Ten years smoke-free!

Every year, Betty, Lyne and I get together as close to Jan. 20th as we can to celebrate not smoking. Betty quit 25 years ago; Lyne, 9; I quit 10 years ago. We like to celebrate at Rodney’s Oyster House on King West near Spadina.  We were a week late this year, but we celebrated last night. I was the slowpoke (I think I got there at 6:58 for our 7pm reservation).

First up,  some bread and butter (and a beer, of course).

Caraway rye bread & butter

I love caraway rye bread. Those little bundles of essential oil of caraway exploding in the mouth are heavenly. Goes really well with smoked meat sandwiches (and it’s not so easy in this city to find a smoked meat sandwich on caraway rye).

Oyster list at Rodney's

The bread was followed by a dozen oysters, four each of three different types (Mystics, Sandy Necks, and Cotuits, if I recall correctly). They were tasty, offered different taste profiles, and tasted like having more, so we got another dozen — this time, 3 each of 4 different types. I should have written the names down. I’m pretty sure we had more Cotuits and Mystics.

A dozen raw oysters

As we thought back on previous meals at Rodney’s, Cristo came by, we asked for something on the menu that they were out of, and then Betty asked for something that wasn’t on the menu  — smelt. They had some! We got a plate of about 10 of them, and munched them down so quickly that there were only two left by the time I thought to get a photo. They’re small enough that you can crunch them, bones and all (hey, it’s a natural source of calcium). Delicious sweet little fish.

Last two smelt

Following that, we decided to try the two different cooked ways they prepare oysters: Rockefeller and pan fried. One of each for each of us.

Oysters Rockefeller & pan-fried oysters

I haven’t had oysters Rockefeller in a long time. How long? Well, since going to Bumpkins, which means +/- 2 years ~1991. I enjoyed it again, the licorice flavour of the Pernod, the spinach and cheese and warm, spreading oyster taste, and I enjoyed the pan fried oyster, which had the same rich creamy mouth feel and taste that I remember from an oyster po-boy I had in New Orleans at Siggraph ’96. Delicious. I really could live on seafood!

Following that, Cristos dropped by to help us figure out what to get next. He’s not had a cigarette in 4 days, and the three of us cheered him on, and told him he should make it permanent, offering all our suggestions and hints for how to quit.


It was dessert time. Lyne ordered the cake — a type of spice cake with a layer of sliced flambéed bananas, served with a smear of caramel and whipped mascarpone.

Lyne's cake & mascarpone

I had a taste, and it was delicious, nicely spiced. But, not being much of a sweets person, for dessert I ordered… two more oysters Rockefeller!

Oysters Rockefeller for dessert

End of the night, we all headed out and caught our streetcars home. Yet another great celebratory meal.



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About pat

Visual thinker, first got interested in digital imagery in the early days of Omni magazine, back when it used to review what had happened at SIGGraph. I worked in the 3D software field for 23 years. Lifelong enjoyment of gardening grew over time; I was a Master Gardener (briefly) and had a vegetable and herb allotment garden in Toronto to grow vegetables, as well as perennial gardens at home. Gardening and enjoying fresh produce also raised my interest in cooking with really good local food. As more restaurants in Toronto are offering local fare, I enjoy dining out and sampling the visions the different chefs have.

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