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The Week in Yum Is Back Nov 29 - Dec 5 Wild Burger, A Gingerbread Mosque and a Whole New Second Cup

I will really miss the strong, cardamom laced Turkish coffee

The Kid and I are back from our two week adventure in Jordan and, boy, are we tired. Our travel day to come home ended up taking 24 hours door to door, starting with a drive from Aqaba to the airport in Amman. Shack hired one of his guys to drive us to the airport on the morning of our 11am flight and this dear man, Ahmed, could not have been kinder.  Because Mr Shack has endeared himself to the locals so strongly, the fact that he was transporting precious cargo aka Mr Shack's family, also meant that this sweet man drove about 80km an hour the entire way, even stopping at a place that appeared to have no name to buy us delicious breakfast lamb kabobs and Turkish coffee despite the fact that we were in grave danger of missing our flight.

I am not sure who the decorator is at the nameless road side restaurant but I do like the rock wall at the back

The drive should take about 3 hrs and 20 minutes when you do between 100 and 120km/hr, the same speed limit we have here and I know that for sure because we timed it on Friday when we covered over 700km. He got us to the airport just in time to almost be too late to check our bags and although I kept this fact from The Kid, who can be a nervous nelly, as long as I could, I had to fess up when we pulled up to the airport. How else to explain the mad dash from the car to the baggage check desk when I am generally laid back to a fault?

Because I am a giver, I sucked it up and freaked out, quietly on my own, in the back seat without a seat belt because nobody wears seat belts there and most cars have them removed - they get around the annoying beeping by clipping in the buckle and then just cutting the strap off. Very crafty.

our Royal Jordanian Heathrow Mambo

In the end, we just made it in time and then the flight boarded almost 45 minutes later than scheduled -  it was a hint of the day to come. Our flight was an hour late into Heathrow after making lazy loops in the air, waiting for an opportunity to land and then, our Air Canada flight from Heathrow was also almost an hour late to depart. Thank god our VIP's came to pick us up at the airport here because by the time we landed, both drunk with fatigue, I am not sure that I had the energy to get us home and we might just have curled up in a quiet corner and slept on top of our luggage right there in terminal 3.

Yo Sushi

While in terminal 2 at Heathrow, we stopped in at Yo Sushi for something to eat while we waited for our final flight home. I took out 20 pounds at the bank machine and was so tired I couldn't do the math and the wifi wasn't working on any of our devices so I also couldn't do a search to see just how much 20 pounds is in Canadian dollars. I tried to make sure we kept things under that amount so I wouldn't have to get any more British currency as well as trying to not spend $50 on airport sushi because at that point, I was pretty sure that my 20 pound note was worth about 35 or 40 dollars and that is plenty to spend. Each plate is colour coded and the cost is pretty much between 1 pound 90 and about 5 pounds per dish. Picking your food off of the conveyor belt is kind of fun and the food, although over priced, was fresh and tasty and sits well on a tired, under fed tummy. If we did it over again, I think I would have opted for something more filling, like a rice or noodle bowl for 8 pounds each and called it a day - he was still pretty hungry after the sushi.

You can order off the menu, just take stuff of the belt or do a combination of the two and it sure beats whatever chicken they are going to try to serve me on the airplane.

these nuts were the tastiest thing we ate on either plane

On Monday morning, somehow, The Kid got up, showered and went to school and seemed to fare much better than I did as far as being jet lagged goes. The Neighbours, THE BEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, had bought us milk, bread and sushi and put it in the fridge so we could have coffee and something to eat in the morning and sushi to pack in his lunch box. Honestly, what do people do without the kind of friends who come pick you up at the airport and think to stock your fridge with the essentials? They sleep in the airport and eat dust bunnies and lint for breakfast, that's what they do.

Come Monday night I was lapsing into a coma so we ordered Thai from Jatujak , which served double duty as I knew that the leftovers would go into Tuesday's lunch for The Kid and I forced myself to stay up until 9pm. I promptly passed out only to wake up, wide awake and feeling like starting my day at 2am. I had to bake cookies for the Great Blogger Cookie Swap , something I have participated since it's inception and I was supposed to get them in the mail by Wednesday, tired or not. There is no good reason to NOT bake cookies at 3am so that is what I did but I can't even tell you what I made because it has to remain a secret until I post the recipe on Dec 15. To my recipients, I hope that you enjoy the cookies, but be gentle. I was in a coma when I baked them and it's possible that I forgot to add the sugar or something. They looked like cookies, so that's a good start.

I am taking every opportunity to use this photo of the camel I rode right before the camel I ate and you would too if you ate a camel burger just days after you rode an actual camel, so don't judge

Tuesday, I jumped back into the difficult work of eating out with a media dinner at Wild Burger, on Mount Pleasant, just south of Eglinton - click that link to read my thoughts on it (they are very good thoughts, indeed)

Wednesday was the annual Gingerbread House Smackdown In The Beach and considering that I could barely keep my eyes open and only lasted for two hours before crawling home to bed, I think my mosque turned out pretty good. If you want a refresher on how this party goes down, click here and I suggest you do, because these women don't play. This is some serious business and because I left so early, my mosque would not really be in the official running when it came time to vote but that didn't stop with our self appointed, reigning champ yelling " YOU CAME IN FIFTH, NICE TRY, THANKS FOR COMING!" as I walked out the door.
Another lady, sitting beside me, sniffed "So, who goes to a mosque at Christmas?"
I wanted to say "the same people who go to a gingerbread house?"

Second Cup

Thursday I was treated to great coffee at the Media preview for the big rebranding of Second Cup on King St at John and holy smokes, is it a big change. This was the unveiling of their new format coffee shop, complete with a modern, circular bar equipped with power sources for your smartphones (OMG THIS GOT ME MORE EXCITED THAN ANYTHING I HAVE SEEN ALL WEEK) and a front row seat to the their two new brewing stations. There is a steampunk station and a slow brew station and you can sit and watch the barristas perform their magic while you CHARGE YOUR PHONE!!

Second Cup has snagged Alix Box (formerly of Starbucks) as their new chief executive and, clearly, she is doing all the right things to bring this Canadian coffee chain ( I think they are the ONLY remaining coffee chain that is still absolutely Canadian) into the new millennium. There are lovely cups, designed by Canadian artists, everything is clean, white with blonde wood, spacious and airy and very, very modern.

It is everything you just don't expect from Second Cup anymore. The plan is to renovate all of their stores and bring their game face to the market to try to regain some footing that has been stolen from companies like Starbucks and McDonalds and , I have to tell you, after spending some time there yesterday, I think they are going to succeed.

I am finally just starting to feel human today and I have lots of cooking stuff to do over the weekend, another media visit to a new restaurant next week but for now, I am going to just go lay down and have another nap.

Have a great week!

Pin of the week:  I will not rest until I attempt this dish at home

Instagram of the week: A Portuguese Architect living in Vienna just about says it all - great feed

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