Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Brunchcapades: Part Four

Date: Friday May 14, 2010

Time: 1:00 pm

Location: Aunties and Uncles, 74 Lippincott Street at College and Bathurst

Companion: Joe, a creative web technologist, never met but we have been "following" eachother on Twitter for about a year, claims to not be a sauce guy but smothers his pancakes in maple syrup

The story: So Joe and I don’t know each other but through the geniuses of social networking we begin to talk and realize that we know more about each other than we think we do. Meeting someone face to face with whom you have only been interacting with in a virtual sense makes for some great dot connecting. We talk about it and agree that a network like Twitter allows people to “know” each other in perhaps a much more real and candid way than any facebook or Plenty of Fish ever could. It’s pretty hard to bullshit someone in 140 characters but when given an entire paragraph or page, I could become a former model who has chosen to leave the biz to become a chef. He says that he can tell from my tweets that I am a good person and that I am happy. The fact that my small sentences have actually spoken to my real self seem like a success. What he didn’t know is that I have the voice of a child, a whiny kind of squeaky voice but hey, he said it was “soothing”.

We took our very 2010 type meeting to a very old school type joint. Aunties and Uncles is like a big piece of American pie with its’ vintage paraphernalia. It’s very diner-esque, very kitschy and one of few spots in Toronto that are open for brunch during the week. Do people not eat omelettes on a Wednesday?

The host looks like a lumberjack with his plaid shirt and big, bushy beard. He’s a character and we like it although he borders on weird. I was greeted with a, “Hi what’s this?” and can honestly say I had no idea what the f he was talking about. Apparently it translates into, “A table for ...?”

The lumberjack recommended that we share the breakfast tacos and the breakfast pocket. I started out with the pocket that really isn’t a pocket at all. A pita is a pocket. This is a focaccia sandwich. Soft, oily, rosemary infused bread is filled with ordinary scrambled eggs, congealed cheddar cheese, caramelized onions that were more burnt than caramelized, salty peameal bacon, sliced tomato and mayo. The commonplace ingredients were a bit of a snooze but the bread, oh that bread, was a real winner. It was sided with a very dilly, creamy potato salad that had flecks of crunchy mustard seeds. Not a baby green in sight; thank god.

I ate half and we switched.

The breakfast tacos were a bust. The tough “soft” tacos reminded me of bristol board and the cheese had congealed again. Bits of sautéed, minced pork are devoid of any real flavour and the ordinary scrambled eggs made another appearance. Call me crazy but tacos should say Latin or Mexican or spicy or smoky or salsa or cilantro -something. They definitely don’t say radicchio but that what was scattered on top. Tacos do like sour cream but the cool condiment seems out of place without any fire to extinguish. This dish comes with home fries. Sadly, the same dude that did the onions did these, as they were a little scorched too.

Because we were first timers we won two banana pancakes and a few pieces of simmered pear. The little cakes were fluffy with sweet, mushy insides. A drizzle of syrup, a dusting of icing sugar and a nub of melting butter completed the picture perfect plate.

We patioed it and my shoulders, like the onions and the potatoes, got a little burnt.

The moral of the story? More attention in the kitchen and a little SPF.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A little food for thought...(sorry, I couldn't help it).

1.any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.

That's what has to say about the meaning of food but if that's all food is or was, would there be such a thing as a restaurant? Would a meal bring anyone any joy or excitement?

Look, I know there are those that just eat when hungry and think of food as nothing more than sustenance. Those people who skip breakfast and eat cereal for dinner. They mash and mix their food up because, "It all ends up in the same place". I don't like these people and chances are if you are reading my blog, you are not one of them.

If I were to write the definition of food, it would look much different as I believe that food is as much about experience as it is about nourishment. Food is tied to our emotions. It is sentimental, religious, cultural and political. We remember taste in the same way we do our other senses.

I think we never forget certain meals, dishes, times, people and how they interplay with each other.

Food to me is:

The only time my Nana made duck and my Grandpa dropped it on the floor. We ate it anyway.

When my Dad used to make a big sandwich on really crusty bread. He’d sit in front of the tv with a checkered tea towel on his lap to catch the crumbs.

The first time I ate a raw oyster. I was a little scared of it but I just went for it. Sometimes eating is like taking a leap of faith.

Eating so many pieces of sushi, nigiri and maki that I have to say no to the complimentary green tea ice cream.

The spaghetti we all ate with our hands as children. We would make such a gross mess but for a kid this is so much fun.

Stopping at the deli to pick up different meats , cheeses and olives before heading to the beaches for a picnic in the sun.

The spaghetti with anchovies, bread crumbs and olive oil that we eat only on Christmas Eve. My father’s grandmother and mother made it. My mother makes it and I will make it for my children one day.

Better Homes and Garden’s version of mac n cheese casserole. That plaid cookbook is an celebration of North Americana. I grew up with it and yes, you have to have the slices of tomato on top.

Mixed seafood in bird’s nest in Chinatown at 4 am. Nothing wrong with a little “cold” tea and needing sunglasses for the way home.

That’s just some of my food.

What’s yours?