The Danforth tastes pretty good

Posted on August 10th, 2009 No comments. The post is really that bad, huh?

I feel I should apologize if TCL is a bit sluggish today; it’s been t-h-i-c-k around here. Temperatures were running in the high thirties (close to a hundred Fahrenheit), and that insidious humidity crept in right along with them. Soupy is not the right word, unless you mean French Canadian split pea soup. Then, yes.

I had somehow managed to forget just how much of a punch this kind of weather delivers. I spent four years living on a proper tropical island and I can say with some authority that Toronto’s summer is not unlike a tropical one. It’s hot, sticky, humid, and relentless. I like the challenge – see how far I can walk before I pass out from dehydration – but Ollie tends to take a more pragmatic approach:

belly cool

I took the day off today to be a tour guide to my folks and a Czech student they’re showing around. We hit some of the more air-conditioned locations such as the PATH, the lakeshore, and the Toronto Reference Library.

I particularly enjoyed the reactions to the Korean BBQ lunch. If you’ve never been, imagine the hubcap from a small car sticking out from the middle of a restaurant table on which you cook your own prepped food (usually meat). Most places heat it using a gas line that runs up through the centre of the table, but more elegant places use lye beneath the cooking plate – kinda like a fondue setup.

During the lunchtime conversation, the word “exotic” was used more than once. “Good” also. I’d add “inoffensive” as long as you stay away from the kimchi – I’m just not a big fan of fermented cabbage. I mean, I know what I like and it’s allowed my weight to hover above average, so I think I know what I’m talking about here. It’s the same reason I never trust that skinny chefs will ever produce anything really tasty. It simply … can’t be.

Luckily, the chefs along the Taste of the Danforth route yesterday were, for the most part, not svelte. There were plenty of beefy characters serving up beefy skewers. And chicken. And pork.

The short stretch of Danforth Avenue essentially had all its Greek and Mediterranean shops (and every other shop in between), spill their food onto the street for sampling. At most places you got a meaty skewer for $3 and for $5 you got the skewer on a gyro with veggies and tzatziki.

The idea behind Taste is pretty simple; stuff your face the entire way, and then do it again on the way back:

is that ... food i see?

It’s a flawed concept; it’s just not possible. I got through two skewers, one gyro, and one cob of corn before I threw in the towel. I didn’t even have room for baklava, and I don’t remember the last time this has happened.

Maybe I’m just getting old. I mean, with the liquor stops along the way being off-limits due to the heat, I felt like that didn’t leave much else for the adults. Okay, that’s not entirely true; there’s plenty of music to get down and dance a Greek-ish jig to:


The gentleman waving the flags is Mr.Canada, as emblazoned on his custom-made maple leaf suit. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ask him anything as he kept scooping up ladies out of the audience and entertaining them with his flag dance:

runway two is clear

It had a semaphoric quality about it; stiffly elegant and clearly sending out all sorts of unintended signals. Guess you can’t blame the guy, it was just as hot during Taste as it is today and the fact that he made any sort of effort should be applauded. The fact that he wore that suit on that day … well, maybe he should see someone about that. I mean, I wasn’t dressed very sensibly myself, and I was a puddle (I layered, just too much!).

Next year I’ll take a note from the Danforth’s regulars and keep it simple, classic, and timeless:


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