‘Ontario, Canada’ Category

  1. Toronto, ON

    July 3, 2015 by Angie

    After our awesome 24 hours in Niagara Falls, ON we drove on to Toronto and spent three nights at the Intercontinental Toronto Centre. (Sorry, Drake.)

    driving into Toronto

    Driving into Toronto (I woke up in a new Elantra!)

    The hotel and our room were very nice, but couldn’t compare to the last hotel with that amazing view. We could see some cool stuff from this room though like the top of the Ripley’s Aquarium. We had a round at the hotel bar called Azure Restaurant & Bar while using the deliciously free Wi-Fi to plan out our first night in Toronto.

    We walked to Drake One Fifty first. There was a really great DJ playing there. It’s in the Financial District so it was filled with suits getting their happy hour on. We had great drinks and a great time as evidenced by the following selfies.

    Drake One Fifty

    We’re…tough?

    Drake One Fifty with drinks

    We have drinks

    Our next stop was BarChef, a place I read about on a list of the best gourmet cocktail bars in Toronto. The drinks there are extremely impressive. Here’s a shot of part of the bar.

    BarChef

    The bartender was very knowledgeable and made us two great drinks. They have another group of bartenders in the back who make ridiculously elaborate drink experiences with an edible part and a scent situation. We stuck with the less expensive gourmet cocktails. Here is a photo of mine, complete with a sugar cube.

    fancy cocktail at BarChef

    After BarChef, we walked to Nota Bene for what was advertised as “the best cheese plate in Toronto”. I hate myself for failing to get a photo of it. One of the cheeses was rolled in ash and so amazingly good. We had five different, really great cheeses, and while we didn’t have the chance to enjoy any other cheese plates in Toronto, I feel comfortable calling this one the best. Here’s a photo of Robbie’s Old Fashioned at Nota Bene.

    Nota Bene

    Old Fashioneds all night

    We started our first full day with a soy latte from the Canadian chain Second Cup and bagel sandwiches from the Bagel Stop. No photos. Bummer. We then walked on to the St. Lawrence Market, stopping to buy a couple of souvenirs along the way.

    St. Lawerence Market

    The St. Lawrence Market is a huge, three building affair with mostly food items for sale. Check out these baked goods! We got a couple of souvenirs here too. If we lived in Toronto we would buy tons of groceries and prepared foods there.

    pies at St. Lawerence Market

    After that, we kept walking down Front Street to The Distillery District. This is a pretty cool historic area with lots of independent shops and restaurants. We stopped in a few stores and had lunch there.

    The Distillery District

    Angie in front of the LOVE locks

    A neat art piece made of locks

    Distillery District

    art in the Distillery District

    Statue thing

    We had a very good lunch of guacamole, veggie burritos, and a round of margaritas at El Catrin Destileria. The restaurant has a really nice patio but it was a little too cold outside for us. We sat inside where the entire back wall is covered by a giant mural by three Mexican artists, including Oscar Flores.

    cool art at El Catrin

    Neat wooden art thing

    El Catrin guacamole

    Guacamole made at the table. Yummy.

    mural at El Catrin

    Part of the awesome mural

    more mural at El Catrin

    More mural

    On the way back toward our hotel we stopped in at the Flatiron Pub. We both love British pubs and who doesn’t love a flatiron building, so we give it two thumbs up.

    Flatiron Pub

    Rad flatiron building

    Flat Iron Pub sign

    I enjoy their marketing efforts.

    Flat Iron Pub

    Anarchy in the UK

    We also stopped to take photos outside of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Lightning’s recent winning streak has made Robbie something of a hockey fan. Here he is with a plaque and a statue.

    Robbie in front of the Hockey Hall of Fame

    Robbie outside the Hockey Hall of Fame

    Hockey Robbie

    Robbie is a newly minted hockey fan.

    We had reservations for dinner at the 360 Restaurant inside the CN Tower. It is a very fancy, rotating restaurant that allows you to see the entire city as you drink and eat. We were there for the sunset. It was the most expensive dinner of our lives, but totally worth it for the views, the great vegetarian prix fixe menu, and for sharing a fantastic bottle of wine 1,815 feet in the air.

    Robgeleen in the CN Tower

    Robgeleen in the rotating 360 Restaurant inside the CN Tower

    view of Toronto from the 360 Restaurant

    The view from our table just before sunset

    dinner with a view

    And the view after a little rotating

    wine and appetizers

    Wine and appetizers

    Our food was sooooo good. My appetizer was a cold, potato soup. Amazing. Robbie got this tomato salad situation which he also liked.

    Robbie's appetizer

    Tomato salad

    Angie's appetizer

    Potato soup

    Angie's entree

    My entree was sweet potato gnocchi. It was rich, but I loved it.

    Robbie's entree

    Robbie had a vegetarian bolognese pasta dish with cheese on top. He was a fan.

    360 wine cellar

    They are very proud of their wine cellar, with good reason.

    With our dinner, we got a complimentary guided ride in the CN Tower elevator and access to the glass floor and outdoors platform. As you can see below, it’s a seriously tall tower.

    CN Tower

    CN Tower from underneath it

    glass floor at the CN Tower

    The glass floor was a little freaky. You can see the roof of the Ripley’s Aquarium very far below my feet. It was too cold for the outdoors platform. We walked out there, swore, and hauled it back inside.

    We took a taxi to the Kensington Market area to see the sights and visit a few bars. Our very sweet taxi driver was a little reluctant to leave us there because we were clueless tourists. I knew that our first stop, Cold Tea, is notoriously difficult to locate so I was prepared. We walked down this indoor alleyway to get to the entrance.

    the secret passageway to Cold Tea

    Cold Tea is a top secret bar.

    We were rewarded for our quest by gourmet drinks and a very divey/just right atmosphere. The bartender took his time and made Robbie’s Old Fashioned with a lot of love.

    Robbie at Cold Tea

    Robbie’s (favorite) Old Fashioned

    It was pretty crowded inside. We mostly hung out on the back patio where we encountered a chunky, garbage-eating raccoon friend and a lot of graffiti.

    raccoon buddy

    Raccoon buddy

    back patio at Cold Tea
    The back door at Cold Tea

    We checked out a couple of other bars in the neighborhood and then headed to The Boat Restaurant, where we were promised a 90s Dance Party. The music was not what we hoped for, but it was still a fun time. We have a playlist ready for you when you want it, Boat DJ.

    The Boat

    The dance floor at the Boat

    The next morning we walked to a new neighborhood to have breakfast at What a Bagel. I had what was quite possibly the best soy latte of my life. The bagel sandwiches we got were good too. The atmosphere and service were seriously lacking, however. I have never been so squeezed and smooshed in a restaurant. The customers have to pull the tables out to get to half of the seats then finagle their way back into a normal sitting position. It was weird.

    what a latte

    Delicious soy latte

    We then walked to a giant mall called the Eaton Centre. It was nice but about what you’d expect from a mall so we didn’t stay long.

    On our last day in Toronto, we finally rode the subway. They have a very progressive deal on weekends and holidays where any two people qualify for a “family pass”, which is a big discount. We got one of those and made our way to the Dovercourt area for drinks and food.

    hungover on a subway platform

    Looking a tiny baby bit rough in the subway station

    Yonge

    Yonge platform

    subway car

    The inside of our subway car

    Our first stop was Disgraceland, a bar and restaurant with tons of vegetarian/vegan options. We love this place. It’s the kind of bar we’d like to open one day. Once again, we had a very kind bartender. We got a couple of rounds and a basket of their popcorn tofu – “tofu done KFC-style”. It was all very tasty. Even the mushroom gravy was good!

    Disgraceland front

    View of the front looking toward the street

    Robbie at Disgraceland

    Robbie enjoying yet another Old Fashioned

    Disgraceland

    They were showing the original Total Recall

    Hogtown Vegan is the restaurant I really, really, really did not want to miss in Toronto. They offer a completely vegan menu featuring a billion things I want to eat everyday. I went overboard there and made myself ill. It was worth it, but, lesson learned. I vow to be less gluttonous on future vacations. We each got an appetizer and an entree. I think Robbie got another Old Fashioned and I had an Irish Coffee which was great, but went terribly with the food I ordered. I’m sure the strange mixture of things I rapidly consumed didn’t help me out.

    Robbie started with Buffalo wings and I got vegan nachos. Both were amazing.

    vegan Buffalo wings

    Buffalo (soy) wings

    Robbie approves of his appetizer at Hogtown Vegan

    Robbie likes his Buffalo wings

    vegan nachos

    Vegan nachos with nacho “cheese”, sunflower sour cream, and black beans

    For our entrees, Robbie got the phish ‘n chips. He loved the fries, did not love the phish. I had the Southern Combo which is vegan fried chikn with house made BBQ sauce for dipping, garlicky, sautéed collard greens, and nutritional yeast-based mac and “cheese”. It was fantastic. Southern Combo, I will dream about you.

    Southern combo

    Angie’s unbelievably good Southern Combo: fake fried chikn, garlicky collard greens, and vegan mac and “cheese”

    Phish and chips

    Robbie’s phish ‘n chips

    Toronto is beautiful, clean, and full of kind people. Robgeleen city rating: 10/10. Would drink all of their Old Fashioneds again.


  2. Niagara Falls, ON

    May 30, 2015 by Angie

    Our big trip this year was to Ontario, Canada. We flew into Buffalo, New York, got a rental car, drove across the border to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, then went on to Toronto for the remainder of our trip. Here is the Niagara Falls part!

    We stayed at the Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa for one night. We were both very impressed with the hotel. We got a fallsview room on the 21st floor. The view was amazing. You can see the Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls very clearly right from our room!

    View from our hotel room

     View from our room at the Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa

    hotel view

    Another view from our room

    another hotel view

    Hotel view with a rainbow

    hotel and its hood

    Here’s a look at our hotel and the surrounding area from the other side.

    sunset view from our hotel

    And one more at sunset 🙂

    The food situation in Niagara Falls is very chain restaurant blah. We managed to find a great pizza place, magically. We walked to Antica Pizzeria & Ristorante for dinner. We had oven baked garlic bread for our appetizer and coal oven baked Margherita pizza with a side of extra sauce for our entree. The wait staff was really nice and helpful. I love Canadians. We had a delicious bottle of Pinot Noir with our meal.

    Robbie at Antica Pizzeria

    Robbie and the Pinot Noir at Antica Pizzeria

    Angie at Antica Pizzeria

    Angie with wine bottles in the background at Antica Pizzeria

    After dinner we walked down to the falls. The sunset was really late so we got to see everything in the daylight.

    Tulips on Murray Street

    Pretty tulips on Murray Street

    American Falls

    American and Bridal Falls

    Falls selfie

    Falls selfie

    Horseshoe Falls near sunset

    Horseshoe Falls at sunset

    We stopped in at the Fallsview Casino Resort to see what all the fuss was about. It was a pretty depressing place featuring a lot of older people plugged in with an umbilical cord-esque card situation to slot machines. We had a round at the bar. The bartender was very nice. We played the video poker game located on the bar. We lost 🙁

    Robbie at the casino bar

     Robbie at the casino bar

    The next morning we walked to the falls bright and early for our 8:45 a.m.Voyage to the Falls Boat Tour with Hornblower Niagara Cruises. We booked the boat tour online several weeks before our trip which made boarding quite painless. They gave us plastic ponchos to wear. We rode with about 75 European teenagers and Asian tourists right up to the falls. You will get wet!

    Hornblower Cruise

     On the Hornblower Niagara Cruises boat tour!

    Angie in front of the Horseshoe Falls

    Angie in front of the Horseshoe Falls

    Robbie in front of Horseshoe Falls

    Robbie in front of the Horseshoe Falls

    misty Angie

    Misty Angie

    we got a little misted

    We got a little “misted”. The ponchos – they do nothing.

    cruise kiss

    Falls kiss

    After our cruise we walked to Table Rock Centre to get a good look at the edge of the Horseshoe Falls. Even after looking at Niagara Falls for twenty four hours, it’s still breathtaking.

    Table Rock Centre Angie

    Angie in front of the Horseshoe Falls at Table Rock Centre

    Table Rock Centre Robbie

    Table Rock Centre Robbie facing us

    Robbie in front of the Horseshoe Falls at Table Rock Centre

    Horseshoe Falls from the side

    A side view

    Mighty Horseshoe Falls

    Horseshoe Falls from Table Rock Centre


    Serious waterfall

    Woah.

    After getting cleaned up and checking out of our hotel, we walked to the The Kasbah Mediterranean Qsine for lunch. I, regretably, didn’t get any photos of the food. Robbie got the vegan red lentil soup and soy veggie burger. I had the tabouleh salad and a falafel/hummus/baba ghanoush/pita slices combo. We were really happy to find yummy vegetarian food in Niagara Falls. It’s a chain restaurant disaster in that city.

    The Kasbah

    The outside of The Kasbah – a great, locally owned Mediterranean restaurant in the land of Outback Ruby Friday’s

    Adorable sign

     Heisenberg drives erratically when it’s freezing outside?