Visitors’ Choice : WVRST

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As mentioned here, we recently saw our friends, Anna and Wil, who were visiting from the United States.

A couple of weeks prior to their being in Toronto, Anna sent an email that included the line “I think the only thing Wil has made a priority when visiting is to eat at WVRST”.

He had seen the place featured on American chef and tv personality Anthony Bourdain’s segment about Toronto, that had aired on the Travel Channel.

WVRST, self-described as, “A modern beer hall that specializes in artisan sausages, craft beer, and good times”, was on his list of recommended places to go in the city (found here). I had never been and was keen to check it out.

[Aside : To be honest, I wasn’t that familiar with Anthony Bourdain (we don’t have cable tv) but I was glad to see that he had chosen quite a few places that I’ve previously written about, including : Good Egg , Sneaky Dee’s, Horseshoe Tavern, Evergreen Brickworks and Beast Restaurant.]

So a group of eight friends — Anna and Wil, Nick and I, Isabel and Barb and Greg and Chi, went to WVRST on the Saturday night that they were in Toronto.

Why these particular people? As said in the earlier post about their visit, we know A and W from the online within the community of SecondLife. Our friend Isabel, who I met through work, (seen most recently here), had also joined us in SL, and she had also met Anna there. Barb is another lady Isabel and I met through work — the two of them are now flatmates. Then, Greg is someone who Anna met within a different online scene. One introduction led to another, and so it was that these three groups of people, many of whom met thanks to the existence of online communication, all came together for a fun outing together.

There was a lineup at the door but that was okay because it moved pretty quickly and the time spent standing and chatting in line was part of the fun.

Since there was a low likelihood of eight people exiting at once, the doorman suggested we go in one at a time, as people left. (He had a clicker to keep track of the ins and outs). I ended up going in first and scoped out a table. I picked a spot where we could all stand together while keeping an eye out on a table that looked like it would be free soon.

Isabel took a pic of me waiting for them all to come in …

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I didn’t wait long and soon we were all in. Then we quickly nabbed one side of a large table in the corner.

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In a nutshell, WVRST is a restaurant that sells only sausages, grilled up and served on buns with toppings of your choice, and award winning French fries, with a variety of homemade sauces to go with them. To drink they offer beer, and many different kinds of it. (You can read more about WVRST on their site here).

We chose our beer from a list that covered two full pages of the menu. And we picked the type of sausage we wanted from a number of options that included a black-bean one for vegetarians. (Knowing that Anna doesn’t eat meat, I had laughed when her husband named a sausage restaurant as the place he really wanted to go, but they had her covered.)

Then, in shifts, we joined a line-up to order and pay.

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^ Barb and Isabel ^

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We were given stands with numbers on them and our drinks and our food were then delivered to the table.

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My beer, Moralite, was brewed in Quebec. Nick went with the Czech beer Pilsner Urquell.

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Anna and Wil brought dessert in the form of amazing chocolates from See’s Candies, a candy store in the United States. They brought enough that we all got some to bring home too! So delicious.

[Aside : Barb had this box set up with the pamphlet like that, all ready for the photo, and shifted it so I could get a photo first. She knew I’d want that picture!]

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Anna also brought some really cute necklaces she crocheted, for all the ladies. You’re sure to see mine soon.

The time to say goodbye to these fine people came all too soon. Reluctantly we bid farewell to our long-distant friends and made promises to “see you soon” to the local ones.

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Here’s to online friends who become real-life ones! What a wonderful time we have the privilege of living in.

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you have a great weekend!
xo loulou

Posted in Out at Night, Restaurants of Toronto | 3 Comments

A Real-Life Meet Up With Online Friends

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We recently had the pleasure of spending time with a friend, Anna, who we first encountered online eight years ago, and her husband, Wil. We met within the virtual community called SecondLife, where Nick and I, along with our friend and drummer, Chops, used to perform live music.

This was our second visit from them, as they were also in Toronto last year (shown here and here). We all hit it off so well during our first real-life meeting that we were delighted to learn that they were coming back, travelling from their home in the southern United States.

Considering we didn’t really know them when we first suggested it, we were happy that they wanted to return to the same meeting place as last year — The Rex. It’s a restaurant, a live jazz music venue and hotel all in one, that has been running for over 40 years (all those years with the same owner!).

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Nick and I used to live close by, and would go fairly regularly because they serve really good veggie burgers, which come with some hummus on the side.

Being a Friday evening, the place was packed. There was an eight piece Jazz-Swing band onstage, called The Jive Bombers, who were keeping the crowd well entertained.

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Anna and Wil arrived first and snagged a great table off to the side, where it would be easier to talk.

We arrived, slid into the bench seat across from them, and practically continued our conversation from last year, almost as though no time had passed.

To eat we started with a vegetable and hummus platter. Then Wil and I each had a burger made with a portabello mushroom, crusted in panko and served with melted cheese and tomato sauce (not ketchup, but more of a sauce like you would put on pasta). It was very nice. Nick and Anna both went for the aforementioned veggie burgers.

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After dinner, we took a walk. Since the sky had opened up and it poured rain that afternoon, we were glad the weather changed and it turned out to be such a nice evening.

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^ A useful and attractive installation of painted chairs created by students at the art and design university ^

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^ The patch on the back of Nick’s jacket is by Kat Gomboc and he got it when he went to this art festival in the park last summer.

We saw Anna and Wil again the following night but I’ll leave you here now, and continue in the next post.

Thanks very much for checking it out,
xo loulou

Posted in Out at Night, Restaurants of Toronto, Streets of Toronto | 2 Comments