It’s Memorial Day Weekend and I’m off to visit Carmella in Edmonton! She’s already picked a rental car that tickles her fancy: it’s the one with the commercials that feature hamsters :-)
Portland Int’l Airport (PDX)
I head from Nike to the MAX to the airport. After the security check I see this store featuring local items. The boutique salamis catch my eyes. I wasn’t hungry before, but I sure am now.
The Pacific Northwest salmon is a source of pride, featured here smoked and packaged into shrink-wrap portions. At the Fred Meyer supermarket seafood counter local salmon commands the highest prices, far higher than the best cuts of beef available.
Another source of pride are the craft beers and ales. This is just a tiny selection, in a tiny store, in a small airport.
When I arrive at the departure gate I see the previous plane is taking the space, but not for long.
Our plane arrives, and is carefully tended to. This guy cleaned the window; I’m guessing someone else checked the oil level :^)
Finally, our plane, a codeshare with Aeromexico, is ready for us to board. It’s not a crowded flight, so we’re in and ready to go very quickly. Good; I’m impatient.
Seattle-Tacoma Int’l Airport (SEA) aka SeaTac
As the sun sets we descend into SeaTac; this is taken just over the runway.
I only have a short layover, and I have to switch terminals on the , people mover,” so it’s a tense and quick time in SeaTac (this visit; other times we’ve enjoyed a couple of hours in the airport).
I am impressed by the light decorating the escalators.
It’s late evening when we finally pull away from our gate, heading to Edmonton Int’l Airport (YEG). I’m asleep before the flight attendants do their safety dance.
RGE RD / 10643 123 Street Northwest, Edmonton, AB T5N 1P2, Canada / +1-780-447-4577
Carmella and I love RGE RD; I dare-say it’s among the top few haute cuisine restaurants in Edmonton. I’m thrilled to return, the chef’s meal has always been an impressive delight, with culinary surprises along the way. It’s pricey, and one can’t depend on certain satisfaction (as one can with, for example, their “Nature’s Green Acres Pig Roast”, consisting of free-range heritage pork, roasted loin & belly, bacon-wrapped pork confit, squash gnocchi, parsnips, and apple compote). Still, we decide to take the culinary gamble.
First up are scallops, done perfectly, with mushrooms and other trimmings, in a cheddar broth. The infused taste is delightful, and a great way to begin the meal.
“new photo by”
Our next course was a deconstructed lasagna, with a ragu that explodes on the tongue, the perfect counterpoint to the Parmigiano Reggiano. Carmella isn’t impressed by what to her appears as a messy, dorm room style lasagna (which it does) but the flavors are exquisite.
Even though we’re doing #keto we save a special spot for RGE RD’s supremely satisfying bread and herb butter. It doesn’t disappoint this evening.
The wheels come off the cart when we’re brought the penultimate course, something about “compressed meat in a reduction”. I look at the meatloaf. I look at Carmella. She looks at the meatloaf. She looks at me. I’m unsure how to proceed. On the one hand, RGE RD hasn’t heretofore let us down. I like the chef and presume this is a great execution on a good idea. I venture a taste, slicing my fork through the meatloaf, drag it through the sauce, and pop it into my mouth. I look at Carmella. She tries the meatloaf. It’s meatloaf. High-end meatloaf, to be sure, but it’s still fancified meatloaf that doesn’t deserve to be on the top-tier, high-priced chef’s tasting menu.
To all appearances, it looks like the chef had to go home, sick, and someone very junior got a chance to try something new. I hope I’m not being unkind, but meatloaf is meatloaf.
We’re gobsmacked. Immediately we call over our most excellent waiter and inform him that we need the pig roast, STAT! There’s no way this meatloaf is going to (1) fill or (2) satisfy us.
The pig arrives — although for some strange reason I don’t have a picture of it — and Carmella and I fall on it, absolutely loving the variety of meats and the superb preparation. I promise to get a photo next time.
Then our flight of courses continues to its end, dessert. This was an absolutely smashing meringue on a custard with a berry coulis. Tangy, sweet, with great mouth feel. Dessert isn’t really my course, and I would have happily had two or three of these.
We finished up with more of RGE RD’s excellent coffee, which I’d been enjoying all night, and headed out into the night (which up at this latitude is much lighter than the darkness now in Portland or San Francisco). A smattering of rain begins to fall, and the combination of the rain and the rays of the setting sun present to us something never before seen nor heard of: A PINK RAINBOW!
Now that’s the way to end an evening! I told Carmella I’d planned the whole thing. I’m sure she believed me. :-)
The next day we make lunch for Carmella’s parents. The grill on the balcony just delights me.
For second lunch the next day, on my way to the airport, Carmella suggests that we return to Dorinku, another of my favorites in Edmonton. We head out towards Whyte Avenue on the railroad tracks used by the trolley (which wasn’t yet running, so you don’t get a photo; sorry).
Dorinku / 10205 82 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 3X8, Canada / +1-780-988-9760
Dorinku is a wonderful little restaurant, decorated to look like a Tokyo street scene. We sit at the bar, our usual choice, across from the sake-dispensing machine.
It’s carbs day :-) The most beloved Dorinku udon carbonara comes out, bubbling in its cauldron of yumminess. By conventional wisdom, this dish should be a complete failure: the udon are massive compared to the traditional spaghetti, and the sauce of eggs and cheese should never be boiling, but it spectacularly works. It’s delightful all around!
We also venture into new territory, the beef short rib set (with a sweet balsamic glaze}. The miso is satisfying, the rice is tasty, and the meat just falls off the bone and into our mouths. Another win.
Snowy Dessert / 10209 82 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 3X8, Canada / +1-780-250-7778
Carmella loves herself any dose of mango, and Snowy Dessert’s ice cream covered with a thick layer of mango is so delightful that it’s sold out early every day. You can’t imagine how hard it was getting this picture, with those fingers darting ever closer to the dessert. (The small bowl has some sample cheesecake & crumbs, courtesy of the counter staff.) Everything was delicious.
On the way back to the house we stop off in a gallery, where I see this old planning map of the North Saskatchewan River valley area. I love maps.
Then, sadly, it’s time to leave Edmonton. Carmella drops me off for my first leg, the ETS (Edmonton Transit System) trolley.
ETS brings me to the Century Park Transit Centre, one connection point between rail and bus.
The Google Pixel 2XL I’m using does the portrait bokeh effect, and Google Photos new colorsplash ability decides that this photo is the best first target. I like it.
Canadians know how to say bon voyage, what with a dedicated Kiss ‘n Ride zone placed right next to the 747 bus spot. I send a photo to Carmella and board the bus to the airport.
At YEG, I swing by Tim Horton’s for one last teeny tiny tast of Canada.
Past security and US customs is a bit of America at YEG. Sadly, not only is the coffee sold by Starbucks, it’s perhaps the worst Starbucks I’ve encountered. I’d much prefer if they made it a “Best of Canada” pavilion of tastes…
I get to the gate, wait, board the plane, wait, and finally we pull away from the terminal. Here’s the batman waving us on.
I fall asleep, waking up with the afternoon sun on my face. We’re zipping above the clouds in a quiet airborne dance.
Descending into SeaTac, a memorable long weekend behind me, I’m already visualizing the flight to Portland (PDX), the MAX ride home, taking inventory of what I left in the fridge…
Trip done, showered and in bed, I crash. My first morning meeting is only a few hours away.