Monday, November 24, 2008

Diners &c.

Since writing last time about the impossibility of visiting Glenn Gould's Toronto, this article appeared in the EYE Weekly covering the disappearance of local diners in the city and their replacement by more generic eateries. The article generated a predictable response a week later when one modern Torontonian wondered (rhetorically) why anyone would miss such places now that we can go for falafel, rhoti, empanada, or whatever, on our lunch breaks. The response was so predictable because it clearly represents the prevailing sentiment that the old-fashioned diner is a vestige of the "bad old days" and that the sooner we can be rid of these relics the better.

Well, if all you can get at such establishments is fare like "a broiled turkey sandwich with powdered gravy on Wonder Bread" as the letter writer claims, then I would agree that perhaps there are few reasons to lament their passing. (Although I'll bet that GG would think: "broiled turkey . . . powdered gravy . . . Wonder Bread . . . sounds delicious!") But I know I've had better meals than that at various diners around town.

Now, because I am on a budget tighter than the rusted lug-nuts on a '57 DeSoto (to quote Dan Rather), I don't eat out much. But over the next three weeks, as a public service, I will be re-visiting some local establishments to report on the food, service, and general ambiance. I plan to go on Thursdays, since by that point in the week my enthusiasm for preparing dinner tends to be a little low. If I can borrow a camera, I'll take some pictures. If anyone wants to join me let me know. If I determine that you make more money than I do, then the bill is on you. Just kidding. Maybe.

Finally, if you live in another place and really do want to visit "Glenn Gould's Toronto" to whatever extent it is still possible to do so, then I should point out that the best time to visit is between now (November) and early April. There is no point coming here during the other months.

1 comment:

  1. Amen to that! I agree that the city of Toronto wears 'grey' very well!

    As for diners, well, despite their wearily deteriorating status in the world of 21st-century cuisine, I am a faithful servant to the genre known as 'the diner'. Where would we be without that slice - albeit on wonderbread - of a by-gone era? Having recently joined Glenn Gould's friend and recording engineer, Lorne Tulk, for a bowl of soup at Fran's restaurant, I am all the more grateful for the nostalgia that such an establishment can provide.

    Long live the diner, and the 'battleship' grey frock which dons the city of Toronto during these last remaining days of the year!