Friday, August 2, 2013

layover in Edmonton: Canadian Hudson's Tap House and the Sugar Bowl

Every now and then, when we're travelling we end up with a long layover in Edmonton, which is a major hub for a lot of Northern travel. While we were in town, I was hoping to check out downtown for the first time, but Edmonton, like many of the Alberta's communties, was busy being flooded that day, so we decided to head over to the Mall instead, where it was dry inside.

By the Mall, of course, I mean the great West Edmonton Mall, one of the largest malls in North America. I had been to the Mall before, but it was my husband's first time and he wanted to check it out.

How large is the West Edmonton Mall? It is larger than the eye can see. As you approach the Mall, you cannot at any point really see its entirely in one shot. Once you go inside, you think, "Eh, it's pretty big, I guess."  But then you come to the realization that you cannot see the entirety of the Mall from the inside, either.  It just goes on and on and on.

morbid art display or lazy display case decorator?

fast food Korean barbecue! What an amazing idea!

Having just come back from a two week long shopping trip, we weren't much in the mood to go into yet another Bluenotes.  However, we were hungry, and were therefore eager to check out the strip of restaurants in the area of the mall known as Bourbon Street.

There were many, many options of chain restaurants, but the one that caught our eye was Canadian Hudson's Tap House, mainly because they were displaying this special menu:

That's right, an entire menu dedicated to bacon. We were originally looking for a place to try some delicious Alberta beef, since we were in Alberta. To be fair, we've probably been eating Alberta beef all this time in Nunavut, but we wanted to eat Alberta beef in Alberta. With that said, it was pretty hard to turn down a bacon menu.

my grilled bacon macaroni and cheese sandwich, combining three of my favourite things: grilled cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and bacon

washing down all that bacon with some local Alberta beer

Rob ordered a brisket sandwich made with beef served with mustard and gruyere cheese, so we did get to try some Alberta beef after all. It was so juicy and tender it almost rivalled my grandmother's jangjorim. Almost.

feeling full after all that bacon

After our lunch, my buddy D came to pick us up.  D has been living in Edmonton ever since he came back to Canada from Afghanistan where he served in the military.  He will be marrying his fiance in Mexico next spring four days after she does an Iron Man. As you can see, my friend D is not a boring guy.

It was still raining outside, and parts of the city were flooding.  Not exactly patio weather.  D took us the Sugar Bowl Bar, which gave us a glimpse of downtown.  Edmonton's an odd city, unlike other Canadian cites I've seen. There aren't very many tall skyscraper buildings, and it's very spread out - even the downtown core doesn't seem very dense.   

"Here we are!" D announced as we pulled up a to plain brick building.
"This is a back alley."
"This is how we get in."
We entered through the back alley, passing two young gentlemen having some sort of ambiguous interaction.
"What are they doing?" I asked.
"They are having a silent stand-off."
At that moment, I unexpectedly remembered that sometimes this city is called Stabminton. 

Despite the unconventional entrance, the Sugar Bowl turned out to be a lovely place, full of young professionals and artsy types. The menu had one page of food and like ten pages of beer, which is why D likes this place: "It's the perfect place to go after a Saturday morning run, to grab a beer and a cinnamon bun."

The beer selection was impressive too; for instance, there was a number of Belgian beers I hadn't seen since the last time I visited Belgium. I ordered myself a bison chili, which was bison-licious.

And then it was time to go back to the airport to fly to Yellowknife.  As usual, my stay was too short. One of these days we'll have a chance to explore Edmonton deeper, beyond the Mall and the airport. Hopefully at a steakhouse.