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Eating Toronto

We didn’t know it ahead of time but our Toronto visit coincided with Summerlicious – a two week special promotion where participating restaurants have discounted, prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus. (not including drinks, gratuity, etc)

In other words–cheap eats!

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3 Canadian Bucks

Okay, not really that cheap, but I digress. We tried three Summerlicious restaurants…

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IMG_1237IMG_1247From our table, we had a close up view of Ganesha’s behind. This was not a good omen. The best parts of the meal were the very beginning (sun-dried tomato goat cheese stuffed whole wheat bread) and the end (strawberry kulfi in a chocolate cup).

 

Luma

Luma is located in the Tiff Bell Lightbox – where we saw the Queer Outlaw Exhibit. Dinner here was a very nice. I started with a fantastic soup–chilled cucumber and coconut soup (with Jonah crab, chili mint crème fraîche and toasted coconut).

My main dish was spiced roasted chicken supreme (with collard greens, birch-baked beans, cheddar biscuit and red-eye gravy). The chicken itself was great. Say no the the cheddar biscuit. NO. Everything else was okay…  I didn’t take a photo but I’ll try to paint a picture for you.  Imagine an empty plate. Now, put three or four tablespoons of Bush’s baked beans with chunks of maple flavored bacon on it. Toss a couple of pieces of wilted collard greens on top of it. The chicken goes on top of the greens and pour the pan drippins from the chicken on top.

For dessert: ontario stilton with niagara plum compote and spiced oat crumble. I have to give Luma props for including an after dinner treat that wasn’t sugar overload. How did I eat it? Take a forkful of the savory stilton (blue cheese) dip it in the tart plum compote and then roll it in the slightly sweetened crumble. I smile just thinking about it.

shore

The Shore Club was awesome.

Short Rib Agnolotti (Stilton, Shiitake Mushrooms, Leeks, Red Wine Jus) – this was basically rib dumplings filled with tasty goodness.  The grilled New York Striploin with sweet pepper chimichurri was tender and flavorful.  I originally turned down dessert (sigh, no sorbet or cake for me) and would have been fine with that. Our waiter showed up with a bowl full of berries for me–even though it wasn’t part of the Summerlicious menu.

Martina started with the grilled calamari and had the pan seared atlantic salmon with citrus passion fruit emulsion. Everything was good and we paid a 2nd visit to the Shore Club.

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Striploin

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Salmon

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grilled calamari

 

 

Also had good experience at two non-Summerlicious restaurants:

Chez Cora – which is an Ihop like restaurant chain. Think crepes and fresh fruit  instead of pancakes and sausage.

Yuzu No Hana – M was extremely pleased with the sushi here.

Freaks & Outlaws

Had a relaxing week in Toronto and spent a lot of time looking at the skyline, water and sunsets.

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One day, we wandered around the entertainment district and discovered Queer Outlaw Cinema – a free exhibition running until August 17th at TIFF.

Featuring Derek Jarman, Isaac Julien, Scott Treleaven, Ulrike Ottinger and Bruce LaBruce.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Derek Jarman, a British filmmaker, artist and activist who was outspoken in his fight against the (anti-gay, etc) policies of Margaret Thatcher. The exhibition features one of his super 8/experimental films, Imagining Octobera dreamlike meditation on art and politics in the final years of the Cold War.

Imaging October is a mixture of images and film clips interspersed with politically tinged slogans. For example:

English bobbies in the street
protect the rights of them they beat.

Dungeness by Isaac Julien and Picture Yourself In A Burning Building by Scott Treleaven were inspired by Jarman’s technique (tributes to him, really) but, for me, lacked the “rebel” edge of the other exhibits. Both Julien and Treleaven have done work which would have better fit an outlaw narrative.

Superbia Still

Still from Superbia

The best part of QOC was being introduced to the work of Ulrike Ottinger. First we saw a short film, Superbia – The Pride (1986) – a political procession that is part parade, part military exercise and all corruption. One of my favorite (translated, of course) lines: “Only the banks can survive hari-kari.”

20140709-203620-74180929.jpgInspired by Virginia Wolff’s Orlando, Freak Orlando traces the journey of the main character’s reincarnation and transformation through 5 points in history. There are lots o’ themes present:

  1. Outsider as side show attraction, for the amusement of others
  2. Outsiders relegated to a certain place in society or face destruction if they refuse to play the role.
  3. The attempt to annihilate outsiders through assimilation
  4. Outsiders living together in community–you’d think it would be a paradise but the effect of repression/suppression is there (with a tip of the hat to Todd Browning’s Freaks).
  5. What does it mean to be accepted/integrated into society if it’s the same establishment (who is still making the rules). Even in “freak positive” world the deck is still rigged…
  6. And lot’s more- sacred shopping! the bearded woman nailed to the cross! the self-flagellating army of leather clad Tom of Finland types! Outlaw beard stroking!
  7. This movie is just ripe for film analysis/social commentary essays.

We didn’t really spend any time at the Bruce LaBruce exhibit (a door warns you that it’s x-rated!) featuring two films Offing Jack and Pierrot Lunaire.

We had no problem with the content, but we had spent so much time with the Ottinger rooms we were ready for dinner. 🙂

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