Well, it’s been about two weeks since the move to Toronto and I’m pleased to report we have more or less settled in. We’ve met quite a few very nice people in that short time – also, a number of weirdoes. But I suppose that’s to be expected. Toronto is a bigger city. Also, unlike Vancouver, Akemi and I can’t simply live as recluses. Necessity forces us to go out, encounter others and, in some instances, interact with them. The fact that I’ll strike up a conversation with just about anybody helps (or hurts depending on the relative sanity of my impromptu conversation partner).
The dogs have also settled into a nice little routine that includes four daily visits to the local dog park where Jelly leaves her stroller to get in her short walks, Bubba does his best to avoid contact with other dogs, and Lulu stubbornly refuses to return home until she has visited the dog run where she too ignores the other pooches in favor of begging their owners for attention.
I do miss Darlene and the gang at The Book Warehouse in Toronto. I’ve checked out a couple of the local book stores and have left underwhelmed. The sole exception is Bakka-Phoenix Books (84 Harbord Street), a terrific shop specializing in genre fiction. I spent a good half hour chatting with the staff while Akemi sat patiently by, endlessly perusing an illustrated Miyazaki book.
Even though I vowed to stick to digital versions while here in Toronto, I couldn’t help myself and picked up a selection made up of staff member Leah’s recommendations and some titles that caught my eye:
Presently reading Norman Lear’s Even This I Get to Experience. Just finished – and loved – the first volume of Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga, recommended to me by Prodigy Pictures Development Wunderkind Nat Cooper. I swung by The Silver Snail and picked up volumes 2 and 3 yesterday. And also brought home a bunch of other comic books and graphic novels Natalie sent me home with on Friday, among them Buzzkill by Donny Cates that I thought was pretty darn terrific as well. Speaking of comic book, it looks like it’ll be trade paperbacks only moving forward as Marvel has apparently wrapped up (canceled?) the only two single issue series I was collecting: The Thunderbolts and the awesome Superior Foes of Spiderman.
The eating, meanwhile, has been good. WAY to good. Some of the highlights –
The crispy prawn rice rolls at Luckee in the Soho Met. I don’t even like rice rolls but thought these were great. I’m not a huge fan of some of the entrees, but their dim sum menu items are uniformly great.
The sautéed sweetbreads at Le Neuf Cafe (9 Clarence Square) which, by the way, makes the best desserts in town – everything from salted caramel eclairs to their tiny chouquettes that Akemi has become addicted to and now picks up on almost a daily basis.
Wahlburgers (A Mark Wahlberg burger joint, 46 Blue Jays Way) opened her recently and I checked out their promising-sounding Thanksgiving Burger. The patty was flavorful but the stuffing and roasted butternut squash were decidedly not. The side of sweet potato tots (Actually made from yams. For some reason, people in Toronto don’t know the difference between a yam and a sweet potato) was disquietingly sweet. Everyone else in line ordered the signature Our Burger. Maybe I’ll order that next time. Or just go Burger’s Priest which I’ve been meaning to do.
After stocking up at the St. Lawrence Market this morning, we returned home where I made myself a bacon sandwich using two types of bacon (back bacon and peameal), Bourgogne cheese, and micro greens.
Tonight, we head out to a special event dinner at a local Italian eatery that is hosting a special guest chef from Vancouver: none other than our buddy Chef Robert Belcham (Fuel, Refuel, Fat Dragon, Camapagnolo, Campagnolo Roma). I will, of course, report back.