i'll be in your fair city (from nyc) for a conference at the westin harbour castle. from my fuzzy memory of that area, it's a touristy chow waste-land, no? i won't have access to a car, and i'll have only little pockets of free time during the day. i'm happy to walk, cab or public transport around. evenings are my own, and may or may not involve dinner with colleagues.
i'd love your input on a bunch of things:
1. is there somewhere in the area to get a damn good cup of coffee? ideally, a place with oatmeal or yogurt with fat/flavor would be awesome, but great pastries would work too. i'd love to venture away from hotel dreck.
2. in case i'm having dinner with colleagues, i'd love restaurant recommendations in walking distance. in the past with this group, we've taken atrocious hotel concierge recommendations and ended up with overpriced crap
3. i'd love to get doubles or other great west indian fare. anything great in the vicinity?
4. i see lai wah heen recommended consistently, but for lunch, not dinner. any lower end, downtown chinese recommendations?
5. if i venture out on my own, which of the toronto board favorites--guu, canoe, splendido, noto bene, chiado, lai wah heen--would you recommend for a solo diner? i'm not really feeling the no reservations black hoof hour-long wait, but could be convinced. also totally up for other recs.
6. is there still a espresso-like hot chocolate at soma that makes the whole world rosy and bright?
7. is the bakery in the distillery district where i had an awesome lamb meatball sandwich three or four years ago the mill bakery? and is that still great?
thanks so much in advance!