By Liza Zawadzka
At Ossington and Bloor, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Portugese and Greek men drink tiny cups of coffee while smoking distressing quantities of cigarettes in men’s-only cafes.
Claiming their place among these small kingdoms is TallBoys, except the devastatingly charming staff are most welcoming of ladies, and the culture here is beer.
Spawned by Cliff Fletcher, and his cousins Phil and Tom Carcace, it’s obvious this is a labour of love.
With more than 50 selections from Ontario craft breweries to choose from, even the most refined beer drinker will find something to revel in. Stouts, lagers, blondes, wheats, pilsners and ciders, you could get a grant to do a PhD in beer off the TallBoys’ list.
The staff are obviously passionate about beer and are almost evangelical in their willingness to talk about it.
Craig Wong turns out gorgeous pub fare, but keeps the quality stellar – you won’t feel sick after watching the game here.
Sulie’s Salad – created by Cliff’s cousin-in-law - is hearty enough for a meal. Roasted red beets and crunchy apple are tossed with chickpeas and greens in a bright honey vinaigrette, balancing sweet and tart beautifully.
In a nod to the East – Korea Town is just up the road – the Kimchi burger paired with bacon has become a neighbourhood legend. Wong is serious about wings and tacos – the pan-seared fish tacos are made with fresh fish lovingly wrapped around pillowy soft tortillas. Basic snacks such as fries and house-made nachos and salsa are simple, but perfect.
A Hymn to Ninkasi, in ancient Sumerian, is among the earliest forms of writing discovered.
Not surprisingly, this hymn is part adoration to the Goddess of beer, and also a recipe.
Looks like Ninkasi is smiling down on TallBoys.
Here’s a translation from the University of Chicago - http://oi.uchicago.edu/research/pubs/nn/fal91_civil_hymn.html - if you want to try rustling up some ancient Sumerian brew.
But since Ontario breweries are doing such a great job in our own backyard, why bother?
“If you want to make good food, you have to eat good food.” -Jiro Ono. From cafeterias to highfalutin tearooms, stalwart fixtures to the newest chef of the block, Liza Zawadzka takes you on a tour of the best food Toronto has to offer.