Friday morning started with a hearty brunch — can you call it brunch on a weekday? — of scrambled eggs, strip bacon and peameal, homefries, toasted buttered bagels, with jam, cream cheese or greek yoghurt optional. There was homemade lemon cake — of which I got none! — and the most glorious fruit salad…which I enjoyed thoroughly. And, of course, coffee and orange juice to wash it all down.
Fuelled with a hearty breakfast we pulled ourselves together for the trip to Ripley’s Aquarium. Most of the 20 residents attending took the regular TTC while four of us waited and waited and waited on a Wheel Trans bus. At the end of the compulsory 30 minute No Show we called and asked and they assured us the bus would be along in 10 minutes. In 12 minutes he was out front and the four of us clambered aboard.
It was March break for the public school set. There were more children in one place than I ever remember seeing at one time anywhere. It was crowded but for the most part they, and their parents, were respectful of the old folk riding on the scooter and pushing the walker. The whole thing was amazing but the world’s longest moving sidewalk under a sea filled with barracuda and sharks of all appetites patrolling over head and around you was stunning. Just who was sizing up whom, I had to wonder? There were green sawfish and elegant rays resting on the tempered plastic just a couple of feet over your head.
There was a white grouper so big I thought it was carved in stone…until it moved.
On a glorious multi coloured garden wall of all manner of anenomes I swore I saw wee Nemo darting about. There were all kinds of jellyfish including one called Blue Blubber. In a tank unto themselves were several elegant spiked Lion Fish.
I plunged my hand into the Horseshoe Crab display and stroked the solid exoskeleton as it lumbered by. They are not actually crabs but in a class of their own, closely related to spiders and scorpions. And like lobsters they must shed their shells to grow. One might even say they are “bluebloods!” This curious creature has developed blue blood with remarkable anti bacterial properties. This gift to humanity may endanger them.
And speaking of Lobsters we saw a monster of a brown fellow with HUGE claws lumbering along the perimeter, a Blue Lobster!, and another rosey red or orange like it had already been in the pot.
Our thanks to Chef Michael for the hearty breakfast to fuel the adventure and to Ryan and the Co-op office for the tickets to this most memorable adventure.
There were 20 of us gathered in the community room today to enjoy lunch. We must be doing something right. Our numbers have climbed and are holding.
We started with ScoobiDoo pasta — I kid you not! — a curious ‘hellical’ or corkscrewed, tubular macaroni other wise known as cavatappi. We coated our al dente macaroni with Chef Michael’s homemade tomato sauce added chopped sausage, with a pleasant hint of tarragon, zucchini, diced red pepper, crumbled ricotta and thawed chopped formerly frozen spinach. That was baked in a dutch oven under a “streusel” topping of shredded cheddar cheese and bread crumbs until golden orange.
The Romaine greens were dressed with Michael’s home made Caesar dressing with anchovies. This rich simple salad was accompanied by diced Applewood smoked bacon, croutons and finely grated Parmagiano Reggiano.
For dessert there was Lemon Cake with Lemon Drizzle, homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and bluebberries.
After lunch we enjoyed a virtual tour of Toronto’s key art venues led by Betty Ann Jordan, a journalist and tour guide.
First and foremost we must thank Ann, our Frankling Co-op administrator for underwriting the banquet we enjoyed on Christmas Day.
We also have to thank Barry, Miriam, Ryan and Simon, our Christmas Elves, the coordinators, who pulled it all together on such short notice and without whom it would not have been possible.
Although we assured everyone nothing was required of them save their presence they went ahead and provided even more. Our thanks go out to our generous residents and guests.
Our dinner guests included AnneMarie, Barry, Carol, David, David (in a tuxedo!), Darryl, Doris, Jeanette, Jennifer, Jim, Joe, Kevin, Lee, Maria & Juan Carlos, Mary, MaryAgnes & Ann, Miriam, Morgan, Peter, Petru, Rol, Ruth, Simon and me, the potato masher.
Some stayed to dine. Some passed thru the social hour wishing us all well and promising to return. We’d also like to acknowledge Ada, Alana, Geoff, Kimon, Mike, Michael, Heather and Steven who dropped by to share Season’s Greetings.
There was an appetizer table to wet our appetites:
Goat Cheese, Brie and crackers, Guacamole and chips, Veggie, pita and dip. There was a black bean, corn and edamame salad as well as a Caesar salad and a mixed green salad.
Our Vegetables included:
Broiled Brussels sprouts, Mediterranean Vegetable Medley, Roast heritage mini potatoes, Roast root vegetables, Mashed sweet potatoes, and Mashed Russet potatoes with garlic butter; my mother would have approved.
All of this bounty of the earth and field accompanied a whole glazed ham and 2 huge moist Roast Turkeys with all the traditional accoutrement: stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce and dinner rolls.
If you weren’t full at the end of that repast we had a fully laden dessert table: There were cookies, cake and squares, shortbreads and Clementines, 3 pies including lemon meringue and strawberry rhubarb and 2 Yule logs ou bûches de Noël.
All of these delights could be washed down with:
Red or White wine
Juices and sodas
And coffee or tea.
I, for one, enjoyed myself thoroughly but then I’m happiest and most at home in a busy kitchen. It was hard to count heads with the social ebb and flow but we believe about 30 people sat down to enjoy our co-op hospitality and dine on this splendid Christmas Day Feast. The feedback from our assembled guests was positive and enthusiastic.