Tag Archives: beer

Beer & Lederhosen

The other night I was invited to Bier Markt Esplanade’s Oktoberfest VIP Party.

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I am really not sure how I snagged an invitation because I am certainly not a very important person (having a blog does not = important, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), but the invitation promised beer and food, and since I love both of those things very much of course I accepted.

I am also genuinely a fan of Bier Markt in general. I have enjoyed many a good meal there.

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Someone at another table ordered that waffle while I was there once and when the server walked past me with it I stopped talking mid-sentence and just followed it with my eyes. I had to have it.

Anyway, this Oktoberfest party sadly did not include waffles. It was the launch of Bier Markt’s annual Oktoberfest collection in celebration of Toronto’s Beer Week (aka the best week in the city) and was to include options from this limited-time menu.

I arrived having no idea what to expect. Well, food and beer, but I didn’t know how much of either, and I came straight from work and I didn’t pre-eat so the amount of food worried me. I don’t like to be starving. I was allowed to bring a guest, which was a very good thing because I need a partner in crime at things like this and if I didn’t have one I would just be sitting at a table alone in a dark corner eating and drinking in silence. So Evan was the chosen one. He was excited.

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We got a goodie bag as we arrived (goodie giant mug would be more accurate) that included those sweet lederhosen t-shirts, so we brought our stuff over to a dark corner and sat down to get the eating and drinking fest started. But not in silence.

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The servers were bringing appetizers around, so I tried some of everything that came my way. I am holding chicken schnitzel that has some sort of deliciously interesting jam on it above, and there were a bunch of other German-inspired foods like mini sausages in a bun and giant pretzels.

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I don’t think I have ever tasted anything so salty. I loved it.

Maybe I am oversensitive to this because as soon as there is food somewhere I am on high alert instantly and I pretty much can’t take my eyes off of it (ESPECIALLY if I am hungry), but I notice that the servers often come around to where I’m sitting last, and sometimes there is not even anything left on their platter by the time they make it to me. This makes me sad. This was not the first time I have noticed it happening at an event like this (the same thing happened at the Firkin party), and again, maybe it happens to everyone, but it seems to be an irrational fear of mine. I will see a server carrying a platter of goodness across the room and I will get this almost anxiety feeling that the food is never going to come to me. And then it doesn’t and the fear is realized. It’s just because I don’t want to miss anything delicious! But at the same time I don’t expect the servers to hang around just me and feed me all night…

Luckily the entire pig that was roasting in the middle of the room eased my fears of starving. I took a picture of it, but it’s under a red light which makes it look grotesque, so I will save you from that sight.

That pig was delicious though. They just hack off the pork and put it right on your plate.

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Along with some pasta. Filled me right up.

Oh, and there was beer also.

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We got two drink tickets, and we could either use them both to fill up the giant mug we got, or use them separately for two pints. We went for the pints so we could try different things (and so our beer wouldn’t be warm when we got to the bottom of the mug). My favourite was the wheat beer, I loved it!

There was a live band playing also, and they were quite groovy.

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They played a lot of Mumford & Sons and Lumineers-type beats, and my favourite Radiohead song High and Dry. I liked them, and it was a great atmosphere.

After a while the Bier Markt starting turning into more of a clubby-type party, so we headed out since it was a school night. I remember saying to Evan “What are all these people doing tomorrow? Does no one have to work?!” Ah to live a life of leisure…

It was a good time and I’m glad I was included. It was nice to have an excuse for an evening out during the week.

And of course an excuse to wear lederhosen-themed attire.

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I really need a haircut…

And to own those shirts so we can break them out in the future.

So, good times. If you like beer and sausages and pork and pretzels and live in the T-dot, I would suggest heading over to a Bier Markt location before October 22, as that is when this menu ends. And on Sunday nights they’re having a pig roast!

And that is all. Thanks Bier Markt!

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High Park & CraveTO

This weekend was significantly less busy than the rest of my weekends lately, which, good news, means I can squeeze all my recapping into one post instead of stretching it out out over three or four (or five…). I was really thankful to not have a ton on the agenda because I feel like I’ve been a bit too busy lately and I’ve barely been home. I was starting to kind of look forward to winter weekends when nothing is really going on and I can hibernate. I really hate to say that…

Saturday I had a lunch date with my good friend Lisa from Journalism school. I haven’t seen her since May when we went up to our friend Fran’s cottage so it was nice to have a catch-up time. It was also nice that she made me the best lunch ever.

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My only contribution to this was suggesting Helluva Good Dip to accompany the pork kebabs. I am dip savvy, not barbecue savvy. She grilled that all herself while I supervised and told her stories. It was a good tradeoff I think. I really was impressed with her grilling skills though.

She lives pretty close to High Park (a huge park in the middle of the city), so afterwards we checked that out.

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High Park is beautiful! I have only been there once and I didn’t get to explore it all that much. Lisa took me to places I have never been!

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I like how there are so many trails that you don’t have to stay on the main one. We did a little off-roading.

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I was slightly concerned that we were going to get lost, but Lisa is a skilled navigator and we were able to make our way back to the car. We didn’t stay that long as we both had plans for the evening, but I have to say that High Park is a really good date spot.

Evan and I had plans that evening with Brotherman and some of their friends to go to CraveTO, a food and beer festival in Honest Ed’s alley.

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Honest Ed’s is a discount store located in downtown Toronto, and it also happens to be a pretty big landmark. You can read about the history here if you are interested, but the store is actually up for sale so it would have been nice to browse around in there before it closes down. Unfortunately we got there after it closed for the day, so we headed straight to the alley behind it for food and beer.

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CraveTO was a really good time and I enjoyed myself a lot, however before I get into the activities I have to get this off my chest. It was expensive. It was $17.50 to get in ($20 at the door but we bought our tickets in advance), and then $5 for beer and $5 for all food items. The beer and food wasn’t unreasonable, but when you add the ticket price…well, it’s a lot. I am not sure why they charged so much admission, because it was literally in an alley with a DJ and about 10 food trucks/stations and five beer stands (I’m just guessing, too lazy to google), so definitely nothing elaborate. We were talking about it and we thought maybe they charged so they could have security presence? I do not know. I personally do not think it was worth the admission charge and because of this I don’t think I would go again. BUT I was already there and I was determined to have a good time, so it was fun.

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Evan and Brotherman’s friend Ian (Evan’s plaid twin above) was the original instigator of attending this, as a bunch of his friends were going so he told us about it. So when the people with the video cameras came over and asked “Why did you come to CraveTO tonight?!” I got out of that awkward question by immediately pointing to Ian and saying “This guy right here.”

I somehow roped my friend Hannah into meeting us also.

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It was a good time checking out all the food places.

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I really wanted to get a fried chicken skewer but then I was so overwhelmed by all the other choices that I ended up forgetting about it. I was sad about that.

I ended up eating a samosa, an Indian curry grilled cheese (I can’t remember the kind of cheese that was on it now, but it was really good), and snow crab legs.

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Everyone made fun of me for this. Evan was all “I can’t believe you are eating snow crab legs from a truck,” but they were very good and already cut so pretty easy to eat. And Evan did get an octopus taco…

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So I don’t know how he can talk.

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I had a bite of it, and it was alright. Really spicy though. Evan also got a burger from a place called Mama’s Boy, which I had a few bites of. I preferred that over his octopus taco for sure.

And then there was the beer.

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I think we all tried all the different kinds of beer. Each brewery stand had two different kinds, so there was a big variety.

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The beer was definitely the highlight of CraveTO for me.

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And Evan it would appear. Brotherman took about four versions of this picture until our friend Ian was perfectly lined up in the background between us.

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Success. He looks like he is on a mission.

Afterwards we really should have just gone home, but somehow Ian and his friends convinced us to go to a bar with them. The camera went away after CraveTO though. Well, mine did. Evan took a bunch of embarrassing pictures of me dancing, but those will not see the light of day.

We eventually made our way home, which was a fun time in itself as Evan and I ended up having a Gatorade fight in the street. Evan decided it would be a good idea to squirt me with his Gatorade, so obviously I had to retaliate. I squirted mine all over his face, and by the end we were basically dumping our Gatorade bottles over each other’s heads. We arrived back at my place both covered with Gatorade and extremely sticky. Good times. I really like that Evan turns even a walk home into an adventure. I could not stop laughing.

On Sunday ol’ Evers and I were feeling pretty rough. We probably should have drank that Gatorade instead of pouring it on each other, but ah, hindsight. We were originally thinking of going to the island (because it would be such an amazing date and I want to take Evan there so badly!), but after our night out the trip downtown seemed a little too adventurous. It was a beautiful day though, and all I wanted was to be outside, so we stopped by Tim Hortons and grabbed some sandwiches and coffee and brought them over to a park in my ‘hood.

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We put down a blanket and laid around and read our books for, I’m not even kidding, five hours. It was just so nice out. Eventually we started to get hungry again, but then the ice cream truck came by so that held us over for a while.

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It’s always nice to have ice cream delivered directly to you. Evan was obsessed with finding a popsicle with gumballs, so he definitely scored with his Sonic the Hedgehog ice pop.

Around dinnertime we quickly stopped by the grocery store and picked up all the ingredients to make veggie pizza.

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I am obsessed with the veggie pizza from Toppers Pizza, which sadly is not available in Toronto, so our mission was to recreate it. And I have to say this was pretty close.

It was a good weekend in the city!

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Ugly Sweaters and Family Dinner Crashing

Merry Christmas Eve! I am about to head to my Dad’s for Christmas shenanigans, but I have some recapping to do first.

My friend Matt is visiting his fam from BC, so on Saturday he picked me up and we headed to our friend Fran and her husband Shawn’s house for a little ugly sweater action.

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I am not sure if my sweater is actually a Christmas sweater, as it seems to have a cactus and a sombrero on it, so it’s possible it’s just an ugly Mexican sweater. But I saw it and I liked it, and it is certainly ugly, so I think it qualifies. Feliz Navidad!

Matt’s mom made his sweater. She sewed the all the ornaments on herself. Hardcore. My favourite was the back…

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Some Michael kid has sacrificed his stocking thanks to Matt and his mom this Christmas…

The party ended up kind of being a reunion with some of my friends from journalism school, as that is where I met all of these cheeky minxes.

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(From left: Amy, Fran, myself, Matt, Adam)

Adam on the right didn’t have a sweater, but he actually wore that wolf shirt seriously to class one day and we have pretty much never stopped making fun of him about it. I love that he wore it. Just as good as an ugly sweater. I love a good wolf shirt.

There were more of Fran’s friends in attendance too, but I didn’t really know them so I felt weird about shoving a camera in their face trying to photograph their sweaters. I spent most of the night catching up with my journalism pals. I have seen Amy and Fran recently at Fran’s wedding, and I had just seen Matt around Halloween also (when my Bestie Lisa was also visiting and the three of us went to Yuk Yuks), but I haven’t seen Adam in about four years. It was so nice to see his bright shining face!

We reminisced about all our old inside jokes, and my favourite is the time Adam and I were in the cafeteria in line for Harvey’s and he turned to me and said “Do you think anyone will judge me if I order two cheeseburgers instead of just one cheeseburger and fries?” and I said “Psh, no.” So then he ordered his two cheeseburgers and I said really loudly “TWO CHEESEBURGERS?!” and everyone turned and stared at him. Fun times. Anyway, now whenever we talk on Facebook or something we usually include “Two cheeseburgers?!” in our messages and it makes me laugh.

He and Matt are besties, so watching their reunion was heartwarming. Both of them are huge baseball fans, so for Christmas Matt gave Adam his baseball pin collection.

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Isn’t that beautiful?

Anyway, we pretty much stayed anti-social and hung out in the kitchen all night. Which worked out well because that’s where the snacks were, including this amazingness:

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Orea bark! Ahh, it was so good.

There were some great sweaters in attendance, and at the end of the night we all voted for the winner. I think there may have been some rigging going on…but Matt took home the trophy!

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He called his mom to tell her. She was so proud.

I actually had a really fun night catching up with the J-crew. I wish more of them could have made it!

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If you want to see our extremely fun journalism class in all its glory, you can watch this video that I made for a school assignment:

Ah, I miss school.

Last night my friend Lexy invited me over for Christmas dinner with her family. They are leaving for Regina today, so I am watching their cat for them over the holidays and needed to pick up their key, so when she asked me if I wanted to crash their dinner I said YES PLEASE! I know her family from various events, so it was good to hang with them.

We ordered in Swiss Chalet, so of course I got the Festive Special!

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This would be the second time this Christmas season that I have enjoyed the festive special, but you can never have too much of a good thing, oui?

I would like to mention that Lexy’s husband Mark has recently started his own blog called ModernHouseDad. Because he is a modern house dad.

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That is Mark with their ridiculously cute son Hudson. They are a big hat family (my camera sucks sometimes.)

I highly recommend checking out Mark’s blog, because first of all, it’s awesome and he is hilarious. I read through the entire thing yesterday. And also, I don’t think there are enough Dad bloggers in the blogging world. I am intrigued to see where he goes with this.

In his most recent post he talks about home beer brewing, so he had some of his beer kicking around and I tried out the oatmeal stout.

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I really, really liked it. It kind of made me want to brew my own beer.

We also had some pretty amazing pastries for dessert.

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I sampled pretty much everything on both plates…

Lexy and I used to work together, and in the four Christmases we had together at work, we got a picture in front of our office tree every single year. It was our tradition.

Last year we let baby Hudson and our amazing coworker Beth in on the action…

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But this year we carried on the tradition solo, and just in front of Lex’s tree.

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Don’t worry, I don’t just go around caressing bellies like that…Lexy is currently pregnant with baby #2! Exciting times! She loves it when I rub her belly. When she was pregnant with Hudson she would come into my office every day and say “Hey, want to rub my belly?” and I would say “YES!” I love that she gets down like that. So for our Christmas pic she asked if I wanted to rub her belly and I just got right on that. I don’t see her every day anymore so I have to squeeze in the belly rubbing.

It was a cute night, and I am glad I went. After their family present opening, I waddled myself on home.

I also need to mention my favourite gift so far this year (actually, maybe ever) from my friend Emily and her family. They dropped off this beautifully wrapped gift yesterday, and when I opened it up it was a stocking!

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I stared at it for several minutes in awe, and then I dumped it out…

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It was just like the stockings my mom used to make me, complete with an orange and a loonie in the bottom! I loved it. I was so touched that I nearly teared up. It was the most thoughtful gift ever. It has a special meaning for me also. When my mom moved to BC I was in my last year of high school, and I remember feeling a bit bummed that I wouldn’t be getting one of my mom’s amazing stockings that year at Christmas. To make me feel better, Emily and the rest of my friends all chipped in and made me a big stocking just like this so that I would still get one. I will never forget that. It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.

Thank you so much Emilio, I love you very much!

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My friends are the best! I am feeling so thankful for all of them this Christmas.

And MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!

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Fantastic Friday

Hello friends!

Sorry about all that re-blogging business. Is re-blogging your own posts bad blog form? Probably. Anyway, this week has been super busy, and besides work nothing has really been going on. Except for a few minor fantastic things, and those are the things I want to talk about. So today is Fantastic Friday, because alliteration and fantastic things make me happy.

Fantastic Thing 1

There is an amazing bakery across the street from the Starbucks near my work, so if I run out for a coffee around mid-afternoon snack time, I can’t resist stopping by there and picking up a little something…

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That little something is usually a cupcake. They have the BEST homemade cupcakes with buttercream icing. You know what is so fantastic about that cupcake? The cake to icing ratio. I have never seen a cupcake with so much icing! I pretty much eat cupcakes for the icing, and I think there may actually be more icing than cake on that thing. That is a huge win. It is so creamy and buttery. I never want that cupcake to end. I could eat that cupcake every single day for the rest of my life (but my pants say no, don’t do it). I almost wish I never had one, because around 3pm I start to fantasize about eating it, and then that is it. I must get it.

Fantastic Thing 2

My work has a beer cart on Friday’s as a reward if everyone completes their timesheets. A BEER CART! Do you know what it feels like to drink beer at your desk while working?

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It feels like a dream. I feel like I’m in a dream. They have a really great variety of beer brands also. Today is Friday! I’m already excited for the beer cart! Everyone better have finished their timesheets or I will hunt them down!

Fantastic Thing 3

This bacon tree:

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I stopped at this burger place on my way home from work because I heard it has really good poutine, and I noticed this while I was waiting for my food (poutine, obviously). That is actually real bacon hanging from the tree. I wanted to eat it. So festive. The jars of Nutella in the background did not go unnoticed either…

Fantastic Thing 4

I have really been missing having a Druxy’s in my work building. It was so convenient (maybe a little too convenient), and their salads are so amazing I have no words. So I have been going through a little bit of a lunch transition while I struggled to find something close to my new work that I love as much as Druxy’s. I pack my own lunch a lot of the time, but when I don’t it’s very important for my hunger monster that I have a go-to lunch spot nearby.

I found one!

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This could possibly be my dream lunch! There is a little deli down the street that has really awesome soup and sandwiches. They have good salads too, but I have really been loving the soup and half sandwich deal. It comes with their homemade chips! I love this because it’s a big lunch and I can stretch out eating it over at least an hour, and then it’s almost mid-afternoon snack time, which means less time without eating. If I plan it correctly I can almost be eating all day. That is a half grilled ham and Brie (I LOVE Brie) sandwich and a maple sweet potato chipotle soup, which sounds like an odd combination but I couldn’t get enough of it. They also have pretty delicious Christmas cookies which I am usually unable to resist. But I don’t get a Christmas cookie the same day I get a cupcake. Usually.

Unhealthy eats have definitely been sneaking in over here lately… So another fantastic thing is I have been walking to work every day. It’s a round trip of about 50 minutes, and seems to be keeping everything in check in the pants department. I’ve also been better with the workouts lately, but that is a story for another (less fantastic) post.

Fantastic Thing 5 (for my cat)

Winnie has a few new sleeping spots that she thinks are quite fantastic. The first one is on my radiator.

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I find her there when I get home from work every single day. Winnie likes it hot.

Her second new favourite sleeping spot is not the most fantastic for me. Before I shower each morning I usually lay out the shirt I’m wearing that day on my bed so I can quickly change. Winnie takes this as an opportunity to leisure around on it and lick herself all over it.

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Thus getting cat hair all over my shirt.

I am going to say her favourite sleeping spot is with me though.

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She is my little weekend morning spooning buddy. Winnie is like my Nana in that she is fueled by love. This means she is going to live forever. Don’t tell me otherwise! She may be 19 but she is still spry!

That is pretty much it in fantastic news. Have a fantastic Friday!

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