desserts, events, fashion, food, friends, life, toronto

My Bougie Birthday Brunch Buffet

Adrienne brought me out to Colette Grand Cafe for a brunch buffet in celebration for my 24th birthday.  Colette is a french cuisine restaurant and bakery which just started offering brunch on Sundays as of September 2014.  The pictures of the interior as well as the food on their website got me sold even though the brunch does come at a hefty price of $50 per adult. And it really is quite beautiful in person too!

There isn’t a tremendous variety of food, but everything offered was definitely a must have unlike regular buffets where I skip many of the dishes.¬† There is a grand seafood section, a charcuterie and cheese section, hot foods section, and of course fruits and dessert section.¬† We had 3 rounds of food in order to sample everything. My personal favourites were the smoked salmon, charcuterie/cheese, cheesecake and apple rice pudding. I think the desserts do change depending when you go however because some of the cakes had changed¬†during our meal.

I really enjoyed brunch there, the location and ambiance was lovely, and it is worth the indulgence once in a while : )

 

Bonus pictures of majorly beautified selfies of us. #photowondermagic
Thanks Adrienne : ‘) ¬†you know the way into my fat bougie heart.

 

Colette Grand Cafe on Urbanspoon

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friends, life, toronto

Hiking and Photography

The first time I went hiking, it was more of a chore than anything.¬† It was probably over 4 years ago when I had my very first hiking experience. I was a counselor at Vision Youth Leadership Program and part of the program was to partake on 2 different hikes – a day trip and a 2 day trip. Because of this, I even bought my own pair of hiking shoes. Now that I’m older and have gotten more interested in fitness and photography (purely on my phone though), these shoes have finally come to good use.

I went hiking earlier this year with Beatrice, Nancy and James at the Seaton Trail in Whitevale, Pickering which was a relatively easy hike. It’s a pretty straight forward path, one that doesn’t branch out to many other forks/paths but didn’t have as many “sight seeing” points. Or maybe there is more just off this particular trail I was on, since there are supposed to be fishing locations in the area.

Recently I went with my friend Michelle to the trails at Rouge Conservation Park. We were told that we could see salmon swimming on their trek upstream there. Unfortunately we did not see any ….. not sure if we had missed the right timing, weren’t at the right part of the rivers, or we just had poor eyesight.¬† I believe we were on the Orchard trail. We went through many of the forks and smaller paths so we did get pretty close to the riverside.¬†

It was also a slightly overcast looking day, but I still managed to do my best with my hiking photo shoot. Thanks Michelle for being my fellow photographer and model :)

 

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events, friends, life, toronto

I went to BATL.

I wanted to have my birthday at BATL (Backyard Axe Throwing League) this year. I even had a great name thought out for my event – Whitney’s Birthday BATL.¬† Not very creative, but it sounded badass in my mind, okay? However, Jeremy (though to no fault of his own lol, still love you bro.) stole my thunder and had his birthday there before me!!!

One main reason as to why I wanted to have my birthday at BATL is that you can have an event for up to 40 people. So nobody gets left out! And it’s also great practice for if you are like me, obsessed with The Walking Dead and feel the need to be prepared for any zombie apocalypse that may come.

BATL runs in a tournament style. We had 4 boards that would allow 2 games to be played simultaneously. After a bit of training and practice, everyone was put into a round robin style match up. We each had 3 games, and each game consisted of 3 rounds – each round you get 5 shots. If you win 2/3 of the rounds, you win the game!

I was horrible at axe throwing and I blame it completely on my physical stature and that the employees didn’t know how to properly help me improve. It took advice from 3 different employees combined that I was able to properly hit the target on the board. I was standing too close, didn’t have my arm all the way back, and also didn’t throw with enough momentum (to make up for my lack of strength I assume). Thankfully towards the end, I was able to get it and I think I even hit the bulls eye once!

Unfortunately some boards were much easier to sink the axe in than others so the competition wasn’t really fair. And at the final match ups to see who would move on to quarter-finals I lost 1-2 because I was starting off at the board that was more difficult :'(

Overall it was a very fun experience, when else do you get to throw an axe and have a competition out of it? I think the price sounds steep at first at $40, but you do get to participate much more than I expected. If there is a tie breaker, you also get to throw a giant axe!! I did not have such an opportunity.

The sad thing was however, I injured my thumb somehow from this. I think my grip was in an unnatural position, and because I am double jointed I somehow overstretched my thumb. It was very creepy because I couldn’t hold things with my left hand properly for about 2 days – healed now though! Though if my thumb ever feels stiff or weird, I blame it on BATL.

If you want to go to BATL remember to make reservations fast! The prime times are usually booked up months in advance.

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events, food, toronto

Zomato Launch in Toronto

Zomato Canada  (1)

Zomato is an online and mobile restaurant search and discovery service and has finally made its entry into North America ‚Äď launching first with our very own Toronto! And I have been lucky to be chosen as one of the first few Toronto users¬†on¬†this platform. ¬†Zomato covers over 11,000 restaurants in the GTA and is available to all on the web (www.zomato.com) or on mobile through their free Zomato app (compatible with iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry). Zomato’s Canadian launch has been in the work for months and I have been in contact with the Zomato team throughout to provide the little bit of foodie knowledge that I have.

Zomato allows users to browse restaurant information, read and curate restaurant reviews, share pictures and also build a personal network of foodies whose opinions you trust! With the mobile app you are also able to discover restaurants nearby based on your location as well as retrieving information on any other restaurant within the city. In a sense Zomato is like our favourite restaurant searching apps like Urbanspoon and Yelp crossed over with our check-in apps Foursquare and Swarm.   Now if Zomato could add in our beloved points system and mayorships that would be perfect!

It’s very exciting that Toronto is able to be apart of the Zomato network and also be chosen as their first North American city to launch in. It’s because they know Torontonians are food lovers ; )    Over the next few months Zomato will be expanding across Canada and reaching cities such as Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary too!

This is what the app looks like on Android!  (I have an iPhone and it looks pretty similar on iOS too)

Check out the app and tell me what you think! I’m still in the middle of my trial run as well : ) ¬†But I’m definitely excited to have an app that combines all of my favourite “foodie” apps into one.

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dragonboat, events, friends

Dragonboat Season 2014

Dragon boat season has finally come to an end. And we definitely ended it in a bang winning our 4th medal for the year and finally a Gold one! ¬†In honesty, I feel the season never truly ends since land practice will begin again in late October – which is only about 1 month away. ¬†Let’s cherish those Sunday mornings of¬†sleeping in while we can.

This year started off kinda iffy for me because many of my friends on the team from last year dropped out for one reason or another and a lot of the new recruits had never paddled before. ¬†But this had given me the opportunity to get to know other continuing team mates better, and also meet a bunch of new friends! I’m really glad how everything turned out (although still hoping past members will return!) because I made a lot of new close friends this year :) ¬† ¬†#TEAMVAN aka #teamwhitney
We had 3 races this year, Pickering Dragon Boat Club Festival in May, Toronto International Dragon Boat Festival in June, and GWN Dragon Boat Challenge in September. Although we struggled during the year with a less experienced (and less buff) team we managed to pull through each race to place and win medals. And our time improved from last year too. I can’t remember all our race times, but our last race at GWN, our final and best race time was a flat 2:24. I’m realistically aiming for a 2:20 next year :3
Although I hate land practice, homework work-outs *coughShanecough* and the early mornings – I still love the sport and am definitely continuing with the team next year <3 I even got my own paddle this year!!!
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

#sunsoutgunsout as always.

Let’s go for gold next year too Paddle Bears! #wefight
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events, food, friends, life, toronto

Adrienne Powers Up 1 !!!!

It was Adrienne’s 23rd birthday celebration last weekend and I had been looking forward to it since she posted the set menu Rodney’s Oyster House had prepared for her. I’ve never been to Rodney’s before since I’m not a big fan of raw oysters, so this was a great way for me to try out a lot of their offerings. It¬†was also amazingly cool and helpful of them to offer to provide a set menu since we did have a large group.

To start, we had oysters on the half shell (I arrived fashionably late with Dom so we missed what these were), lettuce wraps with grilled portobello, avocado, pickled peaches, citrus aioli, fresh chillis and cilantro, and then PEI mussels in dill, garlic and white wine. ¬†There was also chicken bites for those who didn’t enjoy seafood.

Next, the entrees came in the most baus way possible – all 3 entrees and 1 side put on a huge wooden trough-like thing, which was so large that it had to be carried in by 2 people!!! Everybody’s phone and cameras came out in a flash. The entrees consisted of lobster club sandwiches (everyone’s favourite), a roasted pepper, caramelized onion and potato frittata, and flank steak in chimichurri sauce. Our sides were Boston Bibb, tomato, goat cheese salad and onion rings.
A party is also never a party without selfies and selfie contests. Here’s a compilation of our best shots:
Cake for the birthday girl. Happy Birthday Adrienne <3 !!!
Photo 2014-08-22, 10 55 43 PM

 

And lastly, a group photo.
Photo 2014-08-22, 11 45 58 PM



Rodney's Oyster House on Urbanspoon

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food, friends, life, toronto

Kyukyoku at JaBistro

If you don’t already know, my¬†favourite type of cuisine is hands down, Japanese food. I’m always on the scout for the best izakaya or best sushi restaurant in Toronto. My favourites so far are Fin¬†Izakaya,¬†Guu Izakaya, and Inakaya. ¬†Let me know what your favourites are!

One day in the midst of a sushi craving, Adrienne and I decided to finally check out the famous JaBistro. What intrigued me most about JaBistro was the fact that other than Omakase they offered what they call “Kyukyoku” on the menu, which is 12 pieces of market fresh sushi. This seemed very similar to the type of style sushi restaurants within Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan serves, so I was sold. ¬† We also happened to get sushi bar seats so we could sit right by the chef and get each piece of sushi presented to us individually throughout the meal. Much like at Tsukiji !!!

The presentation of each sushi was amazing and I’m sure I looked like a creep taking pictures close up at the bar multiple times during the dinner, but I could not resist when given such a photo perfect opportunity! One thing I really liked about how JaBistro served their sushi was they already brushed each sushi piece with soy sauce. It’s always difficult (at least for me) to get soy sauce on the sashimi side without getting it on the rice, all while not breaking the sushi as a whole… so this was a major plus for me. ¬† However, the fact that they prepared the sushi also meant they already put wasabi within each sushi too. And as I am not a fan of wasabi, taste wise I was a bit put off.

My favourite sushi of the night was chuutoro, tako, and wagyuu. I hate to admit it, but the wagyuu was my favourite despite it wasn’t even seafood.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about JaBistro especially since it is on the pricey side, but I do recommend trying the Kyukyoku or the Omakase (and request a bar seat) since the ambience and experience of receiving each item personally really made a big¬†difference. To me, it doesn’t come close to ¬†Tsukiji, but I really enjoyed my meal at JaBistro and it may really be the closest to it Toronto has to offer. ¬†However, Inakaya would still be my #1 Japanese restaurant!

Side note: On the same day we went to watch The Lion King musical (which was really good, highly recommended especially if you love the songs) and also came across the Toronto x Game of Thrones event. We already went to the exhibit last year so we didn’t bother waiting in the cold for extra tickets. I did however get a picture with someone who was either cosplaying as Daenerys Tagaryen OR¬†was hired to be her? ¬† I look like I belong entirely in House Stark with my fur cape : 3

2014-05-17 18.06.17

 
JaBistro on Urbanspoon

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