I spent my university â€“um, polytechnic â€“ years steps away from Yonge and Dundas and it sure isnâ€™t what it used to be. Remember Rockwellâ€™s Jeans, Sam the Record Man, Mr. Sub and when the Eaton Centre actually had an Eatonâ€™s?
Image: Pedro Szekely
Despite the fact that I live downtown, I donâ€™t get to that (vastly different) corner much anymore â€” certainly not daily â€” as I did when Rick Astley was burning up the pop charts. But I was there very recently to see a move. (Argo â€” it was okay â€” I didnâ€™t love it). After the movie, I was hungry and suggested Salad King â€” a long time Ryerson haunt â€” to D., who wondered aloud if it did indeed have good salads.
Not especially. In fact, it only has two salads on the menu: Green Mango Salad and Green Papaya Salad. I could not explain is rather incongruent name. So I looked it up.
When the owners of the restaurant opened their original location (just a few steps away in the Empress Hotel building at Yonge and Gould) they did indeed serve salads and, sandwiches, but soon switched to Thai food. I donâ€™t actually remember this from my J-School days â€” they were well into the new menu when I arrived on campus.
Not surprisingly, it was mostly full of people who were not too concerned about their RRSPs. Yeah, it looked like pretty much wall-to-wall Ryerson students. I wish I could say I was suddenly transported back in time to my youth. But it wasnâ€™t the same. This place is much bigger and now they even have table service.
But the food was the same â€” not the best Thai food in the city, but tasty enough and still quite cheap. I donâ€™t think it will be a new regular dining spot, but it was fun to revisit.
Later we walked by the condo I lived in 18 years ago â€” 18 years ago! â€”and I was once again shocked back to reality. Next week is my birthday and I have been an adult for a very long time.
You really canâ€™t go back to Salad King and there are no more records for sale.