Poon's Express, located on Weston Rd just north of Lawrence Ave W, serves up exactly what the name says - express food. Although coffee and Canadian food made it onto the storefront sign, the coffee is standard and the Canadian just means a few donuts, tarts, slices of cake and, uh, Jamaican patties. The real deal (and it's a pretty good deal) is the Chinese fast food specials.
The restaurant is set up with tables, but really the furniture and decor is sparse at best.
It's not what would be typically considered a great "first date" kind of restaurant... although over a year later after inadvertently doing exactly that, I'm still with the same girl, so there is proof that it is technically possible. Actually, inadvertently isn't really what I mean, because we definitely entered deliberately.
Really, I mean casually, because there's no way to pay a visit to Poon's and have it not be casual.
Quick, cheap, easy take-out is the main focus, and knowing that I'll be able to get a whole meal dished out and boxed up in a minute or so while standing outside with my dog is exactly the sort of thing that brings Poon's to mind and me back to Poon's over and over.
The components of the meals are continuously made fresh and brought out to the front. You can buy anything you want separately, but the main meal concept is either fried rice or fried noodles with a selection of the vegetable and/or meat dishes. The price is a bit under $4 for 2 toppings and a bit over $4 for 3 (the veggies and meats are the same price), and when dished out into the takeout containers these end up being pretty hefty boxes.
Vegetarian dishes are available, their standard veg options being broccoli, a mixed veggies / tofu dish, soft tofu in spicy sauce, spicy green beans and chop suey. The meats served are pretty standard Chinese takeout fare, such as lemon or orange chicken, sweet & sour pork, and so on. Fried seafood and chicken are also available, as are chicken balls and egg rolls.
There's something addictive about Poon's that I've only partly been able to put my finger on. The price factor is a big deal, I can scrape together spare change if I need to and know that I'll get enough food at Poon's to stuff myself sick... and I also know that no matter how much I overfill my stomach and groan about it, odds are good I'll be back there pretty soon for another serving.
Personally, I always go for the box of fried noodles with three veggie toppings. The consistent speed and value are the whole reason I go in, so I don't start getting too creative once I'm there beyond selecting my three.
My only warning is that if you really hate oily food, you'll be stuck with steamed broccoli and a Jamaican patty, because most everything else is very, very fried.