A little hometown love

by groove on April 11, 2013

Well, it’s nearly the time of year to celebrate Canadian music with the Juno Awards. What makes this year’s awards ceremony special is that it is taking place in our hometown of Regina on April 21, the day after Record Store Day (don’t forget to visit your local indie record shop). Oh how we would love to be there in the days leading up to the awards. Regina will very likely be buzzing with bands playing in every available venue and we’re a couple of provinces away from the action. Dammit!

Canadian music has grown immensely in the last decade or so. We have developed well beyond the limits of Kim Mitchell, Tom Cochrane and Blue Rodeo (all very respectable acts, by the way). This is potentially the most highly abundant time we’ve ever seen in music in this country. What or who can be credited for the absolute tidal wave of talent coming from the Great White North? Is it that certain regions of the country are suddenly overflowing with massive numbers of talented musicians? Is it that new ways of getting music out to the masses has made us all more aware of what is out there? Is there more awareness by club and pub owners and they are doing their part in bringing talent to their small stages? Is there an army of independent record labels pumping out product week-after-week, more than we’ve ever had before (new release Tuesday is no longer a single page of mainstream titles)? It is likely that the answer is: all of the above. It is a great era in music…today…and vinyl is a huge part of it.

New Pornographers

Perhaps one of the first “indie” Canadian bands to hit the scene in a huge way was “The New Pornographers”. We are huge fans of the band – so full of pop hooks you can’t help but like them upon first listen. We remember their appearance on Letterman around the release of “Electric Version” and that is when it became very apparent that the group would continue to have huge success. Their debut album has some of the band’s most infectious songs; “The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism”, “Letter From An Occupant”, “The Body Says No” and the title song are just a few of the highlights. One of the strongest debut albums from any band, it will rest very comfortably in our collection for a long time. The Groove Garden will add the entire Pornographers catalogue to the collection over time, as well as the albums by members Carl Newman and Neko Case.

The Regina connection? Kurt Dahle and Dahle family are friends of the Groove Garden family and it is very cool to see him rise from the bar band scene of 1989/90 to Age Of Electric, Limblifter and finally to his current role as drummer of The New Pornographers.

13th Avenue Coffee House

Since we’re talking about our beloved hometown I want to make mention of a couple awesome restaurants. Each time we head to the Queen City eating at 13th Avenue Food and Coffee House is a must. They are locally owned, enviro friendly, voted best veg restaurant (they also serve meat dishes). Need I say more? I always order one of their tempeh bowls and it tastes fantastic every time. It’s a very small cafe with no air conditioning. This past August when I was there with friends it was over 30 degrees and way too hot to eat inside so we ventured outside to their small patio which is very comfortable except for the many wasps that like to share your meal. Dining outside in Regina in August can be a bit tricky but if the food is good it’s worth it. I would rate this coffee house a must to eat at and lucky for all you living in Regina that can do just that all the time 🙂

The Mercury

I would also like to make mention to the Mercury Cafe and Grill also on 13th Avenue. It’s a retro diner that serves a good veggie burger probably one of the better veg burgers I’ve had in a restaurant. The picture above doesn’t really give it the justice it deserves but in my experience a good homemade burger never looks perfect. It seems like it’s made fresh and served with the usual tomato and onion. The fries served along side also taste pretty good but are of course quite greasy.

One of my first visits to the Mercury I ordered their tofu scramble. First of all I was completely shocked that they offered tofu scramble so of course I had to try it.  Now I have a lot of experience with this dish, I’ve ordered and made my own tofu scramble so I know a good one when I taste it. I would say that they need to perfect their recipe a bit. It was a bit dry and not too flavourful but if you’ve never had one before it’s worth a try. All this talk of tofu scramble has me craving it. Stay tuned for my take on this dish 🙂

There are a few other restaurants in Regina that are excellent and hopefully we’ll be visiting them on our upcoming trip in August. In the meantime, we will continue to review restaurants in the Okanagan. An interesting side note, it’s much easier for me to eat veg dinners in Regina than in West Kelowna. You would think living in the land of fruit and veggies that we would have lots of veg options. Hopefully, that will change over time 🙂


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