Ugly town…but the bacon’s great

19 Dec

“Whoever’s in charge of promoting Canada abroad completely have their heads up their arses.” So says Anthony Bourdain, the American TV chef who’s visited Toronto for a show due to air in Canada next year, though you can watch it below:

He’s right, there’s a lot more to Canada than mounties, maple syrup and Celine Dion. Though, regarding Toronto, Bourdain seemed to take some winning over.

He starts off by slating the city’s architecture  (“It’s not a good looking town…these architectural fads of the 20th century…Mussolini would be perfectly at home with that one…Soviet chic…butt ugly “) but ends up raving about its foodie culture, furtive bar scene and eclectic neighbourhoods.

He mainly seems to have been won over by his peameal bacon bap at St Lawrence Market, which is understandable, though personally I’d have taken him to Rashers in Leslieville, which seems to be the only place in Toronto that sells proper British-style bacon butties.

Rashers bacon Toronto

Bacon butty from Rashers

Anyway, the video’s quite fun, if you can stomach Bourdain’s scatological turn of phrase; it’s hard to imagine Delia or Floyd referring on air to mushrooms that “give you a big stiffy”or roti that causes a “burning a-hole”.

It actually doesn’t do a bad job of showing the “real” Toronto as a city comprising lots of different, slightly hidden, areas. T Dot’s not – and doesn’t try to be – a New York, or London, with their distinctive, all-encompassing branding.

Instead of fixating on the lack of iconic sights or tourist spots, it features some of my favourite neighbourhoods, like Kensington Market, Mirvish Village, Toronto Islands and Little Italy. The full list of restaurants and bars in the show are listed here.

And yeah, my first impression of Toronto’s architecture tallied with Bourdain’s, but high rise cities – even concrete ones – are often spectacular at night, and during the day the skyline looks pretty awesome from the islands.

Toronto skyline beaches

Toronto skyline from the Islands


4 Responses to “Ugly town…but the bacon’s great”

  1. COUGHY January 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Does anyone know where Rashers buys their British bacon?

    • torontonewbie January 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      That’s a really good question. I’ve never seen it in the shops so I wonder whether it’s imported?

  2. Richard February 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    hey, Rashers here….

    We saw your post a while back, so thanks for the shout out. To answer the question about our bacon, we get it from a farm near Stratford, Ontario. Our ‘rashers’ are specifically cut for us… he charges us a premium for the privilege so that’s why a bacon butty is probably a bit more expensive than you’re used to at home. It is, however, the best bacon money can buy. Our brown sauce is home made too 🙂
    Thanks again for the mention… feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions

    (great blog btw… being an ex-pat myself it’s interesting to see other people’s take on being here)

    • torontonewbie February 8, 2013 at 7:44 am #

      Hi Richard, thanks for dropping in! Rashers definitely has the best bacon in the city, imho – interesting you have to get it specifically cut. On a cheeky note, it’d be AMAZING if you were able to replicate a cult bacon sandwich from where I’m from in London – the Hot Pepper Jelly. Bacon, chilli jam, peanut butter, toasted bread. SO GOOD.
      But your sarnies are great as they are, too 🙂

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