The Stem "Open Kitchen" Diner: Queen Street West: Toronto

The "Stem" is a classic, authentic, city diner in downtown Toronto. The July 2008 Reader's Digest had an article about this fine old venerable institution. Alas, at the end of August or thereabouts a sign went up on the window stating that thee were to be renovations. Now, the last day of September... no sign of such renovations as of yet. Perhaps there's a Reader's Digest curse that caused this?

I took a picture through an uncovered upper window into the empty restaurant today and it looks unchanged. A light is still on.


Click on the following Flickr search for more about this gorgeous place (search).


This "before" pic is from here ... Peter Grevstad

The question in the local media is "Afternoons And Greasy Spoons: Are Toronto's Diner Days Fried?"

Terroni Pizzería: Queen Street West: Toronto

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The Terroni's sausage pizza; called the Smendozzata (website). A well respected pizza joint on Queen Street West. I found it a wee bit on the noisy side; even for a Friday night. Difficult to talk across the table. Okay, more than a wee bit - very very noisy.

They do a good representation of a thin crust pizza; some say the best in town. Being a pizza maker myself I might be a tough customer - - but I found the crust, although correctly thin and with some rise to the edge, I found it to be "dead"; lacking in spark. Maybe not enough yeast that day. Maybe too little rising time. Perhaps it was pressed out in a machine.

Something killed the base - 'twas dull, boring. The toppings were good, the tomato sauce not bad and the sausage very nice.

I'd go again to see if the same thing happened; always willing to give the kitchen a second change.

Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes, uploaded by willsong.

Fresh from the garden. Green heirloom Brandywine tomatoes. They're green but they're ripe. Taste a little different than regular red ones. Quite good in fact.

On a lightly toasted bagel.

Garden Fresh Tomatoes


Picked off the vine just back of the patio.  Notice that the seed cells are small, numerous and not symmetrical.  I don't need symmetry when the flavour is fantastic; and these are. 

I tell you, growing tomatoes is really dramatically worth it.  The difference from commercial glop is quite notable.  Next year - try it.  Buy seedlings and stick them in  the ground in the sun.  Dead easy - - if the squirrels don't drive you crazy. 

Peameal Bacon Sandwich : St Lawrence Market

Peameal bacon, for those not in the know, is Canadian back bacon (not the strip-type; it's round) that's pork loin that has been smoked and rolled in corn meal (which is called "pea" meal because they used to roll the bacon in dried, ground, yellow peas but switched to ground corn meal eons ago).

The most famous location, and preferred, for this classic Canadian food would be Carousel Bakery at the St. Lawrence public market in downtown Toronto. The picture is less than ideal because I was in a hurry to eat the sandwich. That's dijon mustard smeared on the left half. Messy but delicious.

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There are a couple of other places that do peameal bacon at the market but I always go to Carousel.

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Doorknob Garden

The garden, as a consequence of running across a box of old household hardware at garage sale, has grown a corner full of doorknob flowers.  The crystal ones are quite colorful in the sun.


Here it is without the artsy light effects - really very pretty.  Simple, and low care too.


Heirloom Tomato - Red Brandywine


The only one the vine produced so far but look at those lovely striations. 

Lycopersicon lycopersicon is the latin name.

Hong Kong Market Street - 1999


Catch the fellow on the right with the red ribbed tux.

This was taken with my super duper digital camera way back when.  1 million pixels and top of the line.  Today my telephone has a 5 megapixel camera.  Boy how times have changed.

This was in Hong Kong on a day off during a ' round the world business trip.

Amuse Bouche, Toronto: Birthday Dinner,

Went to Amuse Bouche for my birthday dinner.  it's very nice, modern food, quite nicely done.


This was the Ontario Texel lamb: a chop and an open-faced merguez burger and a Niagara gamay jus.


There, you can see the little burger under the chop.

Nice little terrace for a warm evening. The restaurant is pricey. tasty; good service - I would go again.

Gazpacho Ingredients

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  • Tomatoes (from the garden)
  • Green pepper
  • Cucumber (from the garden)
  • Garlic
  • Shallot
  • Onion, red
  • Celery stalk
  • Salt, pepper
  • Sherry vinegar (1/4 cup)
  • Olive oil (3/4 cup)
  1. Blend together
  2. Chill

Bicycles on a Boat on the Way to a Picnic

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In front of the city of Toronto, on the lake, there's a few little islands.  Went on a picnic there the other afternoon.

Tabouleh, Tabouli

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I made my own recipe for tabouleh again - it turned out very well and has a much better picture.

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