Have you been following my Toronto adventures?
#1: Road Trip!
And the best way I know to wrap this up… in list form.
The good: The Hockey Hall of Fame was by far my favorite adventure (besides eating my face off… figuratively, OF COURSE). Also, St. Lawrence Market is a cheese lover’s (read: ME) paradise, and I could have om nom nom’d two more days here. Sadly, I didn’t get back to Kensington Market (neighborhood) for vintage perusing because of the stupid, stupid sickness, but what an amazing place. Note: a grilled cheese restaurant DOES exist, but it’s more Panini-style and less Melt. *sadness*
Also, I was so incredibly geeked to find that the Tim Burton exhibit was at the TIFF Bell Lightbox (the Toronto International Film Festival headquarters, for those who don’t know). Totally unexpected and unplanned, until I read about it in a hotel magazine. Of course, we put it on the schedule. And the visit to the gallery sparked so much emotion and nostalgia. Completely loved it.
The bad: The stupid, stupid nightmare-worthy elevator ride and glass observation floor at the CN Tower. Could not stop the shaking — and it certainly did not help matters that it was a particularly windy day in the city and the communications tower was ACTUALLY SHAKING. I was fine with the heights when I was on the exterior observation deck (and could breathe freely), but NOT on glass panels some 33 floors above the ground. Did I mention that the elevator had glass floors. I don’t know about you, but I kind of DON’T want to see myself fall to my death surrounding by fluctuating light patterns. Double rainbow or not.
Decidedly, NOT the fun part of the tourist adventure for me.
The food: It’s probably easiest to direct you to my Yelp reviews for our eating adventures, as we experienced a LOT of food (and perhaps too much room service). Many, many thanks go to the couple behind Tasting Toronto for suggesting several options for dinner, markets, beers and everything in between. Between Yelp reviews and their referrals, we certainly experienced some gems.
I still haven’t quite figured out what Peameal Bacon is, but it is Emeril approved. BAM!
The beer: I was really impressed at the beer scene in Toronto. REALLY impressed.
Here were a few new brews to me during my trip (and a few notes):
Wellington County Dark Ale (Give me a Wellie! Love it — and my new bar coaster)
Amsterdam Black Friday Brew (exclusive: I like; only two other bars in Toronto carry it)
Flying Monkey Cascadian Dark Ale
Railway City Brewing Dead Elephant Ale (came highly recommended, but just OK; loved the label)
Beau Layered Ale
Black Oak Pale Ale (bubbly! nice in my mouth)
C’est What? Caraway Rye Beer (many times over: wow, wow, wow — excellent beer)
Alexander Keith’s Harvest Ale (reminded me of Sam Adam’s… weird)
We did attempt a stop at the Steam Whistle Brewing, but their open hours were only until 6pm. AND we missed it, but not for NOT trying — as it took us some 20 minutes to find where an entrance even existed. Cool building though and loved the trains. We didn’t end up back in that part of the city again to tour the brewery. We did stop into the Hard Rock Cafe (lame) in Yonge-Dundas Square (think: small Times Square). No interesting beers. At all. But Steam Whistle was available, which was so reminiscent of (disgusting) Heineken — in green glass printed bottle concept and taste. Blech.
Another gem: Distillery District is a cute little neighborhoods in Toronto, which includes galleries, restaurants, bars and the like, converted from the shell of a huge, old Distillery. Located in that maze of establishments is Mill Street Brewing Company — another one of our “favorites” from our trip. Because I like to share hilarious stories… while we were sitting at the bar, a one-camera film crew came in, recording what felt like part of a reality show. Or the intro to a porno… because THAT WOULD TOTALLY HAPPEN TO ME.
My face was definitely on camera — so if you ever see something taking place at this bar, please direct me to YouTube. We were not asked to sign any releases, but the bartender mentioned that it was some overseas show (recording without permission, natch — hence: porn), and she had no clue what it was all about either NOR did she want to be on camera. Anyways… interesting.
I had the award-winning Tankhouse Ale and sampled the Coffee Porter — both fantastic beers, worthy of their medals. We also purchased a 2010 Barley Wine, which couldn’t wait until we got home, and we enjoyed it that night from the hotel. We made friends with the sales associate and would LOVE to do a trade for another Barley to age (she says it’s even better).
Toronto was an amazing place. Even better than I remember from that fateful band trip some 20 years ago. I cannot wait to return — for the food, the culture AND the beer. And definitely get in some more cheese tastings!