Three Birthday Dinners Out

1:42 PM

I managed to bamboozle my way into three nights out for dinner this birthday season. Definitely need to milk this special time of year for all it's worth. We went to three places to eat, two of which I'd never been to before. Originally we planned to eat at Beertown but we've been there a lot and changed it at the last minute. Here are my reviews:

Byron Freehouse

At first the parking situation was stressing me out because I hate finding street parking (and paying for it!) but luckily we grabbed the last spot in a side lot off Springbank. (Is that the road I'm thinking of? Yes... I think so!) The place is super cute, and I love all the visual marketing - not just saying that because my sister in law designed it ;) Our server was flawless - honestly. She was like a doppelganger to Lily Aldridge and gave us incredible service. She wiped up every water spill Ollie and Kota could manage and happily accommodated our 3 gluten allergies.

I ordered fried pickles to start and chorizo nachos. By the 3rd nacho I was already full, haha, so those ended up in a leftovers box for Calvin to eat the next day. The pickles were seriously good though - huge and all dusted with a kind of ranch-spice powder, served with dip. I loved them. The kind of pickles that you like open-mouth eat while panting because they're magma-calibre hot but too good to not devour immediately. Yes, you can picture that.

Good food, great service.
(After we headed to my parents place to watch Survivor and eat a glorious gluten free dark chocolate cake filled with a creamy whipped cream layer and topped with tons of peanut butter cups. Mmmm!)

Toboggan

This brewery/restaurant is new-er to London and I've been meaning to check it out for a while now. We were originally told there'd be an hour wait for our party of 6 but when we upped our group to 8 suddenly a table opened up and we were seated right away. Fabulous. Our server was friendly and knowledgeable, but I'll admit he never brought us any of the water we asked for (and we needed it! I guzzled 2 glasses when I got home.)

My friends took on the challenge of choosing beer for me so they ordered me a flight of Pomegranate Wheat Beer, the house Blonde, a Stout, and Lime-ginger Cider. While all four were really good, my favourite was the stout - it was so smooth and caramelly and had that really satisfying coffee-type bitterness that I love. The blonde was probably my least favourite, although still a really, really good beer just not my usual choice. The pomegranate was nice and fruity, it was a good one to start with. And the cider was actually really unique and cool - loved the gingery kick, not too strong just a hint.

I ordered the salad trio which came with an edamame salad, a quinoa salad (really strong sweet sesame flavour - wow!) and a lentil salad. They were all delish. But they were served with a spoon instead of fork, haha.

I also had friends order me a South Side which is this maple syrup-y Crown Royal based drink. I really liked it, and in my usual fashion I added the apple slices on top to the list of garnishes that I would eat as part of my meal (thanks for the peppermint too, friends who ordered dessert! I am such a garnish eater, it's super gross).

Overall, it was semi-loud but actually a nice vibe. It definitely wasn't bar-y in the sense that people are just mingling with strangers and making me feel awkward, it was definitely a stick with your party type place - which I prefer. Awesome menu, awesome drinks. And the Leafs game (which we won) was playing on about 20 big screens so I approved of that greatly.

McGuiness Landing

I've been here quite a few times in my life but not in the past year. Our experience was pretty average. I ordered the grilled salmon which had a nice mustard sauce on it. It also had garlic mashed potatoes and zucchini in tomato sauce on the side. It was just enough food to share with Dakota. 

Apparently on Sundays moms eat free so that was a cool surprise. Also, they offer a gluten free option for all of their butgers: helpful.

And special mention to...
My in-laws house

They made an awesome meal for me the night before my birthday and though it's not a restaurant I'm still so grateful.

We had halved mini bell peppers filled with cream cheese and salsa to start. What a yummy and healthy app, I loved it. Then we had a creamy (dairy-free, almond milk based) pasta made with broccoli, chicken breast and whole wheat macaroni. She had used coconut oil in the recipe and there was a hint of coconut-y sweetness that I adored. And we had sparkling wine which we call Paul's, I'm not sure why. And then dessert was a Clementine-date loaf and raw pumpkin energy balls. So yummy. Served with coconut chai tea. A super tasty homemade birthday dinner - loved it.

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