Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dr. Who???

So the husband is away working, the babes is sleeping and in my attempts to keep up with my blogging I promised myself I would type up a post before I had declared my relaxation time to begin, which was 9pm, that gave me from 8 to 9 to write this up, well it's 8:34 and I got nothing. I have been trying to come up with a clever way to start talking about going to Dr. Generosity in Bloor West Village for brunch...basically I tried 3 different times, typed up an entire post, to just read it back to myself and delete it. I am all stressed about work, the house, money, all that stupid grown up shit that I don't feel ready to deal with yet (in my  head I'm still 16 years old...that was a good year...braces off, sweet sixteen, felt sort of okay enough with my body to wear a bikini, hadn't yet decided to give myself that awful haircut that made me look like an immigrant mexican villager that didn't grow out until 3rd year university). So, I'm finding it hard to come up with witty things to say, I just find myself being really bitchy...and more so than usual. Though I guess bitchy can be funny, as long as it's not directed toward you, alright, I'll give it a try, bitchiness and all, but if you own a restaurant in bloor west village please don't take this too personally, it comes with a lot of personal baggage...but take it a little personally.

Pretty much I believe that compared to other trendy neighbourhoods in Toronto, the culinary talent in Bloor West Village leaves much to be desired...okay, that wasn't too bitchy. I had lived in bloor west for at least 3 years, basically having gone to Sharkey's and hating it and then deciding everything else on the street was crap, when I finally gave Dr. Generosity a try for brunch and was pleasantly surprised, and remembered seeing lots of kids...okay before having my own kid, hearing one baby crying in a restaurant made it feel like I was in Chucky Cheese. 
Point is, now with baby in tow decided I would go there again....BIG MISTAKE!

The food had not changed, the decor was still the same, the difference was I now see the world through mommy-goggles and have no patience for stupid-idiots (here comes the crankiness). First of all, if I am standing with three other people and I tell the waiter "we need a table for four and..." then I look directly at the baby does that not mean there are actually 5 human beings being seated, one of which is the child in my arms...apparently not, so we got a four person table in the middle of the restaurant. I mentioned to him that we still needed a place for the baby he let me know that I should have told him this at the door he then turned away too quickly to notice me giving him the finger.  He got a high chair and placed it in the aisle, which I didn't mind, however the jackass manager seemed to have a problem with this, the same person who when I initially entered the restaurant said no strollers allowed (CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!!!), he obviously hates children! So we squeezed two chairs and highchair on one side of a table that is meant for only two people. The baby decided to entertain us by doing that trick where you pull out the table cloth really quickly while leaving all the plates and cutlery on the table in their original places...well...she's not even a year old, she's still practising...the waiter did not GET this and seemed really annoyed when he had to replace everything at our table...I could tell he was annoyed because he huffed a lot every time he bent over as if it was really physically straining him to lean and pick up a fork, and he would stand up between each thing he picked up and then sigh again on his way down, very dramatic, he was doing a really good job delivering this performance, he should get an agent. 

We placed our orders, and of course my coffee took forever to arrive, the waiter obviously hated me because my baby is so much cuter than his children...if he has any...or his future children....I just hate him!

I had noticed the restaurant was pretty quiet, and when I looked around people looked very uninterested and bored...and well, I guess the baby picked up on this too, she is so perceptive, and decided to once again try to entertain everyone, this time with her vocal talents, so she starting singing...okay some people (like the stupid waiter and jackass manager) might call it screaming, but obviously they don't have the musical training I do (watching hours of much music daily as a child). Now this wasn't an angry or sad scream, she was smiling and waving her arms up and down, but it was definitely loud. (Okay, to be completely honest I was horrified, but in public I am very loyal to my family and always take their side, I gave her a good talking to at home about appropriate restaurant behaviour to which she replied by belching in my face then pulling off my glasses while smacking herself in the belly...she's a complex woman). By the end of our visit I had to have two cups of coffee cleaned that had spilled over, three replacement forks, and reluctantly apologize (multiple times) to the woman sitting behind us for having her hair pulled...and for some reason I got the feeling that the staff just didn't like us.

Point is, they made me feel like I was inconveniencing them by bringing a baby in during their busy weekend brunch time and so I will hate them forever and you should too! Stupid place and their stupid no stroller policy, there are a lot of eldery people in my condo, I'm going to send them all their next Saturday with their walkers and wheelchairs and see what the Dr. does about that, it will be complete chaos and I will be watching from outside point and laughing, "MhwaaaaHaaaHaaaHa!!!" 

...okay, I think I need to go relax a little....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How do you judge a good breakfast? It's in the homefries.

Even though the fam and I are soon facing Bloor West deportation and I should be spending the last few weeks taking in all that the 'village' has to offer I can't resist the over sized portions and amazing home fries of my favourite 24 hours breakfast joint, The Grille, on Queensway in Etobicoke.

To celebrate Father's Day (though a friend suggested that in the first year of parenthood there should really be two Mother's Days and we should skip father's idea I find truly inspired), anyway, decided would have to do something for Father's Day, and really didn't have to do much to compete with Mother's Day celebrations...which I have already warned my husband that I will use against him in the future...he spent the whole day today trying to get me to stop doing things for him or being nice in fear of the heavy handed guilt-trip he will receive when he is least expecting it weeks from now. Wow, that paragraph was hard to follow, it's almost midnight and the thing living in the crib is teething, and I stayed up to watch the husband on the MMVA's (proud wife moment)...point is, kind of tired so lay off.

So we hit the Grille, which I have to say from the street leaves little to be desired. Looks like any other 'family' restaurant. They have an outdoor patio which faces a busy traffic filled street, and since the restaurant clientele consists mostly of truckers, the outdoor eating area is cozily  enclosed between numerous 18-wheelers. 

Now this place serves all day breakfast, including coffee, for something crazy like $3 during the week if you get there early enough, so there's no extra cash flow for fancy floors or tables...or to hire waitstaff that doesn't spend most of their day reapplying their make up to look like Spackle, so don't expect much by way of decor.  I have never veered from bacon and eggs so I can't really tell you what the other menu items are like, they serve what my parents would refer to as 'mungie-cake' food...meaning I've been raised to stay as far away from that stuff as possible. So being able to comment only on breakfast I would have to say that it was one of the best breakfast places (or at least my favourite) in the city, and this is based solely on their home fries. Really, eggs, bacon, you can't go wrong unless you burn it, home fries, that is where the artistry lies, and let me tell you my friend, the Grille has some wicked ass home fries (that's right, I said 'wicked-ass'!).

As for the baby-friendliness of this place: highchair - check, commented on baby's high level of adorableness - check, were okay with the HUGE mess left by baby on the floor - ???? we tend to take off as quickly as we can once the bill is paid because we don't want to see the look on the waitress' face when she sees the crazy mess of wet cheerios, spilled water, clumps of cereal, and sometimes even vomit, that is left by the baby, she leaves a path of destruction every where she goes, she's trashed more rooms than her musician father...I think he resents her a little for that (you'll have your chance babe, I see many trashed hotel rooms after crazy drinking binges in your future, don't you worry:)

If you are looking for a lot of food for a good price that's super greasy, served with a HUGE thermal jug of coffee then head west on Queensway until you see the neon sign flashing "GRILLE 24-7".

...and remember if you are still breastfeeding you need the extra calories so order that side of pancakes, according to the husband they are the best he's ever had, even better than the ones I make that come out of that box that says to add milk and eggs to, but I decide to get culinarily inspired and change it up a bit by just adding water (leave me alone, I forgot to go grocery shopping that day)...

...and yes, I made up the word "culinarily"

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to...

So for all of my loyal followers who did not realize it, it was my birthday last Wednesday (I expect my belated gifts in the mail pretty much as soon as you finish reading this). I am definitely not one of those people who prefers to keep their birthday under wraps in the hope that by not celebrating they might halt the aging process in its tracks, I prefer to devote an entire week (two if the day falls on a weekend) to birthday celebrations and provide friends and family with lists of potential gifts weeks (sometimes months) in advance. Which means I reminded the husband daily for the last month that he better come up with something good if he didn't want to be served with the divorce papers I keep updated and prepared in the desk drawer to hold over his head on such occasions. Well, I awoke on Wednesday to the baby crying...the husband was snoring, I changed the poopy diaper....the husband snored....I cleared my throat, coughed in his face, kicked his leg as I walked by...still snoring. Finally I just sat the baby on his bare chest and it took a handful of chest hair being ripped out for him to wake up...somewhat. After that he did redeem himself slightly by running out to get us some breakfast, however the gesture was lost when he announced the 'plan' for the do whatever I, that took a lot of creative thinking, he figured out my level of satisfaction with this idea quickly (pouting in the corner like a 5 year old with my arms crossed is pretty obvious). While he was fetching coffee I googled "fun day trips from Toronto" and casually left the page open when he walked in. I didn't say anything about it, but when I stepped out of the shower he proudly announced that he had a great idea if I didn't know what I wanted to do, we were off to St. Jacobs for the day (#2 on the list)....and finally we get to the review, how baby-friendly is a road trip to St. Jacobs?

Well, I do have it a little easier than some, the baby naps pretty regularly, so we timed our drive there for the morning nap and the drive home for the afternoon nap. It's about 1 1/2 outside of the city, we passed Milton and....that's all I remember, I stopped paying attention pretty quickly. It's mostly 401 driving so not a lot to look at, but we did manage to fill the time quite nicely with a frequent driving argument we tend to have revolving around my husband refusing to believe that the GPS might be incorrect which follows with me accusing him of having an affair with the British lady who lives inside the machine.

Once we are in the village we did the only thing there is to do, walk around and go into stores that you would never go into if they were in your local plaza, so we checked out the crochet store, the aboriginal quilting store, and of course the fudge store (why is it any pseudo-touristy street in Ontario has a fudge store...are we well known for our fudge making abilities...not that I really care, there are always a lot of free samples so I'm happy with their presence in local tourist areas, I just feel that if we are sticking with fudge as a local delicacy we should really play this up a bit more, maybe that guy in that Ontario commercial "There's no place like this" should be holding a piece of fudge in his hand while he sings!?!?). 

When it was time for lunch we decided on an outdoor patio (I believe the place was called the Shady Tree). There was a booster seat and high chair we could use, both were wet, rusted, and full of spider we decided to feed the baby while she sat in the stroller, but the condition of the aforementioned baby gear made me feel much less guilty about the huge mess we left on the patio floor.  We ordered burgers and fries ( it was that or hot dogs and fries...really, those were the only menu items) which had a very nostalgic feel, with the first bite I was immediately taken back to my childhood and reminded of those nights where my mom and dad were too tired to really cook and we ate frozen beef patties that were barely heated through on the grill, topped with some processed cheese, watered down ketchup (don't pretend you've never watered down your ketchup before! ) and a wilted piece of lettuce, tasted like home.

Overall, fun family day trip. Just hit the antique shop first so you can buy yourself something pretty and then you don't really care what you do for the rest of the day...or at least that's what works for me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What the hell is a 'stay'cation???

I am a true collector of Pet Peeves: chewing gum, people who don't know what to do when stop lights aren't working, dirty ears, people who don't pay their share when a big group is all on the same bill at a restaurant...there are dozens,  and the newest addition to the list:  "stay-cations". Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem with people not being able to afford to go away somewhere, I am right there with you, I'm broke, so it's not the act of staying home that I have a problem with, it's the term. I mean COME ON, just get over it, you are not fooling anyone by calling it a 'stay'-cation, just call it what it is, staying home. It's not like you are going to do anything you don't do on a regular weekend just because it's Monday and you are off. Are you telling me you are not going to check your mailbox or answer your phone for the whole week??

Now that I got that off my chest I can give you a little destination in the city you can hit to feel like you are away in another country, even if it's just for breakfast. ( just because I am against using the word stay-cation, it doesn't me you shouldn't do 'vacation-y' type things within the city whenever you can, I just really hate new words that are created to explain current social/political/economical/cultural situations that become part of every day conversation to the point that you hear your mom saying things like "LOL"or  "for-shizzle my nizzle" mother actually asked me what 'tea-bagging' was the other day, apparently she said it in front of my 19year old brother, who proceeded to laugh hysterically to the point of shooting his beverage out of his nose....this entire paragraph is in parenthesis...time to get back on topic).

The plan for this summer was to visit Portugal, the Mother Land, unfortunately someone had other plans and my husband decided to let his car break down and require $2500 in service to still function (and yes, he LET it happen...I went through 18 hours of labour, I'm allowed to blame him for anything now), meaning the money we had saved before the kid arrived was gone. This morning I went to take out the trash, well, when I got outside a breeze wafted the scent of the sun soaked trash bin towards my face and the first thing that came to mind was Portugal (I know that sounds awful, but you have to believe I love it there...but Lisbon does smell like a trash can in the summer). I instantly wanted to be there, so I packed up the family and we headed to Caldense Bakery on Dundas St West for breakfast.

I walked in and instantly I felt like I was back in Portugal. An old man tried to push my stroller out of the way to get in before me...because you know, coffee runs out fast in coffee shops at 8am on a Tuesday morning. Once inside my husband spoke to me in English and I could instantly feel the dirty looks of the old and wrinkled Portuguese men who will head straight from Caldense to go water their driveways before going to stand in front of the seedy sports bar up the street for the rest of the day. The waitress took a good 15 minutes to come to our table, and when she arrived she just looked at us without saying a word. I decided to really make the most of our little get away in the city and ordered our food in Portuguese...well that changed everything of course. The little old lady next to us heard me and came right over to ask about the baby and remark on how adorable she was, and to say that with her blond hair and blue eyes she never thought she was Portuguese, but of course thank goodness we all know the truth, god forbid she not be Portuguese. The waitress seemed to get a shot of red bull directly into a main artery with hearing my broken portuguese because she jumped from her crossed arms hating-the-world stance to race to the counter to prepare our food and coffee. Portuguese people REALLY love their own kind, I don't think there is another ethnic group in Toronto that is more patriotic for NO APPARENT REASON what so ever, except for the fact that they all (or in most cases their parents or grandparents) all came from the same tiny little country across the ocean...and I love it!

Who cares how baby friendly it is, the food is awesome, they have Portuguese TV on all the time, which means sex scenes on the Portuguese telenovelas (soap operas) that border on soft core porn, and you can end your visit by grabbing a box of custard tarts (Pasteis de Nata) to take home.

Galao (latte style coffee...but better;)
Tosta Mista (Ham and Cheese sandwich on buttered bread squished in Panini Press)
....and a Dozen custard tarts for the drive home.

(and in case you wanted to know - no high chairs, no change table, no baby food, and I think if you pulled out a boob to breast feed the little old ladies wearing all black would call you a 'witch')

Thursday, June 4, 2009

How stocked is your 'Pantry'?

Being on maternity leave means the only boss I have to answer to is the little monster napping in the crib one room away (the length of this nap will be what determines the length of this post), meaning I don't have a regular 9 to 5 schedule, which also means when I'm tired of being home alone with the baby at 2pm I expect people to be available to hang out with me....besides my mom (okay, she was busy too, damn people having lives, she's old, she should have nothing to do!) Point is this week I had to resort to plan B, when everyone says they can't hang out because they are busy at work, just go to their work. Which is what I did to my sister, who works at PANTRY on College St....and no, she doesn't give me free stuff.

I have to admit, I LOVE it there. As soon as you walk in you feel like a 'cooler' person, it makes me want to dress my baby in hemp handmade clothes while carrying her in an overpriced ergonomically designed baby-sling as I tote fresh locally grown organic produce in my reusable shopping bag. The only negative is that there isn't enough seating, but I guess it's because the 'cool' people who go there have more important things to do with their day than loiter for hours, I imagine them taking their babies to the park to paint watercolours, or going to a poetry reading...of french in an art gallery....while everyone smokes cigarettes and wears berets...okay, went a little too far. Regardless of the little seating, I manage to make myself quite comfortable on the couch and remain there for hours on end admiring the ready made array of gourmet foods in the display case (as I secretly nibble away at the saltines I have in a Tupperware in my diaper bag...I'm on a budget, I can't afford a $5 pastry, no matter how unbelievably amazing it I swear, their butter tarts are phenomenal, better than sex, and I mean pre-baby sex when I still liked having it). 

Apparently the other bonus to this place is that they are SUPER baby-mama friendly, I haven't seen it in person, but according to my sister she is now an official boob-connoisseur, they are out and flying around constantly in this place (you do get that I mean from breast feeding mamas, I don't want all the House of Lancaster clientele to suddenly head south and bombard this quaint little shop looking for boob-action....and yes, i think that many of my loyal readers are also regulars at a strip-club).

...she's awake....

Final verdict, love the coffee, love the ambiance, of course love the should check it out.