Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Glasgow! I'm back. Back from a wonderful, snow-filled, cold (and then unseasonably warm), Tim Hortons coffee-drinkin', catchin' up with pals, seein' family, eatin' crap, and bike-ridin' holiday back to Canada (Toronto and Kingston, respectively). Although it is nice to be back in my own flat and bed, I have to admit that I am suffering from a bout of homesickness at the moment; I am missing my Mom; my oldest and bestest friend, Bombo/ Coco; and of course, the quality food and coffee that Toronto has to offer. One of the things that I LOVE about Toronto and Torontonians is that they are SERIOUS about their coffee: from Thor Espresso Bar (evidently right below Bombo's condo - which is where I stayed whilst in Toronto) and Jimmy's Coffee (again, about a five minute walk from Bombo's condo).

This time while back home in Toronto, however, I felt I was experiencing reverse culture shock: decent and cheap coffee; friendly and polite servers; attractive and healthy residents - it was all so foreign to me! I love Glasgow and it's my adopted home, but after drinking an amazing Americano for about $2.00, I couldn't help but feel a little jealous....

After landing in Toronto, I was met at the airport - as usual - by Bombo. When my plane landed, Toronto was in the midst of a mild blizzard. Windy, snowy and freezing. I loved it. Most weegies looked out the window at the PROPER winter and said, "ohmiegot".

Bombo and his bulldog, Seymour.

Did you know they film a lot of American film and TV shows in Toronto? Winners such as these. God...

And because we're fabulous (nah, we just know people), Bob and I went to the opening party of CB2 and drank free wine.

Bob enjoying his curly wurly.

Vintage clothes shopping in Kensington Market.

Kensington Market.

Just some of the North American garbage I yearn to eat while in Scotland.

Oh my heaven - Miss Cora's Kitchen in Kensington Market. A place worth just buying a ticket to Toronto for.

That thing.

Another thing I yearn for while in Scotland: CREAM FOR MY DAMN COFFEE. People of the UK! I know you love dairy products; where my 10% cream at?!

Is pot decriminalised/ legal in Ontario now? I can't keep up with the court rulings. Anyway, if you're into that sort of thing, you can smoke weed in Kensington 'cause it's all counterculture, like. And people totally smash the machine in Kensington. And rage against the state. Or something. Plus, you can probably see Sook-Yin Lee hangin' about wearing a cardigan inside out BECAUSE SHE IS SO AVANT-GARDE AND KOOKY, EVERYONE, OK??

But seriously. I still hate Stephen Harper. Fuck him and his anti-drug strategy. I really really really hate him.

Also, I do really dig Kensington. Honest.

My parents' kitty, Poppy.

Lake Ontario - as seen from the train en route to Kingston.

My Mom on her iPad


More North American garbage I like to consume.

Not only does Toronto have amazing coffee but amazingly good (and cheap) sushi! Not this kid-on Marks & Spencers crap that isn't even raw.

Moshi moshi



While I was in Toronto, I used Bixi to get around and although it is a great way to see the city and get around, it is quite limited in stations. At the moment, there are only Bixi bikes as far west as Bathurst Street; as far North as Bloor; and East until Parliament. Unfortunately Toronto suffers from huge urban sprawl and as such, limited stations about the city makes it quite frustrating. I had to coordinate plans and travels around bixi locking stations - which sort of defeats the purpose of a community bike share scheme. Also, the website is crap; there's no official Bixi Toronto smart phone app; and I had SO MANY PROBLEMS trying to get them to mail me the subscription key (evidently if your billing address is different from your home address, Bixi will send the Bixi key to the billing address - even if that's in an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT CITY THAN TORONTO. I mean, when signing up for a subscription to a scheme based in Toronto, it makes sense to mail that key to a completely different city, right?!?!?!) Oh my god, I almost lost my mind on the Quebecois people that run it.


Also. One more thing. Why is there a TEN DAY $250 dollar holding fee on a credit card, if you're just wanting to use the bikes for a 72 hour period?!? Sorry but I am on holiday and probably using my limited credit card as is; last thing I need is a $250 TEN DAY holding fee. I can't think of any other community bike sharing scheme (London, Paris, Barcelona) that requires such a hefty deposit to use something that should encourage tourists and residents alike to use.

BIXI Toronto ruling? TOTALLY UNUSER FRIENDLY (but I still loved using it - mainly 'cause I'm mad about pedalling).

Rant over.

My holiday back home ended with an amazing meal at an authentic Italian restaurant (Tommaso's) with Bob, my brother and Cameron. What handsome boys, eh?

Miss you guys, already.


Jessica said...

Man you've gone and made me MORE homesick. TIM HORTONS DOUGHNUTS! I would kill for one. Ah, and the coffee. I would like to swim in a bathtub full of properly pulled Toronto espresso.

I had to laugh at the Fluff photo. I broke into my last jar the other night. Savoured each spoonful. :)

You should totally copy/past/write Bixi. They could use the honest user feedback, and these are all very valid points.

Glad you had a good time!

Melaina25 said...

1- I know several places you can buy Fluff in Glasgow (for a price)
2-Mix equal parts condensed milk with milk and voilĂ  coffee creamer
3-I fucking hate that M&S excuse for sushi

Jennifer said...

Jessica, I might give my feedback to Bixi. The problem - I fear - is that all those issues might be down to a lack of subscriptions to the scheme. There really is strength in numbers.

Mel - I have seen Fluff at Lupe Pintos but it was STEEP. Like £3 or something for a jar?! Also, good idea about the condensed milk and regular milk. I was told that I could just make Half & Half with single cream and homo milk. I do actually use just condensed milk from a can at the moment. I cannot bear putting milk in my coffee! I NEED IT THICK!!!

Also, damn right about M&S "sushi". Blech.

David said...

If you're after a smartphone app for bike sharing in Toronto (and London, Montreal, Paris and many other cities) you could try this one: http://bit.ly/vP4cye (it's for Android phones). (Minor disclaimer: I'm the creator)

As a Bixi user, I think you should totally write to them - I keep on doing that about the lack of widespread stations in the city. Mind you, at least they're still running it in the winter, which is more than any of the other North American systems. Beats the heck out of the Spadina streetcar at rush hour!

Jennifer said...

Hey David, I actually downloaded an unofficial bixi lite app for my iPhone. Did you create that one as well? It was very handy. I was just surprised that Bixi didn't have their own released!

My fear about Bixi is that it lacks subscribers and hence the lack of stations. That said, I think I will offer my feedback to Bixi because I really want it to get better and bigger! And I agree, limited Bixi is WAY better than a Spadina streetcar during rush hour.

istealreceipts said...

I cried a little when I saw the timbits.

Unknown said...

Same. I've gone from Blogger to air transat in a matter of minutes!

Lakeland single cream - a little on the 18% side but does the trick.

Pickles! Not Gerkins, pickles. I can't find proper dill pickles anywhere.

Jenn, if you like pumpkin pie ice cream then you must check Ed's Real Scoop in Leslieville next time you're home. Burnt Marshmallow ice cream (that's after a bowl of Probihitions duck confit mac and cheese). Aaamazing.

Jennifer said...

Ashley - will give the Lakeland single cream a go. I have resorted to using evaporated milk. And yes, I totally hear you on the pickles front although I have resorted to going to the Polish market and getting my pickles there.

And yep, I know Ed's Real Scoop - used to go to the one in the Annex and LOVED the burnt marshmallow. Mmmmmm

Unknown said...

Jenn, Can you tell me where the polish market is?

Jennifer said...

Place on 21 Hyndland Street (Partick) called Polish Taste: http://www.yelp.co.uk/biz/polish-taste-glasgow

Oddly enough, the Chinese supermarket, See Woo in Pollok, also has a huge Polish section and I also get my pickles there too !