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NEAR: L’Unità

18 Apr

So I figured I’d wait a while to try a new restaurant since I’ve been working on other resolutions. After all, I have now completed NINE of my ten resolutions and it hasn’t even been six months. Go me! But the sacrifice is my waist line (and after trying on a few pairs of shorts, I’m realizing I need an exercise resolution, not a restaurant one).

The culprit in feeding me copious amounts of delicious food this time? L’unita.

I’ve attached pictures but it was so dark in there that we literally had to crowd four candles around the food to get a decent picture.  Yes, were one of *those* diners.

After deciding to try out L’unita instead of Niagara Street Cafe (which beckoned my first twitter hater who didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t coming to Niagara Street Cafe because it was closing), I’m glad I made the choice.

I went into a detailed review of my first experience on Yelp. I’ll talk about the food on my second visit and the vibe as a whole here.  Thus, the two reviews will be mixed. Continue reading

How To Take BAD Tourist Photos Part DEUX

14 Nov

Sometimes, there's moments where you don't need a photo with every monument even if it brings you good luck. Like Juliet's statue in Verona. A tourist photo gone wrong.

Dear Tourist,

You may have heard from me before. When I told you that you were taking really bad photos that are to be treasured memories.  But I’m back. Because I found more bad tourist photos from my past. So please let’s channel our inner Susan Powters and STOP. THE. INSANITY. I’m no expert, but I searched through my photos for went went wrong in the past and how I’ve corrected my mistakes and how you can prevent from taking bad photos of fellow tourists. We all just want a good travel photo! (Well, I do.) Continue reading

NEAR: Oceanwise Chowder Chowdown!

3 Nov

Toronto isn’t really known for it’s soup, nonetheless it’s chowder. The only two soup places I can think of are Ravi Soups and the Soup Nutzy (off shoot of infamous Seinfeld character and soupery, The Soup Nazi). An aside: the Soup Nutzy’s Lobster bisque is a MUST.  Even moreso, it’s not known for using sustainable seafood in its soups.

So what does THAT mean?  From sponsor Oceanwise:  “Sustainable seafood can be defined as species that are caught or farmed in a way that ensures the long-term health and stability of that species, as well as the greater marine ecosystem.”

Fairmont Royal York Hotel

Continue reading

10 Tips I Wish I had Going to Paris

26 Oct

Paris. Photo: Alicia Bok

1. You are not going to see everything. But do see your favourites. Take one day to just walk around and get lost. And take one day out to run errands. Doing so in Paris is so much more romantic and it also forces you to slow down.  P.S. The Louvre  is at least two visits. The people watching is so much more interesting than seeing the actual Mona Lisa.

2. Bread, cheese, wine and a park are your best friends.

3. Cabs suck. Especially late at night because they’re never around. Pre-plan if you are going to be out late and drunk. Be prepared to walk.  Especially if you are not in the city centre. There’s a reason ballet flats are popular here.

The Musee D'Orsay. This shot was taken when the museum was closed.

4.  Always double check museum times to make sure they are not closed.  On the first Sunday of the month, most museums are free; Mondays and Tuesdays are when some museums are closed.

5. Check the outer arrondissements too. It’s not as scary as you think. The 20th is especially a hot district right now. The 13th has some pretty good Chinese food. Who knew?

I couldn't deal with not being able to find "un lisseur" so I caved and got a blow out. When in Paris...

6. Bring a hair straightener (and appropriate adapter) with you if you have unruly hair. Nothing is more daunting than going around the city, being beckoned out of a salon, then not knowing how to say “Do you sell a hair straightener/iron?” in the native language.  This is the French I did not learn in High School. Also, the French speak in brands. “Hair straightener” was a no-go; “Babyliss” lead me to some very expensive solutions. Bonus: getting your hair “did “in another city and then taking pictures with good hair in front of famous monuments is fun.

7.  Trains are better than planes. But you will pay for a “reservation,” so tack on an extra 20 to 30 euros for that train ride over to Amsterdam.  Also, keep belongings close.

Even the dogs in Paris have cute names like Mousquette or Mousqie for short. Please! It's Swoony Mcswoonersville over here right now.

8. The Canadian bar is worse in Paris than it is in Canada. P.S. don’t go to a Canadian bar in Paris, even if the sign says “Great Canadian Bar.”

9 . Don’t believe all French Men. As charming as they are, they may not show up for a date and have you crying along the River Seine (or watching nineties music videos in your hotel room for a few hours). Bonus: a Scottish expat bar and UK lads are just around the corner.

10. The babies and dogs are cuter; the restaurants more tightly packed; the city not as dirty as most say; the French not as mean and surly as most perceive;  reaching the top of the Eiffel Tower is anti-climatic (and kind of windy in my experience). If you make an effort, you will be well received. Sometimes, the action is not at the top but down below (i.e. Champ de Mars); and never shake a hand. Major faux pas. Bisous Bisous.


19 Oct

Le menu at Biff's

It’s no surprise that I love trying new restaurants and in my city, it’s no exception. So I was excited to hear that Biff’s was the choice of restaurant when the lovely Sarah March from Diamond PR invited me for a press lunch in Toronto.

Part of the Oliver & Bonacini Group–you may have heard of their restaurant, Canoe?– Biff’s is a French bistro.

Though we had a private dining room, the decor was absolutely lovely and intimate. I highly recommend this bistro for a date place if you’re going to the theatre downtown or the ACC nearby.  They have a prixe fixe lunch menu, which is affordable.  I’d definitely go back. I just need a date. 🙂 Continue reading

NEAR: The Eaton Centre’s New Food Court

12 Oct

The Eaton Centre's new Urban Eatery. Fancy!

You know life is boring when the most excitement you’re getting is when the local mall renovates their food court. *Someone needs to go on a date!  Continue reading

NEAR: Bangkok Garden

9 Oct

Bangkok Gardens Atmosphere

The Thai food scene in Toronto is pretty straight forward. It’s either good or it’s not. I haven’t been to Thailand, but I know good food. And Bangkok Garden is good food. Straight Up Paula Abdul styles.  The only other Thai food restaurant that I crave is Khao San Road (or KSR for short). It has now changed. Continue reading

Planet Traveler Hostel Review

6 Oct

This guy isn't a traveler at Planet Traveler but he's pretty cool looking so BOOM: feature picture.

Recently, while my friend Corbin of I Backpack Canada was in town, I told him he had to stay at the Planet Traveler Hostel, the newest hostel in Toronto.   This was because I had the opportunity to see the hostel firsthand at the Toronto Travel Massive tweetup, where we had our one year anniversary (Goo Toronto Travel Massive!). I will say this:  it offers one of the best views of the CN Tower in the city. Continue reading

AGO Tweetup

2 Oct


Before the art gallery of Ontario (AGO)  was transformed by Frank Ghery, I had never been. In the past two weeks, I have been to the art gallery three times. They have an incredible Canadian art selection, cool exhibitions (like the Julian Schnabel exhibit that happened last year) and talented artists like Gary Taxali stopping by for meet and greets. Plus, admission is free on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Continue reading

Playing Tour Guide in Toronto

30 Sep

The Rooftop of the Planet Traveler Hostel, Toronto

The past month has been nutty and not just on the job/writing front but also with personal visits. Many international bloggers I’ve befriended on Twitter over the past year or so have been travelling through Toronto, so I’ve gotten to play tour guide.  Here’s a little bit of the Toronto I show visitors when they’re here. On the flip side, I get to become a tourist myself and find out new things about my beloved T Dot too. That’s why I love the city so much. Continue reading

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