Downtown Toronto, Patio Time and First TFC Game

downtown toronto

I will say, it was a wonderful feeling heading downtown again. I know it’s not been that long since we’ve been but it certainly feels like it’s been awhile. I know I’m biased, but I always feel at home when I’m greeted by my Toronto city line.

Cadillac Lounge patio

I won’t ever go back here for food. We ordered ribs and wings. While they boasted their wings to be really big a meaty, I couldn’t help but wonder what the point of it being meaty was if it was going to be so rubbery. The ribs were so-so. Smoked flavour didn’t really shine through and it wasn’t very tender either. I ordered a grilled Portobello sandwich which was suppose to come with a salad and on top of that, you could pay to sub the fries for more another type of salad. I was expecting two small side salads but I only got one. When the food arrived, I inquired but was told that I only get one. I didn’t both to ask to see the menu again as I was sure I was right. I should have.

And as you might have guessed, the service wasn’t so good either. Our waitress was horrible.

The patio environment, however, was great. And if you’re looking for a place to grab a drink and a light snack, or listen to the live band, definitely check this place out. But be warned about the food.

cadillac lounge patio

cadillac lounge patio

We arrived at the BMO Field for some free time just to soak in the atmosphere. I must say, there is a certain charm with a smaller stadium. The intimacy of the energy is much more noticeable. And they were right – while we had decent seats that were centre and mid-level, the view of the field can be taken in quite well regardless of where one sits.

BMO Field

Toronto FC CapPerhaps what made it an even more special night was the score – 4:2 for Toronto against the Houston Dynamo’s!

Toronto FCWhat a great evening. We’ll definitely return next year!

And while we were gone, our faithful dog guarded the house from squirrels.

dog spotting squirrel

Weekend of Local Scenery and Hiking

Since I was in Phoenix for most of the long weekend on a business trip – returning mid-week – we by-passed what would normally be our first weekend camping. I needed to just stay home and sleep in my own bed. Which turned out to be the right thing to do.

Friday night, after texting Ada the night before on a whim, we met in Oakville at Maluca‘s for dinner. The Quon-family joined us for a pretty great night (good food, too):

Maluca restaurant in Oakville

Chacuterie board

Afterwards, we walked over to Marbleslab for ice cream. Well, I didn’t get any but tried a bit of Doug’s and Chaeli’s. Months of eliminating 99% of added sugar in my diet didn’t make the sampling all too pleasant. I felt like I wasn’t missing much.

The walk, however, was nice. While on the cooler side, you could still tell people were eager for the warmer weather as the main strip was buzzing with pedestrians. Walking over to The Green Bean, I grabbed my Americano to work me us for the rest of the stroll towards the bridge.

For the rest of the weekend, Doug, Chaeli and I (and Hobbes) went hiking both days. The first was back to The Rouge for a 5KM hike along the Twyn River area:

The Rouge

For Sunday, we headed 45 minutes north to the York Region woodland area and hiked along the Eldred King Trails. We’re still new to this area but have found it’s a popular place for local residents to bring their horses too – which is always interesting for Hobbes who just sees them as very large dogs. The trails are easier, albeit more sandy, but does not have the same variety as far as nature. Hobbes was disappointed – not enough critters to chase through the woods. We covered about 4.2KM:

Eldred King Woodland trail

Eldred King Woodland trail

And just to add, we started the day off with a new brunch recipe – Basil Caprese Baked Egg Cups:

Basil Caprese Egg cups

Recipe: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/07/caprese-baked-egg-cups/

Mother’s Day 2014

As it’s been for the previous two mother’s day weekend, Doug worked on the Saturday, and as I had enough to do around the house as it was, I decided, as a way to avoid cooking, to continue our mother-daughter pre-Mother’s Day brunch.

This time, we went to Milestones rather than Cora’s. I found Milestones gave me the option of substituting all roasted potatoes with more light, mixed greens (as well as making egg white omelettes). Cora’s, as much as they boast about being healthy, fails to provide a nutrition information guide.

Sunday morning, Doug and Chaeli made some delicious coconut-flour pancakes with bacon. Coconut four, as I have discovered, is very low on the glycemic index compared to either regular flour and whole-wheat flour. It has a natural sweetness to it without any added sugar (perhaps just a couple of grams of natural sugar per 1/3 cup). The pancakes do not come out as fluffy and definitely not as sweet but still very flavourful. I will alternate between coconut flour pancake and my Blue Menu Whole Grain pancakes.

After finishing up our coffee, we started to prepare food for dinner that night over at my parents’ place. Doug marinated the sirloin roast with garlic and avocado oil and seasoned the tri-colour baby potatoes with garlic and freshly chopped rosemary. I packed whatever was needed for the salad, along with making a chunky salsa-guacamole for an appetizer/snack.

We stopped by a close-by natural trail five minutes away from my parents for a 30 minute hike – just to get some fresh air and for Hobbes to burn off some energy.

He did more than burn off his energy, though. On our way back to the car, he ran to a creek, dove onto his stomach and dragged his tummy across the sandy bottom. Before letting him back in to the van, Doug and I had to rinse him with some water bottles Doug luckily had packed. And then we had to towel him off.

After arriving back home, Chaeli gave me my Mother’s Day gift. I thought it was one of the more creative and useful mother’s day gift she ever made me. They worked on it for over a week in class – and I’ve kept it by the phone for taking notes (see above).

I also got a coupon for a spa of my choice. Doug said later, he wasn’t sure where I wanted to go but that I can let him know and he’ll go get a gift card. He says he’ll put enough on for two mani-pedi’s so I can have a pre-paid girl’s day out with B! (hey B, did you hear that? next mani-pedi is on Doug! Woohoo!)

 

a day of domestication and geek-dom

i spent this sunday pretty much all on my own. well, except hobbes was with me.

with the kid at the grandparents’ place and doug on shift, i had actually a pretty busy day.

mind you, a part of it was catching up on the big bang theory, the walking dead as well as uploading the first 92 the walking dead comic books series from my hard drive to my ipad (see? geek-dom). i also hit some sales online for a bit of spring/summer clothes shopping for chaeli and i.

but it was a busy day making this delicious breakfast (and yes, it was very delicious), doing dishes both by hand and by dishwasher, doing three loads of laundry, finally taking down all our chinese new year decorations (i completely forgot they were still up) and preparing lunch for next day. oh – and running to the grocery store to stock up on veggies and fruit for the week.

so no – not exactly an exciting day. i didn’t even talk to anyone aside from the lady at the cashier. and that was only because i had to give her a coupon. other than that one moment, i was at the self-checkout stations. in a sense, i really didn’t talk to anyone.

what a huge contrast from yesterday – where we first went over to tai and B’s place for their boy’s 4th birthday party. ada, hoa were there, as well as tai’s cousin and B’s sister, BIL and neice.

it was such a great way to spend the afternoon! there was so much going on but peaceful in a different way from hearing people having conversations here and there – either as a group or broken up to smaller groups – and of course, the kids playing and laughing.

in fact, when we got there, we hung outside first to give hobbes a chance for a potty break. the little birthday boys saw chaeli through the front window. with their faces all lit up, they motioned chaeli to come in. it was such a blessing to see the huge joy in their little faces!

following the party mid-town, we went north-east to my parents’ place for dinner. we didn’t get home until 10pm, which might as well have been 11pm since we lost an hour last night.

you know what? i highly recommend everyone do this from time to time. while the tasks of getting food, preparing food and other house choirs does not seem fun, there is an extreme sense of accomplishment not just from being productiv, but to be in complete solitude for the whole day.

no interruptions – just alone with my thoughts, of which i tried to keep light as i took this mini-me-vacation.

i’m about to go downstairs, empty the dishwasher, get the last load of laundry to fold and then make a snack as i watch tonight’s latest episode of the walking dead.

random chaeli updates

i know my last bit of posts have all been pretty deep – and very much about me.

the intention of this blog was for me to document a variety of aspects of my life as well as just an escape for creativity and fun.

and so… some random updates on my offspring!

  • we woke up at almost an hour earlier today (5:30am) because we had to be at school before 7:15 am for chaeli to change and get ready for her varsity team tryouts. what is she trying out for? co-ed badminton. i’m not at all sure where this interest came from but both doug and i thought it was a great idea. the catch, however, is that she is trying out against kids from grade 4 to 6. most first time grade 4 students have a difficult time making it since they are up against bigger and more experienced kids. but doug and i had told her to just try her best and have fun. i’m sure if it was for alpine skiing tryouts, chaeli would probably be jumping at the chance – but badminton is not her main focus so this is just for fun. and she did have fun, as i learned after picking her up from school.
  • walking around her school, i was amazed at all the team canada, olympic posters hung on many of their hall walls. every corridor i turned had 2 to 5 of these massive posters, each one focusing on one of our olympic athletes. between them, were class projects, each focusing on a different athlete and their sport. they even were pulled out of the class to watch the last half of the women’s gold medal game and the men’s semi-final game against the US. on certain days, they got to ditch their uniform and come in red and white colours to support canada. chaeli’s class focused on the Dufour-LaPoint sisters. quite fitting as she’s now quite the skiing addict:

 

  • she is reading the secret garden; therefore, i am too, which makes this my third book in my new year’s resolution of ‘ten books.’ my mind has been distracted though, so it’s nice to be able to ask her about the book whenever i require clarification. and i think she gets a kick about knowing more than me as she is completely giddy at times to help me out when i’m confused about how some characters connect.
  • chaeli has this book about learning how to write in code and other ‘secret agent’ stuff. it includes an invisible marker where the words appear when you shine a black-light pen on it (included with the book). she’s been passing doug and i these messages in code (similar to pig latin) and we’ve been decoding them so we can answer her questions. yes – it’s a long way to something as simple as, “do i have time to read before bed” but i have to admit it’s also fun.
  • i suppose a quick update on hobbes is in order. a few weeks ago, we were having hot pot at my aunt’s and uncle’s. we left the table where the leftover hotpot sat in the centre to sit and digest in the living room area. i have no idea how long hobbes was being sneaky for, but basically, i got up to go to the kitchen for something and caught him standing on his hind legs on one of the centre dining room chairs, front paws digging into the plastic table sheets, which basically moved and gathered where the hot pot was, and lo-and-behold, his entire head was right in the pot. who knows how much he ate – but i gathered it was a lot. the next morning up to mid-afternoon, i was taking him out on the hour due to a crazy case of diarrhea. i would say, “serves him right!” but it was me who suffered along with him since i had to be the one to clean up after him. thank god for snow – you can at least use the snow to pack up the mess.