Old Food

Pioneer BBQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found another old place to eat.  This one is in Kitchener.  It wasn’t, when it started, but it is now, because the city has eaten it up, and people from the city are going out there to eat up.  It first opened in 1927, so it’s three years older than the Harmony Lunch I wrote about earlier. 

Currently owned by a Greek-Canadian and his wife, it has changed hands several times over the years, getting bigger and better.  It’s called Pioneer BBQ, because it’s near the Pioneer Tower memorial, from my Magical Mystery Tour.

From center to center of many towns in Southern Ontario is five miles, because that was as far as a set of horses pulled a stage-coach, thus, the “stage” in stage-coach.  Five miles south of the center of Kitchener, there used to be a small village named Centerville, long since annexed and existing now only as a subdivision name. 

Five miles further south, there was never a “village”, but always a point of commerce.  This is just about five miles north of the center of our neighbor city, another stage-coach hop.  The two burgs have sprawled towards each other, till now the boundaries abut.

The area has grown into a conglomeration of hotels, various bars and fast-food joints, restaurants, big-box stores, Cineplex and gas-stations.  Poor little Pioneer huddles behind/between the Tim Hortons/Subway strip mall which faces one big road, and the tire store/furniture/ electronic games store strip mall which faces the other main street.  It fronts on the main access road to the next town, fighting for its business with the Golden Arches across the street, and can be seen from the back of the Costco parking lot.

Continuing in the fight to confuse locals and visitors alike, two-lane, little Pioneer Tower Road comes up from the river.  When it reaches the old highway, it blossoms into a 4/6 lane street, now named Sportsworld Drive, where our eatery is located.  A half a mile south, it passes into the city of Cambridge, and becomes Maple Grove Road.

Just at that border, in 1927, the Preston/Kitchener Street Railway ran.  Folks used to take an electric-trolley ride out that far for a Sunday trip in the country, and stop in for some fine eatin’.  At first, it was just the parlor of the home of the wife of a Railway Manager, which got turned into a dining area.  Later their living room became the sit-down counter.

 In the 70s and 80s, a liquor licence was obtained, and a large roofed deck was added to the other side of the “house”, to segregate the smokers.  It could only be used for a few months each year, so, in the 90s, it was closed in, insulated and a fireplace and heat vents added.  Smoking in Ontario restaurants has since been banned.

This is Home Cookin’ at its best, or pretty darn close.  Pulled pork, beef, or chicken sandwiches, with pickles almost as good as ours, sturdy salads, onion rings with onion, not tons of coating and a whisper of onion, thick, crisp, browned steak fries.

They serve a variety of burgers and combos.  They have steaks, spaghetti, fish and chips, cold sandwiches and hot sandwich plates.  This is a real Mom and Pop diner.  At an ordinary restaurant, a turkey sandwich would contain a couple of thin slices of processed turkey loaf.  The wife ordered a turkey sandwich and was asked, “White meat, or dark?”, and got slabs of turkey thigh meat.

They must employ at least one, or more, near-world class bakers – doughnuts, tarts, muffins, brownies, 5 or 6 kinds of pies, and CAKES, with caramel and/or chocolate drizzled over them.  Ya gotta keep moving past the display case, or you gain weight.  Everything, including the pastries, is available for take-out.

SDC10617SDC10615Like Harmony Lunch, I’ve never seen or heard of Pioneer BBQ advertising.  They’ve survived by word of mouth.  Slowly, as more and more people grow familiar with the area, because of the surrounding shops, their clientele increases.

The food is delicious.  The service is tight and friendly.  The prices are reasonable for the healthy blue-collar size servings.  The noise level was low, the day we went there.  Even with the (relatively) new owners, they still like doing things the old-fashioned way, which is fine by me. I took a business card as a reminder to compose this post.  The first thing I noticed is that they don’t have a website.  Our waitress told me that some of the young preppies ask where the Wi-Fi section is – and everyone laughs!

(It’s inevitable, and unavoidable. Between composing and publishing this post, we invited the son out for lunch here during his vacation period.  It gave me another great restaurant meal, and a chance to take photos of the pastries.  They still don’t have a website, but as we approached the door, we could see the new sign, “FREE WIFI.”  A couple almost as old as us sat next to us, not saying a word, but each diddling a new Smartphone.  The son said, “If I ignored you, at least I’d do it to your face!”)

We sometimes take the daughter out for lunch before we all go shopping at Costco.  We’ve hit a nearby Wendy’s a couple of times, and have been thinking about the all-you-can-eat Indian buffet, across the highway, but this place is definitely on our go-back-to list. 

They’ve got old-fashioned food for us old-fashioned fogies.  It’s nice to know another local eatery is still going strong after almost 87 years.  I’m willing to throw myself on a plate of poutine to keep them going.  (And that gold cake with caramel sauce, could we take a slab of that home?  Please?!)  Diet??!  What diet?  😕

😉

That’s Funny

First, just a little piece of advice I picked up for KayJai, SparkleBumps, and maybe a few more of you Betty Ford AWOLs.

 

NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES

Nobody minds a man having a morning eye-opener, and it’s okay to have a bracer around 10 A.M., and maybe a couple of drinks with lunch.  Also, a few beers on a hot afternoon will keep a person healthy, or at least happy.  Of course, everyone drinks at cocktail hour, and a person can’t be criticized for having some wine with dinner, a liquor afterwards, and a highball or two during the evening – but this damned business of  SIP, SIP, Sip, all day long HAS GOT TO STOP!

 

Before they decide how much lumber they will need to build a house, the carpenters usually get together and have a board meeting.

A seamstress is a real material girl!

Sign at the Acme Shoelace Company ~ We are truly fit to be tied.

Jockey: My racehorse is named FleaBag.

Bettor: Has he won a lot of races?

Jockey: Nah!  He keeps getting scratched.

 

Buying quality is like buying hay.  If you want nice, clean, fresh hay, you must pay a fair price.  However, if you can be satisfied with hay that has already been through the cow – THAT COMES A LITTLE CHEAPER!

 

Up in Heaven, the Pearly Gates had been replaced by two arched, golden doors, with signs above them.  The one to the left read, “The Wrong Religion,” and there was no-one at it.  The one to the right read, “The Right Religion,” and there was a long line of people, waiting to get through.  God said to St. Peter, “The stupid thing is, none of them get the joke!”

NEWS RELEASE

Recently, an airliner crashed in the Pacific, close to an uninhabited island.  The survivors consisted of…

Two American businessmen and their secretary

Two French businessmen and their secretary

Two Italian businessmen and their secretary

Two British businessmen and their secretary

Two Canadian businessmen and their secretary

Knowing they would be stranded for some time, the two Americans made a schedule to have their secretary as follows: the first American would have her Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  The other would have her Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and she would have Sundays to herself.

The two Frenchmen had no problems, and immediately established a “ménage a trois.”

The two Italians had no problem either, as one of them shot the other so he could have the secretary all to himself.

The two British also had no problems, as they shot the secretary, so as to have each other.

And….the two Canadians are still waiting for instructions from head-office.

READ BETWEEN THE LINES

The “Executive Vocabulary” can be a little confusing.  Here’s a list of definitions which should help you get through your day.

Orientation; Move around till we can find something you can do.

Consolidating our position in the marketplace; We didn’t make any money on it.

Unparalleled demand; Six orders in the mail.

Note and initial; Let’s spread the responsibility for this around.

For your consideration; You hold the bag for a while.

We’re making a survey; We need more time to think up an answer.

For your approval; Passing the buck.

For your comment; I don’t have the faintest idea myself.

Through the ranks; The boss’s son worked one summer in the shipping department.

Promising young executive; Son of a fraternity brother.

Co-ordinator; An executive with a desk between two expeditors.

Implement a program; Hire more people, and expand the office.

Middle management; An executive with his own pen and pencil set, but no water pitcher.

I never worked at an office which had a gym or a fitness program.  I always got my exercise by jumping to conclusions, flying off the handle, running the boss down, passing on rumors, stabbing co-workers in the back, dodging responsibility, and pushing my luck.  How’s your workday going??!

 

After The Fun

I went to have my fangs resharpened again yesterday.  I might go an entire lifetime without hearing the name “Ariel”, unless I rented Disney’s Little Mermaid.  In the half-hour I spent beneath Damocles’ TV, I heard about two, Ariel Sharon, ex-prime minister of Israel, and Ariel Castro, the Ohio kidnapper who hanged himself.  (Although, I wonder if he had just a bit of assistance?)

We went back to the Farmers’ Market this morning.  With a bit of pickling mixture left over, the wife wondered if we could put down a few baby dills.  Scrubbed and soaked tonight.  Tomorrow comes the boiling.

There was a broadcast van from CTV, Canada’s second network, as well as from CHCH-TV, out of Hamilton Ontario, an independent which bills itself as Canada’s Superstation, like Atlanta, in the same way Tonka Trucks are big-rigs like Peterbilts.

Two camera crews wandering around, I saw a woman, probably a real shopper, but practising her lines before being dragged into camera range for a “spontaneous”, man-on-the-street….or woman-at-the-market interview.

Elbow-to-elbow crowds, which would be good if they were there to shop, but many just wanted photos or videos.  A food-service area, with no room to swing a cat and I saw a man and a woman smoking cigarettes, and a man my age with a cigar as big as a Great Dane’s turd, and almost as fragrant.  I thought of yelling as if I’d been burned.

Ontario’s lesbian Liberal leader was on hand early, for rah-rah photo-ops.  She stopped at my favorite produce vendor, and talked a good story, but bought nothing.  Another vendor further up said she did the same at his stall.  The local male Liberal candidate finally bought a basket of tomatoes, and gave it to her.

Two big food trailers across the walkway from the fire had been seriously melted.  They were hauled away and replaced with a trailer with washrooms and a temporary Market office.  The canvas top on the French-fry-serving Conestoga wagon looked like it had been through a movie Indian attack.  The nylon top of the gazebo beyond it melted.

Ever Stranger – Part 3

The work on the Marathon oil refinery, five miles up the highway, is almost complete.  There are only two big earth/stone moving trucks still parked in the motel lot, as well as a Ryder rental box-truck guarding a tarp-covered pile that turned out to be carpeting and underlay.  There was a car with Texas plates, and a Mercedes Sprinter van with Mexican plates, but they seemed to be just tourists.

After a Saturday morning and afternoon spent checking out guns and knives, the kid and I took another nap.  Both our sleep schedules were way off.  We left the motel again about 7 PM to go to the Outback for supper.  As we climbed into the car, the son mentioned that he could smell something burning.  His senses aren’t as old and feeble as mine.  Even notified, I didn’t detect anything.  After supper we drove up to a Wal-Mart and found some flavors of coffee creamers that the wife wanted.

We got back to our room just in time for the 11 o’clock news, and the lead story was about how a 162,000 gallon tank at the refinery had exploded and burned at 6:30.  That’s what the son smelled.  The refinery has its own fire department, and, with help from the city, they confined it to the one tank, and put it out in 90 minutes.  The tank wasn’t near where the work was being done, so that didn’t cause it, and was far enough back from I-75 that the highway was not closed.  The tunnel was closed for a security exercise Sunday morning from six until ten, but we planned on taking the bridge anyway.

I’m a little more used to “the Michigan way” than the son, but there are still things that intrigue me, for example, The Fifth Third Bank.  I can understand a First National, or a Third State Bank, but what in Hell is a Fifth Third Bank??!  Something that astounded the son was store clerks – helpful store clerks – knowledgeable store clerks.

As long as you’re moving, they leave you alone, but stop to even hitch up your pants, and one would coalesce out of the ether, and ask if they could help, and if you needed help, they provided it.  In Ontario, you’d have to go out the back, to the dumpster, to grab one having a smoke break, and even then (s)he wouldn’t know where your desired item was and would be too lazy busy to find someone who did.

When the wife and I first started visiting Detroit, the Denny’s we liked to breakfast at was a smoking establishment.  A couple of years later they would ask, “Smoking, or non?”  Not that it really mattered.  Unless you got the table furthest to the back, the smoke still drifted.  Recently they, and other restaurants, possibly led by Tim Hortons, have become smoke free.

Based on a dearth of butt-orphans, it seems fewer Michiganders are smoking, and I didn’t hear much about drinking and driving.  It still surprised the son to see both cigarettes and booze sold openly in grocery stores and pharmacies.  Makes sense to me, smokes, snacks, mix, liquor – all in the same place.  Up here in the nanny-state of Ontario, cigarettes can’t even be openly displayed.  All the stores must hide them behind cardboard blinds.  We used to confuse American tourists by selling beer at places called Brewers Retail.  Truth in advertising finally forced a name change to The Beer Store.  Anything stronger than beer must be purchased at Liquor Control Board outlets.  No grocery stores, no drugstores, and definitely no party stores.  We need to be protected from our baser urges.

Calling all BrainRants!  Attention!  Bacon!  Bacon!  Bacon!  We discovered the nearest Tim Hortons to the motel, just this side of the Outback.  Tim’s in Canada is advertising thicker bacon on their sandwiches, so I assume Our American Cousin is doing the same.

Whether influenced by that or not, Denny’s has introduced a new “Bacon Menu.”  They’ve added a Bacon Slam that has not previously been available, as well as Bacon everything.  They offer a bacon-flavored milkshake, a bacon sundae, and salty-bacon brownies.

I recently took the wife and daughter to a new store which allows purchases of individual units of both Keurig and Tassimo coffee pods.  They have a spot at the back where you can brew up a sample before you buy it.  There are a variety of creamers available, to add.  They have the plain creamer, as well as toffee, hazelnut and raspberry.  There, proudly sitting beside the rest, is bacon coffee flavoring.

Bacon Flavouring

 

 

 

 

 

 

If, ten years ago, Rants had bought stock in bacon and sriracha, today he’d own the world, instead of having to plot to take it over with one tank and his computer.  The computer is the more dangerous.

As we waited for our Denny’s breakfast, there was a family with a 9-year old boy, a 12-year old girl, and a 15-year old boy.  In the lobby there was one of those cash siphons where you put in a dollar bill, and try to get out a stuffed toy by manipulating a three-prong grabber.  The oldest boy mooched a buck from his dad and walked over.  I didn’t pay much attention, but thirty seconds later, back he came and handed his little brother a stuffed dog.

Dad gave him another dollar, and he walked back to the no-arm bandit.  I didn’t even have time to turn and watch him, and he returned and gave his sister a cute stuffed cat.  Dad handed him another bill, and this time I watched carefully.  Before I even got a crick in my neck, he had another plush toy which thrilled his mother.  A fourth attempt brought them nothing, but I’ve seen kids fool with these things for hours, and get nothing but carpal tunnel.  Three in quick succession is fantastic.

We’re going to hit the flea market/food court, and then head back across the river for home.  Stay tuned on this same batty channel.

Old Faithful

I can’t even rely on the Federal Government to be unreliable.  I posted on the 13th that the office was to mail the son’s passport out on the 21st.  On the 14th, the dog raised a ruckus at an ungodly hour, 11:45 AM.  Well, that’s early for me.  By the time I had on enough clothes to beat an exposure charge, and got to the front door, all that was there was a notice to pick up the envelope the next day.  Not at the postal depot a kilometer down the street, the one four kilometers away, on the edge of town.

Why couldn’t it have been left in our SuperMailbox, a half a block away?  It got mailed early, but these are the people who put the “Self Service” in Postal Service.  I guess this means we’re destined for a trip to the States.  I’ve already booked a room, and paid for it to get a reduced rate.  We’ll be staying 20 miles south of Detroit for a weekend, just to prove we’re Canadians.

The son had an interesting thing happen at his plant the other night.  A guy got locked in a car.  Two well-tanned recent hires come in the same vehicle.  Ahmed drives his friend Abou, in his, new-to-him, van.  When they got to work, Ahmed left the van unlocked.  At first break, Abou wanted to smoke.  Not being a Canadian, to whom 2 C is “a little chilly”, he climbed into Ahmed’s van, and hit the lock button, perhaps to keep the smoke in.

We don’t know if it was a malfunction, or whether it is a childproof feature but, when he went to climb out, the doors wouldn’t unlock, the windows wouldn’t roll down, and the horn wouldn’t sound.  Twenty minutes later, someone found him locked in the van.  They had to find someone to relieve Ahmed on his automatic machine, so that he could go out and unlock.

A 68 year-old female bartender was let go by a hotel chain in Toronto, when they moved operations to a smaller facility.  Her union (which might have been a reason for downsizing) does not have rights at the new operation.  In a fit of entitlement, she now wants to sue the union and the hotel chain for the wages and tips she would have earned until she planned to retire at age 75.

I’d like to feel sympathetic.  I wanted to put in 20 years, and retire at 65 from the auto-plant, but reality intruded.  Not the union, nor the hotel, nor society at large, owes her a job, especially till 75.  Move aside and let someone younger work.  If she’s as good as she thinks she is, and wants to work for sake of the job, I’m sure there is employment somewhere.  If she’s in it for the money, lack of planning on her part, does not constitute an emergency for anyone else.

The East-Indian restaurateur who threw spices in the face of an intruder, bent on assaulting him and his wife and kids, has finally had all charges dismissed.  I saw a lawyer in a TV show the other night, admit that lawyers do not practice justice, they practice law.  The law is a ass, and grinds exceeding slow.

The author of his own misfortune, is an East-Indian import named Sukhvir Sandhu.  This idiot just can’t keep his mouth shut.  He was recently arrested and charged for the sixth time, with drinking and driving.  The last time it happened, he drove away from an accident and into a residential area.  When he was restrained by a retired policeman, he assaulted and threatened him.  In custody, he bragged to police about how much he can drink and still drive, as well as admitting he’d driven away from other crashes.  He blamed his drinking on being bullied in high school because of his name.

In court, he threatened to “hunt down and kill” the police officer who charged him, and warned the court that he would just drink and drive again.  Four months later, he was caught driving while under suspension and impaired.  While in custody he was assaulted by another prisoner.  Gee, I wonder why that happened.  The judge was going to give him a year in jail, but the Crown and the defense agreed to 90 days.  Even knowing that the judge had no sympathy, he still tried to con a better deal.  He tried to talk the judge into giving him 180 days, but served on weekends.  It’s only three months, but I’m glad he’s off the roads, now if we could just get him to shut up.

A “good Christian” in Toronto hit his wife in the head twice with a hammer, and then stabbed a page from the Bible to her chest with a butcher knife.  He stole $200 from her purse and took his girlfriend on a trip.  When arrested, he cursed God for not preventing his homicidal rage.  Just once, I’d like to see one of the “good Christians” either actually be a good Christian, or take personal responsibility for their actions.

The dumb criminal of the week is the genius who took a cab to the Toronto airport, and walked away without paying.  Since there are always lots of cops there, the cabby raised a fuss.  Knowing he was now being pursued, Dumbo ducked into a washroom and tried to conceal an illegal handgun and magazine separately.  They were quickly found.  When he was searched, police seized drugs.  That got them a warrant for his house, where they found ammunition, Tasers, security guard uniforms, and “one gram of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be used as an explosive.”

Timothy McVeigh needed a ton of this stuff to wound the Murrah building.  One gram wouldn’t out-pop a firecracker.  Thanks very much to the Sun Media, Chicken Little, who tried to frighten readers to increase sales.  It’s always about the money!

Sauce For The Goose

Was it always thus?  Were people always so thoughtless and selfish?  I suppose at any point in history, a certain percentage were.  The problem is worsened in cities.  The bigger the city, the more people there are to share things – land, air, open skies, personal space and the respect and acceptance of others.  With a lower average being spread around, the likelihood is increased of some assholery being committed by unthinking, uncaring thugs, to get what they think their share should be, fair or otherwise.

It’s difficult some times to know whether they really are as stupid and uncaring as they sound, or whether it’s a persona they’re using to achieve their ends.  For years, those of us with lungs, who want to keep them, have been fighting to get smokers to stop dispensing their noxious gases in public.  Locally, it’s illegal to smoke inside any public building.  This just moves the problem.  Now they smoke outside the buildings, and you get to run a toxic gauntlet, trying to get a passport, or making a bank deposit.  *You can’t make me stop.  I have a right to smoke.*  No, you don’t!  Their sense of entitlement vs. my right to breathe and enjoy clean air is truly awe-inspiring

I wanted to take the wife to Wendy’s for lunch one day.  We climbed out of the car and faced the door.  The female manager and a male friend were standing right beside the entrance, smoking.  We stood beside the car for about a minute, thinking they might take the hint and move.  No such luck.  Finally, she noticed us staring at her, and petulantly demanded, “What?!”  We’d like to enter your facility to have lunch, but can’t because you’re blocking the door by smoking.  You’re supposed to move away.  “Well, I thought it was nine feet.”

You’re the manager of a restaurant, and you don’t know what the bylaw is?  It’s not nine feet.  It’s nine meters!  That’s thirty feet!  Even if it were nine feet, you were only five or six feet from the door.  See the orange paint that head office had applied to the curb, by the door.  You’re supposed to be outside that, and downwind if you don’t mind.  I should have filled in one of the How Did We Do Today forms inside, but she’d probably just have thrown it away.  Maybe next time I’ll complain on-line.

On a related note….fire pits.  The city is in the middle of a minor crisis about whether to continue to allow residents to have outdoor fires.  This is like smoking.  Your rights stop at the end of my nose – or should.  Older residents, parents with young children and people with breathing problems have lobbied to have the city declare them illegal.  The caring response evident in several letters to the editor have been, “Tough!  If you don’t like it, close your windows!”  A letter today tried to justify it by saying that his kids want to enjoy themselves roasting marshmallows and hotdogs.  “Let them have a bit of summer fun.”  I will, as soon as I can breathe.  One letter suggested speaking nicely to your offending neighbor, and they would just stop.  Yeah, sure, I’ll get right on that.

Whatever the perk, there are those who seize it, and then try to prevent others from enjoying the same.  We moved to the other side of the city 23 years ago, because a developer had cut down half of a huge maple forest and erected hundreds of houses near the river.  As we were leaving the area, the developer wanted to cut down the other half of the bush and put up more homes.  You should have heard the squeals of anguish.  The ones who had taken advantage of the first forestry project now wanted the rest of the trees left, because the scenery was nice, and their kids could play there and run the dog.  Many of them were suddenly against Urban Sprawl.

After the forest was inevitably cut down, houses were built right across the river from the local airport.  Real Estate agents were legally required to inform potential buyers of its existence.  Nobody was *surprised*, except officials who now got demands from these home-owners that the airport be restricted, or shut down, or moved.  The airplanes were keeping the baby awake, or scaring the cat.  The guy I wanted to schmop with a soggy diaper, was the one whose house had been built thirty years ago, half a block from the expressway, but three miles from the airport.  He didn’t complain about traffic noise, but wanted the city to pay him to sound-insulate his house from airplane noise.

A drunken young female exited a downtown club and wandered across the street, where she was brushed by a passing car and knocked down.  She was totally, legally in the wrong, but guess whose insurance had to pay, and whose premiums went up.  A 19 year-old male rode his bicycle through a crosswalk, against the traffic flow, and was struck by a car making a turn.  It’s illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk, and it’s illegal to ride a bicycle through a crosswalk, and he just found out why, but pedestrians and bicyclists don’t carry insurance.

I think the next park festival we hold should be a Bring-In-Your-Ego Fair.  There’ll be some whose egos are so big, they can’t drag them in.  For the rest, it could be like a children’s face-painting booth.  On this one, we could brush some care and consideration for others.  On that big bloated ego we could paint some vertical stripes, so it doesn’t look so huge.  Think it’ll work?  Nah!  Me neither.