[Preface something or other: To all the people who didn't know I was in Toronto, possibly by your doorstep, I'm sorry I didn't make it a bigger announcement. I kind of just squeezed it in at the end of the Arizona entries so I could tell myself that I HAD mentioned it. In passing. Which is rather sneaky, I suppose.
Another reason is because I didn't go to Toronto to eat. I'm documenting everything I ate on this blog because...well, that's what this blog is for, but I didn't want to feel obligated to go to a bunch of "the best" places since that wasn't the point of the trip. I mainly wanted to relax and hang out with one of my best friends, which at certain points involved eating since humans have to refuel and stuff. Food didn't come first. That might be disappointing, but...hey, I had a good time.]
[...And lastly, I'm going to Bologna in a week and will be staying there from the 11th to the 27th with little trips in between to other parts of Italy, if all goes well. I highly doubt any of my readers live in Bologna, but if you do then this is just a head's up. I AM WARNING YOU NOW, I AM A COMING, TOOT TOOT GOES THE ROBYN TRAIN, yeah okay.]
Last Friday Kat and I met up with my Internet friend (made through music, not food) Michelle at the Eglinton subway stop. At a scheduled time. Meaning that we arrived in Toronto before 4 PM, unlike the previous day. Most importantly, this means we had more time to eat stuff.
Nothing says "first meal of the day" like gelato. In fact, gelato has many meanings—"last meal of the day," "second meal of the day," "midnight snack," "breakfast," "reward for running on the treadmill for 30 minutes," etc.
Which is how we ended up at Il Gelatiere. Or maybe that was because of my incessant pleas of, "LET'S GET GELATO YOU GUYZ!" It could've been a combination of the two, you know. Not all fooding happens just because I order my friends to give into my demands by verbally poking them. Over and over again. IN CAPS.
Is there no finer sight than a freezer case full of buckets heaped high with gelato? ...Actually, there are probably many finer things—the coral life of the Great Barrier Reef, the gaseous and radioactive remains of an exploding star, your newborn baby's first bumbling steps—but as far as frozen stuff goes, gelato wins. Unless you come across a really cool ice sculpture.
My cup of pistachio and fior di latte was alright. I mean, of course it was tasty, smooth and such, but not in the way that made any sparks fly. Hypothetical sparks. Not like...firey sparks. Gelato doesn't create fire. Ah, the things that higher education has taught me. My gelato craving was satisfied, but no fiery gelato passion was sparked. Pistachio wasn't pistachio-y enough. It never really is, is it? Isss ittttt....[insert uncomfortable silence and intense stare]...
Michelle and Kat were satisfied enough with their gelato selections, but like me were a little disappointed because they've had better. I'd say that the gelato is good, above average, but not something you'd go out of your way for.
Michelle took us to Chef of India, her Indian lunch buffet spot of choice that was in the area. I was quite full from the gelato at this point (damn, maybe that's why you're supposed to eat the normal food before the dessert) so I sadly couldn't stuff myself in the way that one should when eating at a buffet. I'm not really sure what I ate. Meats and things in curries with rice and naan. Mm. You really can't go wrong with those. If you're allergic to nuts (like Kat), you have nothing to worry about as they don't use nuts or nut oils in any of their food. And that's why Kat didn't die! Scoooore!
I had been planning to do some kind of intense stomach-busting patisserie tour, an idea which I threw out the window upon realizing how little space was left in my stomach. Tiny. Ittybittyspace. Besides that, too much walking was involved to go to some of the places and I wasn't about to drag two innocent souls around. Instead we took a gander at anything cool we happened to pass.
We took a quick dip into La Bamboche while walking down Yonge Street. Unfortunately, nothing in the bakery was making my stomach froth (assuming that frothing is a good thing, not a sign of disease) with the "MM, EAT ME!" signal even though there were cakes and tarts and whatnot. I wasn't kidding when I said I was full. Should've laid off the naan, perhaps. (If you're curious, my first attempt at typing "perhaps" resulted in something like "herpas,", which is kind of close to "herpes"...I dunno why I'm telling you this.)
Despite the lack of stomach space, I grabbed a croissant and started pulling it apart right out of the shop. It was...not very happiness inducing. Don't they look promising? Yeah, I know! They look all layered and golden and crispy and stuff. But inside they were rather fluffy and bready and the outside wasn't very crisp. That doesn't mean it tasted bad—there must be people who like that kind of croissant—but it didn't fit into my croissanty desires. On the upside, that meant wasn't compelled to eat the whole thing and give my overstuffed belly any more reason to explode.
Patachou was the next patisserie we passed. And like before, I was too full to think of eating any of the many tarts, cakes, and other various pastries they had on display. Total fail.
But there's always room for macarons! Or at least one macaron! And when buying macarons at a place whose macaron prowess is unknown, you should only buy one. Because if they suck, you don't want to be stuck with a box full of em.
I was pleased with Patachou's lemon macaron. It may have had something to do with the low 65 cent price tag (I may have calculated that wrong, as I also bought a bottle of Orangina to replenish the fluid that had evaporated in the form of the sweat I emitted while walking down Yonge), which is super cheap for a macaron, but it was...quite good. Not remarkable, but the cookie was a nice texture (slightly chewy with a crisp outer crust) and had enough lemony flavor. Could've used more filling, but that's usually how it is. People need to stop skimping on the filling. It's too bad they don't fill the macarons before your eyes because in that case I could've annoyingly requested, "More filling...more...little bit more...no, a lot bit more...almost there...okay, stop." I'm sure pastry chefs like nothing more than having a culinarily untrained customer tell them how to make something.
We popped into Le Petit Gourmet to oogle at their trays of long, snow white meringue cookies. Their prettiness was easy for me to resist since I don't like meringues. Not the hard, crunchy kind, at least. It was one of the few staples of Parisian patisseries that I always overlooked, even when enticingly satellite-dish sized and perfectly formed, because...they just taste like sugar. And they crumble. And don't feel very nice against the teeth. I don't mind it when it's paired with something else like in a pavlova, but on its own it just feels like...it needs to be paired with something else.
I do wish I understood the appeal of meringues so that I could happily indulge in a giant lump of baked egg whites, kind of like how I wish I enjoyed the taste of coffee so I could intelligently sip on a cup espresso and not follow the sip with a gagging motion, but my body does what it wants to. And it wants to resist meringues and coffee. But it doesn't mind eating plenty of other foods that lead to ill health.
Michelle took us into propaganda, one of her favorite shops. Something without food! LORDY! The small store is well stocked with funky toys, plushies, accessories, clothing, bags, house wares, and greeting cards. Really great, messed up, mostly offensive greeting cards. I regret not buying any, especially the one that highlighted the best things about Canada, which included poutine, colored money, and gay marriage. Canada is full of awesome.
We stopped at Tutti Frutti so I could refuel on candy, specifically Dots. Why Dots? I hadn't eaten them in ages (I'm guessing 10+ years) and wanted to see how they tasted. Which is quite tasty. They're soft, not overly chewy and even though they stick to your teeth, it's not to the point where your mouth is immobilized by residual gummy matter. I once bought a box of Jujyfruits out of curiosity and a strange craving for candy (it's a very rare occurrence) and I must've gotten one of those old boxes where the candy had transformed into some barely chewable, non toxic mass with the power to rip my teeth out. I never attempted to eat Jujyfruits again. It's too bad, as I really love saying the word, "Jujyfruits," and now I have no reason to use it except when recounting my failed experience eating Jujyfruits.
After taking a photo of the marshmallow pizza I was informed that I wasn't allowed to take photos. So this is all you get. MALLOW PIZZA. It's all-American! It's "fun"! (The quotation marks are crucial.) And it's fat free! What more could you possible want? Real pizza? ...Oh. Yeah.
Kat and I parted ways with Michelle when we reached the Eaton Center, which by my estimations was about 3.5 miles down from our starting point. Yay, exercise! Exercise punctuated by ingesting calories! Is this why I'm not losing any weight? Coupled with failing metabolism and lack of muscle mass?
Michelle suggested that we check out College Street for some fun stuff to do on a Friday night, but as we walked in that direction, tired and probably a bit smelly, we discovered that deep in our hearts we weren't Friday night revelers but just two lazy girls who would rather climb back into the fuzzy seats of the GO train and spend our evening in Oakville. Besides, we could check out College Street the next day. No worries.
Back in Oakville
The sidewalk that Kat and I would walk on to get to the bus stop at Sheridan had, over the course of my stay, become more nonexistent and disconnected from the earth. Mm, exposed dirt! Gotta love walking on that.
Anne Marie joined us on our bus ride to Caffe Demetre, a dessert-centric restaurant chain that Michelle had pointed out to that afternoon when we passed one in Toronto. Wellll, Oakville's got one too. WOOAH! (Why do I have to make random noises? Whyyyy?)
The interior design of the restaurant was a little garish, but all was forgiven in light of the restroom sign featuring a cross-legged man and woman. ...And a dude in a wheelchair. Handicapped people don't get special leg crossing illustrations.
Although Demetre's menu is 99% dessert, I didn't want to bombard my already sweets-laden stomach with an ice cream sundae without some "real" food to act as a sponge. Or barrier. Or some kind of barrier, whether that be psychological or physical. So I thought it'd be smart to share a sandwich with Kat. I didn't make note of what kind of sandwich it was (it contained mushroom and cheese matter), but it doesn't matter since all the sandwiches should be avoided. I base that opinion just on this sandwich. Was it repulsive? No. But it cost too much and it wasn't very good—bread was character-less, filling was rather meh, and the combination of the two provided little substance. Save your money for the desserts; they're the restaurant's specialty anyway.
My sundae of milk chocolate ice cream drizzled in hot fudge and sprinkled with chocolate-covered peanut clusters tucked into a huge waffle cone was happiness inducing. At least until my stomach was like, "OH MY GOD STOP EATING stop eating please stop." The ice cream was super smooth and creamy, a texture in between ice cream and gelato, with a mild, not overly sweet flavor that reminded me of a fudgesicle. Sadly I couldn't finish the whole cup—you can see how much ice cream is in the photo, right?—but I tried. I triiiieeedd.
I forget the exact contents of Kat's sundae, maybe vanilla ice cream or apple ice cream with apple chunks and caramel. Something with apples in it. Whatever it was, she was in love with it. I've never heard her speak so highly of an ice cream concoction before. It was almost frightening.
Anne Marie went the less indulgent route and ordered a berry smoothie. I took a little sip and it was like eating a fistful of berries (definitely straw, perhaps also rasp and other things) in pulverized liquid form. I suppose that's the point. It didn't taste like they used much filler, if any.
We rushed out of the restaurant in an attempt to catch the next bus to the movie theater playing The Simpsons Movie. Unsurprisingly, we watched the bus roll away as we were (quickly) walking towards it. Oooops. Our choices were to either wait about an hour for the next bus or walk to the movie theater, which was about one and a half miles away.
So we walked the deserted streets of Oakville. Seriously, I dunno where we were (a street lined with offices), but it was...dark. And deserted. And obviously not a place where people leisurely walked at night. BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE HAVE CARS. Thankfully it wasn't sketchy or anything...
...Except for those times when the sidewalk decided to abruptly terminate and force those who dared tread on it march on some business's lawn or unmanicured patch of land instead. I felt like Alice in the scene where as she's walking down the path a broom floats towards her while brushing away the path she desired to take, a broom that obviously had no idea how much it fucked up her plan to, you know, walk on the path. So...this was kind of like that, but not as tragic since we could plainly see where we had to go. We just didn't have a concrete path that we could walk on without fear of any cars running us over. THANKS, OAKVILLE!!!
The sidewalk didn't actually end right there. Every now and then it would appear on the other side of the road, end, start on the opposite side of the road, end, start again...damn, someone really couldn't make up their mind.
The slightly hypnotic Omron sign reminded us of a totally different word.
We were so relieved when we finally got to Famous Players. It existed! We didn't walk on a bunch of deserted roads for nothing! And we even felt lucky for we didn't have to wait long before the next showing of the movie!
Of course, after the movie was over our luck ran out. It rained. Not bucketloads, but quite a lot. Rain doesn't cause much trouble if you're getting picked up at the theater by a loved one with a car (oh, how we envied those people), but when you have to walk 15 minutes to the bus stop and wait I don't know how long for the bus to come, it kinda sucks. But it could've been much worse. Could've been cold, could've been raining more, could've forgotten my umbrella at home, could've been attacked by angry squirrels. I didn't talk much while we walked through the rain (my quietness may have spooked Kat and Anne Marie, making them wonder if I was dying or something) since I was concentrating on shielding my bag from the rain and keeping my slippery flip flops attached to my wet feet, but with two friends getting rained on beside me, it was quite bearable and possibly fun.
Le Petit Gourmet
1064 Yonge Street, Toronto
Somewhere down Yonge Street. Why has google failed me?
3055 Vega Blvd, Mississauga