Our first real day in Toronto yesterday consisted of taking a hop-on hop off bus tour around the city that included an hour cruise along the city’s water front and the Toronto islands. If you are spending only a few days in this city, this is the way to go. The tour has very knowledgeable docents and they really show you what Toronto has to offer. It’s a very extensive tour around this immensely fascinating city and its districts. The cruise is the icing on the cake.
In the evening, I met up with my veterinarian colleagues, classmates and fraternity siblings from the University of the Philippines – surprisingly, they are many of them here, about 70 total (including their families). Two of them have successful practices in the city. We met at a popular Chinese restaurant (popular to Filipinos) in Chinatown and then had cocktails at the chic Metropolitan Hotel.
And had a sort of a deja vu experience. One of my colleagues (who’s actually one of my students when I was teaching at UP) had a change of careers when he moved from the US to Canada – he became a chef. So I told him about some Filipino dishes going into the mainstream but without really being attributed to being Filipino. One of them is the lowly ‘turon’ (banana wrapped in lumpia wrapper – rice paper – and then rolled in caramelized sugar and deep fried) – lowly because you can buy this on the streets in Manila. We remembered and talked about the maglalako (hawker) who went to the Vet College every afternoon to sell ‘turon’ and ‘lumpia’ while we were in the Anatomy labs or in the surgery labs. Everything would stop so we could purchase our snacks for the afternoon. At anyrate, he said, that is so 1990s. He said that he was already doing that in his restaurant back in 1996 – in which he substituted the caramel with chocolate. Be it as it may, many up and coming restaurants (in New York and Chicago) have some kind of ‘banana egg roll’ in their dessert menu.
So we went to the Metropolitan … and sure enough, there was ‘banana spring roll’ in the menu. We had to order it. It was bad. They used very ripe bananas that it was too mushy and the wrapper was not crisp, like you are eating a burrito.
What are the odds?
The plan for today is take a trip to Niagara Falls.