- Work location shift to City Hall - Oh! The horror!!
- Unassigned seating at hotel stations (And I assure you, the griminess was atrocious.)
Alas, the once-bustling dining facility now housed more vacant stalls than customers. Notable names such as Tachi have closed since my last visit; the only familiar spot was Lost Coffee.
Did the drink comprise of milk foam? What colour was the Honey Jelly? What was the proportion of milk tea to toppings? Not a single of these curiosities could be appeased. Furthermore, I likely relinquished up to 20% of my remaining toppings - a simple result of the straw disintegrating upon contact to liquid, curling over the ice cubes, then losing the required rigidity to complete the task at hand. Never had I expected an extravagant a venture as bubble tea to result in such pains.
We missed out on a few seconds of footwork, though the warmup sequence was essentially the same, with the addition of froggers. The inner thigh exercise was revisited later in the class with the feet threaded through the tension straps instead of residing on the footbar. Interestingly, the studio utilized relatively low tension (one red) for lower body exercises beyond the warmup sequence - contrary to Studio Bon, which always used heavy tension on the thighs plus a pilates ring to ensure engagement.
Internal and external shoulder rotation exercises were done in a seated position with the arms in cactus position and tension straps resting on the elbows. Working both arms simultaneously was less challenging than the seated isolated pulls performed perpendicular to the Carriage, but nonetheless demanding. From the prescribed one red spring, I reduced the tension to one blue nad one white; the instructor noted that this was acceptable, as it is more important to preserve the movement (range of motion) than grit the teeth while executing the routine.
- Rolldown on Carriage with twist and lengthening of arms - this one mimicked my favourite standing mobility workout from Well + Good, though was admittedly less strenuous due to being seated (ie. no feedback from the pelvis, hips, and lower limbs)
- Adopting a kneeling position with feet placed against the shoulder rests and hands gently touching the footbar (not gripping) and dragging knees towards footbar without shifting upper body. We later graduated to a standing variation of the exercise, similar to downward dog, dragging the legs towards the footbar instead. Without mirrors for reference, it was difficult to ensure a static upper body. While it heightened the importance of core control and body awareness, visual feedback was lacking.
Generally speaking, the pace of the Beginner Reformer sessions are still slower than I'd prefer. Although increasing spring tension could be used to increase difficulty, my objectives lean more towards mobility, core control and endurance, and correcting muscle imbalances, rather than gaining strength.
The Cardio Tramp was promised for our fifth and final session, though I have my reservations, since I had previously been told that there wasn't sufficient units for a full class.
A delayed lunch walk (and improved colleague-ship with a fellow new hire) led me to Village by the Grange. Climate conditions were breezy, unlike Monday's blazing sun.
We exited onto Dundas, then began to retrace our steps to the office.
Failing to resist temptation, I tugged on the gold handle and began to marvel - no pun intended - at the various bready features in the display case. Other patrons pointed towards the espresso-based beverages and boxed sets of the pastry shop's signature bite-sized Merveilleux.
All was well until exiting the Gardiner, at which point I became engrossed with locating the correct parking garage. In fear of looping endlessly on one-way streets or encountering construction-induced lane closures, I turned into the first parking garage I laid eyes on. It was the incorrect one, thus I exited and turned into the next entryway; the sloped path led towards a loading zone, rather than passenger vehicle parking. Again, I exited back onto the street. Third time's the charm - two three-point turns later, the correct entrance was found at long last!
When the ordeal was complete, I sought sustenance, having jittered from hunger throughout the entire parking fiasco. Rising mercury levels deterred me from trekking up to Queen Street for budget sushi; instead, I slipped through air-conditioned, LEED-certified facilities and entered into Minami - the original choice for lunch anyway.
The signature rolls were steeply priced: 6 pieces for $26, averaging at $4.50 per maki. Though, the price was justified for the gustatory experience and generally luxurious constituents of negitoro, torched wagyu, uni, and truffle powder. Although compact, the maki rolls embodied harmony and potency in a small, bite-sized pacakge: they were buttery from the uni, well-textured from the wagyu overlay, brimming with umami, and even lightly crunchy from the nori - an exceptional roll overall.
Miso soup was presented with the thirty-four dollar platter, its lid lifted only after the bowl had been set on the table. The base wasn't particularly memorable, but it was definitely not gritty or powdery. Wide strips of wakame retained a toothsome texture that enhanced the otherwise basic starter.
Between the two styles, emphasis undoubtedly shifted towards the chain's specialty of Aburi. The Ebi Nigiri (not Amaebi) was on the fishy side; Maguro was slightly bland. The Scallop, on the other hand, was superb: a sublime texture with a smooth, subtle bite to it.
The rise of Aburi and oshizushi offerings across eateries of all price points has led to many sampling trips across the GTA. However, it is, without certainty, that the Aburi restaurant chain executes their concoctions the best. In spite of the seemingly elaborate combinations, the additional flavour components aren't overwhelming at all. Often do I find pieces that are too saucy without a distinctive profile, those that comprise of too little fish and too much rice, and those that to crumble upon contact. Minami's held together exceptionally, while retaining the signature shari shine.
Washrooms were located on the upper floor, at the end of a corridor equally as Zen as the dining space.
Met with excited squeals, the salmon was confirmed scrumptious, retaining both fatty, buttery segments and also more textured portions for texture variance. Though I would have enjoyed even a simply seasoned salmon steak nonetheless, spicy miso was an innovative take on the marinade.
The sweet potato - daigakuimo? - was of a wonderful consistency: not too rigid, yet not mushy, lacquered with a gelatinous veil and black sesame seeds. Included were containers of well-drained pickled yellow ginger and a moderate amount of wasabi (insufficient, should you ask me). The provided soy sauce packets were notably saltier than the tamari served on the dining floor.
When Friday finally rolled around, I set out to craft my fourth batch of Ube Crinkle Cookies. After sampling it plain and mixing it with cereal, the remaining portion of the container weighed in around 135 g, just slightly more than the recipe called for.
Allowing the batter to rest chilled for roughly two hours enabled structural integrity to develop. A medium (1.5 tbsp) cookie scoop enabled the formation of twenty-two relatively uniform spheres.
This batch was observed as the smallest, yet tallest batch yet. It was likely also my favourite edition out of the oven, boasting impeccable ube aromas and a luscious, gooey interior. Once fully cooled, the texture grew more cake-like with dense, fine crumbs. Nonetheless gratifying, I did contemplate a sixty-second reduction in bake time (or lowering the temperature to 325 F and baking for 11 minutes) to preserve the gooey consistency.
For the rest of the day, I continued to smell ube.