Thursday, 13 February 2014

Hush, Charming Apple & Toronto Fun

One of my birthday presents this year from my parents was an overnight trip to anywhere I can get to by train. I decided to go to Toronto. While I go to Toronto a couple of times a year, I hadn't been to Toronto with my parents and sister (or to visit my brother) in a couple of years. I thought it would be fun to spend time in the city with my family. 

Unfortunately, at the last minute, my sister wasn't able to come. This ended up working out better...yes, I know that sounds horrible, but I will explain in a bit. 

My parents and I stayed at the Eaton Chelsea, which is where we always stay, so I highly recommend it! This beautiful property is located in downtown Toronto, between Bay and Yonge streets...walking distance to a ton of great shopping, entertainment and restaurant options.

My parents and I got to Toronto in the early afternoon and headed to Elephant & Castle for lunch. I had hoped to spend the afternoon wondering around the Distillery District-I LOVE this area! It's so pretty with the old buildings and tons of interesting shops, galleries and cafes-but it was too cold to spend long periods of time outside. We ended up walking to the Eaton Centre, stopping in at a number of shops along the way. 

Winterlicious (Jan 31-Feb 13) was taking place while we were in Toronto. This is a city wide event with over 200 restaurants offering prix fixe menus. It's a great (and affordable) way to try different restaurants. Today is the last day of Winterlicious but Summerlicious will be happening in July...I totally plan on going back to Toronto for this!

I had heard a ton of great things about Hush and was happy that we were able to get reservations. It was an interesting venue, exactly what I expected for a restaurant located across the street from TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) Bell Lightbox. I loved the venue and I loved the food even more!

I ended up ordering the Wild Mushroom Bruschetta (wild mushroom, arugula and goat cheese) as my appetizer, my entree was the Parmesan Crusted Chicken (pictured), and the pumpkin and salted caramel brownie for dessert. Everything was as mouthwatering as it sounds and looks! 

After dinner, we headed to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)...which was the one thing I wanted to do for my birthday. AGO has an amazing collection. While I love modern and contemporary art, I was really interested in the Canadian collection; which includes First Nation, Group of Seven and Emily Carr pieces.

Remember how I said it ended up being a good thing my sister couldn't come? We had originally planned to go to AGO during the day because my sister is 18 and underage. When I found out she couldn't come, I immediately changed our plans so that we could go to First Thursdays, which is a 19+ event. 

On the first Thursday of every month, AGO host an event from 7pm-11:30pm. They have live music, a DJ, special collections, installations, and drinks are for sale...all the galleries are open, so guests can view the collections. 

Part of First Thursday that we attended included something called Order Up! Basically, you were randomly given a food item to make such as rotting popcorn or antique squid. My brother was tasked with making a 'charming apple' (pictured...although you can't see the raised eyebrow). The organizer saw my brothers creation and was so impressed, that he took it to be displayed!

You can find a full list of what was offered at the First Thursday I attended, here.

This was such an amazing and fun event! If you are planning a trip to Toronto, definitely plan to be there for the first Thursday of the month...this is an event not to be missed. My brother and I are both really into museums and art galleries, so we knew this was an event we'd enjoy. My dad liked it so much, that he's already planning our next family trip to Toronto specifically around First Thursdays.

After we were done at AGO, we headed back (with my brother) to our hotel. We went to the hotel lunge (T Bar), where we had a couple of drinks and hung out for a bit. It was so great to see my brother and spend time with him. 

The next morning we had breakfast at our hotel, at Bb 33 Bistro and Brasserie. It was a really great breakfast buffet that included Eggs Benedict. My mom was anxious to get home (and it was going to be another cold day), so we headed home right after breakfast

Thanks to my parents for an amazing birthday present and to my brother for rearranging his schedule (including arranging to leave work early). I had a fantastic time in Toronto and can't wait to go back!

I also want to thank Teresa and Vanessa from Tourism Toronto for helping me plan my trip and for letting me know about The Junction (an "up and coming" area in Toronto, that I will be making a point of visiting soon). They both had a ton of ideas and suggestion...thanks ladies!


  1. That looks so fun! I'm glad you guys had a great time. Happy late birthday! I love those buildings, beautiful!

  2. Toronto is on my bucket list of places to visit. I should print this out for future reference!

  3. Sounds like so much fun! That apple is adorbs :)

  4. Happy birthday to you today!!

  5. happy happy birthday!!!! looks like a ton of fun!!!

  6. The food looks great!

  7. Happy Birthday from Organized Chaos!! It sounds like you had a very special weekend

  8. Hope your birthday was wonderful,Melissa! That food looks so goood!