Three Days in Toronto

Good morning! Check out some of these incredible eats in PEI, before we flash back into the lovely couple of days that my sister and I spent in Toronto. A few nights ago, I savoured this lobster risotto, and my sister had a great gouda mac and cheese with a garlicky baked topping.

For dessert, I had a lovely sticky toffee pudding with whisky caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. This was very tasty, and definitely one of the top three desserts I’ve ever eaten. Amazing. This made my list for all-time best desserts I’ve ever eaten.

This meal was from a restaurant called Cedar’s Eatery, where Seline had chicken souvlaki with Greek salad and rice, while I ate lentils and caramelized onions on rice with fattoush salad. For an appetizer, we shared a plate of calamari with sweet chili sauce.

I’m not sure why I have this here, but it’s a bit of a flashback into my time in Australia. I will miss this so much – it’s the exit from my house, going onto High Street, and my favourite quiche in the world.

Our AirBnB in Toronto, which was located at Bathurst and College. It was an excellent location.

Seline and I loved the Royal Ontario Museum, where we saw a neat Fear and Fascination spiders exhibit, a fashion exhibit, and plenty of contemporary and historical artwork.

Here are some fun photos from the Ripley’s Believe-it-or-Not Aquarium and Yonge-Dundas square. Seline’s favourite part of the aquarium was touching the horseshoe crabs and manta rays. I loved the jellies and seahorses.

Seline’s first impression of Toronto wasn’t too bad, but we arrived in the middle of a heat wave. It was a little too humid for her, but we are glad to have done plenty of fun stuff, and eat so much delicious food. This Greek meal was from Mezes, where I ate pastries stuffed with beet and leek, spinach and feta, and Greek cheese. AMAZING meal! I would die for Greek food.

Brunch from Aunties and Uncles before our flight to PEI. Seline had their classic breakfast with bacon, scrambled eggs, potato hash, and toast, while my pear, walnut, and brie grilled cheese (on challah!) was served with a green salad.

Moonbean Cafe has the most delicious London Fog, in my opinion. I tried it cold one day, and hot another. They also make such tasty spinach-feta borekas, which are like a hybrid between a bagel and a puff pastry.

Dinner at Byblos included awesome baguette pides and slices of Mediterranean beef cheek.

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We spent four hours at Light Cafe one afternoon. Seline loved her BLT chicken sandwich and lobster bisque, and I thoroughly enjoyed my truffle mushroom risotto with parmesan.

For dessert, we shared charcoal black sesame waffles with black sesame sauce and ice cream (one scoop each of vanilla and sesame).

Finally, this was brunch from Signatures Cafe, which is located inside a hotel. I love eggs benedict, especially on brioche, so this was a divine breakfast. Mine was topped with sauteed kale and spinach, and Seline’s with bacon.

That’s all for today – I have some things to do before the end of the day. Have a lovely rest of the week!

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Simple Guide to Nutritional Yeast

What is Nutritional Yeast?

  • a type of inactive yeast
  • flaky, powdery texture
  • has a savoury, cheesy flavour
  • vegan and gluten-free
  • can be found in most health-food stores

Why You Should Try “Nooch”

  • tastes like parmesan cheese, so it’s absolutely delicious
  • loaded with B vitamins
  • contains 6 grams of protein in each quarter cup
  • plenty of zinc and fibre

Creative Ways to Use Nutritional Yeast

  • add it to pasta
  • add to popcorn
  • use in Tex-Mex or Mexican dishes as a sub for cheddar
  • sprinkle some on buttered bread
  • use in lasagna
  • make an Alfredo sauce
  • topping for vegetarian chili
  • use in tofu stir-fries
  • sprinkle on salad
  • use to top salads or breadsticks
  • use in French toast batter to add richness
  • in place of cheddar in vegan broccoli-cheddar soup
  • use to make vegan omelettes or quiche
  • add to mashed cauliflower
  • use it to make cauliflower dishes
  • add to stuffed peppers
  • the easiest mac and cheese ever: 1/2 cup nutritional yeast with 1/4 cup warm water, oil, salt and pepper
  • mix into scrambled eggs for eggy flavour and great yellow hue
  • add to casseroles, whether they have rice or quinoa
  • toss it into the blender with cooked/canned beans, olive oil, and lemon for a great cheesy dip
  • add to burritos
  • sprinkle on shakshuka
  • add to scalloped potatoes
  • blitz to make a mock parmesan
  • mash into baked potato with garlic
  • blend to make creamy cheesy sauce
  • stir into pesto
  • top sautéed vegetables
  • use to top pizza or flatbread
  • use to make vegan hollandaise sauce
  • make a cheese spread with it, then use it for grilled cheese
  • stir it into vegan gravy
  • use to thicken stews, sauces, and soups
  • use in vegan mac and cheese recipes
  • whisked into salad dressing for thickness and unami flavour
  • use in vegan baking, like for savoury biscuits
  • add to scrambled eggs (adds a great sharp flavour, and enhances the yellow hue of your eggs)
  • stir into soups
  • add to curry mix
  • stir into risotto
  • sprinkle on chips, like kale chips
  • stir into sweet treats, like peanut butter cups, to add rich flavour (melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips OR cocoa powder with oil, then layer with a mixture of peanut butter and nutritional yeast, chill to set)
  • sprinkle on top of avocado toast
  • use in tofu cheesecakes, to add cream cheese flavour

Charcoal Waffles ♡_♡

Mmmm, pizza. It’s been a while since I’ve had truly, truly amazing pizza and this one from Lamanna’s, an Italian bakery and hot table in Scarborough, did not disappoint. Smothered in provolone and mushrooms, the toppings were simple and tasty – but the crust, charred to perfection, was my favourite part.

Dessert? Large gelato with a scoop of pistachio and a scoop of hazelnut (check out that size compared to the little gelato spoon and my water bottle!) – followed by an unpictured lobster tail cream pastry. Talk about an amazing lunch!

Another day, I had lunch at Light Cafe in downtown Toronto, a chic and modern new spot in Baldwin Village.

The truffled mushroom croissant is their specialty, loaded with creamy truffle mayonnaise, sliced tomato, shiitake mushrooms, and lettuce. The croissant was toasted and tasted fresh. Salad was dressed in sesame, and had plenty of fresh tomatoes inside.

The soup was another highlight: rich, creamy, savoury Lobster Bisque!

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For dessert, I had to order the famous Light Cafe dish – black sesame waffles. There were four heart-shaped black sesame waffles, made with charcoal for that incredible colour, a little vial of rich sesame syrup, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and a scoop of black sesame ice cream. All of it was devoured. 😇

Waffles with ice cream is hands-down one of my favourite desserts of all time, and bonus points for special-flavoured waffles like ube (purple yam, specialty of the Philippines), black sesame, or red bean.

This is one of my favourite photographs from my trip downtown. I love how 50% of it is that urban traffic look with trees in the back, and the other half is a pretty lake with trees, and apartments in the back. The contrast is cool!

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The reason for my Toronto trip? Stock. Up. On. Muffins. Since I don’t go downtown very often, and I won’t be going often anymore since it’s starting to get chilly, I bought plenty of muffins, chopped ’em into thirds or quarters, and stashed them in the freezer. These are some of the muffins I remember:

  • blueberry streusel
  • blueberry bran
  • plain blueberry
  • blueberry scone
  • lemon poppyseed
  • carrot
  • banana chocolate chip
  • mixed berry and oat
  • cornmeal
  • lemon currant scone
  • ginger scone

There were definitely more, but that’s all for the ones I can recall. 😎 Apparently, I seem to like muffins a lot?

Excitement. In the form of a delicious plate of coconut Thai green curry with broccoli, mushrooms, onion, and carrots – and in the form of a new book. Sci-fi isn’t really my genre, but this one, RUSH by Eve Silver, had me intrigued all the way through.

A trip to the library meant I took lots more snapshots of the books that are on my to-be-read list. I can’t wait to take these out and see if they’re good.

On Mid-Autumn Festival, which is like Chinese Thanksgiving, I had an incredible meal at a buffet called Dragon’s Pearl, with friends of my grandfather. I. Love. Buffets. So what did I enjoy this time?

  • yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and gravy
  • steamed ginger and scallion fish
  • Japanese sweet egg, bean curd sushi, other assorted sushi
  • stir-fried vegetables, crispy stir-fried noodles
  • peking duck on a flatbread, with sweet and sour sauce and cucumber
  • creamy crab salad
  • crispy shrimp cakes
  • garlic mussels
  • grilled salmon and plaintains

Dessert was just as delicious.

  • tiramisu
  • green tea cake
  • sweet sesame mochi ball (favourite)
  • regular cheesecake
  • unsweetened cheesecake
  • bread pudding with golden raisins, whipped cream on top (#2 favourite)
  • English trifle
  • kiwi custard tart

Do you like buffets? I’m a sucker for variety, so I adore buffets!

One morning, I had some quiet time to myself in the office so I started designing a new poster for the Integumentary System, which is the system about human skin, hair, and nails.

Totally random note here. This is such a beautiful logo! I like graphic design a lot and want to learn more about designing lettering.

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Speaking of graphic design, I’m creating a PDF doc of Anatomy-related study tips. The entire study guide is written out now, but I’m figuring out how I’d like to design the other pages. What do you think?

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That’s pretty much it for today, guys. Hope you all have the most wonderful rest of the week. 🙂

Toronto’s Best Ice Cream?

How is it MAY already?

Let’s talk food!

I tried Venezuelan food, from El Arepazo in the Kensington Market, for the first time and loved these arepas stuffed with fried plantains, queso, black beans, avocado, and fresh tomato. Next time, I will add hot sauce!

The London Fog tea latte from Moonbean Cafe in Kensington Market is the #1 tea latte I’ve ever had, hands down. I’m drooling for this mug right now.

Sunset on Sterling road, the magical little street that takes me to Cirque-ability where I practice aerials.

Mmmmm, desserts! I bought these from Thobors. This was:

  • almond paste tart with peach slices
  • chocolate hazelnut mousse cake that tasted like ferrero rocher in a cake form

I went to Pomegranate Restaurant to try Iranian food for my first time on Friday night. This was their famous fish, which involved boneless chicken breast in a stew made of crushed walnuts and pomegranate syrup. I’ve never had anything like this before, and loved it. Though, I wish I had more of the yellow saffron rice.

Dessert was this saffron ice cream, which, sadly, tasted like frozen rose shampoo.

I had the BEST Indian dinner at Banjara! Cassie – look! I had Indian food! This was delicious and featured:

  • vegetable pakora (fried)
  • yellow lentil dahl
  • palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese curry) –> my #1 favourite Indian dish of all time
  • aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower curry)
  • rice pudding with cardamom, carrots, and cinnamon
  • curry basmati rice

All this… for around $13?!

For dessert, I went crazy for this caramelized peanut butter cookie with two scoops of ice cream: totarn (ube, or purple yam) and one scoop of cinnamon toast. Cinnamon toast ice cream? Purple yam ice cream? If you’ve never had them, you need to try. And also, this peanut butter cookie was mind-blowingly delicious. One of my dessert highlights of my Toronto life.

Life back home in BC… oh, and I finally got new shoes! My toes were starting to peep out of my old ones. These black shoes were on discount from Nordstrom, and are ridiculously comfortable.

A breakfast to remember: banana oats in a cashew butter jar, yogurt, blackberries, and a slice of oat banana bread. YUM!

For the last two/three weeks in Toronto, the only things in my fridge were cheddar cheese and vegetables – and the one thing in my pantry was quinoa. With that, I made vegetable quinoa casseroles about 3-4 times during my last month in Toronto, but I never grow sick of it. This square featured wilted spinach, little carrots and corn, peas, quinoa, and creamy, sharp cheddar.

One bucket list item checked off – I finally went to Maha’s, an Egpytian restaurant, for brunch! It was a Sunday afternoon, so I should have expected a long wait. Ended up waiting from 1:00 to 2:30 before getting into the restaurant, which only seats 24 people. This plate features some Egyptian balady bread, Turkish cheese, a spinach falafel, sliced hard-boiled egg, and creamy beans. The little cup on the right was full of spices and raw cucumber, peppers, and tomato. It was a superb meal that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I wouldn’t wait 1.5 hours for it again.

I followed up that meal with some desserts. Two, to be exact…

  • one chestnut mousse cake with walnut sponge, wrapped in milk chocolate
  • one earl grey tea latte
  • one pistachio and chocolate croissant

After the Egyptian brunch, and the desserts, AND the mug of tea, it was hard to walk because I was so full!

 

Now that summer is on the horizon, I can’t wait to make tasty salads like this one. I have pesto – I just need to buy some arugula, peppers, penne, and cheese/tofu!

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I will miss Toronto’s massive selection of restaurants.

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But I am glad to be back in school!

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Have a delicious week, friends 🙂

Looks Gross, Tastes GREAT

Hello, friends! I hope you all had the most fantastic Easter weekend. I did, especially when you consider the number of almond croissants that I devoured. You’ll see. 😉

This was my long weekend plan, most of which didn’t play out because the weather was gorgeous and I didn’t want to be cooped up in a yoga studio.

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Almond croissant numero un was at Delysees, where I nibbled on a warm croissant with a dark hot chocolate.

On Sunday, I tried Russian food for the first time. This was a trout coulibiac from The Tempered Room. It was a puff pastry (similar to a wellington) filled with flaked trout, roasted kale, lentils, slices of hard-boiled egg, and quinoa. Definitely not the most authentic, but a delicious, protein-filled healthy twist to a Russian classic.

Let’s be honest, this doesn’t look the greatest. But it tasted AWESOME.

That was devoured alongside a buttery kale and sweet potato scone.

London Fog tea lattes are my favourite, and this was my first time trying the famous Sloane brand of tea. I loved this mug of tea, but thought it was similar to any old supermarket Earl Grey.

Croissant number two. Did I mention this was all in the same day? This chocolate almond croissant was flatter, denser, less flaky, and more buttery.

Another day, I enjoyed a phenomenal brunch at Barque Smokehouse, where I enjoyed cornbread topped with citrus smoked salmon, two poached eggs, and BBQ hollandaise, the crispiest roasted potatoes, and a kale salad with carrots, cabbage, and pear.

Healthy dinner at home involved cauliflower rice and zucchini/yellow zucchini shreds with gruyere cheese.

I can never make the 2 egg + 1 ripe banana pancakes successfully. They always seem to rip or break on me! Even this time, when I added a bit of rolled oats and almond meal to create sturdiness, they tore as I flipped them. Any tips?

Regardless, they tasted fantastic smeared with almond and peanut butter.

Round Two turned out better! I added a bit of quinoa flour this time. I think that contributed to the sturdiness.

Another day, I whisked up four eggs, lots of wilted spinach, and feta cheese. I made it omelette-style, then tossed it into the oven to broil and melt the cheese. This created a filling, delicious, and easy meal that I paired with yogurt and a crumbled date bar.

Saag paneer (spinach + cottage cheese) roti is probably my favourite thing about Toronto so far. This roti from Mother India on Queen West was stuffed with pureed spinach, tender potatoes, and some chunks of paneer cheese. I had a big craving for Indian food after a patient told me about Mother India, and it needed to be satisfied! I loved this roti as much as the one from Gandhi Indian Cuisine. Though Mother India’s roti itself tasted better and was less spicy, Gandhi’s saag paneer roti had bigger chunks of paneer and the spinach looked greener.

It looks gross. I know. But it tasted absolutely incredible.

Can you believe that I have EIGHT more days of work before I’m going back to Waterloo and saying goodbye to Toronto (possibly forever!)?

My sister, Seline, published a book! Her novel is called ‘Journey to Avalon‘ and details the adventures of an awkward, self-proclaimed loser who finds herself with strange powers in the Elemental Academy for the Supernaturally Gifted – and will do anything to go back to her mundane life at home.

I think that’s it for today! I have lots more stuff to show you in the next few days, so stay tuned 😉

Pow Wow!

Over the weekend, I discovered this super simple recipe for creamy black bean soup. Thanks, Allrecipes! Spicy, rich, and full of black beans, this recipe is a keeper. I served mine with a simple buttery, cheesy grilled cheese.

Black Bean Soup

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can black beans (15 oz), rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth or water with salt
  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • lime juice, as much as you’d like
  • cayenne pepper, as much as you’d like

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine half the beans, broth, salsa, garlic, and cumin. Blend until fairly smooth. Add the rest of the beans.
  2. Heat in saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly reheated. Stir in lime and cayenne pepper.
  3. Ladle into bowls and top with desired toppings.

I’ve been into quinoa porridge recently, blending up a whole overripe banana with some milk and cocoa powder, then cooking it up with cooked quinoa and topping it with peanut butter. The PB becomes gloriously melty, and tastes awesome with yogurt and granola.

I also created the BEST banana chocolate almond cake! Pictures to come, but here’s the recipe. This will be made again soon!

Banana Chocolate Almond Cake

Makes an 8×8 pan. I cut mine into 16.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place all ingredients except flour in a blender.
  3. Mash bananas. Whisk in eggs. Beat well, then add oil and syrup or honey.
  4. Add dry ingredients and use a whisk to stir until fully combined.
  5. Grease baking pan with oil or line with parchment.
  6. Bake 40 minutes. Remove and cool completely before tilting out of the pan.

Toronto is such a lovely city. I walked around the touristy Nathan Philips square on Sunday, when there was lots of sunshine.

On the same day, I had a tasty brunch at the Pow Wow Cafe in Kensington Market. The Pow Wow Cafe serves indigenous food. I had a fry bread (literally deep-fried dough) topped with two poached eggs, smoked salmon, goat cheese, and dill sauce. Potatoes, fruit, and a fresh beet salad on the side.

After that, I stuffed my face with frozen greek yogurt from Grk Ygrt, also in the Kensington Market. While this concoction with Callebaut white chocolate, toasted coconut, and peach preserve was tasty, this was the “mini” size which cost over $5. It was called the Maui Wowie!

Finally, I made a simple pasta with leftover sliced carrots, mushrooms, and spinach, with a creamy tomato vodka sauce and topped with feta cheese. Cleaning the fridge and the pantry!

That is really all I have to say for this foggy Tuesday morning. Have a lovely week, friends 🙂