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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.


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.



October 4, 2014   No Comments

Countdown to Beyonce “Mrs. Carter Show”

Beyonce Vogue 2013

High fashion B so pretty in Vogue 2013

Hmm, not sure that I know anyone that isn’t kind of, sort of, obsessed with Beyoncé.  And if you told me otherwise, I would serve you some talk to the hand, “Girrl, you be craaazy.”  My Ticketmaster alert did not go off because, duh, I forgot to set her as one of my favourites.  Sometimes I can be such an imbecile *wink* but I didn’t waste any sad faces when I found out her shows were sold out.  With my sunny disposition, I had a profound belief that if there’s a will, there’s ALWAYS a way.  Trust. (the secret)

Beyonce Countdown

Beyoncé says Hipsters love Countdown. “Me and my boo and my boo boo riding…” obviously my favourite lyric

Mentioning my lack of Beyoncé tickets at the lunch table, my friend S was all about it.  Step 1 Find a concert partner in crime accomplished.  A few weeks later, in a follow up chat we decided we should probably be putting more effort into finding tickets.  Then as luck should have it, new tickets were released.  Step 2 Get tickets close enough to see B booty shake, hair flip, sweat, etcetera, etc.  A done deal.  Such are the spoils of fate.  Never give up!

Perhaps you want to brush up on your hip hop – See 47 of Beyoncé’s Absolute Best Dance Moves on Buzzfeed.

Beyonce tour

A month away until Beyoncé’s tour lands in Toronto. I am too excited. Are you going?

Les Twins

Les Twins – Kind of obsessed too with those zany French brothers Larry and Laurent who are reknown for their new-style hip hop

Beyonce Cafe Nervosa

Last summer, the Carters were spotted at Café Nervosa in Yorkville. If you like Italian, this place is always good for a cozy chic atmosphere and delicious food.



November 17, 2013   No Comments

Documentaries Are Better Than Fiction

Girls Night popcorn

Girls Night In: Slouchy 80’s sweatshirt – check. Chunky socks – check. Popcorn – check. Pants optional.

I was walking past a sandwich board for a comedy bar and it read, “Better than Netflix.”  Confession: My subscription to Netflix has contributed to my blogeress hiatus.  Thus, I should have limitless celluloid fodder on which to base many a post.  Nothing peaks my curiosity quite like a good documentary!  You too? Nerdy.

There’s just something about the human experience that gets me.  Oh yes, I am a private movie watching crier.

Brooklyn Castle – This documentary focuses on 5 unlikely young chess prodigies attending inner city junior high IS 318, a school recognized for winning the most national championships.  The story of these students is remarkable because it shows their passion in winning chess as a reflection in their personal determination to attain higher education and rise above circumstance.  A truly inspirational story about underdogs!

Brooklyn Castle

Brooklyn Castle is the bomb-diggity.

No Impact Man –  A NYC journalist, Colin Beaven and his family decide to reduce their environmental footprint by producing less waste, consuming less and eating local.  I found the premise to be an interesting social experiment and very entertaining to watch.  The wife goes on a shopping shame spiral before they embark on their year-long adventure and the husband deals with a public backlash as he publicizes his sustainable lifestyle.

Farmageddon, Vegucated & Food Inc. – Growing up, I was chowing down on chicken nuggets and porkchops.  I never thought I would be a mostly dairy and gluten-free vegetarian.  Last December, I went on detox (was already lacto-ovo by then) and became obsessed with food docs. These are eye opening exposes on food production (insert super-tear).  If you love ribs or chocolate milk, NEVER watch these movies or it will be like that time Neo took the red pill in the Matrix Trust.  But for you GOOPs, go right ahead.

The GOOP-meister Gwyneth Paltrow in a very cute heart sweater (ahem, ethically produced)


July 24, 2013   No Comments

The Secret Lives of Bon Vivants

Marie Antoinette loved her macaron! Kiki Dunst in the fashionable Sofia Coppola film of the same name

French bon vivant (literally “one who lives well, good ‘liver’ (living person)”), from bon (“good”) + vivant (“person who is living”), agent noun of vivre (“to live”).  A person who enjoys the good things in life, especially good food and drink; a gal about town.  We are lucky, non?

I subsist on a diet of salad, vegetables, fish and when I’m feeling very naughty, gluten-free hummus chips.  When I indulge in food and drink on the weekends, I love to try new restaurants, share a dessert, let my foodie friends feed me multi-course meals, have a glass of champie here, maybe a cocktail over there. 

Here are my foodie & drink obsessions au moment:

  • Fro-yooooo:  There is a frozen yoguort resurgence of late.  Remember when the only choice we had was Yogen-Fruz? Soooo boring!  My cravings started in LA where the DIY fro-yo craze has a shop on every corner.  Lately, I have noticed the Yogurty’s chain popping up like dandelions.  I love dispensing my own red velvet, dulce de leche, swirled with pumpkin, stacked with strawberries, nuts and a dash of Reese bits.  Tummy ache!

Control issues over the fro-yo dispenser much? Swirl to your heart's desire and negate the low calories by piling on the toppings. Cheesecake bits? Sweeeet!

  • Lobster-Mania – Lately, I’ve been craving lobster ALL the time.  They make a delicious lobster ravioli at Brassaii (461 King St. West).  I feel like lobster might get all trendy like poutine.  That would be fan-tastic!

Rob Pattinson stays warm in cable knit and takes comfort eating his feelings - a generous helping of lobster and corn on the cobb.

  • It’s A-OK to drink at 11:01Am – If you asked for a morning cocktail at 10:59am, well the disgrace on your waiter’s face.  In the summer, I think a morning champagne spritzer or prosecco is quite delightful when lunching al fresco.  There are some lovely patios hidden like secret gardens that you could enjoy one of these refreshing afternoon drinkie-drinks such as Hacienda (640 Queen St. West) or The Harbord Room (89 Harbord St.)

Bellini time! Just muddle some raspberries and pop 'em in some champie. But promise me, you'll NEVER ever mix the Moet or Veuve with juice! Drink the good stuff straight.


August 8, 2012   No Comments

Where The Cute Boys Roam

Uhhmmm, is that a heart in my latte or are you trying to tell me something?

I am by nature a generous person.  Perhaps generous to a fault.  If I should happen upon a Wifi hotspot where hottt boys grow aplenty on trees like wild crab apples, who am I to hoard such valuable information?  Isn’t hoarding one of the seven deadly sins?  Maybe you’ll meet the next great romance of your life, fingers grazing passing the Demarra sugar or borrowing tall, dark and handsome’s Blackberry charger.  Stranger things have happened.  And haven’t you heard?  3 hook-ups and you go straight to heaven (ahem, yes I made this up). 

Hottt Boys Guide:  Barristas & Espresso Lovers Edition

  • Lit Espresso Bar - (810 College Street) With outposts on Roncey and Queen West, you should have ample eye-candy whilst dipping your biscotti in your double whip, skinny, mocha latte.
  • The Dark Horse Cafe – (215 Spadina Ave.)  This successful independently owned cafe is adjacent to The Centre for Social Innovation.  Its open area and long communal work tables are ideal for striking up a conversation with that hottie with a brain and a heart type (the ideal right?).  The newest location (682 Queen St. West) is at the corner of Queen West & Euclid.  Smaller, more intimate with a pretty tin ceiling, the hottie per square footage is quite high.  And I don’t know about you, but my latte is more delicious when served by cuuuute boys with tattoos.  Heart x 3.
  • Terroni – (720 Queen St. West) Okay, there is no Wifi here but you can have an espresso.  There is also my fave combination of Funghi salad, thin-crust non-sliced pizza and hottt waiters, bartenders and generally pretty good looking people.  This joint lines people up every night for dinner.

And, yes I realize this list only includes the SW quadrant of the city, however, I will confess my bias for not travelling north of Bloor or east of Yonge.

Gratuitous Kevin Zegers (bc I love him even though he's 11) & Tay-Tay Momsen sipping on my bevie of choice, A Canada Dry. Photo courtesy Just Jared


January 19, 2011   No Comments