Eating at the Highlevel Diner seems to be a prerequisite for becoming an Edmontonian and, for those born and raised in Edmonton, the occasional meal there reaffirms citizenship. I lunched there once several years ago and enjoyed a lip-smacking sandwich stuffed with mortadella, capocollo and loads of other good things. It must have been a daily special, for I did not again spot it on their menu. I recently tried the Highlevel's supper menu, though it did not make as profound an impression on me as their supper of yore.
I nosh on a Smoked Salmon Quesedilla with capers, Monteray Jack cheese, jalapenos and a green salad. Smoked salmon rarely makes an appearance in quesedillas and the fish's smoky essence is apparent, nudged on by the salty capers. I detect no heat from jalapenos, though. A pepperjack cheese might better have suited this dish. An accompanying fruit salsa is an agreeable companion that would benefit from a livelier hit of citrus. Green salad is fresh and unobtrusive.
My dinner companion's Jambalaya could use a lot more BAM! as Chef Emeril Lagasse might put it. Brown rice gives it a nutty touch and the chunks of sausage, chicken and shrimp are generous, but the entire unit could be saucier. Grilled cornbread is quite lovely on its own or with a scoop of jambalaya.
I wish I could have ordered that sandwich - the one that still resonates in my memory. Visiting the Highlevel does indeed make me feel a part of Edmonton's popular culture and collective memories, but the night's meal fell squarely in middle ground.
(By the way, "Meet Me in the Middle" is one of the most rad 80s Canadian rock songs ever.)