Cold, Cold Toronto

Have you ever made a decision you were initially excited about and then spent every subsequent moment doubting said decision? That sums up my apprehension about this family trip to Toronto. For the past several Christmases, Jeff and I have planned an event such as seeing a concert or a show of some sort in town, along with a fancy meal, as a gift for the kids instead buying a whole mess of presents. This year things were a bit more challenging. Our oldest would not be coming home. So sad, I know. He was  living in Illinois with a new job and couldn’t take the time off before the first of the year. We were brain storming about driving out to see him or perhaps meeting halfway somewhere, when Jeff blurted out that we should meet in Toronto. “It’s a great city!” he said. He’d been many times for work. It’s just an hour from the Niagara Falls, which was on my bucket list, so I was more than game. After a flurry of coordination of dates and work schedules we booked flights and hotel and Boom! We were all going to fly to Toronto for five days.

Sounds great so far, right? Then came the second guessing. Guys, this is Toronto in JANUARY! It was undoubtedly going to be crazy cold! With all the cash we were spending on flights, we could have easily taken a cruise to the Caribbean for Pete’s sake! But plans were made so I set about doing all the research I could about what to do in this hip city (read: where to eat).

Flights were uneventful. After some confusion about where to pick up our rental car and a wonky GPS we made our way to the bar I picked out for our first meal.

Bar Hop. Beer-Food-Life. That’s about right.

It looked a bit dark as we approached, but thank goodness it was open.


This was a Monday night, and still the place was buzzing with young, hip clientele.


Specials for the night.

Always with the Edison lights.

Now we’re on vacation!

All was right with the world.

To be honest, I chose this spot mostly as a place to land after a long day. I figured it would be beer and burgers. Not so, this was by far the best food we had on the entire trip and *spoiler alert* it would not be our last meal here.

Savoury Garlic Doughnuts Fried to order with Parmesan & Bone Marrow Aioli

House Wings Jerk Marinade with Chipotle Slaw and Grilled Lime

The mussels were served with both baguette AND frites! Love this place.

Every dish above was just stunning. The wings were the stand out. They were smoky, well seasoned and simply fell off the bone. The accompaniments of the slaw and lime were perfect with the jerk seasoning. Nothing irks me more than the tendency of kitchens to plonk a cup of bleu cheese dressing alongside wings, no matter the flavor. Thai chili wings and blue cheese? Are you high?

We finished the meal with a round of scotch and a dessert, a rarity for us. The dessert, not the scotch.

Don’t remember what this was.

Butter Tart

The butter tart, I later learned, is considered one of Canada’s, specifically Ontario’s, quintessential desserts. This tart was delicate and sweet, a perfect ending to an exceptional meal.  Our bellies were so very happy. It was time to  head over to our hotel. Fingers crossed it would be as nice as the website made it appear.

I snapped blurry pictures of the city along the way.

The hotel was just great. It had free and safe parking and the facade was impressive (You’ll see pictures in the daylight later). Check-in was painless as well. So far, things are going pretty great!

Floral arrangements graced the reception area.

Domed ceiling

Interior hallway.

Funky light fixtures.

We reserved a suite so we could all have a little privacy. The appointments were a little worn but, all in all, the space was just what we needed.

One of two double beds.

For writing your correspondence.


A splendid view!

First try.

Meghan loves a robe.

The bathroom was clean and serviceable.

We crashed hard and I can say that the bed was super comfortable. Our stay included breakfast so we made our way to the dining room to check it out.

Coffee? Um yes.

A fine spread.

Just a few slices of bacon.

Pretty iron railing detail.

All my consternation about how cold it may be was completely unfounded.  We were graced with temperatures in the forties….and pouring rain. This was the day that we had set aside to visit Niagara Falls. We finished up breakfast and made the trip. I was hoping things would break, but alas.

A view of the rain and the empty parking lot at Niagara Falls.

We grabbed some Canadian ponchos on the way.

Toughing out the rain was no biggie, but with all the fog, the falls were just about invisible.

Well, we could see a tiny bit of it.

Here’s what I absolutely love about my family; this was a bummer of a situation and we just had a laugh about it. Quote of the day was from Matt: “I think I can see it!”.

Who’s having a blast? This goofy family,

Coming Up: How does one wait out the rain? More beer!

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