Today we decided to try out Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Reading the propaganda plastered to the walls and windows of the restaurant I started to get excited that we were about to experience a truly great burger and fries. Stepping up to the counter I could see the burgers being laid out on the cooking surface. For me a burger needs to be cooked on a grill over an open flame. McDonald’s and Wendy’s – the real experts in fast-food – use flat top cooking surfaces. But Five Guys is not “fast food” as it takes about 10 minutes to get your order.
The service was prompt, and the atmosphere was OK for a burger joint. The food was fresh and hot, but it wasn’t very good. Especially when compared to other burger joints like South Street and Woody’s. The toppings were run-of-the-mill and the fries were bland. And it was expensive – $29 for two burgers, one hot dog, one large fries, and one drink. Yikes!
Suffice to say, we won’t be going back to Five Guys. And if anyone wants to go grab a burger with me, South Street and Woody’s are in my ‘hood.
PS: Woody’s serves ice cold beer, and has a patio.
On Canada Day we headed into the city to check out the Tall Ships as part of the Redpath Waterfront Festival. Many others in this great City had the same idea as the waterfront was packed. It was wonderful to see so many people out enjoying out waterfront – especially considering what a crappy weekend we’d just been through with the G20 garbage going on downtown.
After wandering around for a while we decided to grab some lunch – and where better, or so we thought, than a pub on the waterfront? We couldn’t have had a worse experience if we tried.
We made our way into the Queen’s Quay Terminal and entered the Watermark Irish Pub. No line-up despite how busy the waterfront was that day. This should have been our first clue…. but when out with a newborn, a one year old and a two-and-half year old – complete with strollers – you need to go places that can accommodate you and your gear. The Watermark has a large indoor “patio” perfect for us. We settled in to our table and ordered our drinks. The drinks arrived with one mistake – Kathryn ordered a small beer but the waitress brought a large. When we commented that it was wrong she responded by saying, “there’s nothing I can do about that. I guess I can charge you for the small instead.” Not off to a great start but in hindsight this was probably the high point for our time at the restaurant. After the drinks were dropped off we ordered our food – all standard pub fare (burgers, salads, sandwiches, nothing special at all).
The “patio” was far from full. Of the 15 or so tables only three were occupied when we arrived. Inside the restaurant it was busier but not packed by any means. While we waited for our food five other tables arrived, ordered drinks and food. Before our food had arrived some of the other tables were already finished and paying their bills. At the 30 minute mark Leah went to find our waitress to see what was the hold-up. The waitress shrugged and said she’d check on it. She never came back with a response so I went into the restaurant to look into it (40 minutes). I asked the bartender to send out the manager. He never did. So I went back into the restaurant to find the manager myself. I did. And asked her politely why our meal wasn’t on our table considering the wait. She came out to our table and said she’d look into it (50 minutes). She came back about 10 minutes later (an hour since placing our food order) and said that it would be at least another 20 minutes for our meal. This did not sit well with me. A heated exchange ensued where she told me that she asked the general manager about it and that was what he told her to tell us. I asked if that seemed fair or reasonable considering other tables had come and gone in the time we’d been there. She said, “I don’t know.”
Really? You don’t know if that’s fair or reasonable? WTF?
I asked her to send out the GM because I wanted to hear it straight from his mouth that we should wait another 20 minutes for our meal considering we’d already been there an hour. He refused to come out of the kitchen. The floor manager said that she would comp us our drinks but she couldn’t do anything else. She suggested that if I emailed the general manager he might be able to offer something more.
We will never go to the Watermark Irish Pub again. Ever.
Today, just before noon, an attractive young woman walked into my office carrying lunch for six people from Jack Astor’s. They sent out free lunches to selected local businesses to promote their new lunch menu, and speedy lunchtime service. She explained the promotion, encouraged us to come over to the restaurant for lunch, and was on her way.
We enjoyed our free lunch, and will definitely be making a stop at our local Jack Astor’s for lunch soon.
On our return journeys from Kingston, Leah and I routinely detour through Prince Edward County. It’s by no means a short cut, but theÂ sceneryÂ is nice, and the wine and hospitality are even better. We’ve commented that we’d like to go back for an overnight and stay at one of the numerous inns – so for New Year’s Eve we booked a room at the lovely Devonshire Inn On The Lake in Wellington. The Inn is situated right on the shore of Lake Ontario, flanked by a river and small waterfall.
It’s described as an Inn but it felt much more like a B&B. The relaxed atmosphere provided welcome relief from the harried pace of life in the city.
For dinner their chef prepared a four course meal, paired with wine. It was terrific from start to finish, and unlike many big city restos, they were in no hurry to shuffle us out the door so they could seat more guests. Just the way we like it.
Breakfast the following morning was also perfect – and the time nicely adjusted to a little later in the morning, letting the guestsÂ sleep in just a little more in consideration of the late night before…
We’ll definitely return to the Devonshire this summer, however I’ll have my bicycle with me. The roads in Prince Edward County, although a little rough, are too enticing not to ride.
Tonight Leah and I ventured into the city to check out The Toronto Criterium – a timed bike-race around a short course (approximately 1km) in the heart of St. Lawrence Market. Judging by the crowd this is sure to become an annual event! The cyclists were really ripping – cruising at speeds of 45km/h for most of the race.
My only complaint is that they did not take advantage of the makeshift beer garden created by the barricades for the race. The stretch of Church street between Front and Esplanade looked like a party waiting to happen… but sadly none of the bars, pubs or restos in the neighbourhood had any street presence.
Picking up where they left off last year, the TFC faithful rocked the BMO Field from the minute we walked through the gates. The atmosphere in the stadium is incredible, and you can tell that the players feed off it.
The supporters in the south stands learned/created a few new songs during their off-season. My particular favourite is the chorus to “Hey Jude” except they replace “Hey Jude” with “Edu” as in, “Naaaaa, naaa, naaa ,na na na na. Na na na na. Aaaaaa Dooooo!” – a reference to TFC player Maurice Edu.
We just got back from seeing this film and it was great. Just last week we saw a commercial for it, and in my half-asleep state on the couch something about it jumped out at me and made me want to see it. (This was the first and only commercial I saw for it…)
It’s a bit different, but in a good way. It pulls at your heart strings, and reminds you about what it’s like to be young and in love, and how great it is to be in love.
On Tuesday night I went to the Neil Young concert at Massey Hall… and I’m still on the high! First of all Massey Hall is an amazing venue. Secondly we had great seats. Thirdly he performed a wicked set:
From Hank To Hendrix
A Man Needs A Maid
No One Seems To Know
After The Gold Rush
Mellow My Mind
Love Art Blues
Heart Of Gold
Cowgirl In The Sand
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Dirty Old Man
Bad Fog Of Loneliness
Oh, Lonesome Me
No Hidden Path
Cortez The Killer
The only negatives of the entire evening were the incessant nattering from the losers sitting to my right, and the constant yells from the crowd requesting songs, welcoming Neil home, thanking him, etc, etc… The jerks beside me were fortysomethings who thought it cool to get stoned and go see Neil Young. In their altered state they had no concept that they were loud; even when multiple other people around them told them to “Shut up!” The yells from the crowd were obnoxious, and completely unnecessary.
Putting those two beefs aside, this was one of the best concert events I’ve ever attended. Neil Young is a true rock star, and his songs are so good that you forget where you are, and that there is a stress filled life waiting for you outside the doors of the theatre.