Danforth Roti Shop
Danforth Roti, a nondescript shop in Toronto's east end, is an antidote to my patriotic concerns, a trip down memory lane, and a good spot for tasty nosh.
You see, my high school played a dual language version of "O Canada", leaving me forever in doubt whether it's time for "God keep our land" or "Et ta valeur". But now I know if I'm ever unsure about the lyrics again, Danforth Roti has, for some reason, posted them to their wall.
Danforth Roti also reminds me of elementary school. Mainly a take-out joint, this place has all the atmosphere of a grade six classroom. I'm serious. In addition to flags of the West Indies, the front wall features several sections of menu completed in marker and multi-hued construction paper. On the west wall, the laminated "O Canada" stands on guard next to a Scholastic world map. Although the room is not amenable to big groups or leisurely lunches (there's no bathroom), the decor inspires me to nostalgia, mostly about food and classrooms.
If only my classes had been more like this one. If only we'd had Roti Day instead of Pizza Delight Fridays. If only Pizza Delight had divided their party pizzas evenly.
If my childhood had been like this: filled with gigantic nutritious rotis, instead of poorly divided pizzas, mine would be a mind free from visions of the lung-searing sprint to the portable, of the claw and scramble to the pizza box. If my elementary school had served rotis, I would have no memories of hastily completing my work to gain early release to lunch, my spelling skills the only antidote to slow, stumpy legs. I would spell my little heart out to gain that 30 second advance on my sportier classmates, but in the end we'd all face the inevitable: no one could get there before Mrs. C, and Mrs. C would always take the big corner pieces for herself.
Things are different over at Danforth Roti PS. Not only are this shop's offerings tastier than Pizza D's meager fare, they're also big enough to feed at least a couple of 6th graders.
My grade school teachers always said you are what you eat. If that's true, I think I'm more like a Vena's roti: saucy, and prone to mess-making. Danforth Roti's version, on the other hand, has more in common with my former French teacher, Madame O: dry wit (merci, chick pea crumble), and a tendency to inspire fright (a cause de unevenly distributed hot sauce). Unlike Madame O, this roti also has a super stretchy outer shell, and comes with a variety of fillings. I opted for soft, sweet pumpkin, nutty spinach and nourishing potato.
Although nothing can erase my memories of Pizza Delight Fridays or my undying love for Vena's superior version, Danforth Roti has got a pretty good thing going. At $9.61 for roti and a bottle of Ting, this meal was definitely worth the price tag. But the chance to finally tell on Mrs. C? Delicious.