Tag: things to do in toronto

Dad’s Night Out – Toronto’s Festival Of Beer

(Disclaimer: I received complimentary media passes, to come and check out the event. All opinions expressed are my own).

Despite how the saying goes, you can have too much a good thing. Take, for example, Toronto’s Festival Of Beer (TFOB).

Now, in theory, a festival dedicated to all things brewed sounds pretty freakin’ glorious. And make no mistake about, the TFOB is pretty sweet, especially as an option for a dad/mom night out sans kids.  Taking place at Bandshell Park at Exhibition Place, this sprawling festival featured over 90 breweries setting up shop and offering over 400 beers. Not surprisingly, it also featured thousands of people looking to party.

Upon arrival, you’re given a mug, which is the most important piece of equipment that you’ll need for the duration of your stay, because the breweries will only serve you beer in it. You need to buy tokens, too (I went with 20 tokens for $20).  Depending on the brewery, one token usually got you half a pour; two tokens got you a full mug.  Some places required more tokens, though. And this is where the problem of having too much of a good thing starts. With so many options, ranging from the big names, to less popular craft brews, to even non malt-based drinks, coming up with a game plan if you want to sample as much as possible isn’t easy. Shoot, even if you assume just sticking to the two-token half pours is a good idea, since a premium priced product should be superior, this isn’t even true. One of those that I tried was decidedly mediocre, and left me wondering what the fuss was about. To each their own though, especially when it comes to hops.

Complicating things is that TFOB isn’t just about drinking. There was also a nice selection of food choices, to satisfy many appetites. Not only that, but the music was banging, as well. On the night that I attended, the headliner on the OLG Bandshell Stage was Ludacris! I kind of forgot how many hits that guy has, but this didn’t seem lost on the 11000 or so other people in attendance that night, who showed Luda a lot of love and created a dope atmosphere.

 

In addition, there was even non alcohol/food/music stuff to enjoy. I ended up lining up at an OLG truck for a while, to get my picture taken, and to receive a free prize (lottery tickets), for example. Fireside Cannabis also had a big area set up, where you could toast smores over a fire pit. So, of course I hung out there for a bit, toasting smores over a fire pit.

Basically, between the myriad of options of things to do, eat and drink, plus the fact that I staked out a spot in the middle of the crowd to watch Ludacris (negating my ability to go back and forth to grab drinks), I can honestly say that I left TFOB disappointed. Disappointed in a good way, though. It was a ton of fun, and I only wish that I indulged and took advantage more.  And really, for kid-free night out, what more could you possibly you want?

See you at next year’s fest!

 

 

 

Do The Right Thing

 

Do you and your kids have a thing?

You know, a thing?  

Yo, I’m talking about that common interest which helps you bond with them.

It dawned on me recently that J and I don’t really have a thing. This realization made me feel kind of guilty, for real. Sure, we get along well and do lots of dope stuff together. However, unlike Amerie back in 2005, we don’t have one thing. B and I, for example, talk, watch or play basketball a lot. J and I don’t get down like that, though.

With this in mind, when my good friends at Culinary Adventure Co invited me out to one of their food tours, I jumped at the opportunity!

See, Culinary Adventure Co. is Canada’s largest culinary tourism and experience operator, offering a variety of neighbourhood food tours and other tasty adventures. J is curious by nature, and also loves to try new eats. A food tour would be right up her alley, right? We’d walk around a ‘hood in Toronto, learn some history and sample some scrumptious foods. Perhaps this would be start of our new thing: daddy-daughter foodies!

So how did it go, you ask?

Well…….

Ok, let me start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed our particular tour of the Riverside and Leslieville area in Toronto. Our guide, Ian, was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and filled us with all kinds of cool information about the neighbourhood.

Our tour group consisted of a bunch of hardcore foodies. I’ve never been around that many people who were so passionate about their dining. They were the type who would have choked on their baba ganoush if I had told them that I had Kraft Dinner for supper the other night. Even though I lacked their sophisticated palate, and even though I was the only one who had a child with them, everyone in the group was very friendly to J and I.

In terms of the food, I really liked everything that we had, but don’t take my word for it. I  did make a point of listening in on the opinions of the group at each stop. Truth be told, I heard a lot of compliments from the hardcores about the tastes and presentations.

However, truth be told, I also had two unexpected issues come up with J.

The first was, while normally very open-minded, she picked that day to be a picky eater. Despite normally liking what was offered at the Middle Eastern restaurant we stopped at, she refused to try anything, because it looked “spicy”. Despite liking canned tuna, she refused to try the fresh tuna at the fish market, because it wasn’t canned. Despite loving bread, she refused to try the fresh bread at the bread factory, because it didn’t come in a  plastic bag (curse you, Dempsters!).

The other issue was, while I was digging the hot knowledge that Ian was spittin’, J couldn’t have cared less. This was my bad, as I misjudged the age appropriateness a tad. As such, she spent the day entertaining herself, usually separate from the rest of the group:

 

While Ian told us about the historical significance of where we were standing, J wandered off to explore the area.

Here she is using Google Maps to play Pac-Man. Seriously.

At the bread factory, she wandered off into the kitchen, and was amazed with how big the mixer was.

Instead of eating at the Middle Eastern joint, she filled up on a mint lemonade.

This is the face of someone who was not impressed with seafood…..

 

But here is the face of someone who is impressed with her doll-placing handiwork.

 

I can’t front. She seemed to be having such a blast, that I had to join her most of the time.

Ice cream selfie! Well, actually, blood orange/raspberry gelato selfie.

To summarize, I thought Culinary Adventure Co. put on an excellent experience.  The one that we went on is a bit better suited for kids older than J (re: older than five-ish). Even if they aren’t that age, however, they’ll still be entertained.  Regardless, any foodie definitely won’t be disappointed.

At the end of our tour, as we walked hand in hand to the car, I asked J if she had a good time. I expected her to say no, and that it was boring, and yucky or something. Instead she smiled, mouth smeared with blood orange/raspberry gelato, and said that she had “sooo much fun”. I had to smile too, because I also had a great time with her.

Being daddy-daughter foodies probably isn’t be the right thing for us.  And you know what?

That’s cool.

Maybe our thing is that we don’t have a thing. Yet. Hanging out and spending quality time together right now, doing whatever, is really all that matters.

 

 

 

 

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