Niagara picks

There are many, many sides to Niagara.

First, there’s the Falls and all the touristy attractions on Clifton Hill. Then there’s the “more refined” side by Niagara-on-the-lake, which consists of all the different vineyards, wineries, and boutique food shops. I did a roadtrip to Niagara this past weekend, and thought I would share my top picks in this region (as the number of options in this area can be a bit overwhelming).


Vineyard picks

Konzelmann Estate Winery: I would highly recommend doing a tour at this vineyard; we were also able to find a Groupon for an intimate winery tour with tasting for about $7 each. The guide was incredibly knowledgeable at explaining the entire wine process and answering any questions. The tasting in the winery’s cellar was also quite elaborate, serving a complimentary assortment of cheese & meats, and featured many different wines from the estate. I recommend trying Konzelmann’s peach white wine, which is made with peaches from local farms in Niagara.

Small Talks Vineyard is mostly popularly known for its Shiny Apple Cider. Tastings here are fairly inexpensive, and there are many discount packages available online as well. I highly recommend trying the Shiny Bootleg Spice Cider, which has a nice spice kick to the typical cider taste, as well as the Dessert Anyone Riesling Icewine.

Trius Winery: This vineyard is so beautiful and grand, and its shop offers affordable tastings of many different wines. My favourite was the Showcase Cabernet Franc Icewine 2015, which carries a strong bold flavor that contrasts nicely with the sweet icewine. However, at its $90 price point, I got the Late Harvest Vidal Icewine 2015 for $22 (which still tastes incredible!) Pro tip – if you eat at the Trius restaurant, use the receipt to get a $5 discount on any purchase in-store.


Food picks

Trius wines brunch: The three-course brunch at this beautiful restaurant at Trius Wines in Niagara is a bit on the pricier side ($42) but well worth the value for the quality and quantity. As a pro tip, inform your waiter if you are visiting to celebrate a special occasion, as everyone at the table will receive a complimentary full glass of sparkling white wine!

For starters, I got the fresh Ontario mozzarella with cured prosciutto, red wine pear, and organic arugula. The cheese was so fresh, and tasted incredible when paired with the sweet pear and salty cured meat. 

trius appetizer.jpg


For my main, I got the Atlantic lobster cakes served with icewine smoked salmon, poached hens eggs, and icewine beets. The lobster meat was so tender and flavourful, and it complemented the strong taste of the smoked salmon and creamy egg yolk perfectly.

trius main.jpg

For dessert, I got the Icewine pear, served with a caramel, chocolate, and cheese cake bar. The icewine pear was divine, soaked in the sweet boozy taste of Niagara’s famous icewine, and it contrasted nicely with the nutty caramel taste of the cheese cake bar.

jh - niagara dessert

Koutouki Niagara: This Greek restaurant near Clifton Hill is quite homey, and is perfect for ordering sharing plates for large format dinners. I would recommend trying the chicken souvlaki, which was incredibly tender and juicy, as well as the combination spread platter to try the restaurant’s assortment of Greek-style dips.


Activity picks

Winter Festival of Lights: The holiday lights at Niagara are beautiful (even when it’s raining), so I highly recommend driving through to take a look.


Clifton hill fun pack: Glow-in-the dark mini put is actually a lot of fun, as are the other activities here like the laser maze and the canon ball shoot (even for a couple of twenty-year-old’s).

Butterfly conservatory: This Niagara Parks Botanical Garden features over 2,000 butterflies, made up of 45 different species, that may flutter up to visitors (perfect for photo opportunities!)



8 LA Things to Do

There are some things in life you can only ever experience in Los Angeles, such as movie screenings inside a cemetery, or a food market where people line up for almost half an hour to eat deep fried shrimps from the inside of a pineapple. Either way, here are some things that I think are worth experiencing while in La La Land.

1. Cinespia

Cinespia is an outdoor movie screening in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (yes, a cemetery). The shows almost always sell out every week, and people often get to Cinespia right when gates open to reserve a nice spot for the movie. Visitors bring either their lawn chairs or their picnic blankets, as well as some wine and snacks. I even saw some people with a full-out buffet-style picnic spread.

A movie in a cemetery – I really don’t know where else you can find this.


2. Rockin Roe Bowl at The Korean Mkt.

Poke has become a growing trend recently, but only in LA have I ever seen it taken to the extreme – filling rice bowls with colourful fish roe instead of the usual raw fish. I highly recommend this bowl (if you like roe), which is available at The Korean Mkt in Sawtelle. Everything else at this small shop is delicious too.


3. Throwing exploding rocks on the ground in Chinatown

As we were strolling through Chinatown one evening, all we could hear was the sound of tiny explosions. They were too quiet to sound threatening, yet frequent enough to raise mild concern. We realized that a lot of children here had bought popping rocks – tiny bundles that make a small explosion noise when thrown on the ground – and were continuously smashing them on the ground all around the streets. We bought a small pack too ($0.25) to play with, since all the cool kids seemed to be doing it.


4. Smorgasburg

This is basically where people get “instagrammable” food; lineups for the most popular vendors tend to have wait times anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. To be fair though, the two items that I tried (passion fruit strawberry shaved ice and Hawaiian shrimp pineapple rice) were both really delicious.

The Smorgasburg market is also in NYC, understandably.


5. The Getty Center

Entrance to this stunning garden and museum is free and iPhone audio guides are also free for use. Many gardens that I’ve visited before had an entrance fee, so take advantage of this free opportunity!


8. Buffet at The Dodgers Stadium

For ten more dollars than a regular ticket, you can opt to sit at the Coca Cola Pavillion at the Dodgers Stadium, where there are all-you-can-eat nachos, popcorn, hot dogs, peanuts, and bottomless soft drinks. Although the Dodgers lost the night I went, the buffet made it all worth it.


Other places worth mentioning are the Santa Monica Pier on Thursday evenings for its Twilight Concerts, By Chloe for its amazing vegan “fast food,” Sqirl for its locally-sourced creative brunch dishes, and Fly Wheel, a cycle class that allows participants to compete by keeping track of their progress on a scoreboard at the front of their room.

Happy exploring in Los Angeles!