Who am I kidding? It wasn't just the last one, but the ones prior as well.
The Wilcox is just terrible. I'm not sure why this fact hasn't solidified in my head, considering the unholy wreck that was the last experience.
Who am I kidding? It wasn't just the last one, but the ones prior as well.
Brunch options have expanded in the west side of the city over the years, however The Wilcox offered the benefit of proximity to City Centre grounds. The fault was entirely my own, for I suggested the establishment as the brunch venue for myself and my out-of-town climbing buddy.
A reservation with the specification of a window-side table was requested on the restaurant's website the previous evening, and received after multiple parking attempts was precisely this seating arrangement.
Compact brunch menus smeared with residual sauce were set before us. To my right was a neglected splatter of tomato sauce. Pounding tunes blared from above. It was apparent that few changes had taken place.
We settled for the Egg Benedict and Steak n' Eggs. The latter proved more versatile with greater degrees of personalization: guests could select their level of doneness for the incredibly puny sliver of "steak" as well as their preferred style of eggs. My preference lay with medium-rare meat and poached/scrambled eggs. An additional specification was the placement of all condiments on the side - a wise call since both the chimichurri and balsamic dressing were grease bombs in their own rights.
Another week, another several days of surprises.
A recent observation is that casual Fridays have gradually gotten less casual, that duties unfulfilled over the duration of the past four days accumulate to result in unnecessarily hectic pre-weekend periods.
Also adding to the equation my Moment of Eighteen marathon in the earlier half of the week, which provided nothing short of sleep deprivation and the ceaseless desire for caffeine.
In my defense, the series was very thought-provoking overall.
While it failed to draw a conclusion to the ongoing issue of interactions between disparate economic backgrounds, it provided an original outlook on the conflicts of youth. As with (almost) all Korean dramas, the prying input of parental figures could not be omitted; that said, I greatly valued the prioritization of maintaining personal integrity, that karma would advance in full force to those that strayed from the path of honesty and diligence. Moreover, the episodes were filmed with great artistry: from the medium depth of field to angle variety (stationary camera work and drone shots) to subtle lighting adjustments, there was little fault to be found. Needless to say, Ong's first lead role and Moonbin's first supporting role for television broadcast were aspects worth tuning into.
So as the fall flu bug closes in on me, let's recap on some of the week's (mainly munching) excursions.
1) A breakfast of corn flakes, (last year's) Count Chocula, and a tiny but tremendously greasy chocolate chip cookie.
2) ToPresso (Round 2)
In contrast to last visit's Almond Cream Cold Brew, the BOGO coupon was utilized towards a Ginger Milk Tea in hopes of soothing an aching throat. I first took to confirming the presence of ginger root in the beverage, as synthetic syrups would inflict the opposite desired effect. The girl behind the cashier noted that the drink would contain a ginger syrup, however its foundation was slices of the anti-inflammatory plant. The combination yielded a milky concoction with plentiful pungency, though it was much sweeter than preferred.
An Iced Chocolate Latte made up the other half of the BOGO order. The specimen was reminiscent of chocolate ice cream, simply adopting the form of an icy liquid in its stead.
3) Early Bird Espresso (Royal Bank Plaza)
Taking advantage of the last of Ritual's $1 Food Fest via an Iced Chai Latte probably wasn't the most informed decision on my part. The drink itself was tasty with minimal spiciness - just as I prefer - and the pickup process was speedy. But one glance at the rampant flies and prominent layer of befallen dust encouraged contemplation before ordering again.
4) The Night Baker (Farmers' MRKT at Royal Bank Plaza)
The final farmers' market of the season coincided with The Night Baker's last publicly pronounced pop-up (for the next little while anyway). Naturally, I made the trek over in search of the ever-fabulous chewy, stuffed cookies.
A prominent portion of my childhood was characterized by Tim Hortons, or, more specifically, the items that I obtained via the Drive-Thru window. Comprising of my regular orders were Iced Capps, Yogurt cups with berries, and Fruit Explosion Muffins. Some months were dictated by Roll-Up-The-Rim, and other instances limited-time offers. The Smile Cookie was one of them.
It still is, to be frank. I love them dearly.
And how could you not? They're a fun, adorable twist on a classic - a decadent dollar treat with all proceeds going towards a charitable cause that's frosted fresh every day. Each cookie proves a unique surprise on its own.
As evident on this space, the Canadian cafe ranks near the bottom on my list of go-to spots. However, its status as a national favourite doesn't change. Throughout our Atlantic trip, which occurred around this time last year, these outposts were the only that emerged to be familiar. Even where McCafés were nowhere to be found, even when network signal was unavailable, and even when all other forms of life ceased to exist, Tim Hortons stood their ground. It just so happened that Smile Cookies were being circulated over the duration of our visit, reigniting my affection for the chuckle-inducing commodity.
Tim Hortons' Innovation Café at 130 King St. opted to kick off the annual launch with a bang: Custom Smile Cookies officially made their debut with the assistance of a few professional cookie frosters. The event was a one-day exclusive, and me - being just as fond of exclusivity as orangecane, didn't give the twenty-minute trek a second thought.
Dragging my favourite fangirl along, we found the cookie counter at northwest end of the establishment, made our two-dollar donations, and patiently waited for our chosen designs to materialize.
A poster positioned adjacent to the counter depicted twenty pre-determined possibilities, though customers also had the option of requesting a customized rendition. Monsieur Timothee was my favourite fangirl's pick; mine was the Studious Rocker - a piece that I had described to the baker with minimal adjectives, including only "glasses", "spiky hair", and "blush spots" as features.
The cookies were priced twice as much as the regular edition, but the products we received were well worth the premium, should you ask me. The clarity of the overall designs was indisputable - a sharp contrast to the questionably content expressions seen on the regular.
Our office later welcomed a box of gooey, warm Smile Cookies (not courtesy of yours truly).
Resuming our regular segment of visuals is a snapshot of my abnormally peaceful Saturday morning: a breakfast of a Matcha Latte and Ancient Porridge Oats (And yes, that is ice in the bowl, since scalded tongues are no fun.)
Ottawa posts will be delayed for some unspecified duration of time - though, that shouldn't come as a surprise anyway.
Work has resumed, thus opportunities to recount the trip's happenings shall be on the back burner in the interim. For now, let's review some recent happenings of the month.
1) Ice Q (Round 6)
I love Thai Tea, and there's just an undeniable speck of individuality in Ice Q's rendition that keeps me coming back for more, in spite of a fragrant blend I've (derived from the source and) stashed at home.
Two weeks ago marked their Grand Opening weekend, which I had originally planned to take part in with a fellow eating enthusiast. Unfortunately, those plans fell through due to extenuating circumstances; an early evening trip to Japan Fest took place in its stead.
Regardless, I managed to take advantage of the 20% off promotion on the second last day with a custom order of Black Sesame ice cream-topped Thai Tea - an unimaginably fantastic pairing. They have also affixed Korean-inspired "melts" to the menu, expanding their range of offerings to include savoury sources of sustenance.
2) Training sessions aren't so bad with treats and coffee
The third and final wedding of 2019 for me was none other than stenoodie's.
Over a post-Christmas catch-up session in the seemingly not-so-distant past, she had recapped the proposal to me, recalling each stage in extreme detail, then subsequently requesting my attendance at the monumental moment itself. Suffice to say that September 8th had long been booked off in my calendar.
Her planning process was not without obstacles - that's for certain. Although the precise points of vexation are unknownst to me, I did catch a few frustrated outbursts leading up to the event. Upon stepping onto the premises, however, I knew that the situation had been ironed out (more or less) giving way to an extraordinary final product.
Paradise Banquet Hall in Vaughan was the venue of choice. Housing several standalone areas, there were quite a handful events taking place at my time of arrival. Between the numerous other wedding and baptism ceremonies, I managed to hunt down the MaKen couple to the Queen Anne building. It wasn't visible from the Doughton street entrance, but a member of staff managed to point me in the correct direction.
My star sign twin, whom I later learned to share twin-like qualities with in more than one aspect, quickly came to my assistance as well. She had attended the tear-jerking ceremony in all its glory, and proceeded to discuss its highlights as I settled into my new surroundings.
The reception area was brightly illuminated, making it appear more vast than it was in actuality. To one end were empty cups perched atop low tables lined with white tablecloths, presumably what had been remained from hors d'oeuvres hour (or prematurely put into place for later use). At the other were items that called for guest engagement: a photobook in which guests could leave heartfelt messages, a games station to guess the locations of the couple's previous travels together, and a glass capsule ready to be filled with "wise words".
Beside the photobook, which, might I add, contained some of the most stunning captures I have ever laid eyes on, was an LED monitor bearing a display generally unacquainted to weddings.
In place of your normal table map was an Arrivals board listing each attendee in alphabetical order, their point of origin, and their designated seating arrangements (by "destination country" and table number). The view prompted a flashback to the wedding invitations themselves, which had been designed to resemble upscale boarding passes. ("Upscale" since the average boarding pass bears no more than two colours at most.)
A distinct theme was in place. It wasn't until later that I discovered the significance of the table names: all the future travel destinations that assumed spots on the newlywed's bucket list.
My birthday buddy and I go way back.
Back to our awkward teen years and cringe-worthy webcam group projects, from spending break time discussing absolutely nonsensical topics to filming a self-choreographed segment to a then-popular Franco-pop track.
As the years passed, it was inevitable that the frequency of our meetups dwindled due to schedule and financial restrictions. Semi-annual gatherings transformed into annual appointments, with a few sporadic meals in between.
The quoted individual recently returned from a three-week trek and, though it was yet her turn to walk down the aisle, I had the opportunity of catching up with her over a celebratory affair.
With a freshly-washed mane - a rarity, I dare exclaim - a crush velvet gown, and heels (another sight to behold), she nearly towered over me, someone who always prioritizes comfort over charisma. The ensemble was fit for a wedding, especially that of immediate family.
I was sadly not seated at Table 7, but my tablemates and general positioning within the hall compensated for that. Before each plate was a dainty butterfly cut-out, crafted in a similar manner to the glittery wedding invitation I had belatedly received from my birthday buddy. Glasses filled to the halfway point with champagne were set before each plate; ceramic tea cups and empty wine glasses beside it.
Seating was spacious, for the dining hall was vast. I was nestled between a few foreign faces near the dance floor, which meant a stellar view of the evening's happenings.
The menu was presented in both Chinese and English, thoroughly depicting a classic Chinese dinner lineup. It wasn't my style, but my insider informed us that the decision had been owed to familial preference.
Who Am I?
I'm the one that talks fashion and K-Pop randoms behind Quirky Aesthetics, the one who contributes honest opinions about commercial beauty items on Review Junkie, the one that obsessively shares photos of food on Pinterest, the one that loves her DSLR more than her own being and the one that wants to work in the transportation sector for a living.