Saturday, March 31, 2007

Falsetto voice into a mic: "Edmooontoooon!"

So I hear things are a little more grim as far as nightlife goes back in my hometown. The new incarnation of the Sidetrack Cafe, forever frozen in my personal Oilers' lore as the site in which I watched Pisani's shorthanded breakaway Game 5 winning goal in overtime, has closed its doors. Then I hear that Red's, West Edmonton Mall's deep-fried neon abortion passing as Edmonton's premiere live venue (I once saw The Pixies there, jostling alongside 300 drunk frat boys: the sound was terrible), is now run by the Mall, under the even-drippier moniker, "Ed's." I also hear the Student Union Power Plant might be going tits up as well. And although I never went there for music, it might also be worth mentioning that the Urban Lounge's roof caved in a couple weeks ago.

Of course, these are not insurmountable obstacles, just slightly-disappointing ones. As anyone watching last year's playoff can attest to, Edmontonians are known for their MacGyver-like ingenuity for creating fun out of the barest of rudiments: just add a shopping cart, boobs, fireworks, and mix. We'll be okay. But I do raise an eyebrow when I look at my little cultural scorecard since I've left town:

Beloved places in Edmonton destroyed since moving to Toronto

  • Perogy House
  • Hub Cigar
  • Arlington "beat hotel" apartment building

Places not destroyed since moving to Toronto

  • Hudson's on Whyte Avenue
  • Bryan Hall's house
  • Any one of a number of Eastside Mario's, Kelsey's or Earl's restaurants
  • South Edmonton Common

What does this have to do with the Oilers, you might ask? Nothing, I guess. What is there to write about this team, anyway? That they are assy? I think that point was hammered home against St. Louis last Thursday, and doesn't require any explication.

And hey, how about those Leafs!?!!? [he says, eyes rolling back into his skull as he slowly inserts a pen entirely into his ear]

31 comments:

Pleasure Motors said...

Far from being destroyed, Hudson's has actually expanded: it's now occupying the space that used to be Scholar's (and really used to be The Library, which was the last time I can remember looking forward to going to a bar in that particular spot), and is one of the contributing factors to the Powerplant leaking money like so much bloody stool. I walked past there the other night to see a line stretching to the front door of the apartment building that lives above that cess pool: there is no hope for the future.

(Oh, also, the Hudson's on campus has bouncers, all of whom wear earpieces. Apparently bouncers with earpieces are like catnip for second-year engineering students and the small-town residence girls who will make them sexually frustrated.)

joninabox said...

Yes, the Library has consistently gotten shittier over the years. Inexplicably, during that same time period the Powerplant has rapidly descended into mediocrity or worse. With digs like these it's a good thing my apartment is 5 minutes from campus or I'd have to give up drinking entirely.

To complain further, I think there's now 3 or 4 Hudsons (I think that they actually lack the apostrophe, we should forward them to one Mr. Notley's website). The one on campus, the one by Grant Mac, the one on Whyte, and perhaps still the Calgary Trail location.

mike w said...

Yikes! "Hudsons" is spreading!? I guess they weren't kidding when they made it plural.

Man, what a shit parade. Next thing you're gonna tell me is that the Italian Centre doesn't have those delicious sandwiches anymore!

http://italiancentre.ca/mainpage/mainpage.htm

joninabox said...

Don't worry, the Italian centre still kicks butt, I was just there last weekend. They've actually opened a new branch near Southgate apparently. And yes, work is so slow that I checked here again already.

mike w said...

So there is good in this world.

It's the only deli I've seen that has taxidermy on the walls.

Sean said...

Italian sandwiches have been getting steadily worse, ever since they started mass producing them instead of making them when you order. There's not the custom hot sauce they wouldn't sell you, they not longer use the hat capicolo, they have about half the meat...it's true.

Andy Grabia said...

(I think that they actually lack the apostrophe, we should forward them to one Mr. Notley's website).

They totally fucking do. Assholes.

Mike, don't ignore the following Edmonton gems: Dadeos, Route 99 Diner, Blues on Whyte, The Macs right beside the Library, the Original Boston Pizza, and Colby Cosh. Pretty fucking impressive, if you ask me.

MikeP said...

Andy, and he forgot the championship hockey te... er, the lineup of UFA NHL players just begging to sign cont... the... oh, never mind.

SweatyO said...

Grabia: which one is the ORIGINAL Boston Pizza?

This is one of those "facts about Edmonton" I'd like to know.

James said...

The pizza at BP sucks, sorry to say.

The only pretty good pie in Edmonton is at Tony's.

Andy Grabia said...

Grabia: which one is the ORIGINAL Boston Pizza?

I thought it was the one on Whyte and 108th, buth now I'm second guessing myself. I saw an article on it about a year ago, but of course can not find it now.

mike w said...

Aw, Dadeo's was okay -- cute girls hang out there, but the food is often only passable. I prefer the long-standing Cajun Restaurant Louisiana Purchase on 111th Street. My favourite place.

Chicken Lafitte? Fuck yes, sirs.

Pleasure Motors said...

While we're on the subject, if you're going to talk greasy spoon diners in Edmonton, I wouldn't use Route 99's food to mop the floors at the Silk Hat. The Hat also had the distinction of being one of the few restaurants in Edmonton to choose smoking over children, back when that was even possible, though maybe some people consider that a strike.

James said...

The po boys at Dadeo are pretty good, tho' some of their other menu items are a bit dull. I did, however, have an amazing dish there on Friday night: sweet potato-covered on catfish over a bed of cooked spinach, with rice and slaw. The sauce was delicious.

pickles said...

for pizza, personally i prefer the rosebowl or ...damn, i'm blanking...it's on 109th just south of whyte. delightful stuff.

i don't care for dadeos. overrated if you ask me. hudsons...well, the one by my place does have a few hot bartenders. far too young for me though. sigh.

as for the leafs, what's that old saying? it's not spring until the leafs are out! (although if they can knock carolina out i'll tolerate them. maybe).

robert cleave said...

pickles...Parkallen on 109th and 70th or 71st might be what you thinking of, pretty good as I recall. I'm with Mr. Winters on LP vs. Dadeo, Louisiana Purchase was always first rate on my visits.

Little Fury said...

The only greasy spoon in Edmonton worthy of the name is the Commodore. Not many places wher eyou cna pay for your breakfast and coffee (which is, unfortunately, terrible) with the change from your previous night out. Also: no one has mentioned Royal Pizza: why not? Louisiana Purchase vs. Dadeo's is really apples and oranges. LP is a bit mor eof a dining experience. Dadeo's is basically elevated pub grub. Good stuff. To andy's list above I would also add the Next Act.

On another subject: with the city stumbling towards spring, who's up for road hockey? We got into the courts by the Yardbird yesterday for a couple of hours and are hoping to make it a regular occurance. Any BoA road hockey vets interested should drop me a line at jfranchuk@gmail.com.

James said...

Since we're on the topic of Edmonton restaurants, if you haven't been to Sofra (south of Grant Mac downtown... on 105th I think), you absolutely must go the next time you're in town. Bring yer lady or your boy and share the Sultan's combination platter. It's quite possibly the best Turkish food in the world (so says my worldly girlfriend).

It sure as hell beats Boston Pizza, that's for sure.

mike w said...

Oh, the Oilers lost. Who cares.

I think it says a lot when we'd rather talk about about restaurants. YOU HEAR ME, PAT LAFORGE!?!?!

Andy Grabia said...

Good call on The Next Act. Burgers there are fantastic. The loss of the Sidetrack really is hard to take. Every smaller live music venue in this city now sucks ass. And the bars? They all lack a certain something as far I'm concerned. I used to be a Library regular, but I'm kind of at a loss for places to go now. And where is the Silk Hat, Dave? Is that the place on Jasper that you told me about before? I'll have to check it out.

Andy Grabia said...

Oh, the Oilers lost. Who cares.

The Oilers played today? I honestly had no idea.

mc79hockey said...

As long as you're only discussing restaurants approved by the Oilers, Pat LaForge is ok with that. If you start talking about restaurants that aren't Oiler approved...there's going to be hell to pay.

pat laforge said...

i'm sorry. :( plz renew your season tickets, if u can b/c our arena is so old + small we may hav 2 bayonet belgian babies to make budget. :(

LittleFury said...

Andy: the Sick Hat is on Jasper Ave near the Paramount Theatre of God. Its hours aren't great, more of a lunch spot than anything.

Re: live music venues. Are there any left? There's the Velvet Underground (which blows) and...? Jesus, what a sorry state of affairs. Population boom, unprecedented wealth flowing in and the only scene showing vitality is the Abercrombie and Felch crowd. Whyte Ave is now officially Electric Ave. The propritors of the shitty boom-boom rooms have taken to dispatching minions to the sidewalks to woo passersby with promises of cheap highballls and "sexy girls." Shit like that really brings out my inner Bickle: "I think someone should just take this city and just... just flush it down the fuckin' toilet."

One last word about eateries/bars: the venerable Sugrabowl has, in my opinion, improved dramatically over the years. The grub is top-notch (brunch and lamb burgers, though not simultaneously) and it remains a solid choice for guzzling pints and ogling attractive arts students who are there "studying".

iain said...

I agree about the Sugarbowl, and should point out that Edmonton has had a good few months for indie cafes as a species. A southside branch of Tra Amici recently opened in McKernan, Leva got a fancy new facelift, and Da Capo, a brand new cafe run by the formerly-of-Leva Antonio, has raised the bar for cafe chic. It's fabulous.

So, while decent bars/venues are dying off, at least the cafe scene is fighting back against the Second Cups of the world. Go Edmonton?

Steve said...

(I think that they actually lack the apostrophe, we should forward them to one Mr. Notley's website)

Let he who is without comma splices...

Pleasure Motors said...

So, while decent bars/venues are dying off, at least the cafe scene is fighting back against the Second Cups of the world

If those caf├ęs start hosting live music, maybe Edmonton can become a hotbed for earnest folk-rock troubadours!

he Sick Hat is on Jasper Ave near the Paramount Theatre of God

Don't listen to Franchuk's griping. The $8 turkey sandwich is not only made with real meat they just finished basting, there's enough of it on the plate to make you want to skip Thanksgiving. And besides, he eats at The Next Act. I eat there sometimes, too, but I'm not proud of myself.

LittleFury said...

Easy, PM. I'm not hating on your beloved Hat, it's just not on my radar. I will add that the Next Act's grub has gone downhill in the last, oh, two years or so, but for me, it's all about the location. Now, why don't we put our eatery differences aside: I know a place on Whyte where we can get $6 pony jugs, see sexy ladies and are guaranteed not to get stabbed*. If we can't agree that's fuckinn' awesome then I fear our relationship is doomed.

*this is not a guarantee

Pleasure Motors said...

You had me at $6 pony jugs.

young d said...

Aaaah. Pony jugs.
Put "two or three ounces" (usually shortpoured, more than usually watered-down) of booze (cheapest shit you can find) in a pony with pop and watch the idjits fly in.

Best bar scam since the bar-going public starting believing that tall, heavy glasses (anywhere from 14-18 ounces) are "pints".

Pleasure Motors said...

PS Come to Ratt.