Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Calgon Weekend

I was taken away but not by Calgon. It was Porter airlines, now officially deemed "best airline in Canada" by me. It was the best flying experience I've had in years.

Porter flew me direct to Toronto Island Airport, which is perfect since Deb and Andrew live in the Beach. I knew the airline was different when they started offering complimentary wine and beer IN GLASS. No plastic here. Also, free sandwiches. Also, ample leg room. Also, the flight was only 39 minutes so I could have probably put up with almost anything for so short a time. But I didn't have to because THEY WERE NICE AND GAVE ME FREE BOOZE.

A great way to start the weekend.

I got off the plane and took the ferry over to the mainland. I could have swum across the channel in less time than it took the ferry. Honestly, it almost seems ridiculous because the water is so narrow there. However, swimming with luggage would have presented a problem. Also, I was wearing a skirt.

Andrew dropped us off at a great and very hip restaurant in Leslieville, not far from their house while he went home to nurse his headache. Andrew is a surgeon and had been called in for a trauma the night before. He was working on very little sleep.

The restuarant we went to didn't have a name out front. Just a big nose. I'm not kidding. Just a big nose. That's how hip it was. No name, just nose.

Apparently the name of the restaurant is Gio Rana's Really Really Nice Restaurant but it is too cool to actually be gauche enough to put that on the outside. Then again, why would you need to when you have a giant nose on the outside? Anyone could find that.

Enough about the nose. The food was southern Italian. Very good. Small portions and small prices. I like that. We shared some great procsuitto with fig and blue cheese and a beet salad with gorgonzola and I had some pasta filled with squash that was great.

The music was really loud, very hip and the place was PACKED. Made me feel like small town girl came to the big city, which is kind of what it was. Ottawa felt so hick after eating there. Really, we don't have one place here that would compare with the hip-ness and groove of this joint.

Time to move on. After that we walked back to Deb's, Andrew and I drank a good amount of wine (which seemed to quickly become a theme of the weekend for me) and went to bed.

On Saturday morning I got up and read the Globe and Mail. We had a leisurely mini-breakfast, coffee and then did some gardening. We took Otis, their dog, dog to the dog park by Lake Ontario, a quick walk from their house. It was beautiful to stand by the shoreline and look over at the CN tower and the rest of the city's skyline. It's something I haven't done in too long and it reminded me how beautiful Toronto can be. It also reminded me that I should have taken my camera on our walk.

After that we went back home and then went for a late brunch just on the corner of their street at a restaurant where, a while back, Andrew saved a guy's life who had collapsed on the floor.

Apparently that actually happens to doctors.

After returning back to their house again, Deb and I decided on a whim to get a pedicure. Toronto, or at least The Beach, has a few sweatshop-like mani-pedi joints where the chairs are lined up against each wall of a narrow shop and young Chinese women give you pedicures for $25 a pop. They do an amazing job. I spent an extra $5 and got a beautiful design put on my big toes. The women do these designs freehand and they are works of art and perfectly executed.

We then trudged home, had a quick snack of hors d'oeuvres and headed out to catch the Chinese Lantern Festival at Ontario Place. After sitting in traffic for what seemed like forever, we decided to park further away and take the streetcar and then walk the last bit. I decided to pause to take a photo of the CN tower since we were so close and I wanted photo proof for you all that I was actually in Toronto and not just hiding in a closet in my own house.

Unfortunately, right after that photo was taken, I turned, took three steps and then went down when I stepped on uneven pavement, my bum ankle gave way, I sprained it again thus ending our chance to the see the lanterns. I protested and protested but Deb and Andrew insisted we skip the lanterns. They were right. I couldn't have walked far without serious pain.

We spent the rest of the night watching Gordon Ramsay on Food Network.

On Sunday, Andrew made us wonderful blueberry pancakes, I hung around the house icing my ankle, sitting on their very comfortable patio furniture staring at the sky above their yard trying to convince myself that I was in Toronto Centre (see photo below) while the two of them took Otis for a walk and then, when I started feeling more mobile (mainly due to some pain killers I took), we went to Queen West for some shopping and another great meal, this time at Terroni's, a great southern Italian restaurant (seemed to be a theme) that is a Toronto institution.

After that it was time to return home. Another great flight with Porter. The lounge at Toronto Island has free lattes, capps, coffee, Americano and free Walkers Stem Ginger Cookies and Shortbread. What more could you ask for in an airline I say?

Hope greeted me at the airport with a poopy diaper.

Ah, it's great to be home.


Julie said...

You were wearing a skirt?? Must have been a holiday. Love the toes. So girlie. The ankle looks terrible. But sounds like you had an amazing mini-retreat.

H Munro said...

I am so jealous, last time I was there we were sitting behind a couple of memebers of Sloan. After reading your post I have an ache to visit Toronto, oh how I miss it!

Erika said...

Very cute toes! (I don't see anything wrong with your toes anyways, what're you talking about?) Sounds like an excellent trip (except for the whole ankle thing). Remember, when you're feeling small town-ish, you can always come visit me in Spring-burg... that'll boost your opinion of Ottawa (C: Glad you got a break,