It was an Earnest Apple Picking Peking Duck weekend…and that’s only the half of it!
On Friday night, the kids had their first “exposure” to The Importance of Being Earnest. We were able to secure some prime seats at Hart House Theatre (thanks Trevor!) for the penultimate performance of the play. The kids had quite a long day, and so I wasn’t sure that they were going to be fully able to enjoy an 8 o’clock showing, but they loved every minute of it. I think we were all particularly charmed by Michael Adam Hogan’s Jack…especially, well, a certain young lady, who might, now, want to change her name to Gwendolyn. And, it was fun to see the young Nicole Wilson injecting such punch into her bright Lady Bracknell. One could go on about the cast, direction and fabulous costumes, but let’s just do everyone justice by saying that the kids “got every joke,” which, even for Wilde, remains pretty impressive, especially considering that (for once) the kids knew nothing of the play ahead of time. The production stayed with them, too. For the remainder of the weekend, everyone was asking each other whether the words we were saying, the foods we were eating, the apples we were picking, and the baseball players we were watching “inspired absolute confidence.” For instance, if the homework assignment did not “inspire absolute confidence,” was it still mandatory? We’re already planning a trip back for The Tempest in November. In fact, I’m thinking of having the kids read and illustrate The Tempest once a week as a part of our annual December Family Advent Calendar Project. If the Hart House Tempest inspires as much confidence as the Earnest, we’ll put the cart before the horse once more and have the kids watch the play before they read and illustrate the text.
On Saturday, we headed out to Applewood Farm Winery for apple picking. A fall trip to Applewood has become an annual event. And, this Saturday’s trip was one of our most relaxing visits yet. It’s nice to be familiar enough with a place and its routine that you can sit back a little and rest, even while you’re bumping up and down on a tractor bed to make your way out to the back orchard. And, the fall colours were spectacular! The kids ran right for their favourite rows of Empires. And, we enjoyed rubbing the seemingly grayish purple apples until they shone bright red. A couple of pounds of those came home under the guise of “absolute necessities.” And, I was over the moon that Applewood’s swoonworthy Honeycrisps were ripe and plentiful. Of course, we topped up our bags with some Cortlands to mix with the Empires in our Thanskgiving pies. This year, we picked up some beautiful acorn and butternut squash, too! Ah! Now! The basement crisper is full to the brim again. And we are fully stocked for fall comfort foods: Dr. Rosey’s Famous Double Crumble, here I come!
Finally, the Peking Duck. Since we don’t keep a car in the city, we rarely have access to the various food meccas of Toronto’s suburbs. And, we’ve been dying to jet up to Markham in search of the perfect suburban Peking Duck. “We were fools,” we were thinking, as we left the orchard, for not having thought to stop for Chinese on our way home from Applewood before! Fools no longer!!! With some guidance from friends, we decided on Peaktop Cuisine on Hwy 7. If the selection of amazing-looking restos in this single strip mall was mind-blowing, you should have seen the ridiculously expansive menus at Peaktop. Of course, we went right in for the best of the best. For about $40, we had some of the best Peking Duck we’ve tried since Champion House shuttered its doors on Dundas West. This was the two course version…Crispy skin, veg, and sweet sauce on pancakes for the first course, and the stir fried minced duck in lettuce wrappers for the second course. Wowee. “When are we renting a car again?” everyone asked, while I began wondering how many people we could get together for next time…hint hint…so that we might sample even more of what the Peaktop has to offer.
*The two photos at the top left of this college are borrowed from Hart House Theatre’s website. The second of these two is credited to Scott Gorman.