Posted by: Kennedy | August 23, 2010

My weekend as Toronto tour guide

Well my friends, it’s been another hectic week, followed be an even busier weekend. My younger sister was in town visiting and let me tell you something – playing city tour guide is exhausting!

The sister and me in Montreal this spring, enjoying a little vino and pasta

Despite some rainy weather, we managed to squeeze in quite a bit – a stroll through St. Lawrence Market, several shopping excursions on Yonge Street and Queen West, a trip to Centre Island, not one, but TWO 80s movies marathons (Molly Ringwald, anyone?), and of course, some mighty delicious food.

Now I know I recently solemnly swore on the blog that I was going to stop being a dead-beat home cook, but I think I deserve a by (bye?) this weekend.

Yes, maybe the only meals I made my sister all weekend were a dinner of grilled cheese and salad and breakfast of Oatmeal Crisp and pineapple. But the girl lives in my hometown, where you have two options for international cuisine: Italian (read: a pizza chain) or Chinese. I had no choice. I had to give her taste buds a little culture shock.

Sorry – no food pictures. I kept forgetting to bring my camera…

On Friday, we had a hell of a time deciding on what to have for lunch. It came down to Thai or sushi… and Thai won out in the end. I took her to a little spot near my office called Thai Dish. She had pad thai for the first time in her life, along with hot and sour soup and a spring roll. It was a lot of food so she wrapped up about half her meal and brought it home. She later said to me: “I can’t wait to have my pad thai leftovers for lunch tomorrow!” I think she liked it.

After we cleared some room in our stomaches with a bit of shopping, we stopped in at the Marble Slab Creamery for dessert.

Note: This is not my ice cream. But it looks gooooood...

Never before had my sister had the option of smashing up bits of gummy bears and chocolate bars into her ice cream (unless she was getting creative in our parents’ kitchen). I could say we went there so she could ‘experience’ this, but let’s be honest, I love me some marble slab and will use any excuse to get some.

The next meal of note was, once again, ice cream. On Saturday we took the ferry over to the island, where we snacked on fruit and Clif bars while steering clear of the tempting tastes of Centreville. We were saving our appetites for our afternoon treat: scoops in waffle cones at Summer’s.

This little shop in Yorkville is a new discovery of mine. It’s also walking distance to my house… and it could prove to be quite dangerous. They make everything, including the waffle cones, in house and you can smell it when you walk through the door. It is The. Best. Ice Cream. I’ve had in Toronto. Our flavours of choice were Almond Butter Toffee and Toronto Pothole (chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks, marshmallows, nuts, and according to the ingredient list, gravel and pebbles). Num-num-num…

Hours later, hanging at home, we ordered Indian from my beloved Biryani House. Another spicy first for my sister. Our dishes included: samosa, plain naan, basmati rice, chicken tikka masala and cauliflower masala with hash browns.  The cauliflower had some kick to it. We gobbled it up, went back for seconds, and went to bed full and happy.

I think I’ve converted my sister into a spicy food-lover.

This morning, I let her sleep in while I joined my running friends for a 12k in the rain. It was lovely. I came home soaked to the bone and starving. After a glorious shower, we headed out to Fran’s for brunch. Fran’s is a Toronto institution. It’s been serving up eggs and bacon for hungry locals and tourists alike since 1940! Open 24 hours a day, you can enjoy the retro décor, jukebox tunes and diner favourites morning, noon and night (or at 4 a.m. when you need refueling after a good dance party).

My packed-with-veggies-and-feta omelet really hit the spot today. My sister, quite impressively, managed to eat 97 per cent of the food on her plate. This is a girl who normally has a freakishly tiny appetite and gets full after eating a bowl of soup. I’ve seen her put away more food in the past three days than I have in years. Perhaps Toronto dining agrees with her?

Turns out we needed that energy as we proceeded to walk about 8 km while exploring downtown. After I dropped her at the train station and we said our goodbyes, I met up with Cathy for yet another meal out. Dinner at Hot House was an Oriental-style chicken stirfry – so good yet soooo much.Ugh, I feel gluttonous just typing this… friends, this was not a weekend of balance. I’m on dining-out overload.

Last week however, I did manage to make some meals at home. I even tried out a new recipe from Caitlin’s blog: Cheeseless Pasta Bake. I made it for my friend Michelle as a birthday dinner. It turned out… okay. I may have overcooked it. Instead of cheese, the recipe calls for hummus and eggs and the end product’s texture was akin to a quiche. It tasted good, and it was healthy, it was just… not quite right. I’ll try it again.

I’ll also need to try it again so I can snap a better photo – not sure what happened to the lighting here but it’s terrible! My apologies…

My orange-tinted Cheeseless Pasta Bake

We finished with a delicious chocolate hazelnut cake (though I can’t take credit for making this – thank you, Metro!)

And yellow-tinted birthday cake...

After a run last week, I was in the mood for protein so I cooked up a beef stirfry.

Had some quinoa leftover in the fridge so I decided to throw it in the mix instead of cooking rice.

In this dish: beef strips, green and red pepper, red onion, quinoa, garlic, fresh basil and steak spice. It was very tasty (the Corona hit the spot too).

Now I’m off to get my life organized for this week. It’s shaping up to be another busy one, but it just so happens my fridge is overflowing with leftovers… won’t have to buy my lunch this week!

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Responses

  1. sounds like you two had a great weekend together!!

  2. That sounds like a great weekend! I’m like you, swear to cook at home but then stuff happens and I dine out LOTS. Oh well… at least you’ve got some great leftovers!

  3. There’s a Marble Slab by me in the Beaches… I didn’t know you could smash candy into it!!! Adding that to my places to eat in Toronto list, which seems to grow daily 😉

  4. I LOVE SUMMERS! Greg and I went there all the time last summer and Pothole was my fave! oh and incase you ever make the move to Guelph, a marble slab just opened!!

  5. I know – I finally tracked down your ice cream spot! And I’m a little worried about how obsessed I am.
    p.s. Guelph’s relocation potential just increased. Substantially.
    Miss you!!


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