Tonight is the first night we’ve been back at La Palette after their self-imposed “holiday” to catch up on repairs and renos, you know, just like the french do in France (after they have a humiliating experience with a restaurant inspector). The announcement on their web page left me wondering exactly what renos they might be undertaking, given that they’ve had an adversarial relationship with the protesters who have been camped out front almost every week since February 2012.
I can tell you that more than once I glanced upwards towards to the roof of this former horse stable, to see if co-owner Shamez Amlani was standing up there with a boiling hot cauldron of bacon grease, rather like those medieval “anti-personnel” fortifications that consisted of incendiary devices or other flaming projectiles lobbed at enemy combatants during castle sieges. Alas, the “renos” did not consist of gunpower, quicklime, flame throwers, or napalm, but Shamez is forever inching those plants out closer towards the sidewalk, trying to push us further away from the front façade of the restaurant and towards the collection of derelict pre-WWII bicycles, which he probably believes creates “shabby chic ambiance.”
I’d have to say that, IMO, the bikes offer all the ambiance of an episode of “American Pickers” of the “Jersey Shore” meets “Hoarders.” You don’t want to brush up against this rusty junk – there are sharp bicycle fenders pointing
out at right angles towards pedestrians as they walk by. The Queen Street West drunks are particularly uncoordinated tonight, snatching a protest sign and lurching uncontrollably into storefronts, falling into pedestrians, faceplanting on the sidewalks, and narrowly avoiding that rusty tangled mass of junk. I hope anyone coming into contact with these pre-industrial relics has recently had tetanus shots, although I suppose when you’re drunk and lurching along Queen Street West late at night, your physical well-being is already a low priority.
Anyway, our protest group had speculated that at least part of the reason for the temporary shutdown was due to the excitement of the protest immediately prior, where protest devotee Bob
was again manhandled by Shamez. Shamez is really teetering on the precipice of arrest now – that bad boy can’t seem to keep his temper under control, and Bob’s defenceless sign was mangled once again – now it has a permanent crease down the middle after La Palette’s chief horse-hater struck at Bob through the sign. You’d expect that a clean air/bicycle activist would be a peaceful sort of person, no? I also wouldn’t blame you if you opined that it seemed like a direct conflict for such an activist to turn around and serve non-food animals who have been treated with prohibited drugs and then transported long distances and cruelly slaughtered, to his restaurant patrons. Shamez seems to confirm, as recounted in this blog since April, that he’s hardly the zen-priest of pacifism, logic, or reason.
By definition, assault and/or battery consists of physical contact with another person without their consent. An injury need not occur for an assault to be committed, but the force used in the assault must be offensive in nature with an intention to apply force, which is surely does. Typically, people with bad tempers accompanied by poor life skills and/or coping mechanisms find themselves making physical contact with someone as part of their argument. Just sayin’
By now, you may be asking yourself, dear reader, WWBD (What Would Bob Do) after yet another altercation in front of the restaurant? Bob and the other protesters conferred and in the end, cops attended the scene, and had convo with Shamez that fortunately for him, did not include a taser, handcuffs, or a late-night phone call to a sleazy lawyer in a banlon suit. The cops concluded their visit by advising Shamez that if he causes another physical altercation with a protester, he will be charged.
Although we have no still pictures of this event, we do have this incredible, remastered, eyewitness video:
I guess this means that Shamez will now longer be mistaking the protest as a “Pro- La Palette” event, as he has claimed in the past?
In case you were thinking that Shamez was always the “Centaur of Attention” at his restaurant, guess again. It seems that his chef may also hold delusions of grandeur. Don’t all chefs have delusions of grandeur though? It is only food, after all, and chefs are not deities. So whenever you see those big white plates with microscopic portions on them, you can feel validated for thinking that chefs take themselves far too seriously. On his Facebook page, Chef Brook Kavanagh makes the rather unbelievable claim he is teaching a National Geographic course? Seriously? I thought a Discovery show on French topics might discuss the Maginot Line, the French Revolution, or Churchill on the Battle of France, but no, Brook claims he is TEACHING it. This is a show about technology.
I know that some of these programs have teaching modules, but how could horsemeat possibly represent the subject matter for this show? Judging by the Facebook pics, it looks more like the History channel featured *something* on horsemeat. Or perhaps it was a show on trichinosis? I wonder if it was a segment dealing with the ramifications of leaving meat out at room temperature and consequently barely passing their Public Health inspection?
Try as I might, I couldn’t find any independent verification of the claim of teaching a Discovery Channel show, so I’m am throwing shade on this claim, even though I totally believe that he is telling anyone with a pulse that horsemeat is just fab. But when Teacher Appreciation Day rolls around, I’ll have to give you a pass – sorry!
And now, for a revelation that will give any attention whore pause…………wait for it……….
The last and most interesting development for the evening is that an anonymous tipster, who ate at La Palette and saw our protest outside, reached out to me via the blog. One half of
the couple who dined there described Shamez’ demeanor as “perpetually pissed-off” on this evening (weekly jousts with protesters and cops might have that effect). Ventilation was also terrible – the tipster described the place as being full of greasy smoke – the host apparently discourages patrons from sitting up front where the air is fresher, because of the protesters!
I guess there’s nothing like greasy smoke for shabby-chic ambiance – but if it were me Shamez, I would have made “improved ventilation” one of the “renos” that you were going to complete during the shutdown. Other notable comments were that these diners felt that, although they enjoyed their entrees, they were overcharged for tiny portions (there must be an inverse relationship between the size of the chef’s ego and the portion size – the bigger the ego of the chef – the tinier the portion?) and that the place was generally “underwhelming” for various reasons. No wonder Amlani feels that he has to rely on the serving of horsemeat to prop up the resto – perhaps $18 for an entree “the size of your fist” isn’t going to cut it.