Patricia Noonan escapes the COVID blues with a drink and a snack at The Ritz…

The very first hotel I ever stayed in was The Ritz-Carlton in Montreal. My twin sister and I decided to take the train to Montreal and after arriving, we happened to be walking by the hotel and checked out the rates and stayed. (We were only 18 years old!) Since that time, I’ve had the pleasure of staying in the Ritz-Carlton Chicago and of course, at The Ritz in Manhattan. There are several more I’d like to enjoy in my lifetime!

Fast forward to emergence from the Covid19 lockdown in stages and there are signs of life in the hotel industry. Very carefully, The Ritz-Carlton,Toronto has reopened Ritz Bar and patio. It’s a breath of fresh air. While the hotel is extremely quiet, that doesn’t bother me. It’s a sense of peaceful luxe that entices and this world class hotel always delivers.

Mimi Auyeung, Public Relations and Marketing Manager, said the plan from the food and beverage team, during this unprecedented time, was to create a classic comfort menu to lend a sense of normalcy, with a ‘Ritz’ twist and that goes for classic cocktails at the Ritz Bar as well.

Head bartender Jon Neill has built on the bar’s signature cocktail list along with the classics. My choice? A cocktail called the Private Jet, because if I can’t fly anywhere, I like the list of ingredients to remind me of places I’ve been; Kentucky Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, lemon and grapefruit from Florida. This is a modern take on a bourbon sour, with a nod to Italy and the USA. I asked my server, Francisco, what he felt would be a good match. Although their ‘Not Your Average Grilled Cheese’ was what I wanted, I opted for Tonkatsu Pork Belly Bao, with sriracha, wakame and kimchi lettuce, which was a delish food match to the citrus and spice elements of the cocktail.

That grilled cheese beckons though…Iberian ham, truffle spread, buffalo mozzarella…I think I’ll be having that with a Frozé or a Summer Sangria from the signature list or maybe a glass of cava next time… with my twin sister, of course, to remind us of old times and adventurous youth.

Executive Chef Paul Shewchuk; TOCA BBQ kit which has been popular, especially for  customers with special occasions. (TOCA will reopen later in August.) Go online to check it out at Tock or UberEats.

Cheers and have a safe, savoury summer’s end!