5 Best Vegan Spots in Lyon

Lyon has really become this past year, a much more vegan-friendly city. There are tons of new restaurants, coffee shops and organic groceries, popping up everywhere around town. Here are some of my favourite spots in the city that are worth the visit if you are plant-based!

1) My Petite Factory – Located on Rue Neuve, right in downtown Lyon, My Petite Factory is heaven for those who follow a plant-based diet. They have the most delicious buddha bowls, sandwiches, soups and homemade desserts all made from scratch and fresh daily. They not only serve vegan options but also gluten-free options, making them a hotspot for not only locals but also tourists.

2) Harvest Cuisine – This pizza joint is new to the city and prides itself in serving farm-to-table style pizzas and pasta. They work with local farmers to get the freshest in-season ingredients. They have a handful of vegetarian options and also the most delicious vegan pizza made with cashew cheese. Harvest Cuisine is definitely revolutionizing conventional pizza making in the area.

3) Moi Pur Jus – One of the newest juice bars and cafes to open up in Lyon this past year. Also located on the presqu’île in downtown, this beautiful café offers a wide variety of cold-pressed juices, chia puddings, snacks and treats that are both vegan and gluten-free. Moi Pur Jus is 100% organic and in addition to offering food and drinks, also offer different health and wellness services.

4) Slake Coffee House – A great spot for breakfast, lunch and also to spend the day working on your laptop. Slake Coffee House is located in the most beautiful antique building that offers a real vintage and warm vibe. They’ve got lots of salads, snacks and warm drinks to choose from. It’s not 100% plant-based but a great place to spend time people watching and catching up on work while in the city!

5) Les Cafetiers – If you don’t mind waiting in line, you’ll want to pay Les Cafetiers a visit. Their minimalist setting and Australian influenced coffee shop (you can even order a Flat White there!) is without a doubt the trendiest coffee shop in the city. They serve up delicious brunch (hello avocado toast!), sweets and drinks and though not everything on the menu is vegan, they’ve got some delicious options to choose from.

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 Things to do in Long Beach

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Located less than an hour drive from Los Angeles, Long Beach has become one of the hottest travel and living areas for millennials and young families. With rent still being pretty affordable, the city has really transformed a lot in the last couple of years. Long Beach is renown for its great cultural activities, food and outdoor activities just to name a few. Here are just a few recommendations for your next trip in the area.

1) Grab coffee at Portofolio. Located on East 4th St in Long Beach, Portofolio Coffeehouse has been a local favorite for years. It’s a great place to grab breakfast, coffee on the go, vegan treats and also a fun spot to spend the day working remotely. The coffee house also puts on a series of community events in their back room. It’s the perfect spot to meet locals and people watch.

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2) Go vintage shopping on Retro Row. If you’re on the hunt for new vinyls, cool books or unique threads, Retro Row is your go-to spot. Also located on 4th St., this super cute walkable strip of stores has become one of the city’s most coveted shopping area. Whether you’re on the lookout for antiques, you’re in the mood for thrifting, looking for records or wanting a bite to eat, you can find it all. The 4th Street Long Beach Association also puts on a handful of special events throughout the year.

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3) Eat lunch at Ahimsa vegan café. Praised as one of the city’s best vegan spots, Ahimsa vegan café is a restaurant that prides itself in using only the freshest and best local ingredients to craft delicious vegan plates. All of their food is made from scratch and all bursting with flavour. Their bowls and burgers are definite must-haves as well as their freshly made cold-pressed juices and desserts.

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4) Find local street art. Long Beach is renown for its beautiful street art. Their street art festival POW! WOW! Long Beach is one of the most popular street art festivals in the United States, bringing in artists from all over. Searching for local street art around the city is a great activity to do while in Long Beach as it will make you discover many different neighborhoods in the city. Plus, they have some of the most beautiful art to see.

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5) Satisfy your sweet tooth at Scratch Bakedgoods. This cute little bakery is the perfect place to stop at after a busy day of walking around and exploring in Long Beach. Scratch Bakedgoods makes some of the most delicious homemade baked goods from scratch daily. Whether you’re looking for cookies, a slice of cake, brownies, tarts, gallettes, brioches, bars, etc. they’ve got you covered. Everything in the shop is to die for.

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5 Things I’ll Miss Most About Toronto

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Photo by Cabello by Carolina

7 years ago this month, I moved to Toronto. In less than 3 weeks, I packed up my life and left everything behind to go find myself. And find myself did I ever! It was the best decision I’ve ever made. The past 7 years have been undoubtedly the BEST years of my life. I’ve learned so much and accomplished so much, I’m truly proud of how far I’ve come.

Two months ago, I decided to leave my full-time network television job after 5 seasons in pursuit of the next life adventure. I’ve always dreamed of spending several months traveling but those who work full-time jobs will know that these kinds of adventures are almost impossible to get when you’re working for someone else. So I decided to pursue this website endeavour full-time and also a few other creative projects (some of which will be revealed to you soon, can’t wait!!) in order to fulfill this dream of going on a great travel adventure. With travel comes uncertainty, risk, the unknown, lack of funds, etc. So my husband and I have decided to give up our apartment, put everything into storage and see where these travels take us. Because you never know what the future is made of, I’ve decided to write a little post today on some of the things I love most about the amazing city of Toronto. I know I will be back but knowing I will be away for a little while, I figured this would be an appropriate farewell for the next couple of months. I am forever grateful to the city of Toronto for the past 7 years and am excited about future adventures in the city in 2017! In the meantime, here are the 5 things I’ll miss most while I’m away!

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1) Parkdale – Ah Parkdale… I could write a novel about this neighbourhood. It’s with a lot of pride that I called Parkdale my home for the last four years. I LOVE Parkdale. It is a real example of a little tight-knit community in a big metropolitan city. You can stay just in Parkdale and find everything you need. Parkdale has character and personality. Parkdale is a little rough around the edges but it has charm. When I first moved, the area wasn’t so sought after but over the past couple of years, it has become one of the city’s hotbeds for new restaurants and bars, young entrepreneurs, artists and creatives that are pursuing their dreams in the big city. Through the years, I got to meet so many incredible people in the neighbourhood and lend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate. Parkdale residents look out for each other and help each other out. Some of the things I will miss most about the neighbourhood is The Abbott, the West End Food Coop, the Cadillac Lounge, Electric Mud BBQ, Grand Electric, Tempered Room, Public Butter, etc. No matter where I end up, Parkdale will always be a part of me. It made me fall even deeper in love with the city.

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Photo by Tobias Wang

2) The amazing fitness community – For the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to really become acquainted with the amazing people in the fitness community in Toronto. Through my website, I was able to work out at some of the raddest gyms, studios, with some of the nicest and most supportive crews. Whether it would be the Nike Running Club, Nike Training Club, Spokehaus, Misfitstudio, Big Hit Studio, Academy of Lions, Black Toe Running, Greco Toronto, etc. all of these amazing crews all share their passion and love for sport and being active. Through being surrounded by such inspiring people on a weekly basis, it has helped me become the healthiest and best version of myself. It has inspired me to starting running races, lead a healthier lifestyle and take care of myself, something I had never really taken the time to do prior joining all these groups. What’s also amazing is that no matter the activity you want to do, there’s always someone that will be up for a cycle session, a run, a training session, etc. The women in the fitness community here in Toronto are all incredibly supportive and push you to accomplish goals you’d never thought possible. People like Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath, Nike Running Club Coach Inge, Adidas Running Club coach Rejean Chiasson, are just some of the inspiring people that I’ve had the opportunity to learn from. They have taught me more than I would have ever thought. All the pacers, volunteers, race organizers, gym leaders, instructors, etc. in Toronto have all had a positive impact on my health and am so grateful to them all!

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3) The vegetarian food – Toronto is vegetarian and vegan heaven. When I first moved here I had high hopes, leaving a very meat-heavy city like Montreal, all I wanted to find was amazing vegan food and that I did! Some early favorites were Sadie’s Diner (RIP!), LIVE, Hogtown Vegan and Urban Herbivore. Now there’s also Doomie’s, Fresh, Kupfert & Kim, and the list goes on. Toronto knows their vegetarian and vegan food! Plus almost all restaurants in the city also offer delicious vegan or vegetarian options on their menus. I now definitely hold higher standards for vegan and vegetarian cuisine, thanks to Toronto’s topnotch restaurants. I definitely need to get my Toronto vegan fix before I leave on my adventures…

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4) The waterfront – I love nature and if it wasn’t for beautiful Lake Ontario located right at the foot of the city, I’m not sure if I would have loved Toronto as much. Luckily, I had the opportunity to live right by the waterfront for the past couple of years and it has allowed me to find peace and solitude in times when things in the city got a little too crazy. The vastness of Lake Ontario, the beautiful parks on the waterfront, the islands, etc. are all aspects of Toronto that I love the most. Running on the waterfront several times a week became my meditation, my getaway and a huge stress relief.

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Photo by Tobias Wang

5) Friends – When I moved to Toronto, I didn’t know anyone in the city. I moved on a whim, in less than 3 weeks, with a car packed with the few belongings that I owned. It’s one of the proudest moments of my life. A lot of people are afraid to just pick up and leave, to move away from familiarity, from friends and family. Though a little scary, I just couldn’t ignore the voice inside my head that told me I had to go. Though I was afraid that I would end up alone in this big new city, I was lucky to meet some of the most incredible people over the past 7 years here. Some people came and went but some of the friends I’ve made in the city have become family. Making friends seems easy as a kid or when you’re in school but when you become an adult, it’s always a little more challenging. Luckily, half of the people that reside in Toronto also come from somewhere else and therefore are open to making new friends. I’m so grateful to all those who have had such a positive impact on me in this city, who have inspired me and bettered me and no matter where I end up, I know we will always remain close. Thank you!

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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