Thursday, April 19, 2012

Starbucks & The Mongolian Grill

courtesy of tebpp
 Thursday April 19, 1:51 p.m.

Got to get out for most of the day yesterday. First, went down to Christie Station and walked up north to Dupont where a Starbucks was housed inside a former old bank building. Made for a nice, interesting interior. I had their cheese & sausage muffin, which was a decidedly mediocre affair; too bad for that price. $8.02 with the tall latte. Last time I ever try that combination. I could get a fine hamburger & fries with gravy and a Coke from a U of T food truck for a twonie less.

courtesy of gdquerubin
of Flickr
Shard came by at around 11. Not too much about business but we had a good 3 hours gabbing about movies, music and the like. Starbucks may be a bit expensive and not serve the tastiest of savory fare, but it is conducive for good kaffeeklatsching.

At about 2, Shard went off north to pick up his kid and I walked east along Dupont. The neighbourhood has got that small town/inner city look. I saw a bit of the tops of Casa Loma as I walked across....I have to visit that place again someday. I made a turn down St. George, which was getting some major repair work done to the pavement, so I had to breathe in some dust during my walk to the station. I noticed quite a few institutes of religious learning on the way as well as some obviously well-to-do fraternities and sororities. It was a good walk since the weather was cool and bright.

I was planning to do a loop down the University Line and back up Yonge when I heard the announcement that there was a major delay (what else is new?) due to smoke in Osgoode Station. So I hopped on the Bloor Line a couple of stops to Bloor-Yonge where I found out Rosedale Station had its own issues with someone who had apparently jumped onto the tracks. So, there was another 5-10 minute delay while that got sorted out. It did, and the subway got moving. When we hit Rosedale, there weren't any nauseated commuters on the platform and the subway did get underway after only a few minutes, so I figured it hadn't been a suicide. And usually, The Egg once told me that there was a special code for that sort of tragedy that gets over the TTC speakers.

Took the Eglinton Bus over to Don Mills and walked the rest of the way up to my next destination which was the Mongolian Grill. But getting there an hour early, I just walked up a bit further into what was once my hangout area for about 4 years when I was a high school student at Don Mills Collegiate Institute back in the 80s. A few of us used to hit Don Mills Centre during the lunch period or when we just wanted to skip class to tackle the video games of the day such as Pac-Man and Defender at the bowling alley. DMC had the same sort of configuration as any regular mall with one or two major department stores with a food court and all sorts of smaller stores like a Coles in between. I was surprised to see that sometime in the last 30 years, it had become this man-made mini-village of fashion. Just a lot of trendy emporia attached to each other like neighbourhood blocks with cool restaurants spritzed liberally all over. Definitely not for teens although I saw a couple of groups of loud kids sitting in the outdoor seating areas. Most likely DMCI.

Got back to the Mongolian Grill about 15 minutes before The Entrepreneur got there. I was the first one inside. Except for one staffer, I wouldn't say that the service was particularly all that welcoming but again I never expected all that much from people working at a buffet place.
The Entrepreneur got in at about 5:30 and we spent a good couple of hours touching base on all sorts of things. He's been really busy with his own business and of course, there has been the issue of him being a father for a couple of years now. We also spoke on movies which made me wonder if I could ever get him and Shard to meet up with me all together someday. But with most everyone being family folk now, that could be quite the challenge, especially with a lot of them living out in the far-flung areas of the GTA.

As for the food, it was far better than the stuff I had gotten at the Mandarin back in February. The Mongolian Grill also has that gimmick where you stuff a bowl with meat, veggies, noodles and your choice of sauce and give the whole mess to a chef who fries it up on a huge cylindrical steel drum. Not sure how authentically Mongolian it is (I may have to ask a couple of sumo wrestlers), but it made for a good course. Of course, the dessert table had that chocolate fountain that so many Japanese women are always dying to try.

My old buddy was kind enough to give me a lift home although he was running a bit late to get back to Milton. When we approached the intersection of Don Mills and Eglinton, which is supposed to be the worst intersection in Canada to drive through, he told me how he used to love cars and driving but that driving in Toronto had pretty much leached that out of him. I couldn't blame his growing dispassion since probably the great majority of Torontonians share the same opinion. Strangely, a couple of cop cars suddenly came out of the woodwork and pulled a U-turn to chase down a malfeasant car to stress our point.

It was good to have seen Shard and The Entrepreneur again. Would be nice to meet up once more, but it will probably be at least a month.