CFN – “Wow, Mom, ….. I googled Gary Farmer’s band, the Troublemaker’s they’re great, the lead guitarist is electric,” my son Carl chirped when I returned from reviewing the The Vic Public House at 580 Church Street in Toronto Ontario.
Blues singer, actor, director …. I couldn’t believe my luck when Gary Farmer, penciled me into his busy schedule to review The Vic Public House, formerly Fuzion, which had been my favorite restaurant in Toronto. Gary had just returned from Vancouver, where he played the lead role of Lenny in John Steinbeck’s play Of Mice and Men to perform in Toronto with his band the Troublemakers.
Gary has appeared in movies like The Score, with Marlon Brando and Robert Di Niro; Deadman with Johnny Depp, The Dark Wind, produced by Robert Redford and the movie classic Pow Wow Highway.
But even accomplished actors have to eat, so with this interesting and delightful companion in tow on the evening of July 18, we set off to sample the dishes of my former haunt. Could The Vic possibly live up to Fuzion?
First impressions, well, make an impression. Gary and I were greeted by a lovely hostess who ushered us to a “nook of serenity” on the outdoor patio, right by the bar. Gary commented on the peaceful, natural area with a large, center piece maple tree. As for the service – it only got better. I ordered a 5 oz glass on 2 Ocean white wine at $7.00, from Dustin, our server. This Shiraz from South Africa never fails to satisfy on a hot summer evening.
Gary was feeling a bit nostalgic for his home in New Mexico and he was in the mood for something hot …. to eat, like Louisiana style Cajun food. He ordered us up some Homemade Onion rings for $8.00. Golden and lightly battered served with Aiolti sauce, Gary used his talents of improvisation and poured Tobasco sauce, which, incidentally, is made in Louisana, on the onion rings. Presto, a Cajun appetizer. The onion ring reached his lips as he looked me dead in the eye. “Pretty good, yeah, pretty darn good”. I helped him polish off the rings of fire. Burning, burning, burning.
The main course followed quickly on the appetizer. Gary ordered the Dundonald Salad with a medley of mixed greens, strawberries, toasted walnuts, red onions, cherry tomatoes, blue cheese finished in balsamic dressing topped with grilled chicken at $15.00.
I ordered the Duchess Burger, a homemade vegetable patty on a sesame bun, with lettuce, tomatoe and onion for $11.00 and a salad.
We got down to business. Gary was enjoying his meal,
“They are tight with the ingredients, but it’s healthy, the chicken is grilled and it’s pretty good. “ he remarked. “The dressing is balanced, not too much salt.” He gave the thumbs up. “I would definitely order this salad again”.
My burger was ok, not the best veggie burger I have tasted but I definitely would order it again. It tended to explode into crumbles when I cut it. The bun was fresh and the presentation very good. Veggies in the salad were fresh, crispy and flavorful.
Dessert Time. The only dessert on the menu is the cheesecake, baked in house and served with fresh berry compote at $7.00. Gary and I decided to share one between us.
This was the best part of the evening. In Gary’s own words, “Fabulous homemade taste. I could come here just for this cheesecake. Most cheesecakes look like they’re in the army, but not this cheesecake, it has a thick crumbly crust. Trends can be set around the world with this cheesecake.:
I was impressed too and I’m not even a big cheesecake fan. It wasn’t too cheesy tasting, just rich, creamy, melt in your mouth taste, not too sweet and that crust! Delicious!
Gary, you have a bright future as a restaurant reviewer, you can add this to your star spangled resume!
Zing and Wow 4
Over all 4
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