G to Church Avenue

bloGged by: Tania

Like two ships passing in the niGht, Bonnie and I connected briefly last Sunday for a long overdue end of the line dining.  I returned on Saturday from a couple of weeks in Japan and Bonnie left on Monday for 10 days in Vermont.  We first decided a trip on the G line to Long Island City was manageable given my jetlag, but as often happens with the G, there were weekend service changes and so to Church Avenue we headed.

We made a plan to meet up with our dear friend Ralph on the Flushing Avenue subway platform at 3:10.  However, like another ship passing in the night, Ralph boarded the train going in the opposite direction.  After waiting long enough for 2 trains to pass (which can be a rather long time on the G train) – Bonnie sacrificed a swipe and went above ground to give Ralph a call.    Fairly soon, we were back on course.

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A few years ago the term “Classic Ralph” was coined.  Although hard to articulate, “Classic Ralph” is that magical intersection of a mix-up and a miracle.  Croquet Sundays have been a source of fun for our friends for many years (some summers we are really on, and others we hardly play).   Classic Ralph is a slow start to the game but a rapid comeback to victory.  There is nothing more than we love than Classic Ralph, or Ralph himself.  He is brilliant and interesting, kind-hearted and fun.  I am certain he will make other appearances in end of the line dining, perhaps even one where we can talk about the time he and Bonnie were in love!

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Ok, back to our journey.  Church Ave.  The Church Avenue subway station lets you off on Church Avenue and McDonald in Kensington.  For future reference, the station is also home to a public restroom.

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Kensington is residential, with proper houses.  It is also extremely diverse.  We happened upon a mural entitled, “React, Respect, Intersect”, and I think it accurately reflects the neighbourhood.  As we walked around searching for a place to eat, there was a hint of Poland, Thailand, Ireland, Mexico, China, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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We nominated Ralph to go into a Bangladeshi deli and ask for a recommendation.  After a brief confusion when Ralph thought the fellow was directing us to a McDonald’s fast food restaurant, we headed to McDonald Avenue.  We decided upon a restaurant called Ghoroa Sweets & Restaurant.  The restaurant was full, only with men.  It felt like a proper Sunday afternoon at a men’s club, with everyone eating and socializing.

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It took us a minute to figure out how to order.  There is a glass counter in the front with many dishes, and pictures of food, but there does not seem to be a menu.  Bonnie picked out a few dishes for us all to share, and $25 later we had a feast for 3.  In the first course (according to Ralph), they stoked the digestive fires with some iceberg lettuce.  We later found out that iceberg lettuce was pretty necessary after some accidental chilli ingestion (Bonnie got the worst of it).  What followed was samosas, chicken tikka, okra, spinach, lentils and garlic naan.  All of it was delicious, and all with varying degrees of heat.

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On the way out, Ralph and Bonnie picked up a box of sweets.  I can only describe them as rosewater twinkies filled with cream.  As we stood outside getting ready to head to the train, the waiter who had served us ran out to give us all a business card from the restaurant.  He had been smiling and congenial the  entire time, but there was a reason why.  He had taken a liking to Bonnie and had run out to ask for her number.  She promptly responded “I’m married, man” and held up her ring (an excuse that comes in handy for her from time to time!).  I guess it’s true when they say all the good ones are taken!

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