1 Jul 2008
It's finally summer! Hope you are all getting out, trying to get some sun and enjoying some nice weather.
To my friends in Canada, HAPPY CANADA DAY!!! To my friend, Tracy, I hope your birthday is a blast! Wish I was in BC with you! (Gosh...I miss you and being out West! Don't get me started. I'll get all teary-eyed.).
For the past month in my little corner of the world, we have experienced some pretty freaky storms! I have heard from one of you, at least, talk about seeing funnel clouds or what I call close encounter of the TORNADO kind! In the Greater Toronto Area, we saw lightning, thunder and downpours (hooray for free car wash!) and hail in different parts of the city. One day, our power went out as a result a storm. So, it hasn't been dull, for sure.
I was at an outdoor Luminato show one night, but, it rained out. I had to seek shelter alone in my friend's car, during the thunder, lightning and rain as it poured down. It was a bit scary at first, not to mention blinding. However, I finally took out my bag of Sunchips, put on my sunglasses, and watched nature in action - it was quite a heavenly orchestra. Yes, an orchestra with lightning flashing across the sky...then...KABOOM! CRASH! BANG! Some crackling and again....BOOM! It was a lot more exciting that the Luminato "Slow Dancing" movie. Let's just say that the action was a lot faster! LOL. Well, hopefully, the angels will finish their bowling tournament soon... BOOM!!! Now, don't forget to wear rubber soles (not steel) when you are out there during a lightning storm. Love my rubber shoes and those rubber tires on a car!
Are you looking for something to do in July? Here are some ideas.
Summerlicious - July 4-20, 2008
For the past several years, I have joined my fellow food enthusiastic friends and headed out for some fine dining at restaurants we do not normally dine at during the annual Summerlicious and Winterlicious festivities. This year, over 130 restaurants in the GTA are participating in Summerlicious and will have the opportunity to show off some of the best on their menus. Each restaurant will offer a three-course, prix-fixe menu ($15 or $25 for lunch; $25 or $35 for dinner).
In mid-July, my friends and I are gearing up our palates to feast at The Superior, located across from the Eaton Centre. What shall I try? GEORGIAN BAY WHITEFISH oven roast with saffron rice pilaf and baby vegetables? GNOCCHI charred tomatoes, Swiss chard and toasted pine nuts in a roasted garlic olio? Well there's more but I'm going to stop or I'm going to be hungry! Well, I'm definitely looking forward to it!
Here are some tips to get started on your Summerlcious experience (based on personal experience, as well as from friends):
1. Make reservations early in the event
If you really want to take advantage of this dining experience, call the restaurant soon if you haven't already done so. July 4th is just around the corner! Many restaurants are booked far in advance, especially during peak days and at dinner time. This event is presented by American Express, and although it's too late for those of you who are AMEX card holders to reserve through "Front of the Line" (which could have been done on June 17th and 18th), reservations are now being taken (since June 19th). You do have over 130 restaurants to choose from, so, pick a few restaurants, just in case you are not able to book your first choice.
2. Call during the dinner hour
Some restaurants are not open for lunch. Instead of leaving a voicemail message, call to make reservations during the dinner hour and you will surely get through. This tip was from a friend and it has worked for me a couple times.
3. If you cannot make reservations on a weekend or close to weekend, try booking earlier in the week
Thursday to Sunday nights are usually popular nights for dining out. If the night you want to reserve is full, ask the restaurant which nights are available. You may be offered seatings between Monday to Wednesday.
4. Be flexible about the time/seating
Oftentimes, restaurants will offer two seatings for dinner during Summerlicious. If you are very interested in trying a restaurant and you don't want to try any other, perhaps you and your companion(s) can be more flexible - early seating (around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.) will fill up the quickest. Before you call to reserve, I would suggest that you find out if your companion(s) are willing to try the later seating (probably around 7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m.).
If you prefer to have lunch, as you may already know, it can be very busy, so, make sure you have ample time.
One of the toughest things to decide is whether or not you would go back to the restaurant again after Summerlicious. Servers can be super busy. The food could come at a slower pace than usual. You may have to deal with large parties of people, which adds to the frustration of having to wait for a table, even when you do make reservations, as well as for the food to arrive. All I can say is, if service, and not food, is disappointing, give these restaurants another try, but, not during during Summerlicious or WInterlicious.
Ontario - Things To Do
If you are not sure what to do this summer and need some ideas, check out the website above on Festivals and Events happening all over Ontario. I love the easy-to-use Ontario "Festivals & Events" guidebook and you can either request a physical copy or download it from the website.
I would love to get some e-mails from you about your adventures this summer, whether it's at home or abroad. If you want to give me the heads up about an upcoming event, send me a note! If you have photos to share, by all means, post them on Facebook (hopefully, I am one of your FB friends) or send me an e-mail.
Enjoy your summer! Keep in touch!