Monday, July 22, 2024

Signs

Wordless Wednesday Wordless Be There 2day

Summer 2024 - Toronto ON

This and that found around town.













Sunday, July 21, 2024

2024 - Six Month Recap (Jan-Jun)

The photo formatting is a little wonky as I copied this from a Google document but I am leaving it as is. I spent too much time getting them correctly in the document to fix them for Blogger!

I will not bother to show what we have watched as it is recorded elsewhere.

30 - days travelled St Louis - Las Vegas - Salt Lake City - Toledo. Lots of meals out
  • Gateway Arch St. Louis
  • Nevada Knights hockey game
  • Selfie Museum
  • Healing Garden 
  • Area 15
  • Veterans' Memorial
  • Golf Las Vegas
  • Ole Red
  • Temple District Salt Lake City
  • Pappajohn Sculpture Park Des Moines
1 - in a lifetime! Total eclipse of the sun Toledo
1 - new car
3- days golfing Pike Lake
1 - Go Train

NEW SIGHTS TORONTO
The Well
CIBC Square
Fleurs de Ville

MUSEUMS TORONTO
2 - AGO
1 - Textile Museum
2 - Reference Library
1 - 401 Richmond
1 - Market Gallery

2 - THEATRE

MEALS OUT TORONTO
Wildfire
Librettos
Tong Mein JB
Market St. Catch JM
Village Grange Karine's GF
Queen's Cross Curryiocity JB Lil Rebel JM
Aroma
Bangkok Garden Thai 
Film Cafe
Hazukido

COFFEE
De Mello Coffee at The Well  decent cappuccinos
Bevy at The Combine (CBC) very good flat whites
Dual Citizen Sheraton pumpkin latte and cappuccino - meh
Mizzica Queen St W on my own
Mr. Puff's Stockyards mocha yuck too sweet
Balzac's Reference Library flat whites delicious
Balzac's UP peanut butter mocha and flat white
Hotblack Coffee Queen St. W Egyptian coffee beans latte and cappuccino
Au Pain Dore Adelaide East macchiatos 
Vesta Las Vegas NV
Cheyenne TX
Daily Dose Grand Island NE
Coco Yorkville Mocha too sweet but have gluten free pastries
Starbucks (twice) Front St. and John St. strawberry creme Frappuccino

DRINKS
Mezcal
Basil Hayden bourbon

I made my first crème brûlée
John tried Greek dips

JANUARY 2024

Sweet and Cosy


Saturday at least it isn't raining! We did some chores, bed changed, laundry and I even got rid of three food containers (went into turkey soup), and also froze some of the turkey stock. 

Sunday NYE and we had crab legs for dinner.

New Year's Day and 2023's crossword finals.





John went for his regular eye appointment. 

As of Sept. 2023, people aged 65 and older will be covered for one eye exam every 18 months, instead of one a year, unless they have a condition affecting their eyes such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or diabetes.

Adults between age 20 and 64 with lazy eye will no longer be covered for eye exams. People in that age range with strabismus — who are currently covered for eye exams — will now only be able to receive them through OHIP if the condition has a sudden onset.


Our bus driver told John he had a new spice mixture for me.


We checked out The Well, taking the Spadina streetcar there. It was a cold but finally sunny day!

According to UrbanToronto - The Well is the most ambitious mixed-use endeavor in Canada, located in the heart of Toronto’s west end. Bordering Front, Spadina, and Wellington, the design includes 1.1 million sq ft of office, 500,000 sq ft of retail and food services, and 1,700 residential units spread throughout six buildings connected to a 3-level retail base.

It is interesting to go through the slideshow at the website, it was a very sunny day when we were there but none was streaming through the building for us.

This photo is from UrbanToronto site.


All other photos are ours.


Running through the city block is the Spine, a new brick-paved street lined with three levels of retail and restaurants beneath a glass canopy that protects against the elements but allows fresh air and even some snow inside.

The market is not yet open, it will merit another visit, in warmer weather!



Considering how sunny it was out, we thought it was rather dark. It was also freezing, especially when we were on the second and third levels!! I would not like living here and having to put on a coat to grab a coffee!




The new Indigo book store was very nice!


We had coffee at De Mello's in the lobby.



The Toronto Telegram newspaper, once known as "The Old Lady of Melinda Street,” moved from its old, Victorian pile to a shiny, new, modernist building at 440 Front St. W. in 1963. Designed by Peter Dickinson’s successor firm, Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden, the long, sprawling, white-brick building must’ve looked as if a spaceship had landed in the old warehouse district.


After producing a million (or so) stories, the Telegram folded in 1971. For a few years, the building and equipment were leased to the Toronto Star before The Globe and Mail took ownership in 1974. From within those white-brick walls, Globe journalists would write a million more stories until 2016, when it would lock its big art deco doors (which had been relocated from the 1937 William H. Wright Building on King Street West) for the last time.



The doors were originally part of the Globe & Mail's east Toronto location (see below image), which were then relocated to this site during the construction of their new building in 1971, before being salvaged and rehabilitated yet again through the redevelopment of The Well.



We then went across the street to an LCBO that John had never been in before, he was very impressed with the selection!

A bottle of mezcal somehow made its way home with us, neither of us have ever tried it before.



When I went to Longo's on Friday I found that it was Buy One Get One free, so we will be making another trip or two!!

The bus driver brought this new spice for me.



COOKING

Saturday homemade turkey soup for lunch. Curry chicken for dinner. We found another two packages of chicken thighs in the freezer!

Sunday NYE I made the GF pound cake for the trifle. GF cheese biscuits

The Rock Harbour king crab legs were delicious! We had two bags of Toppit's snow crab legs, the first bag was sooooo salty, but the second was good. However, we agreed, the king crab were better.



Monday roast pork (No Frills $15 - too fatty) roast potatoes, mushy peas, mashed turnips, carrots and parsnips

Tuesday sweet and sour pork with rice

Wednesday short beef ribs stew with leftover vegetables

Thursday frozen gluten free haddock (Farm Boy) au gratin cauliflower

Friday steak, baked potato and broccolini


Propeller Coffee

 January 2024 - Toronto ON


                                                             The Well Front St. Toronto


In a statement, the City of Toronto said there were two misspelled signs that were installed as part of more than 500 cycling signs in December 2023.


I finished up some leftover wool from last year's blanket, and made a small lap blanket that can go into the charity bag.


Dire weather warnings for Tuesday, that never happened. However, it is now forecasted for Friday night...

It was rainy and windy as I went downtown to meet an old friend (I hadn't seen in ages) for a long coffee break! It was fun catching up.


We decided to explore Toronto's independent coffee shops, trying a different one each week. So far, we are 2 for 2. 

Our destination this week was Bevy at The Combine in the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the same as BBC or ABC) building. We cut through CBC as it was bloody cold out.


Miniature model of the building.




Schitt's Creek's motel sign! It was produced by CBC.



The Combine is a collaborative space dedicated to nurturing local creatives.



 Although commonly confused for the short form of "beverage," the name "Bevy" according to its founder, Phil Song, is taken from the word meaning "a group of like-minded individuals." 



Thursday was a foggy day, I had planned on going out but by lunchtime I felt like baking, so I tried a recipe I had pinned but never made, spice cake with a spicy mocha frosting. It is a little too sweet, would reduce sugar, increase spices and add more coffee to the icing.



Then I made a potato salad for dinner, after a 2 hour chat with my BFF!


Friday we did a quick jaunt to Longo's for weekend supplies.


COOKING

-Saturday slow cooker pork loin, mashed potatoes and parsnips with broccolini. Leftover pork was lunch sandwiches.

Sunday Alfredo with spaghetti and bacon

Monday lamb chops, mashed potatoes and carrots

Beef keema (spice mix gifted by bus driver) and gluten free 2 ingredient naan. First time making this naan, I think I should have flattened it more as it was a bit thick and gummy. I will use this recipe next time - 3 ingredient naan.

Salt and vinegar potato chips haddock with fries and sliced tomatoes.

Thursday chicken tenders with dip. tomatoes and potato salad

Steak fajitas - these are the best gluten free tortillas!



Bevy

 January 2024 - Toronto ON


January 2024 - Wellington St. Toronto


Well the rest of the city and surrounding areas woke to snow on Saturday but we had nothing, nada!

We did a good cleanup of the hall closet and got rid of scarves, reusable shopping bags and other stuff - 40 items into the charity bag and some garbage. I also "found" my new winter boots I bought last year and forgot about!

There is a large flashlight, broken humidifier and my old laptop (reconfigured to factory settings) to go to the loading dock for disposal.



It is a cold week!

Tuesday we went to Longo's because they had more BOGO (Buy One Get One free) items, broccoli, bags of onions.



Wednesday I wanted a McChicken so I bundled up and went to Union Station, from there I was curious about another exit and ended up in the new CIBC Square. This did not involve any outside junkets, it was all done inside.


I found this in an aisle in Union Station.




Cutting through the new bus terminal. 

The 2024 National Hockey League All-Star Game is an upcoming National Hockey League All-Star Game, scheduled to be held on February 3 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs. This will be the first year that the four-team, three-on-three format used since 2016 is combined with the "fantasy draft" format used from 2011 to 2015.

The NHL awarded Toronto as the host city of the game on February 3, 2024. This will be the first time since 2012 in Ottawa that a Canadian city was selected to host the game. This will be Toronto's ninth time hosting the NHL All-Star Game, including the first game in 1947.


 Table Fare and Social in CIBC Square is on the 4th floor. It looks more like a swanky restaurant, with all the wood detail, soft lighting, sleek European furnishings and cozy booths. And in another departure from the time-honoured food-court tradition, it trades the usual basement digs for four storeys above ground, with floor-to-ceiling windows that let in plenty of natural light. There’s even a patio area so customers can take their trays for an alfresco lunch, a moot point in today's weather!

Click here to read more about Table.

This photo looks like a painting!


At the moment there is Thai street food at Chaiyo, smashing smash burgers at Friday Burger Co, belly-warming bowls of ramen at Misoya and cocktails at In Good Spirits, the hall’s full-service bar. Open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., Table is the place to have lunch with colleagues, grab a snack and hunker down over your laptop (there’s free Wi-Fi) or meet for after-work dinner and drinks.

We will be trying Chaiyo, as their noodles are gluten-free and John is wanting some noodle soup. UPDATE we still have not tried it.



Getting lost in the bus station, I found these new murals, created by the acclaimed artistic duo Blue Republic. The artists created a series of shapes that speak to the universal experience of travel, a theme that best represents the inside of the building which is part of the larger Union Station transit hub. According to Blue Republic, the installation will engage viewers on multiple levels with lots to see and discover each and every time they catch their bus.


I took this shot of CIBC Square (red letters spell CIBC) from RBC Waterpark Place.



For this week's coffee date I chose the Sheraton Hotel so that we did not have to go outside in the chilly air, and there was a pop-up.


Reese Witherspoon opened the first Canadian location of her pop-up library in the lobby of a Toronto hotel.

Over the past several years, the Oscar-winning actress has expanded her scope of work with Reese's Book Club, her monthly book newsletter.

Now, the book club venture is growing even more, with the launch of Reese's Book Club Lobby Library, a series of pop-up library spaces in hotel lobbies carrying exclusively Reese's Book Club picks.

The lobby library venture kicked off in Los Angeles in October 2023, and is now headed north of the border, with the first Canadian location set to take up residence in the lobby of the Sheraton Centre.

The library won't just house books, though. It will also play host to a number of events during its one-month stint, like "Popcorn & Pages," and "Chapters & Charcuterie," as well as book discussions and author appearances.




At Dual Citizen, John had a pumpkin spiced latte while I had a cappuccino, meh, it was the best I've had. But there is great people watching sitting in a hotel lobby. 



On the way back we found a Nadege bakery in the Richmond-Adelaide Centre and we were surprised that these pastries were gluten free.



Thank goodness for the PATH, it's perfect if it is too cold, too hot or too wet. You don't have to be afraid of your life due to impatient drivers!

Path (stylized as PATH) is a network of underground pedestrian tunnels, elevated walkways, and at-grade walkways connecting the office towers of Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It connects more than 70 buildings via 30 kilometres (19 mi) of tunnels, walkways, and shopping areas.

Click here for a large map of the entire network.

I've highlighted our destinations this week.

The green highlight is where we can enter the PATH, steps away from our bus stop.

The  pink is CIBC Square that I checked out this week.

The yellow is the Sheraton Centre where we had coffee and saw the library pop-up.



COOKING


Saturday slow cooker pot roast lots of vegetables potatoes and Irish soda bread

Sunday chicken wings for lunch, the last package in the freezer and not enough for a dinner.

Leftover pot roast, mashed cauliflower parsnip potatoes, buttered carrots.

Monday pork belly bites roast potatoes and carrots

Tuesday hamburgers. John used the cast iron pan instead of the air fryer and they were good!

Wednesday chicken divan and Irish soda bread, cheesy and jalapenos. Broccolini was BOGO.


Thursday lamb chops potatoes and carrots.  I used Nigella Lawson's Greek Lamb Chops and potatoes recipes but I also added garlic and oregano to the pan. She said to cook for 60 minutes, I doubted this so went for 45 minutes. We felt that the chops were overcooked, so if I did it this way again, I would put the potatoes in for 45 minutes and then add the chops at the 30 minute mark.


Friday steak, baked potato and broccoli.


Dual Citizen

January 2024 - Toronto ON



We defrosted the old freezer and John looked at new models online.

I had my usual chatty chats with BFF and T on the weekend. It was too cold for anything else. Saturday was -15C (5F) wind chill of -23C (-9F). 


Monday I went for a haircut and then to Longo's. I remembered to get a photo of the newly opened TD Terrace building.



This picture is for Jinjer The Intrepid Angeleno who lamented the lack of a PATH in LA in last week's post where I mentioned how far we can travel downtown without going outside.



John went out to lunch with a friend at the Judge and Jury (gluten free Monday) and he had a Reuben sandwich.


Tuesday John woke with a sore throat so I did a quick trip downtown to stock up on cold items.


Wednesday John slept until noon! So I spent the morning on my laptop, reading this and that, did Wordle and the puzzle so as to not make any noise. 

He isn't coughing as much, it is more a head cold. I made tomato soup for lunch. John spent the rest of the day dosing on and off for the rest of the day. I did a quick run to pick up some vegetables.


Thursday and I might be fighting off his cold, fingers crossed so we had a very low key day. John had a nice nap in the afternoon.


Friday John felt a little better (still coughing) and I'm not bad, a little lethargic and scratchy throat and runny nose but that's about it. Another lazy day.


COOKING

I baked a carrot cake and I iced it with this maple cream cheese frosting. I had to bake it for an additional 25 minutes. Delicious frosting but note to self - use the whipping attachment! Note 2 to self - add chia seeds!


Saturday roast beef roast potatoes and Brussel sprouts

Sunday leftover roast beef sesame beef Thai dinner with rice noodles. This recipe's suggestion that you cut the leftover roast beef into very thin slices and marinade them made for an incredibly delicious meal, only slightly too salty from the soy sauce.

First time using these wider noodles and they needed more than the 4-8 minutes cooking time recommended on the package. These are a great gluten free solution that don't cost an arm and a leg.


Monday OMG John suggested fish so we had salt and vinegar potato chip haddock with a ranch buffalo salad kit.

Tuesday I did fish tacos with the extra fish and salad. Yeah, us, we finished the package of tortillas!

Wednesday bacon, mashed potatoes and sauteed cabbage. 

Thursday was the same as Wednesday, not much interest in coming up with something else.

Steak and  sweet potato fries.


FEBRUARY 2024

Uncoffee

 February 2024

                                                          Union Station Toronto ON


Saturday was another foggy day much like John and I, his cold is worse than mine, he still has a slight cough and having little naps.



Monday John was able to get a same-day appointment with the dentist for his sinuses, turns out it has nothing to do with the implants, the doctor compared current xrays to two years ago and there is no change. He does have a February appointment with a NET specialist (cancelled from January 17 - a runaround). He did get a prescription.


I did some shopping but didn't buy anything. I see the All Star players are likely staying at the Royal York, they can walk to the Scotiabank Arena LOL.



I think this was the first sunset of 2024!


Tuesday John did a Costco run, it has been a while. We are not buying any meat in bulk, as the other freezer has been emptied.

We then went to The Stockyards, Winners, Homesense and Marshall's and didn't spend a penny.

I only took photos in Nations, a multicultural grocery store.





A large selection of Indian spices, I have some of these courtesy of our bus driver.


The aisle of spices!



Moonfish. Baby parrot fish



Splendid ponyfish


That dreaded smelly fruit, frozen durian.


Always wondered where I could get banana leaves, they also had frozen lemon grass! Duck eggs.




We had to double up on coffee dates this week so we stopped at Mr. Puff's Dessert Bar. UPDATE we never did another coffee date this week.

Not impressive, would prefer a real cup. Mocha, too sweet and we declined any sugar!



Don't know how it happened, John put his neck massager in the microwave and then I smelled something funny so I checked and it said it still had 6 minutes to go??? I turned it off, John then came and said what's burning? We threw it in the sink and watered it down. 

I went to College Park and yet again, didn't buy anything! I took this photo on Front St, RBC.

I also took the #Uncoffee photo above.


Wednesday I had my ophthalmologist appointment, my doctor of 30+ years has retired so I met a new doctor, she was pleasant and efficient but certainly no chit chat!

On my way to the subway. Samsung AI.



All Star Hockey fever!



Yonge and Davisville



After a very gloomy Thursday, Friday was gorgeous, February 2, and it felt like spring. More hockey fever, there were events taking place for a few days.



We were going to lunch. Winterlicious is hosted by the City of Toronto to encourage people to brave the weather and the after Christmas blues to try local restaurants offering three-course prix fixe lunch and dinner menus at more than 200 local restaurants.

We chose Wild Fire in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. 



The hostess was delightful.


Our appetizers were good, other than a terrible server. Calamari for me and John had the grilled Caesar salad.



We didn't take photos of our mains. John enjoyed his pork ribs but I hated my cheesesteak, the meat was tough and the smoky BBQ had been smeared on my bread, yuck. I did tell the hostess about it. Dessert was included so we said we'd take it to go, she gave us an extra cheesecake.

In retrospect, we should have chosen the steak, it would have been better value for the fixed price. We didn't choose it because it was 10 oz, which is too much meat for either of us, but we could have had it boxed.


Cutting through Brookfield Place.



COOKING

Saturday roast pork tenderloin mashed sweet and white potatoes and turnips

Sunday leftover roast pork sweet potato oven fries (to improve on Friday's)

Monday lazy cabbage rolls

Tuesday rotisserie chicken nachos

Wednesday leftover lazy cabbage rolls

Thursday ham, mashed potatoes and broccolini

Friday dessert from lunch


Daily Dose Coffee

 February 2024

                                                       JOHN ST. TORONTO


We had our usual lazy weekend.

The fire alarm went off on Monday morning so we quickly put some clothes on, you never know, but it was a false alarm on the 21st floor. After that we never did go out.


John used the golf simulator on Tuesday and Thursday.



Tuesday we went to find a new mural, it was posted on Monday.



On the wall of the reference library.



Balzac's is a local coffee chain with 16 Ontario locations. Named after the famous French novelist and famed coffee drinker Honoré de Balzac, the cafes serve conventional and fair trade blends, as well as espressos, hot chocolate and a variety of cold beverages. Each Balzac's Coffee location has commissioned a café poster unique to the community it serves.

We had coffee in the reference library location.



This was the best flat white we've had.



I would love to know the story behind the other sign at the bottom left.



The Gallery had a display celebrating Osborne 75.

You can also click here to watch this video.





There are 11 children's stories in this made for Toronto image, can you find them?


 The building is the Lillian H. Smith Library on College St. which houses the large Osborne collection of children's books, click here.







Wednesday we went to see The Book of Mormon at the Princess of Wales Theatre on King St. West. It was wickedly funny!


On the bus heading home.



Thursday John did a grocery run to Metro. I went shopping and bought nothing, again!


Need to find your way around Union Station, check out TD's Wayfinder.



Royal York Hotel



Citigroup building Front St. 


Friday's weather was incredible, as per this headline!

Toronto broke an 86-year-old weather record on Friday as temperatures climbed above 13 C during an unseasonably warm February.

So I went for a walk while John checked out golf putters at Golftown.


Roy Thomson Hall 


Simcoe St. at King looking north .



Queen St. West



I stopped for coffee.


John St. and Adelaide. How warm was it? I saw a couple of guys having a beer on a patio!


These gluten free cookies are so good but the British store I order them from charges $8, I got these from Amazon for $6. 

Funny sky on Friday afternoon.



COOKING

Saturday ham, au gratin potatoes and broccolini

Sunday Steak frites and dipping sauce

Monday ham, mashed turnips and carrots and leftover au gratin potatoes

Tuesday ham ( I know, I know) fried potatoes and egg

Wednesday chicken curry

Thursday haddock and chips

Friday steak and mushrooms


Coffee Exchange

  February 2024

                                                           Village by the Grange McCaul St. Toronto


Another quiet weekend. We had a video chat with John's son and grandson in Montreal. John's granddaughter has tickets for Taylor Swift's November Toronto concert and hotel prices are insane but I was able to book a hotel suite for her here in our building.

Superbowl Sunday 



Click here to see the murals we saw last week at the Reference Library.



Monday did not turn out as planned. When John got up he had an alert from our bank that he was overdrawn as a $26,000 debit had been processed. He immediately contacted the company that had processed it, and they said they had no idea and would need to investigate. He immediately called our branch (voice mail, of course). Then called the fraud department who "red flagged" it and suggested visiting the branch. Plans changed and we headed down there. We were shown to the manager who promptly reversed the charge and promised he would monitor it for any NSF or overdraft fees which he would immediately reverse.

Tuesday we received an email from the processing company that basically said "to ALL OUR ESTEEMED CUSTOMERS due to a system glitch blah blah. We will cover any charges you incurred as well as a monetary compensation". PHEW! The monetary compensation was a whopping $25, that doesn't even start to cover the cost of all the manpower involved in investigating and fixing the problem.


While we were waiting I snapped this mail truck. Canada Post launched a new commemorative stamp to honour the legendary Salome Bey. Fans of the acclaimed singer know her as Canada’s First Lady of the Blues.



Tuesday John used the golf simulator. I went to Longo's and snapped some Valentine photos.




It's February, girl, in Canada. She obviously lives in one of the condos along the PATH.



These flowers were going fast when I came in here on Valentine's Day.



Union Station has a new display.




I came out of Union onto Front St. this was the view to the right. 

And to my left, it looked like snow clouds. It never did happen.


Not sure what this is with its right hand drive.



Wednesday Valentine's Day the office tower where we wait for the bus was giving out candies. These were so good I had to google them. Mary's Brigadieros are on Danforth and Woodbine.UPDATE they are also in Union Station and The Chef's Hall.



John brought two boxes of chocolates home.


We replaced our coffee pot as the old one had started to overflow, that is, not stopping when the mug was full.



Thursday we were promised a snowstorm...I went to Longo's to stock up just in case. 


It was very wet snow and didn't amount to much.


Friday morning. 


We had loose plans to go to the museum, but got lazy and just went out for coffee in the afternoon instead.

We did another Balzac's, this time in the UP Union to Pearson train station. John had the peanut butter mocha and I had a flat white.




Interesting e-sim cards.

Blue Bovine is a new steak and sushi restaurant to open next week in Union Station. UPDATE I booked it for my birthday lunch!



COOKING

Saturday stuffed roast chicken, roast potatoes and mashed turnips and carrots. This was a $9 chicken from Metro, we also had leftovers for breakfast and lunches. The bones were then used for soup.

Sunday SUPERBOWL chili with baguette.

Monday quiche

Tuesday hamburger patties, gravy, mashed potatoes and beans

Wednesday Spaghetti Alfredo with prosciutto, Caesar salad (John made) and my first ever creme brulee ✅ it's been on my to do list

(I forgot to take a picture) it was very good. 

Thursday chicken tenders with honey mustard dipping sauce and Caesar salad.

Friday steak and loaded baked potato (cheese, broccoli, sour cream)

Balzac's

 February 2024

                                                               Distillery District Toronto


Saturday I had a reminder email from NEXUS to renew my card. NEXUS is designed to speed up border crossings into Canada and the United States (U.S.) for low-risk, pre-approved travellers. It is jointly run by the Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. UPDATE I received my new card at the end of June.

Of course, they changed their online website and forms. As I am navigating through it John is questioning where his card is. We searched the house, and he went down to the car, nada. So he starts the lost card process...

I then, smugly say mine is in my wallet, eh, no, it isn't....

After some searching, I think, hmmm, did we take them with us when we were going to the Yukon in August as we had thought we might go into Alaska??? I checked the purse I used (last time I used it) and sure enough it was in there.

That made John check his drawer again, he found it in his old wallet.


Then I was going to make my Guinness lamb shanks, oh, we don't have any dark beer!!! AHA I found one lonely Guinness.


We ended up decluttering the travel box, why did we have a gazillion American grocery loyalty cards? And why did we keep a bazillion foreign SIM cards? Decluttered!

 

Sunday we rotated our mattress (exciting days!), well, John did as it is heavy. Why can't we flip mattresses anymore? If a mattress cannot be flipped then the manufacturer can save money by putting less expensive cushions, covering and quilting on the bottom side.

I wanted to put a new mattress cover on so it was a good time to rotate.


Monday Mural



I had a very productive day for a holiday Monday. I repotted some plants which led to dirt everywhere that had to be cleaned up, refilled by spice jars, which also makes a mess and made a pumpkin cheesecake. I had just finished lecturing on the proper way to bake, reading the recipe etc. and I put an extra egg in the cheesecake! I had three in my head because I was thinking of making creme brulee. It turned out fine.


I opened this can first, expiry date 2025, I threw it out as I didn't like that black spot.



I usually order John's gluten free bread from Promise but they no longer offer free shipping over $100. I checked prices on Amazon and can do better with no shipping fees and it arrives the next day. Also the Schar's baguettes are a much better price.


I used my last gluten free graham crust in the pumpkin pie. I looked at Amazon and found I could get a dozen at a unit price of $4.40. My best price at a grocery store is $6.49.


It must be spring! The pigeons are back looking for nesting sites. This causes a lot of bad language here.


Tuesday we headed to an early dinner at Libretto's pizza. We still had a $50 gift card.



We went to the 7:30 performance but I took this photo last week. We waited in this little lounge off the lobby.



Excellent production, no intermission, just 80 minutes of pure energy.

SIX is a new original musical with book, music and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. It is a modern retelling of the six wives of Henry VIII presented as a pop concert, as the Queens take turns singing and telling their stories to see who suffered the most due to Henry and should, therefore, become the group’s lead singer. But not everything goes according to plan and along the way they discover something even more valuable, reclaiming their own narrative and remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of 21st century girl power!



Click here if the video doesn't work SIX.


We Uber'd home.

Wednesday I did some wandering before getting my hair trimmed.

When an opportunity presented itself for Liberty to open a fine dining spot in Toronto’s business district, the two metaphorically grabbed the bull by the horns. They are now at the helm of the Blue Bovine Steak and Sushi House, situated in the newly revitalized Union Station.

The massive bull at the entrance of the restaurant, Nadia Di Donato said the bull weighs around 1,500 lbs., was meticulously hand-sculpted under her supervision, and is set to serve as “Toronto’s own rendition” of Wall Street’s famed Charging Bull.



The steps of the former Commercial/ Merchant/ Bank of Montreal and now RBC Dominion Securities building inside Brookfield Place.


Built around the crystal cathedral of Brookfield Place and around all the modern new buildings is the façade of little bank. The building was built in 1845 by William Thomas who also designed St. Mike’s Cathedral, St. Lawrence Hall and the Don Jail. The building first housed the Commercial bank which was based out of Kingston Ontario. The bank did not survive and the building became the home of the Merchant Bank of Canada in 1868. However that bank also did not survive and then the building housed the Bank Of Montreal. It is unknown when the bank left the building, but one report suggests around World War Two, when Clarkson, Gordon and Dilworth moved into the building until 1969. Afterwards the history of this building seems to be lost.


Eventually the building was restored to its former glory. Now the building is not where it was before. In fact it sat on 13-15 Wellington Street. The façade was taken apart and relocated to where it is today inside Brookfield Place.



Walking up Yonge St.



And this is what I was looking for! 36 Toronto St. Excelsior Life Building / Millichamps Building. Millichamp address was 39 Adelaide and the Excelsior Life Building is 36 Toronto St. 




In 1986-1987, the 1914 Lennox Building and the 1874 Millichamp Building were added to with a new structure which included an atrium between the two of them. This property’s contribution lies in its historic role in the establishment of Toronto Street as a corporate and financial hub in the late 19th and early 20th century, and its historic association with prominent early 20th century Toronto architect E.J. Lennox. The structures contribute to the physical character of the District through their Italianate architectural detailing and the transition they provide between the contemporary Financial District and the St. Lawrence neighbourhood.

The source for these two photos is the Toronto Heritage Registrar.



With the atrium the building now has the address of 36 Toronto St. although it is really on Adelaide. 




This 11-storey building, designed by prominent Toronto architect E. J. Lennox, was the tallest building on the block at the time of construction. It was named after the Excelsior Life Insurance Company, whose offices were located within. It replaced the Union Block, a Second Empire-style office building that stood here from 1873 to 1914. Its exterior is constructed of terracotta stone with a granite base and is designed in the Classical Italianate style, with decorative columns near the top. A reconstruction project by Strong Associates in 1987 connected it to the Millichamp Building via a glass atrium.



Suspended Stairway 1986 by Joshua Kalfa.Spanning across the expansive atrium of 36 Toronto Street, the work of art depicts giant bronze women climbing the staircase (also bronze) suspended in air.


Corporate career ladder? Glass ceiling for women? Or take the stairs??

Kalfa, a Toronto-based artist, works with steel to create his works, often depicting animals or mundane human scenes (a man on a bench, clothes drying on a line) through his unique artistic eye.



And directly across the street is this building.


This building was the headquarters of the Consumers’ Gas Company for 125 years. It was built in stages between 1852 and 1899 on what was one of Toronto’s principal financial streets. Architect Joseph Sheard designed the first building at 17 Toronto Street and 24 years later, architect David Brash Dick designed an addition at 19 Toronto Street. In 1899, Dick unified the appearance of the buildings with a Renaissance Revival-style façade that included Corinthian pilasters, ornate windows, and columns made of granite from the Bay of Fundy. The ground-floor hall, decorated with an intricate mosaic floor and brass teller’s cages, was a customer service area. Offices were located on the upper floors. The Consumers’ Gas Company initially provided Toronto with street lighting; in 1879, it expanded to serve homes and businesses as well. After the Consumers’ Gas Company moved in 1977, the structure deteriorated. In 1983, it was renovated by the architecture firm Stone & Kohn.


The building currently houses Don Alfonso 1890 Italian Restaurant; and Rosewater Room the award-winning event venue by Liberty Entertainment Group, the same group as mentioned above with the bull!

.


Thursday we had a maintenance appointment for the air coil system (controls heat and air conditioning) with a window  of 9-1 and they came at 12:30. Yeah, he also fixed the temperature to Celsius.

Then we both ran some errands.



Friday we decided to go to the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) as it was 8C and sunny. We have had an incredible February. However, when we got there it was too busy so we went for coffee instead.


Walking down St. Patrick, we don't usually. We both remembered driving here during the pandemic when we were looking at weird houses, that the half house was on this street. Click here to see that weird house.




This week's coffee spot, Hotblack Coffee on Queen St. W.



The barista suggested the Ethiopian ethically sourced beans, in a latte and a cappuccino. They were good, very smooth.



Hollywood Hi cannabis shop.



Saving the facade of an old bank building. This photo of the CIBC on the northwest corner of Simcoe and Queen Street West was taken on August 23, 1931.

The impressive building was completed in 1930, a year after the great Wall Street crash. However, the designs for it were created prior to the economic crisis, its restrained but rich architecture a testament to the prosperous decade of the 1920s. It was constructed on the site of the Harris Hotel, an unpretentious hostelry that was demolished to provide a site for the bank.



We cut through the lobby of the very swanky Shangri-La Hotel.

 


WTF? It was beautiful out today but coming home the winds picked up and we now have a 

this from the management office. It is expected to feel like -20C with the wind chill.

Cold Weather Alert

Dear Residents


Cold Weather Alert – Please be advised that environment Canada forecasts indicate that we will experience temperatures below minus 12 degrees Celsius, tonight. 




So -12C then Tuesday's forecast is 12C, a 24 degree difference!



COOKING

Saturday slow cooker lamb shanks in Guinness with mashed potatoes and carrots/turnips

Shrimp and egg-free Caesar salad dressing. These shrimp were cleaned and cooked from Longo's and were delicious. I even made a shrimp salad sandwich (like a lobster roll) for lunch. Then I remembered I should have made it like a UK prawn sandwich.



I did make a soda bread that was inedible, I didn't have enough milk and read that I could substitute heavy (whipping) cream and water in equal parts, I don't think this worked. But I also had used a new gluten free flour I had ordered so....  

Monday chicken divan to use up the broccoli

Tuesday dinner out pizza Libretto image above

Wednesday shake and bake pork chops ($2.50 10 ounce chop Metro) mashed potatoes and broccoli

Thursday Asian pork lettuce wraps

Friday stuffed flank steak (delicious) with roasted potatoes and broccolini




WOO HOO Law & Order Toronto:Criminal Intent premieres!!! Click here for a good recap of the first episode.



MARCH 2024

Jacked Up Coffee

  March 2024 - Toronto ON

                                                                         Yorkville Toronto ON


The weekend passed in a blur. Several loads of laundry got done, some housework. Tidied up some dresser drawers. John did some plumbing maintenance.

 I made two loaves of pumpkin cranberry bread, guacamole, chimichurri. 

The bread took forever to bake, I finally cut it in half to get done.



I worked on some upcoming blogs, did more photo editing etc.


We finally had a nice sunset.



Monday's mural was taken earlier this month.



On Monday I went shopping in the Eaton Centre. This mural was in a new store.



It was a nice day for posing!



I bought this baby (boy) gift for one of our concierges.



Tuesday we had thunder and lightning storms and even hail in some spots. John did a trip to the charity shop with two bags.


In the Chef's Hall.



I bought a box of gluten free brigadeiros that I had sampled last week. They are very good but on the pricey side. 



Bus driver brought me another curry to try.


Wednesday John had a couple of appointments so I met him for lunch in the new Scotia Plaza Market Eatery. John tried Tong Mein, a gluten free Asian place, he had the jerk beef salad noodle bowl, he wasn't very impressed with it. I tried the crab cakes from Market Street Catch. 


Wednesday's temperature went from a warm day to a drop of 10C degrees in 15 minutes! Then the winds came.


Thursday morning was extremely cold and we had planned on going for breakfast and then to the AGO, but it was too cold so we had breakfast and took a walk to CIBC Square where I had been a couple of weeks ago.



We stepped outside for a different view of the city. CIBC is building another tower.




Alas TD, you have lost U!



Chilly outing for these beauties on York St.



Friday John went to Service Ontario to renew his health card, he couldn't renew online for some strange reason. Then he took his golf clubs to be regripped and picked up some groceries.

We headed downtown for our weekly coffee date.


I had a destination in mind and wanted to show John the sculpture and building I found last week.

Click on photo to get the full impact of the staircase and reflection.



We found another coffee shop that was not on my list, Au Pain Doré on Adelaide.



We stepped out of our usual comfort zone and ordered macchiatos. It would have been nice if they had served it in a proper espresso cup.

It would be a great place to have a croissant or sandwich on a baguette.


Caffè macchiato, sometimes called espresso macchiato, is an espresso coffee drink with a small amount of milk, usually foamed. In Italian, macchiato means "stained" or "spotted", so the literal translation of caffè macchiato is "stained coffee" or "marked coffee".


John's new emoji! Note the neon cafe sign reflection.


I cannot believe John's replacement Nexus card arrived today, a week after submitting a request.




COOKING

Saturday leftover flank steak, gravy, and foiled baked potatoes, onions and peppers.


Sunday John suggested steak frites

Monday pork chops mashed potato/turnip.carrots and broccolini

Tuesday curry chicken using the Chief curry mix, we didn't find it very spicy, I added additional spices.



Wednesday bacon, eggs and rosti. No bacon, we forgot it in the oven!! Rosti - note to self let the shredded potatoes soak in cold water until ready to pat dry and cook.

Thursday coconut shrimp curry using the new mix with rice and broccolini. This was a good recipe and the fish masala was good too.

Friday steak and loaded baked potatoes.


Goldstruck 


March 2024 - Toronto ON



We started collecting items for our road trip. I cleaned up some house plants.


My new crossbody bag arrived and I am pleased with it.

Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Slim Double Zip Crossbody Bag Messenger Bag. Roomy compartment has RFID blocking card and passport slots, open top pocket, zippered wall pocket and tethered key clip with led light patent.



Monday's Mural at John and King.


What a gorgeous day, it is time to stop wearing the big winter coat! Toronto broke a 50 year old record with a temperature of 16C or 61F!!!

Tuesday is expected to be 17C with thunderstorms predicted.

I did some shopping and John had a dental appointment.


John started planning our road trip route and I booked some hotels. We finalized our hotels for the way there.

We will leave on Monday March 11 and take 6 days to get there, spending 2 nights in St. Louis.

Our reservation in Las Vegas is from March 17-31. We don't have a firm plan for the trip home as yet.


Tuesday started out sunny, I even saw some people out catching some rays!

John did a Costco run for a few items to take away, coffee, water, energy bars, always good to have in the car on a road trip. I ordered a couple of flashlights as well.

I thought this was a good deal yesterday at Rexall 5 toothbrushes on sale 25% of at $42 before taxes. I then found 20 TWENTY for $16 (including tax) on Amazon! 

I also got flashlights, ours had all died.

John's new putter also arrived.



Wednesday I went for a mani-pedi then did some groceries for the rest of the week. John used the golf simulator.

On my way to mani-pedi. Spring is here!




On the bus going downtown.


Thursday we caught the 9AM bus and went for breakfast at the Village Grange food court.

I had an egg McMuffin and John went to Karine's, a gluten free spot.



Then the AGO.



We saw most of the exhibits.


Indigenous people lived on the land we now call Canada long before paper money was even invented, but an Indigenous person has never before been honoured on a banknote.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada launched “Change the Bill”, a campaign aiming to get an Indigenous woman on the $20 bill.





I will only put the highlights of each exhibit here, as I did a photo loaded post.


Click here to see the AGO website for Life Between Islands. 

Making its way across the Atlantic to the AGO from Tate Britain, Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art, 1950s–Now examines the relationship between the Caribbean and Britain and reconsiders British art history in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries from a Caribbean perspective.


1948 The British Nationality Act allows everyone born in Britain or its Empire to become a ‘Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies’. The act encourages Caribbean people to move to the UK to address labour shortages and help facilitate postwar reconstruction and the building of the welfare state. HMT Empire Windrush docks in London carrying 800 Caribbean passengers. Many find work in the NHS and for the train and bus services. Those who emigrated from the Caribbean to Britain between 1948 and 1971 became known as the Windrush generation.







The elevator is part of the Keith Haring exhibit.


Keith Haring’s style of art is one of the most recognizable in the world. The American-born contemporary artist was known for his bold drawings and paintings and continue to be popular even after his passing. Exhibitions of Haring’s work attract audiences of all ages around the world.

The exhibition celebrates Keith Haring’s creativity and activism. It also offers insight into the artist as a person. Haring’s archival materials play a key part in understanding what inspired him and acts as a thread not just through his art but his activism. Haring participated in anti-nuclear, anti-Apartheid demonstrations, and AIDS activism.

This exhibit is the only Canadian stop on this tour.

Click here for the AGO detailed post.


.




From there we went a totally different route.

From the Bader Collection at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, the AGO welcomes a remarkable selection of seventeenth century Dutch paintings. Shown in dialogue with paintings from the AGO’s European Collection of Art, at the centre of this focused installation are seven artworks attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), shown together for the first time.



This was the exhibit I really wanted to see!



The last exhibit I had already seen last year, but John hadn't.


John took this from the AGO.



We went for coffee at The Library.



Friday we each ran some errands and I got my hair cut.

We got some techie things resolved. Both our cameras on our phones were making a clicking sound when taking photos, solved that. Then John's camera was taking motion photos, I solved that. I finally got the VPN setting on my laptop to automatically connect!

We're also gathering items for our trip, John's clubs are packed up.





COOKING

Saturday roast pork, potatoes and carrots

Sunday slow cooker ribs and fries

Monday sweet and sour pork leftover

Tuesday shrimp salad with hard-boiled eggs and homemade soda bread.

Wednesday lamb chops, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

Thursday hamburger patty, mashed potatoes, gravy and beans.

Steak and fried mushrooms.


Casey Coffee Co.

 March 2024 - Toronto ON - Amarillo TX


                                                                       Casey Indiana


Saturday and Sunday were busy getting the car packed up with golf clubs, suitcases, workout and overnight bags. Computer bag with all the chargers, external hard drive, and I decided to take my SLR camera.

The overnight and computer bags will be taken into the hotels on the drive. We will take the cooler.

Fridge had to be cleared out. Bread and milk put in the freezer.

We will also take a lunch for Monday.



Well, that was interesting! We don't tend to lock our unit door during the day. I was in the bedroom and heard it open, I thought it might have been John, until I heard a voice say sorry. We both rushed to the door and John saw Bob, a neighbour who said, sorry, was daydreaming. Really?? He lives diagonally (catty-corner is often heard in the UK. Kitty-corner is common in the US and Canada) opposite to us. Therefore when he gets off the elevator he turns left and we turn right, plus we are right next to the elevators. We'll be locking it from now on.


Losing that hour was still a shock to me when I got up. I hate losing it!!

BUT we end up gaining two hours this week, one in Illinois and another in Amarillo Texas!!


We finally sat down on Sunday around 4 (damn lost hour)!


Monday Mural Toronto taken in February.




Monday we had breakfast, tidied up and were on the road by 8:45. Click here for the day's recap from Toronto to Fort Wayne IN.


For all the links to our 2024 Road Trip click here.


After crossing the border we drove through Michigan and then into Indiana.



We checked into the Wyndham Fort Wayne IN around 4:15. Dinner in the tiny bar with BIG portions and good prices.



This was our replacement room after we didn't like #234 at Wyndham.

Here is the detailed account of our drive on Tuesday from Fort Wayne to St. Louis MO.

Considering the drive we still managed to get in 9,400 steps.

There will be some photo repeats. Coffee in the hotel in Fort Wayne, the breakfast was awful.






Cracker Barrels are the best places on a road trip. Clean bathrooms, good food and prices and shopping. Exit 203 on I-69 Indiana.




And we HAD to buy some Goo Goo Clusters! Click here to visit the Goo Goo store in Nashville.



Back on the road we made a stop in Casey Indiana. I knew we had been to Casey before because of the World's largest wind chime. However I was thinking of the Casey Jones attraction in Jackson TN.


What a pleasure, we took off our coats!



Wind Chimes


Visiting Casey, Illinois, is like stepping into an episode of the old television series Land of the Giants or into the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. The town of about 3,000 boasts some of the world’s largest attractions, larger-than-life items created by local Jim Bolin to help attract visitors to his community.


Located almost halfway between Saint Louis and Indianapolis along Interstate 70, Casey (pronounced KAY-zee) was once primarily a gas stop and a spot for travelers to stretch their legs. Today, it hosts thousands of visitors eager to see the world’s largest wind chime, rocking chair, and mailbox, among other unique attractions. What started with the 48-foot-tall wind chime in 2011 has grown to become an entire collection of Guinness World Records sights.




Barber pole, Mailbox, Rocker.




Giant taco built in 2021 by JalCraft in Mexico. Taco is 16 ft long and weighs about 3,500 pounds.



 This little piggy weighs in at 450 pounds.


From there we drove to St. Louis as John had plans to meet his daughter and family for a hockey game at 4:30.

We checked in at 3 PM, thanks to gaining an hour. John decided not to go to hockey as his grandson wasn't playing but might on Wednesday so he changed it.

We simply changed our plans and headed out in the gorgeous weather to sightsee.


The Gateway Arch National Park, formerly named Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, is a downtown St. Louis oasis. Amid the beautifully forested surroundings found within one of the few urban national parks west of the Mississippi River.

In 1948, a nationwide design competition determined what shape the Memorial would take, and in 1963, construction began on architect Eero Saarinen’s design for a stainless steel arch. Completed in 1965, the Gateway Arch stands as a symbol of national identity and an iconic example of mid-century modern design.





Can you see me???



John, proving it is shorts weather!


Then we decided to find the Ballpark Village.

Ballpark Village is the premiere dining and entertainment district in the region. Located in the heart of St. Louis' central business district adjacent to Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village is the first-ever, sports-anchored, multi-phased/mixed-use development.




There were more of these statues.





This was thirsty work!



"Olly olly oxen free" is a catchphrase or truce term used in children's games such as hide and seek, capture the flag, and kick the can to indicate that players who are hiding can come out into the open without losing the game or that the position of the sides in a game has changed (as in which side is on the field or which side is at bat or "up" in baseball or kickball); alternatively, that the game is entirely over.


The origin of the phrase is unknown. The Dictionary of American Regional English says the phrase may be derived from all ye, all ye outs in free, all the outs in free, or possibly ”calling all the outs in free”; in other words, all who are out may come in without penalty. Others speculate the phrase may be a corruption of a hypothetical and ungrammatical German phrase alle, alle, auch sind frei (all, all, also are free).



The Hilton Pennywell, gorgeous hotel, however valet parking is $48 a day!! Yikes! But I did book one night on points, we got upgraded and got 2 $30 vouchers to spend in the hotel. As well, at dinner, the server was new and couldn't get the cork out of the bottle so she gave us a more expensive wine with a screw top!!!


It used to be a bank.



Wednesday we headed out around 9 AM and grabbed breakfast next door at Pickle's. Sausage biscuit.







St. Louis Union Station captures the essence of history, fun and entertainment that St. Louis offers, with the added bonus of being able to stay in the hotel right on site! Ascend 200’ in the St. Louis Wheel where guests enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the historic train shed – once the busiest train station in the world - and the iconic St. Louis skyline in the comfort of climate-controlled gondolas.










We walked back to the Ballpark Village for lunch. We were going to Katie's for gluten free pizza and pasta but we didn't like the menu or the restaurant atmosphere.

We settled on Condado, Mexican, and it was perfect.

Check back on Monday for more of the murals.


2 tacos each with chips and two dips.




We wandered around the stadium and then headed back to the hotel as John was being picked up at 4:30 for a hockey game.

Click here for more St. Louis photos.


Thursday we headed out in pouring rain to Tulsa OK. The weather flip flopped all day. Sunshine, thunderstorms, tornado warnings. And then when we got into Tulsa it was 27C/81F.


Our new plan is to get on the road and then stop for breakfast between 10 and 11, then we don't have to stop for lunch when everywhere is busy and we miss the breakfast crowd.

Sullivan MO.

Loaded hashbrown casserole is delicious. Here is a copycat recipe.







Redmon's

Big selection of popcorn toppings.



After all those storm warnings we got into Tulsa and it was 27C/81F and steamy. We found a Whole Foods and picked up dinner.


Friday Tulsa OK to Amarillo TX that post has links to many places we've been before.

We left the hotel in cold conditions at 8:15. The temperature fluttered in low digits the rest of the day.

We took a wrong exit after Oklahoma City but found a Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We then crossed into Texas. We did some interesting stops which are in the link just above.

The cross at Groom.


The hotel address didn't identify east or west for the Hilton Garden Inn in Amarillo so the GPS took us to the wrong address which we soon figured out and got on the right track.


Dinner was in the hotel. An interesting side note regarding restaurants, all Cracker Barrels and hotels we've eaten give you your cutlery in paper packets. I'm guessing this started with the pandemic.


This week's drive Mar 11- Mar 15 Toronto to Amarillo TX



On another note, I received a Facebook DM asking:

Good Morning and I hope I'm not bothering you! I'm a school teacher in Texas and I happened to see your pictures from Terezin. Would you be willing to allow us to use your picture of the wall of children's names? We're doing a play about the Children of Terezin and I would like to project this picture on the wall behind the set.

Sure, go ahead! Send me a photo if you can!


COOKING


Saturday I made corned beef, mashed potatoes and cabbage

Sunday ordered Swiss Chalet chicken

Monday Fort Wayne Wyndham  jalapeno poppers/popcorn shrimp/pulled pork

Tuesday St. Louis Hilton roast chicken/burger

Wednesday St. Louis Hilton charcuterie board / PJ Chang's

Thursday Tulsa crackers and cheese

Friday Amarillo Hilton burgers (delicious)


Jackalope Coffee Haus

March 2024 - Amarillo TX to Las Vegas NV


                                                                March 2024 - Tucumcari New Mexico


Saturday Amarillo TX to Gallup NM I'm sorry if there are duplicate photos in the detailed posts and this weekly overview!


Breakfast at the Hilton $22, omelets. I only chose cheese omelet and bacon. John had mushrooms and cheese, sausages and bacon.



Tucumcari NM




Santa Rosa NM


Route 66 Casino Albuquerque NM


Settled into the Hilton in Gallup NM, a large Navajo wedding was taking place.



John enjoyed his steak, however mine was awful and I sent it back and got a steak as well. This was supposed to be a steak sandwich instead it was prepackaged (the server even said that when I returned it) frozen well done steak slices.



Sunday Gallup NM to Las Vegas


Up early on a chilly -3C and had the car loaded by 7:30 after John scraped off the ice. It was a minute drive to Cracker Barrel for breakfast.



Holbrook AZ





This is fresh snow in Flagstaff AZ. It sits at about 7,000 feet (2,100 m).





Seligman AZ




Don't let those blue skies deceive you, it was chilly so we got cappuccinos to go.


Long story...it is in the detailed post, link above.



NEVADA



Checked in!

We were given a $20 voucher for resort use, which I redeemed in the small market for ham, chips and eggs.

We also have a $100 voucher for attending "the update" which we need to use. 




We did a quick trip to Whole Foods (pricey) but quick as well shopped here often before.

Some gluten free items, so far the bread and tortillas are delicious.



Then we settled in for the evening!


Monday steps 8,814

Day 8 first full day 


Monday we attended "the update" with a very unpleasant salesman who looked like Vince Vaughan. There must be a special place in hell for timeshare sales people.




We caught the shuttle around 12:15. While we waited we chatted with a Canadian woman from Vancouver who was here with her two elderly aunts and her autistic daughter. The aunts loved to gamble and the daughter enjoyed places like the Coca-Cola and M&Ms museums.


We walked over to the Linq and had lunch at Chayo. John had AL PASTOR achiote marinated pork, red pickled onions, chile de arbol salsa, roasted pineapple.

I had MEXICAN PHILLY CHEESESTEAK asada steak, bell peppers, onions, jalapeños, melted Mexican cheese, chipotle mayo.

Both were very good.



Selfie Museum - we plan on going. We went on Friday!







A trip to the candy store is one thing. A trip to the 14,000 square-foot I Love Sugar is so next level. Save room for dessert for the next decade because you’ll fulfill your sweet tooth and then some here. There’s even a whole section dedicated to chocolate on this Las Vegas attraction’s second floor. You can also get candy sushi, giant candy boxes and gummy candy pizza.




We did go to the Martini bar but everything contained sugar, something we don't enjoy.






John got a Vegas t-shirt.





We strolled over to Harrah's and happened upon Big Elvis.

Pete Vallee started singing as a teenager at his local church, where he was told he sounded like a young Elvis Presley. He quickly learned to play the guitar and put together an act that he previewed at a school talent contest. He will never forget the incredible response he received from a packed audience of students and parents when he sang “Jailhouse Rock.” From then on, Pete knew he wanted to be an entertainer and modeled his career after his mentor, the King of Rock.


Pete is a clean-cut, good-natured man with a voice that sounds like Elvis. He honors the King in every way and is a collector of Elvis memorabilia. Pete admires the man he pays tribute to each day and tries to stay true to the King’s persona as a performer who loved and was loved by his fans and maintained a sense of loyalty to them.


Pete’s Big Elvis Show is the longest-running Elvis Presley tribute show in Las Vegas, and he has received multiple Best of Las Vegas honors. He has an international following of fans who pack the house for each of his nine shows per week. When Pete sings, his fans come alive, and the party begins. His repertoire consists of over 900 songs, including an abundance of Elvis music, well-known hits, obscure movie tunes, music from other era performers, Gospel, Country (old and new), and Rock ‘n Roll favorites.



Click here for a video.


Elvis' licensing company is no longer allowing Las Vegas businesses to use The King's likeness, which we think is very Grinch-like. Your next Vegas wedding will have to be officiated by Melvis Mresley, the Emperor of Rock and Troll!

Wedding Bells Will Ring is a post I wrote about the wedding chapels.


Outside Harrah's. I did not want King Kong near me!




We headed over to the Horseshoe (Bally's) and wandered around before catching the shuttle back.







We took advantage of the free Margaritas in the lobby.



Tuesday steps 8,596 shopping

Not many photos taken!

We mainly got our bearings, went to the south factory outlets, Total Wine ,Town Square Maxx, and groceries at Alberton's.


Factory outlets, we also had lunch in the food court, Chinese orange chicken for John and I had a LA hot dog.



Albertson's groceries strawberries 2 for $6 compared to Whole Foods 1 for $5.



John did well shopping.

4 shorts, 4 tees, jeans and a golf wind jacket.



Wednesday 

Day 8 and 9

Up at 7 AM


Not much today either. We did laundry. I did pool time.


I took advantage of Wine Down Wednesday! WhileJohn golfed at Eagle Crest with three guys from Alberta.




Thursday 

Up at 7 AM

steps 13,539


2017 Bellagio and Linq.


Was quite a day, click here.

We walked from the condo to the Strip.



We did some shopping, Walgreen's, Target (nothing), Burlington's (John bathing suit/top for me), Ross's 2 bathing suits for me.






New York New York, we've stayed here a few times.

February 2013

Hershey's NY NY Dec 2014

NY NY



What are YOU looking at?



John couldn't understand why I would want to go to Shake Shack when I had all these choices. But it was MY day so we had burgers, first time in a Shake Shack. They are opening the first one in Canada in Toronto this year. We can't say we were impressed.



Cosmopolitan, NY NY,Wyndham Grand View



We headed into the Bellagio.



Click here for lots of  photos Bellagio Spring Flower Show



Back on The Strip.



Front and back! Expensive!

We're heading to Cabo Wabo on the left.






Friday

Up at 7:45 John 8:30

Steps 13,081


This week breakfast has been strawberries and yogurt/cereal.


Click here for the detailed post of our day - WARNING PHOTO HEAVY
















Time for lunch! It wasn't the best cut of meat but it was a decent meal, the fries were delicious as was the peppercorn sauce.



Back on the Strip.




These are not the World's largest arches.




Emeril's Table Ten Venetian 2015

Strip and Gondola Ride 2015







Where does one buy a Buddist monk outfit? 

We were on the Strip and noticed some monks. They come up to people at lightning speed, and somehow put a mala bead bracelet on their wrist  and give them a Kuan YinThese brown robed, floppy hatted ninjas were everywhere!...whatever happened to the porn slappers!

John got this picture of a "monk" having a smoke break at Horseshoe.

 amulet card. Totally fake!







It's not all about me, at all!




COOKING


2012 Food on The Strip


Saturday Gallup Hilton steak sandwich awful

Sunday Las Vegas condo cheeses and crackers

Monday LV lunch out Mexican

Tuesday LV condo rotisserie chicken fajitas

Wednesday LV condo leftover chicken and homemade potato salad

Thursday LV condo salad with hard boiled eggs/ham

Friday LV  Favorite steak frites for lunch. Dinner salad with hard boiled eggs/ham


Route 66 Coffee

Seligman AZ


Saturday 

Steps 7,688


We decided on a lazy day as we had tickets for the hockey game.

We had a big breakfast. John made an omelet with jalapenos, tomatoes, ham and onions. No, no ham, he forgot to put it in, but that was a bonus.


We had planned on an early dinner near the arena but I couldn't get any reservations. So we used the ham for sandwiches.

We did sit outside for a while, the sun was great but the winds were 35 km an hour.



Bundled up for the chilly weather and the arena, we joined the hordes of fans walking to the game.




 

Click here for photos of the T-Mobile Arena and a video.



The roller coaster at New York New York.


To capture the excitement of Las Vegas Boulevard sitting just a block away, the arena opens with an expansive glass façade and sweeping 9,000-square-foot LED screen. An outdoor performance stage and sweeping balconies also radiate energy outward into The Park, a winding landscaped space that weaves the arena together with its neighbors.


Meanwhile, the south and west facades of the arena reflect desert and mountain influences and feature a solid skin that protects against the intense desert sun. This “of the desert” skin wraps the arena with rolling bands of metal that evoke the color and sedimentary layering of the desert mountains.

Once your tickets are scanned they give you a paper copy.




Not something you'd see in most arenas!



Listen to this clip of the national anthem, when the performer sings these lines, the fans all shout out KNIGHTS to replace night.


And the rocket's red glare

The bombs bursting in air

Gave proof through the KNIGHTS

That our flag was still there









We walked back and it was chilly!



Sunday 

Up at 8AM

Steps 13,178

Click  here for a photo laden post of our day. Some of the nicer murals are being saved for Monday Mural.


Started cold and overcast so we dressed in jeans, shoes and jackets. 


Parking lot. We went to Atomic Liquors in 2015 around here.



We took the car to 7th and Carson, that is the name of the restaurant! We had 9:30 breakfast reservations. The oddest tasting Bloody Mary we've ever had, we've no idea what was giving it an almost bitter taste.




V E G E T A R I A N  O M E L E T Peppers, mushroom, spinach, tomato and onion, potatoes and toast $18



T H E  F U L L  I R I S H 2 eggs your way, black and white sausage, bacon, grilled tomato, mushrooms and baked beans fried potatoes $20



After breakfast as we mural hunted around the restaurant, it got so sunny and hot we were lamenting our choice of clothing.





The Shoe is looking a little faded. Click here to see it in 2013.



Container Park


Week 3 Las Vegas 2015





By the time we got to the factory outlets, without jackets, John had to go back to the car (a long way) to get our jackets as it also started spitting. You pay for parking here and it gets very crowded. We bought Sketchers and John got 3 pairs of casual pants.





We then headed to Main St. known as the Art District.







We want to sit down and warm ourselves up! We had macadamia almond lattes.








Heading back along the Strip.






Monday

Monday Mural taken last week in The Park MGM.



Monday


We spent some time in the morning at the pool in the sunshine.


John had an oil change booked for 1PM. We did the same Week 4 in 2015 but the service was much better then.

We got there early, but it wasn't done until 3:30 and we were starving. We had planned on going to In N Out burgers but it had gotten cold and cloudy and we wanted to visit our old stomping ground from 2012-2013 when we spent the winter here.


This was a drive down Memory Lane as we had rented a condo on this side of the Strip in 2012 for a couple of months.

Las Vegas Recap





We had lupper in The Palms, we spent a lot of time here in previous years, going to the $5 movies, which by the way, are still at $5.

Michael now has a place!



We often ate at TGIF's in the Gold Coast, we parked and went in, but the stench of cigarettes made us leave. Most casinos have great ventilation systems, clearly this didn't.



The biggest surprise was seeing that where we had rented the condo had been gutted along with the Siegal Suites, and a residential/commercial complex was built, a vast improvement!



Down the street from Grand Desert is Ellis Island. It is being renovated. We hope to go to it.




Tuesday 

Up at 7:30


Since John was golfing this afternoon and had to leave by 12:15, it was a good morning to get some chores done. I mapped it out and we left at 9AM.

We wanted to hit Whole Foods (GF almond tortillas and bread), Total Wines (stocking up for drive home) and Smith's rotisserie chicken (nope, not ready until 11) so we got 4 huge chicken thighs for $5.50, strawberries, hot sauce, sour cream, coffee.

We also stopped into the factory outlets again.



The view as we leave.



We're on the street behind the Strip, passing by Luxor and Mandalay Bay.

We always love the Irish breakfast in Mandalay Bay.



Even at 9AM they are lining up for photos at the Welcome sign.



Where Whole Foods and Total Wines are.


The mountains still have snow.



See the line up?




Damn, last week the t-shirts were $10 each, this week 2 for $25!




Yum, for me.



John played at Stallion Mountain, where he had played in January 2017Lots of bunnies!





Wednesday 

Up at 7


It was touch and go if we could see our friends, Bill and Carol for breakfast, but we did.

We met at Blueberry Hill at Flamingo and Sandhill. Well, Carol came, Bill was under the weather. We met at 9:30 and chatted until 11:30!!! We missed you, Bill!




We had a free entry ticket for Area 15, but it was closing at 4 for a private event and we couldn't find parking so we left and I ordered a ticket for Friday.


Instead we headed to Las Vegas Healing Garden.




The Las Vegas community came together to build a new community healing garden in response to the Oct. 1 tragedy, when a lone gunman killed 58 people and injured 500 more who were attending the Route 91 Harvest festival. The garden features a wall of remembrance, a grove of trees, shrubs, flowers, walkways of pavers and benches – all to create something beautiful out of something horrific.














Along Main St.



We needed a bio break so went to the Main Street Casino as Carol had mentioned that there were pieces of the Berlin Wall in the men's bathroom.







We attempted to find Perception but couldn't find the parking, and was glad we didn't once I read the reviews. 

We were thinking of going to the Arte Museum but decided we could walk there so it would be crazy to take the car.


We decided it was time to do some sunshine by the pool!


Thursday 

Up 8AM


I made John scrambled eggs and toast as he left for golf around 10. It was sunny and warm, however there was a wind alert.


I headed to the pool before and after lunch. The winds were strong but warm.


John arrived back around 3:45 with a golf shirt, and had a sandwich. He said the winds were strong on the course.




We had dinner Pampas reservations Planet Hollywood 6:30 coupon and gift card but we both looked at the coupon and menu and decided we didn't want to do that, I cancelled.

Instead we walked to Planet Hollywood around 5:30 and winged it for dinner.


Gordon Ramsay's BurGR is still in Planet Hollywood.



John in 2013.



John in 2015.



We sat at The Blue Moon bar and had a drink, beer $12, wine $12. No freebies here or anywhere else in Vegas these days.




John spent $5 playing, in total our "gambling costs" are $5 + $2 (Albuquerque Route 66 Casino) = $7 this trip!! 



We went to Ocean One as recommended by one of the staff at the condo. Why have we never heard of this place??? All lunch meals are $5.99. 

The reviews are excellent! There might be a line up but it moves quickly or opt for the bar as we did.


Ahi tuna for me. Funny foodie story, the first time we had ahi tuna was in Honolulu 1995 and we sent it back because it was "raw", and the server snootily replied "that's how it is supposed to be"!

I am now a huge ahi tuna fan and had to send this one back because it was too well done!

$19.99

The server comped John's beer.John's steak was delicious.Grilled Ribeye

Choice 12 Oz. Ribeye Served With Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus And Cabernet Sauce $24.99

These are amazing prices in Vegas these days!!




The sphere peeking out as we cross to the condo.



Friday

Up at 5:45

Steps 12,018

Click here for lots more photos of our day!


I booked another free entry tickets to Area 15 (Carol wrote about it here)

Billed as a “wanderland of art, music, and amusement,” AREA15 is an immersive collection of attractions minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. Brimming with larger-than-life art installations, mind-altering virtual reality experiences, and full-sensory dining options, the whole affair may evoke thoughts of Burning Man – and that’s no coincidence. In fact, some of the installations you see here came directly from the playa in northern Nevada. Admission to this experiential retail and entertainment complex promises “just about anything you can imagine is real” mentalities, with only one thing required: a want to wonder.



Tickets $10 and up +13 and up only


LIFTOFF is one of the newer AREA15 attractions (opened Feb 2022), offering panoramic skyline views of Vegas.

It’s hard to miss the giant balloon and spiral structure located just outside the main entrance, and it’s the first of its kind built in the US.

When you board, you are all facing inwards with a seatbelt securing you into your seat. It looks like an inverted version of Big Shot at the Strat, except it’s more of a leisure ride for the views than a thrill ride.

The balloon then ascends to the 130-foot summit and spins around so you can enjoy the 360-degree view of the strip and surrounding area.














They had gotten married this morning, he had the t-shirt with the tuxedo on the front. He has a bag in his hand from the Little White Wedding Chapel.





I'd be afraid they wouldn't let me back out!






Some silliness before we leave.



Driving the Strip to the Veterans Memorial, the only other item on today's agenda.




They continue to line up at the TV show's Pawn Stars location.




As we turned down Washington I pointed out the Mormon Museum that we had visited in

 2015.


We also visited the Neon Museum in 2013. 



The Nevada State Veterans Memorial, Las Vegas (NSVM, LV)—A National Tribute—is a monument recognizing the service and sacrifice of Americans, especially Nevada veterans and their families. The two-acre memorial and park features 18 larger-than-life statues, depicting soldiers, from the Revolutionary War to the Global War on Terror and civilians.



 We decided it would be a good day to have lunch at Fremont St.



Lunch at Park on Fremont.



John liked my princess chair.









There's Chucky!







We had planned to go to dinner but after over 12,000 steps we decided to stay in and order pizza.

Instead we got some packing done. Stuff we don't need on the road went into John's suitcase.

We also took a couple of bags down to the car this morning.

The weather doesn't look good for tomorrow so we'll play it by ear.



COOKING


Saturday ham and cheese sandwiches with chips

Sunday spaghetti and meat sauce with Texas toast GF.

Monday Lupper 4PM Panda Express Chinese The Palms

Tuesday condo chicken thighs and potato salad

Wednesday condo chicken fajitas

Thursday Ocean One Planet Hollywood 

Friday condo ordered pizza



APRIL 2024

Brioche

 

April 2024 -  Las Vegas NV - Des Moines IA


                                                            March 2024 - Paris Casino Las Vegas NV



Saturday March 30 Las Vegas

Steps 10,385


Cold, cloudy, rainy day. We played on our computers in the morning and had leftover pizza for lunch.

We did some more packing up. We changed our strategy. We decided to use my suitcase on wheels as our overnighter bag instead of our usual overnighter. We packed up John's suitcase and the overnighter with stuff we wouldn't need on the drive home. Those two bags and John's workout bag are already in the car.

It is pouring rain at 3PM as we catch the shuttle to The Horseshoe (Bally's). We've been in Vegas in the winter so we know cold weather, overcast, sprinkley rain and snow, dust storms but never constant rain like this and it never let up.







Over to Caesar's Palace. Hell's Kitchen now has its own building.

Looking back on my posts, when we went to Ramsay's Steak (pictured above in Paris) in January 2013 they had the Hell's Kitchen menu but not a Hell's Kitchen location as such.














It is cold out and raining!




We tried to get a drink in two Caesar's bars, one was Ramsay's Bar and Grill, we got seats but to get served was another thing! And their glasses of wine started at $18!


Since we planned to have dinner at Ellis Island off The Strip and very close to the condo, we said, screw it and went there for a drink before dinner.

Wine was $8 a glass and a beer was $4 a pint compare that to The Strip at $12+!


Prime rib $35! They also do a steak special that is not on the menu, just ask for it.

TOTAL GAMBLING EXPENDITURE = $2 + $5 + $4 = $11



Sunday March 31 

It is John's birthday!! And Easter.

And I am up at 6:40!!!



We are leaving today to drive to Salt Lake City. We made an omelet for breakfast using up the last three eggs, ham, cheese and fried potatoes.

We finished up the last of the packing, triple checked we didn't miss anything. We were in the car at 9:45.


We didn't stop for anything other than gas/bathroom breaks. Click here for the drive.

We got comfy at the Hilton in Salt Lake City and ordered room service for dinner. We had salads and a side of salmon (me) and beef tips for John.


Monday and it happens to be a holiday here so not much was open.

Steps 9,568


Monday Mural from Las Vegas Art District.




We hung around in the morning, John got Starbucks (Marriott) and then headed out around noon.

It was spitting rain on and off and pretty chilly!



Temple Square was a little disappointing as most of the buildings are under renovation 2019 - 2026!


Bathroom at Temple Square.


Not open.



Lunch

Pork belly.




We got back around 3:30 and it was really raining and then it cleared.


Tuesday

Steps 16,056

Click here for the day's details.


We slept in! I got us Starbucks and then we headed out for brunch at Eggsburgh in the Hilton Peery Hotel.

John's Denver omelet and hash browns. I had a fried egg, bacon and toast and ate most of John's fruit.

We had a much nicer day for sightseeing!