Wednesday, June 14

The Hunt for the Golden Lion; plus Zanta comes to town, AND the only Tunisian restaurant in the city!

I bike all through the west end looking for the Ukraine game. I pass young men on the sidewalk looking for the same "We don't want any old bar - we want something Ukrainian."

It takes directions from the Ukrainian Social Service Agency at Jane and Bloor to point me toward the Golden Lion, a banquet hall in south Etobicoke. I'm riding all along the Queensway hoping for a sign; police officers, construction workers can't tell me where to find the game (they do happily recommend the Lancaster strip club however).

Finally I hit paydirt at Canmotor road just past Royal York: it's the Golden Lion, and yellowy blue is waving.

Ukraine is destroyed 4-0 by an incredible Spanish attack. The perogies (only $5 for about 15) make up for it.

It takes 24 subway stops to get from Royal York to Coxwell, for Tunisia v Saudi Arabia. Every station on the Bloor Line looks identical. Not much fun. Until Zanta hops on at Runnymede and tells me how famous he is. I nod in agreement and delightedly take photos. But he's off again at Keele and leaves me chuckling and the rest of the staid T-dot commuters barely stifling their smiles.

Djerba la Douce is owned by Abdul, who has been on CBC a lot recently - first he opened the only Tunisian restaurant in the city (although he proudly points out that Djerba is an island off the coast, so he's not a mainlander), and now his countrymen take on the football world. At first I'm the only one watching, but curious reporters begin trickling in, followed by a half-dozen actual fans. The CBC capture me pouring a mint tea as though I were dyed in the wool Djerbescu.

Tunisia plays well before the half, but the Saudis turn it on in the final 45 and take a 2-1 lead. It looks bleak, but with minutes left Abdul rejoices as his boys tie it up and the match ends 2-2. Abdul shakes his head - Tunisia got lucky.

I finally make it inside the Goethe Institute, where 'The Wall' has crumbled and the match shows to all on the beautiful big screen. I only watch 10 minutes before the half ends, and then I'm off to SportChek to buy my brother an Italy jersey for his birthday (Happy 30th, CJT!). Germany wins 1-0 over Poland but I don't care - I've already been alienated.


Erik M said...

One--I can't believe I stumbled on this, Tanzola. I am, Sir, impressed.

Two--where can I find a good bar to watch my Swiss team?

Three--Should the Italians be lucky enough to survive, I think my wife's Argentines will put them down permanently.


Angry Brown Man said...


Yesyes yes

Cupcake Man said...

where to watch Switzerland...

besides Swiss Chalet there is Movenpick, another Swiss chain.

Some Fondue restos (should be Swiss, no?) -
Delisle Restaurant & Wine Bar
1560 Yonge St.
Toronto 416-960-1707

1112 Yonge St.
Toronto 416-966-0185

Cupcake Man said...

ps - Missio why aren't you and Nat cheering for Italy? It's the one thing you can agree on. shame on you.

Danielle said...

dude, i actually got into and was welcomed at the hallowed halls of La Cervejaria this morning for the Portugal/Mexico game. had to be there at 9:15 am to get my seat. let me know if you need a guest report on the experience.

Mango said...

great site! just stumbled onto it. i was trying to do the same but it sucks that all the games were early in the day. only got to see the Trini game vs Eng. i'm thinking of going to the Rogers Centre for the final. said...

forget the soccor talk for a minute. you mentioned zanta.

my friend and i first met zanta while knocking back a few on a bloor west patio one night. maybe three weeks ago. the patrons around me, as well as the bar staff, all assured me that he is a local character. he seems to be quite well known in that part of town.

my next meeting with the shirtless wonder was at pride. (allow me to quickly point out that i am NOT gay, not that there is anything wrong with that.) i was working at a praticular stage when what to my wondering eyes do appear? well, no sled or deer but there was zanta. he had perched himself on the front of my stage and was singing (much too loudly) and dancing (much too wildly) to the pre-show music.

my friend, zanta really exists. and he is famous.