Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Last Few Days in Toronto, 2014

Oh the insanity that is my life. I am home safe, wrapped up in blankets with the ol' ball and chain napping peacefully beside me. But let's back up to my last few days in Toronto. 

The conference I was attending ended on Saturday with a big bash, so I made sure to dress like a "professional adult" and wore a blazer and carried a brief case. Fake it til you make it. 

After a late night of schmoozing on Saturday, I slept in on Sunday, then headed to brunch with my friend Jilly. I started the day off with a much needed soy cappuccino. 

We went to "Fresh," which is easily one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto. I ordered the pancake breakfast which had blueberry pancakes, vegan sausage, and tofu scramble. It was all phenomenal. 
After catching up with my friend and wandering around Queen St West, we parted ways and I headed to my friend Adele's comedy show at Second City. I love improv, and I had such a blast laughing my head off. 

After the show, I was exhausted, and when I'm exhausted, I get HANGRY. So the natural solution was veggie burger and fries. Quick and dirty, just how I like it. 

After wandering around downtown aimlessly, I wanted to head to another favourite vegan restaurant, "Hogtown Vegan," but plans just didn't work out in my favour. So instead I headed to my uncle's and ate cake. Jeez, I am seriously obsessed with any and all foods, aren't I?!

Sunday night was filled with me packing my suitcase to fly home the next day. While packing, I stumbled across this gem of a photograph of my grandpa. Wasn't he such a dapper gentleman?

Monday morning, I flew home to this beauty. 

We beelined for Calactus in Moncton, and shared stories and giggles from the past two weeks over beer and burritos. 

The stars aligned and we both had Tuesday off, which we celebrated with pancakes. The best welcome home I could have ever asked for. 

The conference was amazing, and I met so many wonderful and incredible people. But I must admit, I am extremely happy to be home. With my work taking me to different cities over the past few months, I've gotten a tad home sick. So I am very appreciative of all the pancakes and cuddles that are sure to happen over the next few weeks.

Also, IT'S BIRTHDAY WEEK! Bring on the chocolate. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Toronto - Soul Pepper, Grasslands & Art Opening

What a whirlwind ride this trip has been! I'm in meetings and conferences and professional development classes all day, so I've tried to sneak in some fun time whenever I can. 

Wednesday was my only day off, so I made sure to pack it full of events to exhaust me even more. Logic. 

I met a Stage Manager for Soul Pepper (a theatre in the Distillery District in Toronto) in one of my workshops, and he invited me to sit in on one of his shows. I couldn't believe my luck, that I had the opportunity to not only pick his brain, but he gave me a full tour of the theatre, I was able to watch the show and listen to him call it, and ask him as many questions that I could articulate. 

After the amazing performance, I headed to the AGO to meet up with a friend of mine, Sarah. I hadn't seen her since December, and really wanted to catch up, so we decided upon wandering around the Art Gallery of Ontario. 

As amazing as the art gallery was, all I really wanted to do was gab her ear off, so after only twenty minutes of art, we left and headed to a restaurant. 

She suggested "Grasslands" a vegan restaurant on Queen Street West. 

We started with an appetizer of deep fried oysters (oyster mushrooms). They tasted a lot like oysters, but less fishy or salty. 

We both ordered a main that came with the same sides, and split the "meat." I ordered the chicken and she ordered mustard crusted tempeh. Both were amazing, but I preferred the tempeh. It had a better flavour, and honestly the chicken weirded me out, because it tasted SO MUCH like chicken. I'd recommend the chicken if you were transitioning out of meat, and still want the similar taste. 

We decided to make a meal out of the meal, and ordered dessert. It's not often I come to Toronto, so we thought we'd live it up! Dessert was a chocolate bundt cake with a fudgy syrup. UGH SO GOOD. 
Dinner led to drinks, and we caught up over a few beers at a nearby pub. 

I had classes all day Thursday, but that night my dad was having an art show at Odon Wagner Gallery. The timing of my trip to Toronto worked out perfectly with his opening, because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to attend. 

I've seen most of his works in his studio for years, so seeing them on the walls, with proper lighting, hung beside each other, was quite emotional for me. I'm incredibly proud of him, and I've seen his series "Yonge Street" evolve from beginning to end. Again, I am so so proud of him. 

My friend Darcy came to the opening, as she was in one of the paintings! My dad often uses friends of mine in his works, so if you want to be immortalized in a picture, give me a shout. 

His show runs from April 10th to May 3rd, and if you're in Toronto, I would love if you supported him and checked out his work! Let me know if you see it, I love talking about art! 

After the opening we celebrated with a night out at a French restaurant, which meant a salad with no cheese for me, and copious amounts of wine. 

I only have a few more days left in Toronto, which means I only have a few more days of eating amazing vegan food (sob). 

What have you guys been up to this week? 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Toronto April 4 - 7

THE CONFERENCE IS AMAZING! Holy balls I am learning so much and meeting so many people. I am also exhausted and barely functioning, hence why I can't post daily updates.

Now shut up Georgia and show us the food!

Chipotle is the best. I got a burrito, and it changed my life. Will be going there for lunch all the time. 

Went to a random Mediterranean place on the corner where the conference is held. Guy was flirting with me and gave me four falafel balls instead of three. I'm such a falafel ball slut. 

And this is my view 99% of the time. Food, paperwork, and coffee. 

I've been eating a monstrous salad from Urban Herbivore daily, typically with cookies. Definition of balance, right?

My majestic and beautiful friend Adele treated me to some quinoa coated onion rings from "Fresh," with garlic and chipotle aioli on the side. The onion rings were to die for, and when dipped in the garlic aioli, it was a delightful flavour for my palette (<-- guys I am so tired don't judge my attempt at explaining food)

Pro tip on not getting super chunky while on vacation or a business trip: eat half of what you order for lunch and the other half for supper. Plus I am super short on time and money, so only buying one meal a day is both financially affordable and time efficient. 

Oh yeah, and beer. Because after three days of eleven hour classes, girlfriend needs a drink. 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Toronto - April 3rd

Second day in Toronto, and I am so in love with this city. I had the whole morning and afternoon off, so I decided to sleep in, leasurely get a coffee and browse around some adorable stores in Kensington Market. 

If I wasn't on a serious budget, I would have happily donated all the clothes in my suitcase and filled it up with knick knacks. 

Does anyone watch Portlandia? PUT A BIRD ON IT!

I couldn't leave the best store ever without getting a little something for Kaylee. Top secret until I can give it to her in person! 

Lunch time rolled around so Adele and I stopped at "Urban Herbivore," a favourite restaurant of mine whenever I'm in Toronto. I got a massive salad that, again, I had trouble finishing. And of course some cookies for the road. When in Rome, get kinda chubby, right? 

After lunch Adele had to go to work, and I thought I was supposed to go to my first class, but sadly it got cancelled :( Nothing a little retail therapy couldn't help, right? 

It took everything in my power not to buy this sweater. I didn't end up buying anything all day, so I might have to go back and get it tomorrow. 

While browsing I remembered that my dear friend Brian works at a bar in the mall, so I ran over and as luck would have it, he was working. He fed me booze, I showered him in kisses, and we ran away together, skipping into the sunset. 
But really, he finished work early, so after liquoring me up, we walked around some more, contemplated going to a movie, but decided to just browse around and catch up. What a gem. 

Supper rolled around and I went to Chipotle. I hear bloggers rave about it, and I've never been to one, so I picked up a vegetarian salad. It was ok, but for the same price, next time I'm going to get a burrito. They looked way more filling, my vegetarian salad was a tad lame. 

Another day down! I'm supposed to have a full day of classes today, so wish me luck on the insanity! 

If you're from Toronto, anything I should check out while I'm here? 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Flight into Toronto, April 2nd

Hello everyone! If you follow me on twitter, then you heard I was in the big city (Toronto) for the next two weeks. I'm here for a conference on Stage Management, but I am pumped that I also have the chance to stay with friends, see my family, and get into some trouble. 

Of course I packed like an animal, with three huge bags for only two weeks. Gurlfrand's got to look good if I'm trying to impress potential employers! But of course the one thing I forget at home is my toothbrush... dumbass. Also, if you could peer into my brain, I'm pretty sure it would look like this. 

To say that I'm happy to leave behind the HORRIBLE amount of snow in Fredericton is an understatement. We were hit with multiple storms last week, and one storm in particular left us with 53cm of snow overnight! 
Thank goodness there's no snow in Toronto, otherwise I would have lost my mind. Sadly there's no Kaylee in Toronto, but thank goodness for facetime. 

The flights here were great, and I got a lot of reading done, which was nice. Plus, I'm pretty sure this lady was praying hard enough for all of us during turbulence. 

From the time that the plane landed to the time I actually got settled at my friends house, I hadn't eaten anything in over 6 hours (the horror!) so I made a beeline to a vegan restaurant called "Fresh." It's a favourite of mine, so I was glad I had the chance to start my trip off with a delicious bang. 

I ordered the Beach Bowl, which was filled with grilled tofu, sundried tomatoes, avocado, sweet potato, red pepper, all on a bed of brown rice. 

After food, I met up with my friends Adele and Kristy, and we headed to my friend Julia's place for wine and giggles. It is so wonderful to reconnect with friends, it's hard to be away from them for so long. But great friends reconnect immediately, and I'm happy to say that's what happened with these ladies last night. 

I'm also trying to vlog my whole time in Toronto, so look for that sometime in the next two weeks! 

Well, it's noon and I should probably go explore this fabulous city! And I have my first class tonight, I'm so excited! 

See ya later!