Coffee Shops

Bruce is Back!

Posted by Bruce on January 06, 2019
Check it Out!, Coffee Shops, Try It! / No Comments

Hey Brucesters!

Happy Freakin New Year! It feels so great to be back writing my Sunday blog. I honestly missed it so much! I missed bugging my editor every week with my stories of bad punctuation and grammar and I missed the great feedback I’d get from all of you, my registered readers! As you know I took some time off due to stress and did my best to get stronger, empower myself, and get to know myself again. I’ll be sharing that personal mission throughout 2019. I just think the more we remove the stigma of mental illness the better our society will be. I’ll speak to this later but for now Bruce is Back and I’m Eating Pie!
I’m happy to announce that I’m not writing alone this week! I’ve invited my dear friend David to join me as we spent some time together in Toronto exploring the many streets and neighbourhoods and this guy has got the best historical facts about our great city. He didn’t want me to mention him but it’s just not possible as he was instrumental in reinsuring me to put my writing hat back on and blog on! David thanks for your overview on this, my pie article.
Dave and I met at a local function many months ago and instantly a friendship bloomed. This guy loves to walk and I swear I lost 10 pounds the first two weeks of walking the city with him. He just loves waking. You know what else he loves, historical facts. I am always hypnotized by his references to historical Landmarks in the city. I asked if I could tag along and get my very own tour guide in a city I’ve lived in for more than a decade! Thankfully he agreed!
It was on one of these foot stepping adventures that he took me to the west end of the city. We were looking for something sweet to eat and I had pretty much exhausted any dessert house on the east side of town so I was in his tour guide hands. Did I mention he’s super cute too? That was just a lucky bonus! After a long stroll we entered what is known as The Annex. It started in 1886 by developer Simeon James. The interesting aspect of The Annex is definitely the architecture. Most of the buildings in the area are the creation of E.J. Lennox, one of Toronto’s leading artchitects in the latter part of the 19th century. The style is a whimsical yet strong blend of Richardson Romanesque and Queen Anne styles. They typically have the large rounded Romanesque arches with Herculean stones on the ground floor and topped off with decorative accents such as turrets or gables and delicate wood work. It is a style that began in Toronto and copied over and over again. Many of the large homes have been broken up into flats and apartments. Others became Fraternity and Soroity houses for neighbouring University of Toronto. David narrated away as we walked along the stunning neighbourhoods of The Annex. All the while I was thinking I’d really love a piece of homemade pie. I’m so ADD but when I was able to stay focused I just loved hearing his beautiful tour guide like way he coined a phrase. I interrupted our “Tour de Annex” and asked if he could take me to a local coffee dessert house. He was always eager to oblige.
We ended up at a coffee dessert house called Futures Bistro Apparently they have one on the St. Lawrence Market too. It was sort of bohemian inside and we grabbed ourselves a much needed coffee and two big slabs of pie! I love pie. I especially love my mom’s homemade pie and this place gave her pies a run for their money (sorry mom!). We sat at the window watching the passers by and made sure we judged them all accordingly. Cute! Super cute! Not in your life and thought it was chocolate! You know when you see someone from a distance you think is going to be as tasty as chocolate and they turn out to be as puckering as a sour baby?
Check out this amazing chain of dessert bars when you’re visiting Toronto. The plate was totally lockable and the neighbourhood a very special piece of historical architecture.
Oh my God, next we go pipe shopping!

Futures Bistro 483 Bloor Street Weat

Guest historical guide David M. for Bruce in the City

Article by Bruce Christopher

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Gay and Glad

There it was like a beacon of hope for countless gay people who just wanted to fit in, feel safe, and learn more about themselves. The year was 1970, one year before this big old bear poked his head out of his mother’s purse. Glad Day Book Shop was creating a place of refuge in a heterosexually dominated literary world by blasting a path for brilliant LGBT writers to sell their works. But even more than this, allow for incredibly important community awareness and legitimacy to a group of people who were fighting everyday for a voice and a culture to call their own. Glad Day Books is now considered the oldest bookstore of it’s kind in the world. I remember it fondly as a young person when I used to zip into Toronto on the Go train with my best buddy Brenda. There were two streets we were sure to walk, Queen Street West and Yonge Street. Queen Street for reasons of its own which I’d be happy to get into another time. Yonge however was that never ending street of dreams. For me it was almost 20 years from their monumental open to when I excitedly window shopped then investigated the aisles after that long flight of stairs upward to self expression and sexual liberation. My girlfriend was two doors down at the incense shop unaware of my need for such an outlet. It would be many years later that I would finally come out to her. And by girlfriend I mean “Hey girlfriend” even though we did date early on in Grade 7. Wow, I was so bi! How rebellious. Well today’s Glad Day Books has liberated itself from the old up top shop to a hot new trendy cafe, pub bookshop in the heart of the village just south of Church and Welsley. It’s been reopened in the new space for almost a year and the fun they’re having over there? Forget about it! It’s incredible. From fabulous drag shows with the very talented Uma Gahd, to influential author events. One that will be taking place in November and I’ll be certain to cover that for sure! I was there with a new friend of mine whom I met on one of those free apps for bears over 35 and we spent the afternoon enjoying the disco grooves of The 70’s as we sipped our beverages. I actually had a really lovely mascoto which I’ll have to get the name of for you. Lots of local drinks to be had which I love. Support local!!! Another little bit of trivia for you, did you know Glad Day is owned by 35 different people who all pulled together giving of their time, talents, and dollars to keep this important landmark of the city and the gay community right where it should be, supporting a whole new generation of Queens and their dreams? I’m certain there will be many new tales to be told from the trendiest coffee cocktail book shop I’ve ever stepped foot in. Bravo to one more year of books and booze! OMG I smell Bookclub! Clearly I can’t say enough about this place. It’s fun! It’s wild! It’s packed! But in today’s world when many LGBT people continue to suffer around the globe it’s also more than ever, relevant.

5 kisses out of 5

B.I.T.C

Drum roll please!!!!

As promised our first official Beard of the Week! Playwright Steven Jackson! Check out his Badass B.I.T.C beard and also my review of his play “The Seat Next to the King” a few blog postings back! Congrats Steven! Our first official Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week! Hey Brucesters submit your beard selfie to bruceinthecity@hotmail.com and any relevant info you would like our readers to know about you and who knows maybe You will be chosen as Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week!

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Catch Ya Later

I have been working at my shop for just about three years now and have been loving it and all the people I hired. We’ve had the best time but just like every good thing, like the seasons, it is all about to change. My travel to work daily is just over an hour but still difficult to make decisions to move because I’ve made some wonderful acquaintances and friends. I was just north of Lawrence Ave and the community there is amazing. The people in this neighborhood have such a wonderfully friendly, small town hospitality. I know we will both miss each other.

I was even invited to some local get togethers during my time at the shop which were so lovely. I won’t ever forget them. My team was so great too. I hired all of them. They were awesome if I do say so myself and I hope they continue to be their fabulous selves.

I loved the area too. I frequented many shops during my stay. I wrote about a few of them. The Abbott was one of my favourite watering holes. The ladies there were so wonderful. They do make some fabulous Caesars that is for sure! The head bartender is pretty cool too and has an Elvis/Blue Rodeo look about him and he’s funny.

Oh, and Bobbette & Belle! They had the best treats. Did I write about them? I’ve written about so many places I can’t keep track. I really liked the one manager that unfortunately left. She was very outgoing but I don’t think she was very happy. Retail places have a mad record of being able to hold onto good people. Of course I’m only guessing but I’m usually correct about these things. I’ve been around and back baby!

Don’t even get me started on Yonge Street Sushi! Super slow service but their sushi is fabulous. I went there way too many times. I will miss their terrible service and their great sushi! Okay, maybe they weren’t that bad but ya they were not great at customer service. But let’s keep our eyes on the sushi shall we!?

I have to give a shout out to a few other places that knocked my sox off while working in the neighborhood. The Sushi Bar, Aroma Espresso Bar, McCoy Burger (from my home town of Oshawa), The Friendly Butcher (Cute guys slapping meat on a patio grill? Hello!), Salt Cave, Patisserie Sebastian, Pistachio, Valentina’s Body Bakery!! All fabulous places to try out when in the Lawrence Village!!

Do you remember growing up with your local corner store? Well the family that runs the corner store just up the street from my shop are so great. I mean they never gave me a break on a nickel but who can blame them. Money makes the world go around. They did give me some flowers once. That was very sweet. Toronto is such a cold ass city! It’s so nice to make a friend or two along the way. Okay “friend” might be pushing it, but at the very least politeness does go a long way in this burnt toast town.

My clients were the best, which truly makes it so difficult to go. Everyone, for the most part, was just as sweet as anything. It’s truly not easy to go. But you know when your customers are closer to you than your own friends are, it’s important to make some healthy work life balance decisions.

Plus, I’m super excited to get to meet all the new people and the store itself is busier, and you all know how I need to keep myself busy. A good business move I think. Personal happiness and some healthy challenges? It’s a good thing. With being closer to home too I’ll be able to get out to more fabulous places to write about.

Well everyone I knew, and even some that relationships will continue, it was amazing serving you these past several years. I’ll miss you guys and hope we bump into each other again.

B.I.T.C!

Editor Mary Ellen Monk

Thoughts from the Editor: Good luck on your new adventure! Are you close enough now to walk to work? I know you are on the weight loss journey, just like the rest of us, so wondered if extra walking to work might help. I walk 4-5 kms every day on my lunch hour. It’s the only free time I get away from my boys because they are in school, so I take advantage of it.

Love you!

ME

Very Superstitious

Posted by Bruce on April 01, 2017
Check it Out!, Clubs and Bars, Coffee Shops, Local Talent / No Comments

One week since my birthday and already I’m thinking holy crap I’m 46.  46, how did this happen?  Well I know how it happened. The clock kept going around and bam now I’m 46.  Okay, so before I bore you with the sadness of aging, I’m just going to get on with what I do best, talk about me and oh ya, how fabulous I am.  Oh ya and my city of course.

Well my birthday was almost a bust.  Every year the same thing happens to me.  I’m all excited leading up to the big day and then on the big day I kind of get depressed.  Does this ever happen to you?  Luckily a new friend in my world gave me a tongue lashing and said get out and enjoy your day.

I decided to do just that.  Do you want to hear about it?  Okay, so I decided going downtown was a must.  First, one must get the day going with a Starbucks coffee.  I’m sorry that is just a have to do.  Walking the city streets is an exhausting campaign.  I picked one I had actually never been in even though I have spent much time in the area.  Right in the heart of Church St.  I grabbed my coffee and headed to the second floor to contemplate the day.

It is a very nice shop.  There was a window just to my side where the street was calling out to me.  I looked at my reflection in a large floor mirror and thought, “Why am I feeling down? This is my day.”  I picked myself up and dusted myself off and headed out for my birthday round about.

I decided to head up to Bloor Street, a very popular street in the city.  It is known for it’s high end retail strip and I was feeling a little in need for something of that speed.  I stopped into my old stomping ground.  If you have followed my blog over the years you may recall “Holt’s”, the place I love to hate but they do have the most fabulous eyewear wall.  And I just love a good pair of designer shades.

Mostly I hoped to bump into a very good friend of mine who has survived the Devil that wore Prada.  She is “Absolutely Fabulous” personified.  Actually she is my Karen Walker and I’m certain I have mentioned her on my blog before.  To my surprise she was working and we greeted each other with “You Bitch”.  Isn’t the love of a good friend just the best?  She told me she and her partner would be attending my birthday bash that evening.  I was stoked!

Well it was time for me to move along and so I wandered through Yorkville.  How can I explain Yorkville?  Well it used to be this very cool place artists like Joni Mitchell, Lenard Cohen, Neil Young etc would hang out and play in the 60’s and 70’s until of course the elite got in there and raped it of it’s soul.  So you’re getting the idea?

Ya, so now it’s full of snooty high end restaurants and boutiques where the service is bad and the fare over priced.  I do really love it there.  I feel so at home.  If only I wasn’t a poor writer/retail manager/singer/slash slash….

I’m so many slashes I can’t keep it all str8.  I have myself another Starbucks.  This time on the corner of Bay and Cumberland.  The place is kind of small but the barista behind the bar was very sweet.  I’d be back.

I wandered south on Bay Street.  I was feeling a bit more upbeat thanks to my legal addictive stimulants coursing my vanes.  I decided to sing one of my favourite tunes while cruising the downtown of my city “Downtown” by Patula Clarke.

https://instagram.com/p/BSEt8uoA6hx/

As I made my way south and then east on Wellesley I decided I’d head back over to the village for an early cocktail.  By now I had received the usual pokes and Happy Birthday wishes on my Facebook page and so why not get into the spirit.  As you know if you are reading my blog, I’m on the look out for the best Ceaser in the city.  I’ve tried out E11even, Joey’s, The Firkin (in the village), The Hair and the Dog and a few others so I decided to hit up O’Grady’s and see what their Ceasers had to offer.  I’ll give you my ruling on that in a future blog.

I had a few get me going Ceasers and then well look at the time.  It was on to 4 p.m. and I needed to get home and get ready for my party.  The party I actually cancelled that morning in a dip of depression and then snapped out of it moments later when I received a text from that new friend of mine that said, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself and go out and enjoying your bleeping birthday!”

I arrived unfashionably early for my own party or everyone showed up rather late.  I’m not clear on that one but we all arrived and after spending some quality time in the bands boogie bus I was ready to party my face off.  “Something Extra” was playing at The Old Nick.  One of my favourite stomping grounds and one of my favourite local bands.  It’s not that far from home so it was the perfect spot for me to celebrate me.

I love that band as well and they really know how to blow the roof off a place.  They have a wide range of crazy ass renditions of everyone’s favourite rock, pop and funk tunes.  During a set break the lead vocalist Vance asked me to join them on stage.  It’s been a while since I have done any singing of that kind.  I’ve been doing classical and crooner stuff over the past few years.  Well what the hell I thought and so that funky groove of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition sounded from the stage as they invited me up to open up those sleeping soul pipes of mine.

Thanks everyone for a super awesome birthday!  I read all your notes and emails and tweets and everything else.  What a way to ring in 46.  It’s really so important to live each day like it’s the only one you’re going to get and you all made that particular day one of my finest.

Thank you!

B.I.T.C

This blog is dedicated to Juliet. Our resident vocalist. You will be forever missed.

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Totally Baked

Posted by Bruce on February 26, 2017
Coffee Shops, Try It! / No Comments
  • It is no secret that I love, love, love, my treats!  It’s also no secret that I have been trying to get some much needed weight off.  I wouldn’t say I am a large person by any means.  I mean, I think I hide it well but the truth is at a young and fabulous 40 something man it’s important to keep things in check.  I’ve always felt that your 20’s is the free zone.  You have just begun drinking and maybe smoking and certainly being much more in charge of your eating habits and lifestyle choices.
    it’s your time to live it way up!  All being well with one’s health, you can kind of get away with most inequities.  I would never of course condone heavy drug use but I’m not oppose to the odd joint from time to time.
    I don’t partake of course, my partner would be very against the thought so my only real opportunity for getting baked would be in a kitchen.
    Lucky for me Toronto is host to so many bakeries and pastry shops.  They’re literally on every other corner.
    One of my dearest friends has returned from her new home in far off Indonesia.  She met a cutie pie there and the rest seem to be history.  It was so freaking wonderful seeing her again.  We met on what I like to call the four corners of the city.  My go to for downtown adventures, Yonge and Dundas.  We decided to meet at the Pickle Barrel.  That has always been a great place mostly for tourists to have a moderately priced oversized meal.  Everything is so large there.  I’ve never been a supporter of size matters but I can’t sand when I hear people say, “Oh that’s too much”.  You know what?  Just eat your meal and be thankful and if you want a small portion of food stay home and make it yourself.  I was a very good boy and ordered the soup.  Then I was a bad boy and ordered their mini dessert.  OMG!  So goooood!
    I hadn’t had any sweets in over a month so it was just the right amount of dessert goodness.  I refused to feel guilty.  Hey I’ve lost 10 pounds!  Judge me not!
    We talked about so many things.  I hadn’t seen her in 5 years or so and so much has changed in that time.  She has found love and I have found 20 pounds.  One thing than never changes is how easy it is to pick up where we left off.  She is one of the funniest people I have ever known.  If I ever have my own T.V show, which is totally possible, I would certainly have her on it.
    After we enjoyed a coffee, a mini dessert and two hours of catch up it was time to mull around the city.  I just love wandering the city streets because no matter how many times you do it, there is always something new to enjoy!  And we found a very cool coffee house that specializes in making your own cookies!!!!  What!!??  I know!  Let me repeat myself.  Make your own cookies!  So once we put together our cookie order we decided to make it a “Red Bench” dance party!  We busted out our best disco moves as our cookies baked away in the oven!  Totally fabulous! Totally Baked!
    I love laughing my head off and what a perfect friend and bakery to do it in!  We sat by the window and chatted some more.  Savoring every cookie bite and every moment together.
    Our cookie love affair was in full swing and dusk was calling.  Our time together was coming to an end but the memories and our next cookie date is just around the corner!!!

The Red Bench
Address: 611 Yonge St, Toronto ON M4Y 1Z5
Phone: +1 647-748-4868

4 kisses out of 5

B.I.T.C

A word from the editor:

I know what it is like to try to lose weight.  I have been seeing a trainer for 3 months and I’m down 10 pounds.  Hard work though.  My treat to myself at the ten pound goal mark was a cinnamon bun!  We all deserve our rewards.

Editor: Mary Ellen Monk

Aroma

Posted by Bruce on March 20, 2016
Check it Out!, Coffee Shops / No Comments

I’m not sure I mentioned it but I have decided to make some changes to my diet.  I know right?  Not again!  This however is slightly different because I’m starting small.
You know how much I love my coffee!  Well I did some math and decided that my sugar intake was way out of control.  Think about it.  I was a double double kind of boy and that means eight teaspoons of sugar daily.
I usually do two coffees a day along with two teas.  That’s a lot of added sugar, and let’s face it, I’m sweet enough!  As of Feb 10th I gave up pop as well.  I have slipped a few times but in general the pop is gone.
Now I can say after two successful weeks the added sugar in my tea and coffee are history.  Of course I had to cut out the cream too otherwise I feel like I’m just cheating on myself and who needs that?
Here is the thing; once you cut out these coffee fillers you quickly discover the coffee houses that make crap coffee!  I hate to tell you but some of those major, so called coffee houses, or “Sip Easies”, actually really suck!  Their coffee sucks hard!
I realized that by taking out the crap, your taste buds speak loud and clear and say “Hey, this coffee tastes burnt!” or “Hey, this coffee tastes like mushrooms glazed in poop broth!” or “Hey, this coffee is nothing but a cheap imitation for what beautifully harvested beans are supposed to taste like.”  Are you getting my message loud and clear?
I’m not saying don’t add these things, but why not add it to quality coffee if you must.  Isn’t life too short for shit coffee?

I have found my new coffee house, “Aroma Espresso Bar”!  Their coffee is really fabulous.  Nice big flavor and I find the staff really helpful.  Although I do admit there is never enough staff so you do have to wait a bit sometimes to get served.  But quality versus speed!  I’m not looking to zoom through when I visit them.  If you want that kind of scene you can always go to the place with the clown for that free coffee that always upsets my stomach.
Check it out next time you want a good cup of Joe!  There are plenty around the city so enjoy!

Aroma Espresso

http://aroma.ca/

B.I.T.C

Edited by M.E.M

Note from Mary Ellen: Would it shock you to know that I have NEVER had a cup of coffee?  Not once in my entire almost 40 years!  I love my tea and I love the smell of coffee but I physically cannot swallow it.  I don’t like mocha ice cream or a coffee crisp chocolate bar… none of it.  I just simply cannot swallow the flavour of coffee.

 

Isn’t it I Deal?

Posted by Bruce on January 28, 2015
Coffee Shops / No Comments
I’m always chasing relaxation!  It’s true.  I have realized that it is what I desire most and get the least of.  It’s not easy getting relaxation.
“No!” John spouts.
“What?”  I ask interrupted in thought.
“Wait. I’m figuring it out.” He replies.”
“Can you interrupt me once you know what you want to say?”
I’m annoyed.  The sound of Napkin Man begins to play in the background.
“Well now how am I suppose to concentrate?”
It’s my go to in the morning when I just want to retreat back into a childhood.  Oh, don’t judge me.  You all have shows like this you go back to when by yourself.  Bugs Bunny!  The Smurfs!  Charlie Brown!  Napkin Man!  There is good stuff to learn here.I’m Napkin Man I’m here for you… Doh!  I can’t concentrate.  John looks at me like the “Cheshire cat”!  Then he shuts it off.
“Where did it go?” I said as I noticed he has shut it off.
“I wouldn’t want to disturb you because I loooove you.” He teases.
Find my happy place.  Find my happy place!”You bitch” John laughs as he realizes I am documenting this exchange!As I was saying.  I can’t seem to find the relaxation that I’m looking for.  I just don’t have enough down time. Between writing and working and family and animals and bills etc. my life seems pretty full.  Oh, how could I forget planning birthday parties.  My partner’s birthday is arriving soon and where does Bruce in the City take the love of his life for his birthday?  Well, that’s next week’s blog.

Hey by the way, I’m sorry for being late this week.  My little red computer did finally die.  I’m heart broken but I’m going to give it one more try at the laptop experts and see what they can do, if anything, to resuscitate him.Anyway so this is why my blog is being posted on a random day this week.  I had to beg John to use his computer.  He is always recreating scores.  As in music scores.  It keeps him pretty busy.  I think he could use some relaxation too.  Maybe even more so than me.  No, maybe I take that back.I search the city of Toronto every week looking for a little place I can hang my hat.  Away from the noise of the city.  Away from the rush of people who can’t cover their mouth when they cough.  Oh my God that drives me crazy!!  Seriously is this such a difficult thing to do.  Place arm over mouth… cough.  We can’t even manage to get this right.  And we want peace on earth!!

I wouldn’t mind a little peace from your mucus being breathed on me after one of those obnoxious sneezes when stuck on the bus.  I am going to pick up some of those surgical masks like the ones I see many Asian people use.  I think they have the right idea.  Mmm, now I’m craving Sushi!

Okay so relaxation.  Where to get it.  Who has it and what to do with it once you find it!  I did find a little the other day.  I passed by a cute little coffee house up past Lawrence.  So basically where Christ lost his sandals and…. What is with that saying?  Do we even know that Christ lost his sandals?  I’m never going to torture you with that saying again.  Where was I?  Oh yes.. Christ lost his sandals, so anyway I decided to stop in.  It is a modern looking little spot but rustic at the same time.  Again it was the music that got me to stay and the smell of some wonderfully brewing coffee.
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I decided to stay.  Me and my laptop took a spot beside the little fireplace they can’t use because of all the children the parents bring.  I’m not a big fan of children so thank God there were none there that day.  Am I being too honest?  Now I’m sad.  It was the last day my laptop turned on.  I had decided I was going to let you guys know how nice and welcoming the place was and I even let them know I was going to write about my very relaxing experience.  I began to write and sip my dark roast when I realized I was running late for something and had to speed off.  I quickly packed up my things and took a few photos.  The girls there were fabulous.  It’s a damn shame I’m always in a rush.

Did I mention they gave me my coffee and scone for free?  I know.  So sweet!  I’ve been back twice already since then.  The whole experience that day was just ideal.  Thanks ladies (Nakayla and Laura) and see you soon!

I Deal Coffee
4 kisses out of 5
B.I.T.C.
editor:  Mary-Ellen Monk

Oh Paris on Yonge

Posted by Bruce on March 16, 2014
Coffee Shops / No Comments

Life is hectic! I don’t care how you try to swing it.  You can meditate all you like.  When push comes to shove, life is an endless parade of compromises and long work days.  However, once in a while you stumble upon a little spot in the world that massages your tired weathered soul and coates you in chocolate!

The other day I was feeling the Winter blues and I passed by a shop that I had passed by a million times before but today I felt a pull coming from the welcoming window display.  It wispered to me “Come in and rest your weary self”  At least that’s what I heard.  It could have been that growling canine that was tied to the fire hydrant. I didn’t care, I needed any excuse to pause for self reflection.  I curiously opened the door to the smell of warming chocolate. 

The walls were covered in Parisienne decor and the front display was an endless mosaic of every chocolate treat one dare to desire.

A tall, pretty host quickly came to my aid as I floated in and out of conscienceness.  The music was authentic. I had travelled to Paris quicker than a trip in the T.A.R.D.I.S! With her lovely Parisienne accent she asked me if I would like to try the most decedant hot chocolate.  I wasn’t sure to be honest.  I don’t think I have ever had decadent hot chocolate before.  Was I ready for it?

She gestured for me to have a seat anywhere I wanted.  I like to watch the passers by so I picked a little table near to the front window.  Plus I like being seen to.

Suddenly my troubles began to melt away and I was right where I was meant to be. Oh Paris on Yonge… Where have you been all my life?

She brought me a lovely dessert along with my hot chocolate and some real wipped cream. I asked her name. “Christel” she answered with a smile.  Of course it was.  How perfect! I thought. 

She explained how I was to fill the cup half full then add the cream that way I would be sure to get a wipped cream moustache.  I just had to ablidge. 

I took my first sip and in fact I did get a wipped cream moustache! How fabulous!  I took a deep breath and the hot chocolate was perfectly delectable. I was totally beside myself.

As I sat there enjoying this wonderful spot in the world I take another sip of my hot chocolate brought in direct from Paris.  I think I need to go to Paris. I really think I do.  Christel asked me how I was doing as if she new I had been transported to Old Paree by her own magical melted chocolate.

I felt new.  Ever have that feeling? You find a place in time that wakes you up and reminds you life is for living.  Well “Douce France” did that for me. It was going to be a beautiful day!

And you know what? It was.

Douce France 647-348-7661

www.doucefrance.com

 

 

 

Life With Tea

Posted by Bruce on May 13, 2012
Book Review, Coffee Shops, Tea House Chatter / 2 Comments

Sometimes I just love getting up on a day I have nothing to do and I hop on the TTC and head somewhere. Anywhere. No plan. I just go and see where I end up.  It’s amazing how much you miss in the city you live in so sometimes I let my curiosity get the best of me and spend hours just being lost in my city. I highly recommend it. Don’t tell anyone. Just roam around your city. It’s amazing the time you will have on your own.

So I’m out and I come across a really great book sale at East York Town Center.  Sipping my mineral water, I take a trip around the table.  I started in foods of the world and ended up at self help for erectile dysfunction.  I was just about to give up when a noticed a perfectly square book called “teany” (a book about tea and New York)by non other than Moby. Curious. I take a peak and decide I’d give this baby a whirl. It was perfect timing as I had to head into Oshawa to visit an old friend I hadn’t seen in years and this read would be my companion along the way.

The last book I read was “Dracula” so it was time. I have to admit this book is more of the perfect coffee table, tea house, train ridin, bus tourin kinda read. It’s no novel. Moby opened a tea house in New York and this is it’s companion. Really cute and has some interesting historical facts about New York. I gotta get my butt back there for a jaunt around.

As I pull into the Oshawa train station, I was pretty excited about meeting up with my long time buddy, who had just spent the last two years of her life in the pit of Hell, fighting her way back from illness. She was diagnosed with Cancer and my watch stood still when I found out. We sat together in the food court in the Oshawa Center and we sipped our tea’s and for the first time I heard her story of survival and triumph over her illness.

I watched her go from laughter to tears and back to laughter as she told me everything she could recall of her journey. She told me once you go through something like that you are never the same. You look at the world and your life and everyone in it from a different set of eyes when you get of real taste of mortality.  Her story was inspiring and as scary as the melting snow caps and I had mentioned that she should write a book.

As I  shared some thoughts with her and we discuss both sides of life the good and the bad. One thing was clearer than ever. Neither time, illness, disappointment or success could ever be more important than friendship and family.

The sad thing was, that in hearing about her journey, it was amazing how little some of those around her really grasped and appreciated what she went through and what a true miracle it is that she is still here.  Maybe it is the way they cope, who am I to judge but I understood that she even has family members who are not speaking with her. I wanted to just reach out and slap them. As her eyes filled with tears and she said “Isn’t it enough that I beat cancer but now I have to beat the way my —— are treating me?”

I didn’t know what to say.  Imagine going through such a scary possibility to come out the other side to have those closest to you kick you in the ass again. I can’t imagine! I held her hands and said you will get through this. The mood lightened slightly when I said “Girl you have the name of your book!” I told her and she laughed her head off. I do hope she uses it. It will be a million seller.

Isn’t it amazing what life gets lived, with tea? Think of everything you have experienced. Tea is not far behind. As we finished up ours, I grabbed my teany book and slipped it into my travel bag. “Let’s do lunch!” I said. Time flew and after lunch it was time for me to be off. She waited at the bus stopped with me and I had hoped she would follow me back to Toronto.

As I curled up on the train that was preparing to take me home, I thought. “Life with Tea. If it were only so simple.  All the best my dear friend. I’ll always be in your corner.” From the overhead speakers “Stand clear of the doors. The doors are now closing. Our next station stop…..”

B.

Starbucks

419 West King Street, #1135
Oshawa, ON L1J2K5

Tel: (905) 438-9838

3 kisses out of 5 (they were super slow)

http://www.moby.com/

teany the book

4 kisses out of 5

Walk the Avenue

Posted by Bruce on March 11, 2012
Coffee Shops / No Comments

Enough dreaming of Summer’s past. It’s time to get with the now and right now (we) gotta take (our) good friend and her hubby out for a Birthday treat.  I did offer to take them out for lunch at the Mandarin on Yonge Street but they had something else in mind.  Since it was her Birthday I thought “Sure” Although being the control freak that I am and a fan of Mandarin, I have to admit at first I was disappointed.

As we left our sunny glen-way, we were shocked at the weather! Felt like Spring had arrived early in the city and we were ecstatic!  We arrived at Laura and David’s place and stroked their wiener for a few minutes. They have the cutest little wiener dog! It came over not too long ago and dug at my carpet, lovely!

We strolled down the avenue until we reached “Patisserie La Cigogne” a cute dessert and coffee place on Bayview.  Laura and David looked pleased at their decision to take us there. I have to admit I was thrilled to have been introduced to this cosy little coffee stop.  The desserts were showing proudly and temptingly in the window. They looked absolutely wonderful. I new my lips would be loving that Creme Brulee, after I enjoyed lunch.

Mmmm, I had Le Quiche and spinach salad w/smoked salmon and brie and leeks. John ordered the Alsatian Classic Quiche with the salad. Laura and Dave shared a Baguette Le Parisien Sandwhich. It was something to see a couple that has been together for some time enjoying their shared experience. And yet I’m not even sure they appreciated the subtle moment they were having. It’s possible they did but couples can missed the small stuff. We all are so over aware of what we expect and most of the time we miss the unexpected sweet connections we have with that one we call lover. As we took in the atmosphere and each other, it quickly occurred to me that there is something to be said about chain restaurants, they just can’t give you the cultural uplift that these smaller boutique shops can give you.

I wish that people visiting or even living in Toronto are able to find these gems because I hear all the time that Toronto has no culture but that just isn’t what I find when you step off the main drag and investigate these coffee houses or family owned restaurants you experience a completely different Toronto. They survive the monster chains because it matters that you, as their guest are completely satisfied. Their is little room for error. These mega chains serve up assembly line food and when it is under expectation your complaint doesn’t seem to matter because they know there is a line up of client droids coming in right in behind you.

Think about it! Is there a reason we can’t stop for a homemade burger. It’s because that family restaurant doesn’t have a billion dollars to brainwash you like the golden arches so it’s what your mind thinks of first when your wanting a burger but it’s never the burger you really wanted. Don’t misunderstand I like my golden arches to but when you visit my great city, walk the avenue and get to know us on a more intimate level.

Just like lovers that miss the unexpected hanging on to the expected, so can travellers to a new city or town. Expect to experience the unexpected and suddenly you will fall in love with your new city as well as each other.

Here is to falling in love all over again!

Happy Birthday Laura!

5 kisses out of 5

www.patisserielacigogne.com

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