It's become a tradition of our visits to Toronto that my parents graciously watch the kids while Julie and I have a day of shopping and eating out downtown. We usually go down to Queen Street to see what's new in the stores. Last time Julie bought something from Annie Thompson and we went to dinner in Leslieville.
This time we went first to Caban, a lifestyle store from the Club Monaco empire. How to describe it? Club Monaco is like Banana Republic for hipsters. One of my great non-buying regrets involved Club Monaco and a pair of purple pants (the other one involves Miffy, the mouthless bunny). Caban, then, is like ... Pottery Barns crossed with Urban Outfitters without the kitsch.
Anyway, Caban is going out of business (which is why I didn't bother to link to it). on the day we were there, the store had just initiated a 30% clearance on everything and had been diverting all merchandise in Canada to the Queen Street outlet. Needless to say, we found some nice bargains. I think the coup was the $69 pants that were tagged $5 -- and then the cashier took another 30% off. Yes, $3.50 for pants. Yes, that's 95% off the original price. Crazy.
We then drove west past Bathurst and went to Kolkid, a fun store with toys, books and clothes for kids. Julie thinks it might be better next time to shop at the designer cooperatives just down the street. They're neat and it's fun to buy from the designer (Annie Thompson had come from the back of the shop to show Julie all the features on her skirt last time).
We also spent money at Morba, another lifestyle type place, but with more furnishings, including lots of Danish modern and other vintage pieces.
We looked but didn't buy at Timmie's Doggie Outfitters. The website as of now is not live, but the blog has some nice pictures.
Then it was time to eat. We decided to graze and sample a few places. First we had a beer and appetizers on back patio of Squirly's. I may have overdone it, because after that I wasn't hungry anymore.
But we went on to Banu, an Iranian place for some salad.
And then we got to Habitat. Habitat is an interesting restaurant where they served "kaisekis"; essentially tapas inspired by ... anything. You order 3, 5 or 7 kaisekis and they come out beautifully presented.
We had 5 of these bite sized tastes and Julie's first reaction was, "Is that all there is?" and then after the food was explained to us, her reaction was, "Do we have to eat all of it?"
Here's what we had, clockwise from the bottom: foie gras with white beans and fried onions; a sardine on gazpacho; frog legs wrapped in bacon; a ravioli with two sauces and potato foam; and, in that egg shell, an oyster with mushrooms. An experience!
We had told the waiter that I have a mango allergy; Julie wondered if we should have mentioned that she has an aversion to amphibians. (I have to admit, the legs were tasty although a bit fatty.)
That's it for our night out!