Posts filed under ‘toronto’

Pumpkins and devils and Poncherello! Oh my!!

Ciao Bloggisti!


Just got back from a party with 20 preschoolers inside a cramped pub. And yes, that was the SCARIEST Hallowe’en I’ve ever had! But at least the kids had great time. Hallowe’en is relatively new to Italy but I’ve noticed that every year it’s growing in popularity. My son actually went trick-or-treating tonight. And to top it all off, some teenagers poured flour all over our gate and entrance because I didn’t open the door. Nice. How did they know I love to bake?



But not everyone here is in the spooky spirit. A girl in my daughter’s class didn’t attend her pumpkin and witch-themed birthday party because their family “doesn’t celebrate Hallowe’en”. Her mother explained to me how their priest is against this American celebration of witchcraft and all things evil. Then the other day the girl told my daughter that people who like Hallowe’en love the devil. What in the what?!? I almost did a spit take when I heard that!

Who knew that a simple holiday could cause so much pain and suffering? And yet this got me thinking about my own Hallowe’en agony. It happened many years ago and it’s something I haven’t shared but I think I’m ready now. I need… closure.

Picture it: Scarborough, circa 1984. I was super excited about the Girl Guides Hallowe’en party that evening. Even if I only had one stinking badge and feathered hair, I was going to wow them all with my amazing costume. I thought about something made out of a cardboard box, like a giant Rubik’s cube or a package of Kraft Dinner. It was going to be ironic and it was going to be AWESOME. That morning over breakfast I gave my father detailed instructions about what I wanted and how he could make the greatest Hallowe’en costume the Metropolitan Toronto area has ever seen. I could see his mind working and I was positive that I was going to be the corrugated belle of the ball.

I practically ran home from school to get ready for the party and, of course, to see my costume. When I walked in the door and didn’t see it waiting for me in all it’s boxy glory the living room I felt a sort of pang. I couldn’t quite place it, but something didn’t feel right. I called out to my father, asking him where my costume was. He came down the creaky stairs slowly, carrying something that looked unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Would that I could have unseen it! But, oh lord, it was too late!! He held in his hands my little brother’s CHiPs helmet with what seemed to be a paper beak, eyes and feathers glued to it. “Dad! What… is … that? And where’s my costume?!?” He proceeded to tell me that there was no boring Rubik’s cube for me. Oh no! He made his darling daughter a one-of-a-kind, 100% certified original “POLICE BIRD” costume. “WHAT THE HECK IS A POLICE BIRD?!?!?” He then started to explain how he didn’t have any boxes nor time to go out and get one. So he got the brilliant idea to make something so absurd, so nonsensical even Lady Gaga would be embarrassed to wear it. I mean, what kind of sick mind would morph Erik Estrada with a winged beast. Seriously, it was that awful. And I was going to walk into the Girl Guide party with that “thing” on my head. I was going to answer the many “What are you supposed to be?/Are you mental?” questions that were bound to come my way. Yes, I was a pariah and eventually had to leave the GTA (ok, the continent) to find a man. But it’s true what they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And this “police bird” flew like an eagle, baby!


Hope you all had an awesome Hallowe’en!!


1 November 2011 at 2:55 am 2 comments

Little Panino and Lapo’s Big Fail

Ciao Bloggisti!

Just wanted to update you on what’s been going on this week. First of all, I have a cat problem. I’m not sure if I already shared but I have two lady cats, Beppa and Sausage (don’t ask) who are 11 years old. Still sprightly despite reaching cougar age, they were living a peaceful life until some neighbourhood cats decided to invade their kitty home. They eat their food and sleep in their little cat hideaway under the stairs. But the worst part is that one of them, who I’ve dubbed Mel, is a male and is, ahem, marking his territory in their room. Which means my girls and their room now stink of Eau de Smelly Mel. What to do? Spray him back with Eau de Silvio? Befriend him? Send him to Vicenza? Any advice would be welcome.

And speaking of cats, there’s one that I have to let out of the proverbial bag. The big project I mentioned in the last post, the one that’s sucking all of my energy is actually a baking project. Yes, my friends, there’s a little panino in the oven! Four months along but he/she is rising nicely. So this, hopefully, explains my paltry posting activity over the last few months. Of course, the first trimester was exhausting. I spent most of my evenings passed out on the sofa. And boy was I ever nauseous! More than in the first two pregnancies combined. But on the whole, things seem to be progressing well. I even did a 3D ultrasound last week, which was pretty amazing. And since I’m a veteran, I’ve been feeling the baby kick for a while now. I have absolutely no idea how we’re going to handle everything with three kids but I’ll think about it when the time comes. So that’s big news number two.

Other interesting news this week comes courtesy of the NBA. I’m not sure if you’ve heard but the L.A. Lakers have a new star player: Lapo Elkann! Lapo is the late Gianni Agnelli’s grandson and is an “industrialist”, “international playboy”, “best-dressed bon vivant” and other things which I probably shouldn’t mention here. Let’s just say he’s not the brightest light in the Agnelli family.

So why is Lapo such a basketball superstar? Well, during a recent Lakers game against the Toronto Raptors, he actually tipped a loose ball away before Toronto guard Jose Calderon could make an out-of-bounds save. You have to see it to believe it:

Of course, our international-man-of-misery Lapo was mortified, as his Italian pals Bargnani and Belinelli actually play for the Raptors. But he just had to do something to protect his sunglasses. Or maybe he thought he was playing dodgeball. Anyway, I apologize to my fellow Toronto fans on his behalf. Scusate!!

Of course after this, there’s no way Lapo will ever become a member of the Handsome Men’s Club. I’m sure Matt Damon has something cruel and unusual in store for him. Mwah ha ha ha haaaa!!!

May you have a handsome weekend!!

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12 March 2010 at 1:12 am 4 comments

Around the world in one city

Ciao Bloggisti!*
When I was back home in Toronto last August, the fam and I went to Centre Island for the afternoon. It’s a favourite summer destination as it has lovely picnic areas, an amusement park and one of the best views of the downtown skyline. Anyway, as I was waiting in line for the ferry, I started to get bored and had a look around me.  And what I saw was incredible. It was like a live-action ad for the United Colours of Benetton. There were Jamaicans, Chinese, South Asians, Koreans, Italians, North Africans, Hasidic Jews and, ahem, “mangiacakes”, all standing in line together for the Island Ferry, their coolers and backpacks bursting with goodies, just like so many Torontonians have done for generations. It was all so wonderfully Canadian!
Being the foodie freak that I am, I was just dying to take a peek at what all those people had in their culinary stash. And I also thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a communal picnic right then and there, passing around the bindaetteok , samosas and potato salad.  In my opinion, nothing brings a country together better than food. This summer I can safely say I was well-trained in the art of nation-building with all the great things I chowed down on during my trip to Toronto and Ottawa. I took pictures of most of the food I ate on my trip (much to the chagrin of friends and family) but here are just a few shots of the memorable dishes I had. And since October 14 is Election Day in Canada, I thought it would be a great reminder of how diversity has become as Canadian as the Nanaimo Bar.
Arugula salad – Torito Tapas Bar, Toronto
Arugula , manchego cheese , roasted almond salad with quince vinaigrette

Mini pappadums, Brampton

My aunt’s spicy barbequed fish

Kerala-style barbequed fish

Butter tarts! A Canadian classic.

Butter tarts

My favourite: chunky, greasy french fries

Fresh-cut fries and ketchup

Appetizers – Omonia Restaurant, Greektown, Toronto

Three-dip pita platter with tzatziki, humus and melitzanosalata

Canada, vote well!!! Mi raccomando!!!!!!

* Update: I just found out that today is Blog Action Day, an annual, non-profit event aimed at raising awareness on global issues. This years Blog Action Day is dedicated to Poverty. I didn’t have enough time to write a post about the poverty but I urge you to watch the video below and do whatever you can to spread the word.

15 October 2008 at 12:00 am 2 comments

Toronto’s Distillery District

Ciao Bloggisti!

Picture it: Toronto, August 2008.

I’m late for a very important date and to top it all off, I’m lost. I get off the bus and start walking east. All of a sudden I see a gateway leading to…. England? Looking at the cobblestone streets, the distinctive red bricks of the Victorian-era buildings and the noticable absence of cars, it seems as though I entered a time warp and stepped into Dickensian London. Instead, I’m in one of Toronto’s most unique neighbourhoods: the Distillery District.

The District’s old-world charm comes from the fact that it was once home to the Gooderham and Worts Distillery, founded in 1832 and the largest distillery in the British Empire by the 1860s. In the late 20th century, the Distillery’s operations came to a close and the area soon became a no-man’s land, surrounded by demolished buildings and vacant lots. But the Distillery’s buildings remained intact and “constitute the largest and best-preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America.” This made the area a big favourite with “Hollywood North” so it has often been used as a location for a number of major films, such as Chicago, X-Men, Cinderella Man and of course Brady Bunch in the White House.

A few years ago, the site was redeveloped and is now one of Toronto’s most fascinating tourist destinations. Its 40 plus buildings house art galleries, theatres, speciality shops, restaurants and cafés and what’s more, the spaces are never leased to franchises or chains. So if you’re in the area and are hankering for a Big Mac or Starbuck’s iced cappuccino, you’re outta luck!

I must say I was pleasantly surprised by my visit because even if I grew up in Toronto, I had no idea this District even existed. It truly was a hidden gem. And I just loved the relaxed vibe and slightly European feel of this pedestrian neighbourhood. There were a number of restaurants to choose from, such as the Boiler House and Perigee but we opted for the Mill St. Brew Pub, a microbrewery specializing in fresh organic beers, stouts and ales. They also served pub fare with a twist. I had a fancy shmancy meat loaf stuffed with asiago cheese and spinach and one of my friends ordered sweet potato fries. So delicious and gorgeous that I just had to take a picture!

I wish I had had enough time to discover more of the District, visit some artists’ studios and try the chocolates at Soma, but that will have to wait till my next visit to Toronto. And of course, you’re all invited!

Are there any hidden gems in your towns? What area would make a great movie location?

11 September 2008 at 1:08 am 3 comments

The centre of the universe, man!


Ciao Bloggisti!

The first thing I noticed was the sky. I couldn’t put my finger on it but it seemed different somehow. It was bigger, bluer, with a certain crispness about it that even made the usually drab colours of the cookie-cutter subdivision stand out. That was my first reflection upon arriving in Toronto, my hometown. Perhaps I’d gotten too used to the hazy Lombard air. Whatever it was, just looking at those open Canadian skies made me feel good. And it was a good omen of things to come. 

I’m still recovering from jet lag and my first day back at work but I just wanted to let you all know that I had a fantastic time in the town we Torontonians consider the centre of the universe. I spent less than a month there but I managed to meet up with so many old friends and relatives and got to relive so many childhood memories that I think I need another holiday just to recover. I stayed in the rockin’ suburb of Scarborough, visited the Beaches, the Distillery District, Kensington, Centre Island, Greektown on the Danforth, Davisville, Brampton, the St. Lawrence Market area, Ontario Place, the Yonge Street strip, the Ex and last but not least, the grand old STC (Scarborough Town Centre).


Once I settle in to my old routine I’m going to post a few stories about my stay in Canada but here’s a sneak preview of some of the beautiful and curious things I saw:


The ever-changing Toronto skyline

Scarborough Hinterland’s Who’s Who: a groundhog


The delightful Community Vehicular Reclamation Project in Kensington

The Beaches, Toronto

Parliament Hill (Ottawa, not Toronto)


To be continued, eh….

2 September 2008 at 6:59 pm 4 comments

Greetings from Toronto!!

Ciao Bloggisti!

Just a very quick post to say “hi” and let you know that I finally made it back home in one piece even if the forces that be tried their best to give me a hard time. My flight from Milan to Amsterdam was delayed for over 2 hrs due to technical problems and I missed my connecting flight to Toronto. We were put up in a pretty nice hotel near Schiphol airport but during our buffet breakfast the next day a woman sitting close to my daughter almost had a stroke. Don’t worry, she was ok in the end. We had a horrible flight to Toronto on MartinAir that afternoon, my son’s superfull diaper leaked all over my leg and when we finally arrived in Toronto, one piece of luggage was missing. Good times!

But our stay in Toronto has more than made up for our initial difficulties. We’ve been having a great time catching up with family and friends, and especially pigging out. I finally had my Tim Horton’s chocolate dip donut and already polished off a bag of ketchup chips. Who needs risotto alla milanese when you can have genuine Canuck junk!! I already had a night out with my girls, had a birthday party for my son, did some shopping and will be celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary at the Radiohead concert at the Molson Amphitheatre. Not too shabby, eh?

Despite all the fun, I am thinking about all my blogging friends. I hope you’re all well and enjoying the summer. Since I miss you guys so much, here’s a little present for you. No, it’s not a donut!! It’s one of my all-time favourite Radiohead songs, Fake Plastic Trees.


15 August 2008 at 2:13 am 6 comments

I am outta here, bloggisti!!!

Ciao Bloggisti!!


It’s me! Your long lost blogger in da Boot!! What?!? You don’t remember wittle ole me?? Well, you’re more than justified for forgetting. I’ve been naughty and haven’t been posting that much lately. I’ve just come out of a VERY hectic period at work and at home. But at the back of my mind I would have these terrible feelings of guilt for neglecting my pals in the blogging world. And now that I’m going on holiday and won’t be posting nearly half as much (if at all!) my guilt has multiplied tenfold. Ah, all those years at Catholic school…


Anyway, I’m just writing to say “hi” and “bye” before I leave tomorrow. Yup, I’m going back home! Back to Canada, Toronto, T.O., T Dot, aka the centre of the universe. And I just can’t wait to see the fam, my friends and Tim Hortons! Mmmmm donuts!!


Don’t worry, I’ll take lots of pictures and I promise to post more come September. I just might pop in to say ciao once in a while but it might be difficult. In the meantime, just so you don’t forget about Milanese Masala, here’s a video by Glass Tiger, a band from Newmarket, Ontario that was really popular in the 80s.



Mi mancherete!! Ciao ciao!!!

4 August 2008 at 6:20 pm 3 comments

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