We waiting around the corner from the supermarket for my food-crazy flickr friend, Renée. And she appeared! So we could EAT MOOOOAAAR. (I know how to spell "more," but sometimes I say it like "moar." What's the difference? "Moar" sounds crazier, like a hybrid of "more" and "mraaaawh." It's also lolcat friendly. I'll admit that my general speech patterns don't give any indication that I'm a college graduate. I've slipped through the cracks. That's what I've been saying ever since I was accepted into college.)
Renée suggested I visit the walnut cake shop, Hodo Kwaja. Although I've seen walnut cakes before (little filled nuggety cakes that are shaped like walnuts and have walnut in them, like mini oobanyaki if that provides any point of reference) in Korean bakeries, I've never tried them. I've also never seen a whole machine set in the front of a bakery that churns them out (unfortunately, a machine that wasn't in use when I was there). Knowing that they must've been quite fresh, I bought a bag of six read bean-filled cakes for less than $2.
Mmm, nutty. And sweet. And bite-sized. I like. You could also get them custard-filled, but I usually go with red bean if it's a choice.
We walked along Bloor Street on the way to Greektown on the east side of the city. Anne Marie and Kat requested to stop at a new comic store called Labyrinth where they happened to find some of their professors hanging out. I think that's like if I were to go to a specialized food store and run into some of my food studies professors. That probably wouldn't happen.
Renée directed us to Greg's Ice Cream. No matter how full of meat our bellies may have been, there's always room for dessert. A lot of ice cream/gelato was eaten during this trip. Oh yes. You'll hear more about that later.
Unfortunately the shop didn't have any of their signature roasted marshmallow flavor in the freezer. Crap. I tried the pistachio (not pistachio-y enough) and the blueberry (the blueberry flavor was too subtle) but somehow settled on coffee toffee, which was riddled with Skor bar-like chunks.
If you don't already know, I'm not a fan of coffee. Or tea. Or alcohol. Or anything bitter, mostly in liquid form. But coffee flavored ice cream is fine with me because it's sweet enough to counteract the bitter flavor of coffee that I never became accustomed to. (All-nighters and all around lack of sleep have never been powered by caffeine. ONLY INSANITY.) WIthout the toffee chunks I probably wouldn't have gotten this flavor; my love for toffee far exceeds my love for coffee ice cream. Overall I liked the ice cream, which was creamy and soft and had enough of that roasted coffee flavor to please me (which may not be saying much considering my tastes), but I don't think I've experienced the full potential of Greg's not having tried the marshmallow flavor. Poot.
We kept walking. Past the ROM. Past the University of Toronto. Past the area where only super rich people can shop. (Renee said that there are times when people will parade their fancy expensive cars around the block in a pretentious manner, which sounds pretty weird but they're rich and can probably do whatever they want with their sacks of money.)
As we neared the Prince Edward Viaduct we passed a not very official looking sign declaring a NATURE TRAIL in our midst. There was no obvious trails, but just a few small clearings in the forested area on the north of the road. Which looked pretty damn sketchy, more like where you would drag your victims to rot if you were a serial killer.
Or maybe it's a nice trail. I don't know.
Renée explained to me that the sides of the bridge are lined with wires from top to bottom to prevent suicides. It helps deter people from killing themselves (or makes them find another way to do it) which in turn gets rid of the traffic and safety problems that would result from people falling onto the road below. Yaaaay.
By the time we reached Messini, Renée's recommended gyro spot, we had walked pretty damn far, about three miles. Feet were sore, throats were parched, clothes were sticky with sweat, sleep was highly desired, and Kat looked like she was about to keel over. Anne Marie and Kat were still full from lunch, but I didn't walk all that way for nothing. I needed GYRO.
I ordered the basic pork gyro, a soft, fluffy pita stuffed with tender shaven chunks of pork, onions, tomatoes, Tzatziki and crispy fries. The way all gyros ought to be. This was one of those rare instances where the Parisian form was actually larger (an edible bucket of salted meat and fries, pretty much), but I was glad that Messini's version wasn't too big because I couldn't even finish it. My stomach was still overly meated; the gyro would not fit in. I didn't mention it before, but I couldn't finish my small cup of Greg's ice cream either. Either my stomach is shrinking or I'm becoming more aware of my limits.
Our waitress warned Renée that the calamari dish was large, but we didn't understand the magnitude of her warning until the plate of four squidgey bodies surrounded by tentacled blobs was placed before us. It was a crapload of squid. (A vessel-load of anything equates to a lot of anything, by the way. I haven't figured out what kind of vessel "crap" is, but it conjures up an image of "a lot" for some reason. English works in mysterious ways.) I didn't try it since I only like squid battered and fried and I had enough trouble eating my gyro, but I think Renée approved since she took the extras home.
We made an unplanned visit to Suckers since it was across the street. Can't say no to a shop full of caaandeh! I don't eat much candy (surprising perhaps considering how much I like sweet things), but I'm fascinated by all the stuff that people dare to invent and produce on a large scale because it's actually profitable.
This rubber chicken, for instance? ...Why? Why not, I guess. Gummies shaped as normal food are kind of cute, but I've never looked at a rubber chicken and thought, "Man, this could only be awesomer if it were edible! Cos there ain't nothing I like better than something in the shape of dead poultry." Eh well, someone's buying it.
The strawberry steak is a little more interesting for the realistic packaging. Mm...strawberry steak. Steak that, according to the packaging, was made nearly a year ago. I'm not sure if I want to know how accurate that is.
I ended up buying a selection of random gummies by weight and a few chocolate bars (5th Avenue and a Smarties Explposions). Kat got some Turkish Delights due to her Narnia obsession, but was underwhelmed by the flowery jelly chunks. I was pretty disappointed the first time I had Turkish delight too. The name sounded so promising, but the real thing was just a cube of weird jelly that tasted like a something from the "rejected candies" pile. Not offensive, nor something I'd sell my family for. I'd be wary of anything with the word "delight" in it; the adjective must be making up for something that's missing. Like the "delight" part.
We hopped on the subway to go downtown for gelato at Solferino, Renée's favorite gelateria. And she's pretty serious about her Toronto gelato.
It could be hard to pick a flavor when faced with so many color piles of mind numbing...deliciousness...[shakes head out of reverie]...but I had no problem going with pistachio and fig. Renée approved the pistachio after her intense taste test and figs are one of my most favorite foods. The pistachio was better than average and full of little pistachio bits that reminded me of the first cup of gelato I had in Rome, but it didn't compare to some of the best pistachio gelatos I've had, the kind that coats your tongue in buttery, toasty nutty goodness. I think you have to eat it to know what I mean. Since Renée is going to Italy next month I'm sure she'll experience that kind of pistachio gelato experience soon.
Solferino provides a bowl of crushed cones on their counter in case you want to add some crunch to your gelato. Free stuff? IT'S MIIINE. I prefer it without the cone bits, but you have to try it to find out.
Renée got a cup of blueberry and pistachio. Unlike Greg's blueberry ice cream, this blueberry was intensely flavored.
I didn't take individual photos of Anne Marie's or Kat's gelato cups since they were...eating them. I can only interrupt people's meals so many times. We agreed that Solferino was a place we'd go to again.
Renée walked with us back to Union Station, which is also where the GO station is. It's funny to see the TTC logo above the GO logo; as LarryB said, it's the 20s put up against the 70s. I like the TTC logo, but the GO logo bothers me a bit. Reminds me of giant peas. Or something. I don't hate it—it's distinct and it pretty much looks like the word GO—but it's so...round and green. It also reminds me of frogs. Frogs and peas. That's what I think of. PEA FROGS.
Ah, you cannot escape the wrath of my silly photos. Renée and I struck our Asian poses with superfluous peace signs due to a funny story she told us earlier about how her sister always does the peace sign in photos. Like...seriously. Or not so seriously. It's something that must be stopped. When I throw the peace sign it's just to poke fun at Asians (I can do that, right?) but I'm afraid I've been doing it so many times that it's becoming a habit. My whole life is a joke! And a lame joke at that.
I took this photo to see what would happen if I used flash while taking a self portrait. The result: the best portrait of me evah! No. But it's amusing and quite possibly one of the better depictions of my character. I complied with Kat's request to cover up her face before uploading the photo to the Interwebs, by splodging a "DO NOT WANT" (a phrase that was uttered innumerable times over the week) over her squished face. This is probably the most awesome photo we will ever have together.
And that's the end of day 3. Just four more days to go! Damn.
Suckers Candy Co
450 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
38 Wellington Street East, Toronto