Posted by: Joe | July 7, 2008

Thus Endeth The Week of Joe

This summer has been packed. I can’t believe it’s only July, it feels like we’ve had a full summer’s worth of stuff already.

Sheila had won a stay at the Toronto Delta Chelsea at a company Christmas party, and she treated me to a “weekend away” downtown for my birthday. The Delta was great–I’d recommend it to anybody looking to stay downtown. Most comfortable hotel bed I’ve ever slept on, friendly staff, great central downtown location. The room was a little on the smallish side, but that may have been partially due to the ginormous king size bed. The only surprise to me was the $12/24hr rate for in-room internet access, and I didn’t see any sign of WiFi access (though to be honest, I didn’t check to see if any networks were available). Really? $12? I don’t remember it being that expensive when I was doing a lot of travel for Delano, and that was at a point when hotel high-speed access was just being introduced. However, most business travelers likely just plug in, expense it and never see the cost.

Friday night we got our Thai on at Salad King, which was close enough that we could see it from our hotel window. It was my first time at the near legendary downtown Thai spot, which ironically has only two salads on the menu. One of the nice things about SK is that they provide an easy way to customize the heat in any dish on a scale from 0 – 20. We ordered the Rainbow Chicken at a 7, and the Siam Beef Noodles at a 5. I’m more tolerant of spice than the average person–I found 7 to be good, but would probably get a 10 next time. I think I could do 15, but would pay for it the next day. 20 would be retarded hot. You’d basically be eating a plate of stir fried chilies. The cafeteria-style eating is very reasonably priced, as you might expect from a restaurant catering mostly to Ryerson students–$30 (including tip) more than filled us both.

On Saturday morning we walked down to Toba to meet Dan for brunch, where I finally got to meet his wife. I can always depend on Dan to recommend the best eats downtown–the crab melt was fantastic. Though I do recommend they add the “bucket of OJ” to the menu. After brunch we wandered around St. Lawrence Market for a while, but didn’t end up buying anything. I do regret not picking up some Kozlik’s mustard though…all the samples were fantastic. I need to make sure I eat before I go shopping more often, my bank balance is better for it.

After the market we wandered down to the Harbourfront Centre for the second time this week. We passed by a sign that said “Best Ice Cream in Toronto” but they’re clearly making that up. The pistachio almond was average at best, and was barely frozen. Given the list of flavors, I’d be suprised if it wasn’t just re-branded Baskin Robbins. So unremarkable, I don’t even remember the name of the place. Meh.

We killed some time at the Power Plant, which was exhibiting a modern art photography exhibit. At least I assume it was art, because I have no idea what it was trying to say. We then moved over to a patio to enjoy some sun and sangria before…

Woodhands [MySpace]. The Harbourfront was hosting the 5th annual Beats, Breaks and Culture festival, showcasing a weekend of electronic music artists in free shows. I had fully planned on getting to the Ladytron show the night before, but a belly stuffed with Thai and a comfy duvet made for an early night. And besides, to me, nothing says breaks, beats *or* culture like a dorky white boy and a keytar.

Woodhands are a high-energy act, and while it was a great show, they’re not best suited for the sit-down Sirius Satellite Radio Stage. I’d love to see them again in a club. For the uninitiated, check out “Dancer”, “I Wasn’t Made For Fighting” and “Can’t See Straight”.

After the show we headed back to the hotel, and grabbed some shawarma at the Doner Kebab on Yonge. It’s no donair, but I’m learning to appreciate. After a brief rest in the room, we made our way up to Bloor Street for the real 1000lb gorilla in the “Best Ice Cream in Toronto” contest–Greg’s Ice Cream. We split a bowl of roasted marshmallow topped with hot fudge. Heavenly.

From there it was a short walk down to Lee’s Palace to see These Electric Lives.

<aside>I’ve finally started reading Tipping Point recently, and I’ve started labeling people in my head according to Gladwell’s classification. My friend Dan is a Maven–I probably fit into that category as well. Mark Stanfield, TEL’s frontman, is a classic Connector. I’ve seen TEL maybe a half dozen times, and met Mark twice. It’s been over a year since I’ve been to a TEL show. As we walked toward the stage to catch the end of the opening act, Mark came up me and shook my hand, “Hey Joe, how are you, haven’t seen you out in a while, etc,etc” like we were best pals. *PRO TIP: taking your girlfriend out to a concert, and having the lead singer come up to *you* to say hi, is um, sort of cool.</aside>

TEL always put on a tight show. They’re currently working on their first full-length album, and played a couple songs that I hadn’t heard before, as well as different version of “Soda Water” from their recent remix CD. The crowd was on the small side, but nonetheless a good night.

Sunday morning we met my friends Josh and Krista for brunch at Flo’s Diner in Yorkville. Flo’s Breakfast Wrap was a little on the bland side presentation-wise, but was tasty enough. The banana/blueberry/orange smoothie was excellent. Josh had Flo’s Big Breakfast, which looked appropriately big. One of my general rules: if in doubt about what to order, if the restaurant’s name is in the dish, go with that. Never fails.

After breakfast, we headed home, spent some time in the park with Colby and made a trip to Home Depot to pick up some supplies to start building an herb garden. I’ll probably finish it up this week–will post pix later. Then we crashed on the couch and watched Be Kind Rewind [metacritic | rotten tomatoes] which was every bit as “meh” as the mixed reviews might indicate.

After some Roy’s Fish & Chips for dinner, we hopped in the Bluesmobile and headed back downtown for the grand finale of the weekend: Calexico at the Mod Club. My exposure to Calexico is largely through 2006’s Garden Ruin, which by all accounts is quite unlike most of their other work, eschewing mariachi-inspired horns for a more mainstream guitar/vocal indie rock sound.

The set was largely a preview of their upcoming album, Carried To Dust, and songs from their back catalog–there was very little that I recognized, but it was all fantastic. Unsuprisingly, though the crowd seemed quite familiar with the setlist, attempts by the band to get everybody singing along with some of the spanish choruses were an EPIC FAIL.

I know where next month’s eMusic quota is going. And as comfortable as the Delta was, it was good to be back in my own bed last night.

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Responses

  1. 1. If I knew you were jonesing for downtown icy treats, I’d have suggested Solferino on Wellington, just west of the market. Deeeeee-lish! Good call on Greg’s, though; I miss living near that.

    2. I can’t hear the word “maven” without hearing it in Professor Frink’s voice, Jerry Lewis-style. Or better yet, Mel Gibson saying it deadpan.

  2. I am always jonesing for ice cream.

    DAN : CHOCOLATE :: JOE : ICE CREAM


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