Northern District Library #TPLFoodHunt

Since I work relatively close by to the Northern District library, it served as a great launching point.  Hoping to get a nice photograph of the front, I was a bit disappointed to find that we were surrounded by construction on Orchard View Blvd.  This shouldn’t have surprised me because between all the condo developments and the crosstown LRT — the whole Yonge and Eglinton area is under heavy construction.

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This is a part of the #TPLFoodHunt exploration series.

Since I work relatively close by to the Northern District library, it served as a great launching point.  Hoping to get a nice photograph of the front, I was a bit disappointed to find that we were surrounded by construction on Orchard View Blvd.  This shouldn’t have surprised me because between all the condo developments and the crosstown LRT — the whole Yonge and Eglinton area is under heavy construction.

The entrance is surrounded by construction
The entrance is surrounded by construction
The plentiful bookshelves of Northern District Library. Quite a spacious and bright interior too.
The plentiful bookshelves of Northern District Library. Quite a spacious and bright interior too.

The most fascinating thing about this library for me is how I had no idea it had been there for the past 7 years — despite walking by the building countless times.  Perhaps I am sadly oblivious to some things around the Yonge and Eglinton area after working there for so long.

Walking into the library from the noisy street and construction was an incredible feeling.  It was like walking into a suddenly tranquil environment.  I immediately started looking around and walking up and down the staircase.

People seem to have some snacks with them and their drinks as well so it appears the library does permit some food provided it isn’t too messy.  I did notice an almost cafeteria-like setting in the library where some folks were enjoying their meal while reading a book so this may be an area meant for a noisier (crunchier?) lunch and allow for a bit of mess.

The staircase is a central aspect of the library.
The staircase is a central aspect of the library.

What about the food?

So after consulting with Lisa, we felt if someone were really hungry or wanted to grab something quick — the best option was the little place just down the street — at the corner of Orchard View Blvd and Yonge.  A Viet-Thai restaurant by the name of Star King serves up some great pho and you can take out should you wish.

There’s more than just pho but I’ll let you check out Lisa’s more in-depth foodie perspective.

Star King was our local nearby choice for food!
Star King was our local nearby choice for food!

Mount Pleasant Library #TPLFoodHunt

Lined up with boutique storefronts and relatively small offices, Mount Pleasant Road is actually quite a nice street to take a stroll and take in a bit of the diversity.  What is fascinating about Mount Pleasant Library itself is that it is wedged between storefronts and is rather a quaint little library.

This is a part of the #TPLFoodHunt exploration series.

Something a little different today as I’m preparing for my trek in Tanzania.  I mentioned a few weeks back that my friend and avid food blogger Lisa Sit would make good use of the Toronto Library Passport.  The idea is to capture a glimpse into each public library, and seek out a place to put to rest those hunger pangs when they strike in the middle of your visit to the library.

Following our trip to the Northern District library (that post will be next week!) close by to the Yonge and Eglinton area, we decided to tackle the next closest library in the vicinity on Mount Pleasant.  Compared to the noisy hustle and large volume of foot traffic on Yonge, Mount Pleasant Road was practically like walking in a park.

Lined up with boutique storefronts and relatively small offices, Mount Pleasant Road is actually quite a nice street to take a stroll and take in a bit of the diversity.  What is fascinating about Mount Pleasant Library itself is that it is wedged between storefronts and is rather a quaint little library.

Despite there being a staircase leading up to a second floor as you enter the library, the main attraction is just on ground level where the bookshelves, computers, and study areas are.  Everything appears as if it is just one large room but the bookshelves serve as dividers.

The lobby area with the staircase to the left and main part of the library to the right.
The lobby area with the staircase to the left and main part of the library to the right.

Despite being a small library, Mount Pleasant was surprisingly busy.  A lot of people were on the computers or sitting back enjoying their read.  Based on our observation of folks around us in the library, it looks like snacks and coffee or tea are permitted.  I think it may be a little harder to bring a burger in here to enjoy but fear not, there is a nice cafe Lisa found nearby for a quick fix if you don’t have time (or don’t want) to sit down at one of the nearby sushi restaurants.

Thobors Boulangerie Patisserie Café is just a quick walk north of the Mount Pleasant Library and serves a variety of sandwiches and baked goods.  Perfect for the “grab and read” too.  I grabbed a vegetarian sandwich but there was a little too much butter for me.  It may just be a personal preference.

What was Lisa’s opinion of the food though?  Take a look.

 

Returning to the Adirondacks

In a month or so my friends and I intend on visiting the Adirondacks again in the late Spring. It’s been quite some time since we visited at this time of year.
I had just started in a new job for a few months and this was my first little bit of time off over a long weekend.  My friends and I drove into the Adirondacks region for the first time.  Unfortunately we arrived when it was raining so rather than try and set up camp immediately and make dinner, we found a small local restaurant serving mainly the campers in the area.

My friend noticed that they served fiddleheads and exclaimed we had to try them.  I had no idea what they were but apparently they were only picked at this time of year because they eventually will grow and become too hard to eat.

Anyhow, after we finished enjoying our meal and got back to our campsite, the rain had stopped.  At least, long enough so that we could comfortably set up our tents and avoid the rainfall later that night.  The next day was a beautiful sunny one.

fiddleheads... apparently a delicacy in the spring... who knew?

I’m looking forward to hiking in the Adirondacks once again in the Spring.  A nice quick road trip to satisfy the travelbug until July.  Don’t know if I’ll have fiddleheads again but we’ll see!   Currently, we’re looking at what trails to hike while we’re there for a few days.  Recos would be great if you’ve got any!

Some Good Barbeque (bar-be-que)

When my friend and I decided to take a week long trip down to Tennessee, one of the things I anticipated most (aside from hiking in the Smokies) was bar-be-que.  After driving through Kentucky (and yes, we did stop off to try KFC in Kentucky…), we finally arrive in Downtown Nashville.
So many things to do in Nashville but we were starving from the long drive and one of the first things we noticed was a line-up out of Jack’s Bar-be-que that kept growing.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but I figured it must’ve been worth the wait in line.  Heck, one of the guys cleaning the sidewalk kept exclaiming that “the line is long, but it’s all worth it!”

The huge crowd at Jack's Bar-B-Que

It was mighty hot that day and pretty much every day we were in Tennessee, it was the month of August.  Once we inched our way through the door, it was still sticky humid even with the air conditioner blasting cool air over us.  Jack’s was a pretty busy place but the food was amazing.  With different bar-be-que sauces to try out and some amazing cornbread to go with the pulled pork — my friend went nuts and even bought dinner to bring to the campsite we were staying at.

Looking back, I only wish I had bought some dessert.  That’s my sweet tooth talking.

Boston for a Few Days

Fenway Park

I know.  Another long-overdue post.  During early October I had the fortunate opportunity to attend eMetrics in Boston.  Aside from an awesome conference that I won’t go into detail here, I decided to take a few additional days to explore some of Boston and area.  One of the first places that I had on my mind was Fenway Park — just simply because of the history.

One thing I love about Boston is its public transit and the ability for someone to simply wander all over town by foot, stumbling on to used bookstores and very old architecture.  I even made use of AirBnB this time around (which might I add, I highly recommend for Boston because accommodation in the area is very expensive) so I got to hop on the local public transit.  I only wish I had the opportunity to try Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe.  I arrived by foot too late!

Trying to stick to budget was difficult because there simply were too many interesting restaurants so I ended up becoming a regular customer at Laz Cafe in the South End neighbourhood where I was staying for the week.  I think I went there so many times over the period of a week that the folks there thought I was a local resident.  Good people and generally good food and value.  I definitely recommend trying out one of their “roll ups” — I will caution that they are pretty large!

I had the opportunity to just sit back and relax and watch trains of tourists walk through and along the Freedom Trail.  I liked most of it but there were some parts that simply had way too many tourists hovering around.  I guess that’s to be expected.

After the conference, I waited until good weather settled into the Cape Cod area, I hopped into a nearby Zipcar early in the morning (3am to avoid the rush hour traffic) and took off for Provincetown. The drive was extremely peaceful and it felt like I was the only one on the road — that is until I got to the single lane highway leading into Provincetown where I grabbed an early morning tea, a fresh cinnamon bun, and a blueberry muffin … and walked out to the beach.  Everyone must’ve been in the process of waking up because there was barely anyone around.

As I strolled around town, I came across Bubbles.  Bubbles must be well-recognized internationally.

Say hi to Bubbles

One of my favourite moments during this trip was during my stroll through the main street in Provincetown, only to look down an alleyway and see an “Art” sign from a distance.  I have to say it was quite inspiring to walk down an alleyway out to face a beach on one side and an art gallery on the right.

Also for anyone visiting Provincetown, be sure to check out the public library — it’s got quite a view of the town and there’s an actual boat in the library itself.

Art in Cape Cod

I had originally intended on cycling across much of the national seashore but I just didn’t have the time so instead I ate some super fresh fish and chips and then drove out to see this stunning long strip of sand.  It was incredibly hot for a day in October but perhaps perfect given the fact that I was on a beach.  I can really see how there could be a significant number of people during the summer trying to get to the beach.  Wow.

Anyone travelling through the Cape Cod National Seashore should really check out the lighthouses — they are pretty spectacular.

Cape Cod National SeashoreProvincetown

My one day in Provincetown and the Cape Cod area made me yearn for more time to explore that region but with one day left before flying home, I decided to explore Boston and its public transit some more.  This included making a visit to Harvard Square which was enticing initially until the point when I arrived and saw the square packed with people (most of whom were likely students).  After wandering around the area a bit, I decided to hop back on a train back to the core … only to end up having a thorough discussion with some dude about yoga, meditation, and the rationale for meditating.  What a bizarre way to end my visit to the academic area of town.

Charles River

For the remainder of the trip, I simply walked some more around town hitting up used bookstores, and chilling out along the Charles River which was really a beautiful public space of the city to sit back and relax — watching the boats go by.

Boston Downtown

Also got to witness a very talented busker musician in the Quincy Market area.

Also have a clip of his performance too. Listen to the fascinating sounds of the market and him.