Street Meat

Trust me to know all about food.  There are a number of food trucks situated locally, fish and chips wagons, burger and fries trucks.  Most of them have been anchored in the same spots for so long that they’ve added shaded, or completely enclosed eating areas.  There’s even a tiny, original, brick, Dairy Queen store, that used to be on my route to work at my last job, which now serves up “Newfy Fries”.

This is a delicacy (?) brought up from Newfoundland, consisting of French fries, served with seasoned bread stuffing, and often cooked peas.  I never saw the point of adding carbs, to carbs, and just stuck to gravy on my fries.

Apparently there are a number of more upscale food-service vehicles, affectionately known as gut-trucks, which remain mobile, and move from place to place, as the opportunities present.  They’re not allowed at the Multi-Cultural Festival, or the Croatian Food Festival, or the Greek Festival, held in the parking lot of the Greek Orthodox Church.  One or more of them show up at places like the daughter’s Cherry Park Festival, the Non-Violence Festival, or Afro-Fest, and move on to The Word On The Street.

To all these worthy causes, the City has added another festival (?), a Battle Of The All-Stars, food-truck display at city hall.  No history, no heritage, no information handouts, this is strictly a commercial venture  The city hall is U-shaped, with wings that almost reach the sidewalk on the main street, but the main body of the building sits back.  The rear part of this open space is a paved area, sometimes used for concerts, behind a reflecting pool/fountain/winter skating area.

Recently, the city invited eight of these food vehicles to show up at city hall.  They closed off three blocks of the street, centered on city hall, put supports in the pool and covered them with a plywood floor.  They placed four of these trucks behind, and two on each side of the street, in front.

The trucks are gaily painted, with bright graphics.  Access http://www.schmucktruck.ca, or any of the others, for menu and prices, and a list of upcoming locations.  There is an Ontario Association of Food Trucks.  I saw a rep. wearing an association tee-shirt, photographing and videoing all of the trucks with his tablet.  Aside from merely the type of food each provides, most of them present some sort of theme.

One of them appears to be a big SWAT van, because they serve Sandwiches With A Twist, cold or grilled sandwiches with premium ingredients and side dishes.  There is a British Bakery truck, covered with Union Jacks and bunting, which serves English meat pies, steak and kidney, ham and Swiss, fish and finger, Melton Mobray and Cornish pasties, which are not worn by Cockney strippers.

There was one rather plain-Jane creepy crepes truck which offered “healthy food.”  I’ll eat healthy food at home, if the wife can catch me.  If I go to a food-truck, I want breaded and deep-fried cholesterol, with lots of salt, and a beer, not Evian.  I’m told that Mr. Schmucktruck, above, serves more than just hot-dogs, burgers and fries, but even they are Angus beef burgers and fries cooked in peanut oil.

They must have had a good day.  It was supposed to last from 11 AM, to 7 PM.  The son and I went down just before 6 PM, and they, and the Brits were out of stock, and closed.  Feisty Jack serves fish and chips, chicken tikka, and a masala box.  West of Seoul provides Korean and Asian street food, including a WOS Asian, Big Mac wannabe.

El Luchador is a Spanish name which means the warrior, or fighter.  It’s the name given to the soap-opera-style Mexican wrestlers.  The couple who run that highly-decorated food-cart, dress in tight black jeans and tee-shirts, and serve customers wearing the strange masks that the Mexican wrestlers wear.

My taste for Mexican food is what drew me downtown, and to the Luchador truck, where I was disappointed.  They don’t really serve Mexican food.  In fact, they don’t really serve anything I wanted.  It’s a yuppy fusion-food wagon.  See the menu.

Menu Board 1

The son and I walked several blocks to a well-reviewed, new, Mexican restaurant, but we, and all the densified, gentrified residents of all the new, downtown condos and lofts, found it, and every other decent downtown restaurant closed on Sunday.  There were several bars open, where you could get pub-grub, but for that, we could have gone to East Side Mario’s, three blocks from the house.

We trudged back to El Luchador, stood in line an outrageous amount of time, and settled for the chicken (?) burrito.  No mention of “cat” or “gila monster”, so it must have been chicken, Thai chicken, but chicken.  For dessert, Kool Jim’s Ice Cream Truck doled out chocolate dipped, frozen bananas, banana splits, sundaes, and soft ice cream.

Overall, I was disappointed with this spew of crass commercialism, masquerading as culture.  Sitting in the sun, on concrete, eating overpriced, pretentious grub, with hundreds of strangers doesn’t really appeal to me, but the paper says that thousands attended, and a survey says that most were thrilled.  Me??!  I’ve been there twice, the first time – and the last time!

Out-of-town blog visitors, don’t be intimidated by “The Regulars”.  I appreciate your visits, and all comments are gratefully welcomed and responded to.  Feel free to have your say and ask questions.

Archon

Only In Canada, You Say

 

Only in Canada….can you get a pizza to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in Canada….are there handicap parking spaces in front of a skating rink.

Only in Canada….do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions, while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in Canada….do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries…. and a diet cola.

Only in Canada….do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

Only in Canada….do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put all our useless junk in the garage.

Only in Canada….do we use answering machines to screen calls, and then have call waiting so we won’t miss a call from somebody we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.

Only in Canada….do we buy hot dogs in packages of twelve and buns in packages of eight.

Only in Canada….do we use the word ”politics” to describe the process so well: “Poli” in Latin meaning “many” and “tics” meaning “bloodsucking creatures”.

Only in Canada….do they have drive-up ATMs with Braille lettering.

Only in Canada….do we buy the kids’ Halloween costumes big enough to fit over a snowsuit.  (American SpellCheck doesn’t recognize “snowsuit”, but offers swimsuit.)

 

Forget Rednecks, here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Canucks:

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May you may live in Canada.
If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don’t work there, you may live in Canada.
If you’ve worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you may live in Canada.
If you’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialled a wrong number, you may live in Canada.
If “Vacation” means going anywhere south of Detroit for the weekend you may live in Canada.
If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Canada.
If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Canada.
If you have switched from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day and back again, you may live in Canada.
If you can drive 90 kms/hr through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Canada.
If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, you may live in Canada.
If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Canada.
If the speed limit on the highway is 80km — you’re going 90 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Canada.
If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Canada.
If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you may live in Canada.
If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you may live in Canada.
If you find 2 degrees C “a little chilly”, you may live in Canada.
If you actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all your Canadian friends & others, you definitely live in Canada!

Only in Canada would we have, not one, but two huge Maple Syrup thefts.  I’m not talking about some guy who got over a fence, sneaked in the back door, and got away with a couple of gallon jars of sweet stuff.  We’re talking about millions of liters, and perhaps as much as thirty million dollars worth of purloined stock.

The province of Quebec produces between 70 and 80 % of the world’s maple syrup, and two-thirds of that is exported to the US.  Inventory losses at a Quebec bulk storage warehouse were traced to a company in New Brunswick.  The stolen syrup was impounded and returned to its legal owners.  An idea of the size of the theft, is that the police-escorted return convoy consisted of fifteen full-sized tanker trucks.

The second theft does not appear to be quite as large.  Police estimate 800 barrels, which is 36,000 gallons, which is 163,500 liters.  That’s a sweet lot of pure profit.  I’m astounded at the size of the first theft.  One truckload is understandable….but fifteen?

Truckload-lot thefts are more common than you might think.  Trucking firms in the area have lost as many as three trailers at once.  A couple of guys cut the chain on the gates, roar in, hook up to already loaded and waiting trailers, and are gone by the time security or police arrive.  Stealing maple syrup involves bringing your own tanker, and waiting till it’s pumped full, in the first robbery, fifteen times.

Young women in Quebec eat a lot of, both maple syrup, and French pea soup.  This may explain why they are round and sweet, all except Celine Dion.

One co-worker’s brother was a truck driver for a local Seagram’s Distillery plant.  About once a week, he was sent to Toronto to bring back a tanker load of rye whiskey, for blending or bottling.  When he pulled into the yard, he would connect the dump valve on the bottom of the tanker to a large flexible hose, and open the valve.  When the tank was empty(?) he would drive to the parking area, where his truck was obscured by other trucks.

He would place a clean plastic pail under the valve and reopen it.  After finishing his paperwork, he would go back out and pick up half to three-quarters of a pail of rye, collected from those last drops on the inside of the tank.  He filled easily obtained empty bottles, and sold them for half price, making an extra hundred dollars a week, and a lot of friends.

A trucker from near the Quebec border, who delivered to my son’s plant, also owned a farm with a woodlot.  He made his own maple syrup, and my son bought some from him for several years.  It was the dark, strongly flavored type, at a good price.  A new job means we now buy it, a gallon at a time, from Mennonites at the farmers market.

Trees used to be tapped and drip into buckets.  There could be contamination.  Nowadays all taps, several to each tree, are connected to plastic tubing, which delivers the raw sap directly to the boiling shed.  If you drive past a sugar-bush in operation, it looks like the trees are caught in a giant spiderweb.

That’s not all I know about maple syrup, but I know that it’s time to call for a rest.  Anyone hungry?  How about some pancakes or waffles?