Filed under: Foodie Swellness

Travel Swellness: 5 musts for the first-time Toronto visitor (and a discount for your next BOOKING.COM trip!)

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Traveling is a passion of mine but after a whirlwind couple of years in and out of town, I definitely need to balance it with quality time at home in Toronto. And even though I spend a lot of time escaping the city, there is definitely a lot to love about TO. If a friend who had never visited Toronto, what would I take them to go see in Toronto? Here’s my personal guide to some of my favourites in the 6 for those who’ve never been to T.O. (and if you’re planning on booking a trip, be sure to use this booking.com link to get a discount on your travel booking!).

Visit the CN Tower. Yes, it’s touristy (possibly the most touristy thing), but these attractions are popular for a reason. I’ve done the CN Tower Edgewalk, and it’s thrilling and fun if you’re not scared of heights, but even just going to get the view of the city on a clear day, it’s fantastic. I’m a sucker for that sort of thing, though; have been up the Empire State Building as a kid, and to Vancouver Lookout. the SkyDeck in Chicago, and Sky100 in Hong Kong. Nothing like the breathtaking views of the city below you to remind you that you are just a small speck in this big beautiful world of ours.

Tour Casa Loma. I think I became enamoured with Casa Loma as a teen reading a YA book and the characters went to Casa Loma on a date. And then I finally got the chance to visit it when I moved to Toronto. I have been back once or twice for events, and I just love that there’s this magical little castle in the middle of the city. I bet you’ll fantasize about being of royal descent and living there, just like I maybe (totally) have.

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Run along the Lake Shore. Or walk or bike. Not all of it the route pretty, but how can you not love the pretty pink beach umbrellas at Sugar Beach or the phenomenal view of the downtown skyline from the new Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail (which is just off of the Lake Shore trail)?

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Eat. Eat. Eat. One of the things I feel so fortunate about living here is the wealth of good food we have here. I don’t go to very many places regularly because there are so many options, but some spots off the top of my head that you should try: go for a burger and fries at the beautiful Café Cancan (it’s the pretty pastel nistro pictured above); go with an empty stomach to Bar Raval and eat as many tapas as you can (even better if you’re a bigger group so you can try as much as the menu as possible); have dim sum at Rol San in Chinatown; carb load at Buca downtown (their pizzas — especially the burrata pizza, oh my gosh, so good — and pastas are simply beyond; that’s their carbonara pictured below); do a little taco tour and hit up Grand Electric, La Carnita and Campechano; stop into Momofuku Noodle (it’s in the Shangri-La Hotel, which is one of my favourite hotels to stay in when I travel, their service is always top notch) for some pork belly bao and to slurp up a bowl of ramen.

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Hike in Rouge Valley National Park. The Rouge Valley Park is a new discovery for me. It’s outside of the core, but there’s now Parkbus that’ll get you there. I know when I travel to cities, it’s busy and noisy and sometimes I just need a half-day to decompress. Getting out into some nature and solitude is what works best for me, and the park is green and pretty.

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Not motivated to drive an hour to Rouge Valley? Stay central and pop over to Trinity Bellwoods Park or to High Park for a summer picnic.

Now, ready to book your next trip? Here’s how you can save some money:

Inspired to go travel, whether it’s to come here to Toronto, or anywhere in the world? Well, here’s a little gift for you: book through www.booking.com using this exclusive link (it’s my exclusive refer-a-friend link), and you’ll get a $40 discount from your reservation. That money you save could go towards a great meal, or tickets to a show, or whatever you choose to do on your adventures!

www.booking.com

And I’d love to hear about your travels! I’m always looking for wanderlust inspiration!

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4 Comments July 24, 2017

Foodie Swellness: Grey Goose Sunset Soiree’s perfect picnic

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Last week, I attended the Grey Goose Sunset Soiree in Toronto. I had so much fun at lunch and the party at night last year on the island, that I knew I didn’t want to miss this party!

This year, the dinner was an intimate picnic held at a private home on the Bridle Path, complete with fountain and vintage car at the entrance.

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Chef Justin Kent was flown in from Paris to prepare the elegant picnic. At his restaurant by the Eiffel Tower, he provides custom picnic baskets packed with everything you need, which sounds just wonderful, I must get back to Paris and do this!

After cocktail hour, we all settled on the picnic blankets and nibbled on cheese and charcuterie, and sipped the refreshing wine cocktail (which was made with Grey Goose Original, Martini Rosso, Gabriel Boudier Créme de Cassis, POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice, Beetroot Juice and mineral water).

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It was the main course of poulet au moutard that stole the show, though. I normally find chicken quite boring, and it’s not something I’d typically order at a restaurant, as I often find chicken bland (I mean I’ll have it in a gyro or fried, but I’ll pretty much never order the chicken breast entree). En moutard, though, and juicy chicken thighs? So flavourful. I had to get the recipe! I don’t have any photos of the dish because we pretty much all dug right into the meal, heh heh. Here is how to make this lovely chicken dish, I plan to make it for my next picnic in the park. Chef Justin’s noted that the sauce works as an insulator to help keep the meat warm for longer, meaning you can enjoy a warm picnic lunch!

Poulet en Moutard

• 10 chicken thighs (skin on, deboned)
• 1 cup white wine
• 1 cup cream
• 150g grain mustard
• 150g lardons
• ½ banana shallot (diced)
• ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme
• Fresh parsley (chopped for garnish)
• Salt & pepper (to season)

1. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
2. In a pan on medium-high heat, sear the chicken thighs, skin side down in oil until crisp and golden brown. Flip and
sear on the other side until lightly caramelized.
3. Remove the chicken thighs from the pan and set aside on a plate.
4. Add lardons to the pan and cook until crisp.
5. Add shallots to the pan and cook until translucent.
6. Add the grain mustard and stir for 30 seconds being careful not to let it burn.
7. Deglaze the pan with white wine, bring to a simmer and reduce by half.
8. Add cream and bring to a simmer.
9. Add the smoked paprika.
10. Place the chicken thighs back in the sauce and cook on medium to medium-low heat, covered, until fork tender.
11. Remove from the sauce and place onto the plate to serve.
12. Spoon sauce over the top of the chicken and garnish with chopped parsley.

Makes 5 servings.

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 They set off white geese balloons at dusk, and we sipped Grey Goose cocktails in this gorgeous green backyard on the warm summer night (we lucked out with the rain holding off!).
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Now having attended two stellar summer parties with Grey Goose, I can’t wait to see what next year’s soiree is!

Leave a Comment June 20, 2017

Foodie Swellness: Florida Orange Cinnamon Smoothie

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I’m always looking for new smoothie recipes (because I can get lazy and just make the same ol’ one over and over — like this zingy green smoothie is tasty, but it’s nice to have something new in the repertoire). This week, I was invited by Florida Orange Juice to a workout at OrangeTheory, and this creamy orange smoothie we enjoyed post-workout is a nice change from my usually berry-based ones. (Plus, while in general, I’m looking to reduce the sugar I drink on a regular basis, and have been using my Sodastream and my Bonne O to do so, I’m fine with some juice after a workout, and this one incorporates protein from the Greek yogurt — and your body needs replenishment of both after you’ve put it through a workout).  Here’s the recipe:

Florida Orange Cinnamon Smoothie

  • 1 1/2 cups Florida orange juice
  • 6 oz low-fat vanilla-flavoured Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk of your choice
  • 1-2 cups ice (depending on what consistency you’d like for your smoothie)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine the ingredients in a blender and blend til smooth and creamy. Makes 2 servings.

Cheers!

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Leave a Comment March 31, 2017

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