It's not every day you'd find me ecstatic over a bowl of soup and a cup of tea.
But this wasn’t an "everyday" kind of day.
In late August, I spoke for the University of Alberta Residence Life Staff training in Edmonton, Alberta, and I had a few extra hours to enjoy before the flight. I headed to one of my two Edmonton favourite hotspots.
Remedy Cafe seems to be a local hub for fringe-type students. With an enormous selection of tea, homemade Indian food, vegan options, and a nifty two-story dining room, it attracts an eclectic group of customers. It's fun – lots of dreadlocked hair, toques (or beanies, as they're called in USA) – even in August, and nose-piercings.
It's hip, for sure, but there's also a mix of well-dressed young professionals, elderly folks from the neighbourhood, and me... an obvious outsider with my rolling suitcase, rubber-necking around the place with an ear to ear grin.
I learned about Remedy three years ago when my couchsurfing host, Kara, took me there on a cold winter's night. I fell in love (with the cafe, not with Kara, although she was lovely too), and I've made a point of going back whenever I have an extra hour in Edmonton.
The place smells like a cross between a tea house and an Indian restaurant, which makes a lot of sense, actually, because that's what it is. (Thanks for the insight, Joel...) Chai, dahl, and two samosas – that was the deal. It's the only thing I've ever had there, and while I usually like trying different things, when I only eat there once or twice a year, I guess I don't want to take the chance that something else might be less-than-stellar. Writing this makes me think perhaps I should give something else a shot. Maybe next time.
I won't bore you with too many details, but I need to share some details of the food: The samosas were piping hot with a delicious sweet sauce. The dahl (a lentil soup, for those unfamiliar) was thick and chunky with an amazing flavour – served with toasted pita. But it was probably the homemade chai that won the prize. Chai is tea, but it's made with lots of milk and sugar and usually cloves, cinnamon, cardamom for extra spice. There was something grated on top of it too.
Whatever spices were in that food and tea, it left my mouth feeling as if it were on fire, but in a good way – maybe like a nice tame campfire, with lots of singing and laughter – that sort of “on fire”. The flavour was all my mouth could handle – I thought perhaps my tongue had been burned, but it was my taste buds! I was being pushed to the edge of my gustatory limit, and I was definitely enjoying living on the edge. I needed to tell someone, so I wrote Kara an email describing where I was, and thanking her again for introducing me to the place.
Every bite seemed to get more intense, and things complemented each other so well. It was everything – the sweet, the savoury, the spicy, the atmosphere. What a rush!
I know, you might be thinking this story has no point, but I need to tell you that at that moment, my senses were alive, my body was awake, and life was invigorating. I feel lucky to have had the experience. Best twelve bucks I'd spent in a while!
I decided to go to Remedy because I knew it would make me happy. But it also turned out that the experience made me feel more alive! Making the time to go had been a good decision.
What will you do to make you feel more alive this month?
October 20, 2011
"What I've enjoyed most, though, is meeting people who have a real interest in food and sharing ideas with them. Good food is a global thing and I find that there is always something new and amazing to learn - I love it!"
-Jamie Oliver, Chef
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Formerly called "The Beanstalk", the new article series "Excited to be Here!" is an account of Joel's unique travels and wacky adventures: Life is pretty exciting when you're paying attention.
Joel Hilchey is the Founder of The Beanstalk Project. An educator and entertainer, Joel inspires character by juggling, storytelling, and playing with mousetraps. Joel specializes in opening keynotes for conferences and offsite retreats, engaging people to people think differently so they learn more, have more fun, and get the most out of an experience.
To book Joel, contact him by phone at 1-877-487-5635 or check him out online at www.joelhilchey.com!
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Riddle of the Month:
Full of flavour and spice, I'm an Indian treat, and my triangle shape makes me more fun to eat. With veggies or spinach or meat wrapped in dough, I'm thrown in the fryer and ready to go! What am I?