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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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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Baklava Bites

FullSizeRender(4)I love making healthy homemade post-workout snacks. They are the pefect thing to eat in the morning after an intense sweat session. There are so many varieties of bites you can easily make at home with ingredients from you pantry.

I was excited to make Baklava Bites with fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ for the very first time this week. I love Greece and love their food. I’m a big fan of baklava so I figured I would give this recipe a shot.

What I like about the recipe is that in includes a scoop of the fermented proteins from Genuine Health. Not only are the bites yummy, but they are also healthy and contain a lot of protein (25 grams of fully fermented protein to be exact), which is key for someone that leads an active lifestyle.

Since I don’t use many milk products, it is important to me that the milk 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. Moreover, the product is Non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free as well as hormone and antibiotic-free.

FullSizeRenderHere’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:

1 scoop of fermented Greek yogurt proteins+
3 cups of organic walnuts, ground
2 tsp of cinnamon
2 tbsp of ground flax seed
2 tbsp of vegan or grass-fed organic butter (melted)
2 tbsp of organic honey
2 tbsp of water
1/2 cup of organic lemon, juiced

For the “phyllo” almond coating:

1 cup of ground organic almonds
1 tbsp of vegan or grass-fed organic butter (melted)
 A dash of cinnamon

FullSizeRender(1)1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and combine thoroughly.

2. Add in softened butter and remaining wet ingredients. Mix well until a sticky dough consistency is reached.

3. Roll into bite-size balls.

FullSizeRender(2)4. Create “phyllo” almond coating by roasting ground almonds with butter in a frying pan until golden brown. Make sure you stir often to avoid burning. Add a dash of cinnamon.

5. Roll each bite into the “phyllo” almond coating.

6. Refrigerate for 10 minutes before serving.

FullSizeRender(3)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.

The Starter with Belmonte Raw

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Sometimes in life, you just have to press the reset button. A few weeks ago, I was fell off the wagon. After eating healthy consistently for the past couple of months, I had a seriously terrible week with food. I made bad decisions and ended up eating things that made me feel super crappy. This also coincided with some serious changes at work that made me feel not so stellar. Instead of going further down the rabbit hole, I knew I had to make a change quickly in order to get back on track. Since I’ve been working out so much, it is totally counterproductive to eat unhealthy.

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I immediately got in touch with Belmonte Raw and got set up for a 2-day reset cold-pressed juice and raw food diet. Having learned from previous experiences, I didn’t want to do a juice-only cleanse, as I wanted to make sure I had proper nutrition and energy to keep me going throughout the days and my workouts. What is great about Belmonte Raw’s different meal and juice programs is that they have something for everyone. I was particularly drawn to The Starter because it included 1 smoothie, 2 raw meals, 3 cold-pressed juices, 1 elixir and 1 tea. Another plus is that the meals they offer change daily, so you’re not eating the same thing day in and day out.

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As with all Belmonte Raw programs, all the juices and meals were delivered straight to my door the first morning of my cleanse. For the first day, I had a Hummus Wrap for lunch and a Veggie Lo Mein for dinner. On the second day, my meals consisted in the Madras Curry & Kale for lunch and the Dreams of Lebanon for dinner. The meals were all portioned well and also very tasty.

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With the delivery you also receive a little guide book with your daily food and juice schedule to make sure you space everything out properly. All of their juices are made with 100% organic ingredients. All of their meals are gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and free of all animal products.

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After the 2-day reset, I felt a lot better about myself. I felt confident to keep eating healthy and stay on track. Sometimes just a little change in your diet or routine can make a huge difference in how you feel.

For more info on Belmonte Raw, go here.

Riviera Petit Pot Recipe

FullSizeRender(2)I recently discovered these lovely Petit Pot yogourts from Riviera. Being a fan of goat cheese and goat feta, I was curious to try goat yogourt for the very first time.

I love having a yogourt as a snack, for breakfast with fruit and granola or as a post-workout treat. What I like about these yogourts is that they come in reusable glass containers, they are made from all-natural ingredients, they are produced artisanally and are made locally in Canada. I also like the fact that Riviera draws influence from France and the French culture for their products.

In addition to these goat yogourts, Riviera also recently came out with a line of organic regular milk yogourts and offer a variety of cheddar cheeses, rustic butters, milks, creams and so on.

FullSizeRender(7)I love making recipes when trying out a new product so I used these yogourts to make my favorite chocolate chip banana bread recipe. Did you know that putting yogourt in your breads or muffins can add a lot of moisture?

What you’ll need:

3 very ripe frozen organic bananas
1/4 cup of honey
1 1/4 cup of Riviera’s Petit Pot Goat Yogourt Vanilla
2 tsp of coconut oil
1 1/2 cups of flour (I used organic spelt flour)
2 tsp of baking soda
3/4 cup of organic chocolate chips
1/2 tsp of salt

FullSizeRender(3)Pre-heat the oven at 350 F. Lightly grease a 4-inch x 8-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the honey, yogourt and coconut oil. Mix with a spoon to combine. Gently fold the flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips into the banana mixture until combined. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown.

FullSizeRender(4)FullSizeRender(5)FullSizeRender(6)For more information on Riviera’s Petit Pot, go here.

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/.

5 Food Discoveries in Vancouver

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Those who’ve had the chance to travel to Vancouver know how big of a foodie city Vancouver really is. I’ve seen such a big change in the food scene there even in the last couple of years. Here are my 5 latest food discoveries in this beautiful city.

1) Heirloom Vegetarian – Thinking about this spot as I write this is making my mouth water. I became obsessed with Heirloom as soon as I tasted one of their homemade drinks and delicious Cesar kale salad. The whole time I was in Vancouver, I kept wanting to go back to try every single item on their menu. I loved that they had both a vegetarian and vegan menu to choose from and an abundant selection of colorful and super tasty items. Even though the restaurant is almost always packed, there’s a nice laid back feel to it. The place is modern, airy and inviting. I secretly hope they open up a restaurant in Toronto in the near future… or that I find a way to get that delicious kale salad sent to me.

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2) Salt Tasting Room – This spot was recommended to me by Vancouver Tourism and boy was I glad I decided to check it out. This tiny back alley joint is the perfect spot for appetizers or pre-dinner drinks. We had the chance to check out their tapas menu and be a part of their “San Sebastián Experiment”, which was the best way to taste their wine and different tapas. For every flight of wine we ordered, we were given three free tapas, like in San Sebastián, which I had the pleasure of visiting last summer! Salt Tasting room is super convivial and offers a great selection of local wines and delicious food. They had a particularly good selection of cheese that I was impressed by. It’s a great place to go as a couple or to bring friends.

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3) Pourhouse  – Located in Gastown and in a beautiful 100-year-old building, the Pourhouse is a great place for a cocktail or delicious and comforting food. Its dimly light space is intimate and cozy. The menu is varied and feature some unique twists on classic dishes. Their drinks are stiff, creative and very tasty. Their desserts are larger than life and oh so sweet. It’s the ideal place to have a laid back romantic dinner.

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4) Meet on Main – Located on Main Street in East Van, this vegan and vegetarian hotspot became one of my instant favorites for several reasons. First, the food is original, flavourful and delicious. Second, everything on the menu is reasonably priced and the portions are big. And third, the casual dining atmosphere makes it welcoming to all.

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5) Meat & Bread – If you’re looking for a quick and delicious spot to eat lunch while in Vancouver, stop by Meat & Bread located either on Cambie or Pender Street. This no-fuss, grab and go spot, assembles their mouthwatering selection of sandwiches right in front of your eyes. Their menu changes frequently and always offers a vegetarian option. I had one of the best grilled cheeses I’ve tasted in a really long time.

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Impact Kitchen

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Ever looked for a place in Toronto that made coffee, healthy homemade food and cold-pressed juice all at the same location? Well, that place now exists and it’s called Impact Kitchen.

Josh Broun (who has a personal training and nutritional counseling background) and Frank Toskane, started this amazing eatery just three and a half months ago and it’s been a huge hit since the day they opened.

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Their goal was to create a fast casual environment that would incorporate lifestyle elements to it. There’s a lounge area with sofas, magazines and a projector that plays videos of surfing on one end of the space and on the other, there’s a more traditional-looking dining area. Throughout the space, you’ll find some cool and unique decorative items such as old surfboards, kettle bells, punching bags, etc. I particularly liked their slogan “Impact Everyday” located right about the cold-pressed juice fridge.

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The food can be made to order or composed on the spot. It can be grabbed to go or brought out to those choosing to stick around for a bit. Everything is vegan or vegetarian with the option of adding meat. All of the meat at Impact Kitchen is antibiotic free and locally sourced. As for their fresh produce, they follow the dirty dozen and clean fifteen list, making sure that the dirty dozen is all organic. All of their juices are made fresh in-house from 100% organic produce.

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Their menu also offers paleo options and everything is gluten free. Impact Kitchen does not use any refined sugars, instead they use maple syrup, honey and coconut sugar to sweeten their treats. Their menu was crafted by Executive Chef, Stephanie Tucci, who studied at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. The food itself is fun, creative and tasty.

Their coffee comes from Detour Coffee, a small roasting company from Burlington, ON that Josh is a big fan of.

What you’ll want to eat:

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Power Breakfast Bowl (can be made with or without chorizo)

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Vanilla Berry Chia 

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Dark Chocolate Cookie 

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Gold Punch Juice

Their goal for the future is to open up multiple locations around Toronto and elsewhere. They will be opening up a second location already later this year. They also just started the Ubereats program this week. Additionally, they will soon be launching their website, more retail items and will work at developing a catering department.

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Any place that holds copies of The Surfer’s Journal, projects surf videos on the wall and makes fresh and healthy in-house food, is where I want to spend all my time!

Impact Kitchen is located at 573 King St. East, Toronto.

Kupfert & Kim

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Healthy and clean eating is so important to me. I’ve been a vegetarian (almost vegan… the only thing I have yet to forego completely is cheese!) for over thirteen years now and I can honestly say that it’s had such a positive impact on my life. Additionally, making sure I’m eating a not processed and clean diet, especially now that I’m more active than ever, has been key to my training success.

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I’m always on the lookout for healthy vegetarian and vegan places to eat at in the city and am thrilled that Kupfert & Kim recently opened up a brand new location right in downtown. Their food is not only beautiful to look at but also nutritional and healthy. I had the chance to sit down with Mark Kupfert, one of the co-owners of Kupfert & Kim last week, who told me a little more about their mission and what they offer:

What inspired you to open up this place? 

It’s a few things. One of them was that we ate this way and we found that it was difficult to find places that were doing it in a quick and dynamic way.

There’s also the backward story that my partner and I were actually in a band together in Montreal in the mid 2000s. We did some tours across the States and the healthiest thing you could eat on the road was Subway, which was full of processed stuff. We had this idea but we separated for a while and then he came back here to work as a lawyer in Toronto and he told me that he thought the idea we had would work in Toronto. So, I came to Toronto to visit and we decided to give it a shot. It was the perfect moment in our lives. We gave it a shot, the first one opened in the PATH and we were surprised by how much crossover there was. It wasn’t just appealing to the more progressive aggressive healthy, it was food that wasn’t just for the vegan demographic but for everyone because the world needs it.

That’s the other thing about it is, it was a bit of an environmental mission. We cannot feed the planet sustainably using animal protein.

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Cauliflower Tahiti

What was your initial goal? 

We wanted something that wasn’t so hippy granola, we wanted something that was appealing to people that are scared of this food. The huge thing was to get people from across the board. We were looking for something that was elegant but fun, some kind of black and white, wood, stone and steal. It’s fun yet contemporary, a little bit graphic and hip.

What can people find on the menu?

A lot of it was inspired by the food that I had at AUX Vivres in Montreal, they had some great grain bowls and salads. In the beginning when we opened, we just had four dishes, four bowls. We went with a rainbow type bowl, then the Oaxaca bowl, which is one of our most popular dishes, which is an elevated burrito bowl. The idea was that it would be more accessible then tempeh. Black beans are something that people already understand, Chipotle made it happen, so let’s just add organic kale, hemp seeds, organic tortilla chips and daikon to make it a bit more interesting. We also had one more Asian inspired bowl and one super salad. It was just about trying to create variety but also to keep it simple, heavy colors, super fresh and not try to make vegan food that’s not trying to be vegan food. Let’s appreciate the food for what it is.

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Oaxaca

How has Toronto received Kupfert & Kim?

We were blown away. We thought that when the first place opened up that we’d do ok but that it’d still be very niche but we were impressed by how quickly people were ready for this. I think people like FRESH, made the groundwork in Toronto and we appreciate it. We also welcome other places to open up because we think humans shouldn’t be eating meat three times a day. There just aren’t that many options out there, the market is still throwing conspicuous consumption of meat all the time. Yes, there are better practices for ethically raising meat but at the end of the day, you’re still eating animals and those practices are still extremely energy intensive. It’s just about there being more options and this becoming the norm. 

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K&K Waffle & Ice Cream

Mark’s recommendation for a good post-workout boost:

Add sprouted rice protein in a smoothie after a workout, it’s an excellent form of protein, it can go in any smoothie or any smoothie bowl. 

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Blueberry Smoothie

To find out more about Kupfert & Kim, go here. Check out their brand new location at Richmond & Spadina in Toronto.

5 Food Discoveries in New York City

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I recently went back to one of my favorite cities – Manhattan! The food culture in NYC is just exquisite so I took it upon myself to check out a bunch of new restaurants while I was in town. Here are 5 places you need to check out on your next trip to NYC!

1) The Butcher’s Daughter – This healthy juice bar and cafe is the best spot for brunch/lunch or just an afternoon snack. This super hype cafe is always packed so don’t be surprised if you have to wait in line just to get a crammed seat in the place. That said, it’ll be well worth your wait. They make everything fresh in-house and offer a delicious selection of juices, soups, salads, sandwiches and more. I went for the avocado toast, which was to-die for! All of their juices are also incredibly well balanced and everything on the menu looked very tasty. The service is super quick so if you’re starving by the time you get a table, at least they’ll get your food served fast. They also have a super cute small patio out front, which is perfect for people watching!

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2) Tartinery – Located in Nolita (they also have two other locations in the city), this little taste of French heaven is the perfect place for dinner. They have the real deal French onion soup, tartines (basically an open faced toast with your choice of delicious toppings – see menu below for examples) and also the legit French recipe for the classic Tarte Tatin, making you feel like you’re in a Parisian or Lyonnais bistro if you just close your eyes for a few seconds. Don’t be surprised if you hear people speaking French while you’re in this joint, it’s a go-to spot amongst French ex-pats.

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3) Narcissa – Located in the East Village and in The Standard Hotel, this restaurant is the home of André Balazs and Michelin-starred chef John Fraser. This farm to table approach features only seasonal, local and organic produce. They cook California style and everything is clean and light yet without ever compromising flavour. It’s higher price point is completely justifiable as all the dishes we had were succulent! My favorite items on the menu: the original carrot fries and the homemade potato gnocchi.

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4) Little Cupcake Bakeshop – Hands down the yummiest place for cupcakes in the city. Everything they make features only fresh and sustainable ingredients, predominantly sourced from local farms in the area. Additionally, all their baking is done in small batches on-site. They don’t add any shortening or preservatives in their cakes and the milk products they use come from grass fed cows, so you can eat these guilt-free! The peanut butter & jelly cupcake and also larger cake immediately caught my eye. It was exceptionally moist, flavorful and delightful! I dream of going back to the bake shop, just to get another one of their cupcakes!!

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5) The Breslin – I’m a big fan of the Ace Hotel. I’ve been to the Ace Hotel’s restaurant in LA before and had the most delicious meal so I had been meaning to try The Breslin after hanging out in their hotel for a couple of days. Their brunch menu is simple but contains some brunch staples with a Breslin twist. I had a freshly made green juice accompanied by a frittata. It seems like their burger is also a very popular item to order on the menu. Their breakfast items are also delicious, their scones and granola are must-haves! Looking forward to going back to taste more items off their menu. (apologies for the less than stellar photo, it’s almost impossible to photograph in this dimly lit restaurant!)

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