It’s only fitting that Tony Caterina found a dish that reminds him so much of his childhood so close to his parents’ house.
Caterina, the city councillor for Ward 7, says that, thanks to his Italian roots, his favourite dish has always been pasta with tomato sauce, sausage and rapini (or broccoli rabe). And when he can’t get it prepared by Mama, he heads to Caf Amore on 106th Avenue.
“Growing up, pasta, sausage and rapini were staples my mother always cooked, my favorite as a kid. When I tried the offering from Caf Amore, I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is as close to home as I have ever tasted,'” he says.
Caf Amore’s first location, in a 118th Avenue strip mall, was just steps away from Caterina’s parents’ home. Even though the restaurant has now moved to a location closer to downtown, he still makes his way over there occasionally for a taste of his past.
“The way they prepare and cook the dish, the simplicity of it, is very much ‘authentic’ to me; it really takes me back. It’s delicious homestyle cooking and the way Italian food should taste.” -Glenn Cook
Even though he has only been on the Edmonton airwaves for about a year, Mike Chalut has already learned a lot about the city’s food scene. And he sure knows what he likes.
“I am a poutine addict!” exclaims the morning show host on 91.7 The Bounce. And when he and co-host Helena Schaper are looking to get their fix, they turn to Chef Brayden Kozak at Three Boars Eatery on 109th Street.
The pair – who both moved here from Toronto in 2014 – had their first big night out in Edmonton at Three Boars, and while Chalut admits they partook in many alcoholic beverages from the bar there, the poutine was the star.
“I have never had the same poutine twice at Three Boars. Mexican poutine, apple poutine, poutine a la poutine – I love their poutine!” he says, adding that the eatery has become his go-to place to take guests who are visiting Edmonton for the first time.
Mark Matthews knows his way around a lacrosse field, but not knowing his way around Edmonton inadvertently led him to one of his favourite meals in the city.
The forward for the National Lacrosse League’s Edmonton Rush took a wrong turn one afternoon and happened on the Hardware Grill on Jasper Avenue, where he discovered not only a great historical building – something he says he has always taken an interest in – but also the Crab-Crusted Cedar Plank Salmon.
“It was served with gnocchi, green beans and chanterelle mushrooms. Although not a big fan of mushrooms, they really complimented the dish. The salmon was the best I have eaten, cooked perfectly with a nice cedar flavour.”
Matthews, the first overall pick in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft and the league’s Rookie of the Year that same season, started off his meal with the Petite Artisan Romaine “a la Caesar” salad from Hardware Grill’s appetizer menu – noting that, even though he usually shies away from carbs, he wasn’t leaving the parmesan breadstick on the plate.
For dessert, he opted for the Molten Chocolate Cake, served with caramel popcorn, peanut butter-chocolate ice cream and a crme anglais, and washed it all down with a big glass of milk. -Glenn Cook
“When they first opened up they were called Pizza Boys, because they’re owned by brothers Jason, David, Andrea and Daniel Mazzotta.They often have their dad Vince in there as well. I love their thin crust pizza and, since they were six blocks from our house, it was a perfect setup.
“We would often phone ahead when we were bringing our boys home from basketball and order a pizza. I would go in to pick it up and the boys would want to talk hockey.We’d chat about the Oilers, complain, commiserate, and they would make me an espresso while the pizza was cooking.Sooner or later, my wife Alyson would send one of the boys in to find out what was taking so long.
“Now they’ve expanded the restaurant from a pizza pickup place to Ragazzi Bistro (ragazzi means “boys” in Italian). It’s a beautiful little restaurant that we still love going to and the pizza is great.
“Last year when I was in Sochi, Russia, broadcasting the Winter Olympics, I gave the boys at Ragazzi a shout-out when the Italian team was competing.I said, ‘I think these boys could use an espresso from Ragazzi Bistro to get them going.’The boys loved it.And I love their pizza.”