Book tour: segment 14!

Oh, Canada! My international debut. Toronto, Ontario.

These recap posts are getting longer and longer. I stammer and hedge (and steal lines from poet, Wislawa Szymborska), scratching at the gnarly fence of my vocabulary, attempting to invent new word combinations for gratitude. This, written in real time upon my return from Chicago last weekend (number two of two tour recap posts I owe you), is completely in vain, of course. The best way to say thank you is to say it often and mean it truly. Writing it out by hand helps, too.

My Toronto was filled with friends, first-time-meeting-in-real-life friends who treated me as if we were old pals. I slept on a comfy couch with Schaefer dog as bed- and cuddle-mate. I was on TV, I rode the trolleys and I sold books in a foreign currency (fun!). I even learned how to say ‘Toronto’ like a Canadian (insider scoop: phonetically spelled Tor-on-o, a silent final ‘t’ will make you sound like you know what you’re talking about.) Here’s a narrated photo essay of my journey.

The last tour post deposited me for the night on the American side of Niagara Falls. I busted into Canada before the sun rose.

As I rounded Lake Ontario in pursuit of Toronto, I found it exceedingly difficult to keep my eyes on the road. Dang sunrise.

I rolled up to Wychwood Barns Saturday market just in time to set up my borrowed table and do some currency calculations.

Dana of Joel and Dana extraordinaire, aka Well Preserved bloggers, arrived on the scene at Wychwood to keep me company and ride along in the car as we headed to their Leslieville home on the east side. Dana did well by Canada and placed their national drink into my hands not long after the sun went down. The Cesar was a hot (and delicious) mess of Clamato, garlic, and whatever they had laying around in the bar well. I could only have one…

The following morning we headed to the Leslieville market. Dana took photos and brought me delicious gluten-free treats and to-die-for coffee served from a huge, stewing courtesy of Dana Harrison

Joel came home from mancamping just in time to catch the tail end of the market. This guy is one of the most kind-spirited humans you’ll ever meet. Not only did Joel welcome me into his home, but he surveyed our mutual (online) friends to see what kinds of things I like to eat and drink. Awaiting me on his dining room table were fancy dark chocolates, earl grey tea, wine, gluten-free bread, and (beyond awesome) the ingredients to make pasta from scratch, which was well-researched and lead to an actually tasty and successful noodle.

photo courtesy of Joel MacCharles

I’m going to mess with the recipe a couple more times to ensure ultimate noodle success in your gluten-free kitchens. Stay tuned!

Um, can we talk about how cool Joel & Dana’s place is. Dana is a graphic designer and has a real eye for aesthetics in general. I adored poking around their house, admiring the thought that went into arrangement and decor. Like these color-coded cookery books, or the wall of Well Preserved deliciousness.

One of the highlights of the entire tour for sure, experimenting in the kitchen with a fellow member of my food preservation blogger cohort.

The following day I shot a segment on savvy thrift shopping with the host of Oh So Cosmo! I’ll share a clip when it’s available. Later in the evening I geeked out over the rockstar set-up I had during my event at the Drake Hotel. This is the fanciest set-up by far my green tomatoes, garlic and salt have seen on the fermentation trail.

Post-event tear down and next-event prep included a scene change. Musicians soon stormed the stage and sound checked.

The following day I poked around the Leslieville nabe with Sarah B Hood, fellow preserver and local culture maven. En route to her house I stalked yard fruit, as always.

I have no idea what this is, but it sure is lovely. Any takers on naming this for me?

She took me to eat fabulous Indian food (where they offered to make the dosa and another flatcake sort of dish gluten-free for me) and then on for a tour of her community garden.

Nasturtiums, you have me every time.

Time to harvest these sunflower seeds!

The evening held in store for us a delicious gathering of Toronto’s preserving community. Joel wrote about the party he and Heather hosted at local cafe, F’Coffee, the owner of which so kindly re-opened their doors and poured wine and beer for 20 of my new friends! Melanie, Toronto-based founder of cute shop Mildred and Doris, also wrote up the evening.

No trip to Canada would be complete without a serving of poutine. Thankfully Grindhouse burger bar (seated in an unlikely, Midtown-NY’ish location) has gluten-free friends.

I, too, could participate in the gravy-covered, cheese curd-y delight that is Canada’s national food.

Post-food coma, I paid homage to the CN Tower and later headed to the airport to pick up my mama, who would join me for the road trip back to NYC over the next two days.