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"...my 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')