RETO AND THE MACHINE (100 King West, at Bay, in First Canadian Place's concourse, 416-363-2442; and 77 King West, at Bay, in Commerce Court's concourse, 416-815-7386) Multinational consortium launches fasta-pasta formula in Toronto food courts: boil-in-the-bag sauce with 90-second spaghetti, basically. Better yet, take home the less expensive uncooked basics and beef them up with additional vittles. Complete meals for $10 per person, including all taxes, tip and a juice. FCP open 11 am to 8 pm Monday and Friday; CC open Monday to Thursday 11 am to 9 pm and Friday 11 am to 8 pm, both closed Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: eat-in NN, takeout NNN
the businesses that line downtown's underground PATH system -- Ookpik boutiques, one-hour dry cleaners, donut shops (sorry, muffin emporia) -- are an uninspiring bunch. So are most of the food courts found down there. But the lower level of First Canadian Place does things differently by creating a market-like atmosphere.One of its more unusual tenants is Reto and the Machine, a fast pasta dispensary co-owned by Karlheinz Schreiber, the German industrialist named in the so-called Mulroney Airbus scandal. Despite its incomprehensible and unappetizing name -- Reto (rhymes with ghetto) is the Swiss chef who came up with the contraption that cooks spaghetti topped with astronaut-like boil-in-the-bag sauces in 90 seconds -- its rather one-note noodle noshes are still better than most ($5.50 to $6.25).
Best of all, you can take home the basics -- a 100-gram package of spaghettini, say , or thin penne and a silver envelope of Red Lampang Curry, Basil Pesto or Champignons de Forêt ($3.50 to $4.25) -- top them with a quick stir-fry of peppers, onion and 'shrooms, and you've got a speedy supper that's tastier than expected. Survivalists note: these sauces have a shelf life of 250 days.