Love, Travel

Eat, Stay & Play – Toronto, Lake Rosseau and Collingwood – Ontario, Canada!

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I just returned from a wonderful trip to Ontario Canada, which I haven’t seen in many years. We began our adventures in Toronto and started by checking into our hotel – Le Germain Toronto Mercer. The hotel was was located near the waterfront area, not far from the CN Tower.  The rooms at Le Germain were modern in nature, resembling a W Hotel experience.  After checking in, we headed to our first dinner in Toronto, Bar Isabel.

The food was Spanish Tapas with beer & wine.  We began our meal with an assortment of tastes including; Manchego cheese, Serrano Ham, Crudo, Pan con Tomate and Roasted Padron Peppers.  The simplistic flavors were authentic to Spain and it was a great way to start our vacation.

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Our next small plate of Croquetas & Botifarra were a nice contrasting pair of tastes.  The crunchy potato dumplings and the pork sausage were rustic and perfect with a glass of Rioja.

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My favorite plate of the night, Hamachi Tostada with Fried Pigs Ear.  The crunchy pork with the light fish and chipotle sauce were music in my mouth.  I could of easily eaten two.

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The dessert, Basque Cake with Sherry Cream was divine.  The buttery crumb of the cake with the rich cream heighten the total experience.

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The next day, we walked Toronto and our first stop was Kensington Market.  The streets of the marketplace have a bohemian feel with multicultural shops selling clothing, art and food.  Blackbird Baking Company was an impressive bakery, selling fresh baked goods including; assorted breads and pastries.

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We continued our walk through Queen’s Park where the University of Toronto is located.  The beautiful grounds were green and gorgeous.  Next, we headed to Yorkville to explore the sites and shops of this upscale village, when we fell upon Pusateri’s market.  The gourmet market was loaded with fresh seasonal prepared foods, groceries and a bakery.

Before dinner, we had a quick drink, a couple of Oysters and Patatas Bravas in the hotel bar at Hotel Le Germain.  The bartender was friendly and we struck up a conversation about Digestives and Amarones to mix in cocktails.

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Our dinner that evening was at Scaramouche, a Toronto classic.  Scaramouche was named after one of the most celebrated performers of the seventeenth century, Tiberio Fiorilli and later used in a novel by Rafael Sabatini.  Today, the name Scaramouche is most recognizable from the hit song, Bohemian Rhapsody, created by none other, than Queen.

The restaurant located above the city in an condominium complex, had magnificent views with a modern romantic feel.  The dim lighting set the mood for a delightful dining experience.

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The amuse bouche of watermelon juice and herby creme was seasonal and presented in a cute glass.  It was the perfect summer starter.

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My favorite plate of the night was the Charred Octopus with Microgreens and Watermelon Radish.  The octopus was cooked to perfection and had a tender chew and the Ricotta Ravioli was light and refreshing with a tomato coulis and fresh veggies.

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The Rack of Lamb with Carrot Puree was nicely prepared and the Cheese Course was not to be missed. We definitely enjoyed the wine list with extensive selections from France.

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In the morning we stopped in at the St. Lawerence Market for some sausages, cheeses and fresh berries to bring north to Lake Rosseau to meet up with our friends the Websters.  The market is loaded with vendors selling the finest meats, produce, cheeses, coffee and prepared foods.  This is definitely worth a stop.

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On the way we grabbed a quick bite at Weber’s Charcoal Hamburgers for a burger and poutine.  I have never seen a more impressive burger operation in my life.  The line moved at a rapid rate firing drinks, shakes, burgers and poutines faster than Disneyland.  The burgers were pretty great too!

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After a few hours drive, we arrived at the Webster’s Compound at the Lake Rosseau.  We were greeted by our lovely friends, Dan & Carola who showed us to their boathouse, our accomodations for a few nights and to unload our bags and start the fun with a terrific glass of Rose’.  After a fun drink, we headed by boat to Windermere House for a Sushi dinner and some more wine, of course.  Windermere House was built in 1870 and redone after a fire destroyed it in 1996.  The resort includes a pool, golf course, restaurants, cottages and a playground, which is quite popular among locals and tourist.  A great place to stay if you are looking for accomodations on Lake Rosseau.

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In the morning, we headed out for a water skiing adventure and when I say, “Adventure”, I mean it.  All were successful skiing except, yours truly, who seemed to have pulled her hamstring.  Oh well, it was great fun.  Afterwards, we boated to the local Lake Rosseau Farmer’s Market to purchase a few things for dinner and to Rosseau Bakery and Variety to buy some Butter Tarts and a quick Ice Cream Cone.

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We met for cocktails at Sam & Bud Webster’s House (Dan’s mom and dad) and dined on cheese, duck pate and grilled sausages. The residence sits lake front and has a front porch with gorgeous views.  The sunset was beautiful that evening.  After appetizers, we prepared salmon and salad back at the boathouse, for cozy dinner for four.

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In the morning, Carola arranged a seaplane to take us to Henry’s Fish Restaurant for lunch, which sits on the Georgian Bay.  The plane ride was exceptional and Henry’s Fish & Chips were quite fun too!

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That evening we went back to Sam & Bud’s house for fresh Canadian Oysters, Oysters Casino and Bud’s Tomato Gin Soup.  The oysters were fresh and went down, oh so easily.  I loved bud’s oysters casino with a hint of vinaigrette and crispy bacon.  But, Bud’s Tomato Gin Soup was outstanding (recipe to come.)

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That evening we were off to Dan’s brother’s house for a cook off.  Paul was creating some Thai Chicken Mini Burgers for starters, and Carola, her famous Grilled Pork Chops with Tangy Mustard Sauce and Swiss Chard with Fried Almonds.  Both dishes were outstanding and as to the better cook….I think it was a tie.

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Our last morning on Lake Rosseau, we went for a final boat ride with fresh coffee and croissants.  The air was cool and crisp and it began to sprinkle, but that didn’t stop us from a wonderful breakfast cruise. Libby, Dan and Carola’s new puppy, enjoyed the ride too!

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Our next stop, Collingwood, Ontario for a hike and dinner at Dan and Carola’s.  Driving into town we stopped at Canadian Tire, where Dan is the owner/operator.  The grand hardware store and tire center is loaded with everything from cookware to outdoor sporting gear.  I even found the Tutti Frutti Marshmallows there.

After a tour of the store, home and organic garden, we headed to the Blue Mountain area for a short hike and delicious sandwiches made by Chef Patrick.  The view of Georgian Bay was lovely and the Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwich and Proscuitto Bites, delish.

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For dinner, Carola prepared Fresh Pasta with Fried Salami, Ricotta Cheese and Fresh Cherry Tomatoes, outstanding!  It was hard to say goodbye the next morning, but we will see them again real soon.  Thanks so much for the wonderful visit!

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