Friday night saw me trek back to my former home, the west end, for dinner at Lauren's. In 2005 (I think?), Lauren lived in Toronto for one year and worked at Freetimes Cafe. As such, Lauren was making a huge vegetarian Freetimes-inspired dinner for myself and Kate . A delicious spread which included HOMEMADE LATKES.
When I lived in Toronto, I used to love waking up on a Sunday, working up a hunger, and heading to the Freetimes Cafe for their huge $19.95 all you can eat Jewish brunch. The latkes, eggs, blintzes, smoked salmon, bottomless cups of coffee, and Montreal bagels were arranged in a plethora of indulgence at the front of the restaurant and across the bar. The brunch was often punctuated by a soundtrack of Klezmer music. My brunch companion, more often than not, was Bob (a.k.a. Bombo/ Cocobaby), who, despite the deceptive slight appearance, has a black hole for a stomach.
I've often moarned the lack of "American" style brunch in this city (a city, and perhaps country, that nonetheless seems adept at picking up American trends like Starbucks and the awful and disgusting TGI Fridays) but I have a stash of President's Choice buttermilk pancake mix and Canadian maple syrup (both from Canada, obviously) to keep me sane.
So, Lauren's delicious cornucopia of latkes, hummus, roasted veggies, cous cous, and salad was appreciated. So much so that after stuffing myself with latkes, sour cream and apple sauce, I proceeded to fall asleep on her couch while Kate's kitten, Stinky, attacked my legs.
Saturday morning, I woke early to counter the effects of Lauren's latkes and headed to the gym for the necessary evil that is exercise. After doing my usual one-hour class of punching, kicking and grunting, my other friend, Claire, joined me for another class entitled, "body balance". Initially I was skeptical of a class that was aimed at "balancing" and "relaxation" (how hard can that be?!) but after another hour of yoga and pilates-like moves, I was hurtin' like Johnny Cash.
In our work-out gear, Claire and I headed to the ever fashionable west end for some food and coffee. After inhaling some lunch, we limped our way to several used stores (known as charity shops) for some bargains. I managed to find a book that I wanted, Peter Irvine's Scotland the Best, for only 99p! I also managed to find Margaret Atwood's Payback as well as Robertson Davies' Cornish Trilogy. I love finding Canadian books in used Scottish shops; makes me feel fuzzy knowing that someone somewhere outside Canada, is reading our nations top writers.
Sunday was a much-needed rest day and I went to Willow Trading for a half hour massage and one hour facial. I love Willow Trading, a lovely wee shop in Glasgow's west end, as it stocks gorgeous Neil's Yard products and even has a floatation tank (which I have yet to use and most likely never will. I mean, just me and my thoughts in a dark pool of water? Nae thanks). Afterwards I met Paul for lunch and a film.
Speaking of Paul, it's our two-year anniversary in February and as we did last year, we're thinking of going away for a weekend. Anyone ever been to Belfast? And if so, thoughts?