Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Taste Of Glory

While the Liberal Party mourns (or celebrates) the passing of a legend in his own mind, Haligonians mark the departure of a true legend whose contribution to society has already proven to be far more positive and enduring:

It’s something few Nova Scotians will confess to indulging in sober and, like it or not, it’s given the province a unique place on the international culinary map.

The donair, a mess of spiced beef, sweet sauce and vegetables on a pita that attracts legions of new fans and critics each year, passes a milestone of sorts Friday.

John Kamoulakos of Halifax, a founder of Mr. Donair Ltd., will hang up his rack for good to retire from the business.

"I’ve got to say I think other people made more money off the donair than we did, but I’m very proud of it," Mr. Kamoulakos said Wednesday, while sharing some memories of the donair’s origin.

Mr. Kamoulakos and his late brother Peter are responsible for the popularity of the spicy late-night snack throughout most of the Maritimes.

Although the concoction Peter put together in 1971, some years after the brothers arrived in Nova Scotia from Greece, did not enjoy the success of some other ventures, Mr. Kamoulakos said the donair brought success to many small independent operators and their families.

There is no donair but the Halifax donair. Big chunks of donair meat, onions, tomatoes and donair sauce in a pita wrapped in tinfoil.

A mere gyro cannot satisfy the craving for a real donair, no matter how much meat and tzatziki gets crammed into a pita.

Toronto may pride itself on having the most diverse culinary scene anywhere, but what would the loss of a dozen trendy fusion bistros and wine bars matter, if it gained a place that serves real donairs in return?

Were I on death row, I would want a real donair for my last meal--preferably the extra-large from Robert's Pizza in Shannon Park, of which more may be read about here.

Godspeed, Mr. Kamoulakos. Your legacy will span the generations.

Source: Halifax Chronicle-Herald


Sara said...

damn I miss those donairs, in Dartmouth you go to Pizza Time!

whenever family comes to Ottawa I make them get me some donairs. They pack them for the plane!

Glen said...

I had one once and it took me two days to eat.
It violated the Kliban caution to "Never eat anything bigger than your head."

Alan said...

"Big chunks of donair meat, onions, tomatoes and donair sauce in a pita wrapped in tinfoil."

You forgot to add - followed by a smoke and the rest of the beer you smuggled out of the pub as you sway on the sidewalk outside King of Donair.

Ah, good times.