Thursday, October 11, 2007

Home Food

There's comfort food and then there's food from home. Whether it's your grandmothers chicken noodle soup, the neighbourhood pizzeria that has never been beat (in your mind) in all of your travels, or just that small restaurant that doesn't serve anything particularly special but every time you step in it your reminded of all of those times your parents treated you to supper or brunch there. For me, Kapuskasing, Ontario is the place of my HomeFood - check it up if you want to know how isolated a place it is.

There's Thong La's, a Chinese restaurant that is unparalleled (it helps that my father knew the owners which meant that we were eating some real Chinese food instead of the simple deep-fry and stir-fried Chinese Canadian food). There's Great Northern Pizza that makes massively loaded pizzas (such as the Wango Tango...mmmm) and panzorati's to rival any Italian mama. But the place in my mind that is more closely linked to the blue-collar, lumber town atmosphere of Kap is the Coffee Bar.

Consisting of no more than 10 benches arranged around a bar which looks upon the griddle and very minimalistic kitchen supplies, the whole being no larger than a medium sized bedroom, the coffee bar was primarily a place where people could go buy some milk from the Community Dairy that operated in the same building. Growing up, the coffee bar would be full (yes all 10 benches were occupied) of construction men or factory workers gearing up for a days work. Coming from a construction family myself, the Coffee Bar was a frequent meal spot.

Most famous of all in my mind are the westerns they make at the bar. It's nothing overly sophisticated. It doesn't cost $50 for every item. It doesn't come with a wine suggestion...just chocolate milk. All the western is is a thick stack of ham and onion omelet between two pieces of bread and the optional processed cheese slice or ketchup. They would wrap it in wax paper and hand it over to you in a brown paper bag if you were taking it to go. You could then sit on the job site and drip omelet and ketchup all over the place.

Like I said, HomeFood is more often than not very simple. It's linked to memory like no five course meal can be. It's comfort food at the ultimate level. Best of all, it's replicable.

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