A Saturday night with the mayor’s daughter!

Prepare yourselves. This post is Big (Apple). This post is the size of a giant gorilla (King Kong). This post is bigger than the Chrysler Building! AND THAT’S AN SNL JOKE! FULL CIRCLE BOOM.

On the Weekend, Celeste and I packed our bags and buckled down for a 12 hour bus ride to New York to visit the infamous Claire. The bus ride was pretty uneventful except for the 2 hour border- crossing and the 3am food break where Celeste got a burger at Roy Rogers and I started off the weekend right with a bag of chips and a package of ho-ho’s.

When we awoke at the crack of dawn the next day (not to mention a thousand times during the night) we were met with big city landscapes and poo smell. We had arrived!

We’ve both been to New York before, but I visited only very briefly and didn’t really get the chance to explore much. We hopped off the bus and rushed through the complex subway system (thanks Celeste!) to get to Claire’s apartment just in time for her to run off to class (She’s doing a masters in screenwriting at Columbia). Her apartment is in the upper West side right next to Central Park in an old brownstone building. It’s gorgeous. I’m amazing and have no pictures of all the wicked architecture in her neighbourhood- sad.

So Celeste and I napped in her lovely apartment until she came home from class. Pretty much woke up when it was almost dark and screwed up our sense of time royally. Then we went for Mexican food at a restaurant that I can’t remember the name of. I had Enchiladas and a margarita. When we were finished, it was dark and I figured it was well into the evening and the night would surely be coming to an end soon. It was 5:30. For the next 10 hours, this is what we did:
-Walked around, finding various happy hours, ultimately ending up at Holiday Cocktail Lounge, Dukes, …one with a giant tv for basketball, Lit, and everyone’s favourite Lezzie bar, the Cubby Hole.
-In addition, I ate amazing Belgian waffles from a street vendor
-Played darts while keeping score for the first time ever
-Met the guy who books Sean Lennon’s concerts at “Lee’s Place”. (Me: It’s Lee’s Palace. Him: No, I’m pretty sure it’s Lee’s Place. Me: I live there. Him: I have more money than you and I book Sean Lennon’s tours and I know Yoko so it’s Lee’s Place. ) (That’s not really what happened, but it’s close)
-Thought all of our belongings had been stolen and started freaking out until someone told us the employees probably put the stuff in coat check. Apparently this is routine. To steal people’s stuff and hold it hostage in the coat check so that other, more creepy people can’t steal it first.
-Saw Nicole’s doppelganger (see photos).
– went for 3am Spinach Pie/ Salad/ soup/…something… at a super cute diner with Claire’s friend, Sam. Super fun lady.

The next day we went for a stroll through Central Park, ended up on 5th Ave. had a little bite to eat and ventured into FAO Schwarz (trying to appease my cheated inner child) which was INSANE and filled with Zombie children and rabid parents. But you could buy a muppet that looks like you. Or a newborn baby in Celeste’s case. We ran away. After that, we had to pee, so clearly the obvious choice was to go to the Plaza Hotel to look for a bathroom. There, we saw bitty old ladies and their tiny dogs and their humungous (or very small) hats, having tea and crumpets. We went to a couple stores along that strip (NBA store, NBC store, more acronyms, etc.) and we saw people skating at Rockefellar Centre. Then we hopped a train to Brooklyn where Claire got us so lost we watched a Mexican gang get their hair cut. Once we arrived back in Civilization, we went to a Hipstery bar called TeaRoom. The atmosphere was very swanky and cool but it took several hours for Celeste to get her drink order taken and in general, I think we lacked the overall mustache/ plaid shirt/ loafer combination and did not fit in. Although, to their credit they made a real nice Ginger Fizz (Yes I’m 70). We also:
-ate dinner at DuMont which was incredible. Great atmosphere. Great food. Shared an artichoke salad and it contained battered, deep fried lemon slices. Sounds gross, huh? Well it’s not! It’s amazing!
-Went to a bar called Barcade which was super fun and had a million beers on tap and the walls were lined with old retro arcade games. I got really excited to play arkanoid, but it turned out to be the ONLY one not working. Figures. Played Frogger instead, but sucked. Celeste was challenged to a Ms. Pacman duel. I think she may have lost, but I know it was close.
-Went to a bar which had a stupid name (Full Circle) so we re-named it Skee-bar. Because it had Skee-ball all over the place! And apparently a Dreidel spinning competition.
Celeste got top score. She’s real good at these games I’ve noticed.
-Walked to a gay bar but it was gay man night and we were too butch for the place, so we went to Claire’s cousin’s house-warming party where we met lovely ladies who were lovely as well as an extremely successful male model. Not kidding.
-Somehow we made our way to the Cubby Hole where Claire did body shots off of unsuspecting ladies and Celeste and I cheered in the background. (We are super wild!)

On our last day, we made our way to Nolita where they have Bluegrass and Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Possibly my favourite part of the trip. Loved it there. Bluegrass is awesome. As is brunch. Done. I was also coincidentally wearing a bluegrass shirt which was an ACCIDENT and I am not a stalker-fan, Mr. banjo player!!! There, we saw Maya’s doppelganger as well as Sonia’s doppelganger. Very weird. Had to take pictures of them slyly so as not to alert them of our interest. FAIL. Also, at the end of the meal, the waitress told us that a mystery lady across the room had put exactly $16 towards our bill as she had “history” with Claire. I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure that’s only supposed to happen in movies.

We shopped, we walked, we saw Hank Azaria and Jonah Hill. Celeste and I went to the Empire State Building and re-enacted scenes from Sleepless in Seattle. And also Twister. We had a delicious low-key pub style dinner and settled down in front of the TV for the night. We needed a recovery night to prepare us for the 5:30 am alarm going off the next morning. We said goodbye to a half-conscious Claire and succeeded in meeting one of our goals for the trip: eating a donut-covered sausage ball from Dunkin Donuts. We had them for breakfast. Mission accomplished.

The bus ride was rainy and long but more comfortable than the first, in that we could spread ourselves out a bit. By the time we reached Toronto we were sleepy and satisfied and ready to crash.

All in all, an amazing trip all around. Thanks Claire Bear!

UGLY:
Your Steve Madden shoes, Biatch!

AWESOME:
Everything! Especially the Dunkin Donuts Sausage Balls.

Coming back from New York makes me appreciate all the things I could potentially be doing in Toronto too. I know it doesn’t have the history or the architecture or the epic-ness, but it’s pretty cool. And when I first arrived as an innocent 17 year old, one of my favourite things to do was just hop on a streetcar to see where it would take me. I would explore the city and walk into random shops and purposefully get lost so I could stumble across new things. Now that I have my routine down pat, I very rarely find the opportunity to stumble across things anymore. So, I’ve made a resolution to start discovering the city again. I loved New York. And I’m going to try to treat my life in Toronto as if it was one big New York trip. I will seek out new stuff and old stuff I don’t know about and fall in love with my city again. Yay!

The traditional 5th anniversary gift is Wood.

So that’s for married people, but it’s still funny.

This weekend was good. Like very very amazingly good. Not to get all mushy and gross, but this weekend was probably the most romantic thing ever thought up. Including Valentines Day. And bubble baths with rose petals and chocolate covered strawberries. And Pretty Woman. My weekend was better than all of that.

On Thursday, it was Jamie’s and my 5 year anniversary. CRAZY!!

We went for a lovely, low-key dinner on Thursday night with the plan to go on a special anniversary trip for the weekend. The trip was all Jamie’s idea. It was planned and executed without my help at all because the entire thing was a surprise. I had no idea where we were going or what we were doing, only that I needed to pack a bag on Friday night. I asked if I had to bring my passport. I did not. That’s all I knew.

On Saturday morning, we hit the road bright and early and could not have had a better day for a drive. It was sunny and awesome and as we headed south towards the QEW, I began to sense where we were headed. Once you start going south-west of Toronto without a passport, there are only so many places you can end up in. I knew we were headed towards wine. And I was right!

At 11am, we arrived at Tawse wineries where we had a tour of the facilities and a wine-tasting. A couple of months ago, Jamie and I tried a wine at a restaurant in Roncesvalles (Blue Plate) which was amazing but we couldn’t buy it at the LCBO. The wine was the Echos riesling that Tawse makes. While we were there, we tried an even better riesling (The Tawse Riesling) which we bought a case of on the spot because I wanted to spend the rest of my life with it in matrimony. That’s how good it was.

After that, we made our way to surprise location #2- the Britaly Bed and Breakfast in Niagara on The Lake. It was gorgeous. All the rooms are decorated so fancy-like and each have a country-themed room. We stayed in The English Room where we had a couch and a fireplace and a bathroom. Graham and Aldo (the owners) put mints on our pillows that night. LIKE IN A MOVIE!

We walked through a pretty nature path to get to the main street where we had a fantastic dinner at Zee’s. We got a table next to the fireplace so it was all cozy and warm-like. I had the rack of lamb and Jamie had the beef tenderloin. Definitely some of the best lamb I’ve ever had.

After dinner, there was one surprise left which turned out to be a play at the Royal George Theatre. The play was Harvey by Mary Chase. I have to say, although it was very well executed (great acting, amazing set design, etc.) I think the story and the humour is geared towards an older generation. Nevertheless, I love going to the theatre no matter what, so I was happy.

The next morning, delicious coffee was brought up to the hallway outside our bedroom so we could open the door, grab a cup and sit by the fireplace. I love clichés. I try to live them out as often as possible. When we went downstairs, Graham and Aldo had prepared a 5 star meal with home-made granola with fresh berries and cream, fresh out of the oven blueberry muffins and a mushroom, spinach and ricotta cheese frittata. And an endless supply of coffee. It actually was the closest thing I’ve ever witnessed in real life to The Feast in the Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base. I always wished to come across a table set like that in real life, and this was pretty much on par.

We stopped by an antique store on the way out of town to dream about stuff we could buy if we had anywhere to put it and that was our Niagara on the Lake Grande Finale. The whole weekend was perfect.

Ugly:
My belly after stuffing it with an extraordinary amount of food. Like a zeppelin.
The length of this post. I’m sorry! I couldn’t edit!! It was all too important.

Awesome:
My amazing boyfriend, Jamie. You won’t hear me gushing all girly-like about him very often, but I feel he deserves this one. Well played, sir. Well played.