Ashley’s Birthday Celebrations – Hitting Up Toronto’s Hot Spots

We’ll admit it, we aren’t the type of girls who need a reason to crack open a bottle of wine or an excuse to celebrate, so for all intents and purposes, this past Thursday could have been any old Thursday. But it wasn’t. In fact, this past Thursday was Ashley’s 26th birthday – a very good reason and justified excuse to celebrate.

In the past for our birthdays, we’ve gone all out. We’ve rented rooms in clubs, we’ve thrown parties, we’ve gone to shows and ball games, but this year Ashley wanted something more low key; like dinner and a movie. So it was decided that we would go and see Never Let Me Go while waiting for another friend of ours to get off work and then head to the West end for dinner.

As life would have it, things never seem to go as planned. First, we hadn’t heard from our friend Jen all day. We didn’t know where she was, if she was still joining us, if she was okay, even. We teetered between worry and frustration while texting continuously on the way to the theatre.

Of course, when we showed up for the 6:10pm movie, it wasn’t playing. Any other night it would have been fine, but they had pushed the show for a screener, leaving us with a gap in our plans. There were plenty of other things available, but nothing would be over by the time we had to be at the restaurant. So, not knowing what to do to pass the time, we resorted to what we do best… drink.

We settled into a table at The Pilot, ordered a bottle of wine and spent the next hour or so catching up. The Pilot is a great little place, tucked just behind the main drag but still convenient enough to walk to. The service is always reliable and the food is pretty good, but it’s the patio that is the biggest draw. The Pilot houses a fantastic rooftop patio that is a great spot for post-work patio drinks in the summer. And even though it’s starting to get a little chilly out, the patio remains heated through the winter. If you’re ever looking for a place to disappear to for an evening, The Pilot is your place.

Somewhere between our laughter, presents and glasses of wine, Jen called and said she was on her way to Sushi Island to meet us. We quickly hopped on a streetcar and made our way over. One of our biggest issues with our regular sushi places is the seating. Often, in a huge restaurant with many tables, we end up seated squished up close to the next table and end up feeling like there is nowhere to move. Not only is Sushi Island nicely laid out, the vibe itself is welcoming.

The all you can eat menu, unlike some other restaurants, features a wider selection of food. Divided into different levels and price points, you can choose anything you want from the various selections and they will bring you combinations and platters, as oppose to the individual selections we’re typically used to. The presentation at Sushi Island is far superior as well; they take care to not only create a feast for the stomach but a feast for your eyes first. They also have a selection of maki rolls made with brown rice, making a healthy meal, even better.

It is, however, very easy to get carried away when ordering in this manner and if you let your eyes grow larger than your stomach, they will tack on an extra charge for anything remaining uneaten.

After another bottle of wine and a boatload of sushi, the three of us tipsy ladies made our way back out to the street in the direction of home. The one downfall to this location, however, is unless you have the warmth of a car to drive you where you’re going; it’s mighty cold waiting for a streetcar to slowly crawl along College Street. There never seems to be one when you need it.

Overall, it was a wonderful birthday with good company embraced in a few of Toronto’s cool little hot spots.

images from official webpages and (c)citygirlscapes