Those of you who follow me on social media will know that I had an amazing day in Toronto, yesterday.
About a 20 minute walk away from my lodging is a “Second Cup”
I don’t usually eat breakfast, however, a ‘coffee’ break on the way to wherever I was going seemed just the thing. On entering I glanced at the new range poster and totally off piste for me – usually shunning any kind of cold drink unless it’s at least 25° – I opted to try the date and almond smoothie, made with Almond milk. The reasoning behind this rash decision; the idea that cold and smooth would feel nicer on my injured mouth.
It turned out to be a good decision. I enjoyed the taste, the texture was acceptable and it was more nutritious, satisfying than just a cup of tea.
Suitably refreshed, ready for more adventure I went on my way. Although brisk from a cool breeze, the amount of sun made walking pleasant. Exercise being good for body, soul and creativity, I deliberately shunned transport in favour of Shanks’ Pony.
Later in the day, I found this little jewel.
I looked, I read, I smiled, I walked on a couple of paces, I stopped, I retraced my steps, I went in.
This was a day of adventure and joy. This would suitably satisfy both of those. From the outset I was made to feel welcome, greeted politely and my order taken. By using the menu poster on the door, I did not need assistance in knowing what to have, however during my visit I witnessed them giving expert advice to others, displaying a thorough knowledge of their products.
Part of the whole experience was watching them prepare my hot matcha latte in the traditional method; blending the matcha powder into a frothy paste using a bamboo whisk and then adding the steamed milk. Unfortunately, the design crafted finish got squashed with the lid.
As they prepared my latte I noticed the tatami area and asked if I could sit there to enjoy my tea. Removing my shoes symbolised removing negativity, thereby sitting cross-legged at the table the tea ceremony came to me in peaceful surroundings. Perfection.
A taste of Heaven
This day was definitely a day to be led by the spirit of adventure, new experience and capturing the heart of Toronto. This last food experience is the epitome of that.
As I was walking in Trinity Square, downtown Toronto I was attracted, of course, by this old church building.
Curiosity, in this case did not kill the cat but rather fed her. On investigating I realised that part of the building was used as a cafe. Always ready to support ventures that use church spaces, and it possibly being a good time to break for lunch I went in. I was greeted with smiles from customers and staff. I was teased by the wonderful smells eminating from the kitchen, and tempted by the offer of vegan carrot and orange soup served with fresh, homemade bread and butter (oops not vegan, but I try!). It was not until I had placed my order that I heard the cashier tell another patron, no cash only I’m afraid.
Now what to do, here stands the lady who relied on plastic. Absolutely no cash in my wallet. Panic. “Oh don’t worry”, said the cashier, “you are welcome to eat with us anyway. Please return and pay then”.
Not at all was I made to feel embarrassed. This was not a statement made as if she was suspecting that I was in need of charity, even though from appearance with my poor, broken face she could be forgiven for thinking that. No, a genuine, warm welcome.
As I chose where to sit, I noticed the wonderful fabric of guests eating and sharing food here. Young, old, business, students friends, single travelers. All breaking bread together, some in silent contemplation, others in chit chat a few in deep conversation. Not a single electronic device did I see being used.
The soup was hot, perfectly seasoned and delicious. The fresh bread turning the simple bowl of soup into a gourmet meal.
Looking round at the company, the ambience, the setting and the warmth, I was in need of this charity. Not the physical need of food, but the emotional need of understanding that there is goodness in this crazy world. In spite of all the wrong we read going on around us, generally people are good. Just maybe, deep down, this is what we all want: to enjoy good food, in good company, in beautiful surroundings providing a sense of belonging, an ability to link our past and heritage with our present struggles and dificulties. This simple meal did feed my body, but the greater, more noble was the feeding of my soul.
Hmm I started writing this yesterday, WordPress not being cooperative, then just got tired finished it this a.m. Finally ready to publish. Thanks for taking your time to read it.
Enjoy life, live your day and connect with someone.