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Monday, 30 April 2012

Indian Fusion - From Fiji With Love

Indian Fusion, just steps away from Oliver Square and Grant Mac, deftly weaves together the Indian and Fijian culinary traditions. I had the distinct privilege of reviewing Indian Fusion several years ago for Vue Weekly and always intended to return. Life, as it is wont to do, kept me away for too long.

After a long sabbatical, I enter Indian Fusion's intimate, brickwork space and nibble on a platter of baked samosas. I don't even miss the deep-fryer. These vegetarian morsels burst with potatoes, peas and heady spices and leave nary a trace of grease on the plate.

Pumpkin chokha (pictured in the background), saffron rice (middle) and dhal makni (foreground) follow. Pumpkin chokha, a traditional Fijian dish, is billed - rightly so - as a house specialty. Toothsome cubes of this orange gourd mingle with onions and a kaleidoscope of spices. A scoop of rice and a dollop of earthy dhal round out this course.

Butter chicken is not prepared with butter at Indian Fusion and, consequently, is healthier than similar dishes at other restaurants. It tastes so rich and decadent, though, that one is hard pressed to tell the difference. Divine indulges indeed.

We conclude with tender and invitingly gamey Mughlai lamb. Small bones require dental dexterity but the nibbling is a worthy price to pay for this platter of satiety. The genuinely friendly (and certainly not obsequious) service was the proverbial icing on the cake. If you haven't been to Indian Fusion, just go already!
Indian Fusion The Curry House on Urbanspoon

Monday, 23 April 2012

Sorrentino's - Give pizza a chance

What can I say about pizza that has not already been said? I've considered its evolution, categorized it, eaten it, made it, thought about it, appreciated it.... I've eaten at most places with "good" (i.e., Italian and not Canadian-style) pizza in Edmonton, though purists will contend that the truest of the true pizzas will never be found outside of Italy.

So what was left to try? I caught a rumour that Sorrentino's west end location recently hired a pizzaiolo (a pizza chef) from Italy.  I dug out my city map, figured out where the heck Wolf Willow was, and hauled myself off to this west end maze of crescents and courts with Darcy from Theinfiniteyums and my culinary partner in crime.

Dinner begins with a bold and assertive bottle of La Piazzola valpolicella. It is at once stocky and lithe, loud and demure, just as a good valp should be.

Salad arrives next. Mine is a panzanella salad that features tomatoes, bread, olives and capers tossed in a sturdy oil and vinegar dressing. These are strong and salty flavours that carry the potential to be obnoxious or overwhelming, but the bread cubes do a fine job of tempering these propensities.

We order two pizzas and, instead of ordering off the menu, ask the chef to surprise us. Pizza the first features chicken, fresh tomatoes and green onions. The chicken is lovely - moist and mild - but there are too many onions. The tomatoes, at least, are ripe. Too few restaurant tomatoes (except for canned ones) actually taste like a tomato should.

Pizza the second is simple: sauce, proscuitto, cheese. That's it. Nothing else is needed and that's the way it should be. The thin but not floppy crust stands up to these toppings with ease. I would have crisped up the proscuitto a bit and not layered the slices, but still, this is an immensely enjoyable pizza. I cannot speak firsthand about the veracity of these pizzas, but the proscuitto-cheese one already ranks among my top five favourites in Edmonchuk.
Sorrentino's West on Urbanspoon


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