Blog’s 3rd Birthday!

Turns out, today is my blog’s third birthday! I wish I’d remembered earlier, so I would have done something to celebrate (i.e. make a mug cake?). Regardless, I’m glad to have been blogging here for three years. I can’t believe what started as a simple oatmeal photo gallery has blossomed to become a place where I document everything from favourite recipes to my progress in aerial silks/hoop, acrobatics, and yoga. Along the way, I’ve also garnered a better understanding of who I am, what I stand for, and why I do what I love.

Grateful for all of the fabulous foodie blog friends who inspire me every day. Grateful for all of the lovely souls who comment to share positivity, encouragement, tips, and jokes. You guys always make me smile idiotically while looking at my screen. 🙂

School took me from home in BC to Waterloo, then to Toronto. Summer adventures brought me to St-Eustache, Quebec (2014) to Paris, France (2015) to Kathmandu, Nepal (2016). Everything has been such an adventure, and I’m thrilled to keep updating the blog with my explorations.


Alright! On a completely different note, I’ve been looking to get a membership for either the yoga studio, the local dance school, or both! Any thoughts?

I’ve been documenting all the restaurants I’ve been to, and the ethnic cuisine that they serve. Here are the ones I’ve hit in the 3 months of living in Toronto.

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The newest addition to this list was Karelia Kitchen, a Nordic smokehouse in Roncesvalles. They serve Scandinavian brunch, specializing in Finnish food. I started with the Nordic Fog, a unique twist on the London Fog (an Earl Grey tea latte). This was made with Swedish tea, wildflower honey, and steamed milk.

Potato Pancake
hot smoked trout, beet and horseradish cured
gravlax, poached duck egg.

YUM! My entree was incredibly flavourful, with a variety of tastes, textures, and temperatures. Plus, runny egg was involved. My favourite bites were the beet and horseradish cured gravlax. Sweet, pungent, salty, and perfectly smoky – I’d come back to buy some gravlax for myself!

Dessert was this entire slice of heirloom carrot cake, which was perfectly soft, melt-in-your mouth, and tangy from the cream cheese icing (not too sweet). I could eat this for days.

Dinner that day was simple – toast with avocado and a runny egg cooked inside a pepper and topped with a new Irish cheese that I found at the grocery store. Lighter dinner because of an unpictured delicious dessert that involved granola, muffin, nut butter, and yogurt. The best!

I am in desperate need for new shoes. These blue guys were a hand-me-down from my little sister (I know) and have been around the world and back. I wear them when I go out casually, even if there’s no running/cycling involved. Comfort comes first, right?

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I’ve been loving eggs so much recently, and I have to give credit to buttered toast and that amazing Irish cheese. I feel like I can never have enough buttered toast.

The view from my house at night! I wish you could all see it live, because I’m not sure if photos do it justice.

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That’s it for today, friends!

Sweet, Spicy, and Sour: BLOOM Review!

Happy Family Day long weekend, Canadian friends! Today, I’m sharing an extremely delayed post that I should have shared weeks ago. I went to Bloom, a restaurant in West Toronto, for their Winterlicious meal.

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Bloom is located on Bloor Street in West Toronto. They serve Nuevo Latino cuisine, which is essentially a beautiful blend of Latin American and Spanish cuisine. The restaurant itself is warm, modern, and friendly, with a small team of chefs dedicated to creating tasty dishes using simple ingredients with bold flavours.

SOPA DE SETAS

Puree Of Wild Foraged Mushrooms With Roasted Poblano Peppers

This soup was made with tons of chewy mushrooms, onions, garlic, and potatoes. It was flavourful, rich, and almost ‘meaty’ in flavour, despite being a vegetarian option. The mushrooms added plenty of texture and flavour, and was surprisingly not pureed (as the menu had stated). I had been expecting a creamy soup, but this was a lovely surprise.

I also received a pot of tea with sugar and milk. Delicious addition to the meal. Thanks to Chef Pedro for this!

FRITURAS DE MAIZ (V) (GF)

Corn Fritters & Wild Mushrooms Escabeche, served With Chili Avocado & Piquillo Pepper Jam

Y’all probably know I love fritters (for some reason, I just typed BLISTERS… okay). These were some of the best I’ve had, and extremely photogenic too. The sweet chili jam was the cherry on top. Everything in this meal was extremely flavourful, and I wish there were more fritters.

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A great view of Bloor street, lovely customer service, and seriously Instagrammable meals. What’s not to love? Plus, you haven’t seen dessert yet 😉

PUDDING DE GUAYABA CON SALSA DE VAINILLA

Guava Bread Pudding With Vanilla Creme Anglaise

Guava! Cool! The only thing I knew about guava before this meal was that my dad liked unripened guava… dipped in Taiwanese sour plum powder. Weird. I know. This dessert was unbelievable. It looks small, but it sure was mighty. I loved it!

Overall, a phenomenal meal with excellent service, and a great location. I will certainly be back!

The 54th Floor: CANOE Review!

On Saturday, I had a relaxed morning (which involved a haircut!) before heading to Canoe, a restaurant in the Financial District of Toronto. Canoe is located on the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower and has over twenty years of serving Toronto.

I decided to go to Canoe, a contemporary Canadian restaurant, because of Winterlicious, a Toronto event that allows anyone to order three courses from a set menu for a fixed price. Canoe’s lunch was $28 for three delicious courses – you’ll see!

While I waited for my 1:15 reservation, I wandered around the lobby, where there was an Inuit art gallery. It was my first time exploring Inuit artwork, and I found it both fascinating and simplistic. The carvings were lovely and vaguely reminded me of the ancient Hindu statues I saw when volunteering in Nepal last summer.

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After a long elevator ride, I arrived at Canoe! There was a glorious view of the CN tower and Lake Ontario. I was lucky to have a seat at the high bar, where I could watch the chefs and servers work together quickly and efficiently. The restaurant itself is decorated stylishly, with copper accents, unique light fixtures, and wood chandeliers.

As for the food, Canoe is inspired by the raw, rich, and diverse lands of Canada. The dishes served here are not only seasonal, but also reflect our country’s history, environment, and culture.

I was greeted with a plate of warm bread. There were two large chunks of pumpkin seed and spelt bread, and two big pieces of potato sourdough. Both breads were incredibly tasty, and the texture was spot-on. I’m not normally one to finish all my bread at a meal, but I devoured the entire basket here!

I was actually lucky enough to speak with Coulson, the chef, as well as Robyn, Canoe’s social media manager. Both were very welcoming, patient, and gracious, and it was truly a pleasure to meet them both. I found the staff to be both friendly and extremely productive (especially considering the fact that it was a Winterlicious Saturday at noon), and before I knew it, I was handed my starter.

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fogo island salt cod rillettes: dill cornichons, roasted dulse mayo + molasses crumble

One server recommended this tasty appetizer to me. After scanning the menu, I was debating between the heirloom squash soup with pesto, toasted fennel oil, and crème fraîche (doesn’t that sound incredible?!) and the radicchio and bibb lettuce salad with smoky onions, daikon, bannock, and a creamy mustard dressing. I was more than happy to order the waiter’s personal favourite, despite never having heard of cod rillettes before.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this dish, which was creamy from the flavoured mayo, crunchy with the dill cornichons (pickles), crisp with the crumbled molasses, and flaky with the cod. This dish encompassed a large variety of flavours and textures, which is a win in my book. The presentation was also exquisite.

foie gras parfait: Niagara grape jelly, walnut butter + pie crust crisp

I am certainly not one to order foie gras, a luxury food made from the fattened liver of a duck or goose. I was lucky, however, that the chef brought me a plate of this starter to try. It was my first time eating foie gras, and I enjoyed the sharp, tangy flavour reminiscent of a strong parmesan cheese. Savoury, rich, with a silky melt-in-your-mouth texture, I was very impressed by this appetizer.

The foie gras was adorned with a smear of walnut butter, jellied grapes and some sweet halved grapes, as well as shards of crispy pie crust. The pie crust added excellent texture, and I loved how each piece shattered in my mouth. The walnuts and jam provided hints of fruitiness and nuttiness to the creamy foie gras, and I took my time to savour each bite of this flavourful dish.

leo’s paccheri pasta: fresh mozzarella, creamed celeriac, fried capers, charred rapini + Tamarack chili oil

I watched the kitchen staff prepare many schnitzels, salmon filets, and beef dishes, but surprisingly, not many people seemed to order the vegetarian pasta. As I sat at the counter, watching kitchen staff carefully create plate after plate of chuck flat and pork schnitzel, I started questioning my choice of ordering the pasta dish.

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Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Chef delivered this main dish with a smile and a great description: smooth paccheri (large tube-shaped pasta), smoky rapini and creamy celeriac, sprinkled with salty crisped capers, and a drizzle of chili oil to add some heat without overwhelming the dish.

Every bite of this dish was divine. The rapini was cooked perfectly, and I loved how there wasn’t too much pasta. Instead, the ratio of toppings-to-pasta was just right. In my experience, this is rare, because restaurants try to bulk up dishes as much as they can with excessive amounts of pasta, then load on a heap of bland sauce. This was certainly not the case at Canoe, where each topping had been carefully-chosen and delicately-placed. The crunchy capers added blasts of flavour, and the crisped breadcrumbs atop the dish provided the right amount of contrast. The capers were actually my favourite part, and I wish there were more. There was a generous amount of freshly-torn mozzarella decorating the dish, adding a velvety texture. Goat cheese would have also been heavenly with the flavours in this dish!

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a serious dessert problem. On Saturday, how was I supposed to choose between toffee pudding, a flourless chocolate cake (with peanut butter and espresso meringue!), and yogurt with honeycomb?

This is what I finally decided on…

sticky toffee pudding: caramel mousseline, seed tuile + Muskoka cranberry compote

… and it was phenomenal. Every bite was a blast of flavour. Sour cranberries. Rich, golden caramel with the perfect velvety texture. Nutty shards of pumpkin seed tuile and whipped vanilla chantilly. The toffee pudding itself was pleasantly sweet, but balanced by the juicy and tangy cranberries. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every bite of this well-balanced dessert.

I was stuffed and super-satisfied after this meal, in the best way possible.

Unrelated to my experience, but Canoe is even having a Valentine’s Day feast! You all need to check out their menu. From salmon with caramelized yogurt, pumpkin, and chestnut chickpea fries to tarts with peanut butter, hazelnut mousse, and honey hazelnuts… drooling. Dessert lovers beware – you have to CHOOSE from a caramel budino, a chocolate tart, and a strawberry-rose cheesecake!

I loved my experience at Canoe and can’t wait for the Summerlicious edition of this post. 🙂

Paris Desserts

Dessert Gallery

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TOP 5 DESSERTS

5) Chocolate brownie from Chez Sesame

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4) Mille-Feille from Josephine Chez Dumont

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3) TIE between Amorino pistachio gelato with Speculoos gelato // Pozzetto Gianjula and pistachio gelato

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Above: Amorino // Below: Pozzetto

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2) Speculoos cheesecake by Guu desserts (from Auchan supermarket)

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1) Creme brûlée from Bistrot Richelieu: WINNER!

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Almost made the list: financiers from Moisan Bakery and Eric Kayser

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Above: Moisan Bakery // Below: Eric Kayser (mini with nature, chocolate, pistachio, regular-sized pistachio)

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Paris-Brest

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Desserts from Gateaux Thomieux, Bon Marche, Liberte, and Tholoniat: Opera, mille-feuille, chocolate tart, flan, St-Honore, eclair, choux, etc.

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Dinners in Paris

Dinner Gallery

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TOP 5 DINNERS

5) Blanquette de veau (creamy veal stew with carrots, pearl onions, mushrooms)

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4) Baguette, carrot mustard salad, Caprese salad, Compte cheese, steamed Provencale-style fish, steamed broccoli, sautéed vermicelli

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3) Spaghetti with tomato shrimp sauce, mushrooms, Camembert cheese and zucchini stir-fry with krill

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2) Caprese salad, rocket and pine nut salad, baguette, garlic green beans, potato cake, stir-fried bean sprouts, steamed fish with scallions, rice

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1) Taco cups with ground beef, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, cheddar, cheese plate with grapes, vegetable soup with baguette

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Almost made the list: creamy lobster pasta with tomatoes and basil

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Lunches of Paris

Lunch Gallery

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TOP 5 LUNCHES

5) Babalou 4-cheese pizza with parmesan, rocket, and cherry tomato salad

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4) La Taverne de Menil zucchini galettes with tomato bulgur, salad, sauteed potatoes, oregano yogurt sauce

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3) Cafe Jacquemart-Andre smoked salmon salad with fish eggs and black caviar tomato, steamed potatoes with dill sauce, and vegetable flan

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2) Angelina Chèvre Quiche and salad

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1) Le Bosquet Ravioli Gratin with salad: WINNER!

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Almost made the list: vegetable soup with baguette, seared white fish with tomato, leeks, lemon cream sauce

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