Core lessons for Canada 150

You can walk past Edmonton’s deep connection to Canada without even knowing it. But you wouldn’t want to do that. For your adventurous spirit, as our country celebrates 150 years, here are some links to the bigger story.

1. Commodore Restaurant

A gold rush attracted the first throng of Chinese settlers to Canada, in 1858. Twenty-five years later, 6,500 Chinese workers helped build the railroad across Canada. And in 1890, the first Chinese settler, Chung Gee, arrived in Edmonton, via Calgary, to open a laundromat located between 105 and 106 Street, off Jasper Avenue. In 1942, two blocks away from the original laundromat, the Gee family opened Commodore Restaurant, one of the longest-operating Chinese cafés in Edmonton. Although most head to Chinatown for Chinese food, we suggest heading to Commodore for “Western” Chinese dishes like chop suey and egg foo yung—and don’t forget to say hello to David and Wilma Gee, relations of Chung Gee.

2. The banks of the North Saskatchewan River

Years before the Klondike Gold Rush, prospectors staked their claim along the North Saskatchewan River. Though the waters weren’t awash with gold nuggets, you could find particles, known as ‘gold flour.’ At the peak of Edmonton’s rush, from 1895 to 1897, about 300 miners came to the city. Most could not resist the tales of more substantial finds in the Yukon, though, and by the end of 1897, they had moved to the Klondike. Today if you want to strike it rich, you can make your way to Ezio Faraone Park at 110 Street, take the stairs down to the river below and pan on the sandbanks and gravel bars with hobbyists.

3. 110 Street in Grandin

The first European language spoken in what became Alberta was French. French-Canadian voyageurs arrived in the North West Territories for the fur trade, married Cree women and established the first Métis communities. Soon thereafter Francophone missionaries followed and built churches across Alberta. Edmonton’s Grandin neighbourhood is home to St. Joachim’s Church, one of the first French-speaking parishes in Edmonton, originally established at the first location of Fort Edmonton (where the Alberta Legislature building now sits). Further south down 110 Street, Grandin School, built in 1915, is another reminder of Edmonton’s French roots. It was intended to offer instruction in French only, but with a growing English population in the core, the sisters from the Les Fidèles Compagnes de Jésus taught students in both languages. St Joachim played an important part in helping other Roman Catholic churches get built. Parishioners helped organize the fundraising efforts for St. Joseph’s Basilica, on 113 Street. •

Be a Better Edmonton Ambassador to Your Christmas Visitors

zocalo

Let’s face it: few people visit Edmonton in the winter unless they have family obligations or are home for the holidays. So it’s our duty to be good ambassadors by taking them to one of these unique-to-Edmonton hotspots which highlight our winter wonders and proud treasures.

Zocalo: The name, in Spanish, means “public square,” and although you’ll find it in the heart of Little Italy this greenhouse is truly a community hub. Seek out fresh cut flowers, beautiful indoor and outdoor plants and memorable gifts. After shopping with guests, catch up in the Zocalo’s café over its tempting espresso milkshakes, delicious house-made chocolates and pastries or a European-style lunch. 10826 95 St.

The IceWay Skating TrailThis fairy tale skating trail lets you and your guests wind through trees and experience nature along Edmonton’s river valley. The journey begins at Victoria Oval Park, our official speed-skating track, and turns into a skating trail lined with multi-coloured lights and lanterns.  10am–10pm, 12130 River Valley Rd.

Confederation Lounge: Reminisce on old times in wing-backed chairs and cozy up in this estate library-style setting in the iconic hotel’s lounge. The “Mac” has been a gathering spot for good times for 101 years. With a creamy cappuccino or Mission Hill Reserve’s Pinot Noir in hand, and a breathtaking river valley view, treat your guests like royalty and make them wish they never left Edmonton. 10065 100 St., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–1 a.m., Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–12 a.m.

Made Local SocietyExplore Edmonton’s creative hub, a character house filled with hands-on workshops. Inside you’ll find jewellery-making, mixed media art journaling and social media marketing for beginners. Other attractions include artist studios and a shop selling locally made treasures, from decor to skin-care products. Whether you and your guests want some bonding time, need last minute Christmas gifts or want to show of Edmonton’s brilliant minds, Made Local is a great destination. 10149 122 St.

Vacancy Hall: Burrow into Mercer Warehouse’s basement, where a versatile retail and studio space gives up-and-coming artists, brands and entrepreneurs an eclectic place to promote their products. Introduce your friends to artisans at Clo’s General Leather Co., the Skinny and Edmonton in a Box, and show them a side to this city that’s rarely recognized.  10363 104 St., Mon–Fri 10am–6pm, Sat 11am–3pm

Holland Plaza: Swing by Provisions, the kitchen and baking store created by the Duchess Bake Shop. Friends and family will swoon over its international and hard-to-find cookbooks, ingredients and bakeware. You’ll find it hard to leave, so pair it with an interactive cooking class or breakfast next door at its sister bistro Café Linnea. This multi-purpose building holds something for everyone, like Barre Body Studio for the fitness-obsessed cousin or the Local Omnivore for low-key friends. 10934 119 St.

Victoria Park Cross-Country Ski Trails: Grab your skis or borrow some from MEC, then enjoy your choice trail around the Victoria Golf Course in Edmonton’s river valley. Whether you want to try out a leisurely path just for fun, or challenge your friends on a 2.5-kilometre race, this is the place to start. Refuel at the course’s Dogwood Café for all-day breakfast offerings; consider the Portuguese-inspired breakfast sandwich or, if you need to warm up, a cup of a hot cocoa or coffee. 12130 River Valley Rd.

Hacking 7-Eleven: A High-end Chef’s Guide to Low-brow Meals

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Filliep Lament has cooked at high-end eateries in Montreal. Locally, he’s been spotted in upscale kitchens like Woodwork, Three Boars, North 53 and now the new Café Linnea from Duchess Bake Shop. But the sous chef wants closeted 7-Eleven fans to know that, after their kitchens close, even the city’s best cooks grub out on Jamaican patties and greasy meatball kebabs—or “hack” the convenient store staples by, say, filling a hot dog bun with a taquito smothered in nacho cheese.

“It’s very convenient because it’s one place downtown that is open 24 hours,” says Lament. It’s even more convenient since, in recent years, three 7-Elevens have popped up on Jasper Ave., no more than eight blocks apart. And while he’s no advocate of a 7-Eleven-only diet, Lament says that hacking recipes is a fun way to take your inner foodie on a trashy date.

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Jerky Chili Dog

JERKY CHILI DAWG
• 1 Big Bite hot dog
• 1 bag of beef jerky (not teriyaki flavoured)
• 1 generous helping of chili from the condiments section

Order one Big Bite hot dog, buy a bag of jerky and proceed to condiments stand. Cut up strips of jerky into bite-sized pieces. Cover the hot dog with liquid chili from the condiments stand (yes, this exists). Top chili with jerky pieces and enjoy—but probably not just before bed.


WONDER BREAD PUDDING
• 10 slices of Wonder Bread diced into large cubes
• 1 sm. carton whipped cream
• 2 vanilla International Delight creamers “borrowed” from the coffee station
• 1 egg
• 4 egg yolks
• 2 chocolate bars (Caramilk or Cookies n’ Cream) chopped into large bite-sized pieces

Gently mix all of the ingredients into a bowl with your hands and let it soak for up to three hours. Pack mixture into a square baking dish and preheat oven to 300F. Set baking dish on top of shallow pan in the oven. Pour hot water in the pan, making sure the water comes halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Cook for 45 min. Cool and serve at room temperature. It’ll satiate the latchkey kid in you.


BANANA SPLIT 4-2-0
• Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream (2–3 flavours)
• 1 banana
• 1 sm. carton of whipped cream
• 2 pkg. Stroopwafels
• 2 chocolate bars (Hershey’s plus a peanut variety like Snickers)
• 1 pkg. of Cherry Blasters

It’s just four ingredients, two toppings and zero guilt (until it’s all gone). Melt the chocolate bars in a bowl placed over top of boiling water to make them drizzle. Score the peeled banana down the centre length-wise and place on plate. Cut Stroopwafels in half and place two on each side of the banana. Add a scoop of each ice cream on top. Whip the cream with fork and scoop on top of ice cream. Repeat with another layer of ice cream and whipped cream. Spoon on chocolate drizzle and top with Cherry Blasters.

Puppy Central: Six Reasons Your Dog Loves the Core

(1) The (Un)Official Off-Leash Park
The core doesn’t have an off-leash park (yet), but the historical McKay schoolyard is the next best thing. It’s a quiet, hidden patch of greenery amongst the vast concrete, and best of all it’s fenced in. Bring a ball and let them run free. 10425 99 Ave.

(2) Made with Love
On your next stroll down 124 St., scoot into Food Dish Wishes to treat your furry friend with homemade gourmet biscuits. Owners/sisters Tessa and Ashley Lee not only serve up decadent delights for dogs, but loving homes for cats; the shop supports an animal adoption service right inside this little gem. Here’s hoping they all get along. 10724 124 St NW; facebook.com/fooddishwishes

(3) Stress-free Socializing
The famed and trusted daycare Divine K9 & Feline is tucked just behind Oliver Square. Conveniently located for quick and easy pickup/dropoff, you can get on with your life while your pooch socializes with others and gets some exercise with a “Pack Leader” staff who are trained themselves—in animal behaviour, nutrition and health. 10552 114 St.; 780-421-7888; divinek9.ca

(4) Get the Goods
Looking to stock up on the good stuff? The helpful staff at Global Pet Foods, a Canadian-owned chain, will guide you through their dizzying selection of dog foods—from locally sourced to brand name and organic—and not to mention troves of toys. So if that old stuffed animal is hanging onto its last leg, let your pooch pick out something new to destroy. 10103 117 St.; globalpetfoods.com

(5) Fur on Fleek
Your paws are in good hands with the Edmonton Journal Readers’ Choice-approved groomers at the Pampered Puppy. All staff have completed full certification in pet first-aid and grooming, so you can just drop them off and enjoy a few hours to yourself, worry-free. On top of regular grooming services, you’ll also find supplies for those quick DIY touch ups. 10303 124 St.; thepamperedpuppy.net

(6) Just the Two of Us
Escape to Louise McKinney Riverfront Park for a peaceful walk along the edge of Edmonton’s winding river valley. This stretch of greenery is perfect for an early morning walk or run with your furry friend—and thanks to a looping pathway, dogs can literally run laps. 9999 Grierson Hill Rd.

Catch Cold

figure skater
Snowy Excursions:
Get off the beaten track just like the first Canadians used to—in snowshoes. Strike out on your own by trudging across Victoria or Hawrelak parks’ open snowscapes, or, if you require guidance, sign up for a guided tour with River Valley Adventure Co. Headquartered in Louise McKinney Park, the company doesn’t just rent out know-how, but snowshoes too. Gather a group of four or more, buckle on a pair of ergonomic MSR snowshoes (designed to improve your traction without weighing you down) and spend the day crunching over the river valley’s snowdrifts with a trusty guide. (Open Friday–Monday, 11am–4pm; 780-995-7347; rivervalleyadventure.com)

Skate Free
What’s more Albertan than an outdoor skating rink? The rink on the Alberta Legislature grounds. Revel in the limited but bright winter sun or appreciate the twinkling Christmas lights adorning the park through December and January. For more space and bigger crowds, head to the Victoria Park Oval—and while you’re there, check out the Winter Chalet at Victoria Golf Course (weekends, 9am–4pm) to warm up with hot chocolate and bannock by the fire. Both rinks are open for free public skating everyday (10am—10pm) until it’s about to melt—but don’t wait too long because climatologists are expecting a short winter. Make the best of it.

Ski the Valley
Take advantage of the well-groomed skiing trails in Hawrelak, Victoria and Kinsmen parks—all three locations are furnished with chalets, so you can thaw your toes before hitting the track again. The Edmonton Nordic Ski Club organizes group skiing in the river valley every Wednesday evening, as well as Sunday day-trips to venues outside the city. Whether your legs are a little wobbly or ready for Olympic tryouts, join the club’s Annual End-to-End River Valley Ski over the holiday season and keep your eyes peeled for “moonlight ski” events (think buddies, headlamps and a potluck). The club also facilitates an online ski swap in case your gear needs an upgrade or you haven’t any at all. Or you can rent skis from Mountain Equipment Co-op. (Edmontonnordic.ca)

Swing Away the Winter Blues
From January to February, Swing ‘n’ Skate Sundays turns winter blues to winter grooves at City Hall. Live jazzy musicians in the City Room provide the soundtrack while Sugar Swing Dance Club members provide free instruction on the dance floor inside. They’ll guide you through tuck-turns and walkthroughs before sending you off to do it on skates—the band is also broadcast over the outdoor rink out front. Don’t have skates? On-site rentals are free. (Sundays 1–4 pm; exploreedmonton.com)

Coast the Slopes
Some municipalities are cracking down on urban tobogganing, but not this one. Edmonton boasts prime sledding hills maintained by the City and made easy with run-outs and marked sledding areas. Whether you cruise on old-fashioned toboggans, “snow saucers” or Krazy Karpets (consult your childhood diary for definitions), bring along your sleds, helmets and besties to Emily Murphy or Gallagher Park hills. If you’re brave, hit the notorious hill at Government House Park. (For slope conditions and lists visit tinyurl.com/yegtoboggan)

Huddle Inside
Built in 1972, the Oliver Arena is a neighbourhood institution. On those few blisteringly cold days, take refuge on its 1,500-square-metres of pristine ice surface. Drop-in public skating for all ages is free for an hour every Sunday at 4:15pm, and skate rentals and sharpening are available inside. (10335 119th street)

Smarten Up


woodworking
Woodworking 101

Spruce up your crib with new furniture built with your own bare, fully fingered hands, thanks to the guidance of acclaimed woodwork design boutique Oliver Apt. This daylong beginner class is safe and fun, taking you through the steps of crafting a beautiful contemporary bench. Sorry, Ron Swanson won’t make a cameo, but pizza will. Plaid clothing optional. ($600 in advance starting Saturdays in Sept/Oct; incl. materials and refreshments; Oliver Apt., 10225 100 Ave.)

printmakingFine Prints

Design stencils and layer colours as you construct your pop-art masterpiece during this six-week beginner workshop on the basics of printmaking. These techniques will pay off in vibrant design prints perfect for posters and shirts. Not your thing? The Society of Northern Alberta Print-artists can indulge your etching, letterpress and relief print courses. ($286 starting September 22; SNAP Print Studio, 10123 121 St.)

whiskeyExpand Your Whiskey Palate

It’s your chance to find out why Kavalan—this year’s “World’s Best Whiskey”—comes 10,000 kilometres from Scotland. The first step to becoming a connoisseur of Taiwanese and Indian single malt whiskies is attending deVine Wines’ tasting and presentation. Sip and learn about the extensive history and unique molasses distilling process of this new and exploding market.($50 in advance on Sept. 24 at 7pm; deVine Wines, 10111 104 St.;devinewines.ca

terrariumBuild Your Own Terrarium

Annie Parent, owner of the eclectic boutique Habitat Etc., walks you through the steps of building and caring for your own succulent garden. Perfect for an evening out with friends, each of you leaves with your own personalized arrangement of echeveria, stonecrop and more.($50 on Sept. 22, incl. materials and refreshments; Habitat Etc., 10187 104 St.)

abeltonChannel Your Inner DJ

No guarantee your set will top the charts, but this 12-week introduction to music software Abelton Live will teach you how to produce sick electronic music and hip-hop beats. These seminar-style classes with the DJs and concert promoters known as Night Vision will build your confidence with music theory, mixing and mastering as you transform into a pro. Wait, did we actually say “sick”? The transformation’s begun… ($700–$800 starting Sept. 13; Night Vision Music, 11231 Jasper Ave.)

Hors d’Oeuvres for the HolidaysBite sized potato rosti appetizer topped with fresh sour cream, smoked salmon and dill viewed from directly above

Ease your way into the season with the help of this holiday entertaining workshop. Learn some of the coming season’s trending eats, such as Spanish dates and chicken parmesan tidbits, alongside Gail Hall, one of Edmonton’s most knowledgeable chefs and culinary educators. ($175 on Nov. 14, incl. all ingredients, recipe kit, apron, wine and certificate; Seasoned Solutions Loft Cooking, 10249 104 St.)

gameGamers Unite

Think game apps are distracting? Wait till you’re creating your own with the world’s most popular video game design technology. The workshop hosted by Edmonton Digital Arts College covers design foundations, application and customization using the Unity 3D platform. Over 15 weeks, participants collaborate on a game from concept to completion, while each gets one-on-one time with an industry professional. Best of all, unlike level 147 of Candy Crush, this class won’t cost you a dime. (Free starting in October; Stanley Milner Library)

 

Urban Athletics

rivercityrunners

Preparing for a marathon run? Consider joining the River City Runners. rivercityrunners.ca

1. RUN LIKE YOU MEAN IT
If the only obstacle between you and a marathon finish line is a support group, then consider the River City Runners your new best friends. These dozen race enthusiasts meet weekday mornings outside of the Starbucks on 109 St. and Jasper Ave. for casual five to ten-km runs through the river valley, then go hardcore on Saturdays: 30 clicks. It’s obviously not for running virgins; the goal is to compete in gruelling marathons and half-marathons. rivercityrunners.ca

2. GO WITH THE FLOW
This summer, fitness guru Jesse Lipscombe brings home fitness to North American living rooms with a new DVD workout program, FlowPower. But why not try the tai chi/yoga/high-intensity training hybrid free with the man himself? Find Jesse or his crew every Tuesday and Thursday evening in Constable Ezio Faraone Park, and then sweat your way through jumps, burpees and squats for 60 minutes—regardless of your fitness level. Muscle development is core to FlowPower, meaning you’ll lose weight while increasing your strength, balance and athletic ability. Or join Monday and Wednesday for free bootcamp in the same location. Register at wevivefitness.com.

3. SOAK UP THE WATER AND SUN
Nothing beats a dip in the open-air Oliver Pool tucked behind the well-treed Kitchener Park. Originally built in 1924 to meet the growing city’s appetite for modern swimming facilities with heated change rooms and excellent water filtration, the pool kept civilized Edmontonians from soaking in the North Saskatchewan River or neighbourhood bogs. Today, the well-maintained pool keeps you from heading indoors on hot summer days. Laps and serious workouts in this 30.5-metre pool prove difficult on busy weekends, but you could hold onto the ledge for some callisthenics. edmonton.ca/activities_parks_recreation

4. MAKE LIKE JOHN McENROE
Pick up a game of tennis or practice your swing regardless of your skill level at the Kinsmen outdoor courts every Sunday around 11 am. Don’t worry about bringing a partner: Team Edmonton, a local organization promoting LGBTQ sports and rec, pairs you with a player so you’ll be practising your swing in no time. Thin morning crowds mean the wait rarely tops more than 30 minutes to snap up one of the three asphalt courts. teamedmonton.ca

5. POWER THROUGH THE PEDWAY
The much-maligned 13-km pedway system is the perfect way to up your heart rate on rainy days. Since exercise is the goal, excuse yourself as you climb the escalators throughout the uninterrupted seven-block route, starting at Shaw Conference Centre. A caution here: though the City’s improved the quizzical signage last year, some spots might still leave you second-guessing your direction. When in doubt, follow the office crowd who know the connections best.

6. SLAY THE STAIRS
Oilers defenceman Andrew Ference will put you through a gruelling but gratifying regime of running, stairs and more stairs. Rain or shine, the Edmonton chapter of the free fitness movement November Project meets three days weekly at 6 am. Monday’s surprise location is sometimes in your backyard (check @Nov_ProjectCAN on twitter the day before), while Wednesday sees the “tribe,” as they like to be called, hit the stairs at Commonwealth Stadium. Friday’s workout begins from Emily Murphy Park and you can bet it involves running the dreaded Glenora stairs. november-project.com

Kids ‘n’ Play


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1. TRAIN TOGETHER
The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup will put a spotlight on Edmonton in June, but there’s another beautiful game this summer: Urban Kids U4 soccer club. For six weeks starting in May, Oliver and Downtown kids (ages 3–4) can train for future gold close to home. Urban Kids team is seeking players, coaches, assistants and business sponsorship. Contact Heather Mackenzie.

2. SOAK YOURSELF 
The cost of taking the kid for a Sunday swim? Nothing after 1:30 pm at Don Wheaton Family YMCA. That is, for DECL members. But at $5 a pop, memberships pay for themselves in a single splash. Buy them online. It also comes with a two-week YMCA pass.

3. DIG INTO DIM SUM
Brunches at the Century Palace (9700 105 Ave.) or Urban China (10604 101 St.) are the perfect ways to broaden kids’ palates. Watch their eyes widen when they’re allowed to pick and choose treats like pork and scallion dumplings from a constant stream of rolling carts. The kid-sized portions are a bonus.

4. GET ARTSY
The AGA’s BMO World of Creativity room is just for kids. Until April 16, they can hop around the world with a rabbit named Boo by artist Jason Carter. Kids under seven get in free—and so do you every last Thursday evening of the month. Don’t forget about free family art activities every last Sunday of the month, plus weekly drop-in classes (ages 6–12, $15) on everything from pop art to movies.

5. GROW TOGETHER
The popularity of community gardens means you don’t need your own yard to enjoy the virtues of gardening. Peace Garden Park (10259 120 St.) or our Urban eden (9910 Bellamy Hill Rd.) are a short walk away. And while you tend vegetables and beautiful flowers, they get to play with the worms. It’s win-win. Bringing home freshly unearthed carrots might even get them interested in meal planning.

6. JOIN A PLAYGROUP
It’s one of the best things you can do to connect with other parents nearby, especially in a neighbourhood with few schools. While your kids discover new friends and toys, chatting with other parents reminds you that it’s more than possible to live in smaller quarters with an active toddler or two. Ollie’s Treehouse meets every Sunday afternoon at the OCL Hall. DECL also organizes a playgroup, urban Kids Board games’ night, every month.

Good, Fast and Incredibly Cheap

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$4.75 BORSCHT — THE SEQUEL CAFÉ: You’ll find the city’s best bowl of borscht—and one of Edmonton’s best Art Deco classic buildings — kitty corner to Churchill Square. The Sequel Café’s generously sized, chunky red soup is spicy, earthy and bright, and quenched by a dollop of sour cream. It’s a lunch-crowd favourite, along with the other delicious soups du jour, all of which come with a wedge of multigrain loaf. Cash only, but heck, it’s only $4.75. And that’s including GST. (10011 102 Ave.)

$5.00 LUNCHES — GABBANA FINE DINING: This Asian-fusion restaurant serves a heaping plateful of rice and breaded coconut lemon chicken that’s sweet as heaven and cheap as hell. Unbelievably, lunch costs even less on Mondays and Tuesdays. Bombay butter chicken, Szechuan beef rice bowl, lemon chicken, green curry shrimp, Chinatown barbecue pork, Thai chicken—all $5. Take note, it fills up quickly with staff from the nearby General Hospital, so stake your claim before 11:30 a.m. (11223 Jasper Ave.)

TACOS_OTR_Winter2014$1.00 TACOS – ON THE ROCKS: Once a week, a demographic slice of Oliver packs this neighbourhood pub from 5 p.m. to close for Taco Tuesdays. Order the “Quattro,” an assortment of hard shell, soft tortilla, ground beef or grilled chicken tacos. The catch? Guacamole or salsa are also a buck apiece. (11740 Jasper Ave.)

$3.50 SANDWICHES – ITALIAN BAKERY: For little more than bus fare, you’ll get a freshly baked bun filled with imported meats and cheeses of your choosing at this popular Chinatown bakery and deli. Peruse the assortment of fillings behind the glass counter. When your number comes up counter staff will slice your picks right on the spot. Add another meat for fifty cents and don’t forget to ask for the roasted red pepper spread. It’s deceptively simple, yet transcendent. (10646 97 St.)

$3.75 CHEESEBURGER — THE COMMODOREIt might be a hole in the wall but it’s not on your pocket. With soups cheaper than cappuccinos and omelettes and burger meals for hardly more, the prices (and not to mention its 1940s diner setting) might fool you into thinking you’ve travelled back in time. (10712 Jasper Ave.)

BAHN_MI$4.00 BANH MI — VAN LOC: For pocket change, this Vietnamese sandwich bar stuffs a crunchy baguette with saté chicken, shredded pork or deli cuts and the essentials. For banh mi newbies, that’s a spread of fish sauce, shredded carrots and cucumbers, fresh cilantro and hot pepper rings. Five-dollar footlong? Try $4. (10648 98 St.)

$4.00 BREAKFAST — BACCARAT CASINO: It’s not breakfast at the Fairmont, but shortcomings aside the Baccarat Casino has its riches. The food at Café Paradice is filling and the service quick. And at $4, the weekday breakfast of pancakes, eggs, toast and hash browns, and ham and cheese omelettes might just be the safest bet you can place. Just ask the arena construction workers who start their day off with this no-frills breakfast. (10128 104 Ave.)

$5.50 DAL AND RICE — REMEDY CAFE: Blink and you’ll miss this Indian cuisine staple on the scrolling menu. Dal makhani, or lentil stew, seems simple until the richness of a plethora of spices envelopes your mouth. It arrives in a sizeable steel bowl and equal side of spiced rice, which you can mix if you’ve got sensitive tastebuds. And if you ask for pita or naan, it’s yours at no charge. (10279 Jasper Ave., 10310 124 St. and other locations.)

$6.19 BIBIMBAP — 105 FOOD STORE: Any number of downtown office towers have convenience stores selling hot lunches, but none make it as well as the Choy family in the Capitol Building. It feels like an office potluck when they start preparing it from crockpots, rice cookers and Tupperware—indeed, the bibimbap (Korean beef, sweet sticky rice and steamed vegetables) are just like they make it at home. Other daily specials include minced beef rice, chicken rice and a delectable chicken teriyaki. (10242 105 St.)