Back from Toronto
All in all, it seemed a lot smaller than I remember it. The Eaton Centre, which seemed so huge when I was a kid, failed to impress me. It was good to walk down Yonge Street and Spadina Avenue, but Chinatown, Toronto was not at all as exotic as it used to be. We did, however, have a great meal at Asian Legend, whose Mapo Tofu and Szechuan Chicken Soup satisfied our mutual desire for something spicy.
More fun for me was exploring Queen Street West and Bloor Street, areas I only started exploring in my twenties. Koreatown, Toronto was, like Koreatown, Fort Lee, just like one of the shabbier neighborhoods in any city back in the home country. The Annex was a new neighborhood that I did enjoy. It was similar in feel to the South Wedge here in Rochester, which begs the question, why did we really need to go to another country in the first place.
The Beer Station, our penultimate stop for the night, provided one answer: Sir Perry's Pear Cider. The beverage from England was much to my wife's liking. My choices were less than stellar. Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale was an unhoppy choice, literally. It's a crime that they get away with calling this pisswater an India Pale Ale! Do Canadians persist in making fun of us for our beer? I then opted for the far superior La Fin Du Monde, from Quebec but I confess, Belgian-style ales are not really my thing. However, a second and even better answer to my question was to be found across the street at Smoke's Poutinerie. What better way to end an evening than with french fries covered with cheese curds and gravy?
Well, , to make a late night even later, the missus and I did find a few better ways to end the evening back at the highly-recommendable Shuter House, a.k.a. the Heritage Townhouse. The place is centrally located in an historic building, and is both clean and cheap. What more could you ask for? We has reserved the Winter Room, but they gave us the roomier Garden Room at the same price. When we return with the kiddos, the Autumn Room of Maple Leaf Room will be ideal.
The trip coincided with the expiration of my passport, which happened precisely (and perhaps symbolically) at the moment we were enjoying our poutine. I had planned a speech about my taxes and government workers upon returning to the United States, but the border guard waved me through, almost as easily as the old days before GWOT. Still, the Canadians were nicer. You'd think American border agents would at least be kind to the people who pay their salaries.