Café Du Lac, a taste of Quebec

October 21, 2011

Café du Lac

It was our third anniversary the other night so we decided to go somewhere a little special, a little fancy. Since there aren’t too many restaurants on the Shore that provide “special”—much less “fancy”—we finally got out to the relatively fancy Quebecois eatery, Café Du Lac, which Mandi has been curious about for some time.

Our experience was special right off the bat.

When we arrived a smidge after 5:30, the doors were still locked and we met another couple who were also waiting for the place to open. Also waiting on the doorstep was a twitching and writhing pigeon with its head and wings twisted at unnatural angles. Its feathers were filthy and ruffled and its beak opened and closed in palsied silence. I thought it might have had distemper—or whatever disease avian scavengers are susceptible to—or maybe had its neck broken by flying into the building. It was hard to tell, but it was certainly dying.

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Bombay on the Lake

September 29, 2010

Though we’ve eaten at Bombay on the Lake relatively often, I’m not too familiar with anything on the menu other than the chicken vindaloo, plain basmati rice and garlic naan. But that’s really all I’m familiar with at any Toronto Indian restaurant (if it’s not a buffet). The fact we’re repeat customers tells you all you really need to know. The food’s good. But you’d better like your vindaloo hot.

Unlike some places which annoyingly tone down the spice for the gora and gori crowd, Bombay on the Lake doesn’t believe in mollycoddling. I don’t like my molly coddled. Especially not in public.

The only bad experience we’ve shared at Bombay had nothing to do with the restaurant itself. It was a hot day about a month or two back, in the middle of one of this summer’s many humid heatwaves. We were too hot to cook dinner ourselves and we gambled on them having A/C. They didn’t. But they did have one of those great tower fans that, as long as they blow on you, work almost as well.

It wasn’t pointed right at us when we arrived but it had a revolving base. I positioned it so that it’s sweep reached our table as well as the others which at that time were still unoccupied.

The table beside us wasn’t unoccupied for long as a trio sat themselves there shortly after our order was taken. Their party consisted of a couple and a female friend who sat across from them and complained, vehemently, about the heat. She saw the fan and said, “Oh, here’s a fan!” and pointed it directly at herself. “That’s better. Thank god they had this,” she said, seemingly oblivious to the fact that no other people in the room, not even her friends, were going to benefit from the fan’s cooling effect.

Looking up from her menu, the woman’s companion made brief, wary eye contact with me then, with an embarrassed manner, angled the menu to hide herself from my view. I was about to say something to the fan-stealing woman, but I decided against it at the last moment. She was roughly the size and shape of a large manatee.

I wasn’t sure if manatees are as vicious as hippopotami are reported to be, but I didn’t want to risk it. She looked a little like a hippopotamus as well, but less muscular and more flabby. And with the demeanor of a one-eyed, arthritic alleycat.

When I got home, Google informed me manatees are not especially dangerous. I should have spoken to the woman about her theft of the fan. The meal would then have been another perfectly delightful Bombay on the Lake experience. Or she might have bitten my head clean off.

Either way, it was still an excellent vindaloo.

Around The Corner

August 4, 2010

The west side of Sixth St. at Lakeshore is an interesting corner. Most Lakeshore Villagers would think of it as the home of the eminently sketchy Konrad Lounge. That’s a sad story in itself—a dirt bar that got a modern makeover on a reality TV show but didn’t manage to shake the old clientele— but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

A few doors down Lakeshore is The Village Butcher, a gourmet delicatessen. And if you keep walking around the corner up Sixth, past the Konrad, you’ll find Around The Corner, a new boutique breakfast place owned by the village Butcher folks.

It’s probably the only place in the city you’re going to find Duck-Duck Hash. That’s right, hash browns made with pulled duck meat.

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TASTE Portuguese Cuisine

July 29, 2010

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover but whoever “they” are, they’re wrong. Judging books based on their covers is pretty much the basis of the entire graphic design industry.

When you’re shopping for a book, if you can’t judge it by its cover, what are you going to judge it on? Outside of reading a chapter or two in the ubiquitous adjoining coffee shop, you have to rely on the imagery and typography to make that decision for you. A mere flash across your field of vision tells you if it’s sci-fi adventure, chick-lit, a classic, self-help, or a dark crime thriller. You can tell in less than a nano-second if the book even has the possibility of floating your boat.

The newly opened Taste is a hip, modern restaurant/lounge focussing on Portuguese cuisine but subtly fused with a blend of world flavours. Their signage however (Cooper Black Italic? Really?), says it’s a cheap greasy spoon or sandwich house. Though the logo does look a little better in reversed type on the website and business cards, merda that sign is ugly.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) the cover to this book is misleading.

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Lakeshourmet: Lucky Dice Restaurant Dining Lounge

July 8, 2010

We’ve probably been to Lucky Dice more times than any other restaurant we’ve reviewed. Mandi, having grown up in the area, has eaten there numerous times. Myself, I’ve only been there a total of three times and for two of these meals I was hung over. I suspect Mandi was hung over most of the times she’s been there too. It’s a good place to nurse a hangover. Grease, starch, sugar, soda pop, all the tonics for what ails you. It’s a hangover kind of place.

Chances are you won’t be the only one in the joint with a hangover. The restaurant itself is a hangover from another time. It’s a real, true blue, dyed-in-the-wool, greasy spoon diner.

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