Thursday, September 05, 2019

Eating off the Hill: A German Imbiss in the heart of Scarborough

There's a lot of great food in Scarborough, and I'll be chronicling it through the election this Fall. Cuisine in Scarborough has evolved with the community. As the Greek and Italian communities have moved on to the suburbs, so has their cuisine. Today's Scarborough food scene reflects today's Scarborough: a lot of Filipino, Hakka, Indian and other South Asian options -- much of it Halal.

But last week, while down a YouTube rabbit hole of Bon Appetit cooking videos, a sudden craving for deli led me to Goggle and to happening upon one of the last remaining outposts of old European Scarborough (apart from several surviving Scottish Fish and Chips reasturants): Vienna Fine Foods.

I've actually gone by this unimpressive from the outside grocer on the bus many times and never noticed it, buried in an industrial area on Birchmount, just North of Eglinton. While they do offer a deli and a wide assortment of imported German foodstuffs that brought back many memories of my years there, what caught my eye was the Imbiss.

Literally translated as snack, Imbiss coloquialy refers to a snack bar or lunch counter, and in the back of this grocer is a small lunch bar serving up a variety of homestyle German specialties. There are a few small tables, but they do a booming takeout businss with nearby workers stopping in for a schnitzel on a bun or other popular offerings.

For my first meal last week I brought back a schnitzel dinner to the office. The traditional lemon wedge was on offer, but I went for the gravy and paired it with two sides: scalloped potatoes and mixed veggies. The schnitzel was large and nicely breaded and fried to order, and the potatoes were. The peas-heavy mixed veg tasted like they may have been there awhile (I did come mid-afternoon, after the lunch rush). Still, a very tasty meal.

This week I returned with a friend, and was pleased to see the special of the day was potato pancakes with sour cream or apple sauce. I went with the sour cream, and paired it with a bratwurst. The wurst could have used a little more flavour, but the pancakes were buttery delicious crispy goodness. I don't usually eat much potatoes anymore, but I could eat these every day.

It's unfortunate that I lived in Scarborough for a decade and never knew of this outpost of German cuisine, but it will be a regular stop when I'm in town from now on. And I'll be bringing some dry SpƤtzle from the grocery back with me to Ottawa for sure. Schmeckt gut!

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