Toronto!

Fresh from our adventure in Wisconsin, we caught a plane to Toronto, with a stop in Detroit. We gate-checked our luggage, which was apparently a mistake; we arrived in Toronto, but our bag didn’t. More on that later.

We were starving when we landed, so we found a local poutine joint to fuel up. This isn’t canonical poutine, of course – the dish was invented somewhere in Quebec – but it’s a lot closer than we get in Portland.

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Our first afternoon was spent on the phone with Delta, trying in vain to figure out what happened with our luggage. Fortunately, it was only clothes that we were missing; we still had our cameras and my laptop (with my presentation), so it was merely an inconvenience, not disaster. The biggest problem was the lack of cold-weather gear. We were dressed for a flight, not for urban hiking in 7°C weather. We bought some basic toiletries and soldiered on, assuming our bag would turn up in a day or so. We were so naïve.

That evening we blew off some steam with a delightful farm-to-table meal at Origin. They also had great drinks. The next morning, Becky’s cousin John, his lovely wife Jenn, and their charming son Isadore (“Iz”) joined us. They’ve lived near Toronto for years and years, so they took us on the locals-only tour to an amazing brunch and filled our ears with sparkling conversation.

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John had dome some serious homework; here’s what he sent when he heard we were coming to town:

We also managed to find good coffee. We haven’t had terribly good luck with north-American cities for this, so it bears mentioning.

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I think of John as a fellow nerd. We had plenty to talk about, and apparently we’re occasionally photogenic.

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They also showed us the quirky shopping neighborhoods. Iz likes that vinyl sound.

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Here’s the most emblematic photo of this part of our trip: wearing the same clothes as we landed in, hiking the slushy streets of a beautiful, charming city.

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During one of our many phone conversations with Delta Airlines, they assured us our bag was being delivered. We arrived home, filled with excitement, and found… the wrong bag. At this point we gave up thinking we’d see our bag again, and resigned ourselves to a half-day at the mall (just how we wanted to spend our vacation with old friends) getting a change of clothes. We made a couple of stops on the way home that night, and John the Mixologist stirred up something he calls The Delta Blues.

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The next day, when the shopping was done, we celebrated by eating really bad food. Now, we’re Portlanders, so when someone says “These are the best doughnuts ever!” we tend to react with a raised eyebrow. “Oh, really?” we respond, smirking. They took us to Glory Hole, which is superficially similar, but the dishes are in a different category altogether – Voodoo’s offerings are about childhood nostalgia; these are doughnuts that are all grown-up. Clockwise from top-left: Lemon Meringue, Buttered Toast, “The Elvis” with marshmallow, The Beernut, Mocha almond Fudge, and Stuffing with Bacon. That’s right, a doughnut that tastes like thanksgiving. Iz slept through the whole thing.

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Pushing through our doughnut coma, we bid a fond farewell to our junk-food buddies as they dropped us at the train station.

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