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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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.

OPA! Fermented Greek Yogurt Proteins+

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For a while I had been looking for good post-workout protein supplements but never found a product that I liked until I discovered Genuine Health. For the past couple of months, I’ve had the opportunity to try a handful of their products and their latest innovation, the fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ has become of my favourites.

People take protein supplements for a variety of reasons. It can help support the immune system, facilitate physical performance, promote lean muscles, balance blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings, amongst other things. I wanted to make sure that with all the working out I’ve been doing and with my vegetarian diet, that I was giving my body the amount of proteins it really needs.

That said, I also recently learned that too much protein is not necessarily the answer either. Just because you are consuming 25 grams of protein in supplements does not mean that your body is absorbing all of it. It is all about the state of your gut and how effectively the protein can be digested and absorbed by your body. This is why Genuine Health has released its brand new fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ supplement.

The reason why fermentation is so important is because it helps amplify the nutritional profile in foods so they become more potent and bioavailable. Fermentation is what unlocks critical amino acids for optimal absorption, providing overall digestive health and healthy gut bacteria that can help with digestion and also support the immune system.

This form of protein also feeds the good bacteria that is necessary for good gut ecology. I also learned that your gut is often referred to as your “second brain” because it can help make neurotransmitters that is important for mental health and well being. In addition, good digestion also equals better energy.

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The milk that is used in the new fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ is sourced from clean, grass-fed California dairy farms that are committed to ethical and sustainable practices. Additionally, artisanal techniques are used to ensure that optimal fermentation is achieved. Moreover, the product is Non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free as well as hormone and antibiotic-free. Another benefit of this protein supplement is that it has 6x the calcium of whey protein. It does not produce any acid whey and therefore the product is environmentally friendly.

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The fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ comes in two formats, protein powder or bars. The protein powder provides 25 grams of fully fermented protein and comes in vanilla or plain & unsweetened flavours. The protein bars provide 15 grams of protein and come in either cinnamon pecan or cherry almond vanilla flavours.

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I have been using the powder post-workout in either plain water or with cashew milk. It is also a good way to beat your mid-afternoon slump. By adding half a scoop into your water as a snack, you can stop your sugar and coffee cravings. Additionally, proteins will keep you full longer as they take 3-5 hrs to digest.

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The bars are perfect for on-the-go either when I travel or in the morning, I just put one in my bag for after my workout or even as a snack during the day.

I’ll be posting a new recipe using the fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ powder in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

For more info on this product and retail locations, visit www.genuinehealth.com.

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

Chef’s Plate

IMG_6421I love cooking and I love food. Cooking is very meditative for me. It’s one of the only times during the day that I am not in front of a screen and that I devote 100% of my attention to. Cooking also clears my mind and is super relaxing.

That said, having a busy schedule and traveling a lot, it’s sometimes hard to find new and interesting things to cook, let alone have the time to go get all the ingredients for a specific recipe and to make something completely from scratch.

FullSizeRender(1)Rather than resorting to already pre-made meals or takeout, I tried out Chef’s Plate for the first time. How does it work? You pick an item off their menu that you’d like to make and they deliver all the fresh ingredients needed to make it and the recipe straight to your door.

What drew me to Chef’s Plate is that they only provide you with the best and freshest ingredients. They work with local family-run farms so that you cook farm to table style. Additionally, if you’re someone that wants to make a dish with meat, they offer locally raised meat without antibiotics and the fish they offer is sustainably sourced. And added bonus, all of their recipes are balanced and nutritious.

FullSizeRender(3)I was happy to find some vegetarian options available for those wanting to cook without meat.

FullSizeRender(2)FullSizeRender(4)I made the Hand-Pulled Mediterranean Pizza for dinner this week and it was a hit! I came home to a cute box filled with all the ingredients necessary for the recipe. Additionally, the recipe card was very clear, indicated its level of difficulty, the approximate time it would take to make and also the amount of calories per serving. It was quick and simple to make and the outcome was delicious!

FullSizeRender(5)FullSizeRender(6)So if you’re looking for new recipes to make and don’t have quite enough time to get everything yourself, Chef’s Plate has got you covered. Check their website for more information: http://www.chefsplate.com/.

France, je t’aime! pt 2

When traveling to France, the two things most people have in mind are: shopping and eating! Here were some of my favorite places to shop and stuff my face in Paris, Lyon, Les 2 Alpes and Bretagne from my recent trip to France!

Cool shops

Obviously France is like the shopping mecca of the world, so these are some of my recent favs:

Springsioux, Paris – the raddest up and coming rock n’ roll Parisian brand. They’ve got badass jewelry, tees and accessories and also carry some incredibly unique pieces from young designers from across Europe. They have a dreamy shop in Le Marais and hold events at least once a week, which usually either includes champagne or Caesars! WHERE: 4e arrondissement.

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The Kooples, Paris – you may have heard of this shop before. @Offner first introduced me to the brand last year. They have such beautiful pieces. I love the entire concept behind the store… Now if only I had more money!! WHERE: There are shops located pretty much in every arrondissements in Paris and shops also in Lyon.

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Les Galeries Lafayette, Paris – a classic if you’re in Paris. Basically, it’s like an enormous Holt Renfrew that carries the most high end brands and that is always beautifully decorated all year round! WHERE: 9e arrondissement

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American Retro, Paris – a super rad shop that carries edgy fashion pieces that are usually very colorful. They’re trendy with a twist. WHERE: There are a few different shops in Paris.

Auchan, Lyon – you won’t really find any clothes there but it’s my favorite spot to buy groceries!! They have such a HUGE selection of fresh products, cheese, vegetarian options, cookies, etc. Each time I go to the store, I want to buy everything! Think of a Costco with lot’s more fresh products and selection and a lot cheaper!! @Offner even found a friend there!! WHERE: everywhere in France!

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Where to eat

Let’s be honest, France has probably the most amazing food EVERYWHERE, so here are just some of places I liked on this past trip:

Tata Burger, Paris – they’ve got the biggest burger made to look like a penis! Yup! The food and atmosphere is pretty wild and super fun! WHERE: 4e arrondissement

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LA Favorite, Paris – very trendy and beautiful looking bistro in the 4e arrondissement. They had the best vin chaud! Yummy salads and desserts! WHERE: 4e arrondissement

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Casa San Pablo, Paris – a Spanish tapas restaurant that’s incredibly cheap and super yummy! Loved the traditional decor. WHERE: located in the 4e arrondissement, right by the Place Sainte-Catherine.

L’épicerie, Lyon – My favorite spot for lunch or for the “goûter”, they’ve got the best tartines and homemade desserts. Yum, I can almost still taste it in my mouth! WHERE: Bellecour, on the presqu’île.

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Pique-Nique en ville, Lyon – A super small and quaint restaurant that serves a great “formule midi”, otherwise known as an appetizer, main and dessert at a fixed price, which is very common throughout France. Absolutely loved their pasta and wine selection. WHERE: Presqu’île

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Abel, Lyon – one of the oldest bistros in the city that was founded in 1928. The place is also called a “bouchon Lyonnais”, which is a place where they serve traditional Lyonnais food, including the Quenelle, etc. WHERE: Presqu’île

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Le Cellier, Les 2 Alpes – For the best “montagnard” food, ie. the food of the mountains, the specialty in that area. They serve an amazing tartiflette, raclette, gratin de crozets, fondue, grilled meats, etc! I love their traditional ski chalet type decorations!

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Crêperie, Bretagne – While you’re in the region, you’ll want to order a freshly made sweet crêpe or even a savoury crêpe otherwise known as a “galette de sarrasin” usually filled with veggies, cheese and or meat, accompanied by a “bolée de cidre“. You’ll also want to order a “Flan Breton” or “Far Breton” to get an authentic dessert. They are so delicious and buttery! WHERE: There are crêperies located in every small town in Bretagne and are all equally tasty.

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Paul – a chain of patisseries that serve all sorts of yummy goodness! They’re now even located at rest areas on the highway and in train stations, they’re like the tim hortons of France but without all the chemicals and crap in their food. They serve salads, sandwiches, quiche, desserts, yummy drinks, etc. WHERE: Anywhere in France

Any patisserie or boulangerie in the area you will be staying will serve you amazing fresh bread, pastries and cakes. The perfect and cheapest place to have breakfast in the morning!

Also, I highly recommend getting cheese from the weekly market or some of the amazing local shops that always feature cheese made from the region. You can get great quality cheese for very cheap and encourage local producers.

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If you like macarons (for some reason, I just can’t get into them!), you’ll want to stop by Pierre Hermé, the best macarons in Paris! WHERE: Several locations across the city.

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*NOTE*: If you’re a vegetarian like me, I hope you like cheese, bread, pastries and salad because as I’m sure you know, a lot of the French cuisine revolves around meat. So you’ll need to find substitutes to meat for your meals. Even when you ask for a vegetarian salad or sandwich, from experience, they have the reflex of offering you fish or seafood. That said, you can survive! I’ve never eaten so much and so well in my life as I have in France!

Well there you have it! Hope this travel post was insightful! Let me know if you have any food or shopping recommendations for my next trip to France!

Writing this blog makes me miss France even more!! Can’t wait to return!

Asian Squash Recipe

The other night Offner came home with what he thought was pumpkin but turns out it was Asian Squash. I had never made anything with Asian squash or squash in general so I took it upon myself to find a way to make it.

I looked up a few recipes but ended up mixing a bunch of them together to create my own. Surprisingly, it turned out great!

Here’s what I did:

I pre-heated the oven at 350 degrees.

I cut up the squash in small 2 inch slices and put them on a baking sheet. I lightly drizzled 0live oil over them, added a bunch of different spices (salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thym) and also drizzle a bit of natural maple syrup (I put maple syrup in pretty much everything I make ;)) on top.

I then baked the squash for roughly 40mins, basically until they were soft.

Another super healthy snack idea or good vegetable to accompany any meal.

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Favorite eats in LA

I just got home on Sunday night from my vacation on the west coast. As a vegetarian (going on 10 years this year, hellz yea!), I love traveling to California because they have such a great selection of veggie or vegan-friendly food. They’ve also got lot’s of farmers markets and great organic and local products to offer.  During my vacation, I always try to hit up new places to eat and this time was no different.  Here are three of my favorites in the LA area:

1 – Flore Vegan

Located in Silverlake, just east of Hollywood, this small vegan restaurant is absolutely amazing! I ordered a vegan “Club Sandwich”, which included tempeh bacon, battered baked tofu, eggless mayonaise, avocado, tomato and sprouts, all served on fresh sourdough bread. It was accompanied by a delicious little salad.  I also had one of their amazing vegan treats: I ordered a peanut butter and chocolate cupcake, which was hands down the best cupcake I’ve ever eaten. I like this place because unlike some vegan restaurants, Flore really fills you up and is relatively inexpensive for all the food you get ($10.95 for the club – photo shows only half of the club :p). They apparently also serve a delicious brunch. I highly recommend going for a visit!

2 – Bulan Thai Vegetarian Kitchen

Bulan Thai has two locations: one in Silverlake and another on Melrose Ave. in LA. Their dishes are creative and super tasty. I ordered the vegan “Hot Wings”, which give Sadie’s (One of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in Toronto) a run for their money. They are veggie chicken wings deep-fried and flavored with special hot sauce. I also ordered the vegan “Tasty Sweet & Sour” dish, with tofu, veggies and their yummy sweet & sour sauce. There are so many different things on their menu: Soups, Noodles, Appetizers, Rice, Curries, etc. It’s hard to pick out something to eat. I like this place not only for the food but also for their great service and friendly staff.

3 – Venice Beach Wines 

You wouldn’t even know this place existed if you were just walking by on Rose Avenue. Located in Venice Beach, this small tiny wine bar is a great place to discover new wines and eat lot’s of fantastic cheeses and food. They’ve got wines by the glass starting at $7, an extensive selection of beers and a delicious food menu featuring charcuterie, mini paninis, cheese, pizzettes, etc. I couldn’t resist getting some cheese (those who know me know I live for cheese), so I ordered the Beemster and Triple Cream St André, which were served with jams and warm baguette. Both cheeses were great, the portions could have been a little bigger for the price but for the quality of cheese they served, it wasn’t bad at all. I also ordered a mini panini – pear, aged cheddar and truffle oil. Wow! What a combo! I think I ate that thing in just a few seconds.  They’ve also got tons of options for non-vegetarians as well. I also loved the ambiance and warmth to the place.  Definitely worth the trip!

So there they are! If ever you’re in the area, I hope you’ll pay them a visit.

Have a lovely Tuesday!

Mel

ps. All this food talk is making me hungry… is it lunch time yet?