Posts Tagged ‘food’

Feb
04


The company I work for has a policy that if you work overtime then you must take off that time within two weeks. I wanted to take full advantage of that day off but it was November and it wasn’t exactly ideal weather to fly somewhere for a for a long weekend.

I was racking my brains what to do – and then I came up with the idea to drive for an hour and a half so I could be pampered at  Ste. Anne’s Spa. Sometimes, I really do have great ideas!!

As you can see from the schedule, I was going to have a great day.

st annes - scheduleOf course, the day included some time in their outdoor hot tub.st annes - outdoor hot tubPlus I made sure to spend as much time as possible, hanging out in their robes.

st annes - robeI found out that there’s a new chef in the kitchen and I must say that I noticed the improvement, since my last visit a few years ago. My food not only was presented beautifully but it was cooked to perfection.

st annes - lunch

Not complaining that my day ended off with a gorgeous Afternoon Tea.

st annes - teaI would highly recommend Ste. Anne’s Spa but please note that they are a very busy destination so book as early as you can!! You will love their facilities, food, warm and welcoming service and attention to detail. Promise.

Please note that they offer many fantastic “packages”.  There’s a February package, a March Getaway Package and even a Yoga Retreat.

For more information:

Website www.steannes.com

Address: 1009 Massey Road, Grafton, ON, K0K 2G0

Reservations: 1.888.346.6772 or info@steannes.com

Disclosure: My visit was complimentary, however all opinions are my own

 

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Dec
06


I recently went to a Loblaws event that identified Canadian Food Trends for 2017. Here are five themes that they believe will impact Canadian kitchens in the upcoming year.

Drum roll please….

1) The New Home Chef: There’s no question that people want to cook at home but always feel like there’s no time.  Chef Mark Russell believes: “Canadians want to feed their family great tasting quality food and are now more than ever willing to ask for help through recipes, new kitchen gadgets and meal kits.” I agree with this statement. I really do.
loblaws-home

4. The New Conscious Consumer – Canadians are more interested than ever before about where their food comes from and how its’ grown. In 2017, Canadians will be “bugging” out as they increase consumption of alternative proteins, such as insects and plant-based proteins. I tried crickets at at event several years ago and found myself indulging in a hot dog laced with crickets this summer at the CNE. I’m all over this trend!!

loblaws-conscious

3. The New Mindful Foodie– There’s no doubt that we Canadians have been placing  a greater emphasis on what we’re eating and how we’re eating it to improve our physical and mental health. The Loblaw Food Council also identified that Canadians will  also want to cook with simple ingredients to create great tasting food. See this photo? Well it’s not grated cheese. It’s …… grated cauliflower that Loblaws sells. BRILLIANT. I know multiple people personally who will be all over this product! (including myself).
loblaws-cauliflower

4.  The New Canadian Cuisine: International flavours and spices, such as Za’atar, Turmeric and Togarashi will make their way into Canadian homes. I don’t know about you but I’m already on the Tumeric and Za’atar trend. A few months ago I picked up fresh tumeric and have been grating it into boiling water. As for Za’atar – i not only like the smell of it but I like the look of it too!

loblaws-new-canadian-cuisine

5. The New Connected Shopper: Canadians will opt to shop at retailers that offer enhanced digital experiences layered with personalization to make their shopping seamless, accessible and efficient. I also agree with this trend. I’m using my smart phone more and more and I’m also using apps to help me with EVERYTHING. Plus those cooking videos are also inspiring me that seem to appear on my faceboook feed a lot!

Throughout the year, the Loblaw 2017 Food Trends will come to life in many different ways in-store, online and in kitchens across the country. As the hub of food innovation, the Loblaws® store at Maple Leaf Gardens* will feature the trends at various times throughout the year and provide opportunities for customers to taste, learn, and understand new food experiences like never before. Loblaw invites food lovers from across the country to unite and taste what’s new in food in 2017.

I’m excited about Food Trends. Are you? Feel free to share if you think one more trend should be added.

For more information:

Website: www.Loblaws.com

Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens 60 Carlton St, Toronto ON

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Aug
18


The CNE Media preview is one of my favourite events of the year. Especially the food. That doesn’t come as a surprise to you, right?  Indeed I cheated on my low carb diet. I just had too!!

Here’s just a few items that you will find at the CNE this year!!

1.) The Big Pickle Dog – Sadly I didn’t get to try it but I will as I’m planning a second visit to the CNE. #onevisitisntenough

CNE - deep fried pickledog

2.) The Chocolate Diablo – Vanilla soft serve coated in cookie crumble, cocoa puffs and wasabi peas with a sriracha caramel drizzle. I loved it. Something about the crunchy and sweet and savoury combo, really appeals to me!!CNE - diablo

3) The Cartoon Dog – No doubt there was a trend this year to sprinkle cereal on many different items! Trust me – I’m ok with it.

CNE - cartoon dog

4) Blueberry Pie Milkshake: I didn’t try it but it sure did look pretty!

CNE - Blueberry Milkshake

5) Deep Fried Butter tart: This was decadent AND brilliant too!

CNE - deep fried buttertarts6) Try to imagine a traditional cheesesteak between a chocolate eclair, topped with bacon, whipped cream and chocolate icing.  Yes – this exists. Talk about creativity!! P.S  this can be found at Philthy Philly’s in the Food Building).CNE - eclair 7) Tim Hortons Froot O’s Donut: Bring it on!!

CNE - tim hortons

8) Canadian Bacon Taco – this was probably my favourite. NO CARBS and freaking delicious. Way to go Bacon Nation!! CNE - bacon nation

9) Deep Fried Peanut Butter Cups: What can I say? I like anything deep fried and anything that involves a Peanut Butter Cup.

CNE - deep fried PB cookie10. Chimney Stax is offering a frozen yogurt dessert in one of their famous rotisserie-baked breads. See…. not everything I eat was fried!!
CNE - chimney staxBy the way,even though food captures my attention, I have to admit these giant prizes captures my attention too.

CNE - toys

For more information:

CNE – Aug 18th to Sept 5th, Exhibition Place, Toronto

Website: http://theex.com

Hours: http://theex.com/main/hours

Tickets: http://theex.com/main/guest-info/tickets/ticket-prices

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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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Aug
08


On Saturday night we hosted a dinner party. This is not unusual as I love entertaining but this particular party was certainly special.

WHY?

Because all I had to do was set the table. (no joke)

chef - table

The Chef Upstairs provided everything else! Here’s a bit more information about The Chef Upstairs…they are a cooking studio that offers classes & they also offer private dining events where guests choose the menu, wine & decor. As you can see, I had the opportunity to experience the latter!!

At 4 pm, the talented Chef and his lovely assistant showed up.

chef - chef:assistant

The Chef brought with him everything he needed as he had done the grocery shopping, prepping etc. So I gave him a tour of the kitchen and he started to do his magic.

chef - arrival1

When our guests arrived at 7 pm, I  was actually relaxed and not exhausted as someone else had done all the work (grocery shopping, prepping, and cooking)

We started off with some appetizers:

chef - appetizers

Then w all sat down at the table and I swear to you I did NOT get up ONCE. I didn’t get up to serve, not to check something in the oven, not to clear – I sat like I a guest and it was freakin’ awesome.

The food we ate was spectacular too. We were over the moon happy with everything we tasted. The Chef was clearly trained and had experience in a 2 star Michelin restaurant – this was all evident.

We had discussed the menu prior to the dinner party so the following menu can be tailored to your desire. But here’s what was served!

chef - food

Amuse Bouche
– Rabbit Confit with brandy and fig compote in puff pastry with balsamic pearls (beyond delicious)

First Course
– Warm Avocado soup with brie cream and citrus Pico de Gallo and volcanic salt

Second Course
– Arugula salad with Sherry vinaigrette topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and Bellavitano cheese

Entree
– AAA Beef tenderloin with wild mushroom compound butter, served with roasted garlic french beans and shiitake mushrooms and red beet and horse radish puree (everything was cooked to perfection)

Dolce
– Lemon Granita and espresso cookies with raspberry, lime and vanilla bean coolis

-Naturally we had some pretty special wine to go with our meal.

chef - wine

Our guests loved the experience as much as we did. It was truly special to feel like you were in a restaurant but you weren’t!

Thank you again to The Chef Upstairs for this incredible birthday gift!

For more information:

Website: www.thechefupstairs.com
Address: 516 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S 2M2
Phone: (416) 544-9221

 

 

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Mar
13


I’ve just returned from a trip to Ottawa. I hadn’t been there for a little over 4 months so I was a bit out touch with the foods scene, but not for long as I posted on facebook: “Where should I eat?” and as always my foodie friends in Ottawa were happy to help.
Here’s a recap of what I discovered;

Datsun  (380 Elgin St) – This is a new trendy restaurant on Elgin St and is owned by the same owners as El Camino. It’s one busy restaurant …even at 10 pm. We ordered two dishes and both were incredibly flavourful. Next time, I need to go with a larger group so I can try more dishes.

We started off with this most satisfying bowl of ramen.

ottawa - datsun

Then we moved on and had this Braised Beef Panang Curry with Roasted Peanuts and Lime Leaf dish.. Yummy. Yummy. Yummy.

ottawa - datsun2

2. Aroma Espresso bar – This a popular coffee chain in Toronto, New York and Israel now has a location in Ottawa. It’s located at Landsdowne Park (300 Marche Way – #109) which has been developed into quite a bustling part of town. What did I order? I tried the new cold pressed ginger and tumeric drink. This beverage (which is available hot or cold) hit the spot and was a great alternative to (another) cup of coffee.

ottawa - aroma
3. Urban  Juice Press  (340 Parkdale Unit B Entrance on, Spencer) I had just purchased beer at Beyond the Pale and as we were turning the corner saw a sign and parked the car again. Loved the space and the organic juice that we purchased. These cold pressed juices can be the perfect pick me up in the middle of the day!

ottawa - urban

4. Origin Trade Inc. (111 York St) – This new coffee/lounge blew me away. Someone really put some thought into decorating the space. Plus my coffee can best be described as “smooth” with no bitterness whatsoever.

origin grid

Other discoveries:

This local kombucha that is made in Smith Falls. (purchased at Herb and Spice on Bank St)

ottawa - kombucha
2. This local kimchi that I purchased at the Ottawa Farmers Market.

ottawa - kimchi

But besides eating my way thru Ottawa, the real reason I went to Ottawa was to celebrate my friends 50th birthday and to hang out with my mom. I’m so lucky to have both of these women in my lives.

ottawa - mom:suziAs always, I love visiting Ottawa. Hoping to return in May for the Tulip Festival and to discover more great food.

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Feb
16


I went on my first all inclusive vacation back in December and had such a great time at El Dorado Maroma that I decided to return in February to Azul FivesBoth are managed by Karisma Hotels and I must admit they do a stellar job at managing these All Inclusive Gourmet vacations.

Here’s what you need to know about Azul Fives!!

480 Rooms

9 Restaurants

5 Pools

6 Bars

1 Spa

But here’s some details….

a) My room was STUNNING and spotless too. I  was in building #18 which just opened in Nov 2015. It was about a 10 minute walk to the beach but was worth the walk. (golf carts were available too). Kudos to the design team!

azul - room

b) The beach had the right sand, the right amount of rocks, and was actually warm! Bonus – you didn’t have to wake up at 7 am to grab a chair.

azul - beach

c) The food: As you know I’m pretty fussy about my food and once again Gourmet and All Inclusive DOES exist. Restaurants that you could select from included: Thai, Sushi, Mediterranean, French, Italian and more. There was even a natural juice bar! Naturally I went to all of them.

azul - beets1

d) The grounds were immaculate and included a grass tennis court, plenty of hammocks, a pool in front of each building, and even monkeys!

azul - building

e) The Service: Everyone was cheerful and polite. Can’t complain.

One important thing to note is the Azul Fives is a family resort with plenty of supervised activities for the kids. Plus they are well equipped with high chairs/booster seats, toys and more!

Actually there is one last thing I learned: At Azul Fives you can actually own a unit. As an owner, you get all the benefits of the hotel. How cool is that?  There’s also time share options too.

Needless to say, my mom and I had a special vacation and can’t say enough about our trip to Azul Fives.

azul - vicky and mom

Bye Bye Karisma Hotels. However I will be back!!

Website: www.karismahotels.com

Twitter: @Azul_Fives

 

 

 

 

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Feb
14

Table Settings


I seem to be taking a lot of photos of my “table settings” these days. I will admit, I also take a lot of photos of the food I’m serving too!

There are four elements that I believe are necessary to set a “pretty” table.

a) Flowers

b) Vases – I won’t tell you how many I own or where I store them seeing as I live in a 950 sql condo but let’s just say “I’m creative”. LOL

c) Napkins – again, I won’t tell you how many I own.

d) Placements – see comment above

Here’s a few ideas:

a) A Silver Theme: The inspiration for this table setting came from my from mom who bought me the placemats from Bowring 

table setting - leaf

a) A green and brown combo: The inspiration for this table setting came from the napkins. Expensive but worth it. The brand is called Paviot and can be found at stores like All the Best Fine Foods and Summerhill Market.

table setting - brown:green

b) An orange/red/brown combo…again the inspiration came from the Paviot Napkins.

table setting - orange:brown

c) This was my table setting from Chanuka. ..the inspiration for this table came from the runner which I picked up for $3 at a dollar store. table setting - chanuka

e) A red/white theme. …the inspiration for this table came from the placemats that I bought on a trip to Barcelona. They were cheap and easy to pack! Scored.table settings - redAs you can see I love setting my table and I love entertaining.

I have a feeling I will do a blog post about some of my favourite serving dishes too. I have a few. LOL

 

 

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Jan
01


1. My dinner at U-Feast at Campagnolo. I’m not kidding this restaurant had been on my bucket list for years. Thrilled that I was able to finally taste this dish.

2015 - bar buca

2. ANYTHING at Bar Raval. However some of my favourites include the foie gras or this salad.

2015 - bar raval

3. My job allows me to eat some amazing cheese so of course that’s a highlight! Specifically this 5 yr Old Cheddar Cheese, that was a Grand Prix winner in 2015.

2015 - st albert

4. The food at the CNE. This is one event I won’t ever miss.

2015 - CNE

5. Sweet JesusIf you haven’t tried this soft serve then you really need to go there in 2016. Stat.

2015 - sweet jesus

6. My trip to Italy. All I did was eat amazing food…everywhere. I had this particular charcuterie board for 5 EUROS, three times!!

2015 - rome

7. My Trip to Israel. Again, all I did was eat.

2015 - israel

8. The seafood tower at Harbour Sixty Steakhouse. It’s not cheap but definitely worth it. Sadly the dining room is  so dark that I have no photos of the seafood tower even though I’ve been twice this year.

9. The fish that I caught on JP Fishing Charter that was served to me just a few hours after I caught it at Molly & Oj’s Restaurant in Erieau, Ontario.  Nothing beats FRESH fish.

2015 - fish

I hope to continue to eat fabulous food in 2016 and look forward to sharing my food adventures with you as well.

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dec
28


My last blog post was called “My Bags Are Packed and I’m Ready to Go”. This blog post is called “A Week of Bliss” which means I had a SPECTACULAR vacation.

Here’s what I would like to share about Karisma Resorts and specifically El Dorado Maroma in  Mayan Riviera.

THE PROPERTY:

The words lush, manicured, and immaculate all come to my mind. The best thing about this property was the fact that there’s only 90 rooms so that means everything is close by. There is no such thing as a 10 minute walk to get to the pool or a restaurant or the lobby. It’s all just steps away from your room. Yes – I’m a sloth and I’m proud of it!!

mexico - property

THE ROOM:

The room was SPACIOUS, SPOTLESS and CONTEMPORARY. No outdated “Spanish” themed rooms! YAY.

mexico - room

THE FOOD:

I seriously never thought the word gourmet and all inclusive could be said in the same breath. Well, it’s possible. There were 6 restaurants to choose from and all of them were excellent. Presentation, quality of ingredients and freshness were evident in every dish. Plus each restaurant was tastefully decorated (modern and contemporary).

mexico - food

BOOZE:

Grey Goose Vodka was available EVERY DAY….ALL DAY. Do I need to say more? LOL. There was even a tequila tasting one afternoon by the pool. However I had this drink everyday (ok maybe twice a day). It’s called: MANGO JALAPENO, which included the following ingredients: Tequila anejo, lime, sugar, orange liquor, mango and jalapeno. OMG what a combo.

mexico - drink

SERVICE:

I kept joking that there were more staff than guests! Every day our “Personal Concierge” found us by the pool to ensure we were satisfied guests and to answer any questions. Not to mention, the lobby has 4 desks where 4 agents SIT DOWN and check you in. (with a cool towel and a glass of bubbly as well). I was super impressed when a staff person called us the night before we were leaving to ask us if we wanted a wake up call and what time we needed assistance with our bags. They truly do anticipate your needs!!

CONCLUSION:

I would return to this property in a heart beat. However please note: There’s a solid line up of entertainment at at night but the week we were there it wasn’t well attended. Not sure if guests left the property (to visit Playa De Carmen) or just preferred to have dinner and relax in their rooms.

In the event you want to see some great photos, please head over to Instagram  and plug in the hashtag #KarismaExperience or #KarismaResorts

For more information:

Website: www.karismaresorts.com

Instagram: @karismaresorts @eldoradoresorts

Oh ya…I discovered one of my Instagram followers is a travel agent and has visited numerous Karisma Properties (and other properties in Mexico as well). Check out her photos as well: @lorirachelgold.

Hope you had a wonderful vacation as well. Already looking forward to my next vacation which will be either a cruise or another visit to El Dorado. Time will tell!!

 

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