Thursday, February 04, 2010

This Blog Has Moved

Since Blogger is no longer supporting blogs using FTP, I have decided to move on to a different blogging platform. The archives since 2000 will stay here. But I am now blogging at Don't Shake the Flask.

[posted by S. Y. Affolee on 8:09 PM : 0 comments ]

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Really Cold

Today was clear and cold. Not good weather for walking about unless you want to turn into an icicle.

After checking out, my sister and I left our luggage in care of the hotel while we wandered about Toronto some more before we leave in the evening. We went to Chinatown and had dim sum at Dim Sum Banquet which was a lot more traditional in layout compared to the place we went to in Montreal. Here, the ladies carting around the food screamed out their wares like fishwives--which I found hilarious.

Then we wandered around the University of Toronto and took some pictures (primarily for our father's benefit) before riding a bit on the subway to make use of our day pass. For dinner, we went to Queen Mother's Cafe, which unlike the restaurant we went to on New Year's Eve, truly serves Asian fusion. I had the Pad Thai which was quite good.

At the moment, I'm waiting at VIA Rail Canada's lounge for people taking the sleeper cars. In some ways, I'm excited about taking this transcontinental trip, but then again, I'm not so sure about the other passengers. They're all of a certain type, if you know what I mean. Retirees with money to spend. I'm doing this on a semi-impulsive lark so we'll see how this goes.

[posted by S. Y. Affolee on 5:59 PM : 0 comments ]

Friday, January 01, 2010

Wandering Around Toronto

We had breakfast at a small mom-and-pop cafe called Daily Brew on Bay before heading to a bookstore a block away which claimed to be The World's Biggest Bookstore. Honestly? Not even close. The chain bookstores in Canada such as Chapters and Indigo might even have more square footage.

Later in the day, we headed to Greektown on Danforth where our parents had lived while our dad was in grad school. But since that was about three decades ago, we figured that whatever had been up back then had either been torn down or renovated beyond recognition. We had some appetizers at The Friendly Greek and bought some cookies at a local Greek bakery called Athena.

Then it was back to the Eaton Centre in downtown where I was pretty much dragged along on the next chapter on my sister's quest for the perfect boot. And you guessed it: no boot found.

Also: No blog post for the next week due to my train trip across Canada. If I can get reception on the cell I'm borrowing, any updates will be on my account on Twitter.

From 20100101_Toronto

From 20100101_Toronto

From 20100101_Toronto

From 20100101_Toronto

[posted by S. Y. Affolee on 4:53 PM : 0 comments ]

Happy New Year!

While I'm still in the process of uploading the crazy, grainy video I took with my camera around midnight, here are some photos I took right before the hand hit twelve.

Right before we hit Nathan Phillips Square for the New Year's celebrations, we wandered a bit around downtown Toronto and got dinner at an "Asian fusion" restaurant called Made in China. The atmosphere was cute and chic--definitely for hip, young people--but the food was only so-so. I guess in decor and food, one has to give somewhere.

From 20091231_Toronto

From 20091231_Toronto

From 20091231_Toronto

[posted by S. Y. Affolee on 7:37 AM : 0 comments ]

Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Train Ride to Toronto

Early in the morning, we headed to Grand Central and took the 57 from Montreal to Toronto. It was pretty much uneventful. The scenery looked mostly misty due to snow. This evening, though, we may see the fireworks at Nathan Phillips Square across from Toronto's Old City Hall.

[posted by S. Y. Affolee on 2:42 PM : 0 comments ]

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Climbing, Sort of

After having brunch at Au Pain Doré, my sister and I headed off to Mount Royal Park. First we passed by Victoria Hospital (where my sister was born) and General Hospital (where I was born). Victoria Hospital had, well, a Victorian sensibility in its architecture which I found interesting. General Hospital was more modern and appeared to be under construction for a new wing. Unfortunately, the hiking trails were closed due to snow so we took a circuitous route via Côte-des-Neiges. At the park, we walked around and went inner tubing.

On our way to visiting the pièce de résistance, L'Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal, we passed by firetrucks in front of a smoking residence. But aside from that, the visit to the cathedral was intriguing.

And after all the hiking, we went to La Banquise which specializes in poutine. We got a classic one and one topped with chicken and peas. All I can say is: if you get a regular size (the smallest size), you can share it with two people. And it was a good thing we were hiking all day and were hungry because otherwise it would have been way too much.

Oh, and my sister dragged me to more stores to look at boots. Still no perfect boot.

From 20091230_Montreal

From 20091230_Montreal

From 20091230_Montreal

From 20091230_Montreal

[posted by S. Y. Affolee on 5:41 PM : 0 comments ]

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Boot Insanity

Was mostly dragged through Montreal's underground city to what seemed to be every store that sold boots in my sister's quest for the perfect boot. No boot found, however.

Other things done today: visiting Christ Church (only the exterior since it was closed), visiting the interior of Basilique Cathedrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde, and having lunch at Boustan famous because it was frequented by former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (very good, by the way).

From 20091229_Montreal

From 20091229_Montreal

From 20091229_Montreal

[posted by S. Y. Affolee on 8:44 PM : 0 comments ]

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mostly Métro

Once we finished breakfast, my sister and I headed off to the Musée Juste pour rire (or Just For Laughs Museum) because theoretically, they were open on Mondays. Unfortunately, the museum didn't have any shows scheduled for today so they were in effect, closed. So that was a bust.

That left us more time to explore Vieux-Montréal or Old Montreal. First we wandered around the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal which is an impressive and ornate cathedral. When we got there, there was a service going on in a chapel behind the main chapel--which I thought was a little odd. Afterwards, we spent a little time at a small shop called Canadian Maple Delights where we had maple tea, a maple tart, and maple gelato--definitely a recommended visitor's spot. A warning: the maple tart is very rich--so it was a good thing that my sister and I were splitting one. It was interesting sitting in the cafe and watching the snow come down outside. The atmosphere was sedate and relaxing as very few tourists stopped by. For about another hour, we wandered the shops and boutiques of Old Montreal before heading to the Métro.

Ah, the Métro. We had decided that we were going to pass or visit every single stop on the system. Before today, we had traveled partly on the Green, Orange, and Yellow lines. So today, we basically went on all of the Blue line, the rest of the Orange, and part of the Green line from Berri-UQAM to Angrignon. We will try to get the rest of the Green line to Honoré-Beaugrand and the Yellow line to Longueuil tomorrow. While one would think that this would be something tremendously boring to do--it actually wasn't so. When we got off the subway car at Côte-Vertu to take a brief look around, Métro emergency personnel rushed into the train to look for something. I don't think anyone really knew what was going on, but we're being optimistic and guessing that they were just trying to fix some sort of mechanical failure.

For dinner, we went to Café Saigon downtown. It was actually quite good. I think my sister put it best when she said that it reminded her of our parents' cooking. There's a certain quality to the food of most Vietnamese restaurants that makes their food scream "restaurant". Café Saigon had a more home style taste to their dishes. Definitely a good choice to end our day.

From 20091228_Montreal

From 20091228_Montreal

From 20091228_Montreal

From 20091228_Montreal

From 20091228_Montreal

[posted by S. Y. Affolee on 7:22 PM : 0 comments ]

Breakfast and Pictures from Yesterday

Currently we're having breakfast after treking in the snow one block away to Second Cup for some hot drinks. The bagels that we got yesterday from Dad's Bagels (poppyseed and sesame seed) are good but a little more sweet than I am used to.

And here are some pictures from yesterday (Grande Bibliothèque, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, and sandwiches at Reuben's):

From 20091227_montreal

From 20091227_montreal

From 20091227_montreal

[posted by S. Y. Affolee on 7:41 AM : 0 comments ]

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