The Power Plant is located at:
231 Queens Quay West
Toronto, ON M5J 2G8
For more information, visit ThePowerPlant.org.
The Power Plant is located at:
231 Queens Quay West
Toronto, ON M5J 2G8
For more information, visit ThePowerPlant.org.
Immediately upon entering the room, there was an odour, similar to that of a hospital. The interior was drab, but it wasn’t so bad compared to the hallway. The purple and orange rug and horse statue in the hallway were all too tacky for me. This gaudy hall combined with the plain room clashed too well.
I could not get over the fact the fridge barely held anything. There was a club and several bars across the street. I thought management would have known this and anticipated most guests having a drink before barhopping. I couldn’t fit my bottles in the fridge, not that they needed to be refrigerated. If I had brought actual food, however, it probably wouldn’t have fit in the fridge. There was also no cutlery or plates, which the Marriott provides in every room. The Marriott also has a stove, which The Hilton did not.
They offered me a great price, though. Rooms started at around $100. I chose the $120 room, though, to be safe of rats and roaches. I still could’ve gotten a better room at The Marriott for around the same price. What irked me further was that they gave me one free parking spot and my guests had to pay. This would have never happened at the Marriott.
I’ve stayed at The Marriott Residence Inn a few times for parties, and breakfast was always free. It was delicious, too – a buffet of scrumptious breakfast foods. In comparison to the Marriott, the room was tiny. The Marriott had a separate kitchen and living room in addition to the bedroom. The Hilton only offered me one room, which consisted of two beds, a TV, a bathroom and a tiny fridge.
In addition, I didn’t see anywhere I could buy food. Of course, there was a restaurant but no place within the hotel to buy snacks. There was also only enough coffee in the room for one person. There was one packet of caffeinated coffee and one pack of decaf. We didn’t have enough coffee to serve all of my guests.
I would give The Hilton Garden Inn Toronto/Markham a 6/10. During my stay, it just seemed like I was experiencing one disappointment after another. Maybe I’m just accustomed to The Marriott, but I expected more of The Hilton. I’ve stayed at The Hilton – not The Hilton Garden Inn – and it was fabulous. Maybe it was just the location. Either way, I had a mediocre time.
*All prices are rounded and exclude taxes.
Image courtesy of franky242 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Someone was generous enough to give me a gift card to Table 17. Table 17 is a relatively new restaurant in the Leslieville/Riverside area. The interior is irresistibly cozy – gray walls, one giant mirror and candles everywhere. Table 17 is the picture of sophistication, with a long table on one side where the servers cut bread. It is the perfect place for a date.
I ordered potato and cod balls, poutine and coconut macaroons. Everything I got was remarkably tasty. I was extremely impressed with the poutine I ordered, which was presented ever so elegantly – cheeseballs melting over hot meat strips and potato slices.
We had two waitresses serving us. They never neglected us and ensured our every need was met. From Mondays to Saturdays, food is relatively cheap. Mains are approximately $25 each, but that’s typical of every restaurant. Also exclusive to Sundays is the absence of corkage fees, meaning you can bring a wine bottle from home at no charge. Table 17 also offers a Table D’Hôte Menu on Sundays, which allows you to get three courses for $35 per person. Even though the dishes were exquisite, they were served in tiny portions. I had three courses, but I was still hungry upon leaving the restaurant. My friend’s servings were just as small.
I would give Table 17 a 7/10. I enjoyed the ambiance and succulent food. The eatery still had a start-up feel with the menus that looked like they were made out of cardboard and the tables that were too close together. I was still impressed, though. Table 17 is the place for a high class evening at an affordable price.
For more information, visit table17.ca.
The Madison Ave. Pub, also known as The Maddy, thoroughly surpassed my expectations. It is a Victorian mansion in the heart of The Annex in downtown Toronto. Although it looks small from the outside, it is quite spacious on the inside. The food and drinks were delectable and reasonably priced. What most impressed me was the servers who were so attentive it was like they were reading our minds.
The Madison Ave. Pub is a cozy place to spend a Friday night. The beige walls and red booths give it a vintage feel. Even though the building is quite narrow, this gives a unique aura to the whole pub experience. Besides drinking, a good game of billiards can be enjoyed at The Maddy.
Normally, when one goes to a bar, one generally expects the menu to consist of fast food. In addition to typical bar food, The Maddy has gourmet meals available to order. Just some of these include butternut fusilli, grilled chicken bruschetta and calamari. When I was there, I had the most delicious red velvet cake I’ve ever tasted. I’ve ordered red velvet cake from bakeries since, but it hasn’t been the same.
I was quite pleased with The Maddy’s prices. The Maddy is a great place for students. My friends and I were able to wet our palettes for relatively cheap. As a bonus, The Maddy offers grilled cheese, burgers, quesadillas, wings and pints at $3 each on the first Tuesday of every month in honour of their 30th anniversary. There are also live musicians and a contest to win a car on those evenings.
The service at the Madison Ave. Pub impressed me. At first, my friends and I didn’t know if the servers would come to us or vice versa. After approaching a waiter in the bar area, he was very helpful all night. He never abandoned us for too long, and when a friend showed up later on, he brought us a chair without us asking.
After a crazy night filled with laughter, cheer and bonding, I would give The Maddy an 8/10. Although I enjoyed myself, I had to go looking for the server, which I found strange. On top of that, the building is narrow, which is unappealing though unique. Despite this, I would still recommend The Maddy to a friend. It is a thrilling place to be.
The Maddy is located at:
14 Madison Avenue
For more information, visit their website.
The Backup Plan stars Jennifer Lopez as a single woman in her late twenties who opts to get artificially inseminated. Lopez plays a high-strung, negative diva. This actually brought my mood down, which is the opposite of what a romantic comedy is supposed to do. I thought this role did not suit Jennifer, who is naturally upbeat and laidback.
The film entertains, though. It takes you through happy moments, like when Jen thinks she’s found the one, to sad ones, like when Jen thinks her on-screen lover is non-committal. It makes one believe she, too, will find the one, the one who truly cares and puts her above all others. It even has humorous moments like when Jen and Alex O’ Loughlin have sex in a barn.
The great thing about The Backup Plan is it has a lesson, unlike other films. It teaches one not to be negative about one’s love life. The one will come around. All it takes is patience. This lesson can even be taken further to suggest one should not be negative about life in general. Good things do happen, and there’s no point in feeling down all the time.
Last summer I had the chance to go to The Ballroom Bowl with a friend of mine. The Ballroom Bowl is a triple treat: a bar, restaurant and bowling alley. I must say I was infatuated with the bar. The scrumptious drinks were served in an appealing way. I had The Ballroom Cherry Cola – rum, bourbon and vanilla with a cherry knot on top.
We ended up bowling, which was highly overpriced. Although fun, I could not take my mind off the price. It was definitely an upscale night on the town with a matching price tag. Normally, you think about the good time you had with a friend after an outing, but this time I was disappointed with my wallet’s weight loss.
The Ballroom Bowl has the kind of atmosphere that puts you in a partying mood. The bar has a cosmopolitan aura to it and, the bowling alley is glow-in-the-dark.
The service was good. The staff was attentive and friendly. There was a fly in one of the drinks I ordered, but that was probably because the window is a giant garage door.
Overall, I would give The Ballroom Ball 6/10. The Ballroom is venue unlike any other. The prices left me unsatisfied, however. I would recommend The Ballroom Bowl for an occasional date night but not a regular hangout.
Image from FreeDigitalPhotos.Net
You’ve got the special night planned, and now there’s just one thing left: a present. You want to impress your date but are confused about what to buy. If you get her something and she doesn’t get you anything, you could make her uncomfortable. On the other hand if you get her something less expensive than what she got you, you could end up looking like a jerk. So what do you get your date this Valentine’s Day?
Never fear. Finding the right gift your Valentine is easy. Just remember the following:
1) Your status. If you and your sweetie aren’t official, then it would be safest not to get her anything. If you actually got her something, it would be obvious you want a commitment. Then you would have to have a talk about feelings much earlier than you’re ready for. You may even end up looking desperate.
2) How long you’ve been dating. The longer you’ve been dating, the more acceptable larger gifts are. Of course, Valentine’s Day isn’t a big occasion, so the gifts probably shouldn’t be over the top. This means no yachts, puppies or big screen TVs. Accessories, jewelry and game tickets are acceptable, however.
3) Past presents. Think back to past presents you’ve got each other – Christmas, birthdays, past Valentine’s Days. Think of what kind of gifts you got each other and how much you spent. This Valentine’s Day, you can spend the same amount or higher.
4) The nature of your relationship. If you have a close relationship with your honey and you constantly spoil each other, then you can get an idea of the spending limit. If you aren’t in each other’s face everyday or don’t go all out on gifts, you should probably stick to a smaller gift. Homemade gifts are also an option, if that applies.
5) Your partner’s financial status. You want to give a nice gift, but it would be a bit inconsiderate to give a large gift if you know your partner can’t reciprocate. If your other half is broke this Valentine’s Day, you may want to suggest not giving gifts at all. That way, you can rest at ease knowing you didn’t put your sweetie in an uncomfortable or trying position.
6) Your sweetie’s style. Some people loathe commercial holidays and boycott Valentine’s Day for this reason. If you’re in a new relationship, it would be best to check if your sweetie’s anti-Valentine’s Day or not. That way, you won’t irk her by supporting the capitalist occasion. Just remember you can make any day romantic, so don’t be disappointed if your partner doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Thomas á Kempis once said, “A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver.” This is correct. Your partner probably won’t care what you get her for Valentine’s Day. You can make her uncomfortable by getting a gift that’s out of her budget, though. You could even make yourself look desperate by giving your crush a Valentine’s Day gift if you’re not dating. You should be safe if you follow your instincts, however.
Hank’s is relatively inexpensive, with nothing on the menu higher than $13. Some of their drinks are pricy, but they are worth it. Despite closing early, Hank’s serves alcohol, including libations not on the menu. Let’s not forget the exceptional service. The servers are attentive but not annoying. I don’t remember one empty dish or cup being on the table more than a couple minutes.
The coffee and desserts are absolutely delectable. This combined with the beautiful interior will have you in Heaven. Don’t let the pictures on the website fool you. The restaurant is actually a lot warmer looking in person. In Summer, the nearly ceiling length windows are left open for a unique, uplifting feel.
Hank’s is located in Downtown Toronto, about a 20 minute walk from the Distillery District. The Eaton Centre tops this, being a 15 minute walk away. If either of these destinations don’t appeal to you, you can always entertain yourself at Kensington Market after a cup of tea.*
I would give Hank’s a 9/10. The food, décor and service are up to par. Once I had a sweetened coffee, though, and my teeth hurt afterwards. Even though this was partially my fault for waiting until bedtime to brush my teeth, I’ve never had this problem with other restaurants. Other than that, Hank’s is an excellent place to eat with friends. I would go again – and again and again.
Hank’s is located at:
9 1/2 Church St
Toronto, ON M5E 1M2
For more information, visit their website or call (416) 504-2657.
Photo from PDPhoto.org.
*Please note Kensington Market is a 10 minute drive, 30 minute bus ride and 40 minute walk from Hank’s.
Got a dating question you’re anxious to get answered? Ask Stephanie is a new column where I give you dating advice. To submit your question, email me at email@example.com.
Please note I will reply to your email in your inbox as well as post my advice on the website. I will try to answer as many questions as possible, but I cannot guarantee I can answer all of them.
If you’re in a relationship, you know they take effort to maintain. This year, attempt to improve your relationship instead of just yourself. There’s probably nothing big you need to fix, but it would be safe to fix all the little problems that could add up to something major.
Following through with a resolution can be challenging, but just remember it’ll all be worth it. All it takes is a little patience. If your partner says you need to contribute to housework more, stop calling her names or something along those lines, she may just adore you for putting in the effort to fix it.
So what should you do when trying to improve yourself and, consequently, your relationship?
1) Make a list. Think about everything your partner has ever criticized you for. Look at your journal. Make a list of all the things you need to work on, and choose which ones you’re going to deal with.
2) Make a plan. Choose a timeline you’re going to eliminate your bad habits by and how you’re going to go about it. You should also think of ways to maintain your improved self.
3) Set it in motion right away. As the author Marie Edgeworth once said: “The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him can have no hope from them afterwards; they will be dissipated, lost and perish in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the slough of indolence.” What she means here is: if you put off your plan, you may just end up putting it off for too long or forever. Besides the quicker you change, the more likely your partner is to notice. If you continue doing things that bother her for a while, your relationship could crumble. Your other half may even take longer to notice your new ways, when you finally implement them.
4) Keep a journal. You may occasionally revert to your old habits. If this happens, don’t beat yourself up. This will just put you in a negative mood, which may slow down your progress. Instead, keep a journal to vent about your disappointment. Jot down new methods of improving. Don’t think about it afterwards, and continue with your day. You will improve eventually, so don’t let this get you down.
5) Maintain a positive attitude. When you think abandoning your bad habits is boring or impossible, that’s when sticking to your New Year’s resolution becomes work. Think positively, instead. You will improve. It’s not hard to be your new self. You will have an even better relationship if you give up certain tendencies.
Changing small things about yourself may not seem necessary. If your partner complains a lot about them, though, your relationship may benefit from some self-improvement. You could have a closer, simpler relationship with your honey, and you may just be happier yourself. This may not improve your relationship for just 2013, but also for many years to come.
Photo from PDPhoto.org.