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Thursday, 24 July 2014

A Fine Kettle of Fish at Maritime Concession

Good seafood requires no embellishment.

Indeed, memories of Victoria's Red Fish Blue Fish run as clear as a tidal pool in full sunshine, resplendent with colourful fauna that dart in and out of the shadows faster than the thoughts that chase them. Queuing on a dock to purchase fish and chips from a converted sea can just adds to the fun. Alas, there are no docks or sea cans in Edmonton. There is, however, a bare-bones trailer with an unapologetically plywood awning that dishes seaworthy fish (and shellfish) and chips, parked way the hell and gone in a west-end industrial park.

Accurately-named Maritime Concession maintains a straightforward menu of fish and chips; iterations on this theme include haddock, scallops, and clams. Burgers and hotdogs are along for the ride as well.Single-serve packets of tartar sauce and vinegar are intuitive additions.

Haddock and chips take a few minutes to appear out the window; sizzles and scents from within confirm that each filet was fried on demand. Upon arrival, crispy and veritably greaseless batter presents an enviable envelope for the haddock's flaky, pale flesh. A bed of fries tends toward the squishy end of the French fry spectrum, but no matter. The fish is Maritime's focal point.

Fried scallops are juicy yet firm bundles enveloped by crispy crust. Close one's eyes, and one might imagine the roar of surf, rather than traffic, just beyond the Concession's bounds. It's not that far-fetched, and Maritime Concession does an admirable job of bringing coastal treats inland. Here is a fine kettle of fish.

Maritime Concession on Urbanspoon

Monday, 7 July 2014

I Love Lusitania - An evening at A Taverna

Nature abhors a vacuum.

Indeed, good restaurant real estate is a limiting factor in most cities. When Cafe Amore - a treasured Italian eatery - vacated its Delton digs, another Italian cafe rushed in to fill the void. Alas, it was not to be. Several months thereafter, A Taverna assumed this cozy nook, a half-block off an elm tree-lined street that is just far away enough from downtown's din to be considered cozy and intimate.

A Taverna might be as close as one might get to Portugal without actually hopping on a plane. Indeed, little to no English will be heard on any given night (though don't, by any means, let that dissuade you from going), and the menu makes no excuses for North American palates. A sampler plate of "Petiscos" - the nearest recognizable analogue being tapas - is a crash course in all things Lusitanian. For example, a simple stew of chicken gizzards rumbles with tomatoes and unobtrusive spices. Superfluous garlic toast wouldn't be missed, but the toothsome flesh rouses even the most stubborn of appetites.

Velvety, unctuous tuna pate (pictured at front) lends itself nicely to crunchy rounds of bread. Cured pigs' ears (pictured at rear) are more texture than flavour; a soft outer stratum reminiscent of pork belly gives way to a chewy, yet crunchy, interior not dissimilar to tripe, and are not for the faint of heart.

Flagship Bacalhao is salty and satisfying. Myomeres of pale codflesh fall away at a fork's touch. Tumbles of caramelized onions and discs of fried spud (think scalloped potatoes minus the scalloping) are happy, savoury companions.

White Pudding sends the evening out in style, shining over the surrounding symphony of animated chatter and soccer news. Somewhere between jello and creme brulee in texture, this berry-crowned creation beguiles with simple notes of milk and vanilla.

Comparisons between Cafe Amore and A Taverna would be futile and specious. The sizzles and sounds of life emanate from this Delton corner and, really, if Portuguese is the primary language spoken within, this can only mean good things.

A Taverna on Urbanspoon


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