We're on our annual trip to Toronto to see my parents.
As part of the annual trip, Julie and I went downtown Tuesday (our anniversary) while my parents took the kids to the Ontario Science Center.
First, we parked down in Leslieville because I had read that there were a lot of furniture stores down there. We found quite a few in some old factory buildings on Carlaw between Gerrard and Queen Street East. In one factory we browsed a studio that imported furniture from Asia, another one that imported furniture and furnishings from Africa, and a lighting design firm that provided the lighting for the Bellagio and MGM Grand in Vegas and was working on a Trump project in Toronto.
We stopped for a delicious snack and Bonjour Brioche on Queen. Julie had what she said was the best croissant ever and I had a brioche with cheese and blueberries baked on it, a bit like a cheese danish. And our car was parked right outside of Ambiance Chocolat so we had to sample a truffle each -- scrumptious and beautiful.
It was around lunch time so we stopped at Pizza-Pide for a pide! Pide is a delicious Turkish food that is a lot like pizza -- a thin crust with toppings baked at a high temperature. It was the best pide I've had outside of Turkey, but it was not quite right. I think there was too much meat on the pide. The cook said that he felt like the meat was better quality in Turkey but more expensive; in Canada, he put on extra toppings. The end result, however, was a ratio that didn't feel quite right. Sometimes street food should be made like street food and not gussied up too much. As a side note, the place serves Ayran, a salty yogurt drink that I don't particularly like, but I was so happy to see it in North America.
I may have been extra nostalgic about Turkey because the day before the family had gone to the ROM, newly redesigned with a weird crystal growing out of the north side (and a new entrance on Bloor), and I was trying to tell the kids about Cuyler Young, former director of the museum and an archaeologist I had met and worked with in Turkey. The ROM was gorgeous and the natural history displays were really aesthetically appealing and had enough information to stimulate some good conversations with the kids. The hands-on kids area was also fun, and the food in the cafeteria was quite appealing.
Our next stop was Little India. One of the guys sitting next to us at Bonjour Brioche had told us that Little India wasn't true Indian -- instead it was mostly populated by Indians from Uganda who had been kicked out by Idi Amin. Julie got a neat top and skirt from some little shops and we talked to a guy who made Indian style popsicles using disposable chopsticks as his sticks. We stopped at the Udupi Palace for a snack. Julie ordered some samosas and they were yummy but super spicy. Luckily I had ordered the Dhaivada, a lentil donut that was served in a cool, refreshing spiced yogurt that cut through the heat of the samosas.
From there we visited Cream (or find them on Facebook). We had seen the issue of Now touting the best ice cream in the city and had to try their #1. Well worth it. Julie had the banana chocolate and I had an orange blossom cone. Both delicious. They also make ice cream from sheep's milk. Mmm... dondurma.
We popped down to the Distillery to see if we could get tickets to the Soulpepper Theater but no dice. Last year we had lucked into two rush tickets for their night of one acts, Peter Shaffer's Black Comedy and Tom Stoppard's Real Inspector Hound. The shows were well staged, and had great casts and we had hoped to see another show there. Maybe next year.
West Queen West was as hip as usual and Julie found some great bargains at the Blue Shoe Box' renovation sale (693 Queen St. W, just up a bit from BakkaPhoenix). By the time we left the store she was in a completely different outfit from that morning.
The Duke of York up by St. George had seats out on the patio and we enjoyed some Canadian beers and fish and chips. We also watched some of the Red Sox - Blue Jays game on the tube.
Yesterday, we made a family outing to Ontario Place. The kids love it. This year we brought our bathing suits to enjoy the water park. The highlight was the Rush River Raft Ride, a four person raft down a big water slide. The kids did some rides, we played mini-golf, and we saw an IMAX film called Hurricane on the Bayou. Mari was terrific in the H2O Generation Station (the kiddie habitrail, we call it) and Austin loved the Atom Blaster, which reminded me of the basement of a Chinese department store. We had dinner at the Marina Grille, a restaurant I never realized existed in the middle of the park.
My parents took the kids home and Julie and I got some nosebleed seats at the SkyDome where we saw the Red Sox beat the Jays 6-1. Among the highlights were a Jacoby Ellsbury triple and Kevin Youkilis caught in a rundown between 2nd and 3rd and somehow getting back to 2nd without getting tagged. Lots of Sox fans in attendance, based on the cheering. Not surprising since Fenway is always listed as the most expensive park in the Major Leagues and tickets to the Dome were just $14 -- Canadian!
We've had a lot of fun hitting the family attractions here (the kids are 6 and almost 5 this year). Looking forward to taking the kids to Casa Loma in a year or so, or up the CN Tower. Maybe even take Austin to the Sky Dome.