Monday 31 July 2017

Book ~ "Taming a Sea-Horse" (1986) Robert B. Parker

From Goodreads ~ Nice girls don't. But blond, beautiful April Kyle does. She's a hooker hooked on the wrong guy - and she's on her way to trouble. So is Spenser. 

Looking out for April has landed him in the crud of Times Square. It's not a long way to big-business boardrooms where blood money get laundered into long green, sex is a commodity and young girls are the currency.

Spenser is a private detective in Boston.  Four years ago, he had placed a teenage hooker named April with Patricia Uttley, who ran a a high class escort service in New York.  Patricia advises Spenser that April has fallen in love with a pimp and has left her employ.  She wants Spenser to make sure April is okay.

Spenser finds Aprils but she wants to be left alone.  But Spenser can't/won't let it go, especially when April disappears and he's on the hunt to try to find her.  This leads him to discover that hookers are bought and sold and he won't give up until he finds April again.

This is the thirteenth in the Spenser series (there are currently 46, with the last six written by Ace Atkins after Parker's death in 2010).  I've read many over the years (and have liked the series) and have started reading them from the beginning of the series.  Though it is part of a series, for the most part it works as a stand alone.

Susan, Spenser's love interest of 10+ years, is annoying as she's now picky and princessy.  In A Catskill Eagle, the twelfth in the series, we discovered that Susan has been cheating on Spenser before she had broken up with him and that book focused on him rescuing her from her new boyfriend.  To me, that's pretty heavy duty.  But apparently Spenser has forgiven her and they have moved on.

We first met April and Patricia in Ceremony, which was written in 1982.  At that time, April was a teenager and a hooker with no prospects.  Since she wanted to remain a hooker, Spenser connected her to Patricia so she could work for a classier establishment and be groomed by Patricia ... I had found the ending of that book a bit unbelievable.  It sounds like April didn't appreciate what she had and took off with her sleazy boyfriend who was also pimping her out.  I had a hard time believing this too ... I would have thought April would have matured by now and been a classier hooker.

I liked the writing style ... I found it humorous at times.  Spenser is a tough guy with a wisecracking sense of humour.  It's written in first person perspective in Spenser's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Sunday 30 July 2017

3 Brewers Restaurant Micro-Brewery, Toronto, ON (Liberty Village)

I had supper tonight at 3 Brewers in Liberty Village.  They opened within the last year and it's the first time I'd stopped in.

Toronto’s Festival of Beer, Toronto, ON

Toronto's Festival of Beer was happening this weekend at Exhibition Place and I went today.

The legendary summer sampling event is back at Bandshell Park, Exhibition Place. 416 brews to discover, an incredible food and chef line-up, Method Man & Redman (Friday), Sloan (Saturday), Alan Doyle & The Beautiful Gypsies (Sunday). 

We will also be celebrating Canada 150! 150 years calls for a beer!

I've been going for the last few years and it's always been a fun time.  In the past, I've gone on a Thursday (they don't have the Thursday sessions anymore), Friday, Saturday and Sunday and there's a different vibe on the different days.

To celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, there was a Canada 150 Pavillion with beer from across Canada.


Saturday 29 July 2017

The Lockhart, Toronto, ON

I had lunch today at The Lockhart (on Dundas Street W, just east of Dufferin Street).  It's the first time I've been there.

I ordered Chicken & Waffles.  It was good.  The waffles were different than I've had before.  There were definitely herbs in them and they were quite hearty and substantial.  The chicken was tasty and the sauce and apples were sweet.

Barque Smokehouse, Toronto, ON

I went for a long walk this morning and part of my walk was north on Roncesvalles Avenue.  I passed by Barque Smokehouse (on Roncesvalles Avenue/Geoffrey Street) and was hungry so decided to stop in for brunch.  I'd never been there before.

I ordered Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Waffles.

The Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail, Toronto, ON

The Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail opened about a month ago.  I hadn't been yet so walked there this morning to check it out (about a 20 minute walk from home).

I cut through Coronation Park first.

The Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail is the province's new landmark park.

Previously a parking lot, the park and trail is 7.5 acres of public green space on a spectacular part of Toronto’s waterfront.

The design is inspired by Ontario landscapes and is the culmination of discussions with people from across Ontario, including the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. As a result of public consultation, key features are included in the final design, including a pavilion and washroom facilities.

The Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail is a first step in transforming Ontario Place into a vibrant, year-round waterfront destination.
  1. William G. Davis Trail 
  2. The Ravine with Moccasin Identifier 
  3. The Pavilion 
  4. Romantic Garden 
  5. Fire Pit 
  6. Bluff
  7. Summit

It's a lovely park and the trail is about 1.3km, which loops back.

Book ~ "Pale Kings and Princes" (1987) Robert B. Parker

From Goodreads ~ Wheaton is a typical New England small-college town, not the sort of place for drugs and murder. But when a reporter gets too inquisitive, he finds both - the latter on his own.

Spenser's call comes when the local cops work a cover. He needs help to solve this one - Hawk for back-up and Susan for insight on the basics of jealousy, passion and hate!

What the trio finds is a cutthroat cocaine ring, where drugs have value supreme and human life has none at all. 

Spenser is a private detective in Boston.  Following the murder of a reporter in Wheaton, Massachusetts, he is hired by a newspaper to investigate the death.  The police suspect the reporter was killed because he was having an affair with someone in the town.  As Spenser starts to investigate, he discovers that cocaine is one of the main industries there and the death may be drug related.  He doesn't get much help from the Wheaton police because they are owned by the rich and powerful local drug lord.

This is the fourteenth in the Spenser series (there are currently 46, with the last six written by Ace Atkins after Parker's death in 2010).  I've read many over the years (and have liked the series) and have started reading them from the beginning of the series.  Though it is part of a series, for the most part it works as a stand alone.

I liked the writing style ... I found it humorous at times.  Spenser is a tough guy with a wisecracking sense of humour.  It's written in first person perspective in Spenser's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I found it ended really quickly.  There was some build-up and then it was done and Spenser was back home and able to enjoy a decent meal again.

I didn't mind Susan, Spenser's love interest, in the earlier books in the series.  I disliked her in Valediction and Catskill Eagle (the eleventh and twelfth in the series).  I found her annoying in this one and the future ones I've read as she has started to get picky and princessy.

Friday 28 July 2017

12 Beers of Summer, Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, ON

I attended the 12 Beers of Summer at the Gladstone Hotel tonight, which is in our 'hood.  I've been going the last three years to the summer and winter editions.

If you’re feeling like Christmas might come early this year, you’re not wrong! Our biannual 12 Beers event is back with a beer-tacular summer edition.

Don your most exuberant Hawaiian shirt as we celebrate a truly beer-tastic summer’s eve. We’re inviting down 12 amazing breweries so you can sample the best of local lagers, perfect pilsners, seasonal successes, and forever favourites.

Entrance ticket includes All U Can Taste samples for the duration of the event, and all the while you’ll be dancing to our best in-house bands and DJs.

Here are the breweries who were there:
  • Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. 
  • Longslice Brewery 
  • KW Craft Cider 
  • Pommies Cider Co. 
  • Woodhouse Brewing Co. 
  • Sweetgrass Brewing 
  • Steam Whistle Pilsner 
  • Brickworks Ciderhouse 
  • Mill Street Brewery 
  • Amsterdam BrewHouse 
  • Junction Craft Brewing 
  • Ace Hill Beer

I grabbed a drink from the main floor.

Then I headed upstairs to check out the second floor, which tends to get jammed as the night goes on.

Thursday 27 July 2017

The Pint, Toronto, ON

After the Blue Jays game, Gord and I had supper at The Pint, which is next to the Rogers Centre (Front Street/John Street).  They opened less than a month ago.  I haven't been to this site since it was Planet Hollywood many years ago.

It was jammed downstairs.

Toronto Blue Jays 8, Oakland Athletics 4, Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON

The Toronto Blue Jays had an afternoon game today and Gord and I decided yesterday to go.  Because it was "Camp Day" (so a lot of camps and kids were there), Gord couldn't find two seats together on the Blue Jays ticket site.  I ended up finding a couple tickets in the 500 level, just above third base, on an online neighbourhood buy and sell site ... two tickets for $15 all in.  Sweet!

It had been raining all morning but had cleared up a bit by the time we got to the game.  We were happy to see the roof open.  Here's the CN Tower from our seats.

Jennifer Strype sang the national anthems.

Book ~ "Heart of the City" (2017) Robert Rotenberg

From GoodreadsWhen Detective Ari Greene was charged with the murder of the woman he loved, he stopped at nothing to clear his name and uncover the real killer. After his acquittal, Greene fled to London to get away from it all but now he’s back. And he’s not alone - with Greene is his twenty-year-old daughter, Alison. The child he never knew he had.

Determined to leave his life as a cop behind him, Greene gets a job on a construction site for one of Toronto’s many new condos. It seems he has finally found peace as he settles into a new career and new role as a father, helping Alison adjust to life in Canada.

But when Greene stumbles upon the corpse of hated developer Livingston Fox, he is plunged back into the life he tried so hard to leave behind. As the body count rises, Greene is forced into a reluctant reconciliation with his former protégé, Daniel Kennicott. The pair must delve into the tight-knit world of downtown development, navigating tangled loyalties, unexpected corruption, and family secrets, some of which are closer to home than Greene could have ever imagined.

In a world where the stakes are high and the profits are even higher, Greene and Kennicott race against the clock as they follow the trail of blood and money to its shocking end. 

Ari Greene was a cop in Toronto.  He fled to England last year to take some time away after he'd been charged and acquitted of killing the love of his life.  While in England, he discovered he had a twenty-year-old daughter named Alison from a relationship he'd had with an Englishwoman years ago.  When he returns to Toronto with Alison, he gets a job on a construction site as a labourer.  When the developer of the site is found murdered on there, Ari can't help but get involved (the lead detective is Daniel, who Ari had mentored).  The developer wasn't well-liked so it could have been many who wanted him dead.

This the fifth book by Rotenberg I've read and I enjoyed it.  Though it's the fifth in a series, it works as a stand alone because there is enough background information provided.  It is written in third person perspective with the focus on wherever the action is.  I like the writing style and it moves at a good pace.  I didn't really buy the "whodunnit" and the why but I went with it.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

I like that this series is set in Toronto.  The author is quite specific about the locations so I know exactly where the action is taking place and I have been to a lot of these places.  The construction site was in the Kensington Market area, for example, as were protests.  I think I was recently at the bakery on Dundas Street where Ari and Daniel meet.  I've had lunch at the Fresh on Spadina, south of Queen where the developer had supper with his dad.

I look forward to the next book in the series!

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Terrazza, Toronto, ON

To celebrate my birthday and our 15th anniversary, Gord and I had supper at Terrazza (on Harbord Street, just east of Ossington Avenue).

When I moved to Toronto 30 years ago, I lived a block away from this restaurant.  Back then, though, it was a burger place called Lips.  For $5, you could get a burger, fries and pop.  It was a great deal and good food!  I moved away from the neighbourhood and didn't go back again.  It's on my route to work.  I saw it had changed styles and put it on my list of places to go.  It turns out the place is back in the family.

A nod to Lips?

Happy birthday to me!

55 years ago today ... at 2:12pm ... I made my arrival into the world at the Grace Maternity Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Here I am at my first birthday party ... celebrating with cake and a washing machine.  Good times!