Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Shopping and dining in Toronto

I experienced a sunscreen breakdown while we were in Toronto; I believe one of my temperature irregularities is to blame - too much blotting of the radiant visage lead to loss of sunscreen, and now I'm sporting some freckles.  While cute, they are indeed a sign of sun damage...
Goorin straw hat Bogart style
hat from Goorin

So when we walked past Goorin, it seemed obvious that I'd best hasten in there and get myself a good sunhat.  The above lovely critter is now sitting on my desk.  The fact that it has Bogart in the name is just a bonus (I adore Humphrey...); it's a great hat, fits perfectly, and shades me exactly as I needed.

a version of my new tee shirt, from the wonderful Preloved

The weather in Toronto was a bit warmer than we had been promised by the weather "forecasters", and so when we saw the Preloved store, I knew I had a good excuse to stop in.  Preloved makes new clothes from old clothes - a simple concept, but not something that just anybody could make work.  Yes, all of the clothes have a somewhat "patchworky" element to them - you couldn't necessarily build an entire wardrobe here  - but they have a deft hand for combining patterns, and the actual construction and execution of the garments is superlative.  The shirt that I bought has a yoke of a black and cream large leafy pattern,and the lower bodice is in a black and cream geometric print.  I saw, I adored, I bought, I wore to dinner that night.

One of the most delightful things about Toronto -overall - is the way in which the neighborhoods just seamlessly flow into each other.  A ten minute walk from the financial district, where we were staying, can land you smack in the middle of Chinatown.  (a really BIG Chinatown - bigger than New York's, I would hazard a guess).   Five minutes from there, you can find yourself surrounded by tattoo parlors, head shops, and Tibetan import stores - very San Francisco 40 years ago.  Bookstores abound (there are only THREE bookstores in downtown Chicago now - none on Michigan Avenue). And most of all, although it's really not "in your face" - Toronto felt safe.  On a weekend that saw 36 shootings in one night in Chicago, Toronto had NO shootings while we were there.  None. Not one.  Zero.  We walked both to and from the rugby match we attended - a very LONG walk - and felt safe every second.  It was delightful.

Dining?  La Carnita, on College Street, for some of the best tacos on the planet.  Yes, we were the 2 oldest people there.  Someone had to be.  Service was excellent, food was amazing, and people watching was fascinating.
La Carnita taco restaurant Toronto Ontario Canada
You could so easily walk right past La Carnita, but that would be a big mistake!

We ate breakfast twice at Le Petit Dejeuner, on East King Street.  It's a small, unassuming store-front that looks like it maybe was once a bar?  But you can't miss it on weekends - the line of people waiting for one of their exquisite Belgian waffles is a sign that you're at the  right place. Again, the service was excellent, the food was great, and the restaurant was full of interesting and amazing people.  How I wish I had one of their lattes beside me right now...
Le Petit Dejeuner restaurant Toronto Ontario Canada
Tucked in a fascinating furniture and design store neighborhood just east of the Financial District, Le Petit Dejeuner is also within close walking distance of the St. Lawrence Food Market.  If you're a food market fan, get thee hence...

Our last evening in Toronto, we had dinner at Patria - a tapa style restaurant that is tucked away, behind the normal street frontages, in a lovely, dark and cool space with some completely unique design elements.  The large back wall is black wire mesh, which has been "cross-stitched" with something like colored raffia.  I've never seen such a thing - it was beautiful...
interior of Patria tapas restaurant Toronto Ontario Canada

The food here was a combination of traditional Spanish tapas prepared perfectly, as well as some more innovative dishes inspired by traditional Spanish ingredients.  Belovedest and I shared a half-dozen "plates" and a carafe of wine, but we did NOT share our desserts (even the best marriage can be challenged by the sharing of churros and cajeta!).  And I'm just suggesting - if someone offers you a date stuffed with machengo cheese, wrapped in bacon, and grilled - accept.  In Toronto, I would put myself in the hands of my wait-staff, and let them choose for me...


  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. The pictures of Toronto seem to have a bit of European flair to it and it makes me homesick. I am heading back in August (with a spanking new Tumi carry-on, I might add). If you get ever tired of telling us how to dress better :)), you can do a travel log.

  2. Great travel trips on Toronto!

  3. So glad you enjoyed your visit. It's fun seeing some familiar place through your eyes. Come back soon!

  4. I have never visited Toronto but it sounds more European than many other Canadian cities. I just visited a tapas bar called the Sardine Can in Vancouver where the food was in the Catalan style. Preloved looks interesting but I am shopping my own closet right now. Wonderful restaurant recommendations!

  5. Oooooh... you are such a temptress, giving us a hat shop source! I have already been looking on their site and they have some wonderful styles. I have lately been thinking that I want to add hats to my wardrobe (part of my attempt at channeling 1940s glamour without going over the top). And yes, I adore Humphrey, too!

  6. Sounds like you both had a great time. It is nice to know that you felt safe walking along the streets.
    I have 3 woven straw ans raffia sun hats as well as sunglasses and I use 45 sunblock. Age spots and sunburns are my arch enemies.
    Would love to see you wearing that hat.

  7. That street scene looks so much like Athens, GA, it shocked me for a second...
    Love the hat!

  8. That's a great hat -- I love wearing hats. I have a couple of sun hats I wear regularly, but I also wear dressier ones to church on occasion. Pretty please, would you include hats in your posts every once in a while?

  9. Thanks for the hat! And thanks for loving the city of my birth!

  10. Fabulous hat! Smart buy.

    Toronto sounds like so much fun...hubs and I should really get back there one day. Despite all the wonderful things you mentioned in this post about the sights and (lack of gunshot) sounds in Toronto, I am reeling in shock about no more bookstores on Michigan Ave. and only 3 to be found in DT Chicago period?? So, so sad.

  11. I love Toronto! My son was there all of last year playing Junior Hockey..he heads to U Maine this fall. Josh's being there gave me the opportunity to visit a city I'd never been to. I can honestly say that Torontonians are the nicest people ever. I so enjoyed my trips there...even in fall and winter! And with bringing a puppy! (I can also had that it's an extremely dog friendly city...)

    I'm so glad you had a fabulous time. Love the new shirt.

  12. Hi Janice,

    I am very glad you enjoyed Toronto and of course there is even more there than can be enjoyed in only 3 days. However, for a North American European experience, people are advised to go to Montreal and Québec City. For an amazing world experience, come visit Vancouver. We have restaurants, stores and theatre that celebrate people of all communities in the world. Our weather is temperate all year and we are very safe.

    Deb from Vancouver

  13. What a fun conclusion to this series of posts! And you managed to work in some fashion tips and steer us to a new store as well. One more reason I love this blog!

  14. What a fun conclusion to this series of posts! And you managed to work in some fashion tips and steer us to a new store as well. One more reason I love this blog!