Archives for category: Food

belleville on the water
(my favourite photo from the weekend – houses along the waterfront)

During my splendid getaway to Niagara-on-the-lake, one of my companions mentioned Picton, Ontario as a place to visit, particularly for their abundance of homemade jam. After a quick Google search, not only did I find places to buy jam, I stumbled upon the Great Canadian Cheese Festival!

great canadian cheese festival
cheese
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local winery field

When it comes to travel, I’ve always been drawn towards far off and exotic places. I’ve lived in Canada nearly all my live and only once flirted with the thought of travelling across Canada and seeing the great wonders of my country (not counting the work trips I had to Edmonton and Vancouver this year!). The trip never panned out and still, the idea still only sometimes lingers in my mind.

That said, I’ve been to Niagara Falls many times, particularly when relatives visit from distant lands, but I’ve never explored Niagara-on-the-lake. I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about it and after spending a weekend there, I now know why it’s nicknamed “the loveliest town in Canada”. Tucked away in the southern part of Ontario, in the Niagara region, it is a fantastic weekend getaway from the city.

The weekend called for rain and but we set off anyway, fingers crossed for some sun since our plans included a bike tour around the wineries.

We smartly opted to stay at Globetrotter’s bed and breakfast. We were met with luscious landscaping and an inviting porch, wood interiors with exposed beam, and charming rooms peppered with worldly souvenirs.

globetrotter b&b porch
globetrotters b&b

The hosts, Donna and Fernando, showed incomparable hospitality (and some mean skills in the kitchen!). She is the editor for Dreamscapes, a travel and lifestyle magazine in the Globe and Mail and, he is an equality well traveled hospitality manager at a local hotel. Together, they make the perfect team.

After a quick rest, we walked to the local bike rental store, Zoom then took off to explore the wineries and sample local wine. We visited 5 altogether: Stratus , Caroline Cellars, Pondview Winery, Frogpond Farm Winery, and Mary Nissen

I don’t proclaim to be a wine connoisseur by any means but I definitely enjoyed being able to sample wine and having someone there to explain the nuances in taste to me. I found that I had an affinity towards sweeter wines, and ice wine.

ice wine shots
Ice wine shooters in chocolate – so delicious!

garbage bag poncho
The garbage bag poncho = solution to the rain

sheep
Sheep!

We must have biked for about 4 hours (in the rain) and were completely soaked but it was hilariously fun. A hearty meal at Strewn
was a great way to end an tiring day.

We woke up with sore limbs and butts but trooped to the town to take a peek at the local shops and for the infamous Cow’s ice cream.

brunch
Our fabulous brunch the next morning in the sun room.

sun room brunch
A perfectly cooked egg on smoked beef and a biscuit with hollandaise sauce, made by Fernando!

Kennedy's gelato
Scrumptious treats at Kennedy’s gelato, a new gelato joint owned by the nicest woman!

niagara apothecary
Pretty vintage bottles at the Niagara Apothecary.

After a quick lunch at the Old Winery Restaurant, we said farewell to Niagara-on-the-lake, with a promise to come back soon!

marble slab

It’s no secret that I LOVE ice cream. I would have it with all meals if I could. Marble Slab Creamery has the most delicious handmade ice cream.

The smell of this place makes me drool. And the rows and rows of mixin’ (chocolate, peanut butter cups, marshmallows, nuts, brownies – the options are endless) make my head want to explode.

Sensory overload.

Gah…I want ice cream.

While I was in Cincinnati for my cousin’s wedding, I had a little bit of time to explore the city. Sadly, there isn’t much to do in Cincinnati!

When I got there on Saturday morning, I met a lot of family members and we went out for lunch in Kentucky at Newport on the levee, which is just over the Ohio river, about 5 minutes from downtown Cincinnati. There, we grabbed a bite to eat, at Brothers. One of their signature dishes was Beer Battered Cheese Curds so we had as an appetizer to share. Not terribly impressive. (Can’t beat the real cheese curds of Quebec!)

The day after the wedding, the family met for brunch and then set off for Chicago to get back to work. I had some time to kill before my flight early the next morning so my day was spent shopping (because there was nothing else to do on a Sunday afternoon!) and wandering.

My hotel was right next to Fountain Square, which is probably one of the most happening places in city. There was a Cinco de Mayo celebration going on, with lively Mexican music, dance, food, and lots of activities, including a llama petting zoo!

cinco de mayo fountain square
llama
I sampled a seafood ceviche, accompanied by a tall glass of pineapple juice. My cousins and I also shared a churro.

seafood ceviche
I then hit up a Macy’s and a TJ Maxx and score some great deals on workout clothes, a curling iron, and jeans! And finally, met up with my cousin and new cousin-in-law for dinner. But not before we ate more cupcakes and drank more champagne!

Vietnamese spring rolls with peanut sauce

Spring? Spring rolls? Get it? I think it’s probably the closest I’m going to get to spring in the next couple weeks or so. I mean, how can it be that it snowed today? Isn’t it April and shouldn’t we be digging out our sunhats and swimsuits? I simply cannot wait until spring is sprung!

Even with the unpredictable weather, this weekend was a great one!

I checked out the Yoga Show with a friend, followed by dinner at Fresh (bbq burger with quinoa onion rings were delish!). Saturday morning was a fitness filled one with BodyAttack, BodyFlow and BodyFlow (round 2), then a night of dancing. Today started off wonderfully with a 45+ member BodyFlow class. The afternoon was filled with tying up lots of loose ends from switching jobs and some time in the kitchen making spring rolls!
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cupcake army

At last! This weekend, I acquired the critical assets to complete my mission of a mini cupcake revolution. Gone are the days of full-sized muffins and cupcakes. Bite-sized is where it’s at. I always find that my eyes are bigger than my stomach and half way through a muffin or cupcake, I realized that I only wanted half of it. So this is the perfect solution.

On numerous occasions I’ve looked for these mini cupcake pans at my local Superstore but they were always sold out! Today, I found a whole stack of them AND they were on sale. Score!

I used two recipes and tweaked them a bit to suit the ingredients I had at home – the dead simple chocolate cake and Roxanne’s Banana Bread (from a colleague at my old workplace).

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jw
(dress from Jacob, necklace from The Bay)

If I had a glass of wine or a cocktail right now, I’d cheers you all -to new adventures! As I mentioned in a previous post, I quit my job and am starting a new one on Monday. It really was a bittersweet moment. I was sad but happy and I will definitely miss my colleagues. It was my first job out of university so it is all that I have ever known.

Things have been so hectic that I haven’t really had the chance to digest. After I got back from Vancouver, I hopped the Ontario border to Montreal, the last stop of the roadshow I was a part of at my [old] work.

When I think of Montreal, I think style, culture, sophistication, excitement, and romance (it’s the French thing!). And that means it also makes it on my list of ‘places I’d like to live in’. I can also then practice my french. Oui oui!

old montreal building (The view from my hotel room – it was snowing)

A couple of restaurants we went to:

L’assomoir
A quaint tapas style place that specializes in seafood. We started of with an assortment of appetizers (humus, candied salmon, kefta, plantain chips) and for our main, we ordered a huge feast to share (literally, I think the translation was “The Feast”). The platter had crab legs, steak, shrimp, salmon, salad…we were stuffed!

Holder
Located in old Montreal, I couldn’t tell what sort of cuisine this restaurant was. It was okay. Nothing too special in my opinion. I ordered the calamari and the lobster ravioli and sampled a pesto potato salad and salmon tartare. The latter two were really tasty and unique.

Well, m’dears, I’m off again! This time to New York City, baby! My new company is flying me out for an orientation and training which is OUTSTANDING! I can’t wait!

me in hotel room - day 23 daily outfit 30 for 30
(DAY 23: sweater from INC in Macy’s, shirt from Smart Set [technically, not part of my 30 for 30 but I changed into a shirt that was 30 for 30 compliant later on in the day], jeans from Rue 21, belt from Nine West?, shoes from Joe)

My trip to the nation’s capital, Ottawa, was another whirlwind of activity. I flew in Wednesday morning on the highly recommended Porter Airlines.

I need to take a second to rave about Porter! It was so easy to get to using public transit and once there, NO line ups, and a welcoming Porter lounge that hosted free refreshments and wi-fi. Given it was only a 40 minute flight, I wasn’t expecting any on board hospitality but they provided us with a small blueberry loaf, and yogurt. Sure beats the other airplane food I’ve had in the past!

porter airlines
My room at the Westin hotel was luxurious and my only regret was not having had the chance to spend more time in it!

westin room ottawa
The view from my room was amazing, overlooking the parliament buildings.

ottawa parliament buildings
The two days I spent their was rainy and wet but looking back, I have nothing to complain about. In light of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I am thankful of the rain and snow that we’ve received in the past few weeks, that it has been manageable and short-lived.

My heart goes out to the people in Japan who have had a devastating few days. I must commend them on their sense of calm and poise even in such a horrific time.

30 for 30 - day 23
The travel is really starting to get to me. I’ve been living out of a suitcase for the past couple of weeks, have neglected the gym, am eating a diet of deliciously rich and likely unhealthy hotel food, and am spending the weekends catching up on sleep versus spending time with friends and family. Anyways, I’m off to do some laundry and to pack for my trip to Vancouver this week!

coconut curry with quinoa
Quinoa is something I wish I ate more of – packed full of protein and easy to make! Sometimes, I’ll have dinner and then be hungry two hours later but just a bowl of this was satisfying and filling. Not sure why, but anything out of my mum’s spice cupboard seems to be spiked with chili powder. The curry powder my mum had? Yeah, WAY spicier than regular curry powder (but still not as spicy as the chili powder I used here!)

I used this recipe and made a few adaptations to suit what I had available at home.

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rosemary olive cheese scones

So happy for a long weekend! I actually have some time to try new recipes. I’m not sure what I was searching when I came across this recipe for Rosemary-Kalamata Olive Scones but I’m so glad I did. These scones are DELICIOUS! I am not a big fan of eating olives on their own but since having been introduced to them a few years back, I’ve been more open to having them as garnish on pizza or with other Mediterranean delights.

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