Friday, June 28, 2013

Dinner at India's Taste Restaurant

My friend and I went to India's Taste restaurant for dinner on Sunday. It's an all day buffet restaurant located on Denison Street, east of Woodbine Avenue. Normally Indian restaurants, if they offer buffets, only have them at lunchtime. So this was kind of cool.

It was my first time eating there. My friend had been before though. It's not a fancy place; far from it. No matter... I had a hankering for Indian food, so satisfying that need was all I cared about.

We arrived kind of late - at a few minutes after 9:00 p.m. The sign on the door said the restaurant closed at 10:00 so we figured we had enough time. After all, what restaurant shuts its doors right at the stated time on the door?

The restaurant was quite busy when we took our seats. I guess it's a popular place. It's not a big restaurant. The selection at the buffet was alright. Now, even though I like Indian food, I don't know anything about it. I have no idea what anything is. Normally I just try a bit of everything and see how it goes.

My friend and I filled up our first plates with food and returned to our seats to eat. I'm normally a slow eater so it took me a fair amount of time to finish what I had. My philosophy is - dining is a pursuit to be savored and enjoyed. It's a leisure activity.

While I was filling my second plate with food my friend came up to me and said the server came up to her as mentioned the buffet would be closing in five minutes. Panicking we rushed to fill a few plates with food and dessert before it all disappeared. We figured if we had our food we could sit and enjoy the rest of our meal. Well... it didn't exactly turn out that way.

Not long after patrons started getting up and leaving (I assume they were regulars who knew what was going on). The staff then started cleaning up and putting chairs on the tables. We figured our time there was now very limited. That's when we started stuffing everything on our plates into our mouthes as quickly as we could.

Sure enough the restaurant closed right at 10:00. The lights were turned out and everyone was ushered out to the parking lot. We finished most of what we took, but being short on time didn't completely clean our plates. Both of us had sore tummies from stuffing ourselves in such a short period of time.

I believe the restaurant could have (or should have) opened a bit longer for it's patrons. I mean, who in their right mind closes right at the hour they say on the door? Next time we'll know... if we want to eat there we'd better arrive at least a couple of hours before closing.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

CPC Church Picnic 2013

We had our church's annual picnic this Sunday after service. It was held at Lakefront Promenade Park in Mississauga. It was either my first time or my first time going in many, many years. The only reason I went this time was because Tony and Iris needed a lift. I wasn't going to go because I had my boarding home visit in the afternoon.

Since I was short on time I drove Tony and Iris and Ying out right after service. I thought I'd take University Avenue down to the Gardiner Expressway, but that may have turned out to be a mistake. We got caught in heavy traffic of drivers trying to exit at Spadina Avenue for the Blue Jays game (which they won over the Baltimore Orioles... their 11th win in a row tying a team record). Still we were the first guests to the park. The only other people there were the ones preparing the food.

Since we had to wait a little I took some pictures of Ying and Iris. And I took some shots around the park. It was a nice place. There were some small birds who had built nests under the shelter where we were eating. One nest had five babies. The parents' would fly back and forth bringing food to them. They were pretty cute.

Unfortunately I had to cut out early at around 2:00 p.m. I only spent about an hour there. I had a hamburger and sausage and some salad that Francis cooked up. It was good.

It would have been nice if the weather was cooler (because it was really hot and humid), but at least the rain held off. They had predicted a high chance of that happening.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Taste of Little Italy

I went down to the Taste of Little Italy on Saturday. My friend, Gabe, called me and invited me down. He and a few of his foodie friends had planned on going.

The Taste of Little Italy is one of the many annual summer events here in Toronto. This one was held on College Street in between Bathurst and Ossington streets. Many vendors set up tables selling all sort of things; the most popular being a vast selection of delicious food.

I met Gabe and Emily at Eglinton subway station. They live further north along Yonge. We planned on taking the subway down to College and getting off and taking the streetcar east to Bathurst. Perhaps that wasn't the best move.

When we got out of the subway and onto street level we were greeted by a huge crowd also waiting for the streetcar. As time passed the crowd grew and grew. Finally one streetcar came along and people clamoured on. Unfortunately there wasn't enough room for us. We had to wait a bit longer for the next one.

Peter and his niece and her boyfriend were already down there. We met them along College Street. As soon as we met his niece and her boyfriend they had to leave. So it was just Peter, Gabe, Emily and I. Justin was looking for a place to park and Edna and Martin were on their way.

Our first stop was The Fish Store. Emily and Gabe really like the Sea Bass sandwiches they serve there so that's what we all had. Peter had already gone there earlier and had one.

By the time our sandwiches arrived so did Justin. Edna came a short time later followed by Martin. We finished our food together then walked around.

I have to say, the place was packed. You could barely move. Especially around all the food stalls. If you don't like tight spaces this probably isn't the place for you.

We ambled around sampling other food items and the such. There were some musicians along the street providing entertainment and an area with some games and simple carnival rides.

The weather was pretty much perfect out so it was a great way to spend the evening just walking around enjoying the sights and sounds and filling your belly.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Wildlife in the City

Last week I was at my sister's place. In the backyard a deer was resting in the grass near the back corner. My sister said it had been there quite awhile. It was early evening so I thought she was going to sleep there. We really didn't get the chance to find out though. First my sister's neighbour went out to take a picture. The deer was aware of him, but not really scared. It was only when my younger nephew went out onto the deck and yelled, hi, that she got up and eventually walked off.

My sister's house backs onto a golf course near Don Mills and York Mills. It's not exactly the heart of the city, but it's not in the boonies either. Surprisingly she sees a fair bit of wildlife in there. While it's not really "wild" wildlife she did see a deer, a couple of dancing rabbits, a groundhog and a family of raccoons (mom and five babies) in one day recently. I thought that was pretty cool.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Grid - Burger Week

My friend Gabe and his foodie friends went out on Friday night for a burger run downtown along Ossington. It was The Grid's (entertainment paper) Burger Week. 67 restaurant locations around the city offered $5 burger deals for people to try. Peter and Emily were the main organizers. Four others; Gabe, me, Fiona and Justin tagged along.

We met in the Queen and Ossington Avenue area. Peter was there first. Gabe drove Emily, Fiona and myself. Justin came on his own from work out in Mississauga.

Our plan was to go to certain restaurants on the list and order take out. We would halve the burgers and share one between two people. Then we would head to the next restaurant and repeat until we were full.

The first snag we hit was that many of the restaurants didn't offer take out; you had to dine in. So we had to skip a few until we found one, The Lakeview (on Dundas, just east of Ossington), that did. Their burger was a beef patty with maple caramelized onions, lemon-chive mayo, onion fritters, fries, and salad with honey-balsamic vinaigrette.

It was quite busy (as were most restaurants involved with the promotion), so we had to wait awhile for our order to come. When it did we headed outside and ate it on the sidewalk before heading to our next destination. I have to say the burger was a bit dry.

The next restaurant was literally around the corner on Ossington. It was the Dakota Tavern. They offered a brisket/hanger steak/chuck blend with grilled Vidalia onion, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, house-made pickle, and chipotle mayo. It was fine.

We headed up to College Street next where we tried to get into a few restaurants. A lot of them were too busy so we couldn't get in. We finally managed to get into Hadley's which served a ground chuck and bacon with pineapple relish, smoked provolone, and wasabi mayo burger. I'm guessing it was fine. I can't quite remember. I guess it didn't make much of an impression on me.

Next we pretty much went on a wild goose chase. We headed back east along College and walked into The Caledonian. The seated us on the back patio (where it was still sprinkling rain on and off outside). We inquired about the $5 special and they said they were sold out, so we decided to take a pass and walked out.

We headed back south on Ossington to try to get the lobster burger (ground chuck, Old Bay seasoning, Nova Scotia lobster, lettuce, and garlic-and-lemon mayo on an egg-washed bun) at Rock Lobster. The line to get in was 1-1/2 to 2 hours. I think some of the guys actually considered waiting. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed and we decided to move on.

I'm not sure which place was next on the list. But, it was supposed to be way out east along Queen near Bathurst. Justin mentioned it would be at least a 15-minute walk each way from where we were. We hesitantly decided to go anyway. Thankfully Emily called them because we found out the place closed early. We would have walked there for nothing more than the exercise and fresh air.

So we turned back and headed west on Queen, up Ossington (past the Rock Lobster again) to BQM (just south of Dundas). This time we decided to go into eat. It would be our last stop. We had gone in earlier in the evening, but decided to pass because they didn't do take out.

Their burger was ground chuck with grilled pineapple, jalapeño, curry aioli, lettuce, and tomato. It was really good. I even ate the jalapeño peppers (which I normally avoid). With these particular condiments it suited the burger really well. Having a beer with the burger possibly helped too.

All in all it was a decent evening. The rain held off for the most part. It didn't go exactly as planned. I don't think we anticipated how busy the restaurants would be. But, we had a chance to sample a few good burgers (and, in my opinion, one great burger). So I'd call that a successful outing.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Is Dickie the Fonz?

My car radio had been out of commission for awhile now. One day it just started acting up and stopped picking up any of the radio stations All I heard was static.

Not too long ago I took it to the garage where I get my oil changed. The young owner there does minor car work as well as selling tires. He thought it might be the amplifier that was giving me problems, not the radio.

A couple of weeks ago I took it over to my friend Dickie's place. I had had a problem with what I thought was a faulty connector/adapter on my air compressor (that fit into my car cigarette lighter).

Dickie pulled a few plastic coverings off from the inside of my car and checked the connection to the lighter and found that it was faulty, not the compressor.

While he was at it, he removed a few more plastic pieces from my car and took out the radio for a look. We noticed that it "squawked" a bit after we tapped it. So after removing the radio Dickie gave it a couple of whacks, a la the Fonz (from the TV show Happy Days) and, lo and behold, it started working again.

That was great. It saved me big bucks from either replacing the radio or even worse, unnecessarily replacing the amplifier. Thanks, Dickie!