Back in May, we spent a wonderful day in Old Strathcona. After some time perusing the shops along the main strip, we stopped for dinner at La Shish Taouk. Su had raved about their food, but it wasn’t obvious to us until later that this Whyte Avenue location is their third. Funny enough, we used to live within walking distance of their Oliver restaurant…but never once set foot inside.
Taking up a storefront vacated by Crepeworks, the arrangement of a dominant counter and minimal seating up front had been maintained. But pattered wallpaper and a bright red colour scheme did wonders to enhance the narrow space.
The quick-serve Lebanese menu primarily offered marinated meat options served in pita form, or on plates alongside side dishes. Given we had re-watched The Avengers not too long ago (featuring a hilarious post-credit scene involving shawarma), we knew we would both be choosing the chicken shawarma ($6.95, combo $12.18).
Made to order, the wrap was hot and visually tempting. Even better, it tasted as good as it looked – the meat was moist, and I liked the added texture from the pickles and zing from the garlic spread. The toasted fresh pita was icing on the cake. We also shared a side of fries, and though a tad on the salty side, the shoestrings were crackling crisp, the best kind of guilty pleasure.
Chicken shawarma and fries
We’d never doubt Su’s recommendations, but after this visit, we can see why La Shish Taouk has expanded its presence in the city. Go for the shawarma, but make sure to sneak in some fries.
Satiated, we walked over to the Arts Barns for Catalyst Theatre’s The Soul Collector. Mack and I always look forward to their imaginative productions, a signature being their inclusion of highly stylized costumes and props. As a result, it was really neat that they set-up a Catalyst Theatre photo booth for patrons to dress up in pieces used in previous shows. No question, I took advantage of this opportunity.
A Catalyst character mash-up
I loved the whimsical stage that divided the seating area in half. Framed with cardboard trees and starkly lit, it effortlessly conveyed the barren northern setting for this tale of longing and tragedy. While the story wasn’t as compelling as some of their previous works, perhaps we were just grappling with the surprisingly optimistic ending, atypical for Catalyst. Still, we were transfixed by Karyn Mott’s turn as the lead Memory McQuaid (Mack immediately recognized her from her scene-stealing role in The Crimson Yak) – we couldn’t help but be pulled headfirst into her anguish, confusion and fear.
It was a great night out – the first of many for us this summer, just across the river!
La Shish Taouk
10352 82 Avenue (2 other locations)
Sunday-Thursday 11am-2am, Friday-Saturday 11am-4am