POEM 032/100

September 7, 2012

This is the point in the bus ride

—the down slope of the bridge—

when I grow disdainful of any book I’m reading

and lean my forehead against the cool, dirty window

to read license plates

 

 


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.

Read the rest of this entry »


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.

Read the rest of this entry »


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.

Read the rest of this entry »


Dundas Dining: Swirls Cupcakes

February 23, 2010

Swirls falls a little outside of our usual Dundas Dining boundaries (roughly The Junction neighborhood), but it’s not too far past the Ghettobicoke line so I figure it’s fair play.

Mandi and I both love cupcakes. So it was with a little trepidation we approached Swirls. It’s not too far from my place so, if it were the heavenly cupcake experience it threatened to be, it’d be game over for us. We may as well start stocking up on insulin and acai berries.

Luckily, Swirls was merely “meh”.

Which is always odd for a restaurant or bakery which specializes in one product. If you’re a cupcake bakery, it’s completely fair for your patrons to have lofty expectations of your product. Which, frankly, I did have of my Still-a-Vanilla cupcake. So when the buttercream icing seemed more like whip-cream out of a spray can and the vanilla cake was a bit rubbery, I have to say I had not choice but to be a bit let down. I did ask myself if this was a case of my expectations being too high. I think I would have been a little more forgiving if cupcakes weren’t their specialty, but even so I’d have to rank this cupcake as just on the high side of average.

Mandi got the Red Velvet which was a better cake, but not as “red” as you’d expect. It did have a slight rosey tint to it. It was brown. The sign also said it was supposed to have cream cheese icing which she said it clearly didn’t.

As we left, we noticed they were putting out an Oreo cupcake which appeared to have proper buttercream icing. It looked absolutely delicious. Maybe it was. It made me doubt my cupcake had buttercream icing on it at all and I was right in thinking it was merely whip-cream out of a can.

As we were leaving we also noticed Swirls apparently makes fondant laden art cakes as well.

edward twlight cake

We think that’s the apple from the book cover.

One thing that was really fabulous about our visit to Swirls was the coffee. One of the best Americanos I’ve had on Dundas, bar none. Also the small size is apparently huge. But in typical Dundas Dining fashion, there has to be some awkwardness in ordering. You need to place your coffee order with someone at another counter entirely from where you place your cupcake order. Then they tally your coffee on a calculator which they slide over to the cupcake people. Really? That’s the best way to do it?

There’s also the option, the girl informed us, to pay them each separately. Though why they’d think anyone would ever want to do that never came to me. True, it would be more awkward and be slightly worse customer service which is the ideal in Dundas West restaurant culture, but I can’t really see the advantage.

The coffee was well worth the awkwardness. The cupcakes, not so much.

2.5 cups out of 5 cakes
5 Americanos out of 5 awkward moments


%d bloggers like this: