Chinatown, Flying Saucers, and the Great Falls

Well, today is the final day I spend in Canada on this trip. I’ll be starting the much shorter downswing of the road-trip portion of trip and then be transitioning into my visiting family portion tomorrow. As for today, we started by driving through Chinatown in Toronto.

Chinatown, Toronto. The largest Chinatown I've seen. Admittedly, I've only seen this one and the one near Motomachi.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to get out of the car, but we had bigger fish to fry. I could have spent weeks in Toronto. But we did spend a decent amount of driving around this area. My dad was driving, but the GPS wouldn’t calculate our destination. It just kept loading and recalculating. After trying a second address, I realized the problem is that we set it on pedestrian mode since we had been on foot the past couple days.

To hear about my post-Toronto adventures for to day, please continue after the break.

Once we hit the road, it was a relatively uneventful drive until we got to the Niagara-on-the-lake area. Now one of my larger passions is food and food preparation, and I consider myself a gourmet, or a foodie, so I was determined to try Poutine while in Canada. This isn’t something that is served in the US, especially using a french name, so I had to try it. Of course, after I got into Toronto, I discovered this is more of a Quebec thing. There were places to get it in Toronto, but it was way out of the way from where we needed to get to.

Of course, with my departure from Canada being today, I needed to locate poutine. A cursory search on google for poutine in the niagara area turned up “The Flying Saucer Drive-In”.

The Flying Saucer Drive-in. It may be gimmicky, but it was a pretty cool stop.

Yes. According to people on the internet, the best poutine in the Niagara area was located in an obscure alien themed restaurant. Let’s rock and roll. I ordered a small side of poutine and a prime rib sandwich. The sandwich wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it was good and it was huge for the price I paid. As for the poutine:

The dish in question, Poutine

I have no idea what poutine is supposed to taste like, I just know that it is supposed to be fries, gravy and cheese curds. I’d say this wasn’t the most traditional poutine, since it had two shredded cheeses on it instead of curds, but it should give me an idea. And I liked it. It was delicious, but it was rich as hell. I was glad I ordered a small order, because a large one would have simply been too rich for me. But the three ingredients went well together. I did wonder why this wasn’t a thing that spread to America. Growing up in the Southeastern United States, I heard of eating french fries with gravy, but it was usually a white gravy. And cheese usually didn’t get involved. But I imagine a rich dish that involves melted cheese, delicious meat gravy, and what I assume is a week’s worth of sodium, would be a hit in America. Maybe not.

After eating at the Flying Saucer. We traveled around the Niagara-on-the-Lake area. We saw Lake Ontario, and from one point, we could actually see Toronto across the lake. It was pretty small and hazy, but I couldn’t get my camera to pick it up. So no picture of that. I mentioned this in another post, I’m sure, but the great lakes are truly massive. They’re lakes, but they look like the sea, or the ocean. I can see the curvature of the earth looking out at them. It is pretty unreal.

This is a freshwater lake. You can faintly see the curve of the earth.

After seeing the lake for a while, we traveled south to the falls. I took a ton of pictures, which I will probably upload to a gallery somewhere. Those who are friends with me on facebook can already see them. Unfortunately, the pictures don’t do much good. The water was so beautiful but my camera couldn’t really capture that beauty to the same degree. It was almost turquoise in color and incredibly pure looking. Photos can’t seem to catch that. Nor can it capture the feeling of the falls. The air is full of mist that stings your face like needles. I was on the Canadian side, of course.

The Horseshoe Falls. One of the most breathtaking things I've seen.

I did jump over to the American side, but it wasn’t nearly as impressive. If you go through the trouble to come to the falls, make sure you cross the border into the Canadian side. After spending some time at the falls, we traveled the streets near the falls, looking at the casinos and stuff. We also came back later in the night, after eating. We got there just in time to see them turn off the illumination of the falls.

For dinner, we traveled into Buffalo to eat at Frank and Teressa’s Anchor Bar and Restaurant. We were very close to Buffalo and Buffalo wings are one of my favorite foods. I also consider them a serious contender for the position of a nation dish representing the United States. So I had to try the original.

A plate of 20 Anchor Bar wings, medium sauce

I went with medium sauce so that I could taste the sauce well without it being overly hot. It is a bit difficult to judge the heat of sauces, so I wanted to play it safe. I’m not going to be in Buffalo long, so I won’t get a second shot at this. The wings were absolutely fantastic, probably the best I’ve ever eaten. The sauce was perfect and the bleu cheese dressing seemed homemade. It was strong and delicious. I couldn’t imagine eating it on a salad because of how thick it was, but it was absolutely perfect with the wings. I’d highly recommend Anchor Bar and Restaurant to anyone who has to pass through Buffalo.

Anchor Bar also had some pretty awesome decor.

I really wanted for this trip to give me a good taste of North America before I become an expatriate and give me a chance to see my father and step mother before my departure, and I feel like I’m getting plenty of that. I think I’ll be able to leave without any regrets.



~ by James on February 5, 2012.

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