Tag: coffee

Foodie Swellness: Nespresso’s new Limited Edition coffees from Rwanda and Mexico


I’ve told you how obsessed I am with my Nespresso machine and the coffee it brews. It’s my morning treat (along with my homemade olive-oil granola, if I happen to not have gobbled it all up!) Whenever I drop into buy more capsules, I try out their new launches. Each year Nespresso launches a limited edition and this year it includes one from Chiapas, Mexico, and the second is from Lake Kivu, Rwanda.

The one from Lake Kivu grabbed my attention as I had the incredible opportunity to travel with Because I Am A Girl five years ago to learn about their programs in Rwanda (I wrote about the trip and the three incredible SmartGirls I got to travel with for Elle Canada). I wish I could share some of the phenomenal photos from that experience, but I lost all my photos from that time…

Back to coffee, though. The two new Limited Edition coffees, Umutima wa Lake Kivu and Tanim de Chiapas, are inspired by these two growing coffee communities.

I remember enjoying fantastic coffee while in Rwanda, and I’ve learned from Nespresso that at Lake Kivu, they use modern post-harvesting practices to reveal the notes that complement the Arabica. Rwandan coffee is considered one of the sweetest and most flavourful of Eat Africa. With the Nespresso Umutima wa Lake Kivu, the green coffee beans are split roasted: this means that half the beans are roasted more lightly so as to bring out juicy fruity notes, and the other half is roasted more so as to bring out strength and texture.

For the Chiapas, Mexico, edition, however, the beans are grown alongside other produce such as avocados and oranges in shady tropical rainforests. The producers here, in comparison to the Rwandan coffee producers, use traditional practices passed down from one generation to another. They also split roast, with the lighter roast bringing out nutty, bready notes and the darker roast bringing out a smooth texture.

How to choose between the two? Umutima wa Lake Kivu has an intensity of 6, is bright and juicy in terms of its notes, and features an almost flirty delicate lingering taste. Tanim de Chiapas is a bit more intense with a level of 7, but is silky with some nutty notes.

But really, try both while you have a chance (available now in Nespresso boutiques and online for a limited time). I’m partial to Umutima wa Lake Kivu myself (but admittedly, it’s in part because sipping it brings back memories of that trip of a lifetime).


Leave a Comment January 27, 2016

Travel Swellness: Where to eat in Toronto if you’re running the Nike Women’s 15k


It’s hard to believe that the Nike Women’s Toronto 15k is this Sunday! If you haven’t yet heard, Nike Women Village will be taking over part of the Harbourfront, complete with a floating barge known as the Crystal Coliseum where Nike will be holding more than 30 NTC classes from Thursday, June 11 until Sunday June 14! You can register for these free classes online; I’ve heard most of them are full already but there will be a handful of spots available if you want to try to nab a walk-in spot! Hope to see you there! I’ll be at the Crystal Coliseum Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and Sunday, I’ll be running the race! I’m in Wave 2 (I guess I was pretty darn optimistic when I registered for the race!).


Now if it’s your first time in this city, you may be wondering where to eat in Toronto. I’ve pulled together a short list of my favourite spots (I tend to plan my travels where I want to eat, do you, too?). I haven’t gone into much detail at all here about each spot so if you have any specific questions, feel free to comment here or tweet me, or ask on Instagram! I’m used to people asking for my restaurant recos (I guess my Instagram makes it seem I eat out a lot…). Most of my list here tends to be in the west side as that’s where I now live, but a few of the places I’ve included to have a few locations around the city, such as Fresh and Terroni. Some are obviously for post-race indulging (I’m not suggesting you eat doughnuts and burgers before the race!).

Queen Margherita Pizza

Queen Margherita Pizza


  • Terroni. A Toronto favourite of, like, everyone. Everything is solid here. Do not ask for substitutions. Just don’t.
  • Buca. Upscale. Some ingredients may be more challenging for less adventurous eaters (think pork blood pasta, for example), but they’ll be able to find something on the menu for sure. Buca is my fave restaurant in Toronto if I had to choose just one.
  • Pizzeria Libretto.
  • Queen Margherita Pizza. My favourite spot for pizza in Toronto.
  • Enoteca Sociale.


  • Grand Electric. You may have to wait awhile for a table. It can be loud in here, but it’s fun atmosphere.
  • La Carnita.
  • Fonda Lola. Great Mexican food that’s got a healthier angle to it. They also have Kombucha margaritas and some incredible spicy sweet bacon.
Khao San Road

Khao San Road

Khao San Road (possibly long wait for a table, always busy)

Acai bowls from Bolt Fresh Bar

Bolt Fresh Bar


  • Fresh. Always rammed. Be prepared for a long wait, possibly both for a table and for your food…but when you have a few bites and it’s so flavourful, you’ll decide it’s worth the wait!
  • Bolt Fresh Bar. Great salads but it’s their acai bowls I’m seriously addicted to!
  • Live Market (which is in Liberty Village, the same neighbourhood as where the Nike Women at Running Room store is located; there are a handful of chairs at Live Market but it’s more of a takeout spot than a restaurant).
Greenhouse Juice Pink Milk

Greenhouse Juice

Cold-pressed juice


Dim sum

  • Rol San. I can’t find a website for Rol San. It’s in Chinatown at 323 Spadina Ave. (just about a block or two north of Dundas). You order off of a menu checklist (not carts). Point to dishes on other tables if you’re not sure based on the descriptions (my favourite item is #5, these tofu rolls with pork inside, delicious!).


Santouka ramen



Hokkaido Santouka Ramen. Always busy! Just east of the Eaton Centre.

Jelly Modern Doughnuts

Jelly Modern Doughnuts

Sweets (Doughnuts, cupcakes, ice cream, etc.)

  • Jelly Modern Doughnuts. I’ve recently been eating doughnuts pretty regularly. These are by far my favourite in Toronto. Classic Jelly, you can’t go wrong!
  • Prairie Girl Bakery. Before I fell in love with doughnuts, I had a cupcake habit.
  • Bang Bang for giant, incredible ice cream sandwiches
  • Sweet Olenka’s. Sometimes they have quirky flavours like butter!
  • Milk Bar. Compost cookies, yum! I’ve yet to try the soft serve. And, of course, that famous crack pie!
  • Le Gourmand. The best chocolate chip cookies ever. They also sell these cookies at Portland Variety.
coffee and bomboloni at Sud Forno

Sud Forno


  • Dineen Coffee (gorgeous cafe and pretty tiles for a #ihaveathingwithfloors if you are a bit Instagram-obsessed…). It’s also just south of the Eaton Centre if you’re staying in that area.
  • Lost & Found (it’s a men’s clothing store but they’ve got great coffee too!)
  • Colette Grand Cafe (worth going just to see the stunning space)
  • Sud Forno (get a nutella bomboloni while you’re there! Pretty tile floor, too! From the Terroni peeps)
  • Nadege (French patisserie with the prettiest desserts, macarons and yummy sandwiches)
short ribs eggs benny at Union



  • Saving Grace (the wait can be unbearably long; also, they are closed Sundays, I think…best to check first)
  • Union (the short rib eggs Benny is amazing)
  • La Cubana (Cuban brunch!)
  • Fonda Lola (Mexican brunch! My fave is the chilaquiles. Say hi to owner Andres!)
  • County General
  • The Federal
  • The neighbourhood Leslieville (it’s in the east end of the city) also has a lot of good brunch places but I haven’t been in awhile so I don’t feel I can name any confidently.

(*N.B. A friend has said that all my favourite brunch places are “hipster brunch spots.” Just FYI. You’ve been warned. haha)

I have so many other favourites that I realized I forgot to note here (I got so focused on how I usually eat Italian before a marathon…) but Bar Isabel, Bar Raval, Porchetta, Patois, Rhum Corner, Patria. Bar Isabel is actually tied with Buca for my all-time fave restaurant in the 6.

Miraj Caudalie Spa

Miraj Hammam Spa at Caudalie

Post-race spa time
And if you’re looking for a spa to treat yourself at after the race, my favourite spa in the city is the Miraj Hammam Spa at Caudalie in the Shangri-La Hotel. My blog post on the Miraj Hammam Spa is here!). The Shangri La Toronto also has a great running program they’ve just launched; I got to try out the package; click for my review of Running is Shangri-La.
If you’re more interested in soothing your post-race body at a spa water circuit, head to Body Blitz.

There’s nothing worse than wasting a meal or spa opportunity by going somewhere mediocre or just plain awful, right? So I hope this list is helpful. If you do try out any of them, please let me know (even if you weren’t all that impressed with it, but I’m confident you’ll love them, except for the potentially long waits at some of the places — what can I say, the good places have lineups!). I’m on Twitter @healthswellness and on Instagram @healthandswellness. And good luck in the race, and I hope you enjoy your visit to the 6. (Oh, and if you’re looking to get some nail art, head to Tips Nail Bar. they’re the artists behind our nail art in the photo below!)

Toronto skyline

Toronto skyline

Leave a Comment June 9, 2015

Foodie Swellness: Nespresso VertuoLine

Nespresso VertuoLine

Despite a few attempts to improve my sleep habits (you may recall that I wrote about my night-owl ways for Glow magazine last year), I haven’t been able to get into a routine with a solid seven hours of sleep with a consistent wake-up time. So I often wake up tired, and most mornings I start with a cup of coffee to help me perk up a little.

And about a month ago, I was given a Nespresso VertuoLine from the fine folks at Nespresso and my mornings have gotten way more swell. I actually wake up and look forward to using my new kitchen toy: popping that capsule into the machine, and within 90 to 105 seconds (yes, it’s that fast) sipping a delicious large coffee with that delicious, frothy crema. I even love how opening the machine causes the used capsule to automatically discard itself into the handy receptacle on the right side of the machine (a feature I’d initially deemed silly, but now I enjoy hearing the little rattle and thump as it conveniently takes care of discarding itself).

The machine’s Centrifusion technology allows it to brew both large-cup and espressos — I usually opt for large-cup but occasionally make espressos, too. Using the bar code, the machine scans the code to determine such things such as temperature, cup size and the time the water is in contact with the coffee.

The resulting coffee is just so good. Having had coffees from other types of single-serve coffee machines at salons and friend’s homes, I was skeptical — I found they almost always tasted watery and weak (unless the machine was a very fancy, and yes, expensive). But the Nespresso Vertuoline (it retails for $299 btw) makes coffee that is rich and flavourful and, yes, there’s that crema. If you talk to anyone who owns a Nespresso, I think you’ll find that they call it a gamechanger and I now see what they mean. (For me, the only downside is that I find the coffee isn’t that hot; I’ve resolved that by drinking my coffee much more quickly, haha, problem solved.) When I’m feeling motivated, I even warm up frothy milk for my coffee, using this trick for making milk foam  without a frother or machine from thekitchn. Drinking my coffee has become a lovely ritual, a pleasure rather than just getting some caffeine into my body.

A warning to coffee lovers who are considering a Nespresso machine: You may find yourself drinking more coffee since you’ll fall in love with coffee even more so. I try to stick to one a day as I don’t want to up my caffeine intake…but have found myself having  more than one occasionally. But at least it’s affordable (a sleeve of Nespresso capsules rings in at $9.50, so less than $1 a cup).

Oh, and if you prefer iced coffee, be sure to try this recipe for an Iceberg Latte. So yum.


Leave a Comment September 15, 2014

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