I now this is a little late but, it’s been a busy week. This has been one of my favourite long weekends I’ve had in a very long time. It was filled with adventures, food and spending time with friends and family.
Friday night – Ribfest Toronto, Yonge and Dundas Square
An Aussie co-worker of mine had never had American ribs before so we decided to meet up along with his girlfriend (also an Aussie) and check it out. The event was put on as a part of the Northern Heat Rib Series, which is different from the Toronto Ribfest put on by the Rotary Club. Since the line-ups weren’t too long, we decided to get all our ribs from one vendor, Louisiana Bar-B-Que. Originally we wanted to get ribs and chicken but they didn’t have any available so we went with a full rack of ribs, beans and coleslaw. We lined up to get extra sauce – it was delicious and slightly sweet but tangy. Along with the ribs, I suggested we get a blooming onion – a whole onion is battered and deep fried and served with an amazing dipping sauce. For dessert, we got funnel cake, neither of them had eaten any of this before. I was happy to introduce them to some great food 🙂
Saturday – Blood Donation and Yard Sale
In the morning, I went to donate blood. This is one habit I’ve been trying to keep up since it really is in me to give. I can give every 56 days but usually end up going every 2-3 months, depending on my schedule. Saturdays work best because I’m not in a rush to go somewhere afterwards. The last time I donated after work, I threw up and was nauseous since I didn’t eat much before getting to the clinic – learned my lesson.
After giving blood, I went over to my parents’ place and helped out with the yard sale. There have been a lot of changes happening at my parents’ house and with a much needed purge, a yard sale was bound to happen this year. It was extremely hot and sunny that day with no shade in the back yard – I burnt my shoulders slightly (thank goodness for aloe gel, it’s a skin saver!). There wasn’t a lot of foot traffic since it was a long weekend and due to the heat. However, at the end of the day, I did make a couple of sales and we ended up making a whopping $23! It was sad but then decided to have the yard sale on again the next day because things needed to go.
Sunday – Hiking and Waterfalls in Hamilton
Since I already made plans to go hiking, I couldn’t help out with the yard sale (I left that to my siblings and sister in law). The idea to go hiking started off as having a “gardening party at my place” to “let’s BBQ in the back yard” to “I want to go on a trek and have a picnic”. The last idea stuck and I suggested we go to Hamilton and see waterfalls (I love them!!). We decided on the Devil’s Punch Bowl in the Stoney Creek area and found this self guided walk. Stopped off at the Punch Bowl Market and Bakery and got some treats for the hike. To be honest, we were a little disappointed due to the lack of water from a very dry winter. However, it was still nice to take in all the nature. Failing to find the entrance to the Bruce Trail and getting to the Lower Punch Bowl, we walked 2km on the Dofasco 2000 Trail instead. Pretty but very flat and not quite the adventure we were looking for – wanted more inclined terrain so looked up another waterfall to hike, the East Glover Waterfall.Drove to the indicted parking area, which really was the side of the road and found the side trail leading to the Bruce Trail. It was clearly marked and when we go to the fork in the trail, we went left. This decision eventually led us to a waterfall, but not the one we were looking for. A fellow hiker told us it was Felker’s Falls. To see East Glover, we should have turned right instead. There was a lot more water at this one and we found a path that led us to the top before the cascading part. The water was calm but you can tell that the dry winter left the water line a lot lower than what it normally is. We stopped to have a snack and take in the scenery 🙂
As a treat and the main purpose of going to Hamilton – we had dinner at Chicago Style Pizza (534 Upper Sherman Street). We ordered the goat cheese bruschetta, gnocchi with a non-meat pasta sauce and the No Self Respect (All Meat) stuffed pizza. It was delicious and there was so much meat!!! The bottom crust was thin and solid for holding everything together. The cheese was stringy when you separated the slices yet firm to taste. My friend was worried that there wasn’t enough meat since it didn’t look like that much from the top but once you took the first bite, the meat took over your mouth – what a great feeling. I must mention two things: 1) we arrived at 4:30pm and there was already a 30-45min wait so get there early on the weekends since they open a 4:00pm. 2) While you wait, there is a fantastic ice cream shop across the street that is a must try. They had moose tracks (vanilla ice cream with chocolate ribbon swirls and mini peanut butter cups), which was to die for.
Monday – Woodbine Racetrack
It was my friend’s birthday and she wanted to go bet on some ponies, so we did. Most of the group had never been and we ended up having a great time! First, we learned how to bet. We stuck to the basic betting method:
- WIN = Your horse must finish first (you get 100% of the winnings)
- PLACE = Your horse must finish first or second (you get 60% of the winnings)
- SHOW = Your horse must finish first, second or third (you get 30% of the winnings)
I like that the betting caters to both high and low risk takers since the bets start at $1. I kept it conservative and only made $2 bets. There was a race every 30 minutes so that gave us enough time to figure out who to bet on for the next race. The odds for each horse are shown on the screens and are based on the number of bets placed on it. We ended up staying for five races and I think I got the basic betting down. I lost a little bit of money but it was time well spent 🙂 I must say, the races appear more fun on TV. I only say this because the race itself only lasts for a minute and a half, then you have to wait the half an hour until the next one. On TV, it looks more exciting and as if there’s constant action.
We were a big group so we headed to Boston Pizza for dinner, since they could accommodate 15 people. I waffled on whether I wanted to get a burger or tacos because I’ve been craving both. In the end, I had the shrimp tacos and it had great texture and flavour to it. They were soft tacos filled with lettuce, red onions, cilantro, cheddar and tomatoes with a hint of lime, topped with crunchy tortilla strips, a creamy sweet chili sauce. The breaded jalapeño shrimp was nice and crispy.
It was an activity filled weekend but I wouldn’t have changed anything. Now that the weather has gotten warmer, there will be more adventures to come 🙂