The honey and I will be in town from the 18th to the 26th (apologies to the natives for being part of the Jazzfest invading hordes, but we try not to act like Visigoths) and while we've tried some of the upscale offerings in town (K-Paul's, very nice) and know that there's good good eatin' at the fest (...and, apparently, music. I'll have to check that out this year...) I'd love to try some of the unswanky, unpolished places that just make good food, without being all fancy about it. We'll be staying in Bywater, close to Vaughn's Lounge, but we're not adverse to going where ever there's something good to eat.
To give you an idea of what Im thinking, we love Coop's funky vibe; I'd like to check out Willie Mae's Scotch House that I read about recently; I've never had chicken-fried steak, but I feel like I must before I die; I'm not sure I feel like lining up for Uglesich's whether or not it's open or has closed for good but I'd probably line up for Dick and Jennies's; somewhere that's open late for dinner after Jazzfest would be great--not that we'll be hungry, it would just be a shame to skip a meal in New Orleans; one of the best meals I've had in New Orleans was at Mandina's, but it was also the night of a huge rain storm (I think the Times-Picayune called it "a flood of biblical proportions" the next day") so that whole evening has taken on a mythic quality in my mind (wading through the Quarter, watching geysers of water come ~up~ from the rain sewers, seeing the Café Du Monde ~without~ icing sugar all over the floor).
And because it's not really fair to ask you all to expose your favourite hidden gems to the tourist hordes without offering you something in return, if anyone comes to Toronto I'd recommend:
For Vietnamese--Mi Mi's; try #114 bun (noodles, not po'boy) with grilled pork and shrimp wrapped around sugar cane
For Chinese--Pearl Court; hot and spicy fresh rice noodles with bean sprouts and tung an chicken
For downscale Greek--Astoria; the best tzatziki on the strip and a great patio for people watching
For upscale Greek--Avli; the melitzanosalata and taramosalata are fab and the seafood pie is a thing of beauty
For upscale Portuguese --Chiado; tres cher but tres yum
For downscale Portuguese --Barrida Churrisquiria; grilled chicken and vino verde on one of the best patios in the city
For a vast array of fabulous beers--Allen's; try the Blanche de Chambly, it's like mother's milk...
If you see an exhausted, fat, happy tourist at your tiny hideaway, that'll be me--say hi