Posted on November 22, 2012


On my first bout of a photography class at Ryerson, I have met my good friend Yana.  We discovered then we have more than one thing in common other than the class.  We saw each other alight from the subway at Finch station and it turned out we lived in the same building.  Funny how that thing worked so well.  She was my original go-to critique partner for our class assignments and projects.  Back then, it made the learning easier as she gave constructive criticism about my photography and I started learning how to listen to what others see in my photography.  I could always rely on her for seeing details I don’t see.  Having another pair of eyes scrutinizing my images helped me grow and helped me learn.

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A few years back, Yana has moved out to another part of Toronto and now she planned to moved once again.  This time farther towards the warmer shores of Melbourne, Australia.  Lately, we haven’t been seeing each other too often but when I heard her about to go, I had a moment of panic. I always had a comfort of knowing she was just a drive away from me.  I stopped the worry with the thought that the world was smaller with the advent of social media. Since I still have time until she leaves in January,  I just had to see her once again.  We arranged to meet up at Balsamico at Yonge and Eglinton for tonight.  Little did she know that I wasn’t the only one seeing her tonight.  I stole her thunder and gave her secret away to other friends, Natalia, Dave, Afshin and EK.  Three of us made it despite the short notice and it was a pleasure to see the surprise in her face with the arrival of the rest of our Ryerson friends.

Added to good conversation of a host of topics was the very good and relaxed meal that we received from Balsamico.  From start to finish, the service was attentive and flawless.  Yana went for Salmon (house special for the night) and I opted for the Grilled Calamari.  I took a chance with the Calamari, relying on the good reviews about the restaurant.  It would be so easy to overcook calamari and it would be such a good sign of the quality of food if it would arrive pliant without being rubbery.  And they so impressed me with how soft and tender it was to bite into.  Yana told me to try her dish and I must say, even if I was in love with the smokiness of my dish, her salmon turned out to be the better choice.  Perfectly cooked, moist and plump fillet, fresh and no fishy after-taste, how can that disappoint?  If my dish were not good, I would probably be kicking myself for choosing calamari and not the salmon.  A tantrum was not really warranted when served with beautifully grilled calamari, right?

We probably stayed at the restaurant too long and I was appreciative that the server was cordial and attentive despite us overstaying.  The place was perfect for friends to catch up with each other and have the leisure of accompanying the banter with good Italian coffee.  I was able to reconnect with my friend Yana seamlessly and now I don’t worry for her going away.  I know that friendships doesn’t have to end when friends go another path.  It actually adds more to stories we could share to each other.  And of course, with Viber and iMessage, she is really not that far away. :)

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Posted in: Midtown, Toronto Eats