I’m taking a short commercial break from posting about my Europe trip so I can talk about my visit to Toronto a couple weeks ago! I partially doing this because I love the pictures, but mostly because my Canadian friend, Stephen, asks when I’m going to post this at least once or twice a week. (Here you go, Stephen. Thanks for being a loyal reader, and A+ for enthusiasm!).
After I got back from London, I had a couple of weeks at home, and then I headed off to Toronto for some classes at the Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy! I got to talk about coffee for four whole days with all kinds of well-respected roasters, baristas, and coffee shop owners – it was a dream. Plus, I got to work on some really beautiful espresso machines, and I poured my first successful tulip! I got so excited that I forgot to take a picture, but here’s a visual: it was symmetrical and had 5 whole layers!
After my coffee classes were over, I took a few days to explore the Toronto area, and luckily, I had my friend Stephen to show me around. Stephen and I originally met while we were both studying abroad in London, and he’s been trying to get me to visit ever since. Suffice to say, he had a long list of places to show me, and I had a long list of coffee shops to visit!
One of my favorite nights involved Thai food and meeting up with Stephen’s friends to visit some of their favorite bars. After a couple beers, they all decided it was time to give me a real Canadian experience, so we walked to Smoke’s Poutinerie. I finally got to try poutine, and a group of drunk college kids spent the good portion of the night telling me I look like Bjork (which is just the least true thing I have ever heard in my life). All in all, it was the best late-night Toronto experience I could ever hope for.
The next morning, we grabbed a coffee and headed to Niagara Falls! The falls were on my bucket list, and I still can’t stop thinking about how beautiful they were. After taking approximately a million pictures, Stephen and I went to an amazing Greek restaurant, found a cool brewery, and then he beat me at mini golf. On our way back to Toronto, we stopped in Niagara-on-the-Lake where, in true fashion, we ended up at a British-style pub and listened to a live band! It was the perfect last night in Canada.
Things to do in Toronto & Niagara Falls:
- Country Style Hungarian Restaurant – I have a newfound love for Hungarian food, which is not easy to find in Reno. Luckily this place has plenty of good options like paprikash and schnitzel!
- Put a Cone on It – this is a coffee/ice cream shop in Korea Town that I stopped at every morning before class. They only have espresso drinks, but they make great cappuccinos.
- The White Brick Kitchen – a restaurant on Bloor that has really great sandwiches and fries. It’s also close to some artsy, local shops!
- Bellwoods Brewery – probably the most beautiful brewery I’ve ever seen. Apparently, it gets ridiculously busy some nights, but when we went, it was such a lovely place to relax and try local beer.
- Ramen Isshin – this is an insanely popular ramen joint, but if you’re willing to wait about 20 minutes, it’s definitely worth it.
- Get Well – a local barcade where I played Mrs. Packman and somehow won a Star Wars game purely by pressing a lot of buttons!
- Salad King – a restaurant that does not, in fact, serve salad but does serve delicious Thai food. It also has huge windows with a great view of downtown.
- Smoke’s Poutinerie – only for the purest of Canadian experiences.
- Manic Coffee – a recommendation by one of my instructors!
- Koutouki – a lovely Greek restaurant near Niagara Falls.
- Niagara Brewing Company – lots of beer choices and live music! We got a flight, and I think their cream beer had to be my favorite.
- Boxcar Social – probably my favorite coffeeshop in Toronto, I finally found pour-overs, and the aesthetic was beautiful.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Im Glad She’s Not my Girlfriend by The Soulboy Collective