Off the Board, Opinion

Love at first bite

We set the scene on a Sunday afternoon. Dinnertime is approaching and my family has elected to order in. We shuffle through a list of options, and settle on Eastern Twist, a sandwich shop a couple of blocks away that sells barbecue chicken wraps—a form of Americanized roti, an Asian fusion hybrid that we can not live without—and spicy fries. The fries are fine: They are hollow for some reason, but still ridiculously tasty. We call to place an order. We have to pick up from Eastern Twist but they are close enough that someone will walk the dog or hop in the car for a short drive. We forgot that Eastern Twist is closed on Sundays, so we settle for something inferior.

We set the scene on a Thursday evening. Dinner is still undecided and we settle on Eastern Twist once again, since it feels as though it is a no fuss-kind of option. For a family with a lot of diverging tastes, it is remarkably easy to agree on it. We walk the dog, Vader, and pick up our sandwiches and fries and walk home. It is around the corner after all. It takes maybe 10 minutes to eat. 

We set the scene on a game night. The Raptors are playing, and everyone’s eyes are going to be glued to the television. We have to pick dinner. There are maybe nine people coming over; how are we supposed to decide? It feels impossible. Our solution: Eastern Twist.

We set the scene on my train ride home to Toronto in April, at the end of last semester. I’m sitting there looking out of the window. I feel reflective; it feels like one of those movie scenes when the rain comes down hard and your hand is on the glass and some beautiful music is playing. The thing is, it is not raining and my hand is not on the glass: Train window glass is probably really dirty. I am listening to Fleetwood Mac, though, and Fleetwood Mac rules.

“Well, I’ve been afraid of changing,

‘Cause I’ve built my whole life around you

But time makes you bolder, even children get older 

And I’m getting older too

Oh, I’m getting older too.”

I return home to a family dinner, and I got to choose the restaurant. We placed a call to Eastern Twist, prepared to order our barbecue chicken wraps and our spicy fries; the specific craving had hit not long before exam season ended and I was excited to be home. The restaurant didn’t pick up the call, and it was not Sunday. 

We tried several more times over the summer to no avail. We drove by one time late in the evening, and the walls had been papered up. Our beloved Eastern Twist had closed its doors. 

Time to be honest: I fibbed a little bit earlier in the name of narrative flow. I was listening to Fleetwood Mac, but I wasn’t listening to the song “Landslide” off of their namesake album. I was listening to “The Chain” off of their album Rumours. But, “Landslide” works better here anyway, because my family has quite cheesily built its life around Eastern Twist. I used to be a picky eater, in part because I was a child who enjoyed chicken fingers, and in part because of allergies. But as a family, we found a place that all of us liked. We introduced friends to it and they liked it too. I honestly do not know anyone who did not fall in love with Eastern Twist at first bite. 

As I grew up, I was raised alongside chicken wraps and spicy fries—I cannot tell you the number of times my lips lost feeling and I persevered for more. It was truly an addictive food, in the best way.

But, Eastern Twist is gone now. I guess you could say I was afraid of changing, kind of like how Stevie Nicks was. The little sandwich shop on the corner of Bathurst St. and St. Clair Ave. is a sandwich shop that my family built its dinner life around. Time has made me bolder and a more adventurous eater. And anyway, a lot of the restaurants that I like are open on Sundays too.


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