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 Comments »

  1. danielle says:

    Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing your trip. I didn’t realize Toronto was so interesting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *