The Best Restaurant

Let me tell you about the best restaurant I’ve been to lately…

Nestled in a corner of Parkdale, the room is pale green with a wall covered in black and white photos of (mostly weird) celebrities. The table is large and round, glossy black with red and orange accessories. Seating is straight-backed parsons chairs; super-comfortable with lots of back support, and covered in slipcovers that evoke a mid-century lounge. The lighting is bright but not glaring, and nobody EVER turns down the lights to near-darkness just as you’ve started to read the menu. The soundtrack on the stereo is whatever you want it to be, but mostly leans to bebop jazz or Klezmer music at brunch. Nobody, diners or staff, wears perfume, cologne, or bad aftershave. Service can be a bit haphazard, but is warm and charming, and nobody ever corrects you when you mispronounce the name of the wine, or uses their pinky finger to point out the various elements of a dish while you sit impatiently waiting for them to shut up and go away so you can eat already. The linens are well-washed cotton napkins, not old tea towels that shed all over your outfit. The menu changes daily, and ranges from super-simple to multi-course high end fare, offered at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Brunch is served on weekends. There’s only one table so your meal is never interrupted by other guests, and there’s no worry about social distancing.

Welcome to my dining room, which I’ve discovered that I prefer over pretty much any restaurant I’ve ever been to…

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Brisket on Wheels – Caplansky’s Gets Around Town

The problem with the restaurant biz is that most restaurants are stationary. Folks have got to come to you to enjoy your food. But Zane Caplansky of Caplansky’s Delicatessen (356 College Street) has his wheels spinning in other directions with a bunch of new initiatives that take the restaurant to the customer.

Earlier this week, Caplansky’s did their very first bicycle-powered lunch delivery. The deli owner bought two large, sturdy bikes with sizeable baskets, and now customers within a downtown delivery area (Dupont to Queen, University to Ossington) can, for a $5 delivery fee, have their smoked meat sandwich delivered to their home or office. Caplansky points out that the bikes are a low-maintenance, high-capacity delivery apparatus – each bike can hold a minimum of 2 orders and with 2 bikes, he can send staff in different directions at the same time. It’s also a respite for his kitchen staff, who can take a break from bussing or dishwashing for a quick bike ride to make a delivery. And while Caplansky works with a local food delivery company to serve a wider geographic area, he points out that the bike system is more local and more personal. Not to mention more efficient in downtown traffic.

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