Dining Wins Steps From SickKids

I’m going to let you in on a little secret… one of the reasons I don’t mind heading to SickKids is because of the dining options within easy walking distance. Some of the visits are so rushed that we don’t have time to eat before we head home again, or the boys are exhausted after their appointments. Other times we have to convince the kids that they really don’t want Swiss Chalet or Pizza Pizza. As they’re getting older, it’s getting easier to explore. A highlight of heading into any city that isn’t home is successfully finding a tasty place to chow down.

Our overnight trips obviously lend a little more flexibility to the experience. As long as the oldest is finished eating by 9:30pm he is good to go. This visit, we headed down Yonge Street and decided to pop into Fran’s Restaurant after it being recommended multiple times and because someone wanted a hearty breakfast for dinner. I now understand why it’s a Toronto institution. The food was tasty in a diner-classic comfort food way. No photos because my phone died, but the homefries were amazing and Kevin’s orange chicken was a flavor explosion. Kaleb cleaned his overly large breakfast off his plate.

This morning the kid had to skip breakfast, so us grown ups just grabbed Tim’s in SickKids. Meh. That’s all I have to say. In our defense we were in a time crunch and it was right where we walked in to the hospital en route to our appointment.

Once we finished for the day, the kid was hungry… but he’s also unadventurous and didn’t want to walk far. We popped into a delicious little burger joint that had amazing topping options and specialty selections. Their poutine was delicious!

Poutine – Jerk chicken, curds, gravy, and jerk mayo

Jackson’s Burger is just down the block from SickKids, steps from the Chelsea Hotel on Elm. Kev and I split the Effin’ Poutine (hey, I don’t name them) featuring jerk chicken and a Triple Threat burger. Not huge patties, but incredibly tasty with locally sourced ingredients.

Triple Threat burger with Kaleb’s Nutella Heaven in the background

Next we burnt off a few calories and grab some coffee before getting into the car. The few blocks and trips through the halls of SickKids logged in over 2.5 miles of walking!

Kev has some fabulous clients who treat him like family with coffee shops in multiple locations “downtown.” (I really don’t know all the different districts and neighborhoods!)

We pop into Mos Mos for amazing coffees and baked goods when we’re in the area. Coincidentally, today was the soft opening of their newest location at Bay and Elm, just a short block from Sick Kids. (I said on Instagram that it was across the street, but I was confused… it’s close though!) While I’ve never had a bad drink from Mos Mos, the White Lao Latte – served hot or iced – is my absolute fave – I enjoy it even more than my treat-time frappuccinos! (What is the secret???)

Finally, we needed a car snack. (In actuality Kev just couldn’t pass up Jamaican patties.) We popped intol Patties Express and grabbed a spicy beef and spicy chicken to take on the road. Perfect handy snack for sitting in traffic on the DVP.

We had plans to grab a cheesecake from Uncle Tetsu’s, but a phone call from the school during our appointment prevented any detours. Shout out to my mom who drove home this morning and back to our place again to pick up the one who wasn’t feeling well. (That’s more than 2 hours of driving – two trips in 4 hours, folks – what would we do without Omas?) We’re saving Japanese cheesecake for the next trip and will have to pick up one for her as well!

What are your favourite city dining spots? Do you have a go-to destination or like to try something different each time? Are you a T.O. local? What must-trys are within walking distance of SickKids or the Chelsea hotel? Recommendations are welcome and wanted! Share away!

Type 1, TrialNet, and Toronto…

Three out of four of us are currently tucked into a hotel in downtown Toronto. (The fourth got to enjoy a dinner date with Oma followed by a sleepover before she packs him off to school in the morning.) This country girl loves coming down to the city, but finds it so bright and noisy at night.

We are headed to SickKids tomorrow for our oldest to participate in a follow up study with TrialNet. Once you get through traffic – the DVP always makes me nauseous… three accidents tonight and just a sea of red taillights – it’s a fun little trip until the actual appointment. We come down the night before, enjoy dinner, walk around, use the pool, tuck into bed, wake up, and skip breakfast to begin a morning of blood work. No sleeping in…

Oral glucose tolerance test… lots of labs… and then he’s sent home with a gift card for his services. Wait six months. Repeat.

Why do we put him through this? Because he didn’t “pass” the initial screening, he’s a candidate to help in research towards prevention and treatment of Type 1 diabetes… and hopefully, one day, a cure. If our little efforts can assist so that another family doesn’t have to live with pokes and needles and expensive life-saving medicines, it’s all worth it. (Plus, they’re watching his health at the same time.)

I have been Type 1 for 30+ years and we’ve come a long way, baby! The strides that have been taken since the days of Banting & Best ensure this isn’t a death sentence in most developed countries. However, the disease is time-consuming, expensive, and can have devastating consequences. Even with improved technology, there are days that look like a roller coaster when it comes to blood glucose management.

Case in point: today I woke up in target, had a device issue half way through the morning, corrected with an injection, watched my blood sugar stubbornly sit high for most of the afternoon, (and resisted the rage bolus) only to crash before dinner and then again on the drive down.

Thankfully, after dinner out (Fran’s is delicious!) and a walk downtown (plus two marshmallow bananas), we’re exactly where we should be pre-bedtime. However, I’ll be waking up at least twice through the night to check things again.

This is just one small portion of the thought and planning that goes into anything. Under 5? Can’t drive. Late for work. Drop too low? Migraine for a day. Creeping high? Sore eyes and uncomfortable thirst. Sustained highs? Kidney damage, blindness, and nerve issues.

So if WE can help figure this thing out in a global collaboration with an overnight trip and day off of school? Count us in.

Here’s a poster from Test 1 Drop that you should save. T1D is not to be messed with. Tragedy can be averted if treatment is started early enough. Know the signs and symptoms. Any time your instinct says something is not right, or it’s more than just the flu, ask for a quick finger poke.

Type 1 diabetes IS NOT caused by diet or exercise and is considered an autoimmune disorder. It is different from Type 2, Gestational, and other “diabetes.” While commonly referred to as juvenile diabetes, you can be diagnosed at any age.

I am our why. Our son is our why. My friends are our why. Strangers across the globe are our why. Every family that has lost a loved one to this disease is our why. As the JDRF says… let’s turn Type 1 into type none.