The sun sets late in Edmonton in the summer. The shot above was taken at the brand-spanking-new Marriott Renaissance Hotel at Edmonton International Airport … at 10:00PM. Very cool. The hotel is built-in the W Hotel-style and I would certainly recommend it (meals aside, which still need a lot of attention). After a little business with the University of Alberta, I was off to London to visit family and then met G back in Toronto for a journey out to Kingston to visit Scots-on-the-Rocks Ann. It’s been eons (3 years in fact) since we visited Ann and it was terrific to see her again.
4) me scoring 4 out of 5 sunk ships at the new Fort Henry Discovery Centre in Kingston
From London we VIA-oned our way back to Toronto to spend time catching up with friends we’ve not seen since moving West. We crashed, with thanks, at Lady Sarah and Lord Phil’s new home and were fortunate to join them for dinner at Canoe. We enjoyed an awesome meal at what is Toronto’s best Japanese restaurant, the outstanding Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto at the Japanese Culture Centre on Don Mills Road and spent an evening bbq-ing with friends at our place at Yonge/Eglinton. Two of these couples – Dr Rob/Maria and Karen/John now have children!
10) returning to Lady Sarah’s we cracked open these, followed by a bottle of red wine and a bottle of champagne, which, after a bottle of champagne, an awesome Argentinan red and bourbon sours at Canoe was probably not the wisest move … lesson learned
16) Kwan (at Yonge / St Clair) is the newest dim sum place downtown – it’s excellent and makes the drive to Markham or Richmond Hill redundant
A highlight of our trip east was a visit to Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto at the Japanese Culture Centre. Hashimoto’s is a family run business: Chef Masaki Hashimoto, wife Sachiko (who handles front of house) and son Kei (who guides us through the 8 picture perfect courses and the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony which concludes the dinner). Typically, they seat one table each night; yes one table. Guests are transported back to Japan in the 17th century when kaiseki dining was birthed. Essentially, kaiseki is the haute cuisine of Japan with a religious devotion to the freshest ingredients served in season. Conde Nast Traveller magazine last October asked whether or not Hashimoto’s was, in fact, the most extraordinary restaurant in the world (see here). You’ll have to be the judge of that yourself and all I can say is if you’re ever in Toronto; go! Dinner (which included meal & tea ceremony, a bottle of sake and a bottle of white wine, tax and tip) will run you about CAD$450/per person.
We flew back to Vancouver in time for this year’s Gastown Grand Prix cycling race that takes place – literally – outside our condo. We invited Barb & Darrin over for the evening and enjoyed many a bottle of craft beer between wandering the streets of Gastown to watch the race.