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Lunch in Toronto eating “Canadian” food


John Talbott
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I appreciate all the help you folks have given me so far and I have just one more challenge.

But before, let me specify my bona fides: I know how to pronounce “about,” know how to spell harbour, know the difference between the Governor General and the Prime Minister and have a brother buried near the closest person in Toronto to a saint (at least for those in my age group) – Foster Hewitt.

However, in all my time in Toronto and Canada I’ve never heard of “Canadian food.” It’s a tradition for me to treat my French pals by finding a place that serves food “typical” of the area where our meeting is held at lunch before our symposium; crabs in Baltimore, dogs in Chicago, gumbo in New Orleans, well you get the picture. (In return they treat me all year long to French food in Paris so it’s clear who’s getting the better half of the deal.)

One of them insists that “Canadian” food is smoked fish and lobster, another that it’s anything with maple syrup and one of the crazier guys suggested moose if I’m not mistaken.

Anyway I appreciate your take on where we can have a true “Canadian” meal at lunch, preferably downtown but we'll schlep outside to get the real thing.

Thanks.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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SLM for a peameal bacon sandwhich. Peameal bacon is definiately Canadian. They won't get it anywhere else. Well, not easily. SLM isn't fancy, but it's also a great Canadian place to visit. Distinctly Canadian foods

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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SLM for a peameal bacon sandwhich.  Peameal bacon is definiately Canadian. They won't get it anywhere else.  Well, not easily.  SLM isn't fancy, but it's also a great Canadian place to visit.

Thanks Marlene

Edited by John Talbott to indicate he's got it.

Edited by John Talbott (log)

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Does a place like the Carousel Bakery take reservations and/or are there communal eating tables.

Also what does one traditionally drink with peameal bacon and char sandwiches? A nice Niagara Pinot Noir? Do they sell Ontario wines at the SLM? Naturally, our bunch being Paris-based, we sip a bit of wine at lunch even with sandwiches.

Thanks

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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The peameal sandwiches at the SLM are served at a counter, and you might find a seat. This is indoor street meat, not restaurant fare, and our antediluvian liquor laws would not contemplate anything as scandalous as wine in such an environment.

I have been known to have a mid-morning peameal sandwich as a snack, more than as lunch, so if you have time, you might want to consider strolling through the market around 10:00 with peameal in hand, and then heading elsewhere for another uniquely Canadian experience at lunchtime. One oft-forgotten place that I would suggest is the dining room at Osgoode Hall. They are only open for lunch Monday through Friday, 12-2, September to June, but the food is very good, and they have a decent wine list (albeit only 1/2 bottles). You should make a reservation. The surroundings are opulent and historic, as Osgoode Hall is a beautiful 19th-Century building that is home to the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal. Half the dining room will be filled with barristers and judges in their courtroom robes (we still do that here; no wigs, though).

Finally, and most importantly, Osgoode Hall serves arguably the best butter tart in all creation. The only thing more Canadian than a butter tart is arguing about who makes the best one.

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I second the Osgoode Hall recommendation, although they may not be serving "distinctly Canadian" food, they do try to work with local seasonal ingredients though.

For a fancier lunch, with game etc. on the menu I would suggest Canoe.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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I second the Osgoode Hall recommendation, although they may not be serving "distinctly Canadian" food, they do try to work with local seasonal ingredients though.

Jake, you're not one of those heretics who believes that butter tarts aren't Canadian, are you? :blink:

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I second the Osgoode Hall recommendation, although they may not be serving "distinctly Canadian" food, they do try to work with local seasonal ingredients though.

Jake, you're not one of those heretics who believes that butter tarts aren't Canadian, are you? :blink:

OMG NO! :biggrin: Forgive me if I implied such a thing. She who hates most dessert has a special weakness for a good butter tart, a true Canadian tradition. I shall have to sample the ones at Osgoode. There is a little place in Bracebridge, Ontario that makes a fabulous one as well...

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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There is a little place in Bracebridge, Ontario

is there any other kind of place there? :biggrin:

I get the feeling Coffee Crisps are available in Europe...they are in the UK at least...

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Growing up I never had any idea butter tarts were 'Canadian,' so I'm not sure where this idea of them being 'indisputably' Canadian came from. :blink:

Anyway, my reaction to the recommendation question would be the same as GordieCooks:

Poutine from the blue chip truck that's always across the street from the Sheraton Centre on Queen St. Then a coffee crisp candy bar!

...Yes, and then maybe the Paris crew can sip $6 LCBO sherry in City Hall Park.

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Canadian food = vinegar on french fries

My impression is that this is rare these days, what with this whole new 'ketchup' craze seemingly everywhere. But anyway, it must happen other places. Don't they put malt vinegar on their chips in Britain?

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Don't they put malt vinegar on their chips in Britain?

Sure, but a true Canadian uses only distilled white vinegar, preferably Heinz. Nothing but the best!

I wonder if McD's still gives out vinegar packets if asked. I'll have to try it out this summer.

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Don't they put malt vinegar on their chips in Britain?

Sure, but a true Canadian uses only distilled white vinegar, preferably Heinz. Nothing but the best!

I wonder if McD's still gives out vinegar packets if asked. I'll have to try it out this summer.

Yes, they do and you don't even have to ask. They are right next to the vats of ketchup and serviettes aka napkins.

To me, Canadian food = anything fried.

I've never seen so much fried food since I left California.

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I wonder if McD's still gives out vinegar packets if asked. I'll have to try it out this summer.

Why not ask, and when they produce the white stuff, wince and say 'malt vinegar?.'

To me, Canadian food = anything fried.  I've never seen so much fried food since I left California.

At the same time, you must be asking everyone, 'Where's the salsa?' :sad:

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Why not ask, and when they produce the white stuff, wince and say 'malt vinegar?.'

Are you kidding? Then I wouldn't be a good Canadian!! As a brownie, I'm already on perilous ground. Should I ask for malt vinegar, I'd be run out of the country, and my citizenship would likely be revoked!

I think it would be more Canadian to ask for gravy with your fries. And then add vinegar (white, of course) and ketchup.

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To me, Canadian food = anything fried. 

I've never seen so much fried food since I left California.

You must not have left California very often, then, because there are entire sections of the US which are immersed in frying oil. And fried twinkies, funnel cakes, corn dogs, etc. were not invented in Canada...

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To me, Canadian food = anything fried. 

I've never seen so much fried food since I left California.

You must not have left California very often, then, because there are entire sections of the US which are immersed in frying oil. And fried twinkies, funnel cakes, corn dogs, etc. were not invented in Canada...

I agree.

officially left egullet....

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Canadian food = vinegar on french fries

My impression is that this is rare these days, what with this whole new 'ketchup' craze seemingly everywhere. But anyway, it must happen other places. Don't they put malt vinegar on their chips in Britain?

I've been watching this thread spin steadily and delightedly out of control but I must add to the merriment by adding that's it's my impression, confirmed by Wikipedia that the origin of malt vinegar is sadly not Canadian but Brit in origin - however, of course the Belgians claim first usage - just be glad we didn't get Tzatziki or peanut sauce.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I first mentioned the malt vinegar, but I didn't mean to suggest it was a Canadian invention, just to point out I think Brits like some form of vinegar on their chips too.

But malt vinegar? Surely it's more flavourful than the white stuff, yet that's what people prefer. My theory is, at least in part, it's like the lager vs ale thing. Ale is darker and therefore 'must have more calories' - so people go with the lager. :wacko::wacko: Anyway, people are probably wrong. (Official LCBO info claims so.)

Speaking of which... low-cal white vinegar... anyone ever seen it? Now that would be Canadian!

Edited by KevV (log)
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...Speaking of which... low-cal white vinegar... anyone ever seen it?  Now that would be Canadian!

Pretty sure there is no cal's already....well maybe some energy is required to break down the AcOH.

I would think that, although technically a desert, a Nanaimo bar is typically Canadian. Not sure but I always thought French onion soup, despite its name, was typically Quebecois and who could forget Poutine.

I think that since Canada is one of the most vast countries in the world, different regions have different unique items. For example, from Cape Breton scones, PEI mussels, creamed potato balls and baked stuffed Lobster in the Maritimes to Saskatoon Berry Pie and roasted elk in the Prairies to Fanny Bay Oysters and the magnificent chinook (spring or king) salmon that run the mighty Fraser River on the West, the items vary dramatically. Keep in mind Vancouver is as far away from Toronto as Porto is to Berlin (perhaps further) and so to answer your question is as difficult as asking a group of Europeans as to what is "European" food. I am sure that a person from France would have a diametrically opposed answer to someone in Germany or Sweden and even within each country you will have different answers and Canada is no different since within the Maritime provinces you will get further delineation. I would say there is much uniquely Canadian cuisine out there all across the country. I mean I never had a peameal bacon sandwich until I moved to Toronto and cannot recall ever seeing one in Vancouver.

Its funny that your examples for the United States are region specific. Perhaps you should also limit your question regionally here also and that might help you get the answer you seek.

officially left egullet....

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To me, Canadian food = anything fried. 

I've never seen so much fried food since I left California.

You must not have left California very often, then, because there are entire sections of the US which are immersed in frying oil. And fried twinkies, funnel cakes, corn dogs, etc. were not invented in Canada...

Actually, Its not only me who thinks that. In the book " How to be a Canadian", under the topic " canadian cuisine" the authors state " If you let a Canadian get anywhere near a piece of food, they are sure to fling it in a deep fryer OR cover it with sugar, OR fling it in a deep fryer AND cover it with sugar".

LOL.

Of course I know the authors are poking fun at Canadian Cuisine, which is what I was doing as well.

And, yes, I've traveled out of California. We weren't talking about United States cuisine, we were talking about Canadian Cuisine.

Btw, contrary to popular opinion, these are Onion rings, not donuts.

gallery_31539_1218_575673.jpg

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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