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  • Clarke Wallace

EATING OUTSIDE: LITERALLY

It was a whim that took us into Toronto several Saturday nights ago. We dressed up warm in heavy sweaters and jackets to eat outside. Right outside. Nothing overhead but streetlamps, hydro wires and a dark sky.


We had reservations at a French restaurant on Bedford, a narrow side street off Avenue Road, one of Toronto’s main arteries. There were several canopies over larger tables. Ours, a table for two, beside a low planter with a small tree growing out of it.


A waiter set a propane tank and heating unit to give us much needed warmth. We were a few strides away from the city sidewalk.


With the Covid-19 screwing up everything, restaurants like Le Paradis can only serve customers willing to eat outside, leaving space for pedestrians to pass by and cars parked close to the curb.


It was one of those evenings that sticks with you. What could be better than starting with Vodka martinis, waiters coming the sidewalk to serve food.

I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention what we ate for a dinner. It began with steamy butternut squash soup, beets & goat cheese salad. A side order of cremini & oyster mushrooms covered with fresh herbs & garlic butter. The main course: Roe ordered beef flatiron with peppercorn sauce & frites. I couldn’t resist the ‘Cuisse de canard’ a duck leg confit, smothered in a cherry sauce.


Author’s comment: The two hours plus can only say that sitting outside with cars driving by, the darkness of the night broken by streetlights, waiters hustling food out to neighboring tables made for a delightful evening. Specially these days with the pandemic keeping us off-kilter. It's a welcome relief.






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