At O'Hare on the way home from Cory and Alice's lovely wedding in Toronto. Fabulous event full of fun people. This was our first non-work related travel in 6 years, so it made for a lovely minication.
And what a great place to be!
Cory had suggested the Gladstone Hotel. It's a small-ish, boutique hotel at the edge of the rapidly gentrifying Queen Street. Staff was occasionally a bit spacy -- for example, our "4am wakeup call and 5am cab to airport" was converted into "5am wakeup call and 4am cab" -- but the rooms were comfortable, the bar's lattes and apple crisps fantastic, and the road noise manageable.
What was amazing was the range and quality of food options along Queen Street. Every 3 or 4 doors was a tiny, dark bar that also has 5-7 tables and also serves food -- especially brunch. We ate at several. The highlights -- in addition to Manhattan -- were:
Swan - a retrofitted bar/diner with a short menu and daily specials. We shared a chorizo-chicken-mussel stew that was just about perfect, especially accompanied by "toasted break with tomatoes" -- huge chunks of soft, fresh bread, toasted under a broiler and accompanied by tomatoes and the amazing olives.
The Drake Hotel - we hit the Drake's coffee shop -- excellent espresso and a scary good beer-oatmeal bread/brownie -- as well as their dining room. Monday's are tricky on Queen Street, as much is closed, so the Drake offer's a Monday nigh special. Definitely opt for the charcuterie plate and the pork belly sliders on cheddar biscuits.
All good and ridiculously cheap -- even before conversion back to USD -- if you're used to California food prices.
About the only low spot was One of a Kind, an Italian restaurant with way too many items on the menu and a shocking habit of dumping cups full of Kraft parmesan over what might otherwise have been very well grilled calamari.
So, if you get to Toronto, head to Queen Street West and explore. You won't be disappointed!