January 23, 2015

Toronto in a nutshell | Day 1

I'm currently lazing on a my couch, after a hectic week in Toronto involving a lot of food, wine and birthday celebrations. I'm also cursing the heat after enjoying some crisp, freezing weather (-10C) and snow! When you live on a tropical island nothing is more exciting than snow and I'm so happy I got a few inches of the magical white stuff before I left.

Our quick trip to Toronto to celebrate our friend Matt's 30th birthday was nothing short of wonderful: it was sunny and cold, we ate delicious food throughout the city & we both managed to catch up with friends with whom a catch up was way overdue!

Here are some highlights of the trip in a nutshell:

We arrived around midday from Miami, so J and I checked ourselves in at Matt's apartment and scurried over to St.Lawrence Market for some late lunch. This market reminded me a lot of the indoor market in Leeds (where I went to uni): warm and cosy, with a million different smells sending your senses into overdrive.

We picked Buster's because of the long line (usually a great sign) and though we were impressed with the speedy service & the presentation of the food, it lacked oomph. We had lobster rolls with a side of calamari and both dishes needed some seasoning to bring it to life [though by that time we were both so exhausted from our 4am flight from Miami attributed to our lack of enthusiasm with anything by that point].

That afternoon, I met up with my friend Antoine (Fellow One Young World-ler) who introduced us to a great little tap house right around the corner from our apartment.

C'est What Taphouse is located in the cellar of a historic 19th century building in the St. Lawrence Market area  (67 Front Street East at Churchand offers a great selection of local and regional craft beers. J was in heaven! We caught up with Antoine over a few recommended brews before heading off to dinner.

Later that evening, a group of us went to one of Matt's favourite places in Toronto, Buca (604 King St W) for dinner.

(Image via)
Buca is tucked away at the very end of a side alley (Buca is the Italian word for 'hole'), but once you step inside you're transported to an italian-esque basement space full of warmth, chatter and energy. I was blown away by the atmosphere of this restaurant, thanks to the exposed brick walls and dim lighting. 

We ended up ordering a variety of things off of the menu and sharing starters, while everyone ended up trying each others' mains as well. The general consensus was that the the 'Polpo' (braised octopus), the 'Vitello Da Latte' (veal tenderloin with scorzone truffle, pictured below) & 'Ravioli Doppi' (double-stuffed ravioli with braised goose) were the best things on the menu!

The service was great too (Matt is a regular here) and I would highly recommend you give it a try if you're up for treating yourself to a nice meal in Toronto.

Stay tuned for Day 2 of our trip!

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