only it’s down right now), and run by Glenn’s sister. We sniffed from the vast array of their samplers.
I bought a smoky blend of black teas called Czar Nicholas Russian Caravan. Good, but not as good as the alder smoked tea that Betty brings me from Vancouver (which I’ve become quite addicted to).
On the way back to Jane’s, Crabby suggested we stop at Big Bend Market in Southpointe Common. They sell hormone and antibiotic free meats (bison, beef, poultry, pork, lamb, elk, etc.) from local area producers and carry other local products as well (pickles, cheese, bread…).
Crabby was upset that they were out of her favourite meat treat, pepper bacon. She consoled herself with some bison jerky.
After a quick side trip to Sylvan Lake (no culinary adventures to report), we headed back to “the Deer” for dinner at Thai Gardens Restaurant. Not five minutes after being seated, who should walk in but…
Truly Scrumptious and The Man With Whom (etc. etc.). We did not in any way plan this or know that we would be in Red Deer at the same time. Cosmic and freaky, wouldn’t you say?
Green papaya salad (I don’t know what any of this is called in Thai/Lao – I can’t find the menu online and I didn’t think to photograph it).
This lovely red curry with chicken was my favourite dish.
I also really liked this green curry with seafood – squid, shrimp, scallops and plump, meaty mussels.
Pad Thai with a beautiful carrot garnish. The food was excellent – though not as good, I think, as my two favourite Edmonton Thai/Laos restaurants, Boaluang and Syphay (and they didn’t have Thai iced tea).
But they do have a piano for patrons to play. Too bad Jane didn’t have her sheet music with her.
A fun day out. I have to say that Red Deer is not the gastronomic wasteland it once was. I look forward to another visit.
Posted by Jean Poutine