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Heading for the Sunshine Coast?  If, like most folks, your route takes you straight up the highway from the ferry, then you will shortly pass the new Beer Farm.

Don’t!  Pass it, that is.
Drive on in.

This is the home of Persephone Brewing Company – a new and wildly popular craft brewery on a lovely property which was formerly home to a flower nursery. 

1 and 1.89 litre growlers available to take along and start your Coast visit in the pleasantest of ways. We like the Goddess golden ale, but the Red ale is also good.

Check their hours before you continue on your way, as you will want to grab a growler re-fill on your way back to the ferry.

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Growing hops at the beer farm

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Slept late and then started the day with coffee in the garden.
Headed to the marina to meet up with Cottager who had been out overnight on his catboat, Bluster.
And he took me for a sail.

And then my Mom called...

And then my Mom called…Hi Mom!

In the heat of the day – and it was a hot one – stayed in the shade on the deck with a good book.

Enjoying the covered part of the deck

Enjoying the covered part of the deck

Once the heat had passed, we shared a bottle of sparkling French rose.

JP Chenet Sparkling Rose

JP Chenet Sparkling Rose

And then, since the sun is on the beach until 7 pm, we headed down for a swim. Lovely.

The water at Soames Beach is clean and very warm for so early in the summer

The water at Soames Beach is clean and very warm for so early in the summer

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Spent part of this evening at El Camino’s on Main – where all the hip people are if you’ve been missing them. Subtitled as Central American Streetfood. Packed on a Monday night when decent 2 oz margaritas are 5$. Tapas size portions great for sharing. Awesome music too – if you have great hip retro tastes like me, that is: vintage Bowie, the Knack, The Cars and Blondie. Very cool crowd, but we got good service even without toques, porkpie hats or large colorful spectacles!

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The Cottager is technically Irish, so with St. Patrick’s Day falling on the weekend, it seemed a good time to invite the neighbours in. Everyone brought something, and it was a fine meal with lots of laughs on the side.

We started with a cheese plate featuring marbled Guinness cheese. Very pretty and mild. Andy made soda bread, which arrived warm. I made a dip with corned beef, dill and cream cheese.

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Next up was two types of barbecued sausages, served along with brown onion gravy, green salad, and colcannon, a traditional potato dish with cabbage and bacon mashed right in.

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Then there were two great cakes. I made Nigella Lawson’s dense Chocolate Guinness cake – I’d make it again, but I would try it in a tube or bunt pan another time as it sunk a bit in the middle. It has a cream cheese icing that makes the cake resemble a glass of Guinness.

My neighbour, Margaret, made a fabulous Bailey’s cake that apparently starts with a yellow cake mix but took it to another level. When I get the recipe I’ll post it.

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Went out for a walk on the beach in a light mist and saw some things I hadn’t seen before. This tree, of course, has clearly been exactly here for many years but something about the dark turbulent day made it stand out in a way it hadn’t before. Wish I’d had a better camera with me.

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And then, along the sea wall in town I found a new public art installation: a line of blackboards and chalk where passersby can record an ever-changing list of single intentions and desires. Here is a link about this lovely idea.

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To find the wonderful in Toronto?

Me, who has been here for less than two weeks? OK, lets start with the two things I mentioned: A good pub and some decent Indian food.

I found the pub just across the street. It’s the Irish Embassy. Handsome and friendly barkeeps – including at least one with an authentic Irish accent – have made me very welcome there. It doesn’t meet my “pint for less than 7$” criteria, but in every other way it is splendid. I had some of the best chicken fingers ever there, and they happily brought me a bowl of curry sauce for my fries when I saw it was paired with another menu item. There is a sister-pub called PJ O’Briens just around the corner, and they have live music on the weekend, so I will check it out then. Meanwhile, here is a picture of my chicken strips, and another of the pub itself.

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As for the Indian, I noted four Indian joints in a row on Queen Street at University, which is not far at all. TripAdvisor was my friend here, singling out two of them for good reviews. I chose one of these, Little India, and was not disappointed. The daily special was a $19.95 menu that started with a vegetable samosa, added four other dishes, including THE BEST butter chicken I have ever had, and finished with a warm sweet. I was too excited/hungry to take a picture but here is a shot of just the leftovers from my meal, which I polished off last night. Great value. Good location. Criticisms would be that the vegetable dish was craaazzzy hot (as in spicy) and they burn an incense which – to me anyway – is incompatible with a restaurant. Just too smelly, but I am sensitive.

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That’s where I am and must stay – for work – until the middle of the month. Bad time to be away from home – and cottage! – but what can you do? Work has been a focus recently, hence a dearth of blog posts. But I hope to have some cottage stuff to talk about in the New Year, so don’t cut me out of your life just yet.

Meanwhile, we must work with what we have, and so I am looking for wonderful things about Toronto. Perhaps you know of some. Good Indian food?; a friendly pub where a pint doesn’t cost $7? Do share!

Here is the first great thing that struck me on arrival…the Christmas lights. This is one of my favourite things about Christmas, and this town does it up right. A few photos to illustrate: The lovely tree is one of several outside my hotel. The reindeer are roughly 10 metres high.

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