This post is going to be a little bit different (i.e. not all food), because after all, it was a Girls’ Weekend in Toronto and we happened upon some fabu shopping and pampering spots that I’d like to share
But it is fitting that I should start this out with our brunch at Lady Marmalade since this was a reunion of ladies who love their brunch. Seriously, I think a majority of our friendship has been spent at brunch, thinking about brunch, recalling past brunches…
Lady Marmalade is a sunny little brunch-all-day spot serving up an eclectic mix of dishes including a whole array of bennies, poutines, rice bowls, and sandwiches. There’s some French influence (crepe croque monsieur), Asian flavor (tofu scramble), and a touch of Mexican (huevos racheritos). There’s definitely something for everyone here.
However, if I had to pick one, the Aged White Cheddar & Spinach Waffles are a total win. The savory waffle is smothered in a smoky tomato-orange cream sauce, sprinkled with scallions, and generously draped with bacon. Served with roasted tomatoes and a side salad of tender greens in miso-soy dressing, the whole package is nicely balanced.
Happily sated, let’s move on to the activities at hand…
BATHING SUITE SHOPPING: MELMIRA
Destination bathing suit shopping. Yes, I do realize I just went from cream sauce and bacon to stripping down to our skivvies, food baby and all. Apologies, there is simply no smooth way to make this transition, so just go with it. As weird as it sounds, we flew all the way to Toronto to get a bathing suit from this very special boutique. We had admired the glam pin-up girl bikini that Julie showed off at her beach wedding weekend years ago. Actually, we all admitted to thinking about that suit more often than was probably normal, and now that we were in Toronto, we finally had our chance to get one!
Shopping for bathing suits is never fun – things don’t fit right, you’re in a claustrophobic fitting room with a mess of hangers and suits, the fluorescent lights make you feel extra wintry pale…let’s just say it’s usually not the most pleasant experience. Melmira managed to change all of that.
This remarkable family-owned lingerie and swimwear boutique (started by Melanie Heenan and now run by her four daughters) takes all the stress and anxiety out of looking for the perfect bathing suit. We arrived for our fitting appointments and were ushered into our softly lit dressing rooms. The “fitting” portion consisted of me raising my arms as my lovely fitter Leah briefly patted my sides and waist. That’s it? Yup. We chatted about the styles and colors I liked and then in a flash, she was gone. She came back with a stack of options. As I tried each on, we critiqued them together with the “likes” set aside and the “dislikes” tossed neatly into a basket. As I sipped my mint tea, my bathing suit fairy would flit off and pull more selections for me from the stock room. The Heenan girls really know their stuff. Leah was intuitive to my tastes, knew exactly what would flatter my shape, and selected a few suits I would never think to try on.
The bad news…I think I’m ruined. I’ll never want to go bathing suit shopping anywhere else now. The suits are pricey, but then again, these aren’t one-season suits. I’m in love with the styles from Shan. Now, the only thing missing is a sandy white beach and an umbrella drink!
After a rough day shopping, we treated ourselves to a little pampering! Jules took us to this fun, trendy salon called MoSheTa. The vibe was Japanese punk rocker-meets-graffiti artist-meets-Betsy Johnson. I discovered my new favorite color to welcome in sandal season: OPI’s Mod-ern Girl, a bright coral-tangerine.
OK, back to the food. Here are some spots worth checking out…
MORE TORONTO EATS
Pizzeria Libretto (Casual Dinner) – cute spot churning out Neapolitan-Style Pizza with crispy, puffy, slightly charred crust cooked in less than 90 seconds at 850 degrees. The flavor of the dough was great and the texture hit the mark. The Ontario Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza with garlic, tomato, oregano, and shaved grana padano was my favorite. Also dug the warm Mixed Marinated Olives. Bonus points for the homage to street art and the Banksy prints on the bathroom doors.
Fresh (Light Lunch) – dizzying array of fresh, healthy, tasty, vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options. Interesting salads, tons of smoothies and fruit juices (like Avocado Smoothie with Banana, Spinach, and Coconut Water and Beet Root Frappe with Apple, Carrot, Ginger, and Nutmeg), oh and Quinoa-battered Onion Rings — whaaat?!
Yuzu (Date Night) – Spacious and elegant, with soft flattering light, and screamingly fresh sushi that is artfully presented. The butter fish sashimi was ridiculous. This is the sister restaurant to the funkier, close-quartered Japango.
Barque Smokehouse (Refined BBQ) – and finally, I have to give a shout out to Barque. While four girls, a baby, and a hyperactive chocolate lab overran his house, Julie’s husband, Jonathan, was busy getting his new restaurant up and running! The place was still in construction when we were there so I can’t weigh in on the food yet, but I did get a sneak peek at the monstrous smoker shipped from Tennessee (and a room stacked full of apple wood to go with it). The early word on the street is good though, and I can’t wait for my next visit to Toronto so I can sink my teeth into some of those ribs!
898 Queen Street East (at Logan Ave)
3319 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M4N 2L9
588 Yonge St (at Wellesley)
Toronto, ON M4Y 1Z3, Canada
534 Queen St West
Toronto, ON M5V, Canada
221 Ossington Avenue
Toronto, ON M6J 2Z8, Canada
336 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON M5S 2J4, Canada
147 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON M5V 2L7, Canada
894 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M6J, Canada
236 Adelaide St W
Toronto, ON M5H 1W7, Canada
Toronto, ON M6R 2M3, Canada