Travel


Travel is fun. Period. Hoping to blog about my adventures in Ottawa, Montreal, Buffalo, Las Vegas, New York City and more.

Sep
25

I have a long history with the Sheraton Tel Aviv. It actually goes back to 1988 when I had my last dinner there after spending 4 years attending Tel Aviv University. #truestory

However over the years, I continue to stay at this hotel and to be honest I haven’t ever considered staying at any other hotel when visiting Tel Aviv. Plus I know many friends and family members who stay at the Sheraton Tel Aviv so I know it has a great reputation.

Here’s just a few reasons why I  continue to stay at this hotel.

1. The views: Need I say more?

sheraton-view

2. The Israeli Breakfast: This is a must so make sure it’s included in the price of your hotel. If not, it’s wroth the $$ to pay for it.  The selection is unlike anything you have ever seen in an North American Hotel. You have been warned!!

I couldn’t possibly capture the entire range of what’s offered at this Israeli Buffet however I can tell you that the ENTIRE restaurant is dedicated to it. Trust me – it’s a sizeable restaurant.

sheraton-buffet

3. The pool/beach proximity: I spend most of my time at the pool however if you cross the street – voila – you are the beach!! As you can see, it’s a great place to capture the gorgeous sunset.

sheraton-beach-sunset

4. The service: Everyone was courteous and helpful – the bellboys, the front desk staff and front desk staff too. We had no complaints.

5. The Club Lounge: I’m not a world traveller however I have seen a few club lounges in my life and this one is the best ones I’ve ever seen. There’s food served all day long and an incredible outdoor patio to view the city.

sheraton-more-view

For more information:

Website: www.sheratontelaviv.com

Twitter: @SheratonTelAiv

 

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Sep
19

Tel Aviv Suggestions!!


The other day I received the following message via facebook.

Hi Vicky- sounds like you are having a great trip… My parents are in Jerusalem now and are going to tel Aviv tomorrow to the Sheraton. Do u have any suggestions for them? where they should go… Different ideas than the regular .. Thx

Here’s a list of attractions that I’d visited over the last few days that I suggested to my Facebook friend:

1. Tel Aviv Museum of Art: I hadn’t been to this museum in over 3 decades and I’m so happy that I went. I must admit that one of the reasons I went was because a foodie friend of mine went a few months ago and his photos on facebook really impressed me. The building itself is stunning not to mention the exhibits themselves. It’s also a great way to escape the sunshine between 12 and 2 pm!!

tel-aviv-museum

tel-aviv-museum-2

2. Sarona Market: Even though I was in Tel Aviv in April 2015 – this market opened just after I left.

tel-aviv-sarona

This market brings the “best” of the country to one place. The variety of food in this market was perfect – restaurants, beer, wine, candy, fresh fruit, halva, bakeries, paletas, etc. My tummy was in heaven. I must add that I was lucky enough to have a “tour of Sarona Market” with a well respected Israeli Food Writer. Highlights of my tour included: Captain Curry and Forela Fish Bar.

Here’s a photo of my delicious Smoked Trout Shawarma from Forela Fish Bar!

tel-avivi-sandwich

Seriously, how pretty are these olives?

tel-aviv-olives

I couldn’t bring back the olives with me on the plane, but I certainly did buy  Rusty’s Almond Butter (with Halva) which is made here in Israel! #supportlocal

tel-aviv-almond-butter

3. Carmel Market: This market is a true Israeli Experience. Its crowded, busy and so much fun! I visit this market every time I’m in Tel Aviv. It’s a must.

4. The Old Tel Aviv Port:  A great area to stroll around as it’s on the water and this adds to the atmosphere.  There’s plenty of restaurants, retail stores, cafes and ice cream to keep Israelis and tourists very happy!!

5. Delicious IsraelThey offer unique food tours and food experiences. I was able to participate on a food tour of Levinsky Market and it was certainly a highlight of my trip. Read more about my tour by clicking here.

6. Nahalat Binyamin: I love this outdoor arts & crafts fair that is held every Tuesday and Friday. I always find gifts here and happy to support Israeli artisans. Not to mention it’s a fun scene.

Sadly I only took a photo of this piece of jewellery and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t buy one. #nexttime.

tel-aviv-nahalat

Attractions I didn’t have time to visit:

Old Jaffa Port: Such a gorgeous place to walk around but I just didn’t have time.

A Cocktail Bar; Apparently Tel Aviv has some pretty swanky cocktail bars (click on the link – pretty please)  and after googling “Cocktail Bars in Tel Aviv” – it’s evident that I need to go on a “cocktail crawl” on my next visit.

Jewish Diaspora Museum: I haven’t been in decades but it was always one of my favourite museums.

Tel Aviv is a beautiful cosmopolitan city with a lot to offer. I was fortunate enough to stay in Tel Aviv for 7 full days and can’t wait to visit next year!!

For more information about Israel – please click here.

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Sep
13

Today I was on chartered bus with over 40 others who were from Australia, London, Glasgow, Ottawa, California. We are all in Israel to attend a wedding that is taking place this week. #luckyus

The tour was organized by my fabulous relative (the mother of the bride) and here’s a recap of our day:

730 am – We were picked up the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv. As we drove up north, the tour guide provided us with some interesting facts about Israel i.e there’s more museums in Israel per capita than anywhere else.

10:00 am – Arrived at the Atlit Detention Centre. where we had a guided tour of this national site which serves as an educational center for teaching the heritage of clandestine immigration. As you know I’ve been to Israel several times before but had never heard of this museum. What a great way to start the day.

tour-boat

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm – Arrived at Tishbi Winery for a wine and chocolate tasting. My cousin really knows how to impress her guests!!

tour-winechocolate

See this sign? Do you think I turned right or left? LOL

tour-sign

1:00 – 2:30 pm – We were treated to a delicious lunch at Tishbi Winery. So tasty. So fresh. Of course lunch involved more wine.

tour-pizza

2:30 – 2:45 pm – We went on a very quick tour thru Zichron Yaakov which is just gorgeous. (ps this was my first time in Zichron Yaakov)

5 pm – We arrived back at the Sheraton Tel Aviv and went directly to the 18th floor to enjoy these views. Not a bad way to end the day.

tour-view

Huge thank you to my amazing cousin for organizing such a special tour. As you can tell I’m having a fabulous trip.

For more information about Israel, please click here

 

 

 

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Sep
12

I’ve been on food tours in Barcelona, Jerusalem and New York and I truly believe it’s a great way to discover a city.

Therefore I was positively thrilled that I was able to go on a food tour of Levinsky Market with Delicious Israel.

Even though I lived in Tel Aviv for 4 years and have visited Tel Avis several times in the last 7 years, this particular neighbourhood was never on my radar.

This has now changed thanks to Delicious Israel who introduced it to me the other day.

tour-levinsky

The tour was friendly and fun and consisted of a few tourists from the UK, France and the U.S. Our tour guide was a native English speaker and was super knowledgeable and clearly passionate about food.

tour-table

Not to mention that on this tour I learned a few things. For example, I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen cinnamon that looked like this before.

tour-cinamon

You see this green fruit next to the apple? Notice how its’ bigger than the apple? It’s an orange. ..not an over sized lime! How cool is that?

tour-orange

Plus I ate the most delicious hummus that was WARM. Once again, this was something new for me. I really did learn quite a bit on this tour.

tour-hummus

The tour was certainly comprehensive and we were introduced to a variety of interesting spots in the Levinsky Market i.e a spice shop, bourekas, a hummus restaurant, a cool restaurant that served cured meats and craft beers, a famous bakery and more!! No one left hungry.

At the end of the tour we were given cute business cards. I swear I’m going to try my best to get thru this list by Sept 22nd. Wish me luck.

tour-business-card

This company does more than just tours – in fact I really wanted to participate  in on their “cook and shuk” tours but the timing didn’t work out. I guess this means I will have to book this for my next trip!!

Please take a few minutes and click on their website. Not to mention that I highly suggest you book a tour on your next visit to Israel. You won’t regret it.

For more information:

Website: www.DeliciousIsrael.com

Instagram/Twitter: @DeliciousIsrael

Email: info@deliciousisrael.com

Telephone Number from ABROAD: +972 525 699 499

Telephone Number in ISRAEL: 0525 699 499

Disclosure: This tour was complimentary however all opinions are my own.

 

 

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Sep
08

It wasn’t easy to choose a hotel in New York. I couldn’t decide to go the AirBnb route or do a mystery deal on Hotwire or just look for a good deal.

I ended up searching on Booking.Com. My criteria was:

-price and location (in that order).

I originally booked the Courtyard By Marriott New York Manhattan/Central Park, but was graciously upgraded to stay at the Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Central Park which is directly above the Courtyard Marriott (how convenient).

The price was right and the location was prime! Not mention that we could always find the hotel when we got off the subway as it’s the tallest building around.

nyc-tall

Here’s what we loved about our stay:

1. It was convenient to get to our room i.e. we didnt have to walk a mile down the corridor to get to our room. (huge pet peeve of mine).

2. The view was spectacular. It was so spectacular that we kept the curtains open all the time.

nyc-view

3. The hot buffet breakfast was a definite perk.

nyc-hot-buffet

4. Our spacious room had a full kitchen.

nyc-full-kitchen

When I pulled out one of the drawers in the kitchen I discovered that it wasn’t a drawer but it was a dishwasher. As you can see, we even used it.

nyc-dishwasher

5.. The lounge had these cozy spots so I could watch the U.S Open and sip on my happy hour cocktail.

nyc-cozy-booth

I adore Happy Hour menus.

nyc-happy-hour

6. The location was just perfect. We were exactly where we wanted to be..walking distance to Times Square, Central Park and 5th Avenue. PERFECT.

7.  I loved the decor of our room and the fact that it was a corner suite was an added bonus.nyc-furniture

I truly had a wonderful experience at the Residence Inn Marriott Manhattan/Central Park and would stay there in the future. As always, I’m looking forward to my next trip to NYC.

For more information:

Website: Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Central Park

Address: 1717 Broadway Ave, NY, NY

Phone: 1 212-324-3774

Disclosure: The upgrade was complimentary however all opinions are my own.

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Sep
05

I wanted to take advantage of the long weekend so I booked a quick trip to New York City. I was originally going to drive and then went on Travelocity and decided to fly. It felt like a smart move till our flight got delayed for a few hours. Ouch.

Sadly this meant that our lovely afternoon on the Go NY Tours –  Hop On and Off Double Decker  Bus Tour was reduced to two hours. However we were so glad we went regardless. We had a great overview of the city while enjoying the double decker bus. I can’t imagine not doing these tours. I really do think they offer tremendous value.

nyc - tour

For dinner, it was recommended that we go to a Kosher Certified and Vegan restaurant called By Chloe.  (185 Bleeker St).  I was SO glad we went. The restaurant was hopping but scored a cute table outside to enjoy this super tasty kale salad.

nyc - kale salad

After dinner, I was able to nip into Murrays Cheese  (284 Bleeker St) where I quickly bought three items: Vermont Butter (which I havent found for years), some unique crackers and this beer that had me buzzed in no time at all. (can you say, 13% alcohol). Sadly no time to even look at the cheese counter. ARGHHH.

nyc - beer

Rushed back to the Residence Inn NY Manhattan/Central Park for a wonderful nights sleep in our beautiful corner suite that had an incredible view! (Blog post to foll0w).

nyc - corner room

On Saturday, my day included two critical elements of any visit to NYC – Shopping and Eating. (not in that order).

I started my day off at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn. (90 Kent St) What a great decision. It was my 3rd time visiting this fabulous outdoor food market since it started in 2011 and it keeps getting better and better. What I like best is the opportunity to see so many creative food vendors.

nyc - smorgasburg 1

I saw a few of my favourite vendors from my previous visits: Bon Chovie (which I get on each and every visit) and Kelvin Slushie plus the Ramen Burger vendor.

nyc - smorgasburg 2

 

I was in foodie heaven.

Late afternoon on Saturday included a walk thru Central Park where we stumbled upon a huge gathering of people and then figured it out: POKEMON GO!!

nyc - pokemon

We also did some shopping on 5th Avenue and did some damage at the insanely huge UNIQLO (89,000 sqf).  Pretty grateful that there were no line ups at the cashier but as you can see from this photo. ..they are prepared.

nyc - unqlo

Can’t wait for UNIQLO to open in Yorkdale Shopping Centre sometime in the fall. Seriously.

On Sunday morning, I scrambled to the US Open. I was only there from 1030 to 1230 but it was worth it. I’ve been watching the US Open for decades on TV and it was great to experience being there even though I wasn’t there to watch a match.

nyc - us open

Just like that – it was time to head to Newark to catch our flight. I wish we had time to visit MOMA or the Whitney Museum or Washington Square or Chelsea Market but it just means I will have to go back, right?

Hope you had a wonderful weekend too.

For more information:

Go NY Tours Websitehttps://www.gonytours.nyc/double-decker-tours

Address: 2 E 42nd St, New York, NY, Phone: 1 212-664-0300

Website:  Residence Inn NY Manhattan/Central Park

Address: 1717 Broadway, New York, NY Phone: +1 212-324-3774

 

 

 

 

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Aug
16

This is what happens when you are a foodie and you have a few hours in Montreal to kill before hopping on a plane. You end up at Jean-Talon Market. Trust me, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend time.

Naturally I bought so many goodies that I had to buy a bag!

JTM - bag

In case you are wondering “What did I buy? ” a better question might be “what didn’t I buy”.

Here’s a list of what was in the above bag:

1. Bourgot: I know they are ugly but they are my favourite item to buy at Jean-Talon Market. I discovered that they are also called Whelks and are very abundant in the St. Lawrence River and Estuary.

These Whelks are ready-to-eat as they are sold in brine, which gives them a long shelf life as well as a tender and flavourful taste. Sadly I had to throw the brine away at the airport but they still made it through security.

JTM - bourgot

2. Cult Yogurt – I bought two but one was confiscated at security. Go figure. I discovered this yogurt back in May and hope to see it on the shelves in Toronto one day soon. It’s creamy creamy creamy.

JTM - cult

3. Olives stuffed with Orange Peel. Love this combo.

JTM - olives

4. Nuts: One bag is Lemon/Pepper and the other back is smoked to perfection.

JTM - nuts

5. Cretons with Dates and Herbs: Not something you see in Toronto which is code for: “I had to buy it”.

JTM - creton6. Candied Orange: I have no idea what I’m going to do with this but I’m sure it will be a lovely garnish for something!

JTM - orange1

7. Salt with Herbs: I have a feeling I will be sprinkling this product on my eggs, in dressings, on fish etc. For $3.99 I figured it was a good buy!

JTM - salt

As always, I adore this market for so many reasons. Hope you get a chance to visit Montreal in the near future and visit this market too!

For more information:

Website: Jean-Talon Market

Address:  7070 Avenue Henri Julien, Montréal, QC H2S 3S3

Happy Shopping!

 

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Aug
14

This past weekend I had the opportunity to hang out in beautiful Mont-Tremblant. It was the perfect escape seeing as Toronto was going to be hot and humid. Sorry my Toronto friends, but I was wearing long sleeves and pants in Mont Tremblant!!

vicky - mt tremblant

But enough about the weather, lets talk about the food.

Hee. Hee.

The weekend started off with a trip to a grocery store called S. Bourassa where I picked up a cheese I never had before (Le Samson D’Ici) and some other favourites as well!! #score

bourassa - food

Then we went Ben-Venue for poutine and a pogo. I resisted eating the poutine but I couldn’t resist devouring the entire pogo.

pogo

Somehow I had the willpower not to indulge in this fabulous poutine.

poutine - mt tremblant

Here’s two restaurants that I would highly recommend.

1. L’Escalope 597 Rue de Saint Jovite, Mont-Tremblant, QC, Phone:  (819) 425-3354

This restaurant had a prix fixe menu for $26 which included an impressive salad bar, a main course, dessert and coffee. Of course, I was so full from the salad bar that I wrapped up 90 percent of my main course to take home for lunch the next day.

dinner - mt tremblant

2. Creperie Catherine,  977 Rue Labelle, Mont-Tremblant, QC, Phone:(819) 681-4888

Oh my. What a treat. I ordered the french onion soup which was exactly what I wanted. It was so good that it deserved its own photo on my blog.

french onion soup

The smoked salmon crepe was also outstanding – full of smoked salmon and stuffed with gooey cheese. Was kicking myself that I’m on a no carb diet and could only have a bite!!

crepe

I had a fantastic weekend in Mont-Tremblant despite the clouds. The excellent food and the great company made up up for it!!

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Jul
03

Long weekends are meant as an opportunity for a quick getaway (in my humble opinion. Seeing as I didn’t visit Niagara on- the-Lake last year, I decided that it would be an ideal destination.

We broke up the trip by stopping to pick our own cherries at Vanderburgh Farms (5511 Greenland, Beamsville, ON).It was on my bucket list and now I can cross it off! I have to say, the cherries were plentiful and delicious too. NOTE: the season is something like 3 weeks so don’t go in August!!

niagara - cherries

We headed into Niagara-on- the- Lake and got there just in time for the Canada Day parade…which is small. I mean really small. It consists of a marching band, a big cake and politicians. That’t it. But we got our flags and we were a happy bunch.

niagara - family

Then we visiting friends who made the most incredible strawberry ice-cream with a balsamic glaze. The best part of this ice cream was that it was made with a sugar alternative (that I must get my hands on).

niagara - ice cream

On Saturday morning, we headed right to Balzac’s and then roamed around the park to soak in the beautiful scenery.

niagara  - balzacs

Of course, I stumbled upon the Exchange Brewery which is a new brewery and tasting room. I couldn’t resist and plunked myself down at the bar for a quick tasting.

niagara - beer

On our way out of Niagara -on -the 0Lake, we stopped at Stratus Vineyards. Sadly I never have time for a tasting but snapped a few photos of their gorgeous space. One day I will make it a point to do more wine tastings in Niagara on the Lake. One day!!

niagara - stratus

Also stopped at The Pie Plate. Snapped up a savoury tart to take home but wish we would have had time to eat lunch on the premise. Again – One Day!!

niagara - pie plate

There’s no shortage of things to do in Niagara- on -the -Lake. Usually I have time to drop into the Pillar and Post for a spa treatment and to enjoy their outdoor pool (the only hotel that has an outdoor pool in Niagara-on the -Lake #justsayin’) – but there was just not enough time!!

I guess this means that I should visit again and stay for two nights!! One day it will sink in, that going there for one night is nice but one more night would do the trick.

Hope you had a wonderful long weekend too!!

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May
26

Long Weekend: Montreal – Part 2

I hadn’t been to Montreal since 2014 so I was due for a visit. When it comes to food, this city is right up there with New York, Vegas and Chicago. (in my humble opinion)

Day 1:

How could we not stop at the epic Gibeau Orange Julep (7700 Boulevard Décarie) . It was the perfect way to say “Hello Montreal. We have arrived!”

montreal -orange

Then we continued to Jean-Talon Market (7070 Avenue Henri Julien). I absolutely adore this market. It’s one of my favourites for so many reasons. I bought a new yogurt I had never seen, (which I hope we will see in Toronto one day) a cheese I had never tasted (Tahlia) goat cheese curds and a gorgeous mustard with black sesame seeds.

montreal - what i bought
Sadly I found out that the butter I use to buy is no longer available. I use to buy this butter on every visit and was so sad to hear that they went out of business. Sniff.

Then we went to the Montreal Biodome (4777 Avenue Pierre-Coubertin) to see something other than food!! We encountered an oasis of beautiful birds, penguins and more. So glad we included this in our itinerary. This special space is accurately described as an indoor zoo, an aquarium and a botanical garden wrapped into one space!

montreal - penguin

Naturally a trip to Montreal wouldn’t be complete without visiting Au Pied Du Cochon. (536 Avenue Duluth E). We couldn’t get reservations but showed up at 5 pm and scored a table on their outdoor patio.

montreal - au piedI already know what I’m ordering next time (I’m a planner – can you tell?) – this incredible looking hot chicken sandwich.

montreal - au pied next time

Day 2:

Woke up and headed directly to Patisserie Au Kouign Amann (322 Avenue du Mont-Royal E) for their incredible Kougin Amann which I was introduced to in 2012. (see blog post here). I’m almost grateful that I’ve never seen this pastry in Toronto!

montreal - kougan

Again, a trip to Montreal would not be complete without a trip to Schwartz’s Deli (3895 Boul St-Laurent).  The smoked meat sandwich I inhaled is the real deal.

montreal - shwartz

After lunch, we walked thru Old Montreal and the Port. My new Keen shoes were a pleasure to wear as we walked and walked and walked.

montreal - touring
Seriously, these Keen shoes saved me. By the way, if you haven’t seen this colour before it’s because this colour is one of their newest colours. #loveit

montreal - keens

On both days we were wiped and never made it out of the hotel after 8 pm. Just. Too. Tired.

Day 3:

Went for breakfast with a childhood friend at Maison Christian Faure(355 Place Royale).  This almond croissant is something else and the best part is that they are coming to Toronto in September.

montreal - maison

Last stop before heading on to the highway was La Diperie. (68 Avenue De Pins E) OH MY. OH MY. OH MY. This soft serve ice cream shop has 30 different dips (turtle, cookie dough, milk banana, baileys, espresso, cheese cake etc) and a variety of toppings (pretzels, pistachios, almonds, coconut etc).
I decided to order Becky’s Fave from their menu – which was soft serve vanilla ice cream dipped into ginger dark chocolate and topped with pistachios.

montreal - la dipperie
As for our hotel: We stayed at the beautiful Loft Hotel which was located at 338 Terrace St. Denis. Our room was just stunning and complete with a FULL kitchen i.e. dishwasher, pots and pans, etc etc. I couldn’t have been happier with the space and the location. Would stay there again in a heart beat.

montreal - hotelHope you get a chance to visit Montreal one day soon!

Please click here to find out more about Montreal attractions, festivals, events and more.

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