Tag Archives: Gerrard Little India

Cool Runnings

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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

Eulalie’s Corner Store

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Gerrard_Street,_Toronto

The neighborhood I live in is very interesting, mostly because it’s an experiment of how many different walks of life can fit into four city blocks. For instance, my house is located in a slightly ghetto but still safe and clean part of town, next to an abandoned store, empty used car lot and a sketchy bar. Two minutes away is the vibrant and exotic Little India, mix-mashed with more closed stores and middle class hangouts.

yuppie

Okay, here’s a bit of a problem. My neighborhood is being infused with middle class, local establishments, and that colours my review of a Canadian restaurant right in the middle of Little India. But I really can’t write about this without coming off as racist towards rich white people. What do I call them? Soccer mom and yuppie are common terms, but are derogatory, and I know I’ll get comments for using a word like dink or cracker. I’ve done my best to present things as neutrally as possible, but if there’s a way to talk about middle class Caucasians in an ethnic neighborhood without sounding bigoted, please let me know.

I mention this because local cafes Lazy Daisy and Flying Pony give off a very different vibe than what the rest of Little India gives, and newer places are opening up all the time to appeal to that same demographic. Eulalie’s Corner Store—or Eulalie’s for short—is part of this new trend, and I’ll talk about that later.

My mom and I had decided to sit outside during dinner, to enjoy the summer pleasures of being harassed by wasps and napkin-stealing breezes. An outside patio is the main seating area; the indoor space being cramped. This emphasize on outdoor seating brings up Eulalie’s first problem, albeit it’s one with their business model and not customer satisfaction. Patio dining is great during summer or the milder parts of spring and fall, but when the city gets covered in snow and ice, the novelty wears a little thin.

Oh look at that, three paragraphs in and I haven’t talked about the food, but did mention optimal business approaches and racial tensions. The blog got off course again, d@mn it. Well, at least you know how long it takes waiting for dinner at this place. We arrived at Eulalie’s probably around 7:40 and didn’t get our plates until 8:20, and that’s a conservative estimate. The long wait time gives you plenty to do: get annoyed by the loud customers, wonder what the odds are of a horrific disaster occurring within the next five minutes, or pick a fight with an intrusive wasp (I hate wasps).

 

Weird people and stubborn wasps notwithstanding, the wait time is long for a sandwich and fried chicken on waffles. My personal thinking is that Eulalie’s is intended to be a social place for friends to chat and laugh over booze—like a classy, alcoholic water cooler—and that customers would be so engrossed in loud conversation to not notice how long the food is taking. By that logic, anyone who brings an awkward first-time date might feel something closer to a relativistic effect, but I digress.

If the food was good, I might say the meal is worth bearing through all the time dilation. Spoilers, it’s not. My fried chicken pieces atop potato waffles weren’t bad by any means, but won’t be winning any awards either. The breading was crispy and edible, covering boneless chicken that was neither dry nor succulent. It overplayed thin but soft potato waffles that offered some sweetness and not much else. On the side of this John Smith of a dish was a type of wine sauce, probably the best part of the meal in terms of originality, but still average. It’s a bad sign when the best word I used to describe my meal was edible.

It’s basically the same song and dance for Mom’s fried green tomato sandwich, tasty but one could find good sandwiches at the cafe Lazy Daisy two blocks away, so I won’t go into this too much. There are some good things to Eulalie’s, such as the homemade mayo and ketchup that came with the tomato sandwich, or the wine sauce with my dish. Although anything’s better than store bought condiments, homemade stuff still adds a lot of flavour. Mom found the prices to be good, I didn’t as much because I’m a complete cheapskate. And for those who’d rather an inside pub, there is a mini bar next to a TV screen and three seating tables—like I said, it’s small.

The fact of the matter is, this is not really a place focused in food.  If you’re into the whole beer patio friend hangout thing, that’s fine. Just be sure the conversation will last till dinner arrives. At the least, Eulalie’s is part of an interesting social experiment. The people who visited Little India pre-Lazy Daisy won’t be going here, nor will many of those at Eulalie’s be seen hitting up the local buffets. So there’s a middle class suburban culture of Canadians who go to organic food markets, have evening social events and spend twelve bucks on a sandwich, right next to an Indian bazaar. And I’m not criticizing that by any means—just because I don’t like Eulalie’s doesn’t mean I don’t love going to Flying Pony or Lazy Daisy’s. In regards to Eulalie’s, if it’s all the same, I’d rather eat butter chicken or chana masala.

Eulalie’s Corner Store 1438 Gerrard Street East
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Moti Mahal

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Moti Mahal

What is Moti Mahal? It appears to be one of the more successful restaurants of Toronto’s Little India, a culturally rich but ever changing neighborhood with exotic clothing and jewelry stores, fancy cafes and abandoned buildings. Moti Mahal would look like a simple fast food restaurant to any uninformed window shoppers, but after taking the red pill and eating here, I discovered a hidden gem and secret history. No, this isn’t a rant post, you’ll have to try again next time.

Angry rant

Although I can refer you to Google if that’s what you’re looking for.

What up until the time of writing I thought was a local Indian restaurant, it turned out to have a much more important history. The story of Moti Mahal begins in the 1900s in the Punjab region of Pakistan—which was still India—with a man named Kundan Lal Gujral. Losing his father at age ten, he worked at a restaurant which revolutionized the art of making tandoori chicken.

Tandoor Oven

A tandoor is a clay pot used as an oven, but Gujral was the first to dig a tandoor into the floor of his eatery, making the dish popular and Gujral’s services vey popular. In 1947, The British brought about partition; separating the great country into India and Pakistan. Gujral fled to India, and arrived in New Delhi poor but hopeful. He then re-started his business into what is today Moti Mahal.

Moti Mahal is now a chain with over 120 locations, including the one three blocks away from my house in Toronto, which among other things happens to be the inventor of modern Dal Makhani and Butter Chicken. Wait wait wait, what?! Yeah, that’s right, Moti Mahal invented one of the more popular Indian dishes back in the 50’s. Don’t believe me? Well then check the Wikipedia page, because apparently they have one.

MotiMahal seating
Since I hadn’t learned Moti Mahal’s history until after eating there, my opinion was formed as a regular diner’s experience. The decor isn’t much to talk about, since it appears to be AWOL, and the seating comprises of cafeteria style bolted-down benches and tables. Even though the interior is lacking, the prices are really low in comparison to the food’s quality.
Menu

Decisions, decisions

Upon looking at the wall-mounted menu behind the ordering counter, one notices the large number of dishes. Or in my case, one notices the thing that will keep you staring at the wall indecisively for minutes on end. I eventually settled on the number 7 option from the special menu, a huge plate with naan and a smorgasbord of other dishes in smaller portions.

Butter Chicken Thali

My lunch had butter chicken (rather fitting in hindsight), chana masala, bisrani (rice with flavouring) and an onion dumpling in yogurt sauce. Let’s start with the butter chicken. It had generous amount of tender, boneless chicken marinating in a creamy, fresh sauce. The sweet/savoury combination that characterizes butter chicken was spot on, and very warm. It might not be the best I’ve had, but pretty damn good. As for the chana masala, it was amazing. The well-cooked chickpeas were the ideal vessel for a perfect sauce. Unlike most chana dishes I’ve had, this one had very little acidity and a much richer flavour—a little bit was quite filling. The taste could be described as earthy, or as I like to say, umami, and there was just enough spice to bring it all together.

Kathi Roll

My mom’s paneer kathi roll

The biryani surprised me on the first bite. As opposed to just plain rice, it had been treated with a sweet and herbaceous flavouring, making it more suitable to be eaten alone than as a vessel for sauce—I guess that’s what the gigantic pieces of bread were for. Speaking of which, the naan was pretty decent, could’ve been fluffier in my opinion, but I’m a sucker for flatbread and it filled its purpose. As for the onion dumpling yogurt sauce thing—yeah I forget the Indian name okay?!—it matched the other dishes. The yellow stew gave off a mild sourness, brought down by its smoothness. This worked in tangent with the dumpling—a dense but soft, moist ball meant to be chewed with ease.

Pakora

Their pakora; big as a baseball

Overall, I very much recommand Moti Mahal, it has delicious food for a great price. I can also vouch for the pakora and samosas, two or three of which can make up a lunch for someone on a budget: I order it regularly and I’m a penny-pinching b@stard. If you come here, try it at least once, there’s a reason Moti Mahal is always crowded.

Moti Mahal 1422 Gerrard St E

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The Real Jerk at Their New Location

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the-real-jerk
First off, I think my subscribers and anyone reading this post recently would like me to mention something about the fact that it is 2014, the year when no doubt some science fiction book or movie takes place and has us living on Mars with flying cars and no war or famine.  It was nice to be able to have a new year without people blaring about
four horsemen
The Mayan calendar, or Book of Revelations, or the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, not to mention the Aliens that would be coming back after having built the pyramids thousands of years ago, which made the holidays a little less doomsday than last year’s last year’s December [or the last holiday season before the one we just had… I think we’re all still stuck in 2013 even though it isn’t].
dennis rodman and kim jong un
 Hopefully this year will be better than last year and all that, but seriously, what could get weirder than finding out the world has been spied on, having Rob Ford openly admit to smoking crack, ex-basketball star Dennis Rodman become best friends with murderous dictator Kim Jong Un, and all the good stuff with Chris Hadfield [I actually can’t remember anything else that was good, but maybe that is just because I’m really into space stuff].
Another new thing is the Real Jerk, which I had frankly given up all hope on after a year or so.  It had to move because someone apparently thought ‘why eat delicious foreign food when you can get drunk and perpetuate offensive Irish stereotypes?’ and put down an Irish pub in place of the island restaurant [don’t think Irish pubs are offensive?
drunk st patricks day
 See them on Saint Patty’s day, the completely false usage of green [four-leaved clovers were traditionally blue [ooooh, brackets within brackets within brackets, bracket-ception]] and the horrible fake Irish accents…ugh].  Yes, we’re out of all the brackets now].  That last one was just to mess with you.
New Real Jerk Interior
The new location is closer to home, and is a bit of a smaller space but still pretty big for a restaurant, don’t forget the old place had the second floor.  The old staff is back, the old food is back, everything is back.
As for the food, it is still delicious.
Always have to start with a spicy beef patty

Always have to start with a spicy beef patty

I had a beef patty as an appetizer, and if you’re thinking its just like the ones sold at coffee shops or fast food restaurants, you’re wrong, dead wrong.  Even the pastry was better than that crap, as it was flaky and had flavour that complimented the filling.  As for the meat, it is excellent, with a creamy texture and spice to boot.  It is great as a big-but-not-too-filling appetizer.
I started on this before the pic was taken...

I started on this before the pic was taken…

For the entree, I had the roti, which despite its gargantuan size, I finished.  The meat is tender with a little firmness to chew, and in good, medium chunks: not too big to swallow but enough to fill your mouth.  There were potatoes as well, which added variety and also carried the sauce well.  Which brings me to a point, the curry was delicious, it was spicy, bursting with flavour and covered the inside of the roti.  Just like the patty, even the pastry was above average.
These are on my grandmother's "Last Meal" list

These are on my grandmother’s “Last Meal” list

My grandmother had the cod fritters, which are deep-fried dough balls with fish inside.  They are greasy in a tasty way: not disgusting or anything, and I think the fish is mixed in with the batter.  Regardless, they go perfectly with the tomato dipping sauce and are a great fried item on the menu, but for some reason I find them very filling, in that I can only eat a few of them but can eat large proportions of other foods.  This isn’t the chef’s fault, I’m like that with all battered fish and it’s probably because I don’t eat much in the way of breaded or deep-fried stuff, [or it’s my stomach singling out one type of food to remind me that it does have a bottom] but I still enjoy eating them.
... and cause ox-tail gravy is just always a good idea

… and cause ox-tail gravy is just always a good idea

Both her and my mom had chicken curry rice, and it is just as good as the roti.  A little bit similar, but presented differently and probably less filling then the pastry version, so there are options for gluttons and weight-watchers alike [ha, ha, you’re watching your weight while eating at The Real Jerk!  pro tip: you’re gonna lose].  Also, you can get ox-tail gravy with anything, and the staff won’t think you’re weird, [well, they will but they won’t say anything].  That also brings me to another point.
The staff is very friendly with a good dose of sarcastic humour, which makes them feel more warm and genuine.  They check up often enough but not so frequently they’re invasive, and help make customers feel relaxed.  They did a good job bringing in eaters I find.  As for the decor, is similar to the old place, with reggae and rab [oh, it’s called R and B and not rab?  that makes more sense], and the windows with that heavy yellow tint on the them.
their well stocked bar

their well stocked bar

For entertainment seekers, there is the bar, which does have a liquor license, and televisions showcase buff men in their underwear hugging and rolling on the floor violently [at least when they have MMA on*, but they have sports TV, and when we were there it was skiing].
isn't it romantic?

isn’t it romantic?

*I know what you were thinking, kind of changes your perspective on wrestling now, doesn’t it.  You can blame the dirty thinking on my mother, she’s the one who planted that thought in my head.
real jerk sunshine sign
To sum up, The new Real Jerk is just as good as the old place, with great food, great staff, great location and great everything in general [MacArthur].  There is even an add-on bar, which is ironic because the Real Jerk was forced to close down because of a bar, but oh well, but what is more ironic than NASA not being able to build a Apollo rocket because nobody kept any of the plans.
apollo rocket
 Bye bye for now.
The Real Jerk 842 Gerrard Street East

The Real Jerk on Urbanspoon

Lahore Tikki House

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Lahore Tikki House exterior

This place has been in the neighborhood ever since my family moved here.   It has been at the heart of Little India and we never went there once until now.  It is quite noticeable for its large size, popularity, and the tuk-tuk [a type of three-wheeled vehicle, like those small trucks that are in Japan.  Quite the fad for dodging traffic in India].   Walking inside was impressive, with fancy Indian memorabilia in the front door and exceptionally kind service, everyone was friendly.  Then things got scary.

Lahore Tikki House interior

Almost like out of a Stephen King story about a homey town that turns out to be evil, terrifying plastic silverware and Styrofoam plates [they float down when you drop them, trust me I tried] as well as coke cans and water pitchers with no glass cups!  Egads!

Then things took a turn for the weird, but not necessarily the ugly [sorry Children of the Corn, you’ll have to wait until next time].  The service is what you call ‘order at the counter’ which means that if you decided what you want to eat, you have to tell the person at the counter full of food.  I was surprised when my mom came back with a table number, and more worried that it was number 55!

Lahore Tikki House 55-2

She explained to me that was the number of our table, not how many people were ahead of us in line.  Sure enough, the waiter came over with the food we ordered.

It was decided that we would order food we’ve already tried, so that we can compare.  The food was meant to be shared by two or more, as the waiter explained when I asked him.  It was a little surprising everything was in pans, but way better than the disposables that are so scary.

From the Twilight Zone - the episode with William Shatner and the gremlin on the airplane wing

From the Twilight Zone – the episode with William Shatner and the gremlin on the airplane wing

I know someone sees them on the wing of a plane [I don’t know why I keep coming up with horror fiction references, I guess I don’t like the plastics that much].  Fortunately, the food was worth it.

It was delicious, and just as good as or even better than Haandi’s.  We had the Three Beef Shish kabob [with a generous amount of rice], butter chicken—in a pan, and mutter paneer—also in a pan.

Beef Kabobs and Rice

Beef Kabobs and Rice

I have to agree with my mom on the beef, it tasted like meatballs.  I liked how it seemed to have been marinated until it had subtle spice and a perfect tenderness that is hard to get when cooking beef.

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

The butter chicken was fantastic, that’s all that needs to be said.  The chicken was flavourful and tender, as well as boneless which is very nice and something I haven’t seen anywhere else, including Haandi’s.  The sauce was tasty, although different from the aforementioned joint’s.

Mutter Paneer

Mutter Paneer

Last but not least, the mutter paneer.  To be honest, it was more mutter than paneer, which is to say it had the sauce, herbs [with an H], and peas, but not much of the tofu-cheese like stuff called paneer, if you’ll notice in the picture there aren’t many white cubes, and the one I had was a really big piece.  What was there, however, aced it.

The sauce had a more sour taste than I’ve had before, be it from Haandi’s, Tandoori Chicken, or a recipe that’s a favourite at home.  My Grandmother, who loves mutter paneer, didn’t like what we brought home.  She complained there wasn’t enough paneer, like I said, and I got the impression she didn’t like the twist on the usual flavours.

All in all, a good place that definitely isn’t over hyped, and maybe even a little under hyped.  I mean, this was as good as The Real Jerk, in its own way, and it’s still here [what happened to them anyway?  They’re floating around like something out of a bad Star Trek episode, hey, at least I’m off the horror stuff]!  I think that’s a lot from me, considering probably every restaurant I hate has or has had a hype, ‘buzz’ or whatever internet speak is suitable, positive critical reception, rigged by Zagat or not, or some other form of cheating their way up the ladder of fame.  Sometimes I feel like one of those angry guys on YouTube that record themselves nagging about some movie, or book, or song, or… finger puppet cases that they don’t like, but sometimes I disagree with the mob.

Lahore Tikki House pans

Final verdict, if you can tolerate the dreadful plates, cups, and utensils, as well as the unorthodox serving method [I wonder if that’s how they do it in India or not but it sure is efficient], than friendly waiters, interesting large pieces of décor, and delicious food awaits.

Lahore Tikki House Tuk Tuk 1

Oh, by the way, I can’t drive the tuk-tuk very well.  Let’s just hope that guy isn’t still mad…

Lahore Tikki House 1365 Gerrard St E
Lahore Tikka House on Urbanspoon

Tropical Joe’s

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Tropical Joe’s  is not a sit-down restaurant, it is a mall cafeteria outlet, and it’s not an Eaton Centre mall, or even from a downtown joint, it’s from Gerrard Square, alongside KFC, El Greeko, [don’t get me started on the Spanish accent], Subway, and some others, but why does it stand out?  Surely this isn’t a “Sliders”  episode where in this universe I look for the most forgettable dives ever, could it?

Well I can assure you it’s not, as Tropical Joe’s has more to offer than bolted seating and a clichéd name.  The food is restaurant quality, frankly begging the question why isn’t this at the Eaton Centre [maybe it’ll be in the second cafeteria]?  The weird part is that it isn’t just one good thing and lots of bad dishes they have going on, it seems more like the exact opposite [the wolf in the fold are the flavorless vegetables, don’t bother with them].  That’s the summary, here’s the detail.

What most people would order is the Jerk Chicken, which is one of their best options.  For a large meal, order the small jerk chicken on top of rice with a beef patty side, it is enough for lunch and take-out [thinking of the large chicken brings an image of a guy crying out ‘Godzilla!’].  The chicken is tender and delicious thigh meat in a generous amount of wonderful jerk rub.

They’re not messing around when they use this cleaver

Look out for bones though, they tend to get chopped up with the meat.  It may sound an implausible task to actually cut bones, but that’s before you see their giant hacking cleavers, I even found knife slashes on a large bone once and it looked like the animal fought a dinosaur!

Spicy Beef Patty

As for the rice and beef patty, they make great sides too, the rice has some spice and flavour, and the patty is tasty with some very good meat inside.

Stewed Chicken Roti

Now for the rotis.  Rotis are anything wrapped up in a thick flatbread, even though in this case they had to be in round takeout boxes otherwise they’d fall apart.  The stewed chicken with potatoes on the inside is fantastic, as is the curry chicken roti.

Curry Chicken Roti

Both have the usual delectable sauces and fine ingredients, probably adding to a theory that most people in the food world, at all, would agree with, something is good, or it is bad, or it is great, or it is abysmal.   This works for most things for that matter, building designs, scientific theories, books, cars, schools, movies [don’t give me any of that ‘good effects makes good movies’ nonsense Hollywood] and restaurants.  Tropical Joe’s is no exception, and are just as recommendable as many places at the Eaton Centre.

The only other food item I can talk about are the drinks.  At Joe’s, there are more than just Pepsi or another places Coca-Cola, there are Jamaican sodas.  The ones we’ve had are pineapple flavour and champagne coke, and no, that’s not alcohol.  It actually is a lot more like cream soda, I hate it.  As for the pineapple, it is quite good, sweeter than the Mexican version of pineapple coke.

So, all in all, if you want to visit Gerrard Square, go to Tropical Joe’s, it is certainly better than most mall food, it’s also certainly better than most Jamaican restaurants there are too, so give it a shot!

Tropical Joe’s 1000 Gerrard Street East
Tropical Joe's on Urbanspoon

New Town Family Restaurant

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I haven’t been enjoying  many of the places we’ve been going to, so to prove I actually do like restaurants I decided to pick a place my family and I go to a lot.

The New Town Family Restaurant

This place is literally a block down our street and is our go-to spot for local diner fare.  That isn’t just us though, as New Town Family Restaurant always has other customers when we are there.  And you’ll probably find most of them in the favoured booth seats.

The booths are everybody’s favourite seat

All this food for less than seven dollars

As I mentioned in my earlier post about Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken  New Town has excellent fried chicken.  The pieces themselves are impressive because not only are they tender, but they are from chickens so large it makes one wonder if the bird was actually a turkey.  And as for the breading, it is crispy without being burnt or crunchy and adds a generous but pleasant amount of salt to the dish.  
Another of the great menu items to pick from is the hot hamburger, which is a generous two patties on bread covered in gravy and served with vegetables and french fries [I choose home fries because semi-mashed and flat-top cooked is healthier than deep fried].  I first found this hamburger style at this restaurant and it is one of my favourites to pick from at any diner.

Chicken Souvlaki dinner (also available on a pita)

The people who own New Town are Greek which is why this delicious Souvlaki is on the menu even though it’s not typical diner fare.  As for the home fries; and this may be why they’re so good; have a Greek flare to them.

As if the food weren’t good enough, the service here is incredibly friendly.  I mean these people are glad to see you, they know you by name, ask of your family, and make you feel welcomed and at home.  As I’ve mentioned with the fried chicken, the portions are ridiculously large and cheap.

Here are some other dishes that I didn’t previously bring up but would like to mention now.


This is my favorite breakfast choice on their menu.  I challenge you to try dipping your sausage in syrup next time.  It might sound weird but its surprisingly good.


Strangely every lunch and dinner meal comes with a free salad. It’s kinda like they’re trying to keep you healthy even though you’re eating a burger with two strips of bacon and melted cheese.

New Town Family Restaurant is all in all, a great place that deserves repeat visits.

New Town Family Restaurant 266 Coxwell Avenue
New Town Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon