I woke up early while in Toronto so I decided to take a quick jog over to Uncle Tetsu’s to try and secure an elusive cheesecake. Every time I have strolled by, regardless of time of day, there have been no fewer than 20 people in line. So I was pleased to show up to see a mere 5 people out the door.
I was in absolutely no hurry so I decided to kill the time by engaging in some good old fashioned people watching. Apparently a few others were in more of a hurry than I was. One woman stormed in with some magic ticket stating it should put her to the front of the line. They quickly dismissed her and she wandered out and decided her place in line was right in front of me. I typically don’t sweat the small stuff so I mumbled something under my breathe and life went on.
Meanwhile, the employees were busy in a very methodical baking process. On one side was the careful measuring of the flour and ridiculous amount of butter for the Madeline (honey) cakes. On the other side a team of four or five carefully constructed the signature cheesecakes. In a way I felt like I was at a zoo. Patrons were pressing their noses against the plexiglass hoping to get a better look at the mixing bowl. Other were snapping pictures of the branding of the cheesecake like it was the hatching of a peregrine falcon. The purchasing process is a bit like Seinfeld’s soup nazi. You approach the cash, state your order, pay, get your product and leave. It is cash only and there is a limit of 4 madeleines and 1 cheesecake which almost everybody orders and comes to $17.55.
As a batch was released I did the math and realized I was going to miss it by one cake. Part of it was the miserable b*@^h who decided her place in line was in front of me (who I subsequently wished bad karma upon via a facebook post). The other reason was the number of people bringing their slumber-eyed two year old kids as customers. So a family of four can walk in holding their kids up like Kevin Kline in “Weekend at Bernie’s” and walk out with a quartet of cakes. In the end, despite my early optimism, I had to wait 20 minutes for the next batch which means in the end I ended up waiting nearly an hour.
The madeleines were quickly consumed by my kids. I managed to get a bite or two and concluded they were quite average. The cheesecake was part of a lunch at my dad’s and came with great anticipation. If anything it was surprising. The fluffy texture was in between a flan and a cheesecake and taste wise had hints of both. There was nothing wrong with it but I guess Uncle Tetsu doesn’t see the need for ridiculous North American additions such as fruit or some kind of a crust.
I have been known to partake in ridiculousness when it comes to food and this is no exception. The phenomenon of waiting an hour in line for a cheesecake while surrounded by people who take pictures like it’s Niagara Falls is near the top of the list. I wasn’t expecting a miracle in a box and I didn’t get one either with the madeleines or the cheesecake. What I got was a tattooed piece of Japanese folklore which allowed me to carve another notch in my bedpost of culinary conquests within the GTA. It also reaffirmed my Taurean tendency to hold a grudge because I sure as hell hope she dropped her cheesecake on the way to her car, broom or whatever mode of transportation she arrived with.