Hello, friends. I’ve been in Toronto for the past few days, gadding about. This is a bit of a March ritual for my family during which we see dear friends, closely compare a range of cafés, and walk until we’re footsore. I have a long list of favourite things and places but I made a couple of discoveries along Queen’s Quay and the Harbourfront this year that I’m especially pleased with.
- Pearl Restaurant at Queen’s Quay. I was raised to be suspicious of Chinese restaurants that were too “nice” – ie, places that spend a large percentage of operating expenses on rent and table settings. Most of my extended family believes that the cooking is all that matters, and would gladly eat a banquet while squatting beside a dumpster, if the food was sufficiently fabulous. Pearl fails to meet these criteria: the food is decent but not spectacular, and they have beautiful pewter chopstick rests made in the shape of dragons. But it overlooks Lake Ontario and so, on the first evening of daylight savings time, you can eat Rainbow Chopped in Crystal Fold while gazing upon a gilded lake. Call me a sucker (my grandfather will), but there’s a time and a place for that kind of restaurant.
- I went to an art gallery with the children in tow, and it was not a gong show! We went to the Power Plant, a contemporary art gallery at the Harbourfront. The current exhibition features British installation artist Mike Nelson. It was the perfect introduction to contemporary art for a five-year-old: a series of four elevated caravans to explore, hundreds of small and familiar items presented in ways that begged to be talked about, a slide show featuring abandoned campfires along the West Coast. It was dense and busy and intense, and I’m still thinking about what I saw.
- pain au chocolat vs. almond croissant: which is superior? The investigation continues. Please do weigh in with your opinion!