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Explore Your City - Toronto

Explore Your City - Toronto

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For my first visit to Canada, I chose the most populous city, Toronto. If I'm being honest the final push that prompted me to book the tickets was a visit to Epcot where I stopped at the Canada pavilion and actually watched the movie set back in the faux rocks and waterfalls that I had never bothered watching before. Canada, especially Toronto looked clean, alluring, and beautiful.  After months of research it was clear it would have plenty of food and culture for few fun-filled days. Our adventures left me with lots of photographic memories, so in an effort not to bore anyone I've tried to keep my descriptions to a minimum and let you enjoy through the images.

FOOD

SCHOOL

They take the theme of "school" to adorable lengths without being over the top from the shiny red apple on each table, to the beverages brought in beakers, and menus on loose leaf paper. It's been voted one of the best brunches in Toronto so I took advantage of being in the city during the week and decided to visit before the weekend crowds took over.  The French toast rolled in Rice Krispies were pretty awesome.

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The sister restaurant of School was Old School, another spot for a delicious breakfast. Each layer of my short stack had bacon stuffed in between and that was alright with me.

Thoroughbred Food + Drink 

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This was one of the only places that was a little more upscale that we visited and it was well worth it. We shared Oysters, a brussel sprout ceasar salad, and Flat Iron Steak with Heirloom carrots and cashews. 

La Cubana

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This Cuban is real picky about spanish food claiming to be authentic. La Cubana reels you in with a brightly colored well designed restaurant, and leaves you as satisfied as one can be without being served by your own Abuela. 

Bier Markt King West

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Known for a large variety of beers we stopped here for some drinks and a charcuterie board. This was the one and only place we ended up having poutine, and while this was my first truly Canadian poutine, I think you really have to be a gravy person to truly enjoy this famous dish.

Bellwood Brewery

It's said to be one of the best breweries in Toronto. Well that doesn't really mean anything to this non-beer drinker. All I really cared about was if they would have a cider on the menu which thankfully they did.

This space has a nice patio to enjoy the summer weather, but seating is communal, which for me meant getting be intriguingly close to a couple on a first date listen to their awful and awkward engagement. That may have made the cider a little sweeter.

Locals were lined up before they opened, so if you want to check this place out get there early, or like us sit at the open coffee shop across the street and keep an eye on the line.

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I've never had a server as nice as the one that took care of us at Mildred's Kitchen Temple. The inside of the restaurant is beautiful but we opted again for patio seating and had a simple yet savory brunch. To lighten the load in my stomach I opted for a fresh Kale salad that didn't disappoint with the freshly made biscuits. 

Wilbur Mexicana

Another well designed, bright and happy spot that if you saw it in Orlando you'd assume was a chain.  Well, Wilbur Mexicana isn't a chain, but rather a single fast-casual spot serving Mexican street food.

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You order, get a number and find a seat while you watch a very long line form out the door behind you. Lines forms for good reason. The food was awesome and reasonably priced.  You'll never want to eat Chipotle again after eating this, and I don't plan on it any time soon.

El Cantrin

This trendy spot in the Distillery District reminded me of Rocco's Tacos on steroids. While we didn't eat an entire meal here (it was just a rest stop for some guacamole and drinks) I'd definitely visit this spot again which has also been rated the best Mexican in the city. Portland Variety

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So much heavy snacking was happening during the day that at dinner time our stomachs couldn't always fit full meals. Praise be to the charcuterie board, our new best friend in Toronto. Portland Variety was bright and chic and had some great cocktails on the menu.

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Sushitto On the Road

We didn't get a chance to hit up every food truck on our list, but we did make it to Sushitto, known in Toronto for their sushi burritos.  We walked in the rain with one umbrella to get to the truck after some time in the Royal Ontario Museum, and it was worth getting wet for.

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Gloryhole Doughnuts

The matcha doughnut was disappointing, but the PB&J doughnut was amazing.

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COFFEE

Crafted

I think Crafted was my favorite coffee spot from all spots I visited. The iced coffee was the perfect amount of bitter, the baristas were friendly, and although it was a cozy spot with shared seating, I was content sitting there for awhile and indulging in some people watching down Ossington Avenue.

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I think Crafted was my favorite coffee spot from all spots I visited. The iced coffee was the perfect amount of bitter, the baristas were friendly, and although it was a cozy spot with shared seating, I was content sitting there for awhile and indulging in some people watching down Ossington Avenue.

Neo Coffee Bar

I had been tantalized with images of matcha from Neo Coffee Bar thanks to their Instagram account. Sadly when I got there, it was not the most comfortable and inviting spot. I ignored the vibe and took my matcha outside and basked in how delicious it was.

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Reunion Island Coffee

We didn't stay at this spot too long but the coffee was good.

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Quantum Coffee

Bright and airy with a geometric minimal feel. This spot had lots of seating, good coffee, and a bonus they were giving out free scones for National Scone day.

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ICE CREAM

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Would you wait in line for 10-15 minutes for soft serve ice cream? Well I did, and in my humble opinion it was worth it.  As you stand in a line that drags along John Street, you get a small menu with the different concoctions of mixed toppings for your soft serve (unless you choose a Popsicle).  It honestly took me the entire time in line to make a final decision since they all looked so good.  The Rapture which is vanilla soft serve ice cream rolled in red velvet cake and merengue sauce that is made daily was a beast to eat and I loved every second of it.

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Bang Bang Ice Cream

Another ice cream spot, another line. This time thankfully we hit a lull and didn't wait too long. The ice cream flavors are staggering and it's a hard choice between the Hong Kong waffle cone or the cookie sandwich.  The wait was longer for the waffle cone as they are made fresh behind the counter, so it was crisp and warm entering my hand and the road to happiness was complete with the matcha ice cream.

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Booyah Inc.

The Choco-Taco from Taco Bell has always been one of my favorite childhood desserts.  When I saw a place that had ice cream tacos that you could custom build I had to check it out.  Stuffed with cotton candy, birthday cake ice cream and topped with sprinkles and french toast cereal, his spot indeed left me feeling like I had hit the ice cream jackpot.

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Kensington Market

It's not an actual market, like the name would  have you believe, but rather an eclectic neighborhood full of food, unique shops including vintage spots, and hidden gems as you walk through some of the buildings. I loved the feel of this neighborhood we spent more than one day exploring it and enjoying a street festival that was going on while we were there.

Seven Lives Paleteria

Thanks to the unseasonably warm weather we were experiencing in Toronto we were always looking for a place to cool down.  Seven Lives Paleteria was a spot to cool down on more than one occasion and enjoy their Mexican-style popsicles.  This one had fruit loops sticking out of the bottom.

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Always on the search for vintage, Bungalow was a great spot in Kensington Market with mid-century modern furniture, home goods, but most importantly clothes.  Snagged a pretty sweet romper here.

Street Art

Beautiful street art was in abundance no matter what area of Toronto you were exploring.  There is even a lengthy alley dedicated to artists work called "Grafitti Alley".  I honestly had a great time driving our rental car around town "grafitti hunting" which may sound dumb to some, but it's a great way to see the city you are visiting.

Needless to say the camera was always on. These are just a sampling of some of my favorites.

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Casa Loma

A major attraction to visit while in Toronto is Casa Loma, a castle rich in history but possible better known to some as the place they filmed parts many movies, including X-Men. That fact along with the lure of underground tunnels and hidden passageways was enough to cause my husband's eyes to bug out of his head with anticipation. The castle and the grounds are beautiful but in truth I toured it really only out of love for the man who was excited to climb to the top of the castle towers and survey a land that was not his.

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Overall, I really enjoyed Toronto. The exchange rate being in our favor certainly helps your adventure, but it's a beautiful city with lots of sights, sounds, and eats. In my opinion, worth putting on your travel list.

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