Dundas Dining: Axis Bar and Grill

May 10, 2009

The Axis Bar and Grill is pretty much a bar and grill as advertised. Though it has nothing to do with Hitler and Mussolini and has a tad more upscale atmosphere than a bunker or Archie Bunker’s Place for that matter.  The ceiling is painted a lovely shade of blue which looks purple above the red lights hanging over the bar. There were nice curtains. The tables were like tables in any bar. It’s a 50/50 nice kind of place. It’s a date/business meeting pub, not a brawling pub. But the kind of date or business meeting where you want to look like you’ve got your thumb on the pulse of the street’s artery of artiness yet not too arty. There’s a patio which seems to get a lot of action.

We sat down on Mother’s Day during brunch hours which accounted for the extremely long wait for our fruit plate and french toast. Mandi’s fruit plate was “good” and my french toast was almost excellent. It had a cinnamon batter which was very tasty, but the bread used was of the Wonderbread Texas Toast variety. If it had been made with an actual bakery bread, it would have been the best french toast I’ve ever had. Instead, it wasn’t. It was okay. Generous portions of bacon and sausage make up for the discrepancy about 13.7%. Mandi’s fruit plate came with the most bizarre “pre-cored” pineapple which was worth the price in amusement. The coffee was of strangely high-quality. We had three cups each. Pricing was standard.

When we seated ourselves, we didn’t realize we were sitting on the “stage” and as we ate, the boogie-woogie piano jazz band set up around us. It was a strange experience but not as awkward as Mandi expected it to be. Especially since she sort of knew the drummer whom she described as a “douchebag” and I observed, was. He wore loafers and ankle socks. WTF? I got to observe his ankle close-up since they were about six inches from my own, beating the time. There was also some kind of shaker stuffed in the loafer. As I said, Mandi called it correctly.

Being brunch on Mother’s Day it’s difficult to say if the atmosphere would be different on an average Thursday or Friday night. We suspect it’s quite different and may return for a contrasting view. We expect it to be darker with more beer and less coffee, but an equally as middle-of-the-road pub experience.

3 mehs out of 5.

Project Dundas Dining: Rebas Café

May 3, 2009

As a new feature here in Mr. Dapper’s Splendid Online Diary, Mandi and I will be eating at every eatery in The Junction along Dundas Street West , Toronto, between Runnymede Ave and Dupont. We begin with Rebas Café.

The punctuationally challenged Rebas is named after the owners’ dog, Reba. She apparently gets walked in the morning as we passed her and “Helen” earlier in the day. I remarked, “That woman is wearing a dog-walking apron.”  We learned later it was a panini and, supposedly, coffee making apron. But at the time, she was only walking a dog. Reba.

Rebas (which I still want to pronounce “reh-bess”) is a cute little hippie coffee shop providing two tables and two reading chairs as well as a small bar. Apparently also a patio and art gallery (and Reba) in the back, but we didn’t venture down the narrow hallway.

The menu features soups and sandwiches (panini and regular) and beverages (teas and, supposedly, coffee). We ordered paninis and americanos. We didn’t receive our coffees. Which is kind of a problem at what is, supposedly, a coffee shop. Perhaps I sound bitter. I would agree and say I am being as bitter as the rich, dark americano, except I have no idea if their americanos are bitter. Supposedly, they are organic and fair-trade and quite tasty.

My panini was a simple, but quite delicious roast chicken and pesto where Mandi’s was a “pretty good” grilled vegetable version of the same. The goodly long wait for our (not unfairly priced) food and, supposedly, coffee allowed us to spot the book exchange shelf, which is always a good idea. There were also boxes of Trivial Pursuit  questions to help while the time away but, as Mandi pointed out, no Scrabble. The place could use a Scrabble  board.

When we paid, there was no mention of the americanos. As if we’d never ordered them. Which was, at least, less awkward than if she’d asked if we’d wanted them to go. Instead it was clear she had entirely no recollection of our supposed coffee order. We decided, though not an unpleasant luncheon experience, probably not one we’d repeat. Except perhaps to grab a coffee on the go, which supposedly they serve.

2 1/2 out of 5 coffee cups (to be reevaluated upon actually drinking the coffee).


May 1, 2009

» I’ve been trying to come up with a clever comment on Human Swine Influenza, or H1N1 in text-speak, for a few days. It hasn’t come to me. All I’ve noticed a slight heaviness in my lung area and a vague fevery spaceyness to my head area. But I think this is merely due to smog and the fact the office AC hasn’t kicked in for the season. I also blame the stagnant heat on the 19th floor for the lack of ideas. I do wish, however, that Human Swine Influenza turned infected people into porcine zombies. But then, I gues McDonald’s and Starbucks already have that covered.

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