Sushi, Red Wine and Jazz on St. Clair West

Happy Friday! Here is Bobby Day’s rendition of “Rockin’ Robin” to tickle your ears:

My lovely old friend Scott appeared in Toronto for a visit somewhat unexpectedly on Wednesday. Fortunately, rather than staying for just the anticipated 12-hour layover between flights, he has opted to stay for the week. This type of spontaneous trip can only result in one thing: hijinks.

Last night, Scott, Mink and I went to the awesome (and cheap!) restaurant on St. Clair West called Sushi California (reviews for the curious can be found on urbanspoon). If you live in these parts and you happen to like those rice-with-various-chunks-of-raw-fish-in-yo’-mouth types of restaurant, I highly recommend it. Mink chooses not to partake in the delicious world of seafood, but Scott and I gorged on the stuff. That is definitely the most appropriate verb here.

Simultaneously pleased with this culinary decision and uncomfortably full, we walked east for a while in search of a bar. Lulled by the dulcet tones of a guitar and saxophone, Scott impulsively stopped by DeSotos, a bar I had walked by uncountable times before but to which I had never paid much attention.

Scott’s random choice of bar was excellent, and hopefully contributed to the “Convince Scott to Move to Toronto” argument that Mink and I have been making for some time. The walls were covered in old-timey photos and advertisements, the waitresses remained calm and collected, the crowd ranged in age from 20-somethings to septuagenarians. We ordered a litre of Merlot to accompany the open mic jazz night we had stumbled into – and then another half-litre when that was finished, for good measure.

The performers were continuously changing, with several leaving their seats to play a few songs together before making way for the next bass player or guitarist. The sax player wailed out a few choice solos. A 75-year-old woman in a red sweater belted out crowd favourites. A young woman sang in a grey sweatshirt and oversized glasses, getting progressively braver with each tune. A guy in a Blue Jays cap transformed the mood of the place instantly with his beat boxing skills. A man who had to be at least eighty tottered up weakly to the front, only to amaze us all with his guitar artistry (guitartistry?) and gravelly-smooth voice. The bar set up a collective cheer when he had finished his set.

We (ever so responsibly) left DeSotos around midnight, since Scott was planning to embark on his crazy 24-hour jaunt to Montreal early the next morning. After we said goodnight to Mink and were passing back by the bar, we heard a Latina singing and saw that a few couples had left their seats to dance. Since Scott just returned from Cuba, he pushed me in the door for a bit of reminiscing and one last salsa dance before we walked home in the crisp September night air.


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