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Monday, 31 October 2011

I Love Haunted TO?

When it comes to ghost stories I am always the first person to rationalize the reasoning behind a creepy event.  I find that if you look closer into the eerie situation it never is what it appears to be.  That shadow of the horned figure actually belongs to your Aunt Ruth or the high pitched screaming is really your cat stuck in the washing machine you just turned on.  However, I thought what better time of year to suspend disbelief and let my imagination take over.  I mean what is better then a Halloween blog on October 31.  So when my mom signed my friend and I up for a ghost walk, I decided to open my imagination up to children running around with a bed sheets over their heads..... oh sorry, I mean ghosts.

So as many of my friends know, my crazy mother came down this weekend, and one way to easily entertain her is by taking her on a scary ghost walk.  So I found myself allowing my mother to sign us up for "The Ghosts of the University of Toronto."  For those of you who have an interest in the afterlife or anything spooky a fun company to look at is Muddy York Walking Tours.  This tour based company is dedicated in bringing the past back to life in many different areas of Toronto.  It also is an exciting way to learn some of Toronto's history without passing out from boredom in class.

Some of the stories I found hard to believe, despite the engagement our tour guide had on the rest of the group.  Yulia, my "wife" made up for my lack of enthusiasm by asking many questions to the tour guide.  I have to admit he was very consistent with his stories.  However, without trying to spoil the tour, the story with the man trying to hack through the door with an axe to kill his victim shared a great similarity with a scene in The Shining.  I think we all know the scene I am referring to, "Heeeerrrrrree's JOHNNY!!!"  But supposedly it happened, because there is an axe mark in the door.

There were many stories that the tour guide shot out causing chills to run down the spines of the others on the tour, but I was just not feeling creeped out one bit.  It wasn't till he told us the story of Celest.  Now, to start, Celest is a little girl ghost and I don't know who came up with the idea of children spirits, but children in the afterlife are f#$*ing creepy.  Supposedly Celest is a small ghost that lives in the old planetarium which once used to be a mansion in where she lived.  There were many stories of Celest playing tricks on people who worked in the building in hopes to get their attention.  The tour guide told us that many people on the tour have seen her behind these doors, sad and lonely, trying to get the attention of anyone who will listen. 

I have to admit this last story of Celest made a small chill run down my spine and turned me into a believer of the afterlife, just for a second.  The ghost walks offered by Muddy York Walking Tours are something I would really recommend for ghost lovers at heart.  It was good enough to make a believer out of me, one of the biggest and toughest critics.  Take a good look at the picture above, where Celest is normally found.  Is that a small ghostly orb in the right corner?

I ♥ TO

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Update on Protesters Camp-Out for “Occupy Toronto”

Dozens of tents offering shelter, protesters reading stories to passing children, guest speakers giving motivational speeches, and an overall sense of community.  There is no lack in charisma that the protesters display for passing listeners as they further express their opinions during their camp-out in St. James Park.

For the last two weeks protesters have been camping out, rallying and spreading the word against economic inequality.  The movement of  "Occupy Toronto" is proving to be as influential as its American counterpart.

The protesters are receiving support from several unions adding to the volume of their voices.  Many activist groups are also speaking out against economic inequality, such as Toronto's "Stop the Cuts" committee.  The following is a quick clip of their efforts in this uprising and what their group stands for.

It is clear that this movement is extremely exciting and definitely a part of why I love this amazing city. I suggest that you go and see first hand the unfiltered sound of the protesters in their camp-out.  I will also keep track of what the protesters are saying when I am not in class.  Please, if you have any updates feel free to comment under my blog of any new information you come across.

I  ♥ TO

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

BPR's Guu'd Night Out

"What do you mean it's going to be an hour long wait?"

Don't let the painfully long wait keep you from eating at Guu, go around the corner and grab a drink at the nearest bar to tide you over because this is a Japanese experience you do not want to miss.  This traditional style Japanese Tapas restaurant is located close to the corner of Gerrard and Church and offers you with a unique experience that brings your right to the heart of Japan.  

It was my good friend Nam that recommended this restaurant to start our Saturday night and guided our group through Guu's exciting menu.  Following traditional Tapas style we all ordered different dishes and shared our choices with each other.  There were definitely some Guu'd dish choices that I would recommend. 


This amazing pan fried udon with beef, mushroom and scallions is a good introductory dish for those who are new to the Japanese experience.  Even ask Katie!!!!

Scallop and Enoki Mushroom

One of my personal favourites, scallops and enoki mushrooms wrapped with pan fried bacon  and flavoured with soy sauce and karashi mayo.

Seaweed Salad 

A well known Japanese dish is the marinated seaweed on greens and I can never get enough of it.

Salmon Natto Yukke

Even people who "don't eat fish" like Arden love this salmon sashimi with wonton chips and egg.

Guuuuuu'd Sake

What tops your Japanese experience more then a cup of warm Sake?

Now if you are looking for a quite peaceful night, Guu is not your choice.  The serving staff here is extremely vocal and always spend the time to celebrate a birthday.

Three Funny Things to Pay Attention to in This Video

1. The pissed of guy who leaves the celebration.
2. The size of the guys beer mug at the end of the video!!!!!!
3. My side commentary of "That could have been better"

I recommend this Japanese Tapas restaurant because it has Guu'd food, Guu'd service and is a Guu'd time...... I will never get tired of saying that!!!!!  And besides look how happy we all look.

So put Guu as one of your spots to hit in Toronto.  There is nothing more to say but Oyasuminasai!!!!!!!!


Saturday, 22 October 2011

Lasagna for Dummies

"Ok it's your turn to cook!"

        This is a statement that terrifies me.  The result of Toronto containing endless selections of restaurants has led to my cooking ignorance.  I mean, I use my oven as storage!!!!  So when my friend John said that it was my turn to cook I was worried.  Thankfully he was there to keep an eye on my potential disaster with his recipe for gourmet lasagna.

         So we went to Sobeys and bought a few ingredients to prepare our masterpiece.  Once we contained all of our ingredients we started working towards perfection, or at least preventing me from blowing up John's kitchen.  Now I will lead you through a simple lasagna recipe that will allow you to impress dinner guests instead of ordering takeout and slopping it on empty plates before they arrive, like events hosted at my house. 

Lasagna for Dummies Recipe 

  • First add mushrooms, red onion, olive oil, salt and pepper to a pan and cook on medium to high heat till tender.
  • At the same time cook your lean ground beef, with added red pepper, red onion, fresh garlic, a pinch of basil, and olive oil in a pan at medium to high heat. 
  • Once your contents in the pan are prepared you can start the layers of your lasagna, but don't forget to pre heat the oven to 350 F.  
  • Take a lasagna pan and add a layer of any tomato sauce of preference, followed by a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles, add an even layer of cottage cheese, a layer containing the mushroom mix cooked in the pan, another layer of noodles, a layer of Parmesan cheese, followed by a layer of the previously cooked hamburger mix, a layer noodles, another layer of cottage cheese, some more noodles, followed by the rest of the hamburger mix, and finally top it off with a layer consisting of four types of shredded cheese. 
  • Loosely place tin foil over the lasagna to avoid the burning of the top layer of cheese and place in oven for half an hour. 
  • Then remove tin foil and continue to cook for another twenty minutes until the top is golden brown. 
         If you follow the instructions properly or have a friend you trust monitoring you it should look like this...

   Is that not amazing!!!!  Believe it or not, but it tasted even better, right John?  

See, John liked it so much that he needs to take a nap to digest.   That or I have accidentally killed him.  

On today's blog I have proved that you don't always have to spend a fortune going out to eat, but with a little hard work and proper supervision you can make an affordable gourmet lasagna for under $30.  

So go ahead and try John's lasagna recipe and let know how it tastes!!!

I   TO

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Nirvana Fills Night Desires

         It's the midst of mid-terms, I haven't slept in days, coffee is pumping through my veins, and I don't know if I have time to eat, when my friend Tammy asks, "Catherine is in town from England and we are going to Nirvana, you in?"

         I look at my books, take a hit of my drug of choice from my Starbucks cup and say, "Of course I am!"

       Across the street from Sneaky Dee's I enter Nirvana's front door with my friends Tammy, Catherine and her fiance Saul.  For anyone that does not know of Nirvana, it is a lounge style restaurant located at the corner of College and Bathurst close to Kensington Market.  This dimly lit bohemian venue displays expensive looking decor but contains a menu that is very inexpensive.
       There are many things to try at Nirvana but there are a few things on the menu I would recommend for your first time.

Pita and Hummus

Exactly as the title states a plate with grilled pita and Hummus, which is good enough for me.  I mean who doesn't love Hummus.

Avocado and Brie Sandwich

A beautiful combination of Brie cheese, avocado, lettuce and tomato, on  whole wheat bread with a side of sweet potato fries for around seven dollars!

KLB Raspberry Wheat Beer

Nirvana offers a wide variety of cocktails, beer and wine, but be sure to try this amazing draft beer with a hint of raspberry.

      Nirvana was very busy this past Tuesday night so I am sure this is a spot you would want to hit up if you are on the College strip on a Saturday night.  And one last note before I forget..... Congrats to the newly engaged couple!!!!

I ♥ TO

Monday, 17 October 2011

Living on the “Edge”

“Now let go.” “What?” “…….Let Go!!!”
            Standing 1,168 ft above the ground, feeling the condensation on your face, seeing the whole of Toronto, and feeling like you are going to have, what I like to call, a “polite puke”.  That is the sensation when you are standing on the edge of the CN Tower for Toronto’s Edgewalk.
            On September 1 for my roommate’s birthday I agreed to (big mistake) walk on the CN Tower's newest attraction, the Edgewalk. This self torturing source of entertainment, which started this past August, includes a unique hour and half experience where 30 minutes is spent hanging on for dear life on the side of the CN tower.  And yes that is me trying to smile while I am getting photographed by my tour guide. 

            Even though the walk its self is extremely exhilarating, the best part of the whole experience, I would have to say is the interaction with the tour guide and the other “walkers”.  My tour guide was fun, engaging and had a lot to say about Toronto, which we could see clearly from the “highest point” of the city.  
            But for those who are not as adventurous or whose doctors say you should not walk on the “edge” there are many more CN Tower activities:

            So you can see that you don’t have to hang off the side of the CN tower to have fun. But if you like to push your limits I definitely recommend the walk.  But just so you see for yourself, here is actual footage of me trying to keep my composure.

Now the real question is, are you ready to walk on the ”edge?

I ♥ TO

Introduction to I ♥ TO

The only One in my life to show me the best restaurants.
The only One in my life to take me out to the hidden Vintage shops.
The only One in my life to make the strongest cocktail.
The only One in my life to open my mind to what's new in the world.
The only One in my life to fill me with excitement when I am extremely bored.
The only One in my life to inspire me.
The only One I love.
I bet you all wonder what I am talking about. Well it's the beast of the city we live in. Toronto is one of the coolest places in the world, and I can legibly make that statement because I have seen most of the major cities around the world, and Toronto still stays the closest to my heart. I don't know if it's the cool sub-communities of the city, the great selection of cheap and expensive restaurants, the hidden shopping gems, the multiculturalism of the people, or if it is just the energy that the city emits, but I can definitely say that this city has got me hooked. I am dedicating this blog to Toronto, the concrete jungle in which we play. A place where if we know the right hidden spots we can buy anything. A place where you can always find a good drink with the best company. A place where you can have lunch in Japan, dinner in India and drinks in Italy. A place that never ceases to amaze you.
So there is nothing more to say then ..... I love TO!!!!!!!!!!