When I was a kid, I LOVED the show, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. Not only was I intrigued with the idea that your father could be your friend, but that there was such a thing as a ‘Best’ friend. Asian families tend to be quite clannish and closed to the outside world, so my social circles consisted mostly of my cousins (and I had a lot of them).
But as you grow older, you realize just what a special place your friends hold in you life. My friends showed me the larger world outside of my Asian Canadian childhood and gave me a sense of adventure and discovery.
And so – I was really thrilled for my friend Colin Johnson, when he told me he was heading up the kitchen behind the new Chinatown sausage venture, Bestie.
The idea behind Bestie is to give a local spin on German street food, with a focus on curry wurst, great beers, and locally sourced and homemade dishes (like freshly baked pretzels). Colin comes from a serious cooking background, with stints that include working for Simon Hopkinson at London’s Bibendum and Andrey Durbach locally. So you knew that there was going to be some serious craftmanship for what most would think of as fast food.
I stopped by a friends and family opening – and I gotta say I really liked the whole vibe of the venture. Low key, effortlessly friendly, and the food was really darned tasty. The whole place was awash with a sense of ethusiastic fun, despite it being a super busy soft opening.
You get the sense that proprietors Clinton McDougall and Dane Brown are not trying to set the world on fire, but are focused on making a corner of Chinatown a little brighter, friendlier, and tastier (and beerier). This is no less noble of a cause, and they have certainly succeeded.
The icing on the cake was seeing my friend so happy – a hardworking family man, making tasty food that genuinely speaks to him, excited to be back on the frontlines of cooking and feeding customers well.
What would my father make of a place like Bestie? He would have been really surpised that a German sausage joint would open in Chinatown, but he would have loved the youthful energy that created it. He’d try a few things, nod approvingly – and then ask to go to Hon’s so that we could top off the meal with a bowl of wonton noodles. This is why, though my father and I eventually became friends later in life – I can’t say that we were best friends. But, he was a pretty awesome Dad.
And so, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Fathers Day, especially for those fathers who are no longer wth us.
Okay – full disclosure here: because this was a soft opening, I did not pay for the food. I was genuinely there to support my friend who is part of this new venture. But I can honestly also say that I genuinely enjoyed the food and new restaurant tremendously.