Monday, September 7, 2015

How I Spent My Long Weekend

A friend of mine whom I've known since first grade was in town this weekend (from the west coast, where she now lives in a beautiful, small town in the Rocky Mountains #MissHer #Jealous).  It was so good to see her for the first time since last summer.

It made sense to meet downtown, but neither of us could think of a decent restaurant, so she asked another friend for a recommendation.  Hence, our first experience at Lola's Kitchen.  It's located on Church St. in an old Victorian home.  

Would you believe that we are literally in the heart of Toronto, surrounded by towering high rises?  I mean, look at this view from the patio!

There were birds twittering away, and a tree behind the fence was loaded down with ripening apples.  It was surprisingly pastoral.

Besides being scenic, Lola's offers excellent eats, and can accommodate just about any dietary restriction you'd care to throw at them.  I had a vegetarian burger (made of mushrooms, black beans, and walnuts) topped with guac, pickled red onions, and shredded cheddar cheese on a soft bun, which was at least as tasty as any decent beef burger.  And the gluten-free, vegan coconut cream cupcake that I wolfed down for dessert was to die for.  I forgot to offer to share it with my girlfriend.  Oops.

The following day, I met my Mom at the Royal Ontario Museum, where she volunteers.  We took a brief walk through some of the galleries she's been studying, and she gave me my own personal tour.  For example, I had never visited the Judaica collection, despite this being something I should take a personal interest in.  

This silver spice box was used in a Havdalah ceremony, which marks the end of Shabbat.  It would hold cloves, cinnamon or some other sweetly fragrant spice, and would be handed around for everyone present to have a sniff.  A special prayer would be said upon smelling the spices.  My mother's mother's father had one made of olive wood.  My mother remembers this ceremony being performed every Saturday evening in her home (which was also her grandparents'  home) when she was a child.

We took a peek at the Islamic arts in another gallery.  There are some gorgeous Qurans on parchment from the 15th and 16th centuries, shining with intricate adornments in gold leaf.  I was wearing what I consider to be a cute sundress for this outing, on account of it being 30 degrees out.  It has short sleeves, is not low-cut in the front, and has a fingertip-length skirt, and I feel that it is quite proper... until I'm standing in front of a case full of Qurans, next to a couple of observant Muslim families.  Then I suddenly felt that I looked like a shameless hussy.  I have never before been so conscious of my hair being naked.

We exited through the gift shop, in proper tourist fashion.  I was pleased to see that you could buy a Frida Kahlo doll, featuring her charismatic eyebrow.  I can't say that I wasn't tempted.

We completed our visit with a stop for refreshments in a coffee shop which had an unusual display case for their to-go cookies.

If I offered them enough money, do you think they'd give me the keys and let me drive the whole thing home, just like that?  I'd roll down the driver's side window and stick out my head to see around the hood.  No problem.

It was too hot for tea or coffee, but just about right for a strawberry granita.

As you can see, my weekend has been quite proper and cultured so far.  I hope to remedy that tonight at a BBQ with a bunch of friends.  We'll see what kind of trouble we can cook up before the long weekend is over.  


DarcKnyt said...

Another beautiful photo essay, Spark. And the little restaurant is awesome. I love it! If I ever come visit you in Toronto, you have to take me there. :) (J/K)

Excellent weekend! Mine was nice, but far less photogenic. :)

Vanessa T said...

Awesome pics, Spark! I love the car display! And the restaurant looked epic. How cool to have a tree full of apples next to your table. Sounds like they have just the right niche going on. Someday, maybe we'll have coffee or tea there. :)

I like the museum too. How neat that your mom volunteers there. A docent, right? What an interesting place to be. :)

LL Cool Joe said...

The restaurant looks really cool.

I love the car full of cookies. What a creative idea. I've seen quite a few photos of Frida Kahlo, and I think she was kinda beautiful, but that doll makes her look pretty evil. :D

Jenny Woolf said...

Looks like your weekend is perfectly ideal! I adore the Freida Kahlo doll. It's always interesting revisiting museums. I saw a fridge in the shape of a car recently, I mean one of those little bubble cars. It was a custom design, for a bar. Can't imagine too many people buying it for their kitchens, I suppose :)

PhilipH said...

What a wonderful way to spend the weekend.

It's such a wide, wide world we live in and very few of us get to see much of it other than where we were born.

Canada sounds a wonderful country, and the 'Mounties' used to be a young boy's dream a long time ago. They always get their man, eh what!

My auntie Flo used to have a Canadian boyfriend, an airman, when I was a kid. The war was raging but Flo and her boyfriend came to see us once or twice. Cannot recall his name but he was very generous when he visited.

That Victoria building is wonderful. Thanks for all the great photographs.

Ginny said...

I love finding new dining spots. I tend to visit the same old spots. I need to expand my dining horizons in my area.

Lynn said...

What a nice day! And Lola's looks marvelous.