We finished our Chinese dinner at the Great Wall of China, a pleasant event made all the more enjoyable by gawping at the huge amounts of food ordered by our fellow-diners. Our hands still sticky from honey-garlic spare ribs, the princess and I walked out onto Sackville Street and the freezing cold dark November evening. It was barely 6:30 pm. We had to kill another 40 minutes before the Golden Boy’s soccer would be done and we could get a ride home. We walked uphill to the pretentiously-named “How Do You Like Your Poutine?” on Blowers Street. We passed by Neptune Theatre. Oasis’s Wonderwall was belting out of the bar next door. “I know this song!” exclaimed the princess.
We ordered a classic poutine for the Golden Boy, and a Chicken Chili for his dad. We stared at the framed newspaper cut-outs, featuring the poutinerie chain in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton. As we waited a huge gang of loud teenagers, alcohol on their breath, spilled in. All the girls had long wavy hair, and they chattered loudly, together or on their phones. One spilled a handful of coins and couldn’t be bothered to pick them up. The princess leaned back against the wall, and took them in with wide dark eyes.
Clutching a steaming bag heavy with poutine, we walked out in the cold and dark. Soccer was not done. We went into Paperchase and read the funny cards. We came out and stood in the doorway of Fujiyama. We both agreed that we preferred sushi to the Chinese we had just had. Sushi was more “chic”. More sophisticated and refined. We had wanted dim-sum, but they only do dim-sum on Sundays, so we had had toasty little pot-stickers instead. Nice, but not dim-sum by St. Katherine Docks in July. We thought about food and place and class. It was still freezing, and we up Grafton Street and into The Black market, with its smell of incense. We fingered the rings and earrings and trinkets. Jewellry from Thailand! Mexico! Ecuador! Peru! India! Finally the car drove up and we got in. The poutines were still hot when we got home.



  1. I don’t know if I’m cheesy or what, but I felt a wonderful implicit undercurrent in this writing, about your relationship, I mean you and your daughter’s relationship. It’s so sweet. When you write about discussing sushi, I envy that moment and that level of interaction; I think we never had such a laid back relationship with our parents, they were always policing, always so “grown up”, I always felt very distant from them, and they never did anything to get close.

    • thenewcomer

      Please be cheesy. I’ve received so many “fohsh” and insults over the stupid post about stupid james hetfield and his stupid relationship with his stupid wife that I treasure any non-negative comment. About our mom-daughter relationship though- Sometimes I feel that I’ve taken our parents as a what-not-to-do template, and I’m just trying to do the opposite. Other times I feel I am copying them exactly, and I remember I used to feel Mumi was my best friend until religion and cancer took over. At the end of the day, we are all just muddling along, trying to do what feels right and good.

  2. First time that I heard about this popular Canadian dish “Poutine”. My first association was that Its name sounds like the Russian president (I guess this is a common joke in Quebec), but at Wikipedia I red that a decent Poutine should make a sound itself, a sort of squeaking. Apart from the culinary aspects of the post, it reads a bit like the script for a Jim Jarmusch movie: very special atmosphere, and very figuratively described.
    best regards, Michael

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