toronto by night

toronto by night
it’s canada recap time! 
because we had originally planned this trip with the 
purpose of visiting niagara fallswe first flew into
 toronto so we could visit some other canadian cities 
as part of this trip. i knew we wanted to see niagara, 
but i always have to pack in any other fun, new 
nearby places on trips :) in this case, that meant 
seeing toronto, going to niagara, back to toronto, 
then using the rest of the weekend to go deeper into 
french canada to see montreal & quebec city…luckily
chase is used to me doing this and puts up with it!
for now, let’s talk about toronto and our first night there.
we landed in toronto after flying east all day, so
our introduction to this city was at night. i already
knew i liked toronto even before seeing it in the 
daylight. the energy and different feel woke me
right up after the long flight from coast to coast,
and we were ready to go explore this place! i was
surprised at how much i instantly liked the vibe
of toronto…it’s somewhere i would even live!
it’s hard to explain the feel of toronto.
it’s a big city, but really clean. it has a little bit
of french flair because it’s part of french canada,
but there’s so much more to it than that. parts of it
feel modern, and other parts historic. the asian
influence came through to me, but every turn feels a 
bit different– it’s a unique place. i guess i’d say it 
almost feels like a mix between NYC, europe, and asia.
basically, a melting pot with it’s own take on things!
all that is to say that it is a great city with so many
different sides to it. since we knew we were heading
much deeper into french canada later in the trip, we
embraced the asian culture in toronto by staying
at the shangri-la and eating at luckee — the best 
chinese food i’ve ever had in my life — hands 
down. but more on that below in this post :) 
when we travel, we like to stay at places that fit the city. 
sometimes this means renting a local apartment, 
sometimes it means hostels, but in toronto it meant
a high-rise right downtown in the center of it all:
the shangri-la is the perfect place to stay in this city.
it is so central, it’s gorgeous, has lots of good 
restaurants and shopping around it, and it is a 
treat to stay here. the views of the high rise buildings 
out of the big windows show off toronto and make 
you know that you’re staying in the right place. 
^^ it has a great upscale feel with iPads for ordering 
room service or getting more info, and of course
i was a sucker for these welcome macarons. favorite!
^^ i fell in love with these pretty chandeliers & you can
see them through the big glass windows from the street 
^^ i don’t think chase was too mad about
having a TV in the bathroom mirrors! it
makes getting ready a lot more fun :)
the shangri-la hotel line is famous for top-of-the-line
accommodations and service, and it was fun to experience
such a great one in toronto. it made us love this city
and enjoy it from the get-go after that long flight!
after checking in, we were off to dinner. i had
heard rave reviews about luckee, the new
restaurant by susur lee. it is incredible chinese
food with a definite flair…just like toronto has a
unique twist on something familiar, this restaurant
did the same. i promise we both said it was the
best chinese food we’d ever had. you may know 
the chef from top chef master on the food network.
he is described as a “culinary genius,” and i’d
have to agree. he has perfected a nouvelle-chinoise 
modern fusion that is unlike anything i’ve ever had.
he’s also a judge on chopped if anyone watches that!

i loved the vibe inside this restaurant. you step into what
feels like a completely different world! killer ambience.
the food is beautiful and fresh and so incredibly delicious.

i can’t even begin to tackle the amazing menu, but a few MUST-orders include:
the chicken cheung fun — the best and most unique appetizer that is the star
dish here. we could instantly see why! i am still dreaming of this creation.
it’s a flavorful rice roll with a different texture and taste than we’d ever had.
we also loved the fresh soba noodle salad, and about died over the 
general tao crispy sesame beef. definitely chase’s favorite. i loved the
wok seared chicken & shrimp, mostly because i wanted to drink the soy
glaze by itself. everything is just incredible and satisfying and unique.
do yourself (and your tastebuds) a favor and EAT HERE in toronto!

after ALL that food we went on a little walk 
around the city before heading back to the hotel.
^^ we walked by wayne gretzky’s restaurant and realized 
how much canada REALLY does love their hockey! 
^^ we also walked through the theatre district and i found
a sign with dunn (my maiden name) so we had to document!
{dunn ended up being EVERYWHERE in canada, on street
signs, restaurants, etc. i don’t know what the deal is!}
^^ after relaxing back at the shangri-la with these views,
we were exhausted with an early wake-up call to head
to niagara…so we ordered room service breakfast on
the ipad provided in the room — talk about luxury!
and then in the morning…although it was tough to wake
up at 7 AM {4 AM our west coast time} this perfect
breakfast delivery made it much better.
the shangri-la just does everything right! 
it is a treat to stay at one sometime in your life.

and then it was off to the coach station to niagara falls
which you can see here. more of canada to come!

i loved this view as we walked to the coach station — 
it represents the old-meets-new feel of toronto.
thanks toronto for a great welcome!