Categories
Diversions Toronto

Tourist in my home town – Grange Park

NOTE: I took these pictures in October 2019. I thought they would be good to share now during physical distancing so we can remember what’s waiting for us all when we’re done.

Tucked away behind the Art Gallery of Ontario and OCAD University is the most lovely little oasis.

At one time it was basically the back yard for The Grange (which was the original home of the AGO and has it’s own long history) and now it’s a lovely spot to wander, listen to kids playing on the playground, or water gurgling through the splash pad (in summer) or from the fountain:

(there was a person who was obviously quite fond of the fountain hanging around it and every time I went to take a picture would try and move into the shot. I’m not sure if they wanted to be in the picture or just stop me from taking it but I eventually got this photo)

I really love the way Toronto can pull off nature in the middle of the city!

And of course, the love affair with Henry Moore continues:

Large Two Forms - Henry Moore
Large Two Forms – Henry Moore

The Henry Moore Sculpture Centre in the AGO is the largest public collection of Henry Moore’s work – and he gave most of it to the gallery.

Categories
Diversions Toronto

Being a tourist in my home town – Visiting the AGO

Now that the weather isn’t so unbearably hot and humid for me I thought I’d try and go out for a walk during my lunch break every once in a while. The Art Gallery of Ontario is just around the corner from my office so I figured that’s a great place to start.

In September I went and saw a photography exhibit called “women in focus.” It was lovely.

Here are some of my favourite photos:

This one is from Lotte Jacobi – I love the way the movement is captured. I keep expecting the dancer to keep going!

I just want to know what she’s thinking! This is called “Sea of Ice (Genevieve)” from 1935.

This is a print from Violet Keene Perinchief – originally from England but moved to Ontario and “found commercial success as the manager of the Eaton’s photography studio” before setting up her own shop. The eyes. Really, that’s it. Just the eyes.

Taking pictures of photos behind glass isn’t a strength of mine obviously. Here’s a better version of the above photo:

More from the AGO in the future that’s for sure, especially because now I have a membership.

Categories
Food Review

Purple Penguin Cafe

I really want to start talking a lot more about nifty stuff in Toronto – places we’ve been, food we’ve eaten, things we’ve seen. And this came to me of course as soon as I had something that I knew you’re really gonna want to try yourselves: the apple fritters from the Purple Penguin Cafe. (They’re also on facebook and twitter – well, the cafe is, not the fritters 😉 )

Located in Leslieville right at the corner of Queen East and Logan, they’re open every day and occasionally have a sale on the fritters – 12 for $12 (instead of the usual $15 – which is obviously still an awesome deal for freshly-made apple fritters!)

We stopped by Saturday morning, calling about 30 minutes in advance to reserve a dozen – they were quickly enjoyed by everyone at work. So quickly I forgot to take a photo so had to ask June for one:

We also picked up a chocolate brownie for the Mighty Q. He said it was good and when I asked if he could compare it to other brownies he’s had, without hesitation he declared it the “best ever. ”

(I’m not going to bother to tell him it’s vegan and gluten free!)

vegan AND gluten free! who knew!?!

Oh and a better picture of the “best ever brownies” (remember this is the kid who is on an ongoing search for the city’s best pain au chocolat!)

best ever brownies

And then on Sunday, when we were out running errands, Toby asked “where was that place that you got the amazing apple fritters.” And he ate his a good 7 hours after I picked them up. It just so happened we were driving up Logan so I was sure to point out the purple corner!

taken from google search

Definitely a local business we’re happy to support – fresh, natural, and amazingly delicious.

(a final note, these are definitely my thoughts, I paid for everything, it wasn’t until after everyone devoured the fritters that I thought it would make a good blog post. I did ask June for some pictures but well after I did the draft and she’s gonna see this post at the same time as all of you!)

Categories
Diversions

B is for Beer

So like I said in the Main B post I went outside my comfort zone and bought a new beer: a limited edition release barrel aged kriek from Big Rock brewery. Which is basically a cherry sour beer. I shared the first bottle with our friend who was kind enough to make a pit-stop that day to pick them up.

enjoyed at the Hotel Cavell

An amazing colour. A wonderful smell. Not something I could drink. So one of the bottles made it to our best friends and another to our piano teacher. Which leaves the fourth. Which randomly ended up having the same number as our house. I’m holding on to that one!

Then there was a pint (another barrel aged) and the Big Sleep before our dinner out at the Fifth.

at the bar hop bar on Peter Street

And the new-to-me brewery Muddy York – an old nickname for Toronto.  And yes, while they have a few IPAs (my favourite style), they also make porters, lagers, and stouts and more!

The website lists 19 current beers (and 5 retired ones!) although not all the current ones are available right now. In any event, they list:

  • 6 pale ales
  • 3 IPAs
  • 2 lagers
  • 2 porters
  • 1 amber ale
  • 1 bitter
  • 1 double IPA
  • 1 hefeweizen
  • 1 hoppy wheat
  • 1 stout

I’ve had two IPAs, a bitter, the hefeweizen (which is one of my new favourites!), a pale ale and a lager. And one smoked beer they don’t currently list on the website (drinking something that tastes like smoke is a little weird for me). I’m likely only to have a taste of the porters and stouts, or maybe I’ll head to the brewery for tastes of them. But I’d love to work my way through them all. Hmmmm I wonder if they do flights in the bar! I’m trying to do low carb now for a bit again so it’ll all have to wait.

Categories
Diversions

Dinner at the Fifth – take two

Sometimes things don’t go as well as you expect. And it really did start out as a first world problem: I was the high bidder on a bunch of restaurant gift cards and experiences at a fundraising event for the National Ballet School.

One of the experiences was a dinner for four at the Fifth Grill & Terrace. I had heard such great things about the food and it turns out Toby sang at an event there once! So we invited a couple of friends to come with us at the end of October last year. And after a welcoming start, nothing went well.

When we got there we were asked for any allergies and how hungry we were. We all replied enthusiastically! We were also asked whether we wanted just a “meat” menu or just a “seafood” menu or a mixture of both. Three of the four of us said a mixture and one said meat. It was a fairly involved conversation.

The first dish was lobster bisque. It was very nice. But we had no idea what it was. Two servers came, put the bowls down and walked away. The same happened with the salad. No description, we had to wave someone over.

Then I asked what beers there were and had to explain to the server that “Granville Island” was a brewery that made several beers and he kept saying the beer was called “Granville Island.” I asked him to go get it for me. You get the idea.

So I emailed the restaurant a couple of days later and set out everything and, after a bunch of emails back and forth, we were invited back to try again. We were all a little nervous but game to give the Fifth another chance. And we are so glad we did!

We went back the other night and the entire evening was amazing; everything you’d expect a chef’s tasting menu to be! The food was fantastic – from a delightful amuse-bouche to that wonderful lobster bisque to an amazing steak tartare with a fried quail egg and possibly the best beef cheek I’ve ever had. And, amazingly, they also added wines to each course for us and accommodated my red-wine aversion with aplomb. In fact I really need to figure out which white Burgundy they gave us. I _need_ that wine.

The service was wonderful, the room is beautiful and the food incredible. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for a special evening out.