Two weeks ago, I wisely refrained from publicly weeping over the closure of the city's only arthouse theatre, The Monarch. Even though it was a poor excuse for a theatre, its loss was felt in the city.
However, I was walking through downtown last night, and I noticed a sign in the window of the boarded-up-and-abandoned Sweetheart Café (a cynical metaphor for life if ever there was one). "Opening soon," it proclaimed in hand-drawn crayon, "The Punjab Palace!" Granted, they also boast of "Indian and Paistan [sic] food", but in an odd way, that's somehow encouraging.
Actually, it's very, very good news. If there's one thing I've missed from my Edmonton days, it's East Indian cuisine. Granted, there already is such a restaurant tucked inside one of the smaller hotels, but when I went to check it out... well, let's just say that if 90% of your menu involves curry, and I still can't smell anything besides cigarette smoke, there's a problem somewhere.
But just when I thought that Medicine Hat cuisine had reached a new height... it got better. At work, I was informed of Chang Hing Foods, a combination Chinese grocery wholesaler/tailor shop. Yes, really. I took in some pants to get adjusted, and picked up some frozen pre-cooked sticky rice and dumplings on my way out. For a guy who misses dim sum and can't sew, they hit that niche with a sniper rifle. Bravo!
After these two startling discoveries, I'm now happy to say Medicine Hat has almost a third the cultural depth of Moose Jaw. Things are looking up!