Saturday, May 7, 2016

CARRIE NATION is a speakeasy-style lounge that’s bringing Prohibition-era glamour to Dundas West’s burgeoning restaurant row. Don’t go looking for signage because this hot spot doesn’t have any. Inside the unassuming, maroon-painted storefront (no password required): dark wood, tin ceilings, and cozy booths. In keeping with the theme, there’s an authentically retro cocktail menu with short drinks on the front side—Stinger, Pink Lady, Absinthe Frappe, etc.—and long drinks on the back: Gin Rickey, Tom Collins, Planters Punch, Sherry Flip. But it’s not just about the booze here. Owner (and FOH), Ed Khubyar has recruited head chef Cameron Carter, who last oversaw the magnificent sampling menu at Tuesday’s Child. Small plates dazzle, with house specialties like artichoke frites flecked with fresh thyme, scallops with wild porcini mushroom rounds, and vegan Waldorf salad wraps. The room’s official capacity is 45 people, and they don’t take reservations, so get there early to avoid disappointment.
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Paulo / May 7, 2016, at 10:20 p.m.
I first read about this place in the Midtown Post, which also had a positive review but failed to mention there was no signage outside. After travelling all the way from Yonge and Davisville, I spent twenty minutes wandering up and down Dundas, trying to locate it (there’s no street number either). Unfortunately, I found the place. It was packed with hipsters, and I had to wait another thirty minutes to get a single seat at the bar. A full ten minutes after that, a pierced and surly bartender deigned to take my order. Fifteen bucks for a Manhattan with way too much vermouth (and for some reason a bunch of cardamom seeds in the bottom of the glass), eight bucks for a mound of limp artichoke fries, and eleven bucks for the “famous” Waldorf wrap, which was basically a store-bought tortilla cut in half and filled with past-their-prime apple chunks, stale walnuts, and half a kale leaf drowning in blobs of vegan mayonnaise. I guess it’s easy to fool hipsters with a gimmick and a hint of atmosphere. Avoid disappointment by staying away.

randy-man replying to a comment from Paulo / May 8, 2016, at 11:37 p.m.
Man. So sick of douche bags from the suburbs mouthing off about hipsters. This resto has awesome drinks, awesome food, and awesome servers!!! Don’t trust some cheap-a** whose 2 stupid 2 even find the place. 

Paulo replying to a comment from randy-man / May 8, 2016, at 11:49 p.m.
That’s right, don’t trust stupid me, trust a hipster who has one positive adjective in his vocabulary (awesome), doesn’t know the difference between “whose” and “who’s” and thinks Yonge and Davisville is the suburbs.
ps If I hadn’t found the place, how would I have been able to let people know about the revolting food, insufferable patrons, and abominable service?
Sandi replying to a comment from Paulo / May 9, 2016, at 4:11 a.m.
For those who complain of bad service... ever work a serving job? Paulo? Mr. Yonge and Davisville? No, I didn’t think so.

Paulo replying to a comment from Sandi / May 10, 2016, at 6:48 a.m.
Why do you say “No, I didn’t think so” before I’ve even have a chance to respond? Pretty presumptuous of you, Sandy with an i.

randy-man replying to a comment from Paulo /May 10, 2016, at 3:21 p.m.
Cuz she can tell UR a spoiled a**hole who had everything handed to him on a silver pladder! Probably one of those Italian dudes whose mama still does his laundry and wipes his a** for him. Please double your medication, paul-Oh and stay the hell up north where u belong!!!!! Go to the Olive Garden or TGI Fridays. You can get a seat at the bar with all ur friends, i.e., NOBODY. EVER!

Anna banana replying to a comment from randy-man / May 10, 2016, at 5:13 p.m.
I don’t see why u have to get all racist about it. U complain about Paulo labelling people hipsters, and then spout your lame Italian stereotypes. People in glass houses, right? And it’s silver platter, not pladder. Here’s where I link to a study about racism and low IQ:

Sandi replying to a comment from Paulo /May 10, 2016, at 5:52 p.m.
“Sandy with an i”? You’re trying to diminish me because of the presumably feminized spelling of my name? What a smug, paternalistic jerk-off you are. Sandi is NOT “Sandy with an i”. I happen to be named after my paternal grandfather who was Sandip. It’s a Sanskrit name. Why don’t you do us all a favour and stay up north with your entitlement and your SUVs and your mind-boggling ignorance. And keep your restaurant hatchet jobs to yourself, Richie Rich.

Paulo replying to a comment from Sandi / May 10, 2016, at 6:36 p.m.
Speaking of mind-boggling ignorance, I’m still chuckling about your reference to my “hatchet job” on Carrie Nation. Do you even know why that’s funny? No, of course you don’t (taking a page from your presumptuous notebook). As a matter of fact, I have worked serving jobs. I’ve worked serving jobs my whole life, and I still work a serving job! I’ll probably work a serving job until the day I drop. I don’t own an SUV or a car, and I’m not even close to being rich. I’m sure every single one of you is richer than I am (I rent a bachelor apartment in a decrepit high rise beside the subway). But I’m the ignorant one. Riiiight.

randy-man replying to a comment from Anna banana /May 10, 2016, at 6:46 p.m.
Racist against Italians? Give me a f*ken break! I practically live in Little Italy!!! I f*ken love Italians!!!!!!!!!. Best food in the wrld!!! Not 2 mention Tony Soprano & Frank f*ken Sinatra!!! Who the hells racist against italians anyway? Never even heard of that. Stupid Bs mouthin off agian!!!! F*kin feminazis ruin the internet for a change!

Sandi replying to a comment from randy-man / May 10, 2016, at 6:51 p.m.
Amazing! I thought Paulo was the biggest A-hole on this stream. Wrong. He’s just some old sad sack loser. Randyman, hoser posing as hipster, is the true misogynist, xenophobic A-hole. Time to turn in your manbun, Randyman. You’ve blown your cover. Who is ruining the Internet? Backward A-hole trolls like you.
ps and FYI to Anna banana: Italian is a nationality NOT a race, so Rman is technically a XENOPHOBE, although I’m guessing he’s also racist. Anyway, no biggie, but if you’re linking to an article about low IQs, and you don’t know the difference.......... just saying.

Paulo replying to a comment from randy-man / May 10, 2016, at 6:53 p.m.
I’m not Italian. I’m Canadian. I was born in Canada (my mother was from Angola, in case you’re wondering). And no, she doesn’t wipe my ass for me. She doesn’t do anything for me. She took her own life when I was fourteen, if you must know, which is when I started working serving jobs to survive on my own (with no help from anyone, I might add).

Anna banana replying to a comment from Sandi /May 11, 2016, at 12:07 a.m.
Thanks so much for the schooling, Sandi, but race is pretty much a social construct. When U get down to the DNA of humans, we can’t be divided so easily. Italian is not just a nationality, it’s an ETHNICITY. And stereotyping or hating on any ethnic group IS racism in my book. U act so affronted and self-righteous, but think nothing of calling an obviously troubled and lonely man a “sad sack old loser.” In my view, U r almost bad as randy-man.

Sandi replying to a comment from Anna banana /May 11, 2016, at 12:21 a.m.
I really don’t have time for you morons. Sayonara, dickheads.

randy-man replying to a comment from Sandi / May 11, 2016, at 12:50 a.m.
Good! C U Next Tuesday SANDI SANSKRIT! Don’t let the door hit you in ur paki a**. And F U anna banana U stipud wh*re! Ilike to shut that bimbo mouth a yours with a hot load of C**! And especially F U PAULoooooooo !!!!!!!!!noone nees ur poor me bullsh*T cuz ur angoli mommy coldnt hack it in real world. BOO F*KIN WHO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! F U and the donkey ur mother rode in on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paulo replying to a comment from Anna banana /May 11, 2016, at 1:01 a.m.
Wow. OK. Um... thanks, Anna banana. I’m not troubled or lonely, but I am tired. Tired of all the bullshit. Tired of all the noise. Tired of all the people and their endless colossal ignorance. Tired of the same things day in and day out. Tired of working hard and getting nowhere. Tired of being broke. Tired of feeling sick all the time. Tired of being in pain. Tired of strangers looking at my grocery cart as if they have the right to judge me. Tired of ladies clutching their purses when they see me on the sidewalk. Tired of being polite. Tired of being overly polite. Tired of cockroaches and mice and silverfish and ants. Tired of elevators that don’t work. Tired of landlords who don’t do anything but raise the rent once a year. Tired of the filthy communal laundry room. Tired of people putting weird shit in the washing machines, like car mats and dog beds and winter boots. Tired of the subway. Tired of the bus. Tired of construction and traffic and smog. Tired of gross cooking smells in the hallway. Tired of whoever lives above me blasting Steppenwolf day and night. Tired of the lousy weather in this city. Tired of the TV. Tired of the Internet. Tired of nothing good ever happening to me. Tired of idiots having all the luck. Tired of assholes having all the power. Tired of eczema. Tired of fat. Tired of trying not to be fat. Tired of all the bad and sad news in the world. Tired of the good news too. Tired of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and YouTube. Tired of people smiling their asses off on docks and beaches and holding up their perfect babies like a taunt. Tired of tsunamis and earthquakes and ISIS and Ebola. Tired of drinking a mickey of Beam to get to sleep every night. Tired of waking at four in the morning with my heart pounding out of my chest. Tired of being hungover. Tired of pretending to not be hungover. Tired of smiling. Tired of trying. Tired of being the guy who’s actually typing this right now. That’s it. I’m done. Bye.

mtk replying to a comment from Paulo / May 11, 2015, at 1:11 a.m.
WTF? Just wanted to say I LOVED the artichoke frites. And the Absinthe Frappe was amazeballs! So suck it, haters!

The Malahat Review invites you to get into the spirit of Elyse Friedman's "Seventeen Comments" by adding a comment of your own about the story, or about the conversation it's inspiring.


Mark Morton said...

I think the problem of vitriolic, helter-skelter comments would diminish if online newspapers started to refer to them as "insights." The change in name would encourage more profound analysis and cogitation.

Anonymous said...

"Insights"? Bad idea. We don't need more analysts, we need more reflective observations, ones that draw upon our individual and shared humanity. They should change the name from "comments" to "reflections."

Mark Morton said...

I think "reflections" would just foster more self-absorption, more facile navel-gazing. Our culture needs more incisive interrogation of the ideologies that underpin the hegemonies that constrict (and construct) us. "Interrogations" would therefore be a far more appropriate revision to "comments."

Anonymous said...

Having lived in "The City of Lights" for several months, might I join this discussion by suggesting that "apercus" is the "bon mot." However, in the interest of "egalite" I suggest that we do not banish the comment section to oubliette but rather have two areas, a comment section and an apercus section. Those given to meager pensees would be welcome to provide a deluge of anodyne "observations" to the comment area; the rest of us would supply ripping ripostes to the apercus domain. To each his (or her) own.

Conrad said...

You eggheads have too much time on your hands. You should stop typing and go to the gym.

Peter Grande said...

I'm looking for a website about french girls called "Comment 17?" or something like that. Any of you heard of it? If youd rather message me, I'm at 5199981337.

Jenifer said...

Clever story. Found myself wincing at the familiar patterns of social fragmentation and deterioration as Paolo steps out to identify a gap between promise and experience, then dodges flying shrapnel. His final statement exposes not only his own precarious existence but the befuddled grandiosity of those who use words--or pictures--to seduce or destroy. Great last line from mtk--Mack the Knife, we thought you were dead!

bman said...

that's if paulo is to be trusted. i thought he made that stuff up to shut up the haters. that's the problem, right? the existential crisis of modern communication media: what can we believe anymore, and does it even matter either way?

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Add your own comment to Elyse Friedman's "Seventeen Comments" about the story and the issues it raises.