M's pictures, L's pictures.
We walked through Nathan Phillip's square down to Queen and headed west to the Epicure Cafe. We went upstairs and out onto the rooftop patio, settling in at a table with a sun shade. The cajun calamari wasn't too spicy but it was good, and my portobello chicken wrap was yummy too. Cris had a burger and I tried one of his skinny fries, and it was good, as well. :) We headed a bit further west to drop into Bakka Books, and I came out with two Tanya Huff books (the newest one signed) and Kushiel's Scion. We made our way back east, popping into stores along the way. We both grabbed some CDs in Penguin, and I found a used Spirit of the West comp at CD Exchange, where they insisted on stamping a card for me for use "next time". We browsed around Active Surplus but I didn't find the rubber band I was looking for. We popped into the Healthy Butcher to scope out options for the next day, then headed back to the hotel. We read for a bit and listened to one of Cris' new CDs on the alarm clock radio cd player thingy.
Then I convinced him that we should go have a small adventure. We headed south on Bay St at around 4pm and got a bit caught up in rush hour, but most everyone peeled off into Union St to catch trains. We got to the Toronto Island ferry terminal as the Centre Island ferry was pulling up, paid our $6 and boarded. The wind was *high*, but the lake wasn't too choppy. We watched sea gulls flying sideways and swallows being buffetted by the wind. We docke at Centre Island in about 15 minutes and set off to the lake side. I was able to get a bottle of water from the closing Carosel Cafe (we'd tried to get smoothies on the way to the terminal, but the shop was closing). We walked out onto the pier and checked out the bike rental place but passed on picking up a tandem or a dual quad, instead walking out to the board walk. It was fairly quiet, we ran into a few people. Time was getting on, we wanted to take the 6:45 ferry at the latest, so we turned off the boardwalk and cut back onto the road. We got a bit turned around, going over a bridge to an isolated island, finding a beach and taking over grown paths back to the bridge and road. We made it back about 10 minutes before the ferry was due, got a slice of pizza and then waited in the holding pen. The ferry was late, and then didnt' leave right away, as someone got someone else hauled off by the cops (probably a theft).
We made it back to the mainland eventually, and walked back up to Union to catch the subway up to Bloor and Landsdown. We found Ciro's fairly easily, and Erika was on time as well, so we had a chance to chat before the others got there. I had a strongbow and shared the veggie nachos, and then had the tofu in black bean sauce. I'm far too picky about tofu, I've rarely really liked it in dishes, but the sauce was good. Siobhan showed up next, and then Axel, Krista and Sean fresh from pig handling. Jason and Martin also joined us. By 11:30 or so I was getting incoherent, the whole getting up at 5am thing was telling on me now. I stayed upright long enough to get us back to the hotel, and then collapsed into bed.
We stopped for ice cream before going into Global Cheese, which saved me from tasting everything in sight. Cris picked up a block though, and then I picked up some green onions at the grocer's next door. Then we headed down to Queen St to hit the Healthy Butcher. Only frozen ground chicken for me, and the clerk sold me chipotle chiles in adobo sauce from his own stock. I gave Axel a call and found out that they were fine with us showing up soonish, and got directions to a bigger grocery store at Queen and Gladstone. Cris picked up skewers and we got buns as well. Then we walked over to the Once and Future Gin Palace for the Pig Roast 2006.
The pig was ensconced on it's throne of cinder blocks and charcoal, covered in foil and roasting away. At 3pm the pig was flipped, the work of four people. Cris and I ended up starting up the other grill so that we could eat lunch, though Dimitry jumped in to grill his veggies before we put the chicken on it (I made him pay me for the fire prep in a tofu burger, was good), and Erika did some yummy shrimp and pineapple skewers. The pig was done (as announced by one of the kids) as we finished up the chicken burgers, but everyone was hungry and everything was pounced upon. The first part of the BBQ was over run with kids as the parents tired them out early. It was good to see Erika and Dave's two, and Dorothy's son, and Jackie and Rich's two, they've all grown so much even since November. The other kids were strangers to me, and I didn't interact with them much. I had managed to snag a purple lei and a purple tiki cup that I made a couple of mojito's in - fresh mint from Siohban's back yard was great. I tried a sip of Len's lychee concoction, but didn't get a full one. I had a bit of a chance to chat with Steph and Martin and Jackie and Rich, but time seemed to fly by and I wish we could have stayed longer. At one point Cris and I took a break on the front porch, resetting from being surrounded by people. I think it was Michael who mentioned a shared bathroom style hotel in NYC for $75/night - Stay A While? Stay A Round? We went off on various conversational tangents, with travel coming in as Cris joined us. I hardly had a chance to chat to Monica or Louise or Etienne or Trevor or Jason, or Martin, I felt like I spent too much time finding quiet spots, as the backyard was cut in half due to keeping the fire areas separated and the other half was packed with people. Plus, my feet were sore from all the walking around we did, so I tended to sitting versus standing and chatting. I considered grabbing people one at a time and absconding to the porch for a chat, but never went through with it. Around 12:30 I was starting to fade, and we started to say our good byes. There was a bit of a wait for the Dundas street car, but it came eventually and bore us eastward. I took a quick shower to get the sun block off and fell into bed.
I've got two small burns from flying sparks, and a mysterious soreness on the back of my neck that's hopefully sunburn (there were spider and mosquito bites going around, and I can't see the spot easily). I wish we could have stayed for Dim Sum on Sunday, lesson learned, spring for the extra hours and buy the more expensive ticket. I hardly had a chance to chat to Monica or Louise, I felt like I spent too much time finding quiet spots.