A whole lot o' nothing. And then some….
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Other Fish in the Sea

Toronto. Like it or loathe it, one thing’s for sure: we Torontonians love a good patio. Maybe it’s ‘cuz of the winter. Our summer’s are short, blah blah blah…Who really cares? At the end of the day, if you build it, we might come. But if you tack on a patio, we’ll be there with bells on.

Once upon a time, there was a charming restaurant called Adriatico. Nice food. Pretty dining room. KICK ASS PATIO. Really. It was stunning. Stunning in a who-even-cares-if-the-food’s-good kind of way. It was that great. Made you feel like you were far, far away. This is another weird thing about patios in Toronto: the more they make you feel like you’re anyplace but Toronto, the better. But I digress…

The kind folks at Adriatico upped and left. Heavy sigh…Adriatico, R.I.P. And now, it’s been replaced by Lure. Another restaurant. Another fish place even. But, sadly, just another patio. Another mediocre patio.

My man and I went to Lure last week for our anniversary. It was funny because I wanted to go there but forgot the name, and then didn’t want to tell him as he’d already made reservations somewhere. Turned out they were for that very same restaurant: Lure. It was fate! Kismet! We were so in sync… we were so in love…we were so on the same page. We were so….about to be disappointed. You see, we’d been to Adriatico (R.I.P.) and loved it. Aside from being a stunning spot, and having awesome food, we could pretend we were still on our honeymoon. For real -that patio looked like just like a place we stayed at on our honeymoon. So we were excited. Look out Lure, here we come!

And then we got there. And, despite being loved up and all, we hit the patio and saw that the honeymoon really was over.

The place was in need of… something: a cleaning, a paint job, a sponge-down… Anything. And we both noticed it, not just anal ‘ol me. Since it was customer-challenged (aka almost empty) we got to pick any seat we wanted. The first was, we were told, too dusty. The next had personal space issues. Finally, we headed to the back. Where once there were stunning wicker couches with fluffy white cushions and plants, there now lay a dusty rattan mat, the same furniture, only older and cushionless, and empty terra cotta pots. Were they going for the dingy look? If so, it was working.

The waiter arrived. He, like the patio, was a bit dim. But we ordered: seared tuna for me and fritto misto for him. We also chose the ‘chef’s choice’ starter platter, joking how the chef would probably choose all veggies for the meze plate. Joke was on us, because he did. It arrived and amid the various veg concoctions was a single shrimp split in two, a spoonful of crabmeat, a lone scallop and, to quote the waiter, “thing-a-ma-bobs”. I swear, he said “thing-a-ma-bobs”! Who says that? And who says that instead of saying, oh, artichokes? Yeah, artichokes. It was bad enough the guy had to read the specials off his paper (he couldn’t remember grilled whole fish? Or seared tuna? COME ON!), but then he couldn’t even identify what we were having. It was a good thing that whatever it was we were eating proved to be tasty. Unidentifiable, to be sure, but tasty.

Did I mention we couldn’t see? The fairy lights of Adriatico (R.I.P.) must’ve burnt out last summer. And I suppose the new management figured they’d replace them with fog lights. At least they seemed like fog lights – or some other kind of bright yellow spotlights. They’d come on for a few minutes, and then turn off. Maybe they were motion sensor lights. Too bad they didn’t have ‘em at the back where someone was emptying glass bottles into recycling bins. I kid you not. Surely it couldn’t have been the restaurant. Or maybe it was. Who knows? We couldn’t see anything. Honestly, we ate blind. I don’t know about you, but I always find it a bit weird when I can’t see what I’m eating. As my brother-in-law says, “we eat with our eyes”. Yeah? Not at Lure we don’t .

Determined to celebrate, we tried to find each other over the tiny candles and gaze…But instead we discussed what a bizarre place Lure was. We agreed: great food, but service and ambience were lack-lack-lacking. Aaaaw, we both felt the same way! So in sync… so in love… so ready to get the hell out of there. If Lure’s patio was like being away, we were ready to come home. R.I.P. Adriatico, R.I.P.


Anonymous said…

Happy Anniversary, MOAM. The stars in your eyes should’ve been the patio lanterns, instead of the patio lanterns being the… Nothing like a good Canadian rock anthem to kick off the summer– and the quest for the perfect patio. C’mon commenters– post your suggestions here!

3:29 PM

Anonymous said…

You are such an awesome closer! Your ends take the cake sister. By the way – food reveiws – your calling!


June 5, 2006   No Comments


Outta Lox

Once upon a time there was a dairy. A creamery that carried the best smoked fish in town. Need party sandwiches? They had ‘em. Low fat, no fat and full fat Havarti? Check. Dr. Brown’s cream soda in diet and regular? No problem. It’s clientele was pretty specific but to know the store, was to love the store. And the store’s name? Daiter’s.

Guess what? It’s gone.

Yup, Daiter’s has closed its door. Split, kaput, finished. On Friday my informant bought .5% Lana cottage cheese and their no-oil, no-dairy but oh-o-tasty vegetable roll. On Monday she went for smoked chubs and it was gone. Where there was once a vibrant cheese counter and freezer full of blintzes, there now lay an empty store. Nothing left. Nothing, that is, except a note asking the loyal customers to visit their other locations.

Loyal customers, my ass. How could they dump us like that? No clues, no hints, no sign that anything was wrong. Sure it was a little overpriced and the service was, well, somewhat surly, but puh-lease – it was Daiter’s! It was allowed to be old school. It was SUPPOSED to be old school. For those who don’t know, we’re talking about a veritable institution. The place your grandparents shopped at that probably still have some relics on their shelves – and no, rudeys, I’m not talking about the staff. Regardless, the Daiter-ites upped and ran with no warning whatsoever. Talk about being dumped.

I’m always amazed when a seemingly brisk business disappears in a cloud of dust. Sometimes, they make an announcement, or, better still, have a sale, giving us a chance to go in and vulturize the place. Admit it, as much as we want the stores we like to succeed, there’s nothin’ like a good going out of business sale. It makes the bad closing-down news much more palatable.

There are a couple of spots near me that have recently closed their doors. One was hideous sundae shoppe that had unbelievable pina colada yoghurt shakes and spectacular ice cream. However, as I said, it was hideous. Who wants to go to a hideous resto? Actually, I once saw a table full of 14 year old girls eating Caesar salads there. It was an ice cream parlour. So maybe it’s no surprise that it’s gone. The other place was a BBQ joint that prided itself on having the best ribs in town. I went there once and found the service so friendly it borderlined on offensive. And the ribs? Way too wet. Pretty foul actually. So again, no surprise it’s closed up. But the third was a card store that had been there since forever. They had a massive blow out sale when they left. We have enough paper plates and cheesy greeting cards to last us until, well, until they open up in their new location. Or fill the empty store. It’s a nice slice of prime real estate.

But Daiter’s???

I wonder if they upped and left in the middle of the night, carting away all the goods. But what does a person do with a truckload of cold fish? Or 40 pounds of cheese? The canned goods I get – they’re probably in somebody’s basement somewhere. Did they take everything to a different branch? If so, why wouldn’t they at least say goodbye? It makes no sense.

People of a certain age are bound to be devastated. Me? I’ll probably just hit the rip-off shop up the road for all my smoked fish needs. But alas, ‘tis the end of an era….Later Daiter’s…


Anonymous said…



May 9, 2006   No Comments