My computer is choking to death on a video processing job right now and as a result I can’t scan anything.  It’s difficult even to internet anything.  In lieu of a comic or a drawing or an anything useful, interesting or good, here is this thing.

Every year around our anniversary (typically the week between Christmas and New Year’s, during which my office goes on what are rather euphemistically called “holiday hours” and really just means that we close it up and don’t return phone calls or emails for 7-10 days), Amy and I go away for our honeymoon trip.  This is a tradition we are carrying on from her family where her folks, both teachers, would go away around their anniversary, the 31st of December.  Each year they made that a special them-only trip, as far as I know, and we are keeping that up in our family.

This year we went and stayed at the Royal York hotel which is right on Front Street across from Union Station.  To be any more downtown one would have to wear SCUBA gear and a heated wetsuit (Lake Ontario is usually than I like to swim in at summer’s zenith so imagine it in December).  Each night we went for dinner at a different restaurant and here are mini-reviews of each of them.

Frans, 200 Victoria Street
On our first evening, we went to see what we could find up Yonge Street.  It turns out to be: Nothing.  Between Front and Dundas there were no restaurants open whatsoever, so we went to Fran’s which is sort of a 50s style diner.  I had five-cheese mac & cheese and Amy had a honey garlic chicken bowl.  This was the least value for money of any of the places we ate.  The food was pretty good but it was over-priced.  The service was so-so.  In retrospect I probably ought to have tried the all-day breakfast or similar.  Not the worst place to eat but I wouldn’t really recommend it.

Regal Beagle Pub, 335 Bloor Street
On the 28th, we walked from our hotel all the way to Honest Ed’s on Bloor Street.  We walked for about seven hours all told and felt like some pub grub at lunchtime.  Bloor Street is fairly well packed with restaurants and we just happened to hit one that wasn’t wonderful.  It once again wasn’t exactly bad but it wasn’t exactly good, either.  Amy’s French Onion soup vegetarian chili, despite being priced like a main course was sized like an appetizer and whatever I had left so little impression on me that I can’t bring it to mind now.  We should have gone to the burrito place that looked condemned.  Ah, the crystal clear vision of hindsight.

Later that same day we took ourselves along Front Street toward St. Lawrence Market and happened upon the Hot House Cafe, 35 Church Street.  It is right where Church and Front meet or diverge or whatever.  It’s sort of across from Toronto’s Flatiron Building and in the same general area as the nearly-complete Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.  This was the best place we ate the whole time we were in town and we actually went there twice, first for dinner and then the next day we returned for dessert.  I had the chicken pizza, as is my wont and there was enough for both of us to have some and then to have it for breakfast the next day.  Amy elected to have their hamburger which was juicy and really  nicely seasoned.  The waitstaff were excellent, as was the ambiance (apart from the guy at the next table who appeared to be hitting on the girl he was with so hard until she started talking about her boyfriend.  Then he started going on and on about how he was gay and how gay he was and how long he’d been gay so that was kind of weird).  There is a sort of prep kitchen right in the main part of the restaurant and a glass case full of desserts.  We saw desserts going by to other tables and decided to come back the next night, which we did.  I had chocolate cake that had icing out to here and Amy had something lighter and lemony.  We also split an appetizer (dip platter, skip the eggplant stuff as it tastes of cigarette smoke).  There was enough cake that I had it for breakfast on the morning we left.

Spring Rolls, 85 Front Street
We went back down Front Street to St. Lawrence market the next morning (when things were actually open) and stopped at Spring Rolls for lunch.  There are apparently four of them in the downtown area.  This one had a fairly large dining room and all eight couples were shoved into the front eight tables with between four and eight feet separating us (and less so when one of the couples had a friend join them, necessitating a move of our closest neighbours’ table toward us).  They do sort of an Asian-inspired thing.  My General Tso’s Chicken was labelled as spicy but I managed not to eat any of the chilis so I found it very nice.  Amy had pad thai and it was good, too.  Our waiter, Joao (who looked Italian, maybe?  I think it was an assumed name) was extremely creepy.  Our table was right beside a big column and when he did the ‘how is everything?’ thing that waiters always do, he just sort of leaned out from around the column about a foot from Amy’s head.  Decent prices, pretty good food, weird/odd/cramped service.

So, there you have it.  A gustatory whirlwind tour of south-central Toronto.

such a pretty garden

Update:  Amy reminded me that she had vegetarian chili at Regal Beagle, not French Onion Soup.  It was in a french onion soup style bowl.