Review: Toronto: Food Truck: Hogtown Smoke

Reminiscent of Big Foot or Rob Ford jogging, food trucks are a rather elusive sighting in Toronto. Bound by by-laws which do not allow more trucks to attain  permanent residency in the downtown core, they are forced to travel like Nomads making it a bit of a feat to find one that is open on any given day. Check out for information about food trucks in Toronto.

As I approached the corner of Front and Sherbourne in search of Hogtown Smoke, I caught a whiff of the smoked meat about a block away. I happened to be second in line so I was able to sample some of the brisket right out of the smoker before I even ordered.   Although it took a while to get rolling after a minor gas malfunction (which I appreciated because it allowed me to stare at the small menu like an idiot for 15 minutes without  a clue what I was going to order)., the window opened and I was greeted by the friendly staff members. Specials included a kimchi grilled cheese and side ribs in addition to the traditional pulled pork, poutine, brisket, po’ boy sandwiches and kicked up grilled cheese.  I opted for the ribs, brisket and poutine to get a taste for a bit of everything. The staff  joked with the building crowd,  apologizing for the delays and asking everybody their names.


St. Louis Side Ribs ($10)

New to the truck, I was a little leery since side ribs are not as forgiving as back ribs and are easy to mess up.  They came through by fulfilling  the holy trinity of rib triumph; crunchy bark (although a bit salty), a deep pink smoke ring and fall off the bone tenderness.  They were supposed to be  served with  baked beans and slaw but in the lunacy of opening I did not get the slaw so I can’t comment.  The beans were very saucy, had  great texture and bubbly flavours driven by the unmistakable sassifrassness of root beer. Imagine a baked bean flavoured Jelly Belly jelly bean and you’ve got the taste.

St. Louis Side Ribs with Root Beer Beans

2 lb Pulled Pork Poutine ($10)

This alliterative aliment almost achieves all acclaimed attributes (of a good poutine). Poutine has its own holy trinity characterized by fabulous fries, great gravy and cheese curds.  Hogtown almost reached divinity.  The fries were a good size, taste and texture (which is tough since poutine fries get really mushy, really fast).  The pulled pork got bonus points.  It had a huge, juicy pork flavour and good seasoning. My one criticism was the  final execution because the curds didn’t melt under the gravy. A small thing, but a traditional poutinist may pou-pou it.

2 lb Pulled Pork Poutine

Patron Jalapeno Mango Sauce

Use the Patron Jalapeno Mango sauce in anyway you can.  It’s fantastic and can best be described as Big Mac sauce on steroids. I would go as far as baking up six High Liner fish sticks and bring them in a zip lock bag  just so I could taste this sauce over and over again.


Brisket ($10)

The brisket sandwich was sliced thin, piled fairly high and served on a good size swirly rye-type bun.  At the recommendation of the staff,  I topped it with the spicy barbeque sauce and horseradish aioli.  The meat was busting with flavour with minimal grit but it was a bit dry. The sauces helped to moisten it up a bit,  making  it  quite a good  sandwich.

Beef Brisket Sandwich


Not much other than the early service disruption and the fact they forget my slaw!

My Take

Hopefully food trucks are here to stay because they provide limitless variety and creative license.  Hogtown smoke didn’t disappoint, offering traditional smoke house flavours with modern twists. The ribs approached divinity. The poutine may have reached sainthood.  Like many trucks, the biggest issue is execution and speed of service.  These are good guys with a good  attitude and a good concept.  I’d endure minor traffic and a small crowd to come back. Hell, I might even start going  to church again.

Hogtown Smoke on Urbanspoon


From Hippy to Hipster: The Rules Haven’t Changed

I remember listening to the song “Signs” by Five Man Electrical Band (and later Tesla) when growing up.  It speaks of the tribulations of a hippie trying to get a job or into a country club without a membership card. It was a scream at the state of society in the early 70s and reminds me of what it’s like trying to enjoy a meal in a restaurant in 2012.

 The rules have changed in food service and establishments since the Five Man Electrical Band but remain as outdated as they were back then. Currently, establishments will have you believe that their rules are not  an expression of pretension but in fact a matter of improving efficiency and adhering to good business practices. I call bull shit. Here are the some of the most ridiculous rules in food service today:

1.  No Reservations with No Regret

I question any establishment who informs me that at this time “we regret at this time we are unable to accept reservations”.  Open Table provides online reservations for over  25 000 restaurants across North America.  Each one of these restaurants is “able” to accept reservations. Last time I checked the combination of a phone number, a hostess and a paper calendar is another way to ensure that people reserve a seat.  I commend any restaurant whose success warrants an exclusion from the need to make a reservation, but it doesn’t help when meeting friends you haven’t seen in years or trying to impress a girlfriend, spouse or customer.  “Hey, honey, I knew you’d enjoy standing in line for 45 minutes for the privilege of eating here” sounds much more romantic rolling of the tongue  than “I knew you’d like this place so I made a reservation a month ago to make sure we could get in”.

As an example, the Mandarin, one of the busiest buffet restaurants in Ontario, willingly takes reservations although they don’t really need  to so you don’t have to leave Gramma standing in the front door waiting for her chicken balls.  

2.  “As a result of our policy, we won’t seat you until your entire party has arrived”. 

I’m puzzled by this one.  I recently went to a restaurant where I was  footing  the bill for 9 people who were in various meeting during the day.  I made a reservation (see it works!), let everybody know  and was informed at the door, despite 8 of the 9 of us arriving,  that we would not be seated until the whole party showed.  I suppose I understand the fact that it makes much more sense to clog the doorway with people waiting to eat than just sitting them down and letting them start on overpriced cocktails and appetizers.  I guess I could of loaded up the clown car and have us all roll in at the same time so as not to create any inconvenience for the restaurant.

3. “We can’t give you separate bills”

I challenge anybody to ask the poor waiter or waitress the reason for this policy.  I guarantee you will be 25 different answers ranging from “It’s just our policy” to “our system doesn’t allow us to separate the bills”. I can’t argue with the first one since the answer is so clear and logical. Policy is policy. The second is amusing.  I mean, you have a system that allows you to hit a computer screen with your finger and spit out a ticket to tell the kitchen that you want a medium well burger with extra pickle, no mayo and onion rings instead of fries but it can’t split a bill.  You are also suggesting that your system is unable to take a $180 bill among  6 people and split it evenly. I’m sure any ten-year old has this same question on a math test and can figure out using a  Texas Instruments calculator.

4.  Cash Only

I understand that credit card companies are greedy, money-grubbing scum but they’re damn convenient.  They let you spend what you want on a meal without having to do the calculations in your head based on the money in your pocket.  I’d hate to skip out on the key lime pie because I ordered a side of grits with my brisket  and only have 40 bucks in cash. There are surcharges that restaurants endure to carry Visa/MC/AMEX which increases business costs, but in many cases they are absorbed when pricing the menu.

I guess what I don’t understand is the fact that the “cash only” concept is now considered hip by some. I’ve been in a few restaurants where the server has proudly informed me of the  policy with or without  a phony apology. Others raise their eyebrows as passively stare at the “Cash only” written on the blackboard while clearing their throat.  Don’t  get me wrong, there are some helpful places.  Some are kind enough to install an ATM in the establishment so you can absorb all the costs including whatever service charge they program into the machine. Another was kind enough to tell me that I could order first and that the nearest bank machine was about 500 metres down the road. I left and it felt good. 

 Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not adverse to paying cash, especially at food trucks,  bars and hot dog carts. However, I don’t like being forced to do it, especially when I’m racking up a decent bill with drinks, entrees etc.  It’s not like I see a significant cost savings passed to me especially when I’m sitting in a near condemned house at a formica table with  mismatched chairs eating $14  eggs bennie off  corningware plates I saw at a yard sale last week. 

So, things really haven’t changed much since 1970.  Whereas then you had to have a tie and a membership card to get inside, today you just need patience, your whole group and a big wad of cash.

Review:Toronto:Downtown: Momofuku

I arrived in Toronto around 10:20 on Thursday night, parked and headed down the road to Momofuku noodle house, the much discussed David Chang restaurant in the Shangri-La Hotel on University Ave.  Open for only a few days, the place was packed.  I was greeted at the entrance and was able to bypass the crowd, not because I’m a famous food blogger but because I was solo and they had a single spot at the bar.

I was seated beside a rather distraught guy who seemed utterly confused by the hype of the place  given the small menu, which offered a mere five bowls with some buns and sides and no dessert.  He eventually had his many questions answered and settled on something.  I was quickly greeting by a pleasant waitress who offered me a glass of water (which wasn’t empty for the rest of the night) and a quick explanation of the menu.  I  immediately noticed  the precision and efficiency of the open kitchen which,  like the service,  ran like a symphony.

I settled on a seven spice sour slushie  (sake, togarashi, yuzu, lime ($10))…say that 5 times fast or you get cut off… to start.  A bit off the wall but a decent cocktail despite a few episodes of  brain freeze due to the large straw and the fact that I drink like an eight-year old. I ordered pork buns, the ramen bowl, pickles and smoked wings.  Within 15 minutes, the pickles arrived, followed by the buns and noodles.  There was a mixup with the wings so I didn’t get them until for a while after the rest of the order came.


The steamed pork buns ($10) were the highlight. A bit of a twist on the popular dim sum item, they were presented open-faced and filled with a tender pork belly and seasoned with a sweet sauce.  Good thing I was dining alone because I might of fought somebody if they went for the second one.

Steamed pork buns ($10)


The ramen itself was beautiful and traditionally presented, complete with nori, pork two ways (shoulder and belly), and a soft egg.  There  was also a fish cake and a chinese cabbage.  The pork, egg and ramen were cooked perfectly and the cabbage had a briny taste which contrasted the richness of the belly nicely.  The broth, however, was a bit confusing. Quite dark  in colour, it had an almost burnt taste which overpowered the other components of the bowl.   I normally expect a broth to bring it all together, not stand out on its own.  Perhaps I’m not as familiar with Chef’s Chang’s flavour profile, but I was left scratching my head.

Momofuku Ramen ($14)

I love pickles and will order them whenever I can.  Momofuku’s version were presented in a small jar and mainly consisted of onions, carrots and cauliflower.  It took me a bit to realize the bottom of the jar was lined with a mushroom cap as well.  The vegetables were still crisp and tasty if you really like vinegar.  On the other hand, I didn’t get the mushroom.  After what seemed like an eternity, I finally pried it loose and could only manage a bite or two before giving up.

Pickle Jar ($6)


I got roped in by the smoked chicken wings with pickled chili, garlic and scallion.  As mentioned above, I didn’t get them right away but had a good opportunity to watch the preparation  method in the open kitchen.  They are browned on the griddle, broiled, seasoned and served.   They were a good size and well seasoned but still contained a lot of unrendered fat which made them a bit too greasy. There’s no way I could eat anymore than two.

Smoked Wings ($12)

My Take

The opening of Shangra-La will bring some solid New York inspired dining along University avenue, an area in need of more eateries.  Momofuku noodle bar is the first stab and comes with the backing of David Chang and his Michelin stars.  As a result, there will be a lot of hype and a few people may be disappointed, especially given the fact it can be considered a bit on the pricy side.  At the same time, this place will succeed and promise to offer a constantly evolving menu. Whether it is a few growing pains or just a bit of confusion in my understanding of the preparation, at the end I was left feeling a bit like the guy sitting beside me.

Momofuku on Urbanspoon

Review: Ottawa: Sidedoor

I consider it another sign of synchronicity when I had a chance meeting with Top Chef competitor  Jonathan Korecki on a random Ottawa street mere minutes before I went to his restaurant, Sidedoor. After convincing myself  (and him) that I wasn’t a stalker, I took the opportunity to ask him the one thing on the menu I should try. His priceless answer was “One thing?” Good point.

When I arrived, no fewer than 4 employees greeted me and I was seated quickly and Cameron took over for the rest of the night. He reaffirmed my theory that in Ottawa, the service often matches  the food. He spent at least 2 minutes explaining the ins and outs of the asian-influenced menu, notably the fact that in each section the dishes go from lightest to heaviest.

There is a good selection of cocktails and draught beer. I opted for the bourbon-based SIDEDOOR cocktail which was crisp and satisfying.


On Jonathan’s recommendation,  I ordered the tuna sashimi which was one of the best dishes I’ve had in a while.  The tuna was sliced thin and presented beautifully.  The fragrant yuzu marmalade  was delicate with a complexity which smacked my  taste buds  in all kinds  of directions.  I was tempted to lick the plate when the tuna was gone.

Tuna Sashimi with Yuzu Marmalade

In a previous blog, I questioned hawker bar’s son-in-law eggs, particularly the prik nam pla sauce.  Sidedoor’s version (another suggestion from Jonathan) blew my mind.  Tearing into the soft yolk and watching it saturate the surrounding rice and salad made me feel like a MasterChef  judge. The taste matched the visual appeal and the sauce was not overpowering.

Son-in-law eggs

I love pickles and I’m known to ask for a sample whenever they are homemade.  I noticed a mention on the menu so  I pitched the idea at Cameron.  Instead of a small ramekin filled with 2 or 3 gherkins,  he returned with a plate of pickled vegetables that surpassed all expectations.  It contained pickled beets, jalapenos, carrots, daikon radish, Jerusalem artichoke, melon rind and sea asparagus adorned with mustard seed pickled in a bread and butter style .

Pickle Variety

Jonathan’s third suggestion was the donuts.  In this case, who can turn down the chef’s creation, a peanut butter stuffed donut topped with a cocoa glaze and banana.   Better yet, they were served warm.  All I can say is…they taste how they look although a tad bit more filling would of been even better.

Chef’s Feature Donuts


I tried the spicy beef and Bajan crispy fish tacos.  They are a bit small for $9 but the shells were delicate and tasty.  The spicy beef was hardly spicy but a bit of the homemade chili oil at the table helped. The Bajan tacos had a bit too much of the sauce which drown out the taste and texture of the fish a bit.   I agree with  their slogan, “Make Tacos, Not War” but can’t quite get to the state of “Make Tacos and then Make Love”.

Spicy Beef and Bajan Fish Tacos


I was looking forward to the “Peking style” chicken but I was a bit disappointed.  Big in size but modest in flavour, the texture and interior pinkish colour almost made it look underdone.  I found the surrounding broth a bit curious. The fish sauce was overwhelming which I didn’t think complemented the rest of the dish.

Peking Style Chicken

My Take

I wouldn’t hesitate to sneak in the sidedoor again.  Bold  flavours seem to lace every dish and there is enough diversity to visit a few times and get a very different experience.  The tuna sashimi is a must and I can’t speak highly enough of the service.  The staff is energetic, knowledgable and not phased by a large table of what seemed like the  offspring of the “Real Housewives of Ottawa” partying it up a few tables down.

I was once told I should always listen to my mother and not talk to strangers.  Based on this meal, I’ve learned I should always listen to chefs as well, even if I don’t know them.

Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Review: Ottawa: Union 613

I was immediately reminded why I love Ottawa restaurants.  No reservation, no room, no problem.  The host quickly thought on his feet and offered me the end of a communal table providing I was done an hour later (a further amendment later allowed me to stay longer).  A similar situation in Toronto might have left me walking out with my head down and seeking refuge at a hot dog cart close by.

Union 613 is located downtown away from the buzz of Byward market.  The decor has a hip union hall feel, with lamp fixtures made of black pipe and wine bottles.  The menu is what I would call “delicate southern food”, attempting to mimic flavours without the brawn of piles of chin dripping oversauced pulled pork or brisket sandwiches.  George was an excellent waiter who provided prompt service, honest answers and a laugh or two. Oh ya..and boiled peanuts.

Other highlights include a small but current list of draught beer and a cocktail list which changes on a weekly basis.


The fried okra with buttermilk dip was a perfect start. The okra was fresh and crispy, a stark difference from the normal sogginess of most fried green veggies.  The batter was equally crispy and not greasy to the touch.  Probably most interesting was the thin buttermilk dip.  Finally, an understanding that the fact that dip is meant to enhance the taste of food, not mask it.    

Fried Okra with Buttermilk Dip

I love the concept of the Berkshire swine. Deviating from the temptation to offer only pork shoulder in the form of tangy, slow cooked  pulled pork, various cuts and preparations are offered, respecting other parts of the animal while  still maintaining southern cooking styles and flavours.  This night offered a nice sized  pork belly served with a tart squash slaw. The pork was crisp yet tender and the slaw and fried sage were wonderful compliments.  

Berkshire Swine-Pork Belly with Squash Slaw

As far as sides go, the cheddar and roasted garlic grits were as good as it gets. A spin on the traditional mac and cheese served at most southern restaurants, each bite brought a rich flavour and a contrast of smooth and chunky textures.  The garlic taste was subtle and balanced.

Cheddar and Roasted Garlic Grits


The brisket was slow cooked and very tender.   The chipotle/coffee sauce maybe not be for everybody and I found it a tad overpowering, taking away from the beefy taste I have come to expect from brisket. The salsa verde was a great touch and tamed the taste of the sauce a bit.  Please forgive the picture…I had a faulty camera.

Bad picture of Chipotle Coffee Brisket with Salsa Verde

The lemon lime cheesecake parfait may have a polar following.  After a meal of  intense flavours, some people want to finish with a jolt of something sweet. This is not it.  Instead, this is a large dessert characterized by a rich cheese flavour and heat from the cayenne coating the corn nut crumble. I found it quite delicious but not entirely what I expected. 

Lemon Lime Cheesecake Parfait


When I eat an oyster, I’m looking for some acid, heat and/or salt.  Despite the tobiko, there wasn’t enough of any these complementary flavours so the oysters were bland.    

Lucky Lime Oysters

My Take

Union 613 provides good food with top-notch service. The menu as a whole  pays respect to the foundations of southern fare but introduces innovative twists from appetizers to desserts.  I would gladly return to try other dishes such as the crawfish boil or buttermilk chicken while at the same time anticipating new drinks, sides and of course fulfilling my curiosity about the Berkshire swine special, a curiosity only overshadowed by what’s really in the foot long I would be forced to eat when turned away in Toronto.



Union Local 613 on Urbanspoon

Organics: Redefining Food and Footprints

“Organic food” is a term that has always made me scratch my head a little.  The definition of organic, based on is as follows:



noting or pertaining to a class of chemical compounds that formerly comprised only those existing in or derived from plants or animals, but that now includes all other compounds of carbon.

So, based on the definition, everything you eat is organic unless you swallow pennies or eat paper clips. However, the term organic has evolved to define the pinnacle of food, both in price and shelf space in a grocery store. Some advocates for organic food have compared consumption of  organic  foods vs “conventional” food to that of breast vs bottle feeding in newborns. The same people will insist  you haven’t lived until you’ve had an “organism*” eating unsprayed papaya.

The breaking news yesterday was the study out of Stanford comparing organic and conventional food in terms of nutritional value, pesticide content and risk of bacterial infection. The shocking report confirmed what I  assume most people know already. There is no difference in the nutritional value of the food and there are more pesticides on the foods where pesticides were used.  Both groups were below the accepted level dictated by local regulatory bodies.  A small side note was the higher risk of bacteria resistant to three or more antibiotics in conventional versus organic food.

Simply stated, a strawberry is a strawberry whether organic or conventional.  The difference is one has pesticides on it.  That’s about it.  It may bring down the organic pundits a bit  but the controversy surrounding the acceptable level of  pesticides in foods was not addressed in this study which allows that camp to plant a very organic seed of doubt.

I’m not against organic food or organic food producers but I am against those who scold value conscious people and parents for not spending premium dollars to fill their families’ bellies with only the best, most nutritious food.  Another fact is that organic eating doesn’t necessarily mean healthy eating. The body doesn’t differentiate between high caloric  baked goods made with organic flour and butter and those which are not.  Too many organic calories will bulk the waist the same as consumption of conventional foods.

It’s also important to keep in mind that an organic banana may still travel the same distance as  the conventional banana and leave the same carbon footprint. I know…let’s call one the organic footprint and the other a conventional carbon footprint. Now I feel better.

Many restaurants are selling the  farm to table concept and rightfully so. It’s more about local and less about organic.  Local produce is abundant and in season right now.  In many cases, it has traveled less than 100 km to get the store or market.  It is full of colour and flavour.   Let’s just wash and prepare it properly and I think we’ll all be good whether it’s organic or not.

*-organism is a feeling close to sexual fulfillment brought on only by consumption of organic foodstuffs.

Appeasing the Organivores

Review:Toronto:Queen West:Caju

Caju was brought to my attention when it hosted a locally organized fundraiser to raise money to build soccer pitches in Brazil. Please see for more information. I met the chef and owner, Mario, who invited me to come back and experience Brazilian food. Without hesitation, I took him up on the offer.

A couple of weeks later I made a reservation and was treated to a great lesson.  Like many countries with large geographies, the cuisine is regional, mainly dictated by the availability of local ingredients.   Historically and not surprisingly, it is heavily influenced by Portugal (Caju is also the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree which sprouts the popular nut). Interestingly, Brazilian cuisine is also influenced by immigrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.


The caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail.  Caju does not disappoint. Made with sugar cane rum, sugar and lime, this cocktail is quite refreshing and rivals many others served on the strip, without the need to add cucumber or Pimm’s.  The price point is also reasonable with a number of variations on the caipirinha available for $8.  By the way, the Brazilian cheese buns are great too.

Caipirinha and great cheese buns

The feijoada (a bean based pork and sausage stew with spices and aromatics) had a basewith a deep, complex flavor reflective of the slow cooking process.  The stewed pork was tender and coupled with the  well seasoned sausage provided both  taste and textural differences.


The feijoada was served with traditional accompaniments including cassava (both fried and milled), collard greens and rice, resulting  in a variety of different flavors with each forkful.

Feijoada Accompaniments

The gnocchi meshes the  traditional flavours of tomato and olive oil with a brazilian spin of  cassava flour and heart of palm to create a vegetarian, gluten-free option competitive with others available in the area.

Gnocchi- Gluten Free and Vegetarian!

The passion fruit mousse was a perfect finish to the meal. The tartness of the fruit was not drowned out  by sugar, resulting in a fresh flavour with a palate cleansing effect.


The moqueca (an African influenced seafood soup with a foundation of coconut milk and fish stock and seasoned with onion and cilantro) had an intense flavour reminiscent of  a Thai tom yum or Singapore laksa soup.   It was spiced perfectly although I wished it was served a little hotter. It was quite salty but not unbearably so. I would have  loved  if they served it with a boiled egg…then again, I would add an egg to any dish any time.

Moqueca- Seafood Soup

The pasteis are similar to empanadas and are stuffed with heart of palm or cheese. The former  were full of filling and flavor, the latter not so much so.   The accompanying hot sauces were full of punchy flavor which complimented the more subtle flavour of the two-bite appetizers.

Fried Cassava and Pasteis with Really good hot sauce


Sandwiched in between the established Queen West and the emerging Ossington area and rather discreet, Caju is a bit of a black sheep along this strip.  It just may be that traditional flavours and decor  have  fallen  a bit out of fashion, especially in this volatile neighborhood.   This is not a complaint, per se, but some passerbys will look in the window and carry on  in search of  blackboard menus and tattooed service.

My Take

Caju offers traditional Brazilian fare in a traditional setting (the floors are made of Brazilian Cherry wood).  This is in stark contrast to the much talked about eateries (eg. ursa and county general) on the same block which boast eclectic   environments and tailor their menus to current  food trends.  I would argue that many of Caju’s dishes would easily fit in most menus along the Queen street corridor or other hot restaurants in the area. The moqueca, for example, is hands down better than hawkerbar’s signature laksa. Fried cassava with that hot sauce could easily pass on La Carnita’s menu. I admire Mario’s commitment to tradition and at the same time I’m left  yearning for more.  He spoke of the traditional  use of pig trimmings (ear, tail, feet) and different varieties  of sausage that could be used in the frijoada which I think would appeal to the same people who wait two hours to down a pig tail taco at Grand Electric or subscribe to the trendy nose to tail philosophy.  After dining at Caju, I easily see why they have an impressive Zagat rating of 26 for food and 24 for service.  Despite being neat and inviting, I also see why they have a more mediocre  21 (even though still considered very good) in decor since it seems a little out of place in this neighbourhood filled with chaos and pretension. Perhaps serving dishes in  the traditional clay pots or incorporating more “Brazil” into the environment would appease those who were  more disappointed with the decor than they were with the food.

In the end, I believe good food and good service do not go out of style.  I enjoy getting bread and very tasty cheese buns before my meal, being  served by friendly staff wearing traditional white and black uniforms (as opposed to black tees with head-scratching  pictures or witty sayings)  and eating  fusion cuisine defined  through years of tradition and not what the current trendsetters and saloon owners are saying about collard greens and sweetbreads.  Traditional Brazilian food in a traditional environment  is Caju…or cashew, in a nutshell.

Cajú on Urbanspoon


Before I heard of Carl Jung, I had no idea what synchronicity was other than a decent early eighties Police album. However, as I trudge along my journey, I think I have tapped into the concept of culinary synchronicity. Here’s a story:

Some people tell me “I think your 12 year old daughter is walking in your footsteps”. They might have a point. A few hours ago, she suggested we travel to Detroit before school starts to hit up a few diners, drive-ins and dives. After I wiped the tear from my eye (I’m so proud of her), I proceeded with the normal events of a typical Friday night (ie. watching either reruns or prime time shows that get moved to Friday since they have fizzled out every other night of the week). Enter synchronicity.

I had a sudden urge to flip the station and listen to Guy Fieri fill me with his excitable discussions of mom and pop eateries across the USA. Within 15 seconds, I was greeted with Guy standing outside Supino Pizzeria in Detroit touting the Chicken Wing Thing pizza using smoked turkey legs . Synchronicity I.

On the next episode of the mini Friday night Marathon, Guy shows up in Detroit again touting the Polish Village Cafe and feasting on Hungarian pancakes and pierogi. Synchronicity II.

Episode three brings hot pepper jelly beans and pork salad from Traffic Jam and Snug in… got it…Detroit. O My God!

A quick assessment made me realize it’s pointless to deny the inevitable. Motown, here we come! After all, who am I to question the direction of the universe or the roaring demands of the food gods above?

On another note, during these same episodes, Guy also foreshadowed my trip to Vancouver in October by giving me a sneak peak of Fresh, Local, Wild for seafood fries and pulled pork at Jethro’s Fine Grub. I love it when a plan comes together.

These synchronous acts got me thinking. To answer the question “If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would it be?” I may have to choose Carl Jung, Sting and Guy Fieri so I can pitch my theory of culinary synchronicity, be told to follow my gut (which may be substantially larger at this time tomorrow) and maybe get a book, album and a show out of it. As for a meeting place, I’m thinking tea in the Sahara would be most appropriate.