To blog or not to blog

July 21, 2009

I wonder how many blog posts have that very title? Probably over one dozen-million. The last time I saw the stat on how many blogs their are in the world, it made me want to quit blogging. Which I feel like I have of late. Or this blog has evolved into a sort of review blog as opposed to a cataloguing of my observations on life and the world around me. So what have I noticed lately?

  • The garbage strike only really affects people with children.
  • The Sunshine Man (jovial, manic panhandler on the corner outside the office building) thinks Chris Brown is an insincere douchebag and his “apology” for beating up Rhianna is bunk. I think he’s probably right. These are things I don’t really care about.
  • I’ve gone flatbread crazy.
  • Flatbread is just really expensive crackers.
  • I think I’m bored of beer again. It’s wine time. Which is unusual for me in summer. Since I don’t like white wine much. Maybe it’s time to start exploring white wine.
  • I haven’t bought my pants for Andrew’s wedding yet. I should try to do that at lunch today. I suspect I won’t. I, apparently, am terrified of the GAP.
  • I’m not at all comfortable with the idea of motorized seats at the cinema. Unless it’s a 3D movie. But then it seems like movies will just become amusement park rides instead of films.
  • I think, since I have nothing to write about, I might start reviewing cheeses of the worldon this blog.
  • Wine, flatbread and cheese. What am I? A shepherd?
  • The aftermath of Michael Jackson’s death was the final nail in the coffin of our civilization’s collective sanity.
  • This is why I just write restaurant and music reviews now…

Dundas Dining: The Purple Onion

July 18, 2009

The Purple Onion is a Hindu parable which explains why onions make us cry (so says Google). It’s a bit of a strange moniker for a steakhouse, but so many businesses have taken the name perhaps it’s a moot point (or “moo point” as Joey from Friends would say). And perhaps during dinner hours their steaks are covered in sautéed onions. We went for breakfast, there were no onions involved.

Upon entering we saw that it was almost full. There were only two tables left, a table for two uncomfortably near the door and a booth in the back. Mandi said, “Do you think they’ll let us sit in the booth?” I said, “No, it’s too busy.”

But I was pleasantly surprised to be gingerly asked, as if we’d take offence to the idea, if we’d like to sit in the booth near the back. We said yes and Mandi gloated.

Mandi ordered bacon and eggs, substituting tomatoes for the hash-browns. I couldn’t resist ordering the “bacon platter.” Though I knew it wouldn’t be, I was hoping for a mountainous array of various bacons of the world. Instead it was one more piece of bacon (five) than Mandi got and no eggs. Which is exactly what I wanted anyways. Mandi said her eggs were good. My hash-browns were excellent. Mandi’s toast was “really good” whereas mine was cold as it had to wait for Mandi’s for some reason.

Though it took a while to get to us, the coffee was actually the best we’ve had on the Dundas strip. It outclasses the supposed “real” coffee shops. Though, to be fair, we still haven’t actually had any of the Rebas coffee.

The service and food were both on the high side of good, though not extraordinary. I am definitely interested in seeing what their dinner hours have to offer.

4.5 purples out of 5 onions.

Strike schmike + banner bads

July 13, 2009

» Toronto seems to have entirely acclimatized itself to the garbage strike. I’m sure this is not actually the case (especially if you’re near a temporary dumping site), but on the streets and in the parks there’s hardly any evidence this service isn’t being provided. I heard a theory the other day City Hall forced the strike in order to free up some funds for other projects and, if true, this seems like a well-conceived plan. This was based on the theory the Harris government forced the OPS strike a few years back to save 100-million dollars or some such ridiculous amount. The person, a coworker of mine, voicing these theories was worried we’d be on strike ourselves soon. I’d have to admire the devious pragmatism of such a move on the government’s part. And I’d have some much welcome time off.

» About a year ago I signed up for several dating sites (how I met Mandi) with my hotmail address and I suspect this is the reason I only get dating site banner ads when I log in. Which used to be fine when they were the benign, easily ignored, Lava Life ads. But lately the banners have been increasingly salacious ads by companies like Mate1 which are one wardrobe malfunction away from being porn. It’s making me never want to log in. I wonder if  there’s a settings toggle somewhere I can choose what kind of ads I get. On the other hand, if they changed to Amazon or  banners I might actually be tempted to spend more money there than I already do. So perhaps it’s better, if more uncomfortable, this way.

Dundas Dining: Rawlicious

July 12, 2009

I’d just been to the Mandarin buffet for lunch and so in picking a restaurant to visit with our friends Robin and Nae, I chose its antithesis and a place the very thought of which has chilled me to the bone. Rawlicious is, as the name suggests, a raw foods restaurant and has some weird-ass items on the menu.

For instance, the Nutloaf Taco Wrap. True, it’s nutloaf (whatever that is) wrapped in a collard leaf, but in the absence of a tortilla, I fear it is not a “taco.” Perhaps this is a semantic distinction, but my point is this kind of fast and loose treatment of traditional recipes had me worried. Worried for instance that if I said, for the sake of argument, that tomatoes in salsa (which I love) are more “processed” than merely sliced tomato (which I do not like), someone might answer me in affronted and derrisive tones that their salsa is not processed. More on that later.

The interior of Rawlicious is cute, clean and organic. There are low, Middle Eastern style tables with pillows to sit on as well as regular tables. We sat on the patio which was given a slightly Roman feel. There are brightly coloured splashy paintings by someone named “Cassandra” up everywhere which ranged from the pretty good to the truly dreadful.

The place appeared to be staffed by three waifish vegan-hippie clones. On the West Coast I had a lot of contact with such creatures. Don’t let their pleasant smiles lull you into a false sense of security, they are (as a breed) easily riled and commonly vicious.

To start, Nae ordered himself a ChocoMonkey smoothie. I don’t remember what is in it besides bananas and chocolate. Nut milk one would think. Apparently it was good. The special was “meatloaf” which our server was not comfortable even voicing and made excuses for. It was shortly after that I requested to not have tomatoes on my wrap and the “processed” debate ensued. And by “debate” I mean her being a bitch (or as Robin put it, “riding a fine line between pleasant and cantankerous”). Mandi and Robin stepped in and made peace with the many uses of avocado in desserts.

Robin ordered the meatloaf which she made of point of referring to as “the special”, Nae nut-cheese lasagna, myself the aforementioned “taco” and Mandi an Olive-Currant-Nut and Seed salad. The meatloaf (actually mushroom and nut) was very tasty, as was my taco-not-a-taco. The nutloaflog in the center of it was dry and savory. Nae seemed disappointed with his three nut cheese and zucchini instead of noodle lasagna, but only in contrast with the meatloaf-not-meatloaf. Mandi enjoyed her salad but remarked it seemed like cheating since a salad is usually raw normally.

So for dessert she ordered a strange brownie. It was a dense cake of brown which reminded me of the sludge-cake extruder I had just seen in a documentary about a Toronto sewage treatment plant. The vanilla topping looked like cheese set out in the sun for half an hour and tasted “grossly rich.” Unfortunate, fecal allusions aside, since the brownie itself was good. As was Robin’s pecan pie and Nae’s lemon cheesecake with raspberry sauce.

When we were finished we were informed we could pay at the front which we appreciated since we didn’t care for another long anxious wait like at the High Park Spicy House. Will probably return (with euphemisms for “processed” in hand).

4 semantics out of 5 arguments.

Dundas Dining: Triple Z

July 7, 2009

The Triple Z is about as bare bones an eating place as you could imagine. It has the general impression of a laundromat only without washers and dryers. That is to say it appears to be a long, empty, blank-walled room with a few tables along the side and a counter near the back. There may have been more decoration but somehow the impression was of a bleak utility room. An impression which makes you question your decision to dine there. But since the Triple Z appears to be rarely open for business (I think this was the first time I’d seen it open), you have to grab the chance when it presents itself.

A woman—perhaps slightly surprised to see us—stepped out from behind the counter and handed us menus with an unexpected variety of West Indian dishes offered. I would have thought from the minimal decor that roti would be the only item available. We ordered the roti and some juice drinks imported from Trinidad. I had a Peardrax (bottled by Pepsi it turns out).

Never having tried roti before, we couldn’t compare it to anything. The curry filling was decent, though mild for my taste. Mandi’s beef was perhaps a little better fit with the spicing than my chicken. I expected the roti bread itself to be more like naan and less like Ethiopian injera. Roti turns out to be somewhere between injera and a tortilla though too delicate to work as a wrap you could hold in your hand. But perhaps it’s not supposed to be like that. As I said, this was our first roti experience. This might have been the worst roti on the planet and we wouldn’t know. It was delicious. If there is better roti I would like to book an appointment to get it into my belly as soon as possible.

We stood up entirely too full and paid with a minimum of awkwardness.  

Food: 4 Z’s out of 3
0 laundromats out of 5

Dundas Dining: Sunnyside Café

July 2, 2009

The newly opened Sunnyside Café (or at least its patio in the morning) is actually on the shady side of the Dundas/Quebec intersection. This would be particularly fitting in its previous incarnation as Free Time Coffee—an unlikely counterfeit of the vaguely unpopular Coffee Time Donuts chain—which was a hang-out for individuals who found themselves to have a lot of free time on their hands. Perhaps due to being employmently challenged.

We saw one of these dirtbag shitheels (to be perfectly blunt) as we sat sipping our coffee in a pleasant breeze. He had one of those sallow-faced and wiry junkie’s bodies and wore a wispy rat-moustache. He entered with his young and miserable son and then exited quickly muttering to his progeny, “It never used to be like that. I don’t need to hear her yelling at that guy in Chinese. Nying-nying-nyow-nying-nyow. I can go home and have your mom yell at me in English.”

The boy followed him away employing the same timid, resigned gait with which he’d arrived. Well, good riddance to you, sir. Things have changed around here and your presence is no longer required. I wonder what he does when wants to eat Chinese.

After dirtbag and son’s departure, we turned our attention to our coffees (before 11am it’s $.50 cheaper in a ceramic mug and not the paper to-go cup). They were cups of what could only be described as “joe” comparable, actually, to the Crema Coffee Co‘s (located kitty-corner) highfalutin specialty brew only bearing the advantage of a lack of pretence making the adequate quality a pleasant surprise and not a let-down. Once we were joined by the rest of our party, we re-entered the café to order our brunch. The interior is about as low-rent greasy-spoon as you could hope for, though entirely incongruous with their slightly more upscale “café” signage.

Ordering had a bit of a learning-curve as the menu boards, seemingly left-over from the Free Time, do not make a lot of sense and don’t seem to have a lot of variety. Risk of a poor choice is minimal though since everything on them is rather inexpensive. Interestingly, the man leaning on the counter does not take your order, the very busy woman hidden behind the sandwich counter does. But you do pay him, not her.

I had a grilled-cheese sandwich which was, to my less-than-generous amazement, made with real cheese and not Velvetta. It was as good as you could hope and only $2.29. Mandi had a tuna on rye which she said was “very good.” Our companions, Shara and Tom, had the breakfast specials (sausage, eggs, hash browns, etc) which also looked tasty and a little less dodgy than the interior of the café would have you expect. Shara was impressed it came with a salad and that the salad actually had red peppers.

Bottom-line: Decent food, good price, good patio, possible colourful clientele, weird and uncomfortable atmosphere (not entirely a bad thing).

3.75 shady patios out of 5
(5 awkward and confusing ordering procedures out of 5).

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