Tag Archives: Danforth

Cool Runnings

Standard

cool-runnings

Cool Runnings is a classic-style Jamaican restaurant located just south of Gerrard on the west side of Main Street. It is quite appropriately named after the Jamaican bobsled team of the same title, who’s challenging journey to the Olympics in the face of prejudice and eventual earning of respect was made into a movie. On that note… Hey International Olympic committee, remember when your biggest controversy was Jamaica competing in a winter sport? I’m sure they’ll answer after clearing their diving pool of algae and their landline phone of pleading voice mails left by Ryan Lochte.

ryan-lochte-meme

I imagine it may be somewhat difficult to run a Jamaican restaurant in Toronto, while there’s definitely a strong Caribbean influence in our city, proper sit-down places have a pretty big rival. The Real Jerk–one of my favourite eateries–is such a Toronto icon that it was even featured in the music video for that terrible ear worm Rihanna made that even her biggest fans decided never to speak of again. I first heard about Cool Runnings when–work work work–no, not again!

 

Work Rihanna lyrics

For the uninformed, here are the lyrics. Don’t watch or listen to the video, it’s not worth it.

 

After recalling the cleansing sound of TV static, I can tell you that my mom actually met the head chef of Cool Runnings, who wanted us to try his place for the blog. I can guarantee you my review is completely unbiased when I say that this place blew my mind and absolutely challenges The Real Jerk.

jerk-chicken

The jerk chicken (with a shrimp skewer) from The Real Jerk

It’s surprising, I know, like when I found out upcoming thriller movie Don’t Breathe is not about that one friend who thinks Ax cologne makes them smell better. One of the biggest problems with The Jerk is, ironically, their jerk chicken. Despite being named after the dish and featuring it in their aforementioned music video, I found The Real Jerk Chicken too dry. Keep in mind that this was so long ago that I had it in their old establishment, and I get rotis or other dishes now, so the chicken there may be better.

oxtail

I mention jerk chicken because Cool Runnings’ jerk is some of the best I’ve ever had. I got a meat combo: two choices of meat (I had chicken and oxtail) over rice and peas and coleslaw on the side. Noticeable off the bat is how large the individual dinosaur pieces are, and they were cooked in just the right way. To elaborate, the meat was beautifully juicy and tender the way it should be, falling on the sweet spot between being left pink or being made dry. The skin, which was the right amount of chewy, was rubbed with a powerful blend of spices that was as strong in heat as it was in flavour. Seriously, if you are craving that quintessential jerk taste, this will more than match that.

curry-chicken

My mom’s Curry Chicken

As for the oxtail, I hadn’t eaten a whole bunch of it before, but I loved this. Oxtail is noticeably tougher than other bovine meats, with a texture somewhere between the softness of beef and the thickness of goat or mutton. It has the colour and full-bodied presence of goat as well, but falls off the bone easier and, in this case, was rather creamy with the rich oxtail gravy poured all over it. Another thing I liked was the taste of the meat itself: which felt similar to a cut of meat cooked with the fat left on, but without the unpleasant chewy vein running through it. You can see why they make gravy out of that meat, it’s smooth, meaty, savoury palate works perfectly for such a recipe.

 

Even Cool Runnings’ rice and peas were knocked out of the park. Not only was the serving size generous, but the rice had a lot of flavour impacted into it by the beans and was extremely comforting. The texture was creamy enough to feel soft, yet had enough mass to be chewable too, another perfect balance. For the record, I also found the food stayed warm unusually long during my meal, while it did eventually go cold during the following hour and a half, it kept the temperature longer. Also, the coleslaw was nice.

jamaican-patty

One thing I wouldn’t recommend is the beef patty. It wasn’t bad and actually tasted good, but I’ve honestly found either the same or better while going to the metro station (The bakeries at Kennedy, Warden and Bathurst station are good patty shops). Decor and service is decent, a comfortable atmosphere for this kind of cuisine. My mom said it was odd that we got the bill before it was clear we wanted to leave, since we were considering getting a desert before that point.

interior-cool-runnings

For a final recommendation, I absolutely say that Cool Runnings is a great Jamaican cuisine restaurant. It is at least as good as The Real Jerk, better than it at Jerk Chicken, although The Jerk has a bar, dishes I haven’t compared yet, and is one of the focal points for Toronto’s Caribbean culture. Today we learned not to underestimate the underdog: to try out restaurants serving similar food to one of your favourite places, and to let Jamaica compete in any sport they want without being racist about it. Also, if you take the six degrees of separation theory to its logical extreme, I compared a subway station to a music video.

Cool Runnings 146 Main Street

Cool Runnings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements

Nakayoshi

Standard

Ramen noodle restaurantBefore I say anything else, I’d like to get one thing out of the way: Nakayoshi is my first true ramen noodle restaurant. I was a bit worried that my review of this particular place would be unrefined, since I had no idea what “good ramen” tastes like other than something that doesn’t warrant a gastric bypass. Regardless, I think I’ve pinned down Nakayoshi’s quality pretty well.

Octopus balls

Our meal started with octopus balls—to clarify—these are balls of octopus meat, not cephalopod gonads. Writing that last sentence down, I wondered, where are an octopus’ genitals? Don’t say you aren’t curious too.

 octopus reproduction

Well, a quick trip to Wikipedia taught me that males have a special tentacle that holds and transports sperm, and gives the dna to the female during mating. Somehow this ends up with both parties dying shortly after the eggs are laid, and I don’t think continuing this train of thought would make my blog very appetizingI’m assuming they remove the male’s “special” tentacle so that it’s not served to customers, as the anatomy is different and people wouldn’t want to eat it anyways. I couldn’t find anything about this organ being served in restaurants, and there would’ve been something if it were. The octupus balls are made with just regular, non-reproductive tentacles.

 octopus ball

That weird, oddly creepy rant aside, I loved these things. The chewy, briny tentacle nougats are embedded in a soft, creamy dough ball, that impacts a sweet, complementary flavour. These balls are in turn covered with aioli and a little bit of seaweed to add some crunch. While I found the balls absolutely delicious, my mom had a hard time not spitting up hers. The texture (soft outside with a chewy thing in the middle) was repulsive to her, so I’d recommend a little caution in terms of choosing these. If you’re okay with a unique texture and flavour, absolutely get these tasty little things.

 ramen noodle

Now for the main course: the ramen noodles. I ordered the Shoyu ramen: soy sauce-flavoured broth with bbq pork. Mom had the Gyoza Ramen with deep fried dumplings in salted broth. Combine these with a generous amount of veggies and half a hard-boiled egg, and you’ve got a huge, deliciously crowded bowl of soup. In a general sense, I guess you could say there were some similarities to wonton soup, but the details are all different. My bowl’s broth was saltier and richer at the same time, and obviously there were huge amounts of noodles in place of dumplings. Overall the broth was quite tasty by itself; it was quite salty, but in this case that was a good thing.

 ramen and gyoza

Of course, I’m just talking about the backdrop right now, the main co-stars of ramen and pork. I found the noodles to be in-betweeners: they were not thick n’ chewy Udon noodles, nor were they teeny tiny glass noodles. What the ramen was could be described as generous in portion size, adept at soaking up the delicious broth, and gifted with just enough bite to be satisfactorily chewy. Pair this with the tender, juicy hunks of bbq pork and you’ve got a pretty good dish for ramen experts and amateurs. What I liked most was that the meat didn’t have large bits of impossible-to-chew fat in it, which I sometimes find in Chinese wonton soups.

 japanese soda

For a drink, I had a cool glass of Calpico, a Japanese imported soda. Since this beverage traveled over an entire ocean like a ship-bound Amelia Earhart, Nakayoshi is probably one of the only places in Toronto to find [{ insert }]. It had a similar sweetness to coke, but less sickly and softer. I quite enjoyed its rather creamy and milk-like qualities. Of course, the second ingredient was high-fructose corn syrup, followed by sugar, so it’s the kind of treat personal trainers have nightmares about. At least it’s great for a hot summer day!

 japanese ice cream

We finished our lovely meal with a type of ice cream ball dessert, essentially regular ice cream wrapped in a thick rice dough. The combo worked very well; green tea flavour is an especially good option for this mild dessert. I dare say the rice dough works better than a sugar cone.

To wrap things up, I highly recommend Nakayoshi as Japanese/Ramen cuisine restaurant, you won’t be disappointed. The only reason I wouldn’t say it’s a good place to eat is simply if you’re not craving japanese food, and even then it’s worth a go.

Nakayoshi 812 Danforth Ave
Nakayoshi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sushi Friends

Standard
sushi friend outside
See?  I’m back!  I said I’d still be blogging on this site, I never lie.   I just take writing breaks the length of a human pregnancy, at least it wasn’t as long as an elephant’s term.  The restaurant I’m reviewing is Sushi Friends, which can best be summarized as a friendly sushi place.
Given that I’ve been to a favourite Japanese restaurant prior to eating here, it wasn’t going to be an easy win for Sushi Friends.  But actually, (spoilers) they did pretty good.  

 bento box

My mom ate two servings of Philadelphia rolls, and I had the Queen Bento Box.  That came with miso soup, seaweed salad, 8 pcs California rolls, 3pcs Daily sushi rolls, 2pcs Shrimp Tempura, 5 pcs Vegetable and I chose Chicken Teriyaki out of Beef Teriyaki and Beef Ribs. 

miso 

Miso’s miso, so there isn’t much to review there.  I did notice the outside of the bowl wasn’t fully cleaned, being an expert on badly-washed dishes myself.  This as the only dirty plate I noticed, so it’s completely possible that was the only one out of 100 clean dishes.   So it’s not a problem, but worth mentioning.  

 seaweed salad

The seaweed salad, for those curious, has a texture similar to glass noodles.  Chewy, fresh and clean.  I really liked its refreshing, green taste and sesame sauce.  I could imagine sitting outside with that dish on a bright summer day, whilst getting a horrific neck burn and watching ugly shirtless men walk by.  Now I’ll go onto the least-good dish, worded that way because nothing I ate here was bad.   The chicken teriyaki had a weak sauce, but the meat itself was perfect.  I hadn’t noticed this before, but there’s a certain taste and feel to good teriyaki meat, and this chicken had it.  But the sauce didn’t hold up to the chicken, like pairing a 3-star meal with a bag of Ruffles.  

 philadelphia roll

The sushi was put together well, this coming from the guy who can hardly roll a tortilla wrap without it coming apart.  The ingredients were colourful and fresh, especially the fish.  That’s quite impressive considering how far away Toronto is from either coast—I’ve never caught imitation crab in Lake Ontario.  What really surprised me was the shrimp tempura, it was light and fluffy, kind of like a raccoon before it shows teeth.  The veggie tempura also stood out: the eggplant was really thick and generous.  There’s no pictures because I ate it—this is a me-eating-things blog, what do you expect, photos

 ice cream

So, what is that thing?   That is banana tempura, yes you can read that sentence again to make sure it isn’t an impossibly late onset of dyslexia.  It’s hot, gooey banana covered in a light tempura and drizzle of chocolate sauce.  The ice cream on the side was Green Tea flavoured, because why not?  The ice cream, just to describe it, is pretty mild with a back note of green tea, and isn’t that sweet.  It was perfect with this dessert, a chocolate-covered soft-serve vanilla twist would’ve been a bit out of place.   The banana was delicious, cooking it really brings out the sweetness, and it mixed with the other, maybe slightly random, ingredients perfectly.  This is a great dish to sneak potassium into your kid’s diet.  But if you’re like me you’ll require a skilled group of Japanese chefs to pull off the dish, so shoving bananas down the little brat’s throat works too.  Ah, that’s why I didn’t write a parenting blog, okay.  

 sushi friend inside

In other notes, the decor was fancy enough to be comfortable, but not so classy as to instill the awkward feeling of having to wear a tie at the table.  I liked watching tennis on the T.V., since I’m such a professional critic that stands out in my mind more than things like atmosphere or chef’s technique.  The service was polite, and quick enough that I wasn’t turning the table cloth into an appetizer 2 days after ordering.  I don’t like waiting for food, this place doesn’t make you wait.    On a side note, the bathrooms are clean, so you don’t need to pick between bodily discomfort or a post-modern dungeon of horrors.  Washrooms are part of reviewing a restaurant too, even though they aren’t that appetizing—hopefully that’s not just me—it’s important in my book.   
All in all, is Sushi Friends a good place with tasty food, and solid service/decor.  The prices were great, so you can bring someone here and not rely on the cheap ba$@rd to pay his own godd@mn bill.  No, I wasn’t projecting, honest.  If you’re an easy walk, car ride or subway ride away, Sushi Friends is a local place worth checking out.  
Sushi Friends 397 Danforth Avenue

Sushi Friends on Urbanspoon

Bite Me Grill

Standard

Bite Me Grill

All right everybody, this is the paragraph were I write to my subscribers, so if you just came for the restaurant, just start reading after the pictures of the mass murderer and the war criminal.  To my sub-ers [a made-up word that will probably end up in UrbanDictionary because of me], I’m heading to Montreal tomorrow as of time of writing, and will be taking pictures to do a compilation blog after returning.  You’ll probably see the thumbnail of me attempting to speak spanish to communicate with pro-french anti-anglos, with citizens face-palming my tourist level of stupidity in the background.  

facepalm

Bite Me Grill is apparently not a place where you bite people, as the friendly police officers explained as they gave me a free ride in the back seat of their car [A jest, I’ll put a # everytime I kid again]. I decided to get their signature all-day breakfast at 5:30 pm, because it had three types of meat in it with a bunch of other food.  My mom had the chicken souvlaki, because it was one of the things that didn’t cause a gluten reaction or nut allergy.  

bite me grill interior

The decor is modern in a not-incredibly-ugly-and-actually-stylish way, with an open kitchen.  There are two tvs, which inevitably had the Argentina/Netherland football game [I didn’t say soccer just to spite American football].  Since the former won, I can now say I still don’t care who wins.  It is also worth noting that the restaurant is located in the former half of a now-smaller Rogers establishment that used to hold VCRs that are currently displayed in the 20th century exhibit in the Royal Ontario Museum[#].  There is nothing left from the Rogers store as of now, except for the suit-man who guards the souls of those who failed to pay the cable bill on time in the basement [#].  
Bite Me Grill's signature breakfast

Bite Me Grill’s signature breakfast

The Bite Me Breakfast came with two half-slices of ham, a pair of breakfast sausages and conjoined twin bacon, eggs with I ordered scrambled, whole wheat buttered toast and home fries.  The meats were obviously salty, but not overwhelmingly so.  I found the home fries to be good, cooked to have flavour but not burnt into something Ebenezer Scrooge would steal from Bob Cratchit.  
Random picture of Mickey Mouse in keeping with the Scrooge reference

Random picture of Mickey Mouse in keeping with the Scrooge reference

They also had spice and a generally good standard taste to them.  The eggs were alright, but nothing was really done with them.  I wonder if perhaps the chef was better at cooking a different style of egg than the one I ordered.  As for the meats, they were well done.  While the ham was tender and tasty, the bacon was cooked to a crispy perfection and the sausages had a good bite paired with meaty flavour.  The portions were quite generous, especially with the heated animal flesh [bad choice of words bad choice of words], making it a win-win when paired with the menu options.  
First half of the menu.  Note the omelet prices

First half of the menu. Note the omelet prices

I looked at the prices, and decided they were not only fairly marked but clever.  You see, I found that the omelette section had the option of making your own custom omelette instead of ordering one of the selected ones from the menu.  Being a cheapskate with an evil sense of humour, I tried to see if ordering a custom omelette with the exact same toppings as a menu omelette would be cheaper [I did the math in my head, because I’m not that manic].  Predictably, the numbers were against my sleazy scheme.
Mom's chicken souvlaki

Mom’s chicken souvlaki

As for the souvlaki, it was also rather standard but good–much like the home fries–as it was juicy, tender, and marinated in a way that has stood the test of time many times over.
The Greek salad that came with the souvlaki.  Very generous with the feta cheese

The Greek salad that came with the souvlaki. Very generous with the feta cheese

 Observant readers, or those who are nutty enough to come up with things such as the Pixar Theory, will notice a recurring theme.  Everything was good, but also average.  It is an uncanny valley where the food is typical but good.  This makes it hard to put on a scale of how much the place is recommendable.  
yakuza pinky
On one end there is a place to join the Yakuza to have your pinky cut off to get a member’s pass for, and on the other is a place you’ll go to if your friend is bugging you to go to that place and you feel the need to punish them with ungodly horror even if you get dragged down with them into the pit of pain.  I was thinking of Tortilla Flats with that latter one.  I often will say a restaurant is okay to visit only if you’re in the immediate area, but I think Bite Me is good enough to say it warrants a little more than that.  There is a certain brand of diner food that Bite Me is a firm producer of, and if that is what you crave, than I certainly recommend it.  For someone who craves a better, but far more untraditional brunch, I’d point to a place such as Aunties and Uncles.  
Undercover in Montreal

Undercover in Montreal

I’m going to Montreal to see family and gather intel on Earth life for the Vrillians, so I must bid farewell for now.  
(Editor’s Note: At time of posting, Callum has safely returned from his recon mission to Montreal)
Bite Me Grill 730 Danforth Avenue

Bite Me Grill on Urbanspoon

Wazema Ethiopian Restaurant

Standard
Wazema Ethiopian Restaurant
So after Dukem closed to be relocated, in a manner I perceive to be like The Real Jerk: regular news updates, some chance, desperation after the time passes on, sparse contact at all after some months, every single shred of hope depleted and then bam, a new place.  Hopefully it won’t be that close, but it could go that way.  Anyways, Wazema Ethiopian Restaurant  is on Danforth in a budding Ethiopian neighborhood [it isn’t called Little Ethiopia or anything, but demographically and culturally it’s starting to get that way], and it’s gluten free too.
injera
 The waitress explained that the injera is originally gluten free anyways, but wheat is added because it gets a little flat on the long trip from its home country.  I personally found it interesting that the injera is easier to make overseas and have it shipped than simply cooking it here, must be the climate.
Wazema interior
The pleasantly dark decor was reminiscent of the past, rather like watching someone do something that ended in disaster the first time because they think it’ll be different [like WWII or any American foreign policy decision from the last 30 years or so], but that’s a good thing unlike my politically-based examples.  Staff was polite and the food came relatively quick, but there is a problem.
I’ll get on with the good stuff first.  We got the Wazema Platter for two, which came with Tibs [spicy cubes of marinated meat], Kitfo [rare, tender ground beef] a load of lentils, with some cheese, cabbage and regular salad.  And injera, of course.
The Tibs is in the middle of the platter, the Kitfo just above and the various lentils are surrounding

The Tibs is in the middle of the platter, the Kitfo just above and the various lentils are surrounding

 Again, I like the method of eating with bread, which is much more efficient than using a knife made of expensive metal just to spread butter on a piece of other-wise unused toast.  I realize that a lot more metal is used in things like iPhones, space stations and intercontinental rocket-propelled nuclear warheads*, but I’m talking about when injera was invented thousands of years ago and steel was scarce/being invented.  Also, it’s fun.
*It may seem like the nuclear example was the only evil example on that list, but look up PRISM and kinetic bombardment and you’ll see that’s not true.
prism surveillance
After giving away three good tricks to conquering the Earth [at least I didn’t mention the sun gun, dammit too late], here’s how the food was.  Everything was delicious, with just enough spice to add flavour but not too much as to mask it.  The meat took up a large ratio of the food, the kitfo being fluffy bits of elegantly spiced protein, and the tibs were toothier with some more kick to them.  Even though there were a lot of lentils, the varying degrees of seasoning and ingredients made sure there was a lot more difference than just colour.  There was also some high-grade, cottage cheese like stuff with it, and the cabbage/potato mix added some good, full bodied savoury tastes to the mix.  And there’s a salad too, like anyone cares.

Right, the problem: the portions are small!  Compared to Dukem’s, and Rendezvous which is still in business, Wazema’s portions pale in comparison.  The amount of food is even more maddening because the food is delicious, making this a bigger deal.  It also forces me to give a mixed review, on the one hand I can say, “The food is wonderful, so I can’t say this place is bad!”  or I can say, “The twenty dollar meant-for-two people dish that looked like enough for one person wasn’t anywhere near a good price, but it was one quarter filling.”  So yeah, mixed review.
the danforth map
But there is a solution.  I have this thing were, in the event of an inconclusive result, I compare the restaurant to neighboring places.  If the competition is better, then I trash the place, but if it’s farther away than I give it an ‘if you’re in the area’ approval.  So I do the same again, while it is possible for someone to get a craving for Ethiopian food while in the neighborhood of Wazema, it’s more of a place people travel to, which makes it not as recommendable as Rendezvous [or Dukem’s when they reopen].
dinosaur meteor
 That’s my final word, just one fatal flaw, everyone has one.  Dinosaurs with the fact that they were too big to survive a meteorite, Canada and Russia with the fact that we’re both too cold to be hospitable in 99% of both countries, Hollywood with the fact that they haven’t come up with an original story in years and Wazema with the fact that they’re portions are too stingy.  Well, that’s my review, bye bye.
Wazema Ethiopian Restaurant 1360 Danforth Avenue

Wazema Ethiopian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Teatree Cafe and Eatery

Standard
Teatree Cafe Danforth
Teatree Cafe and Eatery is a gluten-free, vegetarian and organic health-freak cafe [anyone who fits under all three of those categories, one must admit, is a health freak].  Oddly, it is located in the same neighborhood as The Magic Oven, which is also gluten-free/vegetarian.
Yes, I admit that organic food is a good thing, albeit expensive, but like many good things in the world, aren’t popular in our culture.  Bees disappearing is no biggie, but OH MY GOD TWINKIES ARE GONE?!?!?!!?  The first end of Breaking Bad is obviously more important than the first thing to leave our Solar System [I know someone out there has no idea what that is.  It was Voyager 1, but to be fair to you there wasn’t much coverage on it].  And who cares about the whistle blower who risked his life to tell the World NSA and Obama were spying on them WHEN MILEY CYRUS STUCK HER A$$ IN SOMEONE’S FACE WHILE PLAYING WITH A GIANT FOAM HAND?!?!?!
popular google searches

popular Google searches

                                                                                                                        or
what should be popular Google searches

what should be popular Google searches

Now I got that out of my system, let’s talk about the cafe.  It has a nice, cafe-like atmosphere, nothing outstanding in a good or bad way.
teatree cafe interior
 There are a lot of savory options, which are way better than they sound.  For instance, by ‘vegetable soup’, one would think of basic veggies floating basically in salty water, but instead it’s a beautiful Indian-style mild curry.
suprisingly tasty

suprisingly tasty

 And vegetarian Shepard’s sounds akin to Clyde without Bonnie, Hitler without Nazis, religion and politics without controversy–you get the picture.  [or maybe something a little more positive like an ice cream without the cone].
Gluten free.  Meat free. Delicious

Gluten free. Meat free.
Delicious

 But it actually was just like a delicious mashed potato serving.  Even the Mac and Cheese was well done, with bread-crumbs on top and appetizing cheese sauce.
Mom and I both tried this Black Bean Chocolate Cake

Mom and I both tried this Black Bean Chocolate Cake

It isn’t just the savouries that are good.  Everyone had some of that black-bean chocolate cake, and it was great for a regular cake.  One big problem with black-bean chocolate-anything is that they aren’t very sweet–because beans don’t go with sweet stuff very well.  But you couldn’t even notice here, and I’m frankly surprised there aren’t more customers–maybe because of all the health options people expect soy milk, bagged-it-myself meat and hash brownies [oh wait, that’s Rob Ford’s kitchen], but Tea Tree Cafe isn’t just a hippie joint.  It makes eating health food as easy as laughing at George W. Bush*, and not just for those who have to.

*whoever his string puller was they couldn’t stop all those sounds of one and a half gears in his head from grinding to a stop from coming out of his mouth [think of every time he said ‘uh’]
Nana's carrot cupcake. She found it a little dry but she has very high cupcake standards

Nana’s cupcake. She found it a little dry but she has very high cupcake standards

As a matter of fact, I recommend Tea Tree cafe to anyone who likes great food, and not just someone who’s stuck on a gluten-free diet.
And yes, I will get to work on that Paleo-diet post.
Teatree Cafe and Eatery 867 Danforth Avenue

Teatree Cafe and Eatery on Urbanspoon

Magic Oven

Standard
Magic Oven Danforth
I said I would do another pizza review, and here it is.  My mom had started a gluten-free diet [apparently your body can develop an intolerance well after growth and puberty].  It is also a good time to see how diet-related foods can taste.
The Magic Oven is, based on information on their menu, part of the Slow Food movement.  The whole idea is an abolition [ha ha I made it sound like something historical] of processed Fast Food chains, much like Locovore or Paleo-diet subcultures.  I believe it is a very good idea, although frankly I can’t see how organic, real food could replace fast food in our ultra-modern world [some people just don’t have time, I’m not saying it’s good or that I support it, but it is a fact].  But then again there are some healthy fast food/quick service chains, but they aren’t nearly as popular as th junk ones.
paleo diet cartoon
Anyway, about the Paleolithic-diet.  It is its own movement where people eat much like our ancestors did [no, I’m not saying cavemen, that’s inaccurate.  I might as well call them Flintstone if I did that] and it took some digging to find out about.  Since I researched paleoanthropology, not any of the other branches of anthropology, I had questions about which species: early Homo Sapiens, our cousins, not ancestors, the Neanderthals or farther back to the likes of Homo Habilus or Homo Erectus [stop laughing].
image courtesy of priestwithaneypatch.tumblr.com

image courtesy of priestwithaneypatch.tumblr.com

 It seems to be more about just before the agricultural revolution, when man was both smart enough to grow crops and weird enough to drink out of that dangley thing on the cows [I wonder if it took a while for people to figure out that didn’t work on the bulls].  I’ll have to cover it in a separate blog, but suffice to say there isn’t anything processed and there are a lot of meats and fresh fruits and veggies.
Magic Oven interior
But The Magic Oven doesn’t cater to Paleolithic diets, so let’s move on to them.  Oddly, there were some Indian options on the menu, such as tandoori toppings or a samosa appetizer, which I had.  It was actually really good, the samosa’s were warm with delicious veggie filling, and the tomato  sauce it came with, which tasted a lot like pizza sauce, went surprisingly well, and added colour to the brown dish.
my samosa appetizer with a homemade tomato sauce (tasted like pizza sauce)

my samosa appetizer with a homemade tomato sauce (tasted like pizza sauce)

And the service was impeccable, the waitress was very nice and smart too, constantly checking to see which foods were safe and separating our gluten-free take-out with the none-gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination  [it’s like gluten is a nut].  They obviously cared about customer satisfaction.
my pizza with some interesting ingredients including Tandoori sweet potato

my pizza with some interesting ingredients including Tandoori sweet potato

But the main attraction is pizza.  The menu was large with many options for toppings, cheese, and crust [organic, gluten-free and yeast-free].  I had mozzarella, tomato-pesto sauce, organic crust tandoori sweet potato, beef salami and garlic-rubbed spinach.  My mom had mozzarella, {tomato} sauce, the gluten-free crust, mushrooms and chicken.
my mother's pizza, clearly going for an all-white theme here

my mother’s pizza, clearly going for an all-white theme here

The gluten-free crust was alright, I can cut them a little slack considering Italian food isn’t meant to be made with cornmeal, but the crust was a little funny.  There are better ways to do it, supposedly, but it is a weird twist on cooking to work with.  But the toppings were good, tender chicken and quality cheese, but they are a bit washed away by the crust.
close up of the various toppings on my pizza

close up of the various toppings on my pizza

As for mine, the crust was quite good, and the toppings [frankly I think I picked better] worked really well.  I recommend the tomato pesto sauce over some of the other ones, as it worked well with my salty salami, the contrasting sweet potato [not really tandoori but that didn’t matter] and occasional spinach.  It was a treat.
my decadent chocolate cake

my decadent chocolate cake

But it isn’t dinner without dessert.  Well it is, but… dessert goes better with it.
We compared the two chocolate cakes, the vegan and the decadent, and it was pretty close.
Mom's vegan chocolate cake

Mom’s vegan chocolate cake

The decadent was bigger, but other than that the two tied each other really well [I hurt your eyes with all those ts didn’t I? Well here’s another!].
Mr T had a cereal?!?!!

Mr T had a cereal?!?!!

If I could say one other thing, the vegan was a touch dryer, not dry just drier, and not by much either, you probably won’t even notice.
Finding gluten-free is like typing in V for Vsauce [check him out, and I will remind you I’m not copyright infringing, I’m basically advertising someone for free] and getting VMS Miley Cyrus as the top search [i.e. utter crap].  Nay, it’s more like trying to find something nice Google has to say about Americans–just type in ‘why are Americans’ to see what I mean–, and about as frustrating as how people think Canadians are afraid of the dark because they said so on How I met your Mother.  That’s like saying that rednecks are historians because you watched the History Channel, or that the Burger King, “King” isn’t terrifying because he’s smiling [come on, when you were a kid you just knew that’s the kind of creepy stranger the friendly officer warned you about].
image courtesy of giantbomb.com

image courtesy of giantbomb.com

So, back to the point [at least I didn’t mention the Are you Afraid of the Dark movie, oh wait], The Magic Oven is a good place for pizza, and definitely gluten-free friendly.
I don’t know how to rate it as a gluten-free cooking place compared to others, since this is my first one, so I’ll just leave it at that.
Magic Oven 798 Danforth Avenue

Magic Oven on Urbanspoon