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Erin McDougall, Sandwiches are Beautiful

Erin McDougall is an educator, writer, proud Canadian and great lover of life. She has called Edmonton her home for the past nine years and is an alumna of the University of Alberta's Arts and Education faculties.  A dancer with U of A's Orchesis Modern Dance, she also teaches dance within Edmonton Public Schools and is a patron of the arts scene in Edmonton.  She is the author of the food blog, Sandwiches are Beautiful, where she shares her favorite homemade sandwich ideas and tips, plus stories of sandwich experiences from around Edmonton and throughout Canada.  @eamcdougall

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An Ode to Whyte Ave and Dadeo's

Wednesday January 29 , 2014

When you think of Edmonton, what comes to mind?

Cold winters.  The beautiful colours of the River Valley in the fall.  A (losing) hockey team.  The Fringe. And last but not least, Whyte Avenue.

I love Whyte Ave. 

It’s my favorite place in this great city I’ve called home for the past nine years.  I love its vibrant community of local shops.  I love seeking refuge from the harsh winter inside the warm pubs and cafes and taking in the sun from the many patios that pop up in the spring and summer.  I love that I can easily spend an entire afternoon wandering up and down 82 Ave, just window shopping and people watching.  I love the sights and smells of the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market  I love going to live theatre at the Varscona, the Arts Barns and C103. I love that there’s always live music somewhere and that I’ll usually run into someone I know.

And I love going for lunch or dinner at Dadeo's.

Dadeo's: A Whyte Ave institution!

Dadeo’s is the New Orlean’s style diner located between 105 and 106 St and Whyte.  The retro atmosphere of vinyl booths, mini-juke boxes and funky tunes is always upbeat and the Cajun-inspired food never disappoints.  The Po’Boy Sandwiches, especially, are to die-for!

We gathered at Dadeo’s a few nights ago, myself and some friends, tired and excited from our successful dress rehearsal for Orchesis Modern Dance’s Motif 2014.  We’d danced hard all week and were looking forward to some celebratory drinks and their famous Sweet Potato Fries from the comforts of the booths in the back.

“I have to apologize in advance – we are sold out of the Sweet Potato Fries,”announced our server almost immediately. Collective gasp among our group.  The breaded yam fries are the clincher to any meal at Dadeo’s and selling out of them is pure prove of their popularity.  Still, we never thought it could happen to us! 

“You’ll just have to try something new!” she said brightly and left us to our menus.  No worries, we soon discovered.  The ample side options - theColeslaw, Potato Hash and BBQ Beans just to name a few – gave us plenty of alternatives.  We ordered drinks: a mixed round of Cherry Cokes, beer and water to refresh our dancer bodies and settled into the task of deciding on Po’Boys. 

All Po'Boy's are $9 on Monday and all day Tuesdays!

I found myself, as always, torn between my two favorites: Pulled Pork or Bayou Burger.  I am still quite often a creature of habit, but if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right?

“You are not allowed to have either of those two sandwiches,” declared our server when I confessed my inability to choose between my two favorite options.  She did have a point.  By always sticking to my favorites, I was denying myself the chance to experience more of Dadeo’s amazing sandwiches.  It was time to branch out.  My friends offered their suggestions (Blackened Catfish! Philly Cheese Steak!).  Finally, I had a new order.

Andouilli Sausage then,” I announced.  She nodded approvingly and brought out the requisite appetizer of bite-sized biscuits and sweet jalapeno jelly. Here goes something delicious!

My new Po’Boy was absolutely worth the risk of trying something new!  The thick slices of Andoulli Sausage brought the heat and spice of classic Cajun food and were perfectly balanced out by the tomato sauce and herb mayo.  The Po’Boy baguettes are always soft inside and slightly crispy outside and taste so fresh.  As for my side option, I dug into the chunky, garlicky Potato Hash, a warmed-up version of potato salad, and found it a worthy alternative to the fries.  My one warning - pop some gum or brush your teeth afterwards since the garlic and spice flavors may linger…

Andouilli Sausage Po'Boy. A new favorite!

As with any good meal, the booths fell silent as we devoured our food: an Au Felix Salad for the friend to my left, the Fritters for the one opposite me, and three other kinds of Po’Boys for the rest.  The Cherry Cokes kept flowing, as did the funky tunes that had us grooving in our seats, and the great conversation between those amazing people; my friends from all different backgrounds, brought together through a love of dance and that night, of great food.

Thank you, Dadeo’s for being out of the Sweet Potato Fries and for making me try something new!  That’s something else I love about Whyte Ave – you never know what exactly you’re going to get!