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Published: August 2nd 2015
Today would have been a very different day if I let the demon take over and not finish the race. But hey, I did it and felt glorious. Don’t ever have that as an option!
We left the house near the Greek town at ~8am. Subway was still fairy empty. We got off at St Andrew station and made our way westward on King St. It was already warm and humid enough for a cup of iced coffee at their coffee chain, Second Cup. Thanks to their wifi & Yelp, we found Forno Culture, an amazing Italian bakery. Non-pretentious atmosphere right in the working area. Selections were refined from prosciutto bite to almond cookies.
We continued walking to Lakeshore toward Pan Am plaza. Walk on tired legs became longer due to detours. City was happening and lively, love it. We walked back on King St for much-awaited Soma Chocolatier visit. I had their bar in Cali and vowed to visit them in Toronto. Too bad I couldn't get anything to go because it was just too hot. I had hot chocolate intense shot. Straight up melted chocolate, yum! In keeping with the tradition, we made a detour
to Bang Mi Boys to grab a grub for the ball game. I had seen them being mentioned everywhere. Their Banh Mi & Bao were super loaded with tender meat at very affordable price. We got to Skydome, now called Rogers center, just in time for the game to start. The stadium definitely seemed worn out from what I remembered. But of course, those title banners are from the ancient past. Roof was open and we got to see CN tower adjacent to the stadium. Blue jays won 4-0, yuppie!
Dark Horse coffee on Spadina was solid. It was a perfect breather before our anniversary dinner at Edulis. We had their 7-course meal. Everything was amazing. Rare and hard-to-get ingredients cooked and sauced to perfection. The dinner adventure took good 2.5hrs and we didn’t even have an idea! That’s how it should be done! Monday:
We had an early start today at 6am as we’re hitting the tourist-studded Niagara! After a quick pit stop for gas & Tim Horton’s, we were off on QEW! This Timmy round didn’t go too well as I forgot to mention no-sugar in my coffee and found a wrong muffin in the
We got to Niagara on schedule at 8. We parked the car at the hotel and walked across for Maid of the Mist. Walking toll was 50cents on the Canada side. We should beat the 9am opening, right? Although we arrived at 8:40, ticket booth were already open at 8:30 and we were just beat by the bus loads. Tour guides don’t’ mess around. We let the first boat go and got in front of the line for the next boat taking off 15min later. We got the A seat at front-left, score! We were all in blue poncho and the boat took off. We were treated with a close-up view of the American fall. Shortly after, the mist started to get thicker and thicker. I had to tuck my camera and all under the rail inside the poncho. My face was completely drenched. The boat stop for some time, engulfed in the Horseshoe fall. Water was falling so much and so hard that the mist was blasting on the boat. What a sight! So glad it was a hot day and we dried up in no time.
Times have changed because last time I was
on this boat, they were Canadian. We got on from Canadian side and walked by the cave behind the fall. This time, we got the observation deck sticking out into the river on the American side. Pretty good view with double rainbow. There was also a staircase that went up right next to the American fall. We got a pretty good view here too. On a side note, I don’t recall the excessive tourist attractions on Clifton Hill. I mean it’s got TGIF, Hooters etc, arcade, haunted house, wax museum, Ripley’s believe it or not, and last but not least, a Ferris wheel. Really, right next to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, why the heck would you need them?
We were getting hungry but determined to get this American side of the falls done. We continued the path to the island to get to the other side of the American fall. It’s a nice stroll. Tour bus crowd didn’t reach this deep. It continued to heat up. Bottle of water was the best spent $3 ever.
We made it back to Canada and came right back on Rainbow Bridge on a car. Our response to
the border patrol question regarding the purpose of the trip; to get lunch. We were headed straight to Anchor Bar, a restaurant in Buffalo, claimed to be the inventor of Buffalo wings. Touristy? Gimmicky? Let’s see. Restaurant is huge. Parking lot didn’t have enough spots. Wings menu was simple; 13, 20 or 50 mild, hot or suicide! Wings were actually really good! They were meaty and crispy so it didn’t feel greasy. Sauce was the right amount. Legit!!
We didn’t lie when we told the border patrol what we came for. We had to come right back to Canada for ice wine tasting. Niagara-on-the-lake is a quaint town polar opposite of the touristy falls area. Main road was studded with fruit stands. To offset the meat intake in Buffalo, we stopped by for some produce. Those pluots and cherries, boy, hit the spot! I spied “cooked corn”. That could be my dinner right there! I ate it on the spot and seriously I was in tears of joy.
Ice House gave no tour but a solid tasking flight. They started with the slushies (ice wine blended with ice). So yummy but what a waste! Haha. I don’t think
Hot chocolate shot...the sheen
I’ve properly had ice wine. It has the same alcoholic content as regular wine but taste is super intense. Red one was just like port! We were told they can be used in salad dressing (sounds amazing) or cut it with regular wine (waste imo!). Per Sara’s recommendation, we made our way to Caroline winery who offers complementary tasting. They make myriad of wine, blend wine and ice wine. We had a great time with an attendant who spent 8years as a bartender at the “carnival” aka Clifton Hill. He liked my “raisin on steroid“description of one of their ice wines. He gave us the special tasting of Sauvignon franc ice wine!! Chocolaty velvety yumness! We had done enough damage for the day. We stopped by a grocery store for a light bite later and called it a night. Tuesday:
We had good 2 days rest from running since the 50k. It would be a good time to get back and what better place to do that than by Niagara Falls? It was cloudy at 7am. Carnival was closed and it was pleasantly quiet. Running by the falls was epic. Wind was blowing the right way so that
we didn’t get misted on. Before we hit the road back to Toronto, we thought we’d grab breakfast in Niagara-on-the-lake. Balzac café has several outlets throughout the province but here, it was a yellow historic house and was super cute. The main strip is lined with high-end boutiques. Town is well-maintained with loads of flowers everywhere. We managed to find a diner where V got a breakfast plate including 4 sunny-side-up & sausages. Toast was soaking wet in melted butter. It was another hot day.
We hit the road back to Toronto at 11am. This should avoid the morning traffic into town and the lunch rush at St Lawrence Market. Well, It didn’t go like that without a huge hurdle. We wanted to leave the car near our hostel, again, near Greek Town. And again, all street parking was permit only overnight. Even the hostel had no solution. Really?! We were willing to walk but not even in the vicinity. Gee. We got on wifi and searched for some input but again, nada. Looks like everyone’s had the same issue. Ok…another option; return the car already. We just had to make sure we have a way to get to
the airport tomorrow morning at 5am. Looks like a night owl bus comes right by here, straight to the airport. Counting on you, Google map!
After returning the car on the other side of the town, we finally reached the market at 4!! Starving. We had our eyes, hearts and stomach on grilled Calamari from the fish n’ chips place. So meaty and not chewy!! And of course, peameal bacon repeat. It was the oddest thing. There was nobody at Carousel Bakery except 1 woman working in the back. It almost looked like they were closed. As we were standing, looking lost, a person walked up and looked like she put in an order. So glad we didn’t walk away!! The lady loaded up that plump Canadian bacon on Ciabatta roll, mm mm mm. We hit Smokey’s Poutinerie and Soma Chocolatier for the road. Man, poutine is no joke. They had sign saying “clogging arteries since 1996” or something like that. I believe it 100%.
Alarm went off at 4am and the bus came on time at 4:20. Relieved. Surprisingly, bus was pretty full! Our flight wasn’t until 8am but that was the closest bus. But I’m glad
we had enough time at the airport because the immigration was done on this side of the border! Who would have thought?! Despite early arrival, we barely had time to grab coffee before the flight.
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