I was very excited to return to Toronto after the half marathon. It’s the only time I recall actually being genuinely excited to land in Toronto, because my BFF Stephanie was also arriving at the airport to visit for a few days!
Stephanie and I bonded over a mutual love of the Container Store our freshman year of college, cemented our friendship when we decided to be buddies for our first college party, and have been great friends ever since. She lives in New York so I usually see her when I’m in town for work, but she’d never been to Toronto and I couldn’t wait to show her around.
Naturally, the first thing we did when we met at the airport was take a selfie. It became the theme for the weekend. #late #we’re old
The next morning, we headed out early to Fahrenheit, my favorite coffee shop, for our caffeine fix and picked up bagels at the St. Lawrence Market to eat by the water. After a perfectly lovely breakfast and a quick workout I showed Stephanie around my neighborhood on our way to more food.
Sneaky Dee’s has been on my list for a while, known for their nachos and live music scene. I was in for the nachos, obviously. Steph and I may have gotten in a little over our heads, ordering both nachos and fajitas. The waitress told us it was a lot of food, but we figured she was underestimating our appetites. She was not. When our food came she had to pull up a second table to hold it all. Not kidding. This is about 1/2 of our lunch.
After a lazy feast in the sunshine we decided a walk was in order and wound our way through the Kensington Market, eventually landing in Trinity Bellwoods park with coffee and little cream puffs from Nadege.
Snoozing in the sun after a big lunch? Amazing. We rolled our way home to get ready to eat more, obviously, and went for a drink at El Catrin in the Distillery District.
Somehow we were hungry again, but after our feast of Mexican food earlier we couldn’t get excited about the menu at El Catrin so we skipped over to Guu Izakaya, a Japanese pub with the liveliest staff. They all cheer when you walk in, and if it’s your birthday look out because all eyes will be on you when the singing starts.
We shared a delicious mushroom rice thing, some kind of tempura, a pumpkin eggy thing, and probably other delicious food. A food blogger I am not. Also, beer mojitos.
Having sufficiently explored/eaten everything in the city on the first day, day 2 was all about the island. Downtown Toronto is right on Lake Ontario, and just a 10 minute ride into the lake is a lovely little island with a small residential area, an airport, and plenty of public parks and beaches. We picked up a picnic lunch at the new healthy restaurant on my block and hopped on the boat.
Sadly it was a little too overcast and windy for beach weather, but we made the most of it and biked around the island…
on a bicycle built for two!
Perhaps I should have heeded the “experienced riders” note, or recalled that stationary bikes in spinning class are NOT the same as riding a bike outside, because I quickly realized that I hadn’t been on a bike in years and felt like I had no control over the thing. One woman walking near us called out some words of encouragement as she crossed to walk on the grass on the opposite side of the road, well out of our path of destruction. Stephanie offered to take the front seat and things got easier…or at least I couldn’t see well enough to know when I should be freaking out. Eventually we got the hang of it and explored the island from end to end, starting at Ward’s Beach and ending at Hanlan’s Point.
Fun fact: Toronto has a clothing optional beach!
It was a little too chilly for that option, so we returned the bike and hopped on the last ferry home. Our bravery and athleticism deserved a reward so we strolled back over to the Distillery for ice cream at Greg’s. Toasted Marshmallow is the best and takes exactly like a campfire marshmallow. Yum!
After such an adventurous day the idea of getting dressed for dinner sounded exhausting. Stephanie offered to cook instead so we picked up a ton of veggies and a bottle of wine for a lovely evening on my balcony.
All in all it was a pretty perfect weekend, and I was sad to part ways with Stephanie at the airport but I was off to see even more old friends at Angela and Colin’s wedding in Indianapolis!
PS thanks to Stephanie for all the photos I stole for this post!