I forayed into Toronto's Chowhound message board yesterday for some tips on Chinatown, and on good food in Mississauga.
Do you guys know about Chowhound? It's the brainchild of food writer Jim Leff, a/k/a The Alpha Dog, and it's a great way to (among other things) find good food all over North America. In New York I would use it when exploring a new neighbhorhood, or if we were going out for an extravagant dinner and wanted to pick the perfect place. Yesterday I knew that I'd be able to post a message, and within hours I'd have the opinions of many friendly food-lovers in T.O. and vicinity. (Reason number 346,720 to love the internet.)
I understand there are three Chinatowns in Toronto now - the same in New York - and that the oldest Chinatown, the one on Spadina, is now largely Vietnamese. That's also the same in New York. We drove into the Spadina Chinatown, left the car at a "green P" [US readers: reasonable public parking in Toronto] and wandered around with a short list of recommendations.
We ended up having a couple of things at a Vietnamese place, a few more at a Chinese place, and topping it off with mango bubble tea. The food was very good, and the atmosphere completely familiar. I love how Chinatowns all over the continent have the same look and feel. We saw many restaurants with "all day Dim Sum" signs; we'll have to find a favorite spot for that, too. We looked in a few Chinese groceries and pharmacies, something I always enjoy, walked around a little bit with our bubble tea, and headed home.
Except now we don't get on the subway, we get in the car. And we sit in the backyard. I do the laundry in the basement. We put dishes in a dishwasher. I drive to the supermarket. Ordinary life is very different. We like it.
A long time ago, when Allan first moved to New York, we would be walking around somewhere and, a propos of nothing, one of us would say, "Here we are in New York." It was part reality check, part sheer amazement. Our lives had changed so much, it often felt surreal. Driving home last night, I said, "Here we are in Canada." Allan said he's been thinking the same thing. Here we are in Canada.
As in, we did it. It really happened. We live here now.