A beautiful day in Toronto and a few hours to kill before going in search of sandwich (see more here) I started walking from my hotel in the direction of Dundas street thinking I would take in a bit of Canadian son, Frank Gehry’s architecture at the Art Gallary of Ontario (AGO). To my delight, the museum was hosting a very moving show of Chinese born artist & political activist, Ai Weiwei. My afternoon was about to take a very unexpected and profound turn.
Not that the architecture wasn’t arresting. Indeed the facade of the building is unmistakably Gehry with a large multi-plane glass “sculpture” tacked on to an existing building a full city block long. Inside, a wooden circulation path snakes its way in and out of the hallways and arches. It is a study in contrast that comes to a beautiful crescendo in the form of a circular staircase seemingly levitating in the central atrium. But Gehry’s circulation path wasn’t the only “snake” in the building on this day. Installed at the entrance to the Ai Weiwei exhibit, was a serpentine sculpture made of nylon back packs commemorating the more than 5000 children who were killed when their poorly constructed schools collapsed in the massive Sichuan province earthquake of 2008.
Inside the show were a host of equally thought provoking objects, each meticulously crafted and beautiful in their own right but filled with the power to make any viewer question the world in which we live, the history that unfolds around us each and every day, the governing bodies of China and the world beyond, and not the least of which, our power as thinking individuals. Ai Weiwei, According to What remains at the Art Gallery Of Ontario through October 27, 2013 before moving onto Miami and Brooklyn. A must see exhibit according to me.
I know it’s supposed to be the month of health — and behind the scenes it is, I promise. But I just couldn’t go to Canada as I did, without indulging in what is truly the best candy bar in the world — The COFFEE CRISP! The Coffee Crisp is like a giant Kit Kat bar only 100 times better. Mild coffee cream sandwiched between sweet flaky layers of wafer cookie, enrobed in milk chocolate. It’s a heavenly combination.
While in Toronto, i also searched for another childhood favorite Canadian sweet treat, to no avail — Mackintosh Toffee. Nobody I asked had ever heard of it, yet I recall eating the slabs of chewy toffee that came wrapped in a red tartan plaid cardboard sleeve like it was yesterday. Oh, Canada! Anybody know what became of it?
Porchetta & Co
825 Dundas Street W
TorontoFirst of all, this sandwich was consumed before I began my month of health. A last hurrah you might say. And well worth the miles and miles of walking to find — at least I walked off the crusty bread roll, marinated and rolled pork, pancetta & pork belly, truffle sauce, shaved parmesan cheese, grain mustard, hot sauce & crackling otherwise known as the House Special.
I loved it all but the crackling. While it did give the melt in your mouth sandwich a much appreciated crunch, I’ve just never been a fan of crackling (I think it’s more of a guy food if I’m honest) and it lent a bitter, burnt taste to an otherwise balanced medley of sweet, spicy & earthy flavors. To me, the soft roll with firm crust and the pop of mustard seeds was just enough contrast to the pork filling and otherwise smooth toppings.
Would I go back again? You bet but I think I’d try my own combo — somehow the rapini and mozzarella seem to be calling me as perfect partners to the porchetta itself. Oh, and get there early because there are just 5 seats in this tiny little restaurant. And a word of warning — beware of the fumes coming from graffiti artists working in the alley. The joys of an up & coming hipster neighborhood.