New Thing #114: Okonomiyaki

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My friend Andrew told me about Okonomiyaki when he found out I was doing this project. How a Scottish dude who loves his haggis got so excited to see me eat one of these savoury Japanese pancakes is beyond me. But I sure am glad he did. 

It was another long day at work, and I was on my way to get a Dragon Roll, when I realized that I could just as easily stop in at the Okonomi House on Charles Street. The restaurant itself qualifies as a new thing for me since I’ve admired it since I moved to Toronto. Don’t let the “Fine Japanese Dining” moniker fool you, it’s completely unassuming inside and quite reasonable.

But enough about that, on to the pancake! 

I settled on the seafood supreme, and soon, a cast-iron skillet weighted down by an inch thick pancake filled with scallops, shrimp, crab and squid came my way. It was dense, covered in sauce and bursting with flavour. The seafood was perfectly cooked, the squid without a hint of toughness too it. The light and crisp Soporo I ordered along side it complemented it perfectly.

If there’s one thing I can say bad about the dish it’s merely that there was too much of it! I fought to finish it and ended up losing the battle by a mere couple of bites. An hour later and I still feel it sitting leadenly in my belly. But also feeling deeply satisfied by it.

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New Thing #113: Shooter’s Sandwich

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An old colleague practically begged that I make a Shooter’s Sandwich as one of my new things this year. As soon as I saw what went into one, I was in. I also thought Father’s Day would be a particularly fitting time to treat myself to such a heart-stopping concoction.

And it didn’t disappoint. I almost wish we’d taken the whole thing to a park, snuck in a mug of beer and went to town on the thing. Settling for a the back deck under a beautiful blue sky didn’t seem like too much of a tradeoff though.

Looks like it’s going to be a good week for lunches. If I make it through the night of course.

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New Thing #112: The Green Beanery

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I spent most of today preparing tomorrow’s new thing, and lost track of time. We had a birthday party to go to in the west end, so I thought I’d take a chance on finding something I hadn’t done on the way. As luck would have it, we passed by The Green Beanery on the way to the bar and I stopped for a quick pick-me-up.

What was doubly impressive about the delicious, silky machiato that I ordered was that I didn’t even need to go inside to get it.

The walk up window on Bloor Street is a thing of beauty (even if it did take an excessively long time to pull my shot).

I’ve been inside the place before but bailed before I actually got a barrista’s attention. Too bad, because I was literally scooping out the left over crema with my finger when my drink was done.

The next time I find myself at Bloor and Bathurst I’ll try to build in time for another visit.

New Thing #111: Slash Fiction

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I heard of about slash fiction years ago: well known fictional characters having romantic interludes together that are in no way endorsed by their creators. Oh, and they’re always gay. 

I could have gone with some Batman and Robin or Luke and Han, but I decided to stick to the classics and read “Spock’s Hot Date”. In some round about way involving an alien planet, quesadillas and horseback riding, Kirk and Spock end up in the shower together.

Here’s an excerpt:

Jim’s chest heaved–partially from the increased heart rate associated with orgasm, partially from disappointed passion. “Then wash me, dammit, so I can hold you, you–wonderful being.”

This is particularly bad, even for fan fiction, yet absolutely entertaining. Although it did raise an interesting question about what happens when someone orgasms during a mind meld. Now, time to see if Riker ever got lucky with Picard! Oh wait, that already exists on Youtube.

New Thing #110: Asquith Green

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It’s been one of those weeks at work and today I made a point of leaving the office and getting a bit of Vitamin D the natural way.

That’s how I happened upon Asquith Green, a tiny park tucked in between Bloor and Church Street.

Soon I found myself lounging under a maple, freshly pressed panini in hand, enjoying a perfect noontime lunch.

I love that you can turn a corner in Toronto and find a lovely little oasis amidst the glass and concrete. I especially love that I found this one so close to work on the day I needed it most.

New Thing #109: Kick Ass Comic

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I saw the movie version of Kick-Ass a while back and really enjoyed it. Especially all the fun Toronto location spotting that comes along with it. But I never got around to reading the comic until today.

I’m only half way through the run but so far I like it even more than the movie adaptation. That’s a little weird to me though, since it seems as though it was a fairly faithful retelling of the story. 

I think it probably has something to do with the artwork. It’s pretty damned amazing to look at.

New Thing #108: Four Seasons Bar

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My wife and I once tried to drink at the Four Seasons bar and embarrassingly couldn’t find it in the hotel.

Tonight I made it my mission to drink there and I did. It’s nice, but feels like a poor rip off of The Roof across the street at the Park Hyatt.

I’ll keep that in mind the next time I decide to drink for twice the amount I normally would.

New Thing #107: Duff’s Wings

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I think that I might be the very last Torontonian to eat at Duff’s Wings. I’ve just never gotten around to the notoriously spicy chicken wing purveyor.

Well thanks to my friend and new found documentarian Tom, you too can experience what it’s like to eat this atomically saucy poultry.

And for the record, we ordered hot.’

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New Thing #106: Neti Pot

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Neti pots aren’t exactly new, but they are something I’ve only come to know about in the last couple of years. However I never exactly thought I’d want to use one.

Purposefully draining water from one side of your nose to the other sounds a little nuts. I was never a fan of it while I was swimming, so why would want to recreate it in the comfort of my own home? Then a couple of my friends tried it and convinced me that it helped them get over what ailed them and I decided to find out for myself. When the time was right, of course.

So after a couple of days of feeling lousy this week and waking up with a stuffed up head and sore throat this morning I thought I’d go for it. Anything that can keep me functioning relatively normally this week is worth a try when I look at my meeting schedule.

So far, so good. But I’m still sorry you had to see that.

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New Thing #105: Dip ‘n Sip Donut Shop

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There’s an old donut shop that looks like it was built in the 70’s just up a ways from my house called the Dip ‘n Sip. From the outside it looks pretty cool; all curved glass and funky design elements on the outside.

It was one of the many location in Kickass that I screamed at the screen “I know where that is!” and it further cemented my need to visit the place.

After last night’s trip to The Feathers my friend Tom and I wandered in just past midnight to grab a snack for the way home.

The inside was decimated at that time of night; the only patron a middle-aged woman playing video Bejeweled on the terminal set up on the counter. The food selection was, well, not one. There were about 8 donuts in total for sale and I don’t think I’d eat anything else I saw behind the counter.

But it had charm, and I like it for that.

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