When I was growing up, even though my Father came from Canada, we never went to Toronto. My Father used to refer to it as “Cow Town” and that may be because it was a much smaller city when he was a youth, and Detroit, was a bustling metropolis back then. He spoke very highly of Ottawa, but not of Toronto, so hence my early memories of Canada were of Windsor, Hamilton, St. Catherines and Kingsville. I only went to Toronto, or as my relatives called it “TO” after I got a driver’s license. The first time I was there , was probably just after Toronto started blossoming as a major international city, and now it is so cosmopolitan that it needs just it’s name, without a province or a country, and yet everyone knows the name.
One of the places that I remember was Barberian’s Steak and Lobster House, and it was touted because it was owned by a successful Armenian restraunteur. At that age, going to a restaurant was a bit daunting, because of the limited knowledge I had of food and preparation. Let me say that we always ate extremely well growing up, but the scope of food was more pedestrian, and a “steak house” was in my realm of comfort. There is something to said about the old days and dressing to the nines for dinner because no quality restaurant ever seemed to ask for proof that I was old enough to drink. I remember getting what I thought was a very sophisticated dinner at the time, and let me say that it was a very good dinner, and I have probably ordered this dinner many more times in my life with out any remorse. I started out with a Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, and then had French Onion Soup, as even back then, I was not very partial to salads. I had a “Surf and Turf” dinner, way back when it always meant a filet mignon and a lobster tail on the plate, and I remember ordering Béarnaise Sauce to seem more grown up. I also remember ordering a Chocolate Mousse for dessert, because I thought it was just a fancy name for pudding, so much for my sophistication.
I remember splurging on the wine, and it was one of the wines that I could afford, nowadays I might have to think twice about it. I had a bottle of Chateau Montrose 1969. It is a Second Growth wine from the Medoc Classification and comes from Saint-Estephe, and I was really big time with that selection. I remember it being wonderful at the time, even though it was not a highly regarded year for Bordeaux and was rated “adequate” by those in the know. To me it was heaven sent, but then how many Medoc wines had I enjoyed at that time, I would say it was safe to say not that many. Though looking back I still think that I made a good call.