Monday, August 2, 2010

The Chicago Blues in Leaside

I live in a solidly middle-class, mid-town neighbourhood. It's a mix of small semi-detached and detached homes built in the 1920s and (sadly) more and more of their successors: "monster homes", built on long, narrow lots previously inhabited by the small homes. Though not particularly "ethnic", my neighbourhood is home to an interesting mix of people: professionals, European immigrant families who arrived 30-40 years ago, young families, retired people. We have Greek neighbours to the west of us and French neighbours to the east. Not boring.

About a 10 minute walk down my street, you come to the neighbourhood's main shopping drag, a street called Bayview. It's full of restaurants, gourmet food stores, a couple of gelato joints, a smattering of antique stores--fairly upscale, but still with a nice neighbourhood feel.

On the other side of Bayview is a neighbourhood called Leaside, a more upscale area, with larger, mostly detached houses. Leaside is, dare I say, quite "white bread". Again, it's home to a variety of households, from young families to retired people, but its population is more homogeneous, old-stock Canadian and it is certainly not home to the culinarily adventurous.

Enter Highway 61 on Bayview, right on the border with Leaside.

Last week, our younger son came home from summer camp and since he celebrated his 15th birthday while at camp, we took him out to supper at Highway 61.

On many occasions, I've mentioned that my family has cut down its consumption of meat. I'm also acutely aware of how much sodium is in the food we eat, especially in restaurants. However, once in a blue moon, ya gotta go wild and Highway 61 is definitely the place to do it.

The restaurant specializes in southern BBQ. Now, what does a nice girl from Canada know from southern BBQ? Not much. But boy, whatever it is that they serve at Highway 61, I think it's pretty darn good...not every night of the week, probably just a few times a year, but it's darn good. And the great thing is, you don't have to go hog wild there either to really enjoy the food. The four of us (mom, dad and 2 teenage boys) ordered a platter for 2-3 people, plus three mini pulled pork sandwiches and three green salads which we shared and we were just fine. OK, maybe we should have gotten another salad! No desserts, just coffee. It was great and a wonderful experience in moderate eating.

Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the music!!! Live music, provided by a band from...Fredericton, New Brunswick. They were amazing: a smoking hot trio playing Buddy-Guy style blues with more than a passing tip of the hat to the great Delta blues tradition. All in all, it was a fabulous evening.


  1. BBQ and blues...does it get any better?

  2. Sounds like a fun evening.

    Sounds like fun ordering, too. I like to mix things up when I dine out, too. If all I really want is dessert, I might as well just have the dessert instead of everything else plus the dessert. Same goes with appetizers. You're eating out! Why not eat nothing but peach cobbler for a meal. A little peach cobbler never killed anyone ... that I know of. LOL!

  3. Hi Angry,

    My late mother was extremely handicapped and rarely got out of the house since she didn't know how to drive, couldn't have driven due to her handicap and couldn't afford a car in any case.

    When friends or family took her out for a meal, she often just ordered apple pie and ice cream. Nothing else. It was such a treat for her to be out and about and since she only kept really healthy food in the house, she would choose her apple pie and ice cream! I think it was a sane choice.