Well, it’s August 29th and summer is nearing it’s end. While I love the fall, I am having trouble accepting the end of the summer season. So, I have taken this week off work and decided to get my summer on before it is too late.
I started with an informal kick-off last week at the Open Roof Festival held at The Amsterdam Brewery. While sitting in an outdoor theater, with a view of the city, the evening began with local Toronto band Yuka and was followed by the quirky film Submarine. To me, nothing says summer like listening to music and watching movies, outside.
Thursday marks your last chance this season to enjoy a night at Open Roof Films. This week you can sip on beer, enjoy some popcorn, listen to the musical stylings of The Junction, and view the film Eco Pirate.
While finishing up my workday on Friday afternoon, my mind began to drift toward thoughts of sunny summer days and how soon they are going to come to an end. This thought motivated me to arrange an inexpensive evening activity that would allow my husband and I to enjoy the weather, the beautiful parks near our home and each other’s company. I decided the best way to accomplish this would be to prepare a picnic supper. So, after I wrapped up my work day I brainstormed the menu and headed to the grocery store.
How did you spend your lunch hour yesterday? Personally, I had the pleasure of hopping aboard the Miss Kim Simpson for a one-hour ride with Toronto Harbour Tours. We met the tour boat at the foot of York St at Queen’s Quay Terminal, which luckily is a quick five-minute walk from my office.
Even though I have lived in Toronto for almost a decade, this was a great way to enjoy the city views on a beautiful summer day. Taking the tour was also the perfect way to take a break from work, help me stop wearing my shoulders as earrings and recharge for the afternoon. Our guide, Captain Sarah was knowledgeable, engaging and quite funny. If you have more time, you can also get off at a stop on the Island and hop back on when you are ready to head back to the city.
Whether you are a visitor or resident of Toronto, I recommend this tour as a great way to see the city from a different view.
There’s just something about the summer road-trip that gives me a sense of adventure and romance. Perhaps I’ve seem too many coming-of-age, summer feel good movies, but once we decided to head to Halifax on a whim, I was ready for life on the open road.
Over 10 days we covered almost 4500 kilometers in our Honda Civic Hybrid. During this time we did and saw a lot. I’ll be blogging this week about our experiences and perhaps inspire you to take a trip like this before the summer is over.
I’ll begin with our culinary adventures.
Our first stop on our trip was a night in Old Quebec City at The Chateau Frontenac. After eight hours of driving we arrived thirsty for cocktails and hungry for dinner. We began with cocktails on the Terrace at The Chateau Frontenac, which overlooks the St. Lawrence River, a wonderful view to enjoy while sipping on Cucumber-Mint Mojitos and Mandarinhattens.
On a recommendation from a friend, we wandered just outside the Old City to Le Hobbit restaurant where we sat on their narrow patio, and ate and drank while observing the hustle and bustle of the city. The atmosphere is relaxed and a nice break from some of the more touristy spots within the walls of the old city. The service was attentive, friendly but not intrusive. I also found the quality of the food to above some of the other restaurants closer to the action. After dinner we headed next door to Tutto Gelato to satisfy a sweet tooth with mascarpone and mango, as well as a little hazelnut gelato. We were not disappointed; the gelato was the perfect treat to enjoy while walking back to the hotel.
Once we arrived in Halifax, it was time to relax for a couple of evenings, dine with our hosts and enjoy some great home cooking. Once our batteries were recharged, we headed on recommendation to The Bicycle Thief a hopping and happening spot near the water in downtown Halifax. It might have been a stormy Tuesday night but this place was packed, we even spotted Pierce Brosnan amongst the patrons! The casual Italian cuisine is fabulous. This is probably the best restaurant I’ve dined in during my many visits to Halifax. Calamari, anti-pasti, scallops, seafood stew, beef tenderloin and pasta were all ordered by our crew and thoroughly enjoyed.
Fueled by a love of food and wine, we continued our exploration of Nova Scotia by heading to the Annapolis Valley for lunch followed by wine touring and tasting. We stopped for lunch in the small village of Port Williams to dine at The Port Gastro Pub. The pub is located on the Cornwallis River, so as we dined we were able to watch the riverbed fill up as the tide came in.
We enjoyed a wonderful lunch prepared with local ingredients accompanied by local wine and root beer. The beer, both root and regular are brewed right next door at the microbrewery, Sea Level Brewing. While my lunch was amazing, my husband raved about the chowder which was full of fresh goodies like lobster tail. He also rated his lobster club sandwich, topped with house made lemon mayo, one of the top five sandwiches he’d ever eaten.
Another exciting culinary adventure was found while dining in with our hosts for the week. With fresh products from Clearwater Seafoods, I tried my first oysters and lobster, plus enjoyed the best scallops I’d ever had. During this meal we enjoyed local food, wine and rum (more on the wine and rum to come).
Once back in Quebec City, we found our way to Le Capitole de Quebec to dine on a beautiful patio. The atmosphere here is vibrant, the food decadent, the service friendly and attentive, and the location perfect for people watching.
My search for great food during this vacation was definitely successful with the help of great suggestions from Twitter friends, our hosts and a little luck.
Curious about what we did when we weren’t eating? Check out:
If you want to read more about what we ate or the soundtrack for our journey check out: