Welcome back to Nerdy Lasagna, the food blog that pairs my favorite nerdy things with pasta and cannabis. However, on this blog I not only wanted to showcase the geeky things in my life, my passion for cannabis, and my love of cooking, but I also wanted to showcase some of the best restaurants that also celebrate all of these wonderful things.
Today the first snowfall has hit, and as I hide inside at home on my couch, bundled up in long-johns, blankets, and three cats, I desperately try to log onto the streaming service to end all streaming services; Disney Plus. Today is the first day of the mega media giant’s foray into the streaming world, and lets just say it has not exactly gone smoothly for them. The whole system crashed, but what can you expect? Everyone has been talking about it – including myself – non stop for months. So I continued to sit, daydreaming about the amount of content from my favorite fandoms like Marvel and Star Wars, childhood favorites like Talespin and Darkwing Duck, to even the flipping Simpsons. THE SIMPSONS! As thoughts of the abundance of cool shit filled my senses I began to overwhelm myself and I couldn’t help but laugh. I am way too excited about this. The last time I ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of nerdy things in one place was the time when I was in a restaurant that devotes itself to embracing all things in the fandom culture; Storm Crow Manor.
Jason Kapalka, a founder of the video game studio PopCap games – the creators of Plants vs Zombies and Bejeweled – wanted to open a bar with one simple concept, “A sports bar, but for geeks.” In 2012 his dream came true with the opening of Storm Crow Tavern in Vancouver, BC. Since then the “Nerd Bar Revolution” as they call it, expanded. First, in 2015 to the Storm Crow Alehouse which is twice the size of the Tavern and features a life size Tardis! In 2018 the Storm Crow expanded once more to Toronto, Ontario and took residence inside an old Victorian manor. Storm Crow Manor has moving paintings, secret doorways, and each room is themed differently with science fiction, horror, and fantasy fandoms.
When my wife told me we were going to a restaurant in Toronto for her birthday called Storm Crow Manor, I honestly thought we were going to some new hipster gastro pub. Better have some good pasta, I thought to myself as I quickly forgot the night’s plans. We arrived and the place instantly put a large smile on my face with its dark exterior giving the vibe of year round Halloween and a glowing neon sign in the window of a shapely woman in a Boba Fett helmet. The sign read “Live Nerds.” Can you become instant best friends with a restaurant? YUP!
We walked in the doors of the Manor and were instantly hit with a barrage of framed pictures, art and memorabilia. Our eyes darted from wall to wall trying to absorb everything we saw from our favorite movies, TV shows, and comics. My wife would quickly tug on my arm and point out a Buffy the Vampire Slayer themed art piece, or I would tap her shoulder every time I saw a Marvel related thing. I am sure we can go there ten times and still see something different every time. The hostess walked us through the manor to our table. I believe she was talking but I couldn’t hear her over the sight of so much cool shit. It’s the same feeling I am having right now while I wait for Disney Plus to load…I couldn’t help but laugh in astonishment. I’m glad my wife kept this as a surprise. Or she told me and I quickly forgot. In either case, I was blown away.
As usual, if I am at any restaurant anywhere my first instinct is to go straight to the pasta section, and with dishes with humorous pun filled names like the Optimus Prime Rib or the Canadian themed Wolverine Poutine, I was excited to see what pasta dishes the manor deemed “an experimental dining event” has come up with. Unfortunately, my excitement came to a halt. What kind of wretched and vile place would not have pasta on the menu!? If this was a review – which it’s not – they would have lost points for that. But then suddenly my wife pointed out something I missed on the menu; Mac and Cheese! If this was a review – which it’s not – they would have gained points for that. The Mac and Cheese even had a clever name “Mac & Cheese KD6-3.7.” What an incredible and magical place.
Other menu items include “Swamp Thing Bayu Chili”, “Steak Sandwich of the Slayer” and a shared table drink that comes in Darth Vader’s head – complete with imperial march music and a light show – as the cheerful waiter brings the helmet of the dark lord to the table for you and your eager friends. The best way to describe this place is a “Planet Hollywood” or “Hard Rock Cafe” but for us Sci Fi, fantasy, and horror loving nerds. Yes, I felt pandered to…but that is exactly what I was looking for.
If I were to pair any type of cannabis with the Storm Crow Manor – or simply experiencing Disney Plus for the first time – I would definitely recommend something cerebral and uplifting. Bruce Banner – the strain, not the Marvel Comics hero – is very high in THC. The euphoric and happy feeling you get from the Hybrid strain matches perfectly with the same feeling you get when you first experience the Storm Crow or even Disney Plus. Bruce Banner – much like the character the strain is named after – is also very energizing, which is perfect for a night out playing board games at the manor with friends or a night-in bingeing The Mandalorian. The whole experience goes straight to your head, but when you walk around and absorb the environment, you feel relaxed, at home and ready to have a good, long night. Was that the description of Bruce Banner, or Storm Crow Manor? That is how well these two go together.
Well I should wrap this up, allowing you to get back to your party planning or bingeing the 90’s X-men cartoons. I have my friend Bruce Banner with me ready to get our stream on, and if you were wondering, yes of course Talespin is the first thing I am going to watch. Anthropomorphic animals having dog fights with air pirates in a 1930’s setting complete with a cast of characters based off of Sam Malone and Rebecca Howe from the 80’s sitcom Cheers? Ya ok, I’m NOT going to get super baked and watch that.