Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Toast to Toast Restaurant

While going on and on about my love of good food the other day, I mentioned eating a 900 calorie sandwich. Or, thereabouts anyways ;)

It then occurred to me that the photographic evidence of this sandwich was still hiding on my camera’s memory card. It appears I am consuming fantastic food so quickly in Toronto, I can’t even keep up with it.

As I’ve mentioned several times, my Toronto neighbourhood is what I deem “Land of the Brunch.” Leslieville is chock full of 30-something 9-to-5ers with money to spare on a late Sunday morning. I’ve been slowly whittling down my list of brunch places to try. With three places left, my friends and I decided we’d finally give Toast Restaurant a try.

I’ve passed this place at least twice a day since moving to Toronto. From the outside, it looks like a super small place with nothing but this quaint toast and wine glass sign overhead. I’ll admit, I ignored it. And I’ll tell you right now, wrongfully so.

Like most brunch spots, Toast is indeed super small inside. I’m starting to believe this is just so they can boast of line-ups out the front door. The decor inside was eclectic and cozy. The perfect atmosphere to chat with my hungover friends and sip on the holy juice.

Sweet, sweet coffee. Breakfast/brunch is the only time I’ll ever order a beverage with a meal. One needs caffeine to stomach the first meal of the day. Especially when your meal is a 900 calorie sandwich.

Yes my friends. That would be a Monte Cristo: Shaved black forest ham and Swiss cheese on challah dipped in egg batter and lightly fried Served with potato hash and house salad.

I have never had a Monte Cristo before and knew it had to happen as soon as I looked at the menu. Calories be damned. French-toasting a sandwich is just too awesome ignore. Yes, awe inspiring. Fluffy egg bread, heaps of melty cheese and layer after layer of fine quality ham. I loved every bite. Especially the bites that I loaded with greasy shaved hashbrowns on the fork too.

Not to be outdone, my roommie Megan ordered the Cranberry Cream Cheese French Toast.

Slices of challah stuffed with cranberry and cream cheese with fresh fruit and pure maple syrup with a choice of bacon, farmer’s sausage, peameal bacon or potato hash. I had a bite and it was dreamy. Challah bread is made for french toast. And there was a lot of it on this plate!

While the two girls at the table polished off their monster-sized brunches, we realized the boy at the table probably ordered the healthiest dish of us three.

Scrambled Eggs.

Scrambled eggs with a choice of smoked bacon, farmer’s sausage or peameal bacon served with a side house salad, potato hash and toast. From the looks of it, Toast even gets this simple dish right.

I can’t believe it took me so long to try this cute little restaurant out. Just another example of why you should never judge a restaurant from its exterior! Only two more brunch places left in Leslieville. Although, I think I’ll leave the 900 calorie sandwiches to Toast ;)

Ground Rules

Listen. If I’m going to be out of commission for several weeks with an injury, I need to set some ground rules. Things to keep me sane. Things to get me through.

I’ve been off the pain meds now for three days and am suddenly seeing my situation with a new set of eyes. My mind is saying “go go go.” But my body just isn’t there yet. So here is my swift kick in the behind. I can’t promise to follow them all. But I know I’ll need the reminder.

1. Don’t get depressed

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My mom says depression is common in people recovering from injuries preventing the use of a limb. I can totally see why. It’s a fine line between frustration of not being able to do the things I want to do, and totally giving up. I am not a recluse. I have people to talk to who love me. My life can still be awesome. Just with a minor inconvenience. Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da.

2. Take it easy

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Guilt is a deeply embedded emotion. I feel a lot of guilt about not being able to do certain things now. Especially because I can still do them mentally, just not physically. I am healing. My body is working overtime to heal itself. I’m not crazy for not working, turning down party invites or not even walking to the corner store.

3. Do my exercises

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With that said, I can’t let my health get away from me. I still need to get up and move around, even if only puttering around the house. I need to keep stretching everyday, my flexibility is something I can maintain in a cast and don’t want to lose. But this is especially for when I start physiotherapy. I MUST DO THE EXERCISES. As a personal trainer I know how important the “lame” physio exercises are to recovery.

4. Fend for myself

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I am my own best advocate. My sister has done an amazing job taking care of me, but I need to take a little more responsibility. I need to learn how to operate on my own with this injury. But I also need to learn to ask for help when I need it. I especially need to learn how to tell people on the crowded Toronto subway to back the fuck off from my casted arm. (I’ll drop an f-bomb if I need to!)

5. Don’t use food for comfort

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I’m lonely. I’m by myself all day. I’m bored. Food can’t, and shouldn’t, be used to cure all these emotions. I’m not exercising, I can’t use one arm, I don’t need to gain an extra 10 lbs too. But I also can’t obsess about this!! Eat nutritious food, only when hungry. It’s amazing how often I eat when not hungry.

6. Challenge myself

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Okayokay. I am definitely not skating again anytime soon after my accident. But I also don’t want to let this be an excuse to let fear hold me back. Even on a smaller day-to-day basis, I need to challenge myself to do things I haven’t done since my surgery. Like go out or make a new dish. I cut a bagel with one hand the other day. That was amazing.

7. Remember the big picture

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In the grand scheme of life, this is but a minor blip. Not being able to use my arm for 3-6 months won’t mean much 40 years from now (unless it gives me arthritis). It just seems like a lot because my life currently revolves around my being able to be physical. But it doesn’t have to. Maybe it’s not supposed to!

 

I must say the timing of this accident has turned out to be rather serendipitous. I had big plans for the end of March that are now being accelerated. I have mixed emotions about this and still have a lot of logistics to figure out on my end. Mostly “What am I going to do?? When?? HOW!??”

I think this is why this injury has had such a big impact on me. It didn’t just screw up my arm. But it screwed up plans that were months in the making. But like I said before, who am I to argue with the path the universe has laid out for me? So these are my rules to get me through healthy and with my head on straight :)

The Foodie and The Fitness Buff

It is safe to say that I have three great loves in life:
1) Writing
2) Fitness
3) Food

But I find two of these loves are always butting heads. It’s hard to be a fit, healthy, fitness buff when I care so much about finding the best pancake in Toronto.

It used to be a lot easier. Like back when I lived in my small bachelorette apartment in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Sorry to Fredericton, but your restaurants suck. Even for New Brunswick.

So any great food I ate came out of my closet-sized kitchen. A place where I typically churned out easy healthy meals made for one. Having no friends meant I had no one to share great food with. Such as say, two dozen cookies.

Then I moved to the city. And there was so. much. food. Indian, Italian, Mexican, French, Greek, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian, Meatitarian. Things I’d never heard of and only dreamed of.

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I can walk down my street and pass a bakery on every other block. I can cross the street and get the world’s best homemade sausages. I never eat at the same restaurant twice, and yet I’ve barely made a dent in the 10,000 establishments my city has to offer. I spend my days reading restaurant reviews and drooling. Or exotic recipes featuring ingredients I can actually buy. Toronto sent my foodie head spinning and I am now more fascinated by food than ever.

On the flipside, I am also now a fitness professional. I am supposed to be the image of a healthy life. Low body fat, lean muscle, clean eats. I am always telling my clients to eat the freshest, healthiest foods. But then I have plans to go do something crazy like eat bacon covered in chocolate.

I have noticed that those who eat for fitness simply don’t care that much about food or cooking. That’s not to say they don’t care about eating what’s tasty. But they just don’t love it like us foodies do. They’re content eating cottage cheese and raw almonds for lunch because they care more about their fitness goals than what they eat.

But to me, food is more than just a way to fuel my body. It’s an experience. An art. Something to be sought out and assembled with care. Flavours, textures, emotions are all very important to me. It makes me feel like a fraud in the fitness industry. Because after my session of intervals and pyramid sets, I’m meeting up with my roommie to try the best cheeseburger in town. Or maybe whip up a batch of fish tacos.

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A lot of people work out so they can eat what they want. I’ll admit, I sometimes do this too. If I know I’m going out drinking, then I make sure I get a long run in. But fitness doesn’t burn off everything. Burning 400 calories on the elliptical doesn’t make up for my 900 calorie monte cristo (wait – I still have to blog about that!). And as the old saying goes “You can’t out train a bad diet.”

I’m not saying healthy food can’t be delicious. Because I’ll be the first to tell you massaged kale salads are probably the best lunch ever. But I just can’t do fat-free muffins. Or make a pizza without the cheese. It’s wrong. And why eat food when it’s not the best that it can be?

Loving food at the level I do and maintaining a healthy bodyweight is hard. I don’t think anyone should pretend it’s easy. I also want to be a good role model for fitness. But I don’t feel like that’s possible when my favourite ingredient is butter.

I am still learning about creating a healthy balance with each passing day. If I had melt-in-your-mouth croissants for breakfast (ahem, like today), then I should probably prepare a protein and produce heavy lunch. But make sure that’s damn tasty too. Because we all know the healthiest stuff can be the tastiest stuff too.

So that is my tale of the Foodie and The Fitness Buff. Two loves that are always butting heads. Two loves that I refuse to choose over, but will never fully succumb to while the other still exists.

Thank god I still have writing ;)

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