Archive for December, 2006

Eating Fire for Dinner

Can you tell that I am enjoying the multiculturality Toronto has to offer? I have to out myself at this point. I am a visitor. I don’t live in Toronto but I end up here for a couple weeks each year and fell in love with the city many years ago. One thing I really enjoy is all the different restaurants I can sample.

My newest experience is a Sri Lankan place called Hopper Hut at 880 Ellesmere Road (at Kennedy) in Scarborough. If you like spicy food you will love this place. My wife thought I was crazy for eating something that she says tastes like fire laced with cumin but I loved it.

One of the best parts was a banana leaf all wrapped up with different curries and coconut rice inside. I wish I could remember what it was called. My friends and I shared three dishes and have enough left for another three meals. All this cost only $20. I can’t believe how affordable it was for the quality and quantity.

My wife didn’t want any part of it but fire was exactly what I wanted, to settle my stomach after the bland foods I have eaten recently.

Open Post (New Years)

Does anyone have any suggestions for New Years Eve?

Stories of places one should avoid?
Something you just have to experience?

This is an open post so go ahead and tell Toronto your story!

Buddha’s Vegetarian Foods

Okay, I know – enough with the Chinese veggie restaurants already! Well, there is one place you should definitely not overlook. Buddha’s Vegetarian Foods at 666 Dundas Street in Chinatown is the mack daddy of Chinese restaurants. If the young people still say mack daddy to refer to good things. I lost track of the vernacular after I quit teaching.

For about $7 you can get enough delicious food to eat off of for a couple full meals. My friends and I typically start with a giant hot and sour soup, some imitation duck and soya bean rolls as appetizers and then have one or two main dishes to share. This, for four people, is way more than you can finish in one sitting and makes for jealous coworkers if you bring it to work for lunch the next day.

The Buddha’s has pretty Spartan features – plain white walls, little artwork, and you are offered only chopsticks and a soup spoon to eat with, although I have seen them produce a fork on request.

This is the real deal. You won’t find General Tso’s anything or mee-yu fried rice, as you might see in the more westernized places. What you will find is fresh vegetables, delicious cooking and a desire to return soon. Best of all, it’s a bargain.

Tell them Carl sent you. That won’t get you a discount or anything and they won’t know what you are talking about but I know they will like that someone is spreading the Buddha’s gospel.

Franco-phony, Anglo-phony

J’ai regardé le fil “Bon cop, Bad cop” le weekend passé (avec mon épouse francophone ). Tout d’abord, c’étais très très fantastique de voir Tim Hortons, La tour CN…(I dont know how to say “posing as themselves”)

The film had it’s own Canadian styled plot (about hockey), a character named Harry Buttman (Gary Bettman) and even Rick Mercer staring as Tom Berry…a Don Cherry-like commentator. It’s a pretty funny movie to watch especially if you can see it with a bilingual crowd!

I didn’t intend to write this as so much a review as just a film that portrays Toronto, Montréal and in a sense then Canada in a unique light in today’s cinema. It also made me realize I need to work on my french…Pain Doré or Pain Perdu?

Please also visit the Montreal Metblogs posting for this movie, written when it came out.


I keep seeing ads (late now, I am sure) for Toronto’s Cavalcade of Lights. This led me to wonder exactly what a cavalcade was. It’s a ceremonial procession, traditionally on horseback, but now in other forms as well. So here’s the real question: Does anyone use the word cavalcade in daily life?

“Hell of a cavalcade this morning but it backed up the Danforth so bad I was late to work again.”
“I haven’t seen a cavalcade this crazy since the one back in 2003.”
“That meeting was as confusing as a cavalcade of monkeys and goats.”

Let’s do the world a favor and bring cavalcade back into common usage.

The City Should Stop…

…being so stingy with the Christmas lights. With only a few business improvement areas glitzing up their neighbourhoods with lights for the Christmas festivities, us Torontonians take delight in going downtown to check out our city hall’s lightscape. Yet what do we find Chrismas night, as car after car squeezes into a spot on Queen Street and people tumble out, cameras in hand or skates over their shoulders, all heading towards the ice rink to see its light glory? Nada.

City Caught Unaware as Overnight Squall Leaves 1mm Dusting

Come on, Mother Nature – is that all you can throw at us? Are we not prepared or worthy enough for more than a mere dusting of snow? I am not sure what is worse – not having some snow in the darkest days of winter or having that little snow.

Full Moon Vegetarian Restaurant

For those of you who are looking for a great vegetarian Chinese restaurant at a great price, be sure to check out the Full Moon Vegetarian Restaurant at 638 Dundas Street. The menu is full of great tasty selections to please anyone needing a hot lunch on one of these cold days. Located in Chinatown, the restaurant is a welcome reprieve for anyone (even meat lovers) who are salivating from all the wonderful scents in that area. Go check it out. I especially recommend their imitation duck.

A first…

Like Swoon One One, I didn’t hit the mall either today. This is the first boxing day that I can remember where I didn’t go out shopping at all. Now, I have never been a big fan of lining up early for those “gotta get” deals, (since I don’t have a car) and never seem to hear about the deals before hand. (Since I don’t search for them ahead of time…)

Still I usually visit at least one mall and look for things I wanted but didn’t get. I also wrote a post last year about how at times stores put up “Final Sale” & “Huge Discount” signs for items that are the exact same price as before the 25th. (Then of course they are free to slightly raise them afterwards while you wipe your brow and exclaim about how glad you are to have gotten it then)

Anyone have any stories out there? Just leave them in the comments section!!

True To The Spirit of Boxing Day?

I was interested seeking out the origins of “BOXING DAY”. No it doesn’t relate to the clearing of boxes after the excesses of Christmas or time to score deals from stores clearing their boxes of inventory. The traditions and origins of this day are more altruistic.

Most attribute the origins of Boxing Day to the UK and the day as a time to give something back. Whether it was your employees (similar to the modern day Christmas Bonus) or to those less fortunate than yourself Boxing Day was an other day of giving. Christmas Day was reserved for giving to one’s family/friends while Boxing Day you were to give to others.

Whether or not you were in buy or give mode the scale seems skewed to the BUY SIDE… LoL! It’s interesting that according to some Boxing Day is still regarded as one of the top shopping days in Canada.

The mall was the last place I wanted to see today. I was glad to have an extra day with the family and another snoozy evening with some left over turkey…

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