Archive for the ‘Portugal Village’ Category

The NY Times Does Toronto

2009 May 18

In yesterday’s Sunday edition of the New York Times, an article appeared fawning over the city of Toronto.

The featured journalist, Danny Lee, makes a few suspect claims (streetcars trolleys run like clockwork??), and he seems to be so enamoured with the West End (West Queen West/College/Ossington) that almost all his recommendations take you there.  Otherwise, it’s a pretty glowing review of our beloved city.  The only thing is, who is reading this?  I might guess that most people reading the Sunday NY Times would be more interested in cocktails in Yorkville than at Sweaty Betty’s.  But I digress.

What it all comes down to is that TZero is actually a great, interesting, diverse city that can be an attractive destination for people even from one of the greatest, most interesting and most diverse cities in the whole world.

It’s Always Sunny On Dundas

2009 April 30

A little bar recently opened up around the corner from my house called Opera Bob’s Public House.  This is definitely going to be my new local for the summer.

Drinks are cheap, there’s a tight little pub grub menu, and the bartender/owner we had was both interesting and funny (and it was his first shift ever bartending!)  When asked by my roommate what the patrons have been like, the guy told us that it’s neither the Ossington hipsters nor the Dundas crazies.  Sounds good to me!

They play sports on the tvs, which will include UFC once they get the go-ahead from the pay-per-view people.  The front window rolls up like a garage door, and it’s nearly directly across the street from Trinity Bellwoods Park, so it’ll be a great place to get a BEvERage following an intense tennis match or a lazy day in the sun.

This place kind of reminds me of the bar from the FX tv show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, mostly because it’s owned by 4 dudes and the one serving us was pretty hilarious.  If you haven’t seen this show yet, here’s a clip.  For some reason, embedding of these previews has been disabled, so you’ll have to click on the url . . .

Opera Bob’s Public House is located at 1112 Dundas Street West.  It’s open daily, from 5pm – 2am.

An Abundance of Wu-Tang Related Memorabilia!

2009 April 9

This past weekend, I went to a ‘Book Blast’ being held at this vintage clothing store called Penny Arcade (owned by my friend Gerald’s sister.)  The book being launched was called Youth League, by John O. and according to the author’s website it “depicts an uncertain near future filled with portraits of desperation, violence, and an abundance of Wu-Tang related memorabilia.” 

Truthfully, it was more of a leaflet than a book, but it was cool anyway.  And, some of the characters were wearing some sweet professional sports jerseys!

Youth League was printed in a limited edition of 50 copies and it sold out.  Good thing I got my (signed) copy!

Hose It Down

2008 May 3

It’s that time of the year again.  Pretty much everyday for the last 2 weeks I’ve seen at least one of my neighbours hosing down the sidewalk.  People around here LOVE hosing down the sidewalk.  Why?  I think because it wastes both time and water.  Today, it was especially notable because this woman was actually hosing down the cement in the rain.

Medium crab bisque, hold the Nazi

2007 October 12

Today I went for lunch at this great little takeout spot on Ossington: Le Bar à Soupe.


This place is kind of like the restaurant from the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld, execpt for the fact that the staff was pleasant – quite pleasant, in fact.  First of all, it’s takeout only – they have some wicker chairs by the window that you can use, but they don’t have the means (ie silverware and flatware) for people to legitimately dine in.  This led to the one beef I had with the place, and I’ll just get it out of the way right now – the soup is served in styrofoam.  Keeps the soup hot, sure, but bad for the enviro.  That being said, the good far outweighs the bad.  The format of this joint is a rotation of soups so that three are offered each day: one with meat or seafood, one vegetarian, and one vegan.  Today I had the black bean soup (veggie) which included crispy chips and a thick slice of bread.  At first I thought the consistency seemed a bit thin, but after tasting it I realized that it was just right.  A dollop of fresh cream and some cheese floating on top finished this delicious meal off really nicely.  Another thing that’s great about this place is its location.  It happens to be in very close proximity to my home, and brightens up the blooming Ossington food strip.

Here is the weekly menu, for the month of October 2007.  One can only assume that it will change, at least slightly, on a monthly basis:

Chicken with corn and red pepper
Butternut squash bisque (vegetarian)
Leek & thyme (vegan)

Meatballs & rice in tomato broth
Creame of potato with Cantal cheese (vegetarian)
Curried carrot & apple (vegan)

Cream of lentil with french white sausage
Vanilla cream with spiced bread (sweet – vegetarian)
Broad beans, leek & carrot (vegan)

Hongarian goulash (beef)
Curried wheat with green peas & mimolette (cheese) (vegetarian)
Mushroom & celery with garlic (vegan)

Manhattan clam chowder
Black beans with crispy tortillas (vegetarian)
Caramelized apple with cider (sweet – vegan)

White beans & sausage
Tomato & blue cheese with basil (vegetarian)
Pear simmered in BEaujolais with spices (sweet – vegan)

12 oz: $3.75|16 oz: $4.50|20 oz: $5.25|32 oz: $7.75 (all + taxes)

Le Bar à Soupe is located at 164 Ossington Avenue (2 blocks south of Dundas), and is open Monday to Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday: noon to 7 p.m.  Closed Sunday, holidays.  416.533.9825

Quote of the Day!

2007 September 18

“What planet are those guys from?”

-the eccentric on the bike in front of me on Dundas the other day, after a cube van completely cut us off.

Quote of the Day!

2007 August 4

“What’s the worst part about taking time off?  You have to pay it back with interest!”

-message on the coffee cup of my buddy Tim at Musa, where we went for brunch today.

By the way, this is amazing place to eat.  Yummy yummy in my tummy.  It’s at Dundas and Euclid.

My head, or at least my hair, is grateful

2007 July 30

Today I got my mop chopped at Grateful Head Collective, which is located on Dundas West at Montrose.  I originally wanted to go in on Saturday, but they were all booked up.  As in restaurants, I consider full bookings a good thing and generally would be happy to wait rather than look elsewhere that is immediately available.

This afternoon I sauntered in and my stylist, Norelle, was there to greet me at the door.  She then offered me a coffee and we sat down together to chat about what I wanted to do with my hair.  I really appreciated this, because usually when a stylist asks you questions, you’re already washed up and they have the scissors in hand and practically in your hair already.  I get nervous in situations like that.  We talked not only about what I had in mind for a cut, but also the type of styling products I use, other haircuts I’ve had, what I see my hair looking like in the near and long-term future and a variety of other things pertaining to my head.

After getting all shampooed (multiple times, as apparently I’ve been using a really harsh wax in my hair that she strictly forbade me from ever using again) it was time for the cut.  Norelle really took her time and had a really nice manner of both taking artistic liberties as well as asking me before she did anything drastic (i.e. cutting the hair around my ears).  We talked at length about all kinds of interesting topics such as: the Toronto restaurant scene, art (the salon doubles a gallery), the innocence of youth, cougars and Kensington Market.  The latter was actually the way that Norelle found herself working at Grateful Head – the owner of the salon noticed Norelle there and commented on how she liked her style.  She apparently offered her an interview after asking about a lot of other things (for example she asked if Norelle played any instruments – it’s somewhat of a prerequisite that all staff members are also musicians) before even inquiring as to whether Norelle cut hair.  Luckily she does, and she was invited in for an interview which consisted of Norelle playing her bass for the owner in the basement of the salon.  That’s pretty rock’n’roll.

Anyway, I ended up with a great cut, some excellent advice, and an afternoon of interesting conversation.  I’ll definitely be going back and I recommend that you try this place out yourself.


Grateful Head is located at 1006 Dundas Street West.  416.915.4323
My cut cost $30 and took approximately 1 hour.

Quote of the Day!

2007 July 29

“Every time I’m at the butcher shop, I make sure to ask the woman working there if she’s got a nice rack.”

-The man in front of me at the ATM in 7-Eleven, talking about lamb (I presume).  Why do crazies feel the need to talk to strangers?

Amen (It’s Universal)

2007 July 29

Today I decided it would be a good idea for me to try going to church.  I used to go all the time, but my interest has been waning the last couple of years.

Anyway, there’s a church right around the corner from my house.  Actually, following the mass, I found out there are actually 2 churches – right across the street from one another.  Both Catholic.  Obviously; I live between Little Italy and the Portugal Village.  So I step into the church right on time and realize that the service is actually IN PORTUGUESE. The entire service.  Not only am I the only anglophone there, I’m also among the few people who don’t have either jet-black or snow-white hair, and, at 6’1″, I’m about 4″ bigger than the next tallest person in the place.

I’ll probably go next week too.  Maybe I’ll try the church across the street, though.