Saturday, January 3, 2009

Belated New Years from Toronto

St Lawrence Market

Happy New Year.

I hope everyone rang in the new year with some wonderful home cooked food, either at home or at your favorite restaurant. Neil and I spent it with my brother David and his significant other Kim. We made a communal meal, I made a wild mushroom ragout with thyme and white wine, it was served as a side with a traditional fondue made with Gruyere and Emmenthaler, white wine and kirsch (and some corn starch to bind). We ate it with some delightful baguette that Kim brought and some California organic Granny Smith apples I got at the St. Lawrence Market.

Then Kim made black truffle spaghetti, butter, fine Tuscan olive oil, shaved truffle and a little sea salt. Perfection. I inhaled mine and ended the savory part of the meal with a salad of endive,frisee, pear and lightly-dipped-in-honey Pecans that Kim whipped up.

I went to school and lived a total of 8 years here in Toronto. The beige and gray concrete provincial city of my early twenties is barely visible now. I couldn't wait to leave and now I really enjoy it and think it makes for a wonderfully close, easy to get away to city.
The snow and the cold are just all the more excuse to sleep in and have long extended lunches, coffee/snacks and dinners.

We're staying at a suite hotel, which is just a fancy way of saying it comes with a kitchen and a washer and dryer. As a New Yorker I've never lived in an apartment with a washer and dryer. It's just so unusual to have laundry any where but downstairs or across the street and around the block.

We're just a few blocks away from the St Lawrence market. A venerable institution here that I have visited several times since it's close by and I love it but the second times was to re-visit Buster's Sea Cove Seafood.

OMG. Please tell me this is what heaven is like! A button down, fry place that does it well and has a huge selection. Besides the excellent fry selection they also do really fresh simple salads, grilled fish, onion rings and on and on.

The Octopus was grilled as were the sardines, both looked succulent and tempting, but I went for the local favorite, smelts, breaded and deep fried on a bed of spiral fries and some awesome coleslaw. Malt Vinegar is in spray bottles on the counter along with sea salt ketchup and hot sauce. The lobster bisque was rich and sweet and pink mostly smooth with small bits of lobster. The fish and chips made Neil very happy, there is Boston Blue or Halibut. I love any place where everything comes served o a big bed of fries.

All of this takes place at a counter that you order from, four or five guys run around behind it, manning the grill and deep frier in skillfull ease and sync, the dance of the fish guys.

There are some bar stools but scattered around are plastic picnic type tables mixed equally plastic chairs. The view facing south is the entire great hall of the market. The first night was new years eve, as we ate we watched the market close down, as vendors hurried to get home to start celebrating.

It was a great way to be welcomed to Toronto.

More Toronto tomorrow!

(and some pictures soon,David's working on it).

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