be still, my stomach.

The boy has been obsessing over working diligently on a box for the last few weeks. For his location recording business, he needed something to hold gear (computer/mixer board/cables/etc), and turning DIY allowed for full customization; one of his biggest design challenges included the size limitation of our rather diminutive vehicle. The finished project included hardware from Lee Valley: while draw latches and handles may be considered exciting, our trip to the east end of town also yielded gastronomically: we now own a microplane rasp! It’s beautiful for frozen ginger and I can’t wait to grate cinnamon sticks and parm with ease.

As we were leaving Lee Valley, the boy spotted Metal Supermarkets in the same complex. I agreed that he could swing in to buy steel grates (see above) so long as he was speedy (I was hungry). Turns out that my stomach wasn’t the only grumbly one.

Enter Old Tyme Diner, a diner with a truly small-town, old-school feel: wooden wall paneling (original? of a 50s vintage?), gossiping staff and regulars. Their proclamation of Montreal-style smoked meat intrigued us so the boy ordered their version of a Reuben (featuring the smoked meat in lieu of corned beef). My order was the the safety-net choice of ham & swiss on rye: we’ve too often been disappointed by things advertised as smoked meat that barely resembled the real thing.

The sandwiches arrived. The server, friendly and personable, explained that the smoked meat was a newer addition to the menu, and joked that I’d ordered the wrong thing. She was right! While it wasn’t Schwartz’s, it’s certainly been the best since Montreal. We also mentioned that we would’ve preferred slices from the fattier triangle/point cut of the brisket, and she immediately apologized that our previous server didn’t ask us.

As we munched away, a beaming owner (introducing himself as Antonio) surprised us with a few extra slices from the point. “My daughter tells me you used to live in Montreal; I used to live in Montreal! Here [in London, presumable. Maybe Ontario?], they often serve corned beef and call it Montreal-style. So I make my own – I’ve spent the last 22 years perfecting this.”

We chatted. Reminisced about la belle province. And gained a greater appreciation for supporting mom & pops that are full of soul.

Old Tyme Diner
1180 Oxford Street E.

Old Tyme Diner on Urbanspoon

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3 comments
  1. Chris said:

    Good find! I must check that place out, because I loves me a good smoked meat sammich. I also love Lee Valley Tools, so that area is full of WIN!

    • lindsay said:

      Lee Valley makes me want to take up woodworking…

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