I seldom eat Indian food on a road trip. It’s not that I don’t love the rich, complex dishes typical of this cuisine.
It’s just that it tends to be fairly expensive—often exceeding $15 per plate, lunch or dinner—for my travelling budget. Plus the atmosphere is generally dark and formal.
So it’s delightful to discover Remedy Cafe, Zee Zaidi’s growing little kingdom of Indian food joints in Edmonton, Alberta. The eats and drinks are great, the prices most affordable and the spaces bright and roomy, with a counter-service, fast-food vibe (though the bathrooms in the flagship, 109th Street store require a long hike to the nether reaches of the building).
You can certainly order standards like samosa appetizers and butter chicken, served in a copper bowl, with a side of naan. But the lunchtime highlights are the substantial wraps, featuring traditional Indian and Pakistani dishes like tandoori chicken or chana masala stuffed inside a toasted tortilla, with some dipping sauce to spice things up to your heat tolerance. It’s a unique, tasty, stuff-your-gut meal for about $9.
Wash things down with a range of original-recipe chais, steeped over several days, or coffees produced in little siphon pots or through a pour-over filter. Later in the day, join the university crowd swigging from a roster of 70 types of beer.
8631 109 Street (four other Edmonton locations)
Weekdays 7:30 am-midnight, weekends 8 am-midnight
A short drive to the east, hole-in-the-wall Boulangerie Bonjour is doing one thing extremely well, and that’s making sourdough breads. I love the tangy taste and slight chewiness of a good sourdough, and Yvan Chartrand and team certainly delivers with its wild yeast culture, or levain. The organic wheat and rye grains are from Alberta farms and milled at the bakery, where the loaves are baked on a stone oven hearth.
The only problem is choosing: A traditional loaf, a rye raisin walnut or a sundried tomato and olive? Best to get a raw-milk cheese to go with it, though it’s hard to beat the simplicity of just toasting a slice, or two or three, with a generous smearing of melted butter.
8608 99 Street, Edmonton
Tuesday to Friday 8 am-5:30 pm, Saturday 7 am-5 pm. Closed Sunday and Monday