First Couple of Days in Toronto

We’ve been in Toronto for three days now and there has been considerable eating going on. I wish I could say that we’ve been dining out at Scaramouche, Canoe, C5, North 44 or having fancy cocktails at Bar Chef, but so far it’s been quite low-key and very much family oriented.  I’ve decided to compile the past few days into one post and highlight some of the more interesting items sampled thus far.

The Chef's selection at Maruwa

Before we even left for Toronto, “Monk” and I decided to spend the night at the airport Delta.  Because of the early morning flight time and the threatening snow, we bunked down in Richmond, but not before having a meal at Maruwa Sushi [11300 Steveston Highway, Richmond,  (604) 204-2018] with “Godfather” and “the Girl”.  It’s always a good experience at Maruwa; the owners are so friendly and the food is consistently good.  “The Girl” had a mackerel bento box which looked delicious.  The rest of us had a selection of nigiri sushi that the chef selected for us.  Some outstanding items were the mirugai, uni, aji, albacore toro, hiramasa toro and the hand cones.   There was also the deep fried skeleton of the aji which was wicked crispy and tasty.  After our first round of debauchery, we ordered another platter and finally a few more pieces to fill us up on this cold snowy evening.  As usual, a wonderful dinner and I always look forward to our next visit to Maruwa.

"Monk" and "Jazzy" on the plane. Best baby ever.

The next morning, before we even boarded our flight to Toronto, I was disappointed greatly by Starbucks, when first thing in the morning, they were already out of their creme brule latte.  I don’t usually drink fancy sweet coffee drinks, rather I tend to be a dark roast, Americano, espresso drinker.  At home we have a Nespresso machine and 5 other methods of making coffee.   At Tapenade, I really enjoy our Casa del Caffe coffee we serve and drink it black on a daily basis.  For some reason, I just craved a “dessert for breakfast” coffee.  Good thing they were out, I don’t need the extra sugar, fat and caffeine.  I’ll get into this later.

OK, I guess now is later, no more avoiding the issue.  Apparently, my blood pressure is a little high, my cholesterol is a little high and I’m going to have to make a couple of lifestyle changes, if I want to live a long and healthy life.  I want to make sure I’m in good enough shape to be chasing the boys away when “Jazzy” hits her teen years.  Also, for some reason “Monk” wants to grow old with me and be active into our twilight years, so I owe it to her as well.  For years I’ve been blaming my high stress level, poor diet and lack of exercise on being a chef.  Sure, my plate is rather full, I have a lot of headaches and stress to deal with, but my priorities are changing and I’m hoping to get on the right path.  I’ve decided to make a few immediate changes to achieve these goals; I’m cutting back on salt, caffeine and sugar.   I’ve also been listening to “In Defense of Food” on my drive to/from work and am trying to adopt some of those principles as well.  The key is a balanced diet of good whole foods, a little less meat, a little more plants.  Balance is the key.  Exercise is also big on my list too.  I really don’t have any excuse, since we have a gym in the basement of our house, so I just have to make time to exercise on a daily basis.  Since, we’ve been in Toronto, I’ve stopped drinking coffee temporarily, I’ve been eating a ton more vegetables and I’ve been doing laps in the pool every night after dinner.   Listen, I’m not going to stop eating;  let’s not kid ourselves, I live to eat.  I’m just going to eat in a more moderate and balanced way.  As a person who respects excess, particularly when it comes to food,  this will take some time and effort, but I’m going to give it the old college try.  Funny timing, as I am typing this blog, “Fat Joel” BBMs me from the restaurant and sends a picture of confit pork belly cracklings that the boys just cooked up.  Damn, I wish I could taste them.

“Sales Mix” has been on a health kick of late as well and has been doing an admirable job.  You should have seen him making his brussel sprout, haricot vert, egg white frittata a few weeks ago.  He looked just like Julia Child!  When is “Fat Joel” or “Great Wall” going to post that video on YouTube?  Inquiring minds want to know if “Sales Mix” ate any of the pork belly cracklings.

So some of the food highlights and disasters thus far, the creme brule Mcflurry at Mcdonalds is really good.  A touch sweet, but the crunchy bits are yummy.  The smores pie is really bad and I should have taken “Godfather’s” word for it.   Now, creme brule Mcflurry and apple pie together is exceptionally good. I know, I just finished writing a paragraph about healthy eating, all I got to say is, one day at a time.   We had dim sum with “Bass Pro Bro” and a bunch of family yesterday and that was good, but I’ll blog about that restaurant next week when we return for an extravagant dinner with my entire family.  We’ve been eating a lot of “Parental Unit’s” home cooking.  I miss my parent’s home cooking, they spoiled us with a few months of it this summer when “Jazzy” was born, so it was nice to taste their food again.  Overall, I like their cooking just fine, but this morning they made me eat some savory oatmeal stuff that really was not up my alley.  Between, that and all the veggies they are cooking, I feel like I’ve been sent to “fat camp” for a couple of weeks.   Today for lunch, “Monk” and I went to California Sandwiches for veal sammies and a panzerotti.  I enjoyed our lunch very much and it brought back so many memories for me.  I’ll blog about this later in the week, because I plan on discussing and comparing veal sandwiches.

All joking aside, we’re having a great time here in Toronto and look forward to many more meals and a very merry Christmas.   BTW, eat it if it looks good.

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