Thursday, May 26, 2005

Next Best Thing to Jamaica

So what do two people who hate crowds and hate to shop do on a sunny afternoon in Toronto? They meet at the Eaton Center (a huge mall – 3 floors) and shop for t-shirts for two hours!! By 5 P.M. my daughter and I had mall overload. That’s when your eyeballs feel like dried prunes and your head is vibrating and your feet are throbbing right up into your throat. We had to escape!!! If only we could click our heels together and magically transport to the Islands, lie by the blue green water and drink something out of a huge coconut shell.

Well, we did the next best thing, since travel was not an option. We headed to Irie Food Joint on Queen West. It’s like going to Jamaica without having to pack and spend hours in airports and planes. We sat out on the back patio that has funky little tables, set on gravel with lots of greenery and a bar with a thatched roof away from the noise of the city. You’d swear you were sitting on the beach.

Service was laid back and the staff very friendly. The hardest part was deciding on what to eat. Everything on the menu (printed on a vinyl record) is delicious and there are way too many dishes so it’s hard to choose. Shar was tempted by the roti with butter chicken, potatoes and chick peas, and the mussels in coconut curry cream sauce was calling to us but in the end, we settled on seafood gumbo in a creamy tomato pernod sauce that had mussels, shrimp and scallops. It looked great – this huge bowl with a giant mound of mashed potatoes with corn surrounded by a golden creamy sauce and the seafood. What can I say, we licked the bowl clean!!!

It is amazing how eating delicious food in an inviting setting can quickly change the way we feel. When we arrived at Irie, we were frazzled, tired, and grumpy. Within five minutes of sitting down, we were laughing and feeling like new and by the end of the meal we were very mellow indeed. So here’s a question for you. When you are feeling stressed, where would you like to be eating your next meal?

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