Last Friday, Offner and I tried a fantastic new restaurant in Parkdale called Geraldine. We had walked by the place a few times during the last couple of months and it always seemed to be closed but we had loved the black and white floor tile that gave the place a very French bistro look.
Reservations for Geraldine were easy to make through their website. We got a beautiful table at the back of the restaurant close to their upright piano. The piano was beautifully lit with candles, which illuminated all the artwork at the back of the restaurant. I loved the way all the round tables were placed right by the wall, every couple sat almost next to each other instead of facing each other. It was very intimate and romantic. All of the tables were decorated with simple white cloths and adorned with lovely vintage silverware and antique dinnerware. All the plates were floral, some even had gold trim, which gave the restaurant a very classy look. The marble bar was extremely classy. I also loved their vintage fresh seafood display at the back of the bar.
All of the restaurant’s staff were dressed in prohibition era garments. The men all wore suspenders, high-waisted pants, short and slicked back hair. The men looked like they were straight out of an episode of Boardwalk Empire. It went perfectly with the big band, jazzy music they were playing and the overall look of the place.
Geraldine had a lovely drink menu called “Libations” all made by the restaurant’s Mr. Mooney. All of the drinks we had were interesting and unique and seemed to have quite a lot of thought put into them.
The entire menu looked super tasty! Lot’s of French-inspired dishes. They also had a separate menu to order fresh seafood. Offner ordered the seared duck breast and I went for the lentil salad with mushroom and tapenade plus the cheese board. The portions were small but everything was cooked to perfection and perfectly seasoned. Though a little pricey, it was well worth it! We capped off our dinner with a little digestif and tea for myself!
All in all, it was a beautiful and romantic experience. I definitely consider Geraldine one of my new favorite restaurants in Parkdale. We’ll definitely be back! Geraldine is also having a special until the end of the month, they are serving wine bottles at half the price on Tuesdays. So make a stop on Tuesday night January 28th to enjoy some great wine for cheap!
Last week, one of my friends and I decided to hit up Bar Isabel, a new restaurant and bar on College street just east of Ossington in Toronto. I’ve been hearing lot’s of great things about the place from my friend @jbsmith. Her boyfriend Josh is responsible for all the great drink creations there.
We arrived just around opening time (6pm) on a Wednesday and there was already people lining up to get in. Since we didn’t have time to stay for a full meal, we opted for some drinks and appetizers. What I really liked from the get-go, was everyone’s welcoming and friendly attitude. The place was nicely decorated. The wood and colored lights gave a very homy feel to the place. Only a few minutes after we sat down, Bar Isabel was already packed!
The menu was simple but very well divided. They had a big choice of starters then vegetables, meats, seafood, bar snacks, cheeses, cured meats and desserts. Being a vegetarian, I appreciated seeing a “vegetable”section. I know that next time I go, I will have a few different plates. Everything on the menu is also very reasonably priced. One of the things I loved most, were the slogans on their drink and food menus.
We each ordered some tasty drinks and for our appetizer, we opted for a selection of three cheeses from the chef for $16. Our really kind waiter asked us if we wanted bread with the plate and we said yes, not knowing that there would be a surprise in store for us on our bill. Being a pretty big cheese fan, I was expecting a decent cheese selection from the chef. The cheese we did get was good but pretty standard for a cheese platter, nothing too creative or different. The thing that made us really less stoked was to see we had gotten charged$4 for the bread the waiter had offered us. Now, usually if you’re going to offer a cheese platter on your menu, you’d want to offer some type of bread, cracker, jam, fruit, nuts, biscuit or something to go along with it without charging the customer but apparently not at Bar Isabel. Though the bread was really delicious, it’s absurd to think they’d charge a customer especially when ordering a cheese platter. That unfortunately left a bad taste in my mouth… though not enough to never return. I undoubtedly want to give this place a fair chance: get some more drinks, mains and desserts next time.
All in all, mixed feelings about my first experience at Bar Isabel. Maybe I just wasn’t lucky with the cheese so I definitely want to try a full meal next time because I’ve heard so many amazing things about them. Have you been to Bar Isabel? If so, how was your experience?
Thursday oh Thursday! Only a day away from Friday!
Had such a lovely time last night at WMCFW! It was super flattering to see my outfit on a site like BlogTo‘s street style section this morning. Thank you!
Photo credit: Mauricio Calero
Tomorrow, I’m off to Montreal to guest bartend at a happy hour being held at the Divan Orange in Montreal. If you don’t have plans already, come see me break bottles and probably pour too much alcohol in everyone’s drinks. My shift starts at 5pm! More info here.
Today, I’m proudly wearing my friend… No really… I’m wearing the newest The Balconies tee with a lunging Jacquie on it! I had the pleasure of helping out during their latest album cover and merch photo shoot. So stoked on how these turned out. Can’t wait to see the album cover! Extremely proud to see Jacquie lunging with a pair of my kicks 🙂
A few weeks ago, I took Offner for a weekend birthday trip to Williamsburg. Though we’ve both been going to NYC quite a bit lately, we tried checking out a bunch of new places on this trip.
We flew with Porter Airlines, which is always the most convenient when coming from downtown Toronto. There is never a line up at customs when you arrive in Newark and it’s conveniently located by a train station that brings you directly to Penn Station. For $13, you can get from the airport to downtown NYC using the free terminal airlink train and NJ Transit. The train comes every 15 minutes and even more often if traveling during rush hour. It’s only a three-stop ride. By using the train, you will avoid all traffic and paying tolls to get into the city.
From Penn Station, we took the J train all the way to Williamsburg where we were staying for this trip. I had rented a cosy little apartment on South 8th Street through airbnb. Not only was the place super well located, the apartment was very affordable, more than any hotel we could have gotten in the area. So far, I’ve only had really positive experiences with airbnb and it’s really changed the way I travel. Though we didn’t make use of it on this trip, having a kitchen or even a patio is always fun when you’re staying somewhere for a longer period of time!
We spent lot’s of time walking around Williamsburg during the weekend. Here are a few of our discoveries:
– East River Ferry: this is a super fun way to get from Williamsburg to Manhattan. The ferry comes approximately each half an hour and can take you to midtown or downtown. Not only is it pretty quick, it’s also a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful skyline and sights of Manhattan, Williamsburg bridge, Brooklyn, etc. A one-way ticket is $4 and a day pass is $12.
– Free outdoor shows: while strolling around Williamsburg, we found a super huge outdoor stage right by the water and at the Williamsburg park. Though the concert series is over for the rest of the year, there’s no doubt that it will be back next spring. So many amazing acts were playing this year including: The Shins, Odd Future, New Order, HIM & a ton more! This wasn’t the only free show going on that weekend, there was also a free metal and beer festival happening by the waterfront and a Noisey/VICE Bonfire Session show.
– Kristophe: on Saturday morning we were looking for a place to have brunch and like we sometimes do, we walked around to find a spot that looked cool. We found Kristophe, which had a super neat interior – looked like an old wine cave and a very cute back patio. Being out there, you couldn’t imagine that you’re just a few minutes from Manhattan because it was so quiet and luscious. They started by offering us a complimentary mimosa glass. They had a varied menu with gluten free and vegetarian options. I opted for one of their crepes that was filled with fresh market cheese and homemade jam. The atmosphere was quaint and the food was super filling. The perfect way to start the day!
– Williamsburg Antique Mall: we found this great antique flea shop in what looked like an old garage while on our morning stroll. Though the place is a total mess, they had so many neat vintage pieces. We brought back two American collector jars at $3 a pop – one with Apollo 14 (as a kid, i met Edgar Mitchell, one of the astronauts on Apollo 14!) and the other of John F Kennedy.
– Patrizia’s Pizza & Pasta: for our last meal of the weekend, we found a family-run Italian restaurant that served the biggest pasta and pizza plates I’ve ever seen. The restaurant was loud and festive, packed with families, just as you’d imagine a family dinner at your nona’s house would be. The thing that stood out from the restaurant was that everyone seemed to be having the best time! I opted for a house salad and homemade pizza and Offner got some shrimp. The food was very comforting and tasty.
We also spent some time in Manhattan. We went to visit his cousin at Spin, the ultra-hip ping pong club located on East 23rd Street, a club that is partly owned by Susan Sarandon. As expected the place was packed and they were holding their usual Friday night tournaments, which are always fun to watch.
Though we didn’t have nearly as much time as we wanted to walk around everywhere, here are some of our favorite things from the island:
– Gallow Green: I took Offner there as part of his gift for his birthday. I chose the spot because it was rated the most romantic restaurant in the city. The restaurant is located on the beautiful McKittrick Hotel rooftop on the west side. The rooftop is decorated with many plants, flowers, flag and little lights. All the staff is dressed as if they’re working on farms back in the day. The night we went, they also had a jazz band playing. We got there a little early so we took at custom drink at the bar. The bar menu was really delicious and original. We then were given a table right in front of the jazz band. The menu consisted in a whole bunch of fresh, organic and delectable plates to share. I opted for a cheese platter, marinated vegetables and a quiche while Offner had a plate of different meats. The food was absolute perfection and surprisingly not as costly as I had imagined.
– The Highline: We walked on the Highline to get to Gallow Green. It was my first time taking a walk on this beautiful structure. What a great idea to put a passageway above the city and fill it with plants and trees. I loved the architecture of it, the idea of putting benches and grass around everywhere. The view of the city was spectacular! Though we only did it at night, I’m sure the view is just as fascinating during the day.
– VEDA: They’re a really small boutique company from New York City that make all sorts of rad leather products. They recently collaborated with Pamela Love on a series of colorful and unique leather jackets. They also have some of the best leather pants. VEDA just opened up their first shop on Mercer St. in Soho. Their shop is small but super quaint.
– Modern Vice: the first day we got to NYC, we stopped by the Modern Vice factory to meet the brand’s founder Jordan and his girlfriend, blogger/model Natalie Suarez (check out her super cool fashion blog here) and to also get a pair of Modern Vice’s dreamy boots. They graciously took the time to show us around their factory. So impressive to see everyone working so hard, making handmade boots. I had never really seen that before. The phone kept ringing every few seconds but Jordan and Natalie made sure we were well taken care of! So excited to have gotten a pair of Camo Jetts. Can’t wait to receive them!!
–Apotheke: Located in a small nook in Chinatown, this super trendy basement bar definitely has the coolest concept. Apparently the place used to be an old pharmacy so they retained that concept and serve “prescriptions” instead of drinks while wearing white lab coats. All of their “prescriptions” are made from local, organic produce picked from local markets or straight from their rooftop herb garden. Their drink menu is perfection! Every drink was so creative and uber tasty! (photo credit: Apotheke’s website)
We had a super early flight back at the crack of dawn on Monday morning. If it hadn’t been so early we would have opted for the train route but we decided to see how long it would take by cab. The disadvantage of staying in Williamsburg and flying out of Newark is that it is far. A closer airport would have definitely been LaGuardia but because everything else is so convenient when flying with Porter, we still thought it was worth it in end. The money we saved by not taking a cab to and from Pearson Airport, we were able to get a cab from Williamsburg at 4am. Note that the cab ride from Williamsburg to EWR should cost you around $72 US. I recommend calling in advance and making sure you have a fixed price and calling a Williamsburg-based cab company. The cab drivers also prefer cash.
Another fun weekend getaway in the books! We’re thinking of doing a museum-themed weekend next time we go. There are just so many different museums to see and we always get caught up in other things so we never actually make the time to go. Can’t wait to go back! 🙂
Two weekends ago I was able to spend a few days in Miami. My last visit to Miami dates back to last November but I had only spent 48hrs in this tropical wonderland. Growing up in Quebec, Florida was always a very popular destination for my family in the winter. I think my first ever trip as a baby was to Orlando when I was just a few months old. I’ve done the Orlando/Disney trip a handful of times, stayed in West Palm Beach with my grand-ma, went to Fort Lauderdale a few times but hadn’t spent too much time in Miami before.
So I was really happy to have more quality time there to discover some of the city’s hotspots.
Summer isn’t necessarily the best time of year to head to Miami, that’s when it tends to rain a lot just because it gets so humid and hot. We got lucky with the weather, it only rained one morning out of four and a half days. It was 42+ celsius and sunny the whole time.
We spent most of our time at the beach, the water was SO warm! It is also really clear and the ocean floor is soft and sandy, so you can see all sorts of tropical fish swimming around you. It’s beautiful! Though a little pricey – $50 a day for two chairs and a parasol but you can come and go as you please the entire day, we made sure to protect ourselves from the hot sand and intense sun. There’s really nothing quite like swimming in the ocean. It’s oh so relaxing!!
I was able to do a little bit of shopping while I was there. My two favorite spots are: Collins Ave. (where you’ll find everything from Zara to LF, to Armani, etc.) and also the pedestrian outdoor shopping area on Lincoln Road.
I’m a huge fan of Art Deco so seeing all the different art deco hotels, buildings, clubs, museums, etc. are so amusing to me. We took the time to visit one of their Art Deco themed museum – the Wolfsonian FIU, located on Washington Ave. They had interesting collections on women and sports, Zeppelins, Art Deco, Architecture, etc. It’s only $7 per person and will take 1-2 hours of your time.
3 favorite places to eat:
The Dutch – is located in the W Hotel in South Beach. They offered a brilliant fall fixed price menu with one appetizer, one main and a dessert. Everything everyone had there was absolutely to die for! The wine selection was also top notch! The vibe of the place was cozy yet stylish, the staff was knowledgeable and super helpful. I loved my dinner there and can’t wait to go back!
Otentic – I officially found the best cheese platter in Miami. This small restaurant located on Washington Ave. makes typical French dishes. I loved drinking a Monaco (beer & grenadine drink), their charcuterie boards and salads are also killer. They make a mean chocolate mousse! I love their attention to detail, offering customers a free glass of white wine and tapenade as soon as you walk in. The owner Aurélien (yup, same name as Offner!) is super young and friendly. A must!
The Forge – Loved eating at this over the top Art Deco inspired restaurant. The atmosphere was young, hip and fun! The styling of the place was unreal. They had a special on Veuve Clicquot champagne the night we went so if you ordered a glass of champagne at the bar, they would serve you unlimited appetizers. Unreal! The food was also heavenly. They had very tasty bread baskets and a fabulous selection of wine. I had the soup and grilled cheese, Offner had the burger and his parents, the biggest steak I’ve ever seen! Their little dessert tray was also yummy. It’s a festive place with loud music so if you’re looking for a quieter spot, this may not be the place for you!
Now for something completely different, the 11th Street Diner located on Washington and 11th Street is also a superb place to grab some quick breakfast or lunch. It’s the original building that was constructed in 1948 in New Jersey that they moved to Miami in the 1990s.
A bar to check out:
The Broken Shaker – is located in the hip Freehand Miami hostel. Offner always loves checking out up and coming bars in every city we visit. He had heard of this place because of their original handcrafted drinks made from ingredients, herbs & spices directly taken from the place’s garden. We tasted their savory sweet and spicy homemade punch. They also had a tremendous outdoor garden/patio with a pool, lot’s of fun seating areas, little lights, trees, ping pong tables, etc.
(photo credit: The LA Times)
Finally, if you’re looking for a cool morning or afternoon excursion, I highly recommend taking a trip to the everglades at the Everglades Safari Park. I’m not one to do too many touristy things on vacation but this was really well organized, informative and fun. For $40, they take you from South Beach (the location of your choice) on a 40min bus ride to the everglade national park. You then go on a 45min airboat tour where they teach you about the different species of snakes, alligators, wildlife, etc. in the national park. That is followed by an informative alligator demonstration (no one wrestles with alligators!) and time to walk around their sanctuary where you can see all sorts of alligators, crocodiles, lizards, etc. They then take you back to your hotel in South Beach. Honestly, well worth the money and super amusing!
Our time in Miami went by SO fast! With it only being a 3hr flight from Toronto, it’s the perfect long weekend destination! Can’t wait to go back soon!
Last night, Offner and I checked out the Beverley Hotel that just opened in downtown Toronto. Located on Queen Street West between Peter and John street, the new boutique hotel has a cute little rooftop patio with a nice bar as well as a few couches that people can reserve. Though the rooftop is relatively small, they have a rooftop grill and also lot’s of parasols to offer shade to their customers. We ordered some drinks as well as a little cheese appetizer that was really yummy! It was $10 for the appetizer and $12 for 9 oz Malbec and $13 for a cocktail. If you’re looking for a nice little place to unwind after work, definitely stop by! It’s got a great laid-back vibe!
Later in the evening, we watched a great new doc available on iTunes called “Dolphin Boy“, the story of a 17-year-old boy who goes through a very traumatic event and then gets prescripe dolphin therapy to try to heal. The film documents his incredible progress and the beautiful relationship he develops with his father. I highly recommend checking it out!
Today we’re shooting a first pilot for season 2. For today’s pilot, I’m wearing a cute little blue and white polka dot dress 🙂 So stoked on my curls, the makeup artist we have a work today rocks!
Last weekend I discovered a great new bar/coffee shop and board game lounge in Parkdale called Go Lounge. It’s a quaint little cosy space located on Queen Street West, just steps from Roncesvalles that opened at the end of November. For those of you who are fans of Snakes & Lattes, just think of it as being a modest and much more laid-back version of it. I was a huge fan of Snakes & Lattes when it originally opened up a few years ago. I lived in the area, so would spend a lot of my nights playing board games with friends and loved ones there. I loved the fact that it belonged to a Parisian couple who baked fresh desserts and served baguette sandwiches just like in France. However, as the place’s popularity grew, it became less and less acessible and the once friendly staff, changed and wasn’t so nice anymore.
I was therefore thrilled to find out that a second board game lounge had opened up in the city. Basically, you can go play board games, have a pint or glass of wine as well as a tasty panini or yummy dessert in a super chill environment with great tunes playing in the background. Plus, you don’t have to pay to play their board games.
So if you’re looking for a fun new place to hang this week or weekend, try the Go Lounge. My favorite game: Cards Against Humanity. Hilarious!