the big apple, briefly

I went to NYC for work but still made a point to eat out a bunch. How could I not? How people live in NYC and not go out to restaurants every night is beyond me – there are SO MANY of them. And so many of them are fantastic. Here are my newest discoveries:

Freemans-1

Freemans

Freemans isn’t much of a secret anymore but it took me until this visit to finally check it out. It totally lived up to the hype and I had an amazing time, drinking all the drinks and eating all the food. Get the signature cocktail, try the mussels and pace yourself to stay as long as possible.

PostOffice

The Post Office

On my day off I took myself out to dinner in Williamsburg. I had some anxiety over where to go but found a review somewhere online about this little cocktail bar under the bridge and committed. The food menu is tiny but they have the best grilled cheese sandwich of all time, ever, so why would you want to order anything else? (besides maybe oysters to start). It’s a whiskey bar, predominantly, but the cocktail menu is top shelf. Try the Bitter Molly and sit at the bar.

Rosarito

Rosarito Fish Shack

Toronto has some killer taco joints, so while I was looking forward to NYC fish tacos, I didn’t think they would be that much better than what I’m used to. Wrong! Rosarito makes some damn fine seafood tacos. It’s a huge place, too, so getting a table isn’t a hassle. I’m partial to the picnic tables outside.

robertas

Roberta’s

So I didn’t actually get a chance to eat here but I did make the trek up to Bushwick for a quick drink. The pizza, I’ve heard, is unreal although the bar is very basic (don’t let the Tiki Bar sign fool you, they don’t have them). There’s a garden, an in-house radio station and cool vibes all around. Bonus: afterwards, stroll over to A+ dive bar, Alaska (funny story, I rolled with my boss’s husband this night and he asked the bartender to chill our tequila shots. I winced, expecting to be swiftly ejected but the bartender let it slide. Thanks man!)

See you in September, Big Apps.

 

 

 

TFGIF – the NYC edition

NYC From Above

It’s been quiet on TVB for a while now, I know. But it’s summer! There’s so much to do rather than think of/write about doing. And I’ve been busy, seriously busy. I started a new job – a terrifying, wonderful, challenging new job – that has taken me to NYC this week.

WilliamsburgThis view!!

I love this city and I’ve only ever been here as a tourist, never on business. In the mornings, I run through Williamsburg/Greenpoint, then I get the train to Manhattan for meetings. At the end of the day, I head back, totally exhausted. Why is this news? Because the city I’ve always been slightly intimidated by has quickly become regular. I feel local and it feels right. Of course, then I’ll be waiting for a train and a trombone and a trumpet will start playing  “Dream a Little Dream of Me” and I’ll get that funny Holy Shit This City Is Amazing feeling.

Subway

Happy Weekend (long, for some). XO

 

 

playing house

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Ever since The Kitten died, I’ve hated being in my apartment. At first I just avoided it, sleeping over to friends places and taking an extended vacation back home. Then, when I ran out of excuses/other places to be, I’d corral myself in my bedroom – working there, eating there (shut up, eating in bed is amazing), reading there, sleeping there, obviously. My couch has hardly been sat on. There’s loose change and receipts on every table. Freshly laundered clothes sit in neat piles because, why put them away? It’s not like there’s a cat around to lay her little body down and cover them in fur.

couch

I haven’t cooked. My bathtub seal is broken so I can’t chill there, either. It sounds like I’m depressed or in mourning and I guess maybe a little of both because, naturally, but it’s more than that. I’m finished with this space. It’s not home anymore and escaping it isn’t doing any good, either.

Escape can’t be the only way to escape,” sings Dan Mangan and I say, exactly.

homeaway

This week I’m house-sitting for my best friend while she’s in New York City. Her apartment is big and airy and bright. There’s a patio with astroturf, surrounded by green. It’s a short walk to High Park. There’s a cafe around the corner. I should be in heaven and it’s definitely better than the alternative, but it’s not really helping.

I have to move. I have to.

the power of One

This is old news, like over 20 years old news, but new to me. In 1938, Sir Nicholas Winton was a 29 year-old stock broker working in London. He got a call from a friend in Prague who was concerned about the welfare of Jewish children as the Nazis moved in. Winton took two weeks off for vacation and flew to Czechoslovakia, where he set up office in a small hotel. He set to work organizing the travel for over 669 children by forging documents, bribing officials and adhering to his motto that “… if something’s not impossible, there must be a way of doing it.” He kept a scrapbook filled with the names of the children and their parents, but never told any one of what he had done. Fifty years later, the book was discovered and as the names became public. The (now well grown) children were finally able to know who was responsible for them surviving the World War II. He’s still alive, too. He just turned 105.

One dude. One dude saved 669 kids from certain death on a two-week vacation. And, because of that, there are now something like 6,000 descendents of the children rescued. Six thousand people who would not exist today, if it wasn’t for him. This story is important for so many reasons but for me, personally, as an example of how powerful we are, individually.

You can change the world,  and so can I, and we will.

 

wedding season

So many of my friends got married this summer. Every other week since June, there’s been a wedding and not like boring weddings, either. There’s been an Indian wedding, a Native wedding and a Gay wedding (not that gay weddings are any different than the regular weddings but in my experience, they are way cooler).

The Indian wedding was the first time I’ve seen a traditional Indian ceremony. I gladly took on the role of coordinator as a gift to my friends, which meant I got the full behind-the-scenes experience of how much work it takes to set up such an event. There was the assembly of the mandap, the preparation of ceremony snacks (samosas, mmmm) and managing the turnover from ceremony to reception. I feel like this word gets used too much when describing weddings, but it was magical. The parents of the bride sang a traditional Indian song, the best friend of the bride covered Royal Wood’s “I’m So Glad” and the bride and groom (with some buddies for back-up) performed Bahama’s “Lost in the Light”. The venue was St. Lawrence Hall‘s enormous, gas-lit ballroom.

Like I said, magical.

The Native wedding was held up north near Sault Ste. Marie. So quite the trek from Toronto. We made it to Thessalon for the Friday night where we had rented an Airbnb (Chauncey Gardens, to be exact). It had a swimming pool, extensive grounds and a (probably haunted) attic. Our excitement got the better of us and we stayed up way too late that night, singing and swimming. The next day we drove the rest of the way to Camp Wakonda, where we were assigned a bunk house, summer camp styles. The ceremony took place on the lawn, next to a huge dinner and dancing tent. The bride and groom are both Ojibway (Anishinaabe, to be exact) so the ceremony had some very cool traditional elements, including a smudging and a pow-wow style round dance. So much appreciation was given to “creation” and with McCarroll Lake as the backdrop, you got the feeling that all of nature was in on the celebration. Highlight: The late night bonfire and next morning lake dip.

Finally, my friends Joey and Jamie got married this past Saturday in Toronto at the Berkeley Fieldhouse. It was my first time at the venue and I’m still trying to figure out how I can arrange to party there at least two more times before the summer lets out. There’s a huge deck, couches and benches tucked away behind leafy corners and even an air-conditioned tree house. The ceremony was the shortest, but sweetest and you just felt how much everyone there loved the both of them. It was that energy (I think that’s the only way to explain it) that propelled us to dance for hours and stay up much, much too late, in celebration.

At the end of the night of the last wedding, one of my friends lamented that we didn’t have any more reasons to get dressed up and party together. As exhausting as weddings are, they brought out the best in all of us, I think we are all a little more in love with each other for it.

 

TFGIF – the World Pride edition

 

 

 

Pride Canada Day L

 

It’s one of my favourite weekends of the year – Canada Day AND Pride weekend. This year it’s even more special as Toronto is hosting World Pride – an event that only takes place every five years. I am so incredibly grateful to live in a time and place where people who identify as LGBT can live their lives openly and proudly. In 1992, at 33 years old, my Uncle Robert died of AIDS. He moved to Toronto in his teens in order to be able to live his life as a gay man, something he couldn’t do without fear of retribution in Newfoundland. In a short 22 years since his death, so much has changed. This weekend, I’m celebrating Pride with my brother and his boyfriend, who have never had to worry about being shunned or judged for their sexual preference. My country rules, and this is one of the major reasons why.

Love is for everyone. Happy Weekend xoxo.

pride