Toronto: Cool Finds & Cheap Food
|March 21, 2012||Posted by under Shopping, Travel|
As usual I have been absent while traveling but I promise you I was swamped! Here is what my 5 days in Toronto looked like:
My friend is a florist and had a display at this yearly flower show so it was free for me to get in as he provided me with a pass! I couldn’t believe all the beautiful flowers! I swear, I couldn’t even identify a peony before this friend came along! Although I am far from being knowledgeable about flowers, I finally know what some of them are called and I have a greater appreciation for them now.
I admit, designer fashion finds are cheaper where I currently live BUT the goods in Toronto are amazing. I nearly fell over when I saw these Zalo Shoes (over $200 retail) at a consignment shop! Ritzy women stare at my feet like mad when I wear these but the brand is fairly new to me. I thought they were a good find but clearly so did other fashionistas. Yay! ($40)
Floral Silk Skirt by Price Roman ($6): When I picked this up I had no idea that the brand was local and high-end designer. Anyone who buys clothes there gets it tailored to their body. This skirt just happened to be a magically tailored to mine. YES!
I also found a vintage bright green wool skirt great for spring ($5), a vintage Parasuco wet-look button down blouse ($1.50), and a Jacob cream-coloured cardigan ($4).
Antique & Vintage
I perused a bunch of antique stores because I do love looking. Here are some pics of things I thought were cool! Sorry the lounge chair didn’t turn out that great but you get the idea.
Live Salad Bar
This was actually displayed at the Canada Blooms show and I wanted to list it separately. I definitely want this in my loft when I finally move (but a smaller version of it). Imagine having fresh sprouts all the time for salads? Oh MY! Definitely something that I want to DIY with my friend’s help..he is the expert with the green thumb who helps his poor friend (me) with the black thumb.
The Perfect Bathtub
I want this bath and especially that tap! Isn’t this awesome? Better start saving those pennies if I want this one.
Where I currently live, I always tell people how expensive food is there and it’s not that great either (sorry!). They always fight me on it but clearly they don’t get out much (no offense guys). Here is some proof that bigger cities have LOTS of cheapo food to be had and not the crappy stuff but good stuff! I was in Chinatown and purchased this Tofu Lemongrass Vietnamese Banh Mi (Sandwich) for $2. Yep, and it was with fresh bread and loads of coriander & tofu. I don’t think food should be expensive, especially fresh healthy food!! There are so many inexpensive places to eat in Toronto. I even had a sushi combo with rice, salad, green tea and 15 pieces for $6.49. Yep. And that was right downtown, not in the sticks. Cheap healthy food, I love you!
The best coffee place in Toronto that I’ve been to so far: Sam James Coffee Bar on Harbord Street in The Annex area. It’s not really a place to sit although there are two stools and one bench which would sit 2-3 people. And two stools outside if the weather is nice. You come for the coffee, not the socializing or surfing the net. There is no washroom but the Tattoo shop next door might let you use theirs. There is also no WiFi. The owner is amazingly friendly and super zen (yep, Sam James served me the coffee himself) . All these coffee experts know each other too as I’ve been to places in Toronto, Montreal and Halifax where all the owners of my favorite places are either friends or acquainted due to their craft. I’m starting to think I’m a nerd too, I know way too much coffee lingo to pass off as a normal person. Sam James gets its coffee from a roaster in Montreal called Toi Moi Cafe (also an amazing place by the way – there are 2 locations). The espresso was so creamy & yummy that I nearly fainted from an orgasmic reaction. I also had their french press coffee to take with me which was very smooth and light. I do prefer something with more of a bite to it. I mostly drink espresso so it’s hard to “wow” me with a North American brewed coffee.
We also went to another cafe where I really liked the vibe: LinuxCaffe.
They had vegan cupcakes (and also gluten free) as well as normal ones to please everyone. This is what I love about big cities, everyone knows what a vegan is, restaurants and bakeries generally have something for you and people don’t label you a freak or ask you what you eat. I accidentally found out what this place is all about and can’t wait to go back. Here is the description:
“linuxcaffe is a cozy corner caffe offering dark organic coffees, simply delicious food and pleasant surprises. It is also the home of Toronto’s Open Source software communities, hosting user group meetings, workshops and distributing free software.” – How cool is this???
My friend cooked dinner for 3 of the nights I was there: Hearty Brown Rice Pasta with a very tasty homemade sauce, Lentil/Avocado & Kidney bean taco wraps (with lots of Red Hot sauce!) and a lovely colourful stir fry served with brown rice (the sauce was so good, I had to ask him how he did it). I want him to move in so he can feed me forever! Hahaha. I do really need to start cooking again. We had sushi one night and went to Magic Oven (Organic Pizza Place) another evening where I ate a pizza with a spelt crust, avocados, artichokes and spinach. Vegan of course. They also have gluten free crust. Heaven.
Normally my friend and I go out at least once when we meet up for a weekend but it was St-Patrick’s Day on Saturday and neither of us were particularly wanting to deal with the frenzy. We were eventually gently encouraged into going out for a drink. Luckily, the neighbourhood we were in didn’t get too crazy with this holiday. Most people weren’t wearing green and puking on the sidewalks – thankfully. One night we had a movie night and watched Flakes on Netflix which I really enjoyed. It was a cute indie film!
I scored some pretty high-end samples at Holt Renfrew (with 25% pure oils!): Frederic Malle Perfumes (2 of them!). These samples are collectively worth roughly $30-32 from what I saw on Ebay. Sweet! They range from about $200-400 a bottle depending on the oils used. (100ml)
Back to Montreal
I had a long 6.30hr bus ride back to Montreal with Megabus. The ride to Toronto felt a lot shorter but I did have more space to myself and had a movie to watch. And we didn’t get stuck in traffic. For $15 (one way) I would be stupid to complain about it though. Megabus is so cheap, I paid $37.50 for a return bus ticket: Montreal-Toronto. Sometimes you can get $1 seats too.