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Try Maha’s on Greenwood near Gerrard East

“We heard good things,” I said to the host who greeted us at lunchtime. He smiled and showed Danica to marble topped table and a bench of colourful cushions. Then the delicious started to happen, Egyptian style. Maha’s

maha's-pleases

Our coffees in tall glasses arrived promptly while we looked at the menu. Fresh brewed,full-bodied and perfect. We flipped the menu over from the entrée listings to check out the sandwiches.

I think we we would have loved any of the choices but the Mind-Blowing Chicken did indeed blow our minds, it was so tasty. We also split The Max, which came in a balady bread pita. It was stuffed with two of the best falafels I can remember having (well, one, actually. Danica had the other one). There were sliced, boiled eggs in there too, along with sweet vidalia onions, foole (a nutritious stew of fava beans) and homemade tehina sauce.

My food photos did not do justice to our lunch, so I refer you to a better site for more information. We will be going back to Maha’s and we’ll be bringing friends. Hours are a bit restrictive for evenings. They open early every day (8:00 a.m.) except Wednesdays (closed), but evenings they close at 7:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

There are not a lot of tables in this little neighbourhood café, so many of their customers must drop in for take-out meals. This place is a little gem and we can walk to it!

Jubilee Cakes to Budapest

Beach Hill’s rather mysterious Jubilee Cakes is being transformed into a Hungarian restaurant to be called Budapest.

The old bakery seemed to be frozen in time. Was it ever open for business? The sign offering sandwiches for $2.50 seems to belong to another era, that’s for sure. I never saw anyone in there, neither baker nor buyers.

budapest-debut
So the bakery is not a loss and the new restaurant is promising. Budapest is the creation of a pair of Beach Hill entrepreneurs who have already made a success of City Jug Milk, our local corner store. Edit Csomo and Lorie Ditchon know how to run a business.

I am documenting the transformation of the building, which involves a complete gutting of the old space. Everything is new, including the plumbing, wiring, ductwork and kitchen. A friendly working contractor named Darrin was happy to show us around but didn’t want to be in photos himself. Darrin is very well regarded in the neighbourhood. He knows his stuff and certainly doesn’t need a plug. He’s got more work offers than he can take.

The space looks narrow, and it is … but wait! There are plans! At present, the space next door is in use as a site office by the construction company building the Beach Hill condo next door. As soon as the condo is far enough along, the site office will move into it and the restaurant space can double.

budapest-details

Lorie and Edit are on target for a July opening. They plan to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Danica and I look forward to being customers. Meanwhile, I’ll go back for more photos as things develop.

souvenir-shots

Black monolith reference

Ins and outs of VPN tunneling

Ever wish you could tunnel past country restrictions to see web content denied to foreign visitors? Sometimes you can, using a Virtual Personal Network.

twister-bil

I recently purchased a VPN service that encrypts all of the web traffic between my computer and the source. It’s a good thing to have if you check your email via public wifi networks at coffee shops or the library. Your passwords and communications are kept private.

A bonus is that your point of origin is also obscured. I kind of like the fact that government spy agencies don’t like VPNs. China goes so far as to ban them. If Brits can watch our CBC content and I can see some of their BBC content, I don’t mind that either.

VPNs don’t remove all geographical barriers on the internet. Some content will still hit blockades. The main purpose of such networks is to frustrate the ever-increasing army of snoops, social platform profilers, marketeers and spies who monitor everything we do online.

Which brings me to a quote I admire, from Edward Snowden:

Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

Dead at 93? Are we sure about that?

lee-93

Surely everyone’s favourite Dracula will live on in horror films forever. Christopher Lee created monsters and elegant, tormented villains in so many films, it’s impossible to imagine the genre without him. That would have been enough, but Lee went on to memorable roles in Bond films, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Wicker Man classic and many, many more. He will be mourned by generations of moviegoers.

Another green ravine walk discovered

green-ravine

No one is on the wrong side of the tracks in our vicinity. There are nice, leafy walks to be found on both sides of the railway, thanks to a common ravine that holds Small’s Creek. A local told me that the stream runs all year, never freezing. The waters surface only occasionally and are mainly channeled into pipes that run beneath roadways. The rushing sound is always audible through manhole maintenance hole covers.

This particular walk runs along the north side of the Via Rail tracks, a bit further south than the bottom of East Lynn Park. The little enclave of homes down there is a quiet retreat. Very pleasant and easy to miss, which pleases residents, I’m sure.

Monarch Park revisited

Yesterday I took a photo from the same position that I shot from in April. The big tent is off for the summer and the facility is open to the public, free of charge.

monarch-park-unbagged

This tenting and untenting seems to be a successful example of a public-private partnership (3P, in bureaucratese). A company has teamed with the school to make the facility useable all year around, profiting from entry fees during the tented months. Some of that revenue returns to the school. During good weather months, the facility reverts to public use.

inside-the-bag

While perusing the literature table in the front office, an attendant asked “Can I help you?” with a suspicious look that made the question’s meaning seem to be “What are you doing here?”. Am I delusional or are security fears becoming part of everyday life? Media hype and political maneuvering seem to be having widespread effect. A brief conversation with a woman on the sidewalk the other day revealed that she wanted to keep the Conservatives in office because she was afraid of ISIS.

Realtime weather report

The sky-darkening downpour presented a suitable occasion to capture neighbour Ralph’s ’87 El Camino filling up with rain.

el-camino-rain

Neighbour Ralph parks under our bedroom window and revs his engine at 6:00 a.m. and midnight. The revving is recreational, not necessary.

Our downpours seem to be especially fierce this year and come along with cooler than average temperatures. Everything is nice and green as a result, but we had to get fatter drainpipes installed to handle all the water.