Elephant & Castle (King Street)

Date 53: Pre-Megabus Pub Fare (closing up the Mom Series)

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Elephant & Castle at 212 King Street West, Toronto; Call (416) 598-4003

What do we always say is the most important thing?
Breakfast?

Arrested Development made a name for itself by being a groundbreaking comedy. It was absurd, called back pretty much every gag, and was extremely strategic about its black outs. We take a lot of these elements for granted now as they’ve permeated modern television comedy.

But I think a lot of what contributed to its cult following is that it had heart. Really weird heart, but heart nonetheless. There were times when Michael’s family demonstrated true caring for each other and even when they didn’t, you were touched by Michael’s sheer faith that they would come together.

I had to work on the last day of my mom’s trip to Toronto, so she spent most of the day on her own. She said this suited her just fine, but I still felt guilty. And I still do. Before her boarding the Megabus, there was time to meet near my work for dinner. The choices around there aren’t exactly plum, but we decided on Elephant and Castle. Frankly, this is not a place I even noticed before, blending in with the other somewhat cookie-cutter restaurants on this stretch of King. But once we got inside, Mom noted that this is just the kind of place she likes.

I knew what she meant. It reminded me a lot of the type of restaurants we got taken to as kids, in particular an old joint in San Leandro called Harry’s Hofbrau and a “family restaurant” called Elio’s. These kinds of places were clearly not pushing the envelope in any way, but offered a well-executed product at family-friendly prices.

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I have to say that Elephant and Castle doesn’t seem to meet my fuzzy rose-colored children’s glasses view. I was excited when I read the menu as it seemed to make an honest effort of doing English food, with a curry, pot pies, and fish and chips. But in reality, they tried to do too much. I got a meatloaf and it turned out to be small medallions of bacon-wrapped meatloaf with stodgy mashed potatoes.  I’d much rather just have an honest, well-prepared meat loaf. The green beans were nice, though. And Mom reported enjoying her fish and chips.

A restaurant can let you down. And Michael Bluth’s hope for his family was often misguided. But there’s a reason you keep going back.

Even when you fuck up, family is always there for you.

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