5 Food Discoveries in Portland

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1) Harlow – This vegetarian heaven is located in the SE Hawthorne district of Portland, a very vibrant and lively area of the city. Harlow is a great place for brunch or lunch, as they serve a variety of fresh sandwiches, salads and bowls just to name a few key items. They also have an amazing variety of juices, smoothies and healthy drinks to choose from. They offer a nice laid back dining atmosphere.

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2) Ned Ludd – This restaurant is unlike any other in the city. Everything on the menu at Ned Ludd is made from scratch using fresh and seasonal ingredients from local farms and cooked in their brick faced, wood fired oven. They serve up colourful and tasty plates that celebrate the bounty of Oregon. The restaurant is decorated with wooden stumps, old pots and historical kitchen artifacts that gives it a nice homey and ancient feel.

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3) Lu Lac – One of the most sought after restaurants in Portland, this hip joint is situated right in downtown. Lu Lac produces Vietnamese dishes with a modern twist. Whether you’re a fan of Pho, bowls, rice dishes or even Banh Mi, this restaurant has it all.

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4) Greenleaf Juicery – Looking for your green juice fix or healthy vegan eats? Greenleaf Juicery is a 100% organic juice and smoothie bar. They have several locations around Portland and serve a wide variety of acai bowls, granola bowls, cold-pressed juices, soups, nut milks and more. The perfect grab and go spot while you’re in town.

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5) Bison Coffeehouse – This is the only cafe run by a member of a Native American tribe, the Shoshone Bannock tribes of Fort Hall, Idaho. The Bison Coffeehouse offers delicious baked goods, coffee and even buffalo jerky from her tribe. This spot is incredibly unique

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5 Best Vegetarian Spots Paris

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Vegans and vegetarians traveling to Paris rejoice!

Heading to Paris soon and looking for the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the city? I’ve got you covered! Check out my top 5 spots from my most recent visit!

1) Wild and The Moon – This new Paris hotspot located in the 3e arrondissement reminds me a lot of places like Café Grattitude or The Butcher’s Daughter in California. This juice bar, to-go counter and dine-in vegan restaurant is without a doubt one of the best in the city. Unlike their American counterparts, they’ve added a French twist to some of the dishes they serve adding different ingredients and serving things like a raw tarte. They’ve got a great selection of organic cold-ressed juices and milks, homemade salads, soups, crackers and snacks as well as desserts. Their hot drinks are also incredibly tasty. The perfect spot to eat clean, plant-based pure meal.

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2) Season – This farm to table group of restaurants and to-go spots combines fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to make delicious tartines, bowls and salads that are perfect for a breakfast, brunch or lunch. Their restaurant located in the 3e arrondissement in Paris is always packed at lunch time so make sure you arrived before 1pm if you don’t want to have to wait in line.

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3) Café Pinson – Also located in the 3e arrondissement in Paris, this restaurant serves healthy and organic meals that change on the daily. Their small carte of appetizers, mains and deserts features delicious seasonal ingredients that combined together with beautiful sauces and accompaniments create comforting dishes good food for the soul. The beautiful and cozy decor makes it a perfect date-night spot.

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4) Hank Vegan Burger – This small vegan burger joint located in Le Marais, one of the most sought after neighborhoods of Paris, serves up cheap but finger-licking-good burgers for 8 Euros. Their 4 different burgers are all equally tasty. You can add potato wedges or coleslaw and make it a combo with or without homemade dessert. It’s a great place to have a quick lunch or dinner.

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5) Ten Belles – You’ll find this cute coffee shop nestled on a side street right by the Canal St-Martin in the 10e arrondissement in Paris. Though not everything they offer is vegetarian, they have a great selection of focaccia and bun sandwiches, salads as well as soups that are vegetarian. Their homemade cookies, breads and treats are also incredibly yummy.

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Maman à Table

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Since they opened up last summer, Maman has been creating some fun and unique dining experiences for Torontonians. Their latest offering is a staple in the French culture but has yet to be discovered by most Canadians. The “formule du midi” or “plat du jour” lunch is omnipresent in France and very sought after by workers in urban areas.

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The concept is to offer a prix fixe 3-course meal including an appetizer, main course and also desert (usually a café gourmand) and for much cheaper than it would in the evening. The meal called Maman à Table is served either on their beautiful outdoor patio or wooden communal table inside the restaurant for $20 every Friday from 11:30 am until 2 pm.

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As a starter, they offer either a choice of grilled tomato gazpacho or de-constructed avocado toast, both of which are vegetarian. For mains, you have the choice between a delicious croque maman, salade niçoise or their daily quiche with mixed greens, which are all delicious. And for desert, they offer a choice of coffee or tea with some of their yummy mini cakes, which include mini chouquettes and madeleines.  Wine and beer are also available for purchase during lunch time.

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The warm Maman atmosphere allows you to escape the busy Bay Street bustle and makes you want to extend your lunch hour just a little longer. Their French-inspired design and cuisine is homey yet sophisticated and continues to make people flock to the restaurant from all over the city. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more Maman openings around Toronto in the near future.

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For more information on Maman à Table, their daily menu or bar & tapas offerings, go here.

 

PRANA

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I am all about wholesome living and when I find a brand of snacks that shares the same philosophy on healthy eating and living your best life, I am all about it.

If you haven’t heard of PRANA before, they’re one of my latest healthy snack discoveries. This family-owned Canadian company was born out of the love for food and the belief that food can fuel our appetite for life. I couldn’t agree more! I love fueling my body with food and ingredients that will help me become the best version of myself that I can be.

This 100% organic, gluten-free, GMO-free, preservative-free and vegan line of product is the perfect compliment to my active lifestyle. I can enjoy these snacks before and after workouts while feeling guilt-free!

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The PRANA coconut chips are a great post-workout snack and easy to drop into your workout bag in the morning. I also love their PRANA Proactivchia seeds. It is the fusion of two beneficial foods, a « 2 in 1 » solution where you get all the goodness of chia combined with 4 BILLION LIVE probiotics in just one portion. I make homemade chia seed pudding with them. This is one of the only things I can eat before I head out on an early morning training session or run because it isn’t too sweet and filling yet very nutritious. I sometimes even add some of their PRANA Kilimanjaro mix (which is comprised of dark chocolate chunks, almonds, walnuts and salty cashews mixed with sultana raisins and sweet cranberries) in my chia seed pudding to make it even more wholesome.

Not only are their snacks healthy and tasty, the company itself also works on making this planet a better place. They obtained the B Corporation certification in 2015, which is awarded to companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. More companies should follow in their footsteps when creating a business.

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With all of these great products available, I’m excited to see what this family brand will come out with next!

For more info on PRANA, visit: https://www.prana.bio/en_ca/.

Photos by: Offner

This post was written in collaboration with PRANA but all opinions are my own.

Estrella Damm Tapas Journey

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Last summer, I had the chance to travel to Spain to get my first real tapas experience. Since then, I’ve wanted to find out more about these saucer-sized plates as well as the culture of tapas.

I was therefore thrilled to find out that the Estrella Damm Tapas Journey was returning to Toronto again this year. This culinary tour features some of the best tapas from the culinary leaders of the city. The Tapas Journey allows local foodies to enjoy three flavourful and thoughtfully curated tapas as well as an Estrella Damm, a refreshing lager that has been brewed in Barcelona since 1876, all for $20.

I had the opportunity to check out 3 of the 38 hand-picked restaurants along with three of my girlfriends last weekend. What I love most about these bite-size dishes is that even as a vegetarian, you still have a handful of delectable options to choose from.

The first stop of the evening was Scaramouche. Chef/owner Keith Froggett has been making sophisticated cuisine in the city for 35+ years. So it was a real treat to taste some of his tapas. His warm queso fresco bite was so refreshing.

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Scaramouche

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For our second stop we visited Fat Pasha located just a few blocks awayChef Anthony Rose incorporated his Middle-Eastern, Israeli and Canadian flavours to craft some savoury treats. I’m still craving his delicious falafel a few days later.  

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Fat Pasha

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We concluded our tasty evening at Bar ReynaChef Omar Ma (THR & Co., Cava, Buca Yorkville) who had prepared mediterranean-styled bites. My favorite of the 3 tapas was without a doubt the eggplant byaldi pinxtos. 

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What I loved most about the Tapas Journey tour is that you can customize it however you like. You can pick whichever combination of restaurants and do as many or as few as you want. Additionally, you get to taste some of the city’s best dishes without breaking the bank! It was such a thrill going from one restaurant to another, while tasting scrumptious food and having great conversations.

The Tapas Journey runs until August 21st. For more information, visit: tapasjourney.com.

Photography by Jeffrey Chan courtesy of Estrella Damm

This post was written in collaboration with Branding & Buzzing but all opinions are my own.

Boxed Water

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Lately I’ve become a lot more conscious of the water bottles that I use. Because hydration is key before, during and after a workout I’m always bringing water with me everywhere I go. The one thing I’ve been doing a lot more this year is putting water in reusable containers or also using Boxed Water.

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There are several reasons why I prefer Boxed Water to regular plastic bottles. The first is that Boxed water reduces the use of non-renewable resources, plastic waste and also carbon footprint (<0.055 vs 0.120 kg/ liter for PET). They also use paper from well-managed forests and ship their cartons flat to be filled afterwards so that they can reduce shipping waste and carbon footprint. What I also like are the creative ways they use to recycle and repurpose the boxes such as transforming them into building materials.

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In addition to all of these environmental benefits, Boxed Water just has cool branding and a great motto: Waste Less, Do More and Live Well. Living well means not putting anything that could be toxic to your health in the water so the water is triple filtered for purity and 100% BPA and phthalate free.

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Finally, for every photo of Boxed Water posted with the #ReTree hashtag, the company plants two trees.

A great alternative to those plastic water bottles!

Boxed Water is available for purchase at Loblaws and Sobeys across Canada.

Photos by: @thehogtowntable

Hair by: Cabello by Carolina

This post was written in collaboration with Boxed Water but all opinions are my own.

Summer Juices

FullSizeRender(4)There’s nothing quite like a cold-pressed organic juice on a warm summer day so I decided to compile some of my favorite summer juices for today’s #FoodieFriday post!

1) Village Juicery – These guys always come up with great summer flavours that will not only quench your thirst but that are also super nutritious. Their special “Spring & Summer 2016” juice with hazelnuts, strawberry, coconut water, alkaline water, vegan protein and salt is my favorite refreshing and also filling snack. If you’re looking for something with more veggies in it, “Be Radiant” is my go-to. It has carrot, sweet potato, lemon, granny smith apple and fresh tumeric root. Finally, if you’re the active type, you’ll want to try “Be Active“, with pear beet, apple, ginger, lemon, perfect for energy after your workout.

FullSizeRenderfs3FullSizeRender(1)2) Dose Juice – Newly available in Ontario (you can find them at Whole Foods, amongst other places), this little company from Montreal makes a great selection of original and tasty juices. I was particularly drawn to the names of their juices like Amazon, Cactus, Yogi and Tango, just to name a few. They have a huge variety of juices but some of my favorites are “Basil“, the perfect refreshing lemonade with a bit of basil and also chia seed. I also love to drink “Samba” before my workouts which contains apple, beet, carrots, cucumber, orange, kale, lemon and ginger.

FullSizeRender(5)FullSizeRender(3)3) Forbidden Fruit Juice – This is one of my latest dicoveries, I had never heard of them until very recently. They are also great with creating original blends of juices and clever with their names. I love “Breathe” because it gives me the perfect morning kick with pineapple, cilantro, kale and jalepeno. I’m a big fan of “Blue Majik“, for its antioxidants. The juice is made of blue pigment algae from E3 Live as well as homemade young thai coconut milk and pineapple. Another one of my favorites is “Breath of Fire” for its super original ingredients – dragonfruit, pineapple and chilli.

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5 Food Discoveries in Detroit

capt11) Drought – Located right in downtown Detroit, this new cold-pressed raw juicery is all about using local Michigan ingredients to make the best juices possible. Started with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, the four sisters behind Drought provide healthy and tasty juices for residents of Detroit and other nearby cities in Michigan. Some must-try juices: Pear, Cayenne Pepper and their Apple, Lemon, Ginger juices.

FullSizeRender(14)FullSizeRender(16)2) Republic – This is one of the most sought-after restaurants in downtown Detroit at the moment but Republic lives up to the hype with delicious and original libations and dishes. Using local and seasonal ingredients, the Executive Chef Sarah Welch creates innovative tavern-style plates that are rich in flavour and that leave you feeling satisfied. The building and decor at Republic is also quite stunning.

FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender(2)FullSizeRender(3)FullSizeRender(4)3) Brooklyn St. Local – This is the perfect location for a weekend brunch. Located in Corktown, this restaurant is all about supporting local growers and producers while using environmentally sustainable practices that also support community growth. The two owners, who are originally from Toronto, have created an inviting and warm place that even offers free coffee to the patrons who are patiently waiting for a table. Their homemade scones are delicious!

FullSizeRender(5)FullSizeRender(6)FullSizeRender(7)4) Rose’s Fine Food – This mythical diner is a place where you’ll find not only delicious and comforting food but also the friendliest staff. If you’re looking for a truly authentic Detroit experience, you must make your way to this diner. Their pancakes and donuts are an absolute must!

FullSizeRender(8)FullSizeRender(9)FullSizeRender(10)5) Astro Coffee – This coffee spot is a local favorite for many reasons including the variety of roasters and producers you can find at the space. They are situated right in the middle of historic corktown, making it a great place to sit and people watch or explore the area by foot with your coffee in hand.

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Fusing Flavours with Canola

_JCH2561I had the pleasure of taking part in a great interactive workshop last week in Toronto. I love cooking and love knowing where my food comes from so I couldn’t refuse this invitation. The workshop organized by Canola Eat Well, gave us the opportunity to cook with one of Toronto’s top chefs, Dailo‘s Chef Nick Liu. He taught us how to make some of his famous wontons, which were inspired by his grand-ma’s recipe. It was great to get some of his cooking tips and also get him to show us the steps of the recipe.

_JCH2356_JCH2555_JCH2637_JCH2685We also learned a whole lot about cooking with canola oil. Some of the Canadian farmers that produce canola were present to teach us about how they harvest the seed, how to differentiate good from bad seeds, etc. It was great to get their perspective and find out exactly what the process behind making canola oil is all about.

_JCH2970_JCH2977_JCH3002_JCH3003I truly believe in the importance of knowing where our food comes from and educating ourselves on what we eat. Talking to the farmers themselves taught me a lot about the product and got me excited to try cooking with canola oil at home.

_JCH2227_JCH3148_JCH3123_JCH3218We finished off the evening with a great and important discussion about educating the new generation of kids on food and ingredients. I always try to share any knowledge that I have learned about food, eating healthy and buying local as much as possible so it was great to be surrounded by a room full of like-minded individuals.

_JCH3257_JCH3345For more information on Canola Eat Well, please go here.

All photos by: Jeffrey Chan

Taste of Toronto

10321591_554927434676762_5852993278947369256_oOne of my favorite food events in Toronto is coming up in just a few weeks. The annual Taste of Toronto will be taking place at the Garrison Common at Fort York from June 23rd-26th 2016.

There are many amazing chefs taking part in this year’s festivities including fan-favorite Chuck Hughes and local chefs Michael Hunter from Antler Kitchen & Bar, Ted Corrado from The Drake, Victor Barry from Piano Piano and Rob Bragagnolo from Carver, just to name a few.

Chris Kalisperas_MamakasChris Kalisperas, the chef at Toronto’s finest greek restaurant Mamakas Taverna will also be showcasing some of his cuisine later this month. He shared what it means to him to be a part of the event this year.

We are thrilled to be included in a world-class event alongside some of Toronto’s most accomplished chefs and coveted restaurants. Taste of Toronto is the perfect place for us to showcase our modern approach to classic Aegean Cuisine,” says Chef Kalisperas.

As for how this showcase differs from other events, the chef explains that “Taste of Toronto brings a high level of professional culinary execution to the food festival scene. They are able to secure a diversity of the best restaurants and vendors the city has to offer, in it’s ever-booming landscape.”

People in attendance will be able to taste some of the chef’s amazing dishes. “We are planning on offering a small sample of our authentic Greek menu from mezze to dessert: this includes our potato feta croquettse, lamb kontosouvli and finally baklava soft serve ice cream. Our hope is to invite guests to experience a small window into our Ossington Taverna.

As for the current food scene in Toronto, Chef Kalisperas had nothing but great things to say about The 6 “Toronto is a great hub for multicultural cuisine whereby chefs are able to create menus that represent and reflect their heritage. We offer a high level of consistency in food execution,” he concludes.

For more information on the Taste of Toronto and to obtain tickets, go here.