Why do we touch a stove when we know it will just burn us? Perhaps we were told not to touch the shiny, red thing in the kitchen, but our innate curiosity always seems to win our primitive minds over. On the other hand, this could just be attributed to a masochistic part deep inside all of us that enjoys the pain and would secretly like to continue receiving it. Such is the case, I feel, for unnecessarily large dining excursions. Whatever happened to eating to the brink of satiation? Why are we so eager to go stuff ourselves with excessive amounts of carbohydrates only to regret it later and make an overly fallible promise to not repeat the experience ever again? Maybe it’s just the natural human tendency to live by the policy of “the bigger the better.” After all, the universe is theorized to be continuously expanding, so why can’t our meals? If you are an advocate of this, then I’m sure you’ve been to Anton’s Pasta Bar. I had heard tell of its absolutely legendary portion size, leading me to neglect my disdain in favour of my own sick curiosity.
Given the enormous amount of food that awaited me, I think the complimentary bread was just some kind of unruly tease here. Well played, Anton, well played. Not willing to waste too much food, I still elected to consume one bun. It tasted relatively standard.
Feeling like an excessive amount of white sauce would be too much to handle, I instead went for a richer, less creamier red sauce dish. This happened to be the linguine bolognese. They do have quite the variety on their menu, leaving you the freedom to choose how to tortue yourself. As the large plate emerged from the kitchen, I happened to glance over at another table of four. Their party was splitting two plates amongst themselves and still had to doggy bag the leftovers. I instantly felt my level of fatassery intensify, but I picked up my fork and attacked this non-flying spaghetti monster.
The noodles themselves were thicker than your standard variety, as you can see from the picture above. In addition to being larger in diameter, there was also a rather large quantity of them. It was a double whammy of extra carb goodness, if you will. They were, however, not cooked al dente and were instead quite chewy. I suppose this could be advantageous in this situation, as having to meticulously chew all of these mouthfuls of pasta would have made the task much more difficult.
The sauce itself was somewhere between your standard jarred variety and a freshly prepared mix. I suppose one could draw a bit of a chicken or egg question out of this: was the sauce day-old? In any case, it was still reasonably edible and sufficient to flavour all of that pasta. There was, of course, more than enough to properly mix it in with the majority of said pasta.
The meatballs definitely had a much more processed feel. These are not your hand-crafted spheres of meat. Instead, they were much more similar to the slightly tough, lightly flavourful balls that you may see while consuming hot pot, except for their greatly increased size. The layer of sauce on its peripheral cut short of being able to flavour the entire thing sufficiently.
Now the question remains, of course: how much did Andy, who says he eats a lot, eat? Well, I ate. And ate. And ate. And ate. And ate. And ate. And ate. And I continued eating until all the other patrons had left the restaurant, and the servers started giving me funny looks as they attempted to close up shop. I eventually recognized that my time was up and was thus forced to take the contents of the above photograph home. It came to be the lunch of the following day, although by that point, I was quite tired of experiencing the same gustatory sensation for so long. I suppose that could be seen as the inherent problem with a dish like this: it will probably grow difficult to shove another bite into your unwilling mouth as you exponentially lose motivation to continue consuming it
In the end, Anton’s is analogous to your friendly neighbourhood AYCE sushi joint: it will bloat you at a reasonable price, just don’t come with any expectation of a high quality to quantity ratio. I suppose the latter is what keeps people in line-ups to gain entry into tis infamous establishment. As such, I feel as if a part of me wouldn’t try to turn down a suggestion to pay this place a visit again. Like runners strive for marathons, I strive to one day have the opportunity to finish that entire plate of pasta in one sitting. You will supposedly get a pen if you do, and daddy needs some new stationary for all the MCAT note-taking that is to come. I suppose I really do inflicting pain on myself, eh?
Conclusion: Andy ate a lot. And died a little.
Anton’s Pasta Bar
4260 Hastings St.