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Enjoying Some Street Magic, Wishing For Some Dinner Magic

August 28, 2009

Dear Caitlin,

This afternoon I biked downtown to St. Lawrence Market, the home to this year’s Buskerfest, an international street performer festival. At the outset I had two goals in mind: (1) see some awesome street performances, and (2) grab me some awesome market vendor foodstuffs. The former was somewhat of a let-down, but the latter was a great success!

But let me give some credit to the street performers I saw. They were definitely entertaining to watch and I really enjoyed the sort of old-world circus vibe of the festival. However, there is something a little anachronous and, frankly, unimpressive about street performers in today’s world. Juggling and gymnastics just can’t compete with the sorts of thrills we experience in our various forms of modern entertainment (or, for that matter, Cirque du Soleil). But that being said, here are some awesome pictures of the street performers I saw!

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One thing I definitely didn’t like about these performers: Their requests for donations went past the point of begging and became more like accusations, suggesting that we the audience should feel guilty and ashamed for not giving them money after seeing their stunts. I understand that a street performer is not the most lucrative walk of life, but I just didn’t appreciate the meanness and bitterness.

But enough of the street performers, let me tell you about the food I got! I haven’t taken any photos of my finds yet, but you’ll be seeing lots of them in the coming days. Here’s a preview: tofu bacon from Ying Ying Soy Food, a new pack of “El Supremo” sprouts from Uncle George’s, and an amazing looking Carraway Deli Rye loaf that I absolutely cannot wait to bite into! (I also got some apples.) I promise you’ll be seeing plenty of these guys soon!

Dinner tonight, however, involved taking care of the groceries I still had left over in the fridge. I whipped up another pot of miso soup, using the leftover tofu cube I had sitting in the fridge all week, and I made Vegan Dad’s delectable Malaysian Sweet & Sour Tofu, using the leftover tofu pack I had sitting in the freezer all week. In other words, this was a soy-heavy meal!

The miso soup went swimmingly enough, but unfortunately, the Sweet & Sour Tofu was somewhat of a disaster. First off, I burned the rice. I guess this is what I get for only using a rice cooker for the last two years. I mean, this is why I wanted a rice cooker in the first place: I just can’t seem to cook rice. Oh well, better luck next time.

And second of all, I overfried the tofu, making for some darkish brown tofu rectangles instead of my desired golden brown bits. The inside still had that great frozen tofu texture, but the outside was definitely a little too stiff. Still, not a complete disaster.

Fortunately, the sweet and sour sauce went off without a hitch. My substitution of apple cider vinegar for the recommended white vinegar worked well; it didn’t change the overall flavor much, but if anything I’d say it made it better, and I will probably continue to use apple cider vinegar in the future (if for no other reason but that I have no other use for white vinegar). Other quick side note: I got the recommendation to replace white vinegar with apple cider vinegar from The Cook’s Thesaurus, which, judging by my brief use of it, seems pretty awesomely handy. It provides quick overviews of all sorts of common recipe ingredients, along with recommended substitutes for when you’re out or can’t find any.

So how did this somewhat calamitous dinner turn out? See for yourself…

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I would rate it “Not Bad.” It certainly wasn’t without its problems, but in the end it felt really good to sit down to a nice warm bowl of crispy tofu and crunchy rice swimming in a neon red sauce. Yet that’s likely due in part to the fact that Toronto was decidedly chilly today, and I really needed a nice warm pick-me-up. I can’t believe it’s still August.

Until we eat again,

Willie

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One comment

  1. I love acrobats! I’m sorry if these were of a pushy variety!

    I’m also sorry the rice and tofu were contrary! The final dish looks good though! I didn’t realise you weren’t bringing your rice cooker to Toronto! It’s a little weird to think of you without your rice cooker… It can take some practice though to make good rice in a pot. Adding some butter or oil usually helps stave off burning but otherwise you just gotta be watchful and sniff-ful!

    p.s. guess where I am right now? give up? sitting on top of Maya. She wouldn’t get out of my seat. So I sat on her. This did not make her move… or even flinch. I’m also drinking some delicious tea. Have you ever had Irish breakfast?



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