Tag Archives: Toronto

The hunt for my new Brunch spot!

With the closing of my beloved Whistlers, my brunch mainstay for most of my adult life.
(crazy isn’t it?!)
I am now on the prowl for a new watering hole. A new place to hang my cap.
A new place to lose myself for an hour or two on any given weekend.

Yes, there are plenty of diners out there where I can get a quick all day breakfast.
But I can make that myself. (and usually better to be quite honest)

No, I’m looking for elevated, different, flavourful, fun.
I’m looking for interesting, cozy, local, one of a kind, small business.
I’m looking for sourced, local, seasonal, organic, sustainable, healthy (but decadent)

So today I began my search. I started in my neighbourhood with a newish restaurant, that has been on my radar, but I had yet to try.


They serve a Cypriot / Mediterranean based cuisine. One glance at the menu a couple of months ago had me salivating. Not only are the offerings varied and delicious, but everything is organic, locally sourced and sustainable. They also offer GF & Veg-Vegan options of almost all of their dishes. (not some sad afterthought of 3 options at the bottom of the page) This is their mission statement:

“RIKKOCHEZ refers to a “rebound” — a movement in the food industry that is reviving the core beliefs of an earlier time, when sustainable farming and local sourcing were the norm… a time before ‘fast food’.

Our modern interpretation embodies those fundamental ideas — creating delicious and nutrient-rich food combinations in a locally-inspired Levantine-Eastern Mediterranean cuisine concept that delivers authentic and appetizing meals.

Our menu changes regularly depending on the seasonality and freshness of ingredients, so a specific dish may not be on the menu for long.”

IMG_2738I climbed up onto the chair by the window bench (with possibly the cleanest window I’ve ever looked through) sipped on my coffee and watched my fellow Greektown inhabitants go about their Saturday morning routine. (also, someone sitting in the window of any establishment automatically draws attention and makes it more appealing to passing traffic. No one like to go into an empty restaurant. I can’t count the number of people who walked by, looked at me, then doubled back to read the menu posted on door. I do the very same thing all the time)

The hardest part this morning was choosing which of the delicious options I would test first.

While the Full English breakfast called out to me, I wanted to go for something different and unexpected.

So I went with Mushrooms on Toast.
(Did you know mushrooms are the highest ranked Vitamin D containing veggie? So at this time of year, it is the perfect addition to your regular diet to combat the usual seasonal depletion. anyhoo… )

What was it? Portobello and cremini mushrooms marinaded in miso and tamari, gently sautéed and served on toasted sourdough, with two eggs cooked to your liking. (I went with poached as I still haven’t mastered making those yet) I also discovered a little spinach mixed in! (Bonus vitamin D!!)

It was as delicious as I suspected it would be. A touch on the salty side (which I of course was prepared for due to the tamari/miso combo) but that was perfectly offset by the unctuous yoke from the poached egg, which coated the mushrooms and soaked into the sourdough.

The portion was just right, though some berries would have helped cleanse my salty palate, and the accompanying coffee (a Brazilian/Canadian blend which they also put a great deal of research into) was very tasty, and topped up in a timely fashion.

This is a cozy little room, with a quiet, calm atmosphere, and an attentive, knowledgeable staff.

It was my first visit, but it certainly won’t be my last.


Midnight Run & Party – ’14

All year I’d planned on running the Midnight Run on New Year’s Eve here in Toronto. I’ve been running like a beast all year and I thought what better way to kick off the new year than to RUN full throttle into it at the stroke of midnight!

But as it grew closer, and after much deliberation, I decided I just couldn’t in good conscience justify the $95 (pre-tax) entry fee, especially since I have no desire to “party” and can’t eat or drink any of the post race offerings. Plus, given the circumstances of my year leading up to it, it simply seemed… wrong. Continue reading Midnight Run & Party – ’14

Taste of Toronto – 2014

I still wasn’t feeling 100% when I woke up on Sunday morning, but there was no way was I passing up my last chance to experience the first edition of “Taste  of Toronto”. Though finances and dietary restrictions limited my tasting experience, I still got a “taste” of what everyone else experienced and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

One of the great joys of living in Toronto is the abundance of amazing, epicurean offerings available. From 5 star restaurants headed by up  famous chefs, to local neighbourhood eateries and watering holes, to annual ethnic street festivals in every neighbourhood, to an ever expanding and epic food truck culture.

If there is one thing that NOBODY complains about when visiting Toronto, it’s a lack of food choices

TOR_9236So when I heard that Toronto had been chosen as the first “Taste of…” destination in North America, I was thrilled and not surprised in the least.

From it’s humble beginnings as a single festival in London ten years ago, Taste has grown into a worldwide foodie phenomenon, with “Taste of ” festivals now running annually in cities throughout the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Continue reading Taste of Toronto – 2014

Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5K!

2014-03-14 17.57.40This was by far my hardest race yet. I knew coming into it that it was going to be cold. But we’re talking bone chilling cold kids. (windchills in the -20’s)

By the end of the 1st K, my thighs were a block of ice.
By the 2k mark, in the shadows of the buildings which made that stretch into a wind-tunnel, I sincerely couldn’t feel/sense my lower extremities, and had no idea how I was propelling myself forward at all.
At around 3.5K, the nausea kicked in.

Despite all of that, the calming, encouraging voice on my Nike app was telling me I was on pace to a personal record, so I kept pushing.
As happens during these races, there are random shouts of encouragement along the route between runners. I think that is one of my favorite things. (besides finishing!) I did miss my traditional mid-race high five with my Sistah from anothah mistah! (Kathy)(she’s usually passing me on the way back…) Today I was the encourager, giving someone a pat on the back when she looked like she was about to give up, and telling her to keep up the good work!

Just after the 4K mark, a hill.
<insert a plethora of salty inner dialogue here>
Once the course leveled out, it was time for one final rally, and a strong running finish! Result? a new race day PR!

Once inside Steamwhistle Brewery, while the feeling slowly returned to my legs, I enjoyed the live Irish band while eating a piping hot bowl of chili (sadly couldn’t partake of accompanying beer & bun, damn you gluten!!) and chatted with the top finisher of the Woman’s 60-69 category! (which we discovered via my sportsstats app while talking!) She didn’t begin running until her late 50’s! Yay for picking up new athletic skills later in life!

I’m now home, watching the closing ceremonies of the ParaOlympics, waiting for the last remaining chunk of frozen ass muscle to thaw before sinking into a nice warm bath!

Bring on the next one!

Delicious Food Show – 2013

Look for my review of the show on Travel+Escape… in the meanwhile, enjoy some of the delicious “food porn”

What Makes You Proud?

Sometimes I am moved to tears with pride for my city and my country.
This weekend is one of those times.

It’s not a “hoo ah” military, American, chest puffing pride. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just a little more arrogance than we tend to allow ourselves to celebrate.

It’s a quiet, gentle, some would say “Canadian” pride.

It’s little things…
The kindness and openness of strangers.
Eye contact, smiles, easy impromptu conversations.

I burst with pride when visitors praise my city and my country.

Down by the market, I played peek-a-boo with a baby, strapped to the front of her thickly accented grandfather. She was gorgeous, and friendly and in the finger pointing stage. (all babies go through it) so we “fist bumped” fingers a few times, complete with Meesh sound effects, which got me oodles of giggles and grins, and filled me with smiles and happy endorphins. I gushed about how beautiful she was, and thanked her for the smiles, and her grandfather thanked me over and over again for my kind words.

Later, when I emerged from the subway onto Bloor St, the Dyke March was heading towards us. (tis Pride Weekend here in Toronto, with the big Parade on Sunday) So I stopped to show my support. A lovely gay gentleman had traveled from Ohio to take part in our festivities, and was selling rainbow beads in support of a youth educational/support program. He said he couldn’t fathom anything like this in Ohio, almost shamefully, and told us he was so thrilled to be here. He was selling beads for $3 for 1 or 2 for $5. It was just me, so I asked for 1, and gave him two twoonies for his cause. He doubled back and gave me the second string of beads just cuz. So I promised to “pay them forward”. A few minutes later I struck up a conversation with a lovely Lesbian couple, also out showing their pride and supporting their “sisters”. As I was leaving, I told them the story of the beads, and like a lei, I presented the beads to one of the ladies. In return I got a great big hug, from a complete stranger.
This is what being Canadian is all about, or “Aboot”

My afternoon was spent tucked in a cool theatre watching an independent film from Canadian actress/director Sarah Polley, called “Take this Waltz”. Seemed a perfect movie for Canada Day weekend as it featured not only Canada, but also Toronto, prominently in the background. What a wonderful movie. Such an honest look at love and relationships, and yearning, and getting, and yet still yearning, and finally discovering that you need to find what you’re looking for from within ultimately. (a journey I’ve been on for a while)
I of course fell madly in love with Luke Kirby after the first scene with him in it. *sigh*
I’m so proud of the work Canadian filmmakers do, and our amazing Film industry here in Canada.

To cap off my day, I enjoyed a lovely steak dinner on the patio at Whistler’s, listening to a live Jazz duo (as part of the annual TD Jazz Festival) sipping on a glass of Ontario red wine, followed by a lengthy conversation with a 20yr landed immigrant from Romania, about life, and food, and Canada, and ironically, pride. *sensing a theme today*

I’m proud of myself for making the most of my day, and indulging in all the little things that make life … well… liveable.

Happy Pride & Happy Canada Day my friends! (fitting those two celebrations should merge together on one day!)