The Dickinson tour

Totally forgot to talk about brother #1’s visit last Sunday. That’s been a rarity — living abroad has meant brother #1’s excursions to Toronto have been few and far between.

After picking him up at his hotel and escaping the hordes of Jays fans + World Cup of Hockey attendees, I took him on a gastro tour familiar to any Dickinson brother: Quantum for coffee, Wvrst for drinks, and Patria for some dinner. It was a beautiful fall day but did cool off a bit. Still, with Patria’s outdoor heaters it was just warm enough to sit outside, even in my t-shirt.

.:.

Cover photo by Tom Magliery, used under Creative Commons license

Another prime

Last year my birthday was an epic spin through Quebec, with friends and beer and Relaxios and adventure aplenty. This year we went in a different direction: we’ve both been working a lot, and just wanted to relax and prep for our upcoming trip. So we went to the market, bought a bunch of travel shit at MEC, had coffee at Quantum, and ate lunch at Wvrst. While Nellie continued shopping I skyped with some family, talked to other family on the phone, watched the nephew and nieces sing happy birthday to me on video, and had a bit of nap. (Birthdays!)

Nellie grilled some killer ribeyes for dinner, which we paired with a 2007 Fielding Cabernet Sauvignon, and we had a few bites from Soma for dessert. It could not have been more unlike last year’s extravaganza, but it was just as fine a birthday.

.:.

Cover photo by Stephen Mackenzie, used under Creative Commons license

Cover photo from Quantum Coffee's site

A day off (sort of)

On Friday I took a vacation day from work. Of course, I still had to work; I just did it from home, and a few other spots.

After making myself an espresso at home I had a meeting at Dineen Coffee. I took the streetcar across King and had lunch (and some tasty beers) at Wvrst. Then more coffee at Quantum, where I tried their cappuccino and espresso and got a couple hours of work done — that place is quickly becoming one of my new favourite places in the city.

Side note: four strong coffees before 4:00 leaves one fairly jumpy.

Last night Nellie and I ordered Indian, drank Two Sisters Riesling, and finished season 1 of Jessica Jones.

.:.

Cover photo from Quantum Coffee’s site

Cover photo by Thomas Cizauskas, used under Creative Commons license

Crawl II

Three weeks after doing a mini craft beer pub crawl (Volo, Bellwoods, Bar Hop) with our friend Amanda, we did another yesterday with her visiting sister Becky. This time we hit Bryden’s, Indie Ale House, Bellwoods again, and Wvrst.

Bryden’s was unremarkable, except in that it introduced the ladies to the Local 7 Session Saison. Bellwoods was fairly disappointing this time; my Wizard Wolf was fine but the No Rest For The Wicked sour stout just wasn’t enjoyable. And Wvrst was great, both for the sausage and for our drinks — I had a Silversmith Funzover Dunkel and a Péché Mortel, which Becky also tried and loved.

But the real star of the day was Indie Ale House. Somehow Nellie and I had never been, despite its reputation. It certainly lived up to the rep, and more: the beer was fantastic (especially the Fallen Idol Belgian sour), our food (especially the fried chicken) was outstanding, and we loved the feel and décor of the place. If we lived closer this place would be our new local. We’ll need to find an excuse to return to the Junction, I guess.

.:.

Cover photo by Thomas Cizauskas, used under Creative Commons license

Arf

One of the brothers is in town, and we’ve been having some low-key Dickinson-esque fun. Last night we went to Wvrst to have some tasty sausages and beer, got into a deep discussion regarding Game Of Thrones, and shot some strangers in a few Call Of Duty deathmatches.

Today we  perused St. Lawrence Market, sucked back some Fahrenheit coffee, introduced him to The Newsroom, strolled happily among the dogs at Woofstock, had some frigging delicious sandwiches at the Hogtown Smoke food truck, and drank cold beers in the warm sun on the patio at the Bier Markt.

"It's pronounced verst."

 After a very long week, Nellie and I wanted some place to relax, drink a few good pints of beer, and eat some great food. I convinced her that we should take a chance on Wvrst (ratebeer), a place on King West I’ve been wanting to try for a while.

And man, did it pay off. We had a great night. We’re already anxious to go back.

Here’s why we liked it so much:

  1. The space is pretty different: it was a giant beer hall with communal tables, somewhat smaller tables along the side, a long bar, and a kitchen on the south wall. We chose to sit at the bar; everything else seemed to be reserved.
  2. The atmosphere was pretty unlike what I’d expect to find at a newish place on King West. Read: not at all douchey. It was a very young crowd, but there were no popped collars or sunglasses on backs of necks. These, we would discover later, were unofficial house rules of the place. Which made us like it more.
  3. The house speciality, as the name suggests, was sausage. Many, many kinds of sausage. I went basic with a calabrese, but can’t wait to try some of the more advanced options like venison or wild boar or kangaroo. You could also choose whether to eat the sausage on a bun or in a tomato curry sauce; I chose the latter. Nellie, meanwhile, had a pile of Belgian-style fries with chipotle and maple/rosemary dipping sauces. I ended up eating a lot of those too.
  4. The beer selection was very solid indeed. I had a Dieu du Ciel Route des Epices, a Black Oak nut brown, a Central City Red Racer, and a Dieu du Ciel Peche Mortel. Nellie had equally tasty selections. While we both steered toward Canadian offerings, they had some interesting international bottles on offer as well. Definitely worth some return visits.

Throughout the course of the evening we ended up meeting the manager Bram, who gave us a couple of samples and introduced us to Justin from the Beer Academy. Twitter: helping tipsy introverts meet each other since 2009.

If I weren’t still full of turkey (MLK and CBGB had us over last night; we ate their food and they drank our wine…the perfect symbiotic relationship!) I’d be there right now.