Monthly Archives: August 2013

I Don’t Like Taste of the Danforth

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Taste of the DanforthExercise places are closing for the day, smoke is filling the streets, and the subways are slightly more crowded because large groups of people are heading to one area, what is it? Nope, not an average day in Hamilton [sorry Hamilton, I was trying to give Detroit a break], but Taste of the Danforth!  Yaaay! Meat on stick, fun rides, and a real taste of Greek culture, right?

Taste of the Danforth church

Wrong, dead wrong, really, really dead wrong. Let me explain before I’m burned on the souvlaki stake [remember there’s room for Twilight there].

I used to live on Chatham Avenue,  right next to Taste of the Danforth and I really enjoyed it. But it wasn’t me who changed, well I did but that isn’t the reason I don’t like Taste anymore. It’s because the place is just too crowded now.   Spaces where people weren’t shuffling around like George A. Romero zombies were like little pieces of driftwood to a shipwrecked castaway in the middle of the ocean: havens.

George Romero Zombies

George Romero Zombies

It takes forever to get across the street there are so many hair-pullingly slow people, I mean George Bush’s brain works faster than this congested consumer contraption [by a bit, I mean].

Taste of the Danforth Zombies

Taste of the Danforth Zombies

This, of course, would be worth it for the food, I, of course, must be some socially isolated hermit who hates people enough to not brave the crowd for meat on stick, I just must be. Well, dear reader, think that again when you see how long the lineup is.

Who even remembers what they're waiting for in a line up this long?

Who even remembers what they’re waiting for in a line up this long?

Here’s a list of food I had here: Bo!!ocks beef balls [frozen and bland at that] that were dipped in some hackneyed curry sauce, crab tempura from Katsu, and, what I was looking for all along, chicken on a stick with souvlaki grilling and some tzatziki sauce.

The only other member of my marauding party of four to eat anything had a veggie hot dog that was mushy and awful, so much that the hot dog lover threw half of it out. So the result is lots of wasted time and money, for little food, most of which isn’t as good as their home restaurant’s usual sit-down fare. Here are some pictures of the grub for you Pepperazzi, I didn’t get any of the crab unfortunately.

What I came for...Meat on a stick (sorry pic is a little out of focus)

What I came for…Meat on a stick (sorry pic is a little out of focus)

Note to self  NEVER steam a Veggie Dog

Note to self NEVER steam a Veggie Dog

I’ll now speak of my travels through this–ahem–‘taste’, which would’ve left going “Please sir, can I have some more?” Oliver Twist style if I wasn’t so eager to break free of this place.

Yep, that’s how happy I was to be free of Taste. Anyways, I saw lots of red balloons that flew from their holders, probably to pop and choke some innocent turtle in Jamaica [haven’t you already figured out I’m not in a good mood by now]

one of 99 red balloons

one of 99 red balloons

lots of napkins literally spewed out by a restaurant as some not-baked gimmick that shows how disgustingly wasteful and pathetic humans are, and rides that parents spent $$$ on so their kids could pretend there were an F-18 pilot for 3 minutes.

how is litter decorative or festive?

how is litter decorative or festive?

So by now I just look like a miserable coffee shop grouch by now, don’t I? Well, I can tell you that not many others enjoyed the Taste either, and that’s by reading their expressions. I saw not a one smile out of the huge group of people there [Fact: estimates say that about one million people attended the festival, out of Toronto’s 2.5/3 million population], and although I didn’t photograph many people’s faces [I feel like I’m breaking people’s privacy by putting stranger’s faces on the internet, even though I’m not in a tribe where cameras steal people’s souls], you can tell by their body language that no one is enjoying themselves that much.

Where's the happy?

Where’s the happy?

So ask yourselves, would you want to go to a place this packed  to get into line-ups this long

your average American hot dog?

your average American hot dog?

to get a hot dog that looks like this {caption says Average hot dog}? I didn’t think so, and I rest my case. Enjoy your summer, and ignore the premature back-to-school ads, just relish the month that’s left.

Editor’s Note:  For the first time all photography was done by Callum (except obviously the Romero Zombie pic and the YouTube grab).  I especially like his balloon and church pictures.  Well done Dude

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The Local Company

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The Local exterior

What’s the best time to go to a night-time club/restaurant to see it at its peak operation? No, not on a Friday night  but at 6:30 on a Wednesday when no one will be here because it isn’t party hour yet. Well, there were a few people. By the way, this is another Summerlicious.

The Local… something. The sign on the front says Restaurant, which didn’t quite make sense to me because ‘restaurant’ wasn’t the name of The Local Company, but it tells people what this place does anyway. It’s a restaurant, where people are served food, as opposed to an eatery, where people just go to have something edible crammed down their throat, like McDonalds [you know something is wrong with a place that has fries that can’t rot and that many customers].

The Local Interior

Anyways… the interior was pleasant and more suited for a classy and family friendly club than the ones that people get wasted at. The menu also had lots of really nice choices, with a lot of variety for good measure.

Four Cheese Aracini Balls

Four Cheese Aracini Balls

Every one had the Four Cheese Aracini Balls which were basically cheese balls deep-fried in a breading and sitting on top of tomato sauce. They weren’t only tasty because of a classic Italian idea, they were delicious because they were well-executed. I think it’s going to show that people are doing Summerlicious better this year than the last.

What a brilliant idea - deep fried cheese

What a brilliant idea – deep fried cheese

The next choice was easy for my family to decide, which is different from when I usually order and I’m sitting there like I’m trying to answer a Jeopardy question, any other game show I can out-answer the contestants… but Jeopardy goes the extra mile there]. In case you were thinking that was a clever reference, it’s actually Alex Trebek’s birthday by the time I’m writing this [on IMDB].

Lemon Herb Chicken Supreme & Drum

Lemon Herb Chicken Supreme & Drum

I had the chicken, my mum the salmon, and my grandmother the risotto. The portions were the size of something you would get when paying full price, and not 15 dollars. The chicken was delicious and tender, with the just right amounts and types of seasoning, and the {other rice like stuff} was far more interesting than regular white rice or french fries [excluding the home-made kind, I mean the ‘we put salt on potatoes so now you feel them on your tongue’ species of Spudnik].

I am not a big fan of salmon, [spud, spud, spud, not Spudnik the soviet space satellite)!   Sorry, I thought we were still in the Space Vehicles category, I’ll pick Back to the Review for $1,000] but I still liked The Local’s salmon, it’s not my first choice but I could eat it no problem.

Atlantic Salmon Niscoise Salad

Atlantic Salmon Niscoise Salad

Please understand that is high praise since I rarely enjoy salmon at all. And I think I just plain don’t like the risotto  for the same reasons I don’t like salmon, not because it was badly done.

Risotto with Roasted Beets, Asparagus & Shaved Parmesan

Risotto with Roasted Beets, Asparagus & Shaved Parmesan

As always with Summerlicious, we get to the desserts, in some odd fashion, after the two other courses. I had the molten cake, mom the Creme Brulee and grandma the Phyllo Strudel.

Double Chocolate Cake

Double Chocolate Cake

I have to say the chocolate cake was different but good: it was lighter than usual, and slightly drier but not in a bad way, and the filling was a rich and wet counterpart. I liked it because it was different.

The molton centre of the chocolate cake

The molton centre of the chocolate cake

The Creme Brulee was good on a technical level, but I am still not a fan enough to get into the details of it, and the strudel were delicious, I would say they are as good as the molten cake with their crunchy, delicious-sauce covered sweetness.

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee

 

Phyllo Strudel

Phyllo Strudel

So I would recommend The Local Company, without making some kind of horrible pun about being ‘in the local area’ [except I sneaked it in didn’t I?], and would definitely say it’s a great non-Greek place in Greek-Town, especially if you are within walking distance. Ciao for now.

The Local Company 511 Danforth Avenue
The Local Company on Urbanspoon