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Canada Wrap-Up

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I’ve been back in the states for 2 weeks now, but it feels like I JUST came back! The Guild season 4 has an official pickup with Xbox/Microsoft (YAY!) so I’ve been sitting in front of a laptop trying to get a script together to start pre-production. I’m sure I’ll be whining about that a LOT in the coming months, but before I delve into Guild blogging again, I want to make sure I catch everyone up on my Canadian experiences!

Doing “Red” in Toronto for Syfy was one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences I’ve had in a long time, especially as an actor. I’d never been a lead character on a budget that big before, and I can’t say I wasn’t intimidated before we started, but thanks to the help of a great crew, a director I could trust, and a fantastic group of actors, I really really got in the groove of kicking Werewolf butt!  And I worked out every day for like 6 weeks, more than I’d EVER done, so I have weird biceps now. 🙂  Here’s a really badass pic of me and the rest of the cast with the sunset at our backs:

Red Cast And @syfy Tweeted a link to another one pic today where I’m laughing at a stunt guy. I don’t think the cameras were running or I wouldn’t be grinning, haha.

So, Toronto.  I love that city, especially Queen street west, where I stayed when I went to town. My main quest whenever I go to a new city is to find the very best coffee, and I behaved no differently on this 4-week trip. I was actually staying OUTSIDE of Toronto in a smaller town called Hamilton, so my ability to hit all the coffee shops in the big city was hindered somewhat.  If you are in the area of Hamilton, go by “My Dog Joe’s” coffee and get a carrot cupcake for me.  Gluten free and literally the best cupcake I could imagine.  I should have asked for the recipe.  I must have eaten 2 dozen alone during my trip.  Also if you are in the area, please start taking oil painting classes at this place:

Hamilton, Toronto I mean, if you can paint a dude in a hazmat suit in the style of Norman Rockwell, you get points of cool in my book.

Due to my work schedule, I had to make up for my distance to the big city and high-tone coffee on the weekends, so I would drive in early, and by the time end-of-day Saturday rolled around, I’d consumed like 5 lattes and was caffeinated OUT OF MY MIND! Not the kind of tourism I’d recommend, but hey, a girl’s gotta do her thing, right?  With no further ado:  My Toronto coffee favorites in order!

#1:  Dark Horse Espresso

Dark Horse Espresso

This was the #1 recc on Twitter when I asked for local espresso help, and they did NOT steer me wrong.  It definitely reminded me of Intelligencia in Silver Lake here in LA, very modern decor and VERY good coffee.  The barista was busy talking to his friend the whole time, I don’t really get that, because it kinda irritates me.  This happened about three times at coffee places where they really can’t be helped to focus on you, the customer, because they’re talking about their band practice or something to their buddies who have stopped by.  Whatever, he wasn’t rude and the coffee was WONDERFUL.  Highly recommend.

#2 Cherry Bomb

Cherry Bomb

This was my FAVORITE place in Toronto.  Not only did I love the street it was on (See my photo of the awesome hot dogs I had at Buddha Dog) but the ambiance was PERFECT.  There were hipster people and just regular local people, and the owner and staff treated everyone the same, so friendly, remembering peoples’ names (which I usually HATE) and most importantly: BEST SCONES IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD.  I am drooling thinking about their date-pecan scone right now.  Coffee was EXCELLENT too.  One day I was so tired I drove 2 hours round trip just for a scone from Hamilton.  Yup.

#3 El Almacen Yerba Mate Cafe

El Almacen Yerba Mate Cafe

This is not a coffee place, I know.  It’s Yerba Mate, and it was quite an experience. That’s a gourd I was drinking out of, with a metal straw that filters the tea from going into your mouth.  You refill the gourd with hot water as you drink, so you can basically sip for a long time.  The Yerba Mate was very tasty and it also energized me in a non-jittery way.  Which was good, because I was drinking too much coffee, ha!

#5 Soma Chocolaterie

Soma Chocolate

Again not coffee.  Maybe I should amend this blog post to “Favorite hot drinks”?  Anyway, this place is stellar amazing awesomeness.  I bought a fortune in chocolate that I gave away later because I love sharing yummy stuff.  This was, no joke, the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.  They put some spices in it, make the chocolate ON SITE.  What more could you ask for, really?

#5 Bulldog Espresso

Bulldog Espresso

This was really good espresso.  The place is out of the way, and extremely tiny, but I got the best latte art here, and it was a different ambiance than the other places I went. Boutique-y.  I liked the shiny gold espresso machine too, bling’d.

#6 Jet Fuel

Jet Fuel

I hesitate to list this, but the coffee was great.  The barista was kind of a jerk though.  He kept chatting to his friends the whole time, I stood there waiting to be waited on, and he was chatting with his dude friends for like 5 minutes.  I requested non-fat milk and the dude definitely made it with whole milk.  And he watched me sip and asked me, “How is it?” in the way that he TOTALLY KNEW IT WAS WHOLE MILK!  Maybe he thought he was being suave?  Who knows.  I didn’t stick around, but looked like lots of people on laptops around enjoying themselves, so maybe I’m being picky.  I was hopped up on espresso, like a LOT, so maybe I was irritable like a crack addict.  The picture is pretty though, ha!

#7 Green Beanery

Green Beanery

I went here at 7pm before attending a Pure Pwnage screening across the street.  We had been shooting until 9am that morning and I had 3 hours sleep before driving into Toronto, so this was a nice kick to get through the screening which was GREAT! (If you’re in Canada, be sure to tune into the TV show!)  This place has all the coffee equipment in the world for purchase, and I liked the foam consistency a LOT.

Ok, that was my trip!  Well, not comprehensively, but highlights 🙂  Great to be back, will be posting about Guild prep a lot soon.  Back to writing!

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