Category — travel
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.
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.
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.
October 13, 2014 No Comments
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 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.
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.
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.
October 4, 2014 No Comments
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!
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.
July 2, 2014 No Comments
OMD. Oh mon Dieu! That’s OMG en français. This week, I had the good fortune to spend some quality down time in Montreal. I have often travelled to our neighbour to the East for work but as they say, all work and no play makes V a dull girl. And when I say dull, I really mean crazy but not of the Jack Nicholson-The Shining variety.
I have a love affair with Montreal – its winding outdoor staircases, the romantic cobblestone streets of Vieux-Montreal, the café culture (so mignon) and its culinary delights. Some of my fondest memories are of visiting my dearest A while she was in university in McGill; we would often go to her favourite haunts and play dress up in vintage stores.
I found it difficult to find a compilation of some of the best trendy boutiques and vintage shops, so I’ve walked a few thousand steps in my gladiators to bring you my best bets:
- DadaDo (4292 Boul St. Laurent) – Artist studio meets vintage shop meets boudoir. The entrance greets you with a bargain bin of accessories and books and as you get further in you will find racks of flowy skirts and lacy slip dresses.
- Annex Vintage ( 56 St. Viateur Ouest) – A wide selection of wearable vintage and upcycled pieces. There are also many pieces from local designers. I was particularly taken with the “Stay Home and Watch Buffy” totebags.
- Lo Well (5364 Boul St. Laurent) – Streamlined Scandinavian is the mood with labels Norwegian Wood, Dusen-Dusen, swim from Mimi Hammer and a wide selection of Montreal-made canvas and leather handbags by Rachel F.
- La (Found)erie (6596 Boul St. Laurent) – I never made it north of the tracks to the up and coming hood of La Patrie but this shop was recently featured in Porter Airlines magazine.
- Onze - This store has 4 MTL locations and features vintage-inspired romantic girly looks. They were heavy on chiffon floaty things, nautical, floral apparel and accessories. Here you will find young contemporary brands such as Mink Pink, Gentle Fawn and Ark & Co.
- Kitsch n’ Swell (3968 Boul St. Laurent) – A 60’s swingers pad meets hunters lodge and antique shop. Fashioned in bubble gum pinks, tassled furniture and laden with curios, there is nothing quite like it in Montreal. A must-see for inspiration.
A parting gift: One of my fave Sam Roberts songs Bridge to Nowhere & some hottt goss via Lainey Gossip. (ps. I’m sad I’m not going to Smut Soiree this year). Bonne journée! (good day)
June 22, 2014 No Comments
A girl needs to dream. A girl needs to dream about a bright sunshine-y day without rain or sleet or snow. A day without salt stained boots and static-y flyaway hair. Of turquoise waters and itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bikinis. Having gone on a warm December vacation, my hopes were high for a quick segue way into Spring. Since that hasn’t been the case, I’ll settle for Summer Beach Dreams.
I have already planned out my travels for the next year (because a girl has got to see the world). Well, if you’re a follower of the LC, you know how I feel about a gypset wardrobe. If it were tropical here, I would be wearing a caftan walking down the sidewalk. Some summer loves to keep you daydreaming… *lesigh
April 8, 2014 No Comments
Little French cafés are so mignon (cute, dainty), non? Today, me and A went for petit déjeuner (breakfast) at the most darling patisserie housed in a Victoria row house. The food was deliciously French and so were the waiters. It’s the kind of place where they serve you lattes with the foam shaped in a heart. And where you say no béchamel and you end up saying yes to brioche and crepes with nutella. I can’t divulge its name for fear of it becoming too popular. Sorry darlings. Some secrets have to stay in my hair. We had a very French afternoon punctuated by flirty girlish giggling. Those are the days my friend!
If you don’t know much about my French muse Catherine Deneuve, I insist you really must read on Parisian Bombshell Chic: Catherine Deneuve. Trust.
November 3, 2013 No Comments