My ‘Hood, Part 2: Coffee, Pastry, & Theory

Classes are over for the fall semester. Snow has been falling all day, making my town look like a 1950’s Christmas movies. Between bouts of marking and research, I have found myself wandering the neighbourhood, Now that I’m not running to perform the next lecture, my head is up and my eyes are open. The world returns to me, like a gift I was putting off opening.

More new foodie places:I dropped into Grain Curd and Bean (1414 Dundas Street West) one quiet Sunday morning. The place, pristine and hopeful and not yet quite full of product exuded the warmth and earnestness of its owners. I grabbed a coffee and a crusty Harbord Bakery chocolate-croissanty-thing, sat at the counter, cracked open a Saturday Globe & Mail and eavesdropped. People from the ‘hood dropped by saying how glad they were that a cheese & bread shop had opened in a neighbourhood were previously only Portuguese cornbread (yummy but tedious after a few years) and sharp gouda-like Portuguese cheeses could be found. After making their vaguely ethnocentric comments, they’d leave without buying a thing.

Gayley’s Cafe provided breakfast as I drifted from cafe to cafe: friendly staff, decent eggs Florentine and odd homefries;”everything homemade” according to the proud owners. I continued to peruse The Globe. Lots has happened during those shut-in days of marking. More war: newspaper like a propaganda machine. Politicians doing their thing, but this time people are talking. This time, people aren’t letting them get away with it.

Walking west, I saw a new bar has opened, Hen House, decked out with the de rigeur 50’s furniture that is code for hipster in these here parts.

And across from The Hen House, Multiple Organics, one of two health food stores that have sprung up on this stretch. They have local fruit, vegetables, cheese and meat. I went in and got distressed by the lack of listed prices. Is the chard two dollars or ten? Couldn’t cope, didn’t want to ask. I think I was overtired.

The day of cafe-surfing ended at Pantry up on College. I pulled a theory book out of my bag, ordered a cappucino and a chocolate chip pecan cookie, sat at the wide wooden common table, and re-entered the world of my research.

Not so bad, to take a break and then wander among ideas again, a steaming cup of coffee by my side.


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