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August 6, 2011

I went out for dinner on Friday night. I really shouldn’t but I can’t help myself. I love food.

Yes, that’s right. I have sex with food. Go ahead. Try and ttop me. I dare ya.

I tried out a relatively new restaurant here in Vaughan called Autostrada. My Wopish (Italian) is very very bad but I’m pretty sure that’s the Wop word for car street or quite possibly highway.

The name was confusing. It is a sit-down, waiter brings you food at a table restaurant. Why the car/highway motif? I don’t know. With a name like that, I would be expecting either a drive-through or a park the car and the waiter brings the food to your car a la The Flintstones with the giant rack of ribs tipping over the car. (I don’t know what that sort of service is called so I’m just going to keep up the Flintstones imagery.) I knew the car motif was just a motif right away when this restaurant first opened. I drove by there and saw that there was no infrastructure to allow the drive-through or Flintstones rib service.

When the building was first built, it was a restaurant called Vinny Gambini’s. That place lasted maybe four years, tops. Now it’s something different, maybe. Never been to Vinny Gambini’s but I doubt it was much different than Autostrada. Based on the location, Italian food works over there. It’s not like it’s in the same retail complex as Vinnie Zucchini’s, Grazia and Marcello’s, three other Italian restaurants. Oh, and it’s across the street from a bakery/hot-table/restaurant called Nino D’aversa. Yup, Italian bakery. Lots of Eye-talians over there.

Sometimes when I enter a restaurant and ask for a table, the hostess asks me “Do you have a reservation?” Hello! If I had a reservation, wouldn’t I have mentioned it when I asked for a table? “Hi, I’ve got a reservation under the name ‘Feed My Belly!’ Is my table ready?” That’s what happened here. I asked for a table. The hostess replied by asking if I had a reservation. I didn’t. She sat me at a table anyway. So why ask?

Once seated, I perused the menu and decided on a beverage and a meal.

Food was good. No complaints. Service was good. No complaints.

When the entrees came, the manager-looking-guy tapped me on my shoulder and kept his hand there. His other hand pointed at the hamburger that was just delivered to the table. In a thick Wopish accent he asked “Is dat Mickey D’s or steroids?” You’re asking me? I’m hoping it’s neither. For what that burger costs, it damn well be better than a Big Mac and natural, non-steroid fed beef. If I wanted a cheap burger, I’d go to McDonalds and if I wanted a cow that I knew was raised on steroids, I’d kill myself. Hello? Roid rage, mad cow disease, you do the math.

I actually didn’t have the burger. Someone else had the burger. I had the chicken. Half a chicken. I didn’t bother to ask which half. Which ever half I got tasted just fine.

As I dined, I gazed around the checked out the ambiance of the restaurant. Above the bar hung cured meats. Normally above a bar, you’ll see bottles, glasses, maybe neon lights and sports memorabilia. Maybe a television. Above this bar, salami, capicolo and a prosciutto. If I wanted to dine amongst hanging meats, I’d go to my aunt’s house and eat in her cellar. Hell. I’d get the same experience dining in my father’s cellar. I doubt there’s room in my aunt’s cellar. She’s probably got a side of beef hanging in there. She uses it to keep fit. She spars with it like Rocky. I think my cousin took his punching bag with him when he moved out and got his own place.

All in all, this is a place I would return to and dine. Food was good. Service was good when it wasn’t confusing. The meal with non-spirituous beverages came to about forty-five bucks a head after taxes and tips. Not too expensive for a Friday night out. Normally I like to stay under thirty bucks a head but once in a while you have to spoil yourself.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2011 10:34 am

    i like my italian restaurants to have a fine display of bar meats. just like i need my mexican restaurants to have black velvet matador prints over the naugahyde booth seats… if i’m not immersed in stereotype, i truly can’t enjoy a meal…

    I concur. Which is why I prefer my fried chicken served to me by a coloured person.

  2. August 6, 2011 1:32 pm

    Interesting. There are a lot of Greek “family” restaurants in this area. They all serve the same food, purchased (clearly) from the same supplier. It’s a racket. But I guess I don’t get out enough because I took three adults and two children out for dinner at the “Italian” place locally here (a chain) and paid substantially less per head than you did.

    On the other hand, I agree, you need to treat yourself occasionally. So I’m glad it was, in fact, a treat.

    But you see, at the Olive Garden, when you’re there, you’re family.

  3. Riot Kitty permalink
    August 6, 2011 6:59 pm

    Spoiling yourself with great Italian food is one of the great joys of life. My family is part Swiss and I swear it’s from the Italian part. We’re loud, passionate, and love our pasta.

    But do you talka witha you hands?

  4. August 7, 2011 10:40 am

    I’ve only been to two “Italian” restaurants in the past year or two and neither of them were convincingly Italian to me. One was Frankie Tomato’s, which is basically a big buffet containing every possible food item which can be produced in bulk quantities without a high cost to the buffet owner. It also contains a lot of pushy people and too many kids who run around and bump into you while you are trying to carry a bowl full of very hot soup back to your table. Il Fornello is a better restaurant and slightly more authentic but there was a distinct lack of meats hanging from the ceiling.

    Il Fornello is trying to attract some non-Italians. That’s why they don’t show off the hanging meats.

  5. August 8, 2011 3:17 am

    Oooh, hanging meats! I love me some salami!

    Sounds like you had a decent time – I hope the company was good too. :) Like you said, sometimes you just have to treat yourself. Did your meal include a dessert?

    No, I passed on dessert. I didn’t even finish my mashed potatoes.

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