Geraldine

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. photo 1 (37)

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.

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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!

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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!

 

Stowe

Last month I had the opportunity to return to one of my favorite little towns in the north eastern United States: Stowe, Vermont.

As a kid, I loved going to Stowe because it was where the Von Trapps (oh yes, from the classic movie The Sound Of Music) had ended up when they immigrated to the United States. Also, it was magical because we used to stay at the Sun & Ski Motor Inn (now renamed the Sun & Ski Suites) and they had a beautiful reading room with a fireplace, a bunch of teddy bears and board games that my sister and I would always spend our nights playing. We’d go probably go to Stowe once a season because it was just two hours away from where I grew up!

What’s amazing about this quaint little area is that it’s beautiful all year round. Being in Stowe is all about being outdoors, enjoying nature, the mountains, the lake and relaxing. I was therefore really excited to be back for another visit.

Stowe is easy to get to! From Toronto, you can take a 1hr direct flight with Porter Airlines to Burlington. Once you get to Burlington, you can either drive 30mins or get a shuttle from one of the resorts to pick you up. If you’re coming from Montreal, it’s also only a 2h30 drive.

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Here are some of my favorite things about Stowe:

Mount Mansfield: The highest mountain in Vermont (4,393 ft or 1,339 m) located at 10 minutes by car from the Stowe Village. It’s not only a beautiful mountain by amazing ski resort. It’s decked out with the latest lift and ticketing technology, has several rad snowparks, great skiing conditions and an amazing view from the top!

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Black Cap Coffee: Located in the Stowe Village, this coffee shop is relatively new in town and it seems to be where everyone now comes to get their coffees. What I loved about this place is not only did it serve great drinks (they have super creative versions of of hot apple cider, Snickers Bar lattes, etc.) but they’re also a place where people can make crafts and by crafts I mean jewellery and pottery. They also serve some in-house snacks and sell a few local products at the front. Everyone there is also super friendly and laid back!

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Depot Street Malt Shop: A Stowe classic. It’s been around ever since I can remember. Though my mom never really let us eat junk food at home, she was definitely  fan of this 50s Elvis-inspired diner. I would always have their sandwiches with pickles and chips or some of their amazing sundaes or milkshakes. They play lot’s of Elvis music and the decor is super cute and authentic.

Recreational Path: It’s an internationally renown 5.5 mile paved greenway where people walk, jog, bike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, etc. all year. It runs along little rivers and has spots where you can even go for a swim. It’s the perfect spot to pinic, relax, bounce rocks, take photos and even take naps. Everyone on the path always says hello and always seems to be in a good mood. I’ve taken the path countless times and always find it so beautiful!

Free shuttle service! That’s right, there’s a few shuttle that goes around the Stowe village, to all the hotels, bed & breakfasts, to the main streets and also all the way to the mountain

Cold Hollow Cider Mill: A classic as you’re driving into Stowe from Waterbury. It’s where you’ll find a ton of local products: jams, mustards, spices, hot sauces, all the maple syrup products and of course apple products. What’s amazing about this shop is that you can taste everything they’re selling and you can also see at the back where they make their fresh apple cider. They also have the best apple cider donuts! They are to die for!

TopNotch Resort: They just spent the past couple of months completely renovating this beautiful hotel and resort. They’ve got amazing tennis courts, beautiful outdoor pools, jacuzzis, new fire pits and brand new state of the art and relaxing spa, two new restaurants, new condo units, etc. I had never stayed at the resort before but was really surprised with not only all the great facilities but also their proximity to the mountain, the good food and overall relaxing atmosphere. If you’re to book a night there, you must use their spa facilities, they’re fantastic!

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Other good lodging options are:

Golden Eagle Resort if you’re looking for something a little less fancy or the Sun & Ski Suites

Stowe Mountain Lodge is the most beautiful mountain resort I’ve seen in a while. The lobby is so beautifully decorated. They’ve got an amazing outdoor pool and spa open all-year-round, are right by the mountain and have great restaurants! I really hope to be able to stay there at some point longer than just a few hours!

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Von Trapp Family Lodge for the super duper traditional Stowe experience. They’ve got great wine tasting activities, sports and the Von Trapps still make all the baked goods apparently!

Other things you can do while in Stowe: visit the Ben & Jerry‘s ice cream factory, rent rollerblades from AJ’s ski & sports (I used to do that every summer as a kid!), go swimming at The Water Hole, check out a show or film at the new Spruce Peak Performing Arts Centre, go canoeing at the reservoir lake, etc.

Also, if you’re driving to and from Stowe, it’s always a good idea to stop in Burlington on your way there or back home. It’s a beautiful typical New England town located right on the Lake Champlain. As a kid we’d take a ferry over to New York from Burlington. It’s got great restaurants and bars, a lovely waterfront bike path and some cool museums.

So happy to have gone back to Stowe! Can’t wait for my next visit!

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Cibo Wine Bar

Last Friday, thanks to a twitter recommendation from Chic Darling. Offner and I tried out the new Cibo Wine Bar that opened up just over two months ago on the corner at King and Brant Street in Toronto. We were looking for some good food to enjoy after a long week at work.

Reservations were super easy through Open Table online. Even if we reserved the afternoon of, there were still some spots available.

Right when we walked in, I noticed that the place had completely transformed from the trashy club that it used to be. The big wall of wine bottles, the dim lighting and the wooden walls gave it a very homey and nice atmosphere. I liked that you could see the kitchen from the dining room, the wood oven and also where all the in-house pasta are made.

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As expected, the wine bar had a pretty big selection of wines. We let our waiter recommend us a wine, something we rarely do but figured it’d be the place to do it. To our surprise, the wine he recommended from Napa Valley was delicious! Though a little pricey for the bottle in our opinion ($65), it was worth it in the end.

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The menu was pretty extensive. They had a variety of Italian food – a full pizza list, pasta that was made in-house, others that that weren’t, a list of salads, soups, fish and also some cheese and charcuterie boards.

We opted for an appetizer each: I took the cheese platter and Offner, the fried calamari. Though his calamari was good it was a little undercooked and too chewy for his liking. I was really excited to try their cheese board as it was recommended to me. The presentation was nice and the portions were good for the price ($17). That being said, the cheese itself wasn’t very original – they served Brie and a form of Mozzarella, basically cheeses that are not only easy to find, but unoriginal. The rest of the cheese was a little better/tastier but being a big cheese connaisseur, sadly I was disappointed with their overall selection.

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For our main course, Offner ordered some shrimp pasta made in-house, which he really enjoyed and myself, the endives salad, which was tasty and reasonably priced. Though the dessert menu looked very appetizing (hello Nutella pizza!!), we were too stuffed to order any.

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The one thing that really stood out and gave the restaurant an edge was what I noticed on my waiter’s feet…

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Yup! Some good ol’ chucks! I think having all the waiters wear chucks gave them a cool laid-back vibe.

Overall, a good experience at Cibo Wine Bar. I think they could improve their cheese selection (Terroni in my opinion still offers a better selection of cheese for the same type of Italian cheese board) and perfect some of their dishes a little more but all in all, we had a pleasant time. The restaurant now also serves brunch on the weekends, something I’d be curious of trying out some time!

 

This Week’s Pottage

A new week means a new pottage… at least that’s what it’s meant since we’ve been getting our Fresh City Farms baskets. This week’s pottage is my best one yet (that’s a good thing I guess since I’ve only ever made two 😛 Improvement is good!).

For this week’s pottage I used cabbage, green onions, cauliflower and beets. I never really measure anything when making pottage, I just eyeball it.

I let all the veggies boil in water for 20mins or so. I also added a cube of organic vegetable broth to add a bit of flavor as well as salt and pepper.

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Once everything has boiled, I blend everything up using my hand mixer. I also add a bit of almond milk, dijon mustard and my secret ingredient: maple syrup! Yup! Plus it’s from my family’s sugar shack, so there’s nothing better 🙂 I find that the maple syrup cuts the bitterness and the milk and dijon make the pottage more of a velvety texture.

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Et voilà! Bon appétit!

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Fall Pumpkin

Last week, two small pumpkins came in our Fresh City Farms bag and just like the concord grapes, I had never cooked anything with pumpkins before. Growing up, I saw my mom make pumpkin pie but had never really been interested in making anything with pumpkin because it always looked so complicated.

After looking at a few different recipes (thank god for Martha Stewart sometimes!), I got inspired to make my own pumpkin dishes.

The first recipe I made was a pumpkin, roasted garlic, beemster cheese, concord grape, tomato, avocado and cantaloupe salad. It really took no time to make. The only kind of preparation it took, was cutting up the pumpkin in small cubes and placing them on a cookie sheet. I drizzled a bit of cumin, maple syrup, olive oil and salt and pepper on them. I also added a few fresh garlic cloves on the cookie sheet to bake with the pumpkin. I cooked the pumpkin in the oven for 40mins at 350F, I kept adding water throughout so that the pumpkin didn’t dry up. When it got nice and mushy, I took it out of the oven and peeled off the skin.

For the dressing, I just mixed freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and dijon mustard. Contrary to what I was expecting, the pumpkin tasted really soft and sweet. It was delish!

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For the second pumpkin recipe, I made a pumpkin and tofu stir-fry with the left over pumpkin I cooked for the salad. I pan fried cubes of tofu, added pineapple pieces, garlic, pumpkin cubes as well as sweet and sour sauce. I cooked everything in the pan until nicely roasted and then placed it on a bed of fresh kale. I was also surprised by how amazing it tasted!

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With the leftover seeds I had from the pumpkin, I put them on a cookie sheet, drizzled a bit of olive oil on them and spices and baked them in the oven at 350F for 15-20mins. They were the perfect lunch snack for the next day!!

There you have it! Some quick and easy pumpkin recipes. What have you made with pumpkin this fall?

 

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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Kale Chips Recipe

I love finally being home for a few weeks. This will allow me to start cooking a whole lot more. One of my recent favorite snacks, is homemade Kale Chips. Though I love getting some at the store, there’s nothing quite like making your own.

Wednesday I received a whole bunch of kale in my Fresh City Farms basket and decided to make some yummy kale chips to go with my dinner last night. They are SUPER easy to make 🙂

All you have to do is pre-heat the oven at 350, cut up kale in small pieces.

Drizzle olive oil or as I did, flavored olive oil (I went for the hot pepper oil) over the kale and add salt and pepper. Some people also add yeast to the kale to add a crunchier texture but I find that they taste fine without it too!

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Put it in the oven for 10-15mins, until cripsy and dark green.

The perfect healthy snack!

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September Blues #DailyOutfit

Yesterday we received our first ever Fresh City Farms vegetable and fruit bag, from local organic farmers in Ontario. I can’t believe I didn’t think of doing this before. For $30 a week, they deliver right to your doorstep a bag filled with seasonal fruits and veggies. You can also add a bunch of extras to your bag: cheese, honey, fresh bread, etc. They also give you some sample recipes every week, recipes for the fruits and veggies in your bag. What’s great about getting a different bag each week is that it forces you to not only eat healthy but also helps you be more creative with the food you make. Plus, being someone who eats a lot of fruits and veggies every day, I find that this makes it a lot cheaper.

So last night, I used some of the veggies we had received to make my first ever homemade pottage. It really didn’t take long! I basically just boiled a bunch of veggies from the bag (leek, brocoli, mushrooms, tomatos, garlic), added a few spices, a bit of oil and olive juice, a touch of almond milk and blended everything up. Voilà! Perfect for the fall!

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It’s now pant weather again! Feels good to take out some of my favs from last season. Seems like I’m not the only one who’s stoked about fall fashion. One of the things I’m most excited about this season, are all the rad jackets that are coming out. Here are some of my favorite jackets for the fall… Wish I could get them all! AHH they are so heavenly!!

1) MLLE Mademoiselle Rumi Leopard Biker Jacket (get it here)

MLLE-28_1024x10242) VEDA x Pamela Love special collaboration (get it here)

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3) Mackage TAMIKA Natural Leather Jacket (get it here)

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4) Zara Leopard Furry Coat (get it here)

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5) Topshop Quilted Leather Look Biker Jacket (get it here)

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For today’s outfit, I’m rock a whole lot of blues! I love printed pants and love my Pamela Love x Nine West boots I got last year. Still one of my favs!

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Urban Outfitters bleu and grey southwestern print skinnies

Zara basic blue scoop neck shirt

Forever 21 Bleached demin vest (get it here)

Pamela Love x Nine West brick moto booties 

Biko Neon Blue Colby necklace (get it here)

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Lionette SINEAD bracelet (check the site for more info)

Welcome to Miami!

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!!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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(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!

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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!

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Pilot Day 2 #DailyOutfit

Happy Thursday! What a crazy day of shooting it was yesterday! I was completely exhausted after work so I headed to my favorite place for comfort food in the city – when I say comfort food, I don’t mean burgers and fries, I mean a good cheese platter 😉 Terroni has a great and affordable cheese platter with little jams and homemade croutons. I love combining that with their Giuggiolosa salad and a good glass of red wine, the perfect way to end the day!

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Yesterday, the lovely ladies of Uranium in Montreal sent me some goodies from their new fall collection so it was only fitting that I wore some of them for our pilot shoot today. Love love my new “Tripple Thick Ring” and my “Glazing” necklace. The items will be available for purchase on their website very soon! Thanks to Lynne Ryan for the lovely makeup today, she’s the sweetest!

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Uranium White Stripes tee (from the upcoming Fall 2013 collection)

Uranium Glazing necklace (from the upcoming Fall 2013 collection)

Uranium Tripple Thick Ring (from the upcoming Fall 2013 collection)

Zara Batik Mini Skirt (get it here)

Lionette Joplin bracelet (similar one here)

Biko black chainmaille bracelet (get it here)

Forever 21 spiked and rhinestoned bracelet (get it here)

Zara fabric wedge ankle boots (get them here)