STEEL WHEELS PIZZERIA (EDMONTON, ALBERTA)
10307 85 Ave NW
When you arrive at Steel Wheels Pizzeria in Edmonton, Alberta, its surroundings lead you to believe you’re about to chow down on some tire rims or office supplies rather than straight up “drunk food.” Although I suppose depending how “in the bag” you are, the building’s aforementioned neighbours could also qualify as eateries. It’s immediately clear that this is a late-night joint from the music being cranked out through a severely blown PA system on the OUTSIDE of the building. This assumption is only further cemented when you walk in the front door to find the walls of the place covered in graffiti (half pretty well done, half clearly done by drunkards), and also littered with nailed-up paper plates sporting scribbled messages from past patrons. The first plate that caught my eye was actually penned by a great band I know from Chicago called Flatfoot 56 (www.myspace.com/flatfoot56). Small world.
Steel Wheels really does harbour quite the camp-like feel, as all of its walls, floors, tables and chairs are all wooden and worn in. Even the order counter looks like one straight out of a tackle and bait shop in cottage country somewhere. The menu is simple: Pizza, very particular Asian cuisine, pop and chocolate bars. And the menu board itself looks like it was made in a 3rd grade art class. No offense meant there at all. I honestly mean that as a compliment, since this place really does have a “don’t give a fuck” attitude and a simplistic goal. The pepperoni pizza is very affordably priced at $3 for 2 generously thick slices. These slices come with a nicely seasoned crust a mountain of cheese atop the pepperoni, but the real gem is the variety of bizarre sauces laid out on the counter for your enjoyment. Ever wanted to try plum sauce on pizza? Or teriyaki sauce? If so, you’ve found your holy grail. They’ve got some more normal choices as well, such as sweet chili and ranch. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less of delicious options. Check out my concoction of plum and teriyaki below in the last blog entry before this one.
As for the asian cuisine… the veggie spring rolls are a decent size and perfectly crispy. The pork dumplings however weren’t as well done as I usually like them to be, but lets be honest here… THIS IS DRUNK FOOD. And the price is definitely right. A word to the wise though: if you’re going to order a pop from Steel Wheels, give it a second to settle before you open it. For some reason the display fridge is fully stocked with an array of soda drinks, but they’re all upside down.
If you’ve got a minute to wait for your food, take a gander at the collection of super-dated VHS tapes in a display window beside the kitchen, to the right of where you just ordered. They’re stocking just the hits: Learn to Dance Texas Style, Hellraiser 1 & 2, Homeward Bound, among others. Even more curious than the VHS tapes’ presence, is the fact that there is no TV in the dining area. And I use that term “dining area” loosely, since it feels like you’re in some punk rock cabin in the middle of a Canadian city. I think the cook is just getting stoked watching films all pre-dating this Millennium we live in now while making food for their customers. And apparently they like to show off their cinematic tastes.
I’m unsure of how to rate this place, but since this is a very new blog I’m not even sure if I’ll be rating the strange places I find on my travels. For now, fuck it. What I’ll say though is this: drunk or not, if you want a weird mish-mash of greasy food late at night, head to Steel Wheels Pizzeria. And try the plum sauce.
drinking in bed can be counter-productive. sure you’re comfy with a good buzz, but what happens when the middle-of-the-night wiz strikes? what a dilemma…
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