December favourites

December is by far one of my favourite months in the year. Reflecting back, I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this year is dealing with change – something that is irrevocably tied with the uncertainty of the future.

Most people tend to dislike change, understandably. It’s uncomfortable. It makes what was once familiar no longer, and our perception of the future ambiguous. But lately, I’ve come to the realization that change can be good. It’s uncomfortable at first because it was nice to have latched onto something for so long that when it’s gone, it creates a sense of emptiness. But in reality, that disappearance or shift isn’t a bad thing. It’s just different. And that notion of something being different initially sets off alarms in our brains, signaling it as negative. But it’s not. Things have just changed, and maybe for the better. It may take a bit of time to get used to, but eventually, it will. And once it does, everything will be even better than it was before.

And sometimes it’s nice to just take a breather and get away for a little. I did a small road trip to Montreal this past weekend ad had a great time exploring this new city, trying new things, and eating different foods.

With that being said and in spirit of the holiday season, these are a few of my favourite things that I’ve come across this month (in Toronto and Montreal)

Drink picks

Notorious G.R.E from IQ: This smoothie tastes as good as it is for your body. It’s made of spinach, kale, cucumber, parsley, celery, lemon juice, chia, coconut water and pineapple. For those who don’t usually like greens in their drinks, the tropical fruits in this mix perfectly balance and hide the more bitter taste of the greens.

Soy dark hot chocolate from Marche: The hot chocolate here is made with real blocks of dark cocoa. I get it with soy milk, as it nicely balances the sweet and bitter tones of the cocoa, creating the perfect cup of dark hot chocolate.

Chai latte with soy from Mos Mos: As you may or may not already know from previous posts, I am a big, big fan of Mos Mos in the Path. I recently tried their chai latte with soy milk, and would definitely add it to my list of must-try drinks from this place.

Latté from Strange Love: this is a lovely cozy café near the intersection of King and Spadina. I recently went there to get an almond milk latté and stayed much longer in their seating area than anticipated. It’s a great spot to hideaway from the cold; will be back to try some specialty drinks on their menu.

Food picks:

Artichokes from Buca: I recently went to the Yorkville location, and was overall quite impressed with the food and service of this Italian restaurant. In particular, I loved the crisp artichokes. They were fried to perfection, and carried a sweet taste from the prosciutto san daniele, saba, and parmigiano reggiano. I also strongly recommend the black cod, which was cooked so well it literally melted on my tongue like sweet butter.

Raw espresso cacao bar from Crave: This was the most amazing vegan brownie I’ve ever had. It has a bold, rich flavor from the espresso and cacao with a subtle nutty taste. Definitely makes for a good pick-me-up mid-afternoon!

Gingerbread cupcake from Prairie Girl Cupcakes: This beloved cupcake shop in the Path makes great cupcakes to start with, and their gingerbread holiday version is spectacular. The batter carries just the right amount of spice, and the topping is sweet and rich – paired together, they create the most delightful festive treat.

Good Thins, the beet one: these crispy air-like crackers are crimson in colour, with a strong savoury beet taste. Quite unique to other crackers on the shelves, I’d recommend giving this flavour a try!

Da Geppetto – Casoncelli ai Funghi Porcini: This beautiful new restaurant on Temperence makes some of the most wonderful Italian dishes in Toronto. I highly recommend trying the handmade Casoncelli filled with porcini and ricotta, butter, sage, and topped with parmigiano sauce and black truffle shavings. The pasta itself is cooked al dente and the filling is buttery and rich; make sure to save room for dessert though – the mini Nutella bombes are also delicious.

Montreal eat picks: Schwartz deli meat

Since the 1920’s, Schwartz has been making phenomenal smoked meat in Montreal. Their sandwiches are piled high with layers and layers of delectable deli meat, and the texture of these layers combined with the smoked flavour is absolutely remarkable. The restaurant itself is quite small and reminded me of the famous pizza place in Naples- always bustling and crowded even at two in the afternoon. However busy, making a stop here is a must when visiting Montreal. Their poutine and coleslaw are also amazing and worth a try while you’re here.

St. Viator bagels

One of the oldest places making authentic Montreal style bagels, St. Viator makes all sorts including my favourites, rosemary & salt and all-dressed. I recommend visiting the Mont-Royal location as there is a café seating area serving bagel sandwiches such as smoked meat and BLT. If you do visit, order along with your bagel a Colombian French-pressed coffee, which carries an impressively aromatic tropical citrus taste.

Things to do:

Four seasons spa: Nothing compares to this spa experience, especially in the deadpan of winter when the weather outside is dreadfully freezing. I got the aromatherapy relaxation massage using lavender oil; not only was the aroma heavenly but the massage itself was incredible, perfectly targeting all the tense areas. The facilities are also luxurious, clean, and the service highly attentive.

Second city – The Good the bad & the ugly sweater: I am a big fan of Second City, and their holiday special show was absolutely hilarious. The sketches exaggerate the situations we often find ourselves in during the holiday, yet remain highly relatable. Definitely worth watching for a good laugh! Fun fact: the star of Heartland got cold-called up to the stage as an audience guest during the show that I attended.

ROM FNL: I love visiting museums, and the Friday Night Live experience at the ROM takes it to the next level. Drinks and finger foods are available for purchase as guests wander around; the grand hall is also converted to a dance floor. Definitely a fun way to explore and learn (or not) about all the different exhibits! I went while the Christian Dior exhibit was playing, which showcases many of the designer’s stunning pieces.


October favourites

October was a busy month for me, and a month of change. I wrapped up my first case of my first full-time job, and officially graduated from university (woo!)

Here are some of my favourites that I’ve come across this fall month.



  • Jimmy’s Coffee chili dark hot chocolate: This creamy dark hot chocolate has a nice (mild) hint of spice, perfect for the cold weather. Jimmy’s coffee on Portland and King is also quite a cozy spot to tuck away during this rainy season.
  • Rise ginger kombucha: This fizzy drink is a great afternoon pick-me-up, carrying a nice kick from the ginger and a strong sparkle as well.
  • Kupfert and Kim cappuccino with coconut milk (& maple syrup): Coconut milk complements coffee incredibly – and paired together with some maple syrup, makes for one of the best cappuccinos I’ve ever had.


  • Yoga Tree’s Flow in the six: Most yoga classes play soothing, wordless music in the background (which is nice) but what’s even better is the Flow in the six class at Yoga Tree, where Drake songs are played all throughout class. There’s just something about doing a chaturanga to rap that I find quite satisfying.
  • Yride at YYoga: I tried the spin class at this yoga-focused studio for the first time, and was quite happy with my experience. Picture a more cheerful hippie version of Soul Cycle.


  • Hello 123: This new vegan bar, which recently opened on Queen St W, is created by the same people behind Kupfert and Kim – and it’s absolutely amazing. I had the charred cabbage and ceasar, which was seared to perfection alongside some sunflower seed croutons. The cocktails here are also super strong.
  • Impact Kitchen Mineral bowl: The power bowls here are locally sourced and come in a variety of different flavours. My “Mineral bowl” had kimchi, soft-boiled eggs, kale, sesame tossed kelp noodles, and radish. This is a great spot to get a healthy lunch on the east side of Toronto.
  • Planta restaurant: I loved everything about this restaurant from the beautiful decor to the amazing food and the friendly service. I got the Moroccan salad and iced coffee with coconut milk, and they were both absolutely delicious. I can definitely see myself coming back to try some of their other dishes.
  • Taco farm tortilla chips: I tried these for the first time from the Kitchener Farmer market (although Taco farm has its own brick-and-mortar location in Waterloo too), and their tortilla chips were absolutely amazing. It’s made with only three ingredients (oil, corn flour, and salt), yet has a great taste and crunch.
  • Nadege champagne macaron: A small macaron jam-packed with the fragrant taste of champagne – basically your favourite celebration drink in the form of a tiny dessert.


  • H20 Float: I’ve heard so many things about hydro float therapy (good and bad) that it was about time that I tried it out for myself. Essentially, you float in a pool of super salty water (either in a closed pod or open-concept tub), where your body floats effortlessly to release any tension, pain, or anxiety. I did the 1-hour session and my body felt surprisingly relieved and my skin extraordinarily soft afterwards. It was also so relaxing that I fell asleep halfway through my float. I loved my whole experience and the facility (super clean, professional); I would recommend others to try this at least once.
  • Step up massage: This massage center is no-frills and quite low-key (located next to a Burrito Boys on Adelaide) but delivered a great RMT. The service was professional, and the oils and hot towels used throughout the session provided a great experience that I would recommend to others looking for a massage place downtown.

September Favourites

September’s been a relatively busy month. I’ve started work and have since flown twice to Chicago for training sessions. I’ve also been drinking more coffee (getting back in that work routine) so there are a few caffeine drinks part of this month’s picks. I also went to the Stratford Festival one weekend, which was a great small-town getaway, and below you’ll find a gem of a restaurant recommended.

On the whole, here are a bunch of great little products and places I’ve come across this month.



  • Balzac’s Iced Americano: The Americano at Balzac’s is bold and crisp – just the way I like it (I despise watered down coffee beverages). This café also provides free of charge soy, almond, or coconut milk to add in beverages.
  • MOS MOS: This tiny coffee front inside the Toronto Path is always bustling – don’t be frightened by the long lines though, they tend to move very quickly. I usually go for the regular coffee with one milk and one sugar, a combination that almost tastes of a HK style milk coffee. I’ve recently also tried the chai matcha latte with soy milk, which is absolutely phenomenal.



  • Frank + Oak Women Jeans: I went to the Frank + Oak warehouse sale and got two pairs of jeans: a black pair, fitted at the top and flared at the bottom, and another pair that is white and fitted. I love the jean material, thick and sturdy. Each pair retails for $90 but the price dropped to $30 for this sale event.
  • Topshop Cigarette Cropped Dress Pants: I find it difficult to find work pants that aren’t baggy or boxy in shape, so I was quite happy to find the cigarette style ones at Topshop. These pants are high-waisted, tight at the waist and well-fitted. I bought a pair in black and navy blue, $45 each.



  • Bijou Crostini, Escargot, Weth Mushrooms, 63 Degree Egg, Smoked Cheese at BijouThis beautiful restaurant in Stratford served one of the best dishes I’ve ever had – a textural delight of escargot, creamy poached egg, and silky cheese; all-paired with a thick, crisp crostini. All the flavours worked incredibly well together.
  • Hungry Hippo Coconut Crisps: This snack is so flavourful, crisp, and relatively healthy. I got these coconut crisps at the annual Veg Fest in Toronto, but they’re also available at many grocery stores.
  • IKEA Veggie Meatballs: These veggie balls contain only natural ingredients, including corn, peas, and carrots, which you can actually see as whole pieces inside the balls. They’re flavourful and filling, and make for a healthy substitute to regular meatballs.



  • Lavender Oil Applicator: I stayed at the Westin hotel in Chicago, which provided in every room a small oil applicator scented with lavender. Its gentle scent is soothing, and it’s quite nice to apply some on the wrists or temples when trying to relax or before sleeping.
  • Samsonite Spinner Suitcase: The inside of this suitcase has straps to secure clothing and interior pockets to hold smaller items, helping users stay organized throughout their travels. The wheels also move any direction, allowing users to wheel their suitcase beside them in tighter corridors.

Best Foods in Toronto

One of the things that I appreciate most about Toronto is the diversity of foods available. From Thai to Cuban, I can probably do a world food tour in this one city. I used to have a “one time restaurant” rule, where I would try to go to a restaurant only once so that I could try more places. However, I’ve recently found myself wanting to return to some restaurants in Toronto, just because of the great food and service, and I’ll know what to expect walking in. Here’s a list of some of my favourite places to eat around the city and what to order.



  • La Cubana: This Cuban diner offers a refreshing cultural take on the classic idea of brunch, serving Cuban sandwiches, rice dishes, and smashed plantains for a deliciously hearty meal.
  • Maha’s Fine Egyptian Cuisine: The wait line for this popular brunch spot tends to be ridiculously long, especially on weekends, yet still justified by the amazing (and value) Egyptian dishes. The food is as colourful as it is delicious.
  • Saving Grace: This homey restaurant is the Saturday morning spot to get a good home-cooked brunch in a warm, cozy setting. They have daily features as well as classic morning staples, including banana pancakes, French toast, and egg scrambles.
  • Starving Artist: Everything at this joint is served on waffles, whether it be eggs benedict on miniature waffles or bacon sandwiched inside a warm square waffle. The creative dishes here combine unconventional flavours, yet still turn out delicious.



  • Jacob’s Steakhouse: Renowned for its steak, Jacob’s has an impressive range of cuts available, and the chef here is sure to cook the steak exactly the way it’s been requested. Their Caesar salad also makes for a great starter, and it’s prepared table side.
  • Trattoria Nervosa’s Capensate: Four juicy seared scallops are served on top of a chickpea puree and kale salad, dressed with an artichoke vinaigrette and sprinkled with pistachios. The large scallops are cooked perfectly and their taste contrasts nicely with the earthy complements.



  • Gusto 101’s Mafalde ai Funghi: This complicated-sounding pasta features portobello, porcini, crimini, oyster mushrooms, parmigiano, truffle paste, and a light cream sauce. It’s rich and creamy, and although it did have a strong fungi taste, it wasn’t overwhelming.
  • Mama’s Dumplings: This unassuming restaurant in Chinatown makes the best fresh handmade noodles and dumplings. Try the beef noodle soup and veggie dumplings.
  • Momofuku Daishō Rice Cakes: Their rice cakes are pan fried, forming a crispy exterior while remaining soft and chewy on the inside. They’re mixed together with spicy pork sausage, Chinese broccoli, and tofu.
  • Pai’s Khao Soi: Khao Soi is my favourite Thai dish, ever. It’s a thick curry-based soup with egg noodles and meat, topped with more crispy egg noodles. I also recommend trying the squash fritters and Thai milk iced tea at this restaurant.



  • Lee’s Singaporean Style Slaw: This massive salad features 19 different ingredients; the flavours are explosive and complicated, yet work delightfully well together.
  • Piano Piano’s Chopped Salad: This salad is made of many different ingredients but still maintains a good flavour balance; it consists of of salami, olives, feta, brussel sprouts, oregano, crisp polenta, and dandelions.



  • Jabistro torched sushi: The torched sushi here is done perfectly; Jabistro’s fish is extremely fresh and contrasts well with the slight seared taste.
  • Japango Butterfish Sushi: True to its name, the butterfish is so fresh it literally melts on your tongue like butter.
  • Miku torched sushi: This restaurant by the waterfront is famous for its torched sushi. I would recommend getting the Miku set course dinner to celebrate a special occasion; it’s pricier but worth it for what you get.



  • Bang Bang Ice Cream: The cookies and ice cream here are made in-store, and feature fun, creative flavours like London Fog and burnt toffee. I recommend getting an ice cream cookie sandwich so you get to try both the cookies and the ice cream here!
  • Canoe’s Butter Tart: The ‘deconstructed’ presentation of the butter tart here is a creative twist on the classic favourite, and the view from this upscale restaurant isn’t half bad either.
  • Emma’s Country Kitchen Donuts: This homey brunch spot features creative weekly specials for donuts, with flavours from maple bacon to lemon meringue.



  • El Catrin: This eccentric restaurant in the Distillery District makes the best fish tacos I’ve ever had. The cod is lightly battered, crispy, and oozes with fresh fish on the inside. El Catrin also features the option to add fried crickets in an order of guacamole; I’ve never tried it… but hey, maybe one day.
  • Seven Lives: This iconic spot in Kensington Market serves some of the best tacos in the city, as demonstrated by its wait line that always seems to be trailing out the door. I recommend trying the Gobernador and Baja fish taco.



  • Doomie’s: This “vegan junk food heaven” serves burgers, fries, poutine, and even delicious deep fried mac & cheese balls.
  • Fresh Restaurant’s Quinoa Onion Rings: These humongous onion rings are coated with quinoa and battered to a deep golden perfection.
  • Kupfert & Kim: I’m not vegan, but I enjoy going to Kupfert & Kim quite regularly. Their salad boxes are filling, tasty, and pair nicely with kombucha.