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Category — food

My Fave Spots in Roncesvalles

Roncesvalles true neighbourhood vibe.

Roncesvalles true neighbourhood vibe.

I love Roncey.  On the western edge of the city, the happening stretch of Roncesvalles between Howard Park and Queen Street is a pedestrian friendly neighbourhood overflowing with gourmet restaurants, cozy cafes, independent retailers and fresh fruit markets.  I was really lucky to accompany my friend D on a foodie lovers walking tour in the summer hosted by Yellow Pages Taste Your Neighbourhood & the Roncesvalles BIA.  My friend and I were the requisite tour girls who lagged behind sampling and buying everything.  Ahem, we were taking one for the team and supporting local.  Yeah we were.

La Cubana (392 Roncesvalles Ave.) – With its retro green and red subway tiled walls and open kitchen, this Cuban style diner is charming and funky.  The menu boasts an overwhelming selection of diner favourites with a latin twist.  Of course there is the Cuban sandwich, corn frituras and empanadas.  Try them brunch or dinner.

La Cubana

La Cubana: Great décor, delicious smells and friendly service.

Barque Smokehouse (299 Roncesvalles Ave.) – You would think as a vegetarian I wouldn’t be into it but the smell of those baby-back, baby-back ribs almost turned me carnivore.  But alas, I lived vicariously through my friend S who tried the sampler of ribs, chicken, brisket and Italian sausage.  I had the plank salmon with a variety of sides which included heirloom tomato salad, panko crusted penne n’ cheese and bbq-spiced French fries.  We didn’t talk for half an hour because we were too busy eating.

Just so you know, Barque Smokehouse is always crowded but this is what it looks like without patrons via EnRoute

Just so you know, Barque Smokehouse is always crowded but this is what it looks like without patrons via EnRoute

The Mercantile (297 Roncesvalles Ave.) – Gourmet meets giftshop.  If someone wants to buy a gift or surprise dinner party guests with something to ‘ooh and ahh’ over, you will find an array of specialty snacks, artisan teas, chocolates and preserves galore in this treasure bursting pantry and sweet boutique.

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October 13, 2014   No Comments

New York State of Mind

I like reading Conde Nast Traveler while I'm on vacay, so I can think about my next vacay. haha.

I like reading Conde Nast Traveler while I’m on vacay, so I can think about my next vacay. haha.

Sometimes I can’t help myself.  I can be self indulgent and impulsive — both common traits of Geminis.  Though I am planning a holiday trip, I could not resist a Fall mini-break to New York with my sister.  This travel compulsion trumps any chocolate addiction.  I can often lure a few friends to tag along because they know I love to plan a) brunches/dinners b) shopping c) activities involving champagne spritzers/Riesling and in general I up the ante on my comedy game.  More fun? Yes please!

I dreamed of New York

I dreamed of New York

I was feeling nostalgic so the theme of our trip was throwback.  I tried to mix in a little of this and little of that, some places that we used to haunt and some new ones to keep it fresh.

Cafeteria (119 7th Ave.) – We were just babies when we used to come here. Do you remember China Club? Carrie loved it. Still open 24 hours, good for brunch mimosas, great for after the bar comfort food. Mac n’ Cheese is still on the menu.

Cafeteria in the heart of Chelsea is open 24 hours. So you can #nomnomnom anytime

Cafeteria in the heart of Chelsea is open 24 hours. So you can #nomnomnom anytime

Nobu NY (105 Hudson St.) – There’s a reason people come back for chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s new style Japanese cuisine. Spaces are warm, subdued and elegant. The Tribeca location is the original (famously backed by Robert de Niro) which opened in 2004.  With imaginative dishes and high quality sushi I’m like ‘whoa.’  This is saying a lot coming from a vegetarian who detests raw things.

Ladurée (398 West Broadway, Soho)  – A Parisian tea room with a glass case of patisserie and candy-coloured rainbow of macarons await.

Decadent delights: I shared the macarons this time. They come in the most beautiful little boites, non?

Decadent delights: I shared the macarons this time. They come in the most beautiful little boites, non?

Stanton Social (99 Stanton St.) – My friend S said, “Lower East Side is the new Meatpacking.” That makes me giggle.  There’s still a bit of grungey edge to LES but I like when the sketch intermingles with trendy spots.  Keeping it real.  Celebrity chef Chris Santos’s menu is a mashup of ethnic tapas from Kobe beef sliders to Nori Spice Tuna Wonton and Summer Squash Ravioli. Try Monday nights if you want a downtown crowd.

Stanton Social plays good hip hop while you are noshing on your gourmet eats.

Stanton Social plays good hip hop while you are noshing on your gourmet eats.

Wayback playback: Supermodels at Indochine.  FIN.

Wayback playback: Supermodels at Indochine. FIN.

 

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October 4, 2014   No Comments

A Weekend Made INN Vermont

Burlington is the largest city in the state of Vermont. Downtown city kids, just so you know it takes an hour to get a taxi.

Burlington is the largest city in the state of Vermont. Downtown city kids, just so you know it takes an hour to get a taxi.

My cool blonde friend C who reminds me of Mad Men’s Betty Draper recently got hitched in her hometown of Burlington, Vermont.  A bevy of East Coast It Girls descended on this truly postcard picturesque college town.  There we found a cobblestone pedestrian street, heritage buildings, boutique shopping and a plethora of restaurants serving delicious farm to table food.  The city hosts a weekend Farmer’s Market which is not to be missed.  I arrived a day early and I was busted by friends retail therapy in session.  Try the boutique Stella Mae (96 Church St.) for young contemporary brands like Ark & Co, Mink Pink, Chaser and funky shoes from Jeffrey Campbell and Dolce Vita.  To indulge your love of vintage, check out Old Gold (180 Main St.) which houses costumes, kitschy accessories, vintage dresses, denim cutoffs and trendy fast-fashion.  I bought so much there, they thanked me.  Bahahaha.  Noooo, thank you!

Cool like a cucumber: My friend C channels Betty Draper. And sidenote, I'm catching up on Mad Men. Don Draper is reallyx3 screwed up.

Cool like a cucumber: My friend C channels Betty Draper. And sidenote, I’m catching up on Mad Men. Don Draper is reallyx3 screwed up.

Loving to research travel, I insisted that we stay at Tripadvisor’s #1 Rated B&B Made Inn Vermont (204 S. Willard).  Designed in a Victorian Gothic Paris Vogue meets Rockstar, there were quirky details aplenty to feast your curiosity.  Like if Keith Richards opened up a B&B, this would be it.  Rooms are adorned in a cozy whimsical style with electric guitars and drums (instruments can be played until 10pm) and chalkboards for guests to leave their love notes or drawings.  The owner Linda insisted on making us her famous Sangria so we could chillax pre-cocktail party in the tiki backyard HT (hottt tub, oh yes this was the cincher).  When we told our friends, they said, “we got lemonade at our B&B??!!” I just advised that next time they should talk to me.  Such a fun mini-vacay! Highly recommended.

Peekaboo! A grand entrance

Peekaboo! A grand entrance

The sitting room where you could cozy up and read a book

The sitting room where you could cozy up and read a book

Coffee Table Books and a giant Hand (just because)

Coffee Table Books and a giant Hand (just because)

This is my dream: floor to ceiling shelves of books. Say no to Kobo!

This is my dream: floor to ceiling shelves of books. Say no to Kobo!

Moody art and a reading nook

Moody art and a reading nook

Breakfast is served. Nothing makes my life like fresh juice and fruit. General rule: I break detox for croissants.

Breakfast is served. Nothing makes my life like fresh juice and fruit. General rule: I break detox for croissants.

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July 2, 2014   No Comments

I Shop on Queen West West, Therefore, I Am

If you’re going to eat your feelings, go with Gelato! via Vogue Italia

My day started off kind of crappy.  So to rid myself of the blues, I put on my most flowy floral, maxi skirt printed with flowers and tigers, an opulent gilded, pair of braided gladiators and my sunglasses.  Then I got into my car (Habeeba), opened my sunroof and hit Queen West West for some retail therapy.

High ROC (return on compliment): Maeve Banda Skirt from Anthropologie

High ROC (return on compliment): Maeve Banda Skirt from Anthropologie

Though I live downtown, I haven’t been on a proper stroll to pop into the cute boutiques — there are so many new ones which is fun, exciting and most of all, dangereuse (dangerous in French).

Here were some of my faves:

Zumel & Co (863 Queen St. West) – Filled with racks of colourful blouses, dresses and feminine separates, I think this would be a good place to find a lovely outfit for a daytime cocktail or a unique piece for your work wardrobe.

Cabaret (672 Queen St. West) – This is an oldie but a goodie.  A family owned vintage shop specializing in 1920-1970’s clothing.  Nothing cheers me up like going into the basement of a vintage store, trying on random retro outfits and digging for hidden treasure.  Nothing.  I got my besties’ bday present there – an elaborate, Art Deco black beaded headdress which they died over.  Plus, the shopgirls were sooo nice and loved my gypsy jetset outfit. PS. I love you.

Wildfox Couture Pop-Up Shop (711 Queen St. West) – Vintage inspired casual wear for dreamers.  Based out of LA, this brand is all about distressed terry cloths, soft slub t-shirts, relaxed sweaters and Malibu-inspired beachwear.  A fave brand of celebs this pop-up will be here at least until the end of Summer.  I could not resist the cute quotient of a Koala pullover because obviously, koala is my power animal.

Taylor Swift in her Love Potion No. 9 Wildfox pullover

Taylor Swift in her Love Potion No. 9 Wildfox pullover

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May 24, 2014   No Comments

One For You, One For Me

"Hey girl, can we cuddle yet?" Ryan Gosling notebook. He always knows what to say.

“Hey girl, can we cuddle yet?” Ryan Gosling notebook. He always knows what to say.

Did I ever tell you about the time, this random guy yelled at me on the street, "Do you like hip hop?"  I pretended I didn't hear him because I was wearing giant earmuffs.

Did I ever tell you about the time, this random guy yelled at me on the street, “Do you like hip hop?” I pretended I didn’t hear him because I was wearing giant earmuffs.

This is kind of a continuation post of my Holiday Gift Guide 2013.  I reallyx3 put the brakes on my OOC tendency to buy “one for you, one for me” when Christmas shopping.  My Christmas tree and décor went up mid-November so I have been enjoying the lights, baking for friends, attending socials and wrapping gifts.  In an effort to share some delightful gift ideas and live cyber vicariously through my blog, here are more fun ideas to help you through your holiday shopping

J.Crew Flower Latice Necklace: Sometimes I see girls around the office wearing the most amazing statement necklaces and I'm not gonna lie, I'm kind of jalouse (jealous in French).

J.Crew Flower Latice Necklace: Sometimes I see girls around the office wearing the most amazing statement necklaces and I’m not gonna lie, I’m kind of jalouse (jealous in French).

And for the more decadent bon-vivants in your life, some gifts which are worth the splurge!

Lately, I've been sporting vibrant redlipstick to work and to parties. I love the creamy texture of NARS -- the shades of Manhunt and Red Lizard make 'em stop and stare. Trust.

Lately, I’ve been sporting vibrant redlipstick to work and to parties. I love the creamy texture of NARS — the shades of Manhunt and Red Lizard make ‘em stop and stare. Trust.

My champagne of choice is Moet but Veuve makes some very nice holiday giftsets. Check out these mini champagne bottles that you can give out to friends with colourful straws for a NYE part-ay! Go socialite!

My champagne of choice is Moet but Veuve makes some very nice holiday giftsets. Check out these mini champagne bottles that you can give out to friends with colourful straws for a NYE part-ay! Go socialite!

For the gourmands who could use a bite to go with their giant glass of wine…

Mmmm. I discovered Coach House Shortbread at The One of a Kind Show. They make the most delicious sweet and savoury flavours of shortbread and wrapped so beautifully. Image c/o BlogTO

Mmmm. I discovered Coach House Shortbread at The One of a Kind Show. They make the most delicious sweet and savoury flavours of shortbread and wrapped so beautifully. Image c/o BlogTO

 

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December 14, 2013   1 Comment

Bake That: Carrot Cake

Sad face, I can't find my Anthropologie apron. This would be a perfect Secret Santa gift *wink-wink*

Sad face, I can’t find my Anthropologie apron. This would be a perfect Secret Santa gift *wink-wink*

If you’ve been following the LC, you know I’ve been on this #juiceodyssey of late.  Quite simply, I’m feeling juicer’s remorse discarding all the leftover vegetable and fruit fibers.  Surely, my compost is another person’s treasure!  The easiest thing I could think of making was a carrot cake, which is a cozy Sunday afternoon baking session.  I asked my sister for a recipe because she is one of the best bakers I know and she referred me to an easy recipe in her Joy of Cooking.  I made some modifications because I’m on a health kick and if I’m going to feed my colleagues carbs, I’m going to sneak in some healthy ingredients because I care about them.  *wink*

Carrot Cake (via The Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups whole-wheat flour (originally all-purpose flour)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (originally 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded pineapple (original 1/2 cup canned pineapple)
  • 1 teaspoon Chia seeds (say yes to Omega-3 goodness), flax seeds would be fun too (surprise!)
  • optional 1 cup raisins (no thank you)

Preheat oven to 350F

Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.

Combine all dry ingredients.  Gradually fold in dry ingredients into wet.  Add in carrots, pineapple and chopped walnuts.

 

I used carrot fibers but didn't have enough so I chopped up more.  Call me crazy but I juiced a pineapple.

I used carrot fibers but didn’t have enough so I chopped up more. Call me crazy but I juiced a pineapple.

 

 

Thought "whoops, I should have borrowed my sister's handmixer" but once I combined the carrots and pineapple, the batter was much smoother.

Thought “whoops, I should have borrowed my sister’s handmixer” but once I combined the carrots and pineapple, the batter was much smoother.

Use a 13×9″ round or square pan.  Line the bottom of the baking tin with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Spray lightly with cooking oil to easily take it out when serving.

 

Smooth the top so that it bakes evenly...and so that it looks perfect.

Smooth the top so that it bakes evenly…and so that it looks perfect.

 

Voila! Carrot Cake perfection. The house smells so delicious.

Voila! Carrot Cake perfection. The house smells so delicious.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.  Let stand to cool and serve to your friends!

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November 24, 2013   No Comments