Arrivederci Tre Fontane
Tre Fontane , that charming and impossibly inexpensive retro Italian all-you-can-eat cucina across from Lee's Palace in the Annex, has finally closed its doors for good. It's been no secret that this prime commercial real estate has been on the market for years - which resto in Toronto isn't for sale? - but septuagenarian mom-and-pop owners Nick and Maria Tricarico 's are calling it quits after nearly 30 years in the business. They will be missed.
High on slow food
On Wednesday, July 12, from 6 to 9 pm, those relatively young whippersnappers Jamie Kennedy of the eponymous wine bar, Michael Stadtländer of Eigensinn Farm and Anthony Walsh of Canoe host an al fresco dinner to raise funds to help send local delegates to the annual Slow Food conference in Terra Madre, Italy. The event's being held at the Don Valley Brick Works eco-centre (550 Bayview) and tickets go for $75. For more info: www.evergreen.ca.
Rockin' Rodney's Oyster House (469 King West, at Brant, 416-363-8105) is the venue for Rodney Clarke 's annual bivalve bash, this year on Sunday, July 16, from 2 to 10 pm. All of the proceeds from the $25 admission go to the Environmental Defense Fund and entitle each attendee to two beverages of their choice and either six fresh-shucked oysters or a Sri Lankan-style curry. No offence to the kitchen crew, but we'd stick to the molluscs.
Meat loaf marvel
Cycling in the east side the other day, I spot a sign outside tiny Pape Village Café (925 Pape, at Mortimer, 416-462-3489) that literally stops me in my tracks: "Today's special - meat loaf." I'm a sucker for old-school comfort food, so I'm a bit surprised to find former Ethiopian nationals Sadia Ahmed and Fatuma Mohammed behind the corner shop/café's lunch counter. Alongside a short lineup of east African specialties like kitfo ($9.99) and tibs ($8.99), meat loaf is listed as a Thursday-only special ($4.99). Dense and deliciously beefy, it comes coupled with two scoops of mashed potato and a thimbleful of gravy that likely started out as an Oxo cube.
Imagining all manner of exotica - berbere, perhaps? - I ask Mohammed what makes her loaf so special.
"It's a very old recipe," she says. "A nice Jewish lady showed me how to make it back home."
And the secret ingredient? Horseradish, of course!