It's that time Toronto! It's time for shorts and skirts, patios and pitchers, frolicking with friends, bikes and baseball games, and sweet, sweet spontaneity! The warm weather has finally arrived and with it comes those perfect fun and sun packed weekends that seem to go on forever, yet still end far too soon. To kick off what has officially been the first five-star weather weekend of Spring 2014 in Toronto, my boyfriend Chris was able to track down a bottle of Chilean Pisco, a boozy fruit liquor that is the main component to one of my favourite Summer cocktails, Pisco Sours.
I had my first Pisco Sour experience less than two hours after landing in Chile for an adventure-filled vacation with my dad seven years ago (SEVEN YEARS AGO?! Where did the time go?). I was jet lagged but dying to hit the lounge chair by the pool of our hotel, desperate to feel the sun on my Vitamin D-deprived skin after escaping Toronto's cruel February chill. The moment my tush hit the chair I was presented with my very first Pisco Sour. So delighted to be in such a beautiful foreign country relaxing by the pool, I downed my drink, not realizing that the citrusy, easy-drinking cocktail actually contains a whopping three shots of the 41% spirit. I was a goner. I spent the remainder of the afternoon passed out and drooling in my lounge chair, while the sun burnt my fair, milk-coloured skin. That damn delicious cocktail took the wind right out of me, but that certainly didn't stop me from having at least one Pisco Sour every day for the remainder of my trip.
It probably would have been a good idea to fill Chris in on that story, before we started drinking our Pisco Sours, as the poor guy didn't have a clue what he was getting himself into. He read "fruit liquor" and thought "oh like a Campari! Like an aperitivo!" It wasn't until we had drained our glasses and Chris went to pour more of what remained in the cocktail shaker, that he got a real whiff of the Pisco and realized how similar it smells to Tequila. A quick peek at the alcohol percentage on the bottle and it was back to chugging water! Just like after my first boozy Pisco experience, Chris had become hooked on the South American cocktail, declaring it to be our drink of the Summer! I sure didn't oppose! Recipes for Pisco Sours differ slightly, but here is one that my dad and I made a few years ago.
With the sun blazing and not a cloud in the sky on Saturday morning, Chris and I had our sights set on bikes! We headed over to Queen West to check out the selection at the Giant store. Thanks to my guy doing some initial bike research for me, we quickly found a reasonably-priced dream bike that had great value, was light and speedy, had good design features, and was cute and sporty looking. We took her out for a test ride and I fell in love! It had to be mine! I purchased my first good bike with a skip in my step and a smile plastered on my face.
After all that excitement and test riding, we had worked up an appetite and decided to go around the corner to check out North Of Brooklyn Pizzeria, a gourmet pizza shop we have been meaning to try since opening. The small and dark largely-takeout shop features wood and metal accents with four tables for two and bar seating. We each picked up a slice of their Pepperoni and Margherita pizza and a can of, Howe Sound Lager and tucked in. The perfectly thin hand-stretched crust was very tasty and topped with an absolutely delicious hand-crushed tomato sauce, with wonderful concentrated tomato flavour and just enough Buffalo Mozzarella, pepperoni, and basil. I particularly liked the extra touch of sesame seeds that lined the crust of the pepperoni pizza, giving it a nutty bite. It's rare to find such great gourmet pizza sold by-the-slice in the Toronto, and with North Of Brooklyn taking such great care in producing a high-quality product, there's no doubt that their slices take the lead!
There's no better way to end one of those perfect Spring weekends than at a packed Jays game, with the dome open, beers, and good friends! To celebrate another Jays sweep we all headed back to Chris' condo to send the weekend off in the only way we knew how, more Pisco Sours! Cheers to a Spring and Summer filled with gorgeous weekends just like this!