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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Toronto :: Meat Saloons & Slow Cooker Samgyetang

A friend gave me 5 suggestions for dinner – and I didn’t recognize a single one. I'm definitely not the Toronto food guru that I used to be!

Nevertheless, I always love trying new things and it appears that Meat Saloons have taken Toronto by storm.

While on the pricey side, Weslodge offers a fantastic spot for after dinner drinks, dinner, and hangouts. I love love love the interior – beautifully high ceilings, lighting, and mounted game all over the walls. I had the Veal Cheek which was soft and rich while T had the Bison Striploin. Both were wonderfully satisfying and I definitely want to go back to try some more – bourbon Cornish hen and dry aged rib eye anyone? While dinner satisfied my carnivorous appetite, what I really loved were the Brussels sprouts! I kid you not – try them and you won’t regret it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rhode Island :: River Oysters

Okay, there’s no such thing as river oysters…but there are $1 oysters at New Rivers American Bistro. It was a rainy night, 9PM, and I hadn’t had dinner yet…I wandered around College Hill and was happy to find a little spot that was still serving something other than pub food. I wish I had more to report about the city, but other than a glimpse of State House (no pictures – fail!) from a quick run around the block, I haven’t had a chance to explore the city yet...hopefully that will change next week!

IMG_20121022_104332I will say, however, that it’s not the quaint little town that I pictured when I was asked to go to Providence. I was envisioning white picket fences, beautiful fall coloured trees lining the streets, a quiet town, and lots of pleasant people – kind of like a North-Eastern Charlotte. Shows how little I know about American culture & geography!

Beech 1900 C-12J is the smallest plane in Canada’s fleet (lucky me) and it swayed at every turn and patchy farms came into view...

The service at New Rivers was excellent, coupled with a young, vibrant vibe. The bartenders were friendly and chatty, perfect for a spot touting local fare. I started with a trio of local Oysters (definitely recommend Walrus oysters – they were fantastic!) and followed with Fluke.

I was a bit disappointed with the fluke – the bed of roasted pumpkin bisque was good in theory but lacked spice, and I don't even remember the artichokes. Mind you, I’m a fan of stronger, spicier flavours so I prefer earthier greens. The fish was pan fried, but excessively so. While not the perfect meal, given the ambiance, bar, and menu I wouldn’t be opposed to giving it a second try. I'll go with my initial instinct of rabbit or cassoulet instead...if I return.

We also hit Temple a couple of times out of convenience – standard restaurant fare, nothing particularly interesting to note except their fun opening to Movember – we all donned finger-moustache tattoos, which was a fun start to the night.

Temple’s not bad – but I won’t be missing it or particularly craving later. The Lobster Ravioli, Temple Mezze Platter, and Mushroom Flatbread are good to share – and the atmosphere at the bar is good for socials

In the meantime, I’m bracing myself for Hurricane Sandy (aka Frankenstorm) that’s supposed to hit hard on next week! Wish me luck!

New Rivers on UrbanspoonTemple Downtown on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! :: Cornish Hens

Another year, another bird! Since I wasn't hitting three turkey dinners or chasing Northern Lights, I enjoyed some much needed time at home, in Toronto :-)

I was in charge of the meat - instead of tackling a turkey, I decided to go big by going small with Cornish hens! Love love love these little guys. They're super easy to cook and fun to serve!

Add a helping of buttery mashed potatoes, sweet pumpkin pie and stuffing and you'll forget all about that turkey. Why battle family members for the best cuts when you can have it all to yourself? ;)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Zealand :: Taupo

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Great time in Taupo. Well, any day that I jump 15,000 feet (and live) is a great day. Skydiving is highly addictive! If I had more funds, I would not hesitate to make this a regular past time.

IMG_9831“Are you nervous?” – tandem guy

“Can we do flips in the air?” – me

“She’s not nervous.” – video-guy

Woosh! I thought I’d be nervous at the last second – but I surprised myself. Of course, being tandem was a huge part of that! I eagerly gave him the thumbs up and we rolled out of the plane…the ground rushing towards us was definitely a different view than I get from the plane!
Taupo seemed to be a pretty popular stop for outdoor sport-loving tourists. It was the perfect pit stop on our way to Tongariro National Park for our hike.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Australia :: Magnetic Island

After exploring the Great Barrier Reef and a couple of briefs stops in Port Douglas and Cairns, I contemplated my next step – look for ride down the East coast (no shortage of backpackers in Cairns), flip the thumb (but locals peppered me with stories of disappearing travellers), or hopping on the bus (lack of freedom). I ended up going for the latter – I had no interest in hanging around Cairns and figured I’d meet people along the way!
IMG_8370As expected, the bus was full of excited backpackers. Just like my amused findings in supermarkets, I enjoyed hearing the scattered lingo from the English and Irish travellers.

“Erin, let’s hop off - I could really go for a lolly”. – L

…I thought she meant a lollipop.

This ice cream was more interesting back then (sigh, how belated are these posts!). Magnum ice cream was launched last year in Canada – but it was new to me then! Even more interesting, is that Breyers is called Streets in Australia (and, as I later discovered, Walls in London and Langnese in Germany)

We hopped on and off for awhile, had a couple of pit stops (Although I’m really glad they still labelled them -  Mangoes is definitely up for interpretation).

Townsville was a wonderful change from Cairns. I didn't care for the crazy-backpacker-ridden town, and the locals were tired of travellers. Townsville was friendly, the locals were open, and I was in good company. L & I walked around in the burning heat (searing, really), stopping for dinner at a Thai place on Flinders. I was ecstatic to finally try the Yabby that C & D from Melbourne told me about. Deee-lish! IMG_8385
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Monday, July 2, 2012

Houston :: Lola, Amy, and Erin

With only a day left in Texas, but exhausted from the night before, I was glad to have a day of just random exploring. I was lucky to have some locals with me – not entirely sure how transit friendly the city was but the highway system was something in itself. Giant is an understatement. We had breakfast at Lola – just cause I felt like clogging my poor arteries just a little more…breakfast there was no joke. Heavy, creamy – tasty but definitely sleep inducing:
Houston (4) Houston (3)
Houston (2) Houston (1)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

San Diego :: Lucha Libre

Lucha Libre (2)
Always a good time in San Diego :-) W always makes a point to cram some food food in every visit, this being no exception! Lucha Libre was one our must-hit list for the weekend, and it didn't disappoint!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dallas :: Cyclone Anaya’s

Cyclone Anayas (2)
Cyclone Anayas (3) Cyclone Anayas (4) Cyclone Anayas (6)
After my Fish Taco rampage I thought about other missed blog posts, and realized that I never posted about my trip to Dallas! While very different from each other, Houston and Dallas were a good dose of Texan charm. I have yet to visit Austin – but it’s definitely on my list!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Louisville :: Red Hot Harvest!

Harvest (4) RHCP
Throw back to the 90s! When I heard that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were going to be in Louisville, I decided it would be a great chance to stay in the city for the weekend, see a band that I love, love loved in high school, and go in the infamous KFC Yum! building (infamous because I saw it every morning when crossing the bridge from Indiana and it was often in view from high buildings. It was a lot of fun – I’ll admit that I’ve lost touch with their newer music, but they definitely excited the crowd with the classics – The Zephyr Song, By the Way, Californication, Under the Bridge, Give it Away, Scar Tissue…the old school roster. The best moment was when they pulled out a cuica – it looks like a drum, but it makes a squeaky honky noise when rubbed. It was unexpected – and it definitely quieted the crowd for a bit before they broke loose from the humming to go to handstands and intense strumming.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Louisville :: Ghyslain

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On my way to Ghyslain, I thought of a few play on words. Unfortunately, all of the words that immediately came to mind were: Slain, Disdain, Wane, Hein, Stain, Refrain, Plain, Bane…well, you get the idea. Ominous?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Louisville :: Saffron

Miss K and I went to Saffron for lunch – she was raving about their lamb so we made a point to go! Unfortunately, they didn’t have the rack but we ended up ordering the braised lamb shank…it was slow cooked and tender – very rich and lovely, however rather heavy and fatty – not uncommon with lamb dishes. It was a tad too fatty for my liking, but that's a common issue I find with lamb. The tomato base was great, and I would not be opposed to returning to try something else!

Saffron's on Urbanspoon

Toronto :: Arrrrrepas!

Yum. Arepas satisfy my love affair with meat wrapped in carbs. And Arepa Cafe can serve it with a kick – their hot sauce is great! The perfect sammy for Queen West wanderings. I usually grab one to go – the service is nice and friendly, and are happy to accommodate substitutes or additions (the latter usually being avocado). Anyway, this place has been around forever and has long been a staple go-to spot for locals – great for a quick bite if you’re in the area!


I’ve tried and enjoyed the Reina, shredded chicken and avocado, as well as the Octopus (pictured below). I’ve become an avocado addict, so I added some on there – yum!


I’ve recently started to try Yoga @ Downward Dog. With my crazy travel schedule, I often feel too exhausted on the weekends to do my old running regime – but I need to exercise! I find it much harder to motivate myself to finish a 10km run than to get to the studio – at which point, I’m trapped in a room for an hour to finish a class. I’ve been loving it because it’s the right amount of challenge, the instructors have been super friendly and helpful, and I end up feeling sore afterwards…a feeling that I love because that means that I had a good workout!

Now that I am spending so much time in the US, and I’m well past the 1-year-of-ridiculous-travelling mark, I think that if classes are what motivate me, it’s worthwhile to invest in some. Spinning, yoga, pilates…I’m looking forward to exploring the possibilities! I still stress eat (not with arepas – I consider the things I post in blogs treats!! It’s the behind-the-scenes snacking that’s gotten me in trouble lately) but I think my mind just needs a good, clean distraction. Self-motivation aint going so well lately…but classes might be a step up, because someone else will be kickin’ my butt. Literally, if I take up muay thai.

 Arepa Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Louisville :: MORE fish tacos!

Do you like fish Tacos? – L

Clearly, you don’t know me well enough!! Or are you secretly following my blog? Only a few hours after my last post, I was sinking my teeth in another round of tacos at Bazo's Fresh Mexican Grill on Market St. – blackened fish and shrimp. Sans cheese. And a good dose of hot sauce.


Quick, cheap, and tasty – happy to have found a fish taco place close to work! Not as quick, cheap, or tasty as Oscars, but not bad for being 2,000 miles away from the Pacific Ocean. Local comparison - they’re different from Sol Azteca’s fish tacos, which are also grilled but with spicy pico de gallo. Apples to apples, I’d prefer Bazos just for the variety and speed – but – they would definitely satisfy two different fish taco type of cravings.
That’s right. I’ve eaten so many fish tacos that I’ve started to crave specific kinds. Yummmm :-)

  Bazo's Fresh Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

San Diego :: Fish Taco Obsession Continued...

Only fitting that the first thing I grabbed in San Diego was a fish taco...

Picked up my morning treat from a random little shop near W's apartment...I was just wandering down the street when I spotted the fish sign out front – I immediately thought of fish tacos and was delighted to find that The Fish Joint was full of them :-)

I grabbed a grilled halibut taco along with the soup filled with fish and octopus. Yum! Quick, cheap, fish tacos – I constantly dream of having these at work…why can’t there be a fish taco truck parked outside of my office? Yumm

Monday, June 11, 2012

Houston :: Saucers, Steak, ‘n’ Shootouts

Houston (45)
Houston (4) Houston (33) Houston (24)
Texas! Why are you called The Lone Star State? Is it because you’re like a nation on your own? I found that it felt like an independent country on it’s own as it was so unique. Well, truthfully – as I travel more and more around US cities, I’m finding that the culture definitely shifts from city to city – and I’m loving it!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Louisville :: Sol Aztecas, Mexican in the 'South'

My first trip to Kentucky! What did I know about the state other than the Derby, bourbon, and Colonel Sanders about the 'South'*

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Toronto :: Crispy.Porky.Sandwiches!

<3 Toronto
Mornings like this remind me why calling Toronto home will always make me smile. I've started training again. It took a year since I recognized that I need to fix that about myself for me to wake myself up to actually make a priority. I took this photo from a struggle-filled run one morning in Toronto - I'm proud to say that I have run and finished a 10km run since then under an hour. But this run was important to me because it made me give some serious thought about where and when I should set my roots. And to a certain extent...if.

I love travelling - that's not news to anyone. It's been over a year and a half since I've started to live out of suitcases and backpacks, perpetually snatching any chance I could get to explore. I guess you could call it an obsession. (Okay, not could. It is.)

Lately, however, I've been wishing that I had a place - a constant place - to call home when I go back on the weekends. Shared housing, rentals, and living with parents have worked in the past - but I'm at a point where I just want my own space and privacy. My home.

#2 on my Must-Do list is Live in somewhere new on my own for at least 6 months. I would be satisfied adjusting this to Travel for at least 1 year. Not sure where I'd go - it'd very much depend on timing - but South America is pretty high up on that list. I'd love to do nothing but hike in the mountains and explore the cultures down there for months on end!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Madrid :: Jamón ibérico desayuno

Not a bad breakfast.
I know I know. I’m supposed to be behaving – not giving the old I’m travelling! excuse when indulging. But I couldn’t help myself when I spotted legs upon legs of beautiful Iberian ham hanging from the window…My time here is short and this is definitely on my must-have list, so I didn't want to wait!

Add some warm, crusty bread with sesame-flavoured breadsticky bits, and you have a happy Canuck :-) Perfect after a full day of wine, exploring, lots and lots of tasting, finished by a night of rock barring - promise to write more about it soon :-)

I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I went in thinking that I’d only eat half and save the other half for later, but discipline was thrown out the window the second I started on the salty goodness. This was a random find on Paseo de la Castellana in a little place called Más Jamón. They knew no English, but luckily pointing at a giant leg of ham then your stomach is pretty universal.

Now I'm off for tapas and more dancing*!

*or what I like to call dancing, anyway