A tiny trace of emotion

exclamation What do you do when you have to close your business, tear out new construction and rebuild because of mistakes made by licensing “experts”? You apologize to your customers for the inconvenience.

You do not express your anger, disappointment and frustration. You allow yourself one small, emphatic punctuation mark.


A handwritten sign on the door explains that Lorie and Edit have had to close their recently opened, already popular Budapest Restaurant until some liquor licensing issues are sorted out.


Your Royko Recipe for December.



These are the champagne of beans, with a price to match. You can find them packaged at some of the upscale supermarkets in town, but you’ll pay a fortune. Instead, buy them in bulk in Kensington or the St. Lawrence Market.

Flageolets are traditionally served in France as an accompaniment to lamb, but they’re good with anything. I like them on their own with some crusty bread and a glass of red wine.

1 1/2 cup dried flageolets
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 whole onion
1 14-oz. can plum tomatoes, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
2 cloves
2 bay leaves

Sort flageolets, discarding any that are discoloured or broken. Put in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring just to a boil, then drain and rinse. Put back in saucepan with enough cold water to cover by 2-3 inches. Add the whole onion studded with the 2 cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes or until flageolets are no longer wrinkled. Drain. Remove and discard onion with cloves.

While beans are cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a heavy saucepan or frying pan. Add chopped onion and cook just until translucent. Add garlic, marjoram, bay leaves and rosemary. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes. When tomatoes are hot, reduce heat and cook, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Gently stir in the cooked flageolets. Add salt as desired. Serve warm or hot.

Lunch at Bistro Camino

A friend and I lucked in today. Bistro Camino is not always open for lunch … just some days, and not according to a strict timetable.

We got on the mailing list, to be notified when Open For Lunch days are coming up. You can do the same by phoning in your email address.


The food is delicious, a fusion of international styles, and attractively presented. Prices are very reasonable. Service was prompt and friendly, provided by the chef’s most gracious wife.

We both had the lunch special … chicken leg with lemon butter. $10. It came with soup, salad, home fries and bread. Coffee was good and refills kept coming. 🙂

The restaurant is tucked away (a reviewer correctly labelled it “a hidden gem”) on a very plain-looking section of the Danforth, near Dawes. Dinner hours start at 5:30 p.m. except Monday and Tuesday when they’re closed.

Chef-owner Hiroshi Hattori was trained in French cooking in Japan (!), ran his present location for 24 years as MIKA, a Japanese restaurant, but always wanted to return to his French cooking roots. Should he? Could he?

Hiro needed to think. Off he went to walk the pilgrim’s route on the famous Camino de Santiago. You see what he decided after a rigorous 750 km trek. Camino de Santiago … Bistro Camino.

All this was explained to us by Hiro’s charming daughter, who made the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage herself last year. Travellers are issued stamps in their passports as they progress. These are proudly displayed on the restaurant walls.


Chef Hiro continues to keep up with his walking in Toronto as a member of a walking club. He says I should join. “We need more roosters. We have plenty of hens”.

Tomorrow, his all-day walking bunch will put in 15–20 km. They will take a break for lunch … this time at Bistro Camino. Friday, Dec. 11, 2015 will be an Open for Lunch day.

Unintended demonstration

This pair of images was used to illustrate an automated cropping algorithm, but it also serves very well to show how cropping affects meaning.


Looking at the larger image, we look with the subject into the big space before him. We think about what he is looking at … his stare.

The cropped square removes that space, so we look at the man. Our look is more objective, less empathetic.

Peter Tatham steps up

An idea that started in Winnipeg (as so many good ideas do) was picked up in Toronto by our friend Peter Tatham. He and his buddy Dave bought 50 pairs of new, warm socks and went around town, giving them to people in need.


Peter isn’t done yet but he wouldn’t mind seeing more Torontonians getting in on the action. The Winnipeg WarmToes.ca website has suggestions about how. I’ll bet they would work here, too.

Here’s a link to the Peter/WarmToes story.

Baked: Another success

The cake auction was a highlight. Top price went to a big, beautiful Dulce de Leche cake that earned a total of $56. It first sold to the top-bidding Beach Hiller for $30, then the winner paid for it and generously auctioned it again. The second-best bid of $26 took it home.


The cake pictured above was particularly attractive. I didn’t catch who made it and I forget the price it brought but it was a good one. Great reporting, eh?

The annual sale funds neighbourhood improvements and flower plantings along our Upper Gerrard commercial strip. Importantly, it also brings neighbours together to meet, eat and chat.

Danica has contributed baked goods for sale at each of the two previous Bake-O-Ramas but this year, time didn’t permit. We were happy customers, though.

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