Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Canada Edition Part 2-Toronto

Pauline and I were like wee children, whooping and laughing, we were that happy to see each other. We know each other from our school days and were close pals for many years until she ran away to Toronto with a tall, dark and handsome Canadian. We drove to her home in Richmond Hill and had a lovely supper of cold meats and olives. I got to meet her son, who I had not seen for many years and her little daughter Megan whom I had never met. What a wee cutie she is too. I have no idea what time I went to bed but it was in the wee hours of the morning, empty bottle of wine maybe even more beside us. There was so much to catch up on and such little time.

The next morning, we went shopping because a girl can never do enough shopping, right? and I treated myself... to 4 mini loaf tins! Even on holiday, I was thinking about what I could cook next. They were dinky little things and at only $12, a complete steal I've already made bread and lemon cake in them but that's for later. We stopped off at a Chinese supermarket at lunchtime and had sushi; it was a fraction of the price we'd pay in Glasgow and it was all freshly made. What to pick was a dilemma with so much choice but we eventually opted for miso soup, fried and steamed dumplings, california rolls and tempura. It was utterly delicious.

We were meeting up with a crazy crowd of Scottish lassies plus one Irish one later that evening at the Astoria, a well known Greek restaurant. Pauline's parents also moved over to Canada so her lovely mum came along too with some of her friends including, Jane, a Glaswegian who happened to be visiting at the same time. I'd forgotten how funny she is and the night was such a laugh. We all ordered Greek salad, souvlaki, everyone going for chicken except me, going for lamb. It was really nice and Pauline and I decided to finish off with a Greek coffee.

I rather enjoyed the unusual taste but stopped drinking halfway as there was a sediment at the bottom, the way it is supposed to be I presume. Pauline, being caught up in the general hilarity...we laughed throughout the entire meal...decided to just slug it back, not realising that I had put my cup down and found herself in a state of disbelief, horror and wonderment as to where this sand like sludge was going to end up, because it sure wasn't going to be her stomach!

As she tried to dispose spit out of it in as mannerly a fashion as possible, the rest of us laughed at the look on her face; she was completely beyond help as her own face started to crumple in amusement. Needless to say, we had to push several napkins towards her and a trip to the washrooms was required. We went back to Betty's house Pauline's mum where we were entertained by Jane and Ed, Pauline's dad. We also had the Scottish Obligatory Sing Song which was just great fun but no doubt annoyed the neighbours no end. Oops.

Before I left the next day and after a lovely breakfast of bagels and cream cheese, I showed Pauline how to make Paratha as she was having a curry night; I'm happy to say she was delighted with it and her family and friends were very happy at this edition to Pauline's culinary repertoire, which is already vast indeed.

I arrived back at Kate's on Tuesday afternoon, dropped of my luggage, grabbed a book and cooried away inside a local restaurant, Dr Generosity. I ordered Dr G's Eggs Benny; two poached eggs served atop grilled peamill bacon on a toasted English muffin and apparently, topped with zesty hollandaise sauce. This was served with fries. It was nice although the hollandaise was missing and the liberal use of cayenne pepper on the eggs was a bit much but I still enjoyed it and the coffee, managing to read a few chapters of my book before wandering back out into the sunshine.

I travelled into Bloor and Yonge area on the Wednesday and went to the Eaton centre. I thought I would pick up some gifts for the kids and see Coco Chanel, the movie but alas it was not on and I opted instead for some schmaltzy rubbish called PostGrad because the daughter from The Gilmore girls was in it.

Not only was it poor but the hotdog I bought had died a few years before, had been buried and then dug back up for my palate to baulk over. Luckily, the food improved dramatically as I was invited to Jill's that night for dinner. Lovely olives and delicious pasta with shrimp was served with tasty chilled wine and more than made up for the scabby bun and dead dog I'd had earlier. I also got to meet Jill's two beautiful children who kept me entertained until their bedtime.

I had brought a cake from Max's Market on Bloor Street West, a lovely place filled with every conceivable goody of my dreams; pink cakes and chocolate ones, olives and cured meats, curries and pies. I finally chose a strawberry chocolate concoction which tasted as good as it looked, especially since Jill served it with ice cream. Stuffed, we went to the late night movie to see Julie & Julia. I really enjoyed it and loved Meryl Streep's performance of Julia Child bon appétit very much. Of course, the food part of the movie was the best.

Thursday was my last full day in Toronto and I was missing the children very much. I realised that 8 days was just too much time apart and that next time...yes, next time...it shall be no more than 5 days. I spent a great afternoon at the Boulevard club with Kate and Jill, a lovely place by the water with two swimming pools and tennis courts as well as other activities and restaurants. Whilst Kate worked out and Jill played tennis and swam, I partook of some energetic activity of my own; reading and drinking coffee on a deck chair, watching the boats and getting sunburnt. That part was not part of the plan but my milk bottle skin didn't know what to do with itself in the brilliant sunshine.

I got to spend a little more time with Kate's gorgeous children...wee Claire and I hit it off and spent any time we had together making play dough roses and then bashing their heads in plus Kate sneaked me one of her delicious nut-free chocolate brownies and I have to confess that I 'stole' another on Friday afternoon when picking up my bags...I hope you'll forgive me...and then got the train back out to Pauline's house. I never did get to Niagara on the Lake as I was having too much fun doing all the other fun things with my friends but we'll save that for the family trip in 2011.

Pauline and Dave had prepared a feast for me; I was so happy to see Dave's homemade bread, a dish of shiny black olives and some dipping oil with balsamic vinegar which Pauline had gotten for me, especially because she knew I liked it so much. She had also kept me a few portions of her homemade pakora which I wolfed down greedily. I was very kindly furnished with a spice mix which will allow me to make my own and I will give it a go on Saturday evening.

We then had spaghetti and meatballs and a lovely salad; it really tasted great and I asked what the special ingredient was: it was blue cheese! I use cheddar in my meatballs normally and am now switching to blue once you've had blue you can't look back. We had an apple strudel for dessert which I'd brought from a bakery on Bloor Street West and unfortunately, the spice had been forgotten. All things considered, it didn't matter after such a marvellous meal. Dave and Pauline prepared me one of their special Irish coffees and it was really the best I've ever tasted. The rest of the night was spent curled up on a chair outside by the wood fire, chatting about every topic under the sun. It was a lovely night and I was sad to go the next afternoon.

My last night in Toronto was spent at The Boulevard Club with Jill and her children, where she treated me to a lovely Chicken Caesar salad whilst she had pasta. She dropped me off at the airport and I was torn; happy at going back to my family and friends and sad to be leaving wonderful Canada and my friends there, knowing I probably wouldn't be back for a few years.

I had a delightful welcome home and was so happy to see the kids and Brian, even if I did sleep most of the weekend. I enjoyed my trip so much and it already seems like eons ago; it is lovely though to know I have friends so many miles away and that when we meet up, it's like we were never apart. Thank you girls. You're the best.


confused homemaker said...

WOOT for Irish Coffees!! LOL:) Thanks for sharing more of how your trip went.

Unknown Mami said...

Food, glorious food!

B.o.B. said...

Fun trip. Your blog has made me quite hungry though. I don't think I have had Greek coffee. I must try it.

Jill from Canada said...

Mmmm, too bad I missed that portion of your trip. Here is an article in today's paper about dining in Montreal. too bad we whizzed by L'express...next time!


BTW, I am totally inspired by you and have been taking pictures of my last two meals. Tonight it was spicy black bean burritos and last night pasta with homemade tomato sauce loaded with fresh rosemary, basil and spinach. Yum!

Single Mama NYC said...

That's how I feel about you - a sweet friend so many miles away! Hmmmm. I need to start planning my vacation to Glasgow...

Helen McGinn said...

Next time Jill! Ooh, you must send your photos and recipes to me so I can post them! It sounds deelish.

SM NYC...Aww...come over anytime! x

R. Wallis @ TrueBeauty said...

Just stopping by from SITS! Great Blog! This post is making me want an early lunch!
Happy Wednesday!
Come over and check out my 5 DAYS of GIVE-A-WAYS!

beagle said...

I read both parts, sounds like a heavenly trip. I am glad you had a good time. :) All that food sounded divine!

Equidae said...

went to Toronto last yearand got to know there thti was expecting...i enjoyed visiting the family and seeing were i was born but missed Malta hehe aint that funny!

BTW woudl love to learn how to do nice looking cupcakes any hints pls?

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