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YES! Tropical Hot (not Hut!), Calgary- real Trinidadian!!


Restaurants & Bars 9

YES! Tropical Hot (not Hut!), Calgary- real Trinidadian!!

John Manzo | Oct 12, 2006 06:54 PM

I took advantage of an afternoon off to make the loooong trip from U of C to Forest Lawn to check out Tropical Hot, 1715 52nd St SE. This is in a little cluster of stores just north of 17th Ave on the west side of 52nd St- it is across the street from the plaza containing the sublime Middle Eastern Bakery, home of the best Lebanese meat pies in town. I was prepared to go there to pick up lunch if this Tropical Hot was only a rumour.

TH is not a mere rumour- it's in a space that had been a very cheap and very filthy Indian place in its most recent life. It's been cleaned up very nicely by the proprietor, a very nice lady from Siparia, Trinidad and Tobago (YAY! A real trini to make my rotis, no more reliance on Jamaicans!), and noted that the menu is brief but includes items that have been simply unavailable in Calgary- rotis, yes, in the predictable goat, chicken,beef, shrimp, and aloo-and-channa varieties (I miss spinach and pumpkin rotis from Island Foods in Toronto), but also several savoury "pastries," namely doubles, aloo pie and pholourie. Doubles are a sort of chickpea sandwich made with "bread" of deep-fried barra patties, and the filling is curried chickpeas; aloo pies are also fried,with a shell akin to pizza crust (as with calzone) and a stuffing of seasoned mashed potato; phoulourie are these little balls that are reminiscent, sort of, of hush puppies.

Since I have had decent roti over the years in Calgary (from T&T Organettes and Joy's) I was happy to take home an order of four doubles and four aloo pies each, $2 a piece. It was all I could do not to dive into the bag on the drive home, but when I arrived I was quite pleased with the contents (both doubles and roti benefit from a bit of sitting around, I find, contents are not as blistering hot). The doubles are big for doubles, about the size of a hamburger, and the flavour is nice- it could be spicier but you're given both tamarind chutney and scotch bonnet pepper sauce to liven it up. Completely competent- not as good as one would find in Trinidad but as good as many, if not all, Trini places in the GTA. Aloo pies were a bit bland, again needing some chutney and pepper- my parter (who is Trini) recommended asking the cook to spit them open and put curried chickpeas in them, as we had in fact enjoyed at the "doubles stand" at the Port of Spain (TT) airport last Christmas.

I look forward to trying the roti here, and needless to say I'll report on it.

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