Cultureguru's Weblog

Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

Weekend in Tranna

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Why Toronto in February, when the weather, much more often than not, is abysmal? Two words: free hotel. Jean goes there for a work-related conference; hotels don’t charge extra for another person staying in the room.


Considering how bad this winter has been in general, the weather picture wasn’t so bad. The temperature had been in deep freeze all week, but rose for that weekend. KW was expecting a lot of snow Saturday (and that materialized), but Toronto, not quite as much (also materialized).

The main issue was that the snow they did get was very wet, as it was near the freezing mark, and we did do a ton of walking outside in it on Saturday afternoon. Tiring of the wet hair, I bought a hat with a brim, but there wasn’t much to be done about the wet coat collar, or the wet pant bottoms. And the “waterproof” boots eventually caved in under the pressure, allowing water in at the seams. Squish, squish!

I had no other footwear with me, so while I could and did change into dry pants and socks for dinner, the best I think of boot-wise was putting the feet in plastic bags in the wet boots. That did keep the feet dry when I was outside. Once sitting inside, though, eventually, there was a bit of a perspiration issue…

But hey, it really was nice to get away. Friday night Jean had a conference dinner, so I went out with my sister and her husband to Bangkok Garden, where they were offering a Winterlicious menu that was, in fact, quite delicious, along with being a good deal. My sister and I both had the options of mussels in lemongrass and beer sauce, rainbow trout with pineapple red curry, and chocolate chai mousse for dessert.

Jean remained occupied Saturday morning, so after breakfast (really good waffles with walnuts and banana), I decided to go check out the Bata Shoe Museum for the first time.

It had four floors of exhibits. The basement presented shoes though history, including the very oldest pair of shoes ever found:


The next floor showed footwear of famous people, such Elvis Presley, Elton John, John Lennon, and Justin Beiber. (Beiber’s “Baby, Baby, oh” song proved to be the biggest earworm.) The second floor covered traditional shoemaking, a somewhat endangered endeavour. And the top floor was for special exhibits. Currently it’s on sneaker culture, something I previously knew nothing about. Like, people spend big money on sneakers. They riot over particular limited editions of them. They build up huge collections, so they never have to repeat the same pair. One dude had enough to cover the next three years—new pair every day.

We had been thinking of going to the ROM Saturday afternoon, but I felt museumed-out, and Jean was somewhat stir-crazy from all the hotel time, so that become our soggy walk afternoon.

For supper we went to George on Queen, a restaurant with a good reputation. It’s a nice room with notably well-dressed patrons and excellent service. They specialize in multi-course meals, but we went for just three (rather than five or seven).

We were quite blown away by the first course, which was centered around duck for me, and smoked trout for Jean.


All the elements on the plate really worked, and were creative and fun.

The next two courses, of tuna and lobster, then seabass and arctic char, were very good. But they couldn’t quite match up to the standard of the first, so you couldn’t help feeling a bit let down. For dessert, we just shared some cheese, and I had an ice wine while Jean had an Italian sweet sparkling.


On the walk back from George

Sunday we met up with sister and husband again, this time at a dim sum restaurant, the Crown Princess. This one is fancier than most and doesn’t feature the usual little carts; instead you have to order from a menu. The items were of a very high standard, definitely above the average dim sum place (though I also like that). And it wasn’t really that expensive.

Good job that we aimed to arrive by 11:00, because it got busier and busier as we were sitting, until there was quite a lineup. We had the table right by the door, where the hungry people in line could watch us eat. A bit awkward!

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