Category Archives: Food

Best Restaurants For Family Date Night

24th February 2017

Piano Kids Menu

Hubby and I go on 2 date nights per week. We love trying new restaurants and dinner is ‘our time’ to unplug, talk about our day and spend quality time together without having to fuss over food prep and cleanup. So when we had CJ we were determined to keep this tradition.

So parents, fear not… you can still have kids AND a fancy dinner!

Of course our restaurant choices now have to be a little more strategic. It’s not always a leisurely romantic experience but we’ve made it work by timing dinners (and lunches) to when CJ slept. Or bringing lots of toys (and fortune cookies) to keep him entertained.

Luckee Restaurant

We live in downtown Toronto so there is no shortage of great restaurants but here are our favourites spots for family date nights…

Note: not all of these places have high chairs or change tables but they all have friendly staff that do an excellent job accommodating children. They are stroller-friendly and have delicious kid’s menus (or at least, a wide variety of food that cater to fussy little palettes).

Piano Piano, the former Splendido offers a kid’s menu that adults would also want to order from! Chose 3 items and create your own Happy Tray (see above photo) for $12. A play area with a chalk board, games and costumes will keep little ones occupied while you enjoy that second glass of wine. $$$

The Drake Hotel hosts Highchair Hangouts (check their website for the next event). Special guest appearances, art + culture exhibits and even a toddler disco party makes this hipster eatery a hit for the whole fam. Parents also get to indulge in a prix fixe lunch for $18. $$

Pizza Libretto is the perfect spot for family date nights because what kid (and adult) doesn’t like pizza right?! During March Break they host a Pizza Camp for 2-10 year olds. $$

Luckee by Susur Lee is our go to place for dim sum. CJ loves sharing and sampling the little dishes – the bite size portions are perfect for tiny mouths! They have high chairs and the bathroom is big. $$$

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#GirlBoss: Zoey Shamai of Tonica Kombucha

16th February 2017

Tonica Zoey

A few years ago I tried Tonica at the Toronto Veg Food Fest and I think it totally beats any soda or iced tea! It’s raw, organic and authentically Canadian. I’ve been a fan since so of course, I had to find out who was behind this refreshing fizzy bevy. Meet Zoey Shamai, the #GirlBoss and Founder of Tonica Kombucha.

What is a day in the life of Zoey like?

Busy! I start each morning with gentle yoga vinyasa and meditation to tune myself in for the day. Then I’ll head to scheduled meetings in the morning with retail buyers and visit existing accounts or suppliers. After that I’ll often pop into Tonica HQ to pow wow with my operations manager and chat with the staff to see what’s up. After lunch I like to head to my gym and work off any stress and get pumped for the rest of the day. From there if I don’t have anything booked I let my intuition guide me and often end up visiting stores and sharing laughs with grocery managers and staff.

Zoey Shamai

Tell us about Tonica Kombucha and how the idea all began.

While studying yoga at a yoga ashram in the US over 10 years ago, I discovered kombucha for the first time. It was amazing for my digestion and I immediately felt a metabolism boost, so we became fast friends! I learned how to make it and soon began brewing it for friends and family. When I returned to Toronto I continued to make kombucha and soon people were asking to buy bottles from me on a regular basis. So as demand grew I learned how to build a commercial kombucha brewery and the business from scratch.

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Best Places To Eat At Blue Mountain

14th February 2017

Sunset Grill

Part of a great vacation is being able to indulge in food and Blue Mountain offers no shortage of great restaurants. Here are my top places for breakfast, lunch and dinner in The Village…

Famous for its ‘All Day Breakfast’, Sunset Grill is a California-style breakfast house with a warm and friendly community atmosphere. The portions are generous at very wallet-friendly prices. It’s my go-to spot to bring my family before hitting the ski slopes or going hiking in the summer.

Craving chocolate chip pancakes, eggs benedict or a club sandwich with home fries? The question is what does this place not serve in their expansive menu?!?!

Firehall Blue Mountain

You can’t miss the iconic Firehall in the middle of the Village. Firehall Pizza Co. serves pizzas (of course!) with every topping imaginable and they all have fun names like High Stakes Porker, Jimmy The Greek and Hawaii Five-O.

It’s the place you come to for your pub fix and comfort foods but feel free to order a heaping salad if you prefer a lighter meal. I recommend the Spinach Salad because I love their tangy mango vinaigrette.

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Organic Raw Food & Juice Cleanse

8th February 2017

Collard Wrap

I never realized how often I thought about food until I did this detox. Like twice every hour, at least!

I had falafel cravings. I walked into a bagel shop and walked right back out remembering that I was not allowed to eat! Then on my way to pickup my son from Montessori School, I thought about how yummy it would be to share a granola bar with him. Well not today.

Giving up eating for 2 days is a pretty big deal for me!

But all in the name of health right?! I commit to doing one cleanse annually and this year, I went with Belmonte Raw. Their Beginner’s Cleanse is made for active lifestyles – it’s higher in calories which is just what this working momma needs!

The cleanse was delivered to my door at 7am and included 8 cold-pressed juices + 4 organic raw meals. My breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 48 hours.

I chose Monday to start my cleanse and this is how it went…

7:30am

As recommended, I woke up and had 1 litre of room temperature water with lemon.

8:30am

Between attempting to get dressed while chasing around my toddler to get him prepped for school, I sipped on the Antiox Smoothie: a pretty purple anti-oxidant and anti-aging concoction of blueberries, almond, oat, vanilla, chia, dates and acai. I liked that it was flavourful but not overly sweet.

10:30am

Checked emails and did a light 30 mins workout + 10 mins of meditation (with Headspace) before being rewarded with Clarity: lemon, ginger and carrot juice, all great for skin nourishment. I was feeling alive and focused. I’ve got this!

12:00pm

Yay lunch time! Yes, in this cleanse you are allowed to eat (a bit). I chowed down on the Collard Wrap made with crunchy veggies like cauliflower, jicama, carrots and drizzled with madras cashew curry dressing. Yum! This was my favourite meal out of the four.

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Restaurant Openings: Tabülè Bayview Village

28th January 2017

Tabule1c

BY GUEST BLOGGER, TIFFANY VITTI

Tabülè is known throughout Toronto for their consistently delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.

Its 11am but mixologist Nishan Nepulangoda (of Blowfish) insists on starting off with either a tequila or gin based cocktail. I choose the tequila based ‘Arabian Chiquita’. A sweet citrus drink served in a martini glass, the green chartreuse and basil add unique herbal notes.

Tabule7c

We are also served a Watermelon Sangria and both drinks are refreshing and light which will no doubt counter the richness of the food.

The starters begin to flow from the kitchen, home made Hümmus, Babaganüj and Labni in generous portions are quickly devoured. With my warm pita I kept reaching for the Labni, a homemade yogurt cheese that is topped with garlic & Lebanese spice. It is incredibly creamy and showcases the point of simple done well.

Tabule5c

Next we were served the namesake Tabülè, a parsley salad with bulgur (a grain similar to couscous), tomato, and lemon + mint oil dressing. It adds a much needed herbal element to the previous dips.

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8 Places To Have Valentine’s Day Dinner

23rd January 2017

Valentines Dinner

Cafe Boulud

Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville is serving up a fancy 4 course prix-fixe dinner for $125. Mains include a choice of roasted venison, sautéed squid, braised short rib or duck magret. Head to d|bar after for a romantic nightcap.

Epic

Experience 1940’s dining with a touch of modern elegance at the Fairmont Royal York from Feb 11-14. This 5 course prix-fixe dinner is served with a complimentary glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne for $99.

Daisho Momofuku

Located on the third floor of a glass cube in the heart of the city, this intimate prix-fixe menu is offered to parties of two for $194. Enjoy a sampling of fluke, grilled strip loin, dungeness crab, sides and molten lava cake.

The Carbon Bar

From the wood fire pit with all the fixins’, feast on a 5 course menu for $75. Add on oysters for $3 per piece. The Chaucer’s Heart Truffle made with pink lemonade, tea infused ganache + dark chocolate sounds divine!

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Delysèes Authentic French Bakery

16th January 2017

Macarons

BY GUEST BLOGGER, TIFFANY VITTI

Upon entering Delysees, be sure to leave self control at the door. This authentic French bakery does not do things by halves, with all creations decadent in both looks and taste.

The bakery is clean and minimal, allowing you to concentrate on the goods showcased in the wide display. It’s higher end, however, the staff are all unpretentious and keen to chat through each item, offer suggestions, or let you browse in awed silence at the miniature artworks.

Delysees

The bakery’s focus is on dessert in every form, from macarons to cheesecake.

The macarons rotate but there is always an extensive choice of over 20 flavours. The birthday cake macaron ($2.35) is apparently a favourite among kids but a bit sweet for my taste as it incorporates cake mix in the macaron itself. The sugar rush did not stop me sampling the praline crunch, champagne, and lime which were all bites of heaven.

Eclairs

The gold eclair ($4.50) was too eye catching to miss as it is sprayed with actual edible gold! The choux pastry was a tad dry for my taste – not quite saved by the dark chocolate patisserie cream inside. 

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Luckee Dim Sum by Susur Lee

12th January 2017

Luckee

I’m really excited to share that Luckee, Susur Lee’s Asian tapas restaurant is now open weekdays from 12 to 2pm (except Mondays).

This is a great addition for King West’s power lunch crowd. I know for myself I’m always looking for a place to take clients that will impress on all levels from service to food to atmosphere.

It’s also going to be my new lunch date spot with hubby when we can snag those precious few hours in the afternoon while our little one is in Montessori School.

Luckee

We were recently invited to indulge in Luckee’s new lunch menu. Here’s what we had and highly recommend…

Alert: food porn coming up!

Cheung Fun

These soft rice rolls wrapped around a crispy Chinese donut are called Cheung Fun. They are filled  with either shrimp, chicken, lobster or mixed vegetables. Sprinkle shallots and scallions on top, drizzle on the soy sauce and you’ve got a mouthful bursting with delicious flavours and texture.

Taro Cakes

The Teahouse Turnip Cake is an authentic dim sum dish made with sweet potato, green onion and shallots. Susur takes this classic and puts an extra fancy twists to it by adding taro rosti.

Dumplings

Indecisive? Order the Luckee Dim Sum Basket and sample 4 of the chef’s signature steamed dumplings.

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All Things Kombucha

9th January 2017

I’m surprised at how many people actually have not tried Kombucha yet! I’ve been drinking it since 2012 and it totally beats any sodas or ice teas.

What the heck is it, you ask??

Pronounced com-boo-cha. It’s basically a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. It’s sweet, tangy and has a fizzy kick to it. At first it may taste somewhat herbally. <– Hmmm is that a word? But you learn to quickly appreciate it.

Check out my interview with Zoey Shamai the #GirlBoss and Founder of Tonica Kombucha.

Tonica Zoey

I’ve tried over 7 brands and my favourite is GT’s Synergy Kombucha. They just nailed it with the right amount of fizz and inventive flavours (they have 20!). Third Eye Chai tastes like apple pie and Trilogy is a bubbly spicy punch with raspberries, lemons and ginger.

Recently I discovered Oregon-based Brew Dr. Kombucha. More mild in flavour with a strong fizz and clean refreshing taste. I’m also a sucker for their pretty packaging!

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DIY Cookie Mix in a Jar

4th December 2016

holidiy

I recently attended a #holiDIY event hosted by SodaStream. At one of the stations, cookie mix was laid out and we basically got to scoop all the ingredients into a decorated mason jar.

DIY Cookie Mix

I love this idea as a holiday gift… who doesn’t like cookies and it’s totally fool proof. If you have an oven, can crack an egg and mix in butter, you can make it!

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