Traffic in New York City is horrific but Toronto’s has it beat by a mile. Partly, it’s because of the tremendous amount of building going on—cranes are the main feature of the skyline. Who is going to buy all the condominiums going up is a mystery.
Getting from our hotel to anywhere was hampered a) because the hotel, which shall remain nameless, was out of the way and b) there was Busker Festival in full swing between the hotel and anywhere we wanted to go. (A busker is a street performer, sometimes fun to watch but in this case mostly a nuisance.) To be fair to Toronto, the public transportation is excellent—once you get to a stop.
AGO, the Art Gallery of Toronto, was most recently redesigned by Frank Gehry in 2004. Gehry inserted contemporary elements throughout the museum in a very artful blend of old and new. We had lunch in the Members’ Lounge (old) and fell into the Picasso exhibit showing works from the Picasso Museum in Paris, some of which we’d never seen before.
Dinner at Acadia was either a marvel (me) or not enough to eat (my husband.) It’s high-complex cuisine in a very informal setting. An appetizer of chicken cracklins’ with hot sauce, the pieces served on small puddles of whipped blue cheese, the whole presented atop a piece of (non edible) slate, was original and delicious.
The Distillery District is a must see. No mass marketers, lots of street sculpture, charming restaurants, cobblestone streets, boutiques and more, all in reclaimed buildings from The Gooderham and Worts Distillery, the largest collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America. I took a Segway tour, something I’ve hankered to do for ages, and found it great fun. A Segway is incredibly easy to maneuver –wish they could replace cars in big cities but suspect the high price to own one gets in the way.
Dinner at Cava, aptly billed as “small plates, big flavors,” lived up to expectations as did a quick stop at Xococava (‘chococava’) their chocolate shop , artfully hidden nearby in a ho-hum shopping mall. Their salted chocolates get an A+.
Once home, in a nod to Toronto’s exceptionally good food, I made this cold avocado soup which I served to dinner guests in small cups as a first course.
Cold Avocado Soup for 8
1 seedless cucumber, chopped (a misnomer—it does have seeds but fewer)
2 medium avocados, peeled and pitted
2 shallots, chopped
4 T plain yogurt
4 T fresh mint, chopped (or less, no need to be ultra-fussy)
More fresh mint for garnish
8 tsp fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp salt (you can always add more–taste)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 radishes, chopped
Put cucumber, avocados, shallots, yogurt, 2 tsp mint, lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin, and 1 cup cold water in a blender and process until smooth.
Chill for at least 1 hour. Serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt, chopped radish and mint leaves.
I made the soup again for the many family members in residence over the Labor Day weekend where it was a big success with avocado-fanciers. Because we had it, I added a third avocado, more yogurt and a drop more citrus juice. This recipe is very forgiving–keep tasting after the initial blending and add more of whatever you feel it needs.