When I was in junior high, I spent a great deal of time in the school's bathroom. No, I didn't have a wonky bladder. I was just terribly, terribly shy. Every day I went home for lunch, and I would try to make it back so I was just in time for the first bell. That way I wouldn't have to hang about by myself, or worse yet, walk down the hallway lined with the cool kids, who (I felt) were scrutinizing the big dorks and geeks. Me. Alas, if I didn't manage to meet up with my one pal, or if I was just a minute or two early, I sought refuge in a bathroom stall. Not one of my shining life moments, but when you are thirteen and incredibly insecure, hiding out in the bathroom is sometimes a lifesaver. With the trill of that first bell I was released. If there is hell on earth, I'm a firm believer that junior high is it.
Poutine, the first course, first night. Best thing I ate all weekend.
En route to a frosty Hockley Valley.
One thing that really struck me was how important it is to pitch myself. My blog is a brand, but so am I. And for a shy girl, this can be somewhat difficult. Maybe it's the humble prairie sensibility I've acquired living in Saskatchewan - where we know we're awesome, we just don't have to shout it from the rooftops. But amongst a sea of other fabulous food bloggers, one wants to stand out a little from the rest. I had to take little leaps forward and approach people whose work I've admired and initiate conversations with others I would like to collaborate with. The more I did it the easier it became. Being brave can be contagious and this is not new to me. I've moved across the country to a city where I've only known one other person. I did this twice. I've worked in the remote Yukon Territory, knowing not a soul upon my arrival, but left with life-long friendships. I've quit my job without another one to replace it. I've gone speed-dating. I've gone on blind dates. All the while I can guarantee you there were massive butterflies in the belly. But if there is anything I've learned from these adventures is that the leap is always worth taking. We don't go forward if we are standing still. As much as it's a bit overwhelming to talk about myself and what the blog is about - okay, I had to brag a little - I know it's putting me out there, and that's a good thing. There's plenty to be proud of here. I just wish I could go back in time, to that junior high bathroom and tell that young girl to take a deep breath. It's okay to come out now.
Toronto greeted me with freezing rain.
I hung about Toronto a couple of days on either side of the conference to catch up with old friends - yes, those who knew me when I was loitering in bathrooms. It was just what I needed; a little spring re-boot, if you will.
My friend knows me so well. A visit to SOMA Chocolates was on the agenda and did not disappoint. This is one lab I could totally see myself working in. The dark chocolate olive oil truffle blew my mind, and I have a dark chocolate Maldon sea salt bar in the cupboard, for emergencies.
Distillery District brick.
Curb-side pansies and herbs made me happy. My boots were happy to be walking on something other than snow and ice. This is how spring is supposed to be!
My last night in the big city was spent at Momofuku. Surprisingly affordable, if you're going for noodles and soup. The pork bun was absolutely luscious - a must try if you are in Toronto. Oh, and the bathroom is pretty cool, too.
Sky above clouds and home again.