Sunday, May 27, 2007

Beer Fest 2007

It was our first time at the Avila Beer Festival yesterday and we had a great time enjoying the sunshine, friends, and beer (for Ben - I being a minimal beer drinker enjoyed my usual water and soda)!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Foodie Lover's Week

I was greeted at the airport by a smiling Ben, even though it was at the awful hour of 2am (or since I was still on Eastern time - 5am), after arriving on a flight that was much better then the previous one. I, along with S, was in Toronto attending the American Society for Microbiology's annual meeting. The conference included seminars as well as a poster presentation for a co-worker. Here's the highlights of Toronto (outside of the conference):

Cheese Boutique - On the second day, S and I tried out the subway system which took us out to the Old Bloor Street Neighborhood. We were in search of the famous Cheese Boutique he had read about in a magazine. After 2 hours of wandering we found it and walked away with $20 worth of AMAZING cheese that we snacked on as we hiked back to the subway.
Art Gallery of Ontario - It was FREE on Wednesday night, which is good as it is undergoing major construction until 2008 and so there were only two exhibits.
Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art - It is FREE on Friday night but at regular price it is worth it. It was a very different museum which I enjoyed.
Royal Ontario Museum - It is reduced cost on Friday night and I recommend that. I honestly thought the museum was highly overrated and not worth the cost (many of the exhibits seemed artificial). The highlight was their special exhibit - Treasures of Peru - which I felt was interesting. They also have a large Asian exhibit, though I wasn't that impressed as I saw a majority of the items at the Gardiner Museum and in China.
Bata Shoe Museum - It is FREE on Thursday night but it was closed for a private event so we couldn't get in. I am disappointed as it looked like a very interesting and unique museum.
Niagara Falls - We were here for about two hours, just enough time to grab some pictures and enjoy lunch with a great view. If we had more time we would have tried a boat ride into the mist - it looked like fun!

I know you are not supposed to talk about where you ate on your blog (it's even a title of a book!), but the week did center around hitting the top restaurants:

Il Fornello - This restaurant was on the Harborfront and was within walking distance of the conference. The food wasn't anything special but it wasn't expensive and the view of the Islands was good.
Canoe - This very elegant restaurant was on the 54th floor of the Toronto Bank Tower and gave a wonderful view of the financial district at night.
360 (CN Tower) - The restaurant is at the top of the CN Tower (the world's tallest building) which was next to our conference location. The food was good but very expensive for lunch (everything reminded me of the Space Needle in Seattle). A benefit was that we were able to go out onto the observation deck and glass floor for free.
Lobby - A very cool lounge/bar and here is where I had the best drink (Lemon Meringue Martini)!
Drake Hotel - Awesome rooftop bar, called the Sky Yard, complete with couches!
Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner - A very nice cafe that is great for lunch.
The Boiler House - S and I took a taxi over to the Distillery District which is considered Old Toronto. The area isn't very big, so we just walked around as we were a little early for our reservation. It was Jazz Night at the restaurant and the atmosphere was wonderful. I would also vote this as the place where I had the best dessert (raspberry, mango, and lemon sorbets).

To summarize - What a week!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

On the road again....

This week has gone by so fast! It is hard to get back into a good routine when you have just returned from a trip and are leaving for another one shortly (heading out today to a week-long conference in Toronto). Ben laughs at my whining as this is what he does on a consistent basis. A big positive note is that I did get back into my gym routine (yay for me!) that was majorly thrown off due to all of the traveling. Also, Ben and I for the first time took a very nice evening walk instead of driving to downtown Paso to see the Spiderman 3 movie on Friday night. This healthy activity (and Jesse's great results at Wildflower) had me pack my gym clothes as well (look at me go - working out on the road)! Thinking back on my week, I also did squeeze in some good social time (Tuesday Night Bunko, lunches, and parties) so it was a fast but great week!

Update - Well I made it to Toronto after the 5-hour flight from hell. I was sitting in front of a mother with two very ill-behaved children and was subjected to (along with everyone else in the area) screaming, squealing, and kicking. Luckily the situation became much better due to earplugs, a seat change immediately after takeoff, and the first 3.5 episodes of Footballer's Wives - Season 2 on Sal's portable DVD player!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

I just got back from Emily's 21st birthday weekend in Vegas and it was absolutely fabulous! It was just the three of us as Heather decided not to go because she is not yet 21 (hmmm I am thinking a trip in December 2009!). We spent the hot days laying by the Monte Carlo pool and the nice evenings hitting the restaurants, casinos, and bars until 4am! The best time was had catching up with everything while enjoying drinks and appetizers in the quiet atmosphere of the Eiffel Tower Restaurant before our flight home.

Happy 21st Emily ~ here she is winning the most of all of us - $12!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Something Happened...

...on April 23rd in Brugge, Belgium!