desserts, events, food, friends, toronto

Zomato One Month Meet Up

Zomato Toronto launched at the end of October and I had to opportunity to attend one of their meetups in December which was in celebration of their one month launch. Zomato hosts several small group setting meetups for their blogger users to get to know Zomato and their fellow foodies better. I was quite excited to be able to attend since I don’t usually get invited to any, and in the past it was very inconvenient for me to attend anything downtown since I worked in Mississauga (near Oakville far). But I had recently just switched jobs and am in financial district now!

Honestly, I thought this was going to be a larger scale event since I was told it was in celebration of their launch…so I asked to bring a plus one in case it was very awkward / boring. But turned out it was small scale, nobody else brought a plus one, and everyone invited that night was female.. (Oops, sorry Isaac…though honestly you should be thanking me, getting to be surrounded by like 7 girls).

The event was hosted at The Beverley who volunteered their venue up to Zomato. Nothing about the menu was disclosed until we arrived, and I was pretty impressed that we would be getting a full 4 course meal and a mojito (for free too). The Beverly was given free reign on choosing the menu and their final selection was of their best dishes which they want to showcase.

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First course – Lovell Springs Trout with puffed rice, cucumber, fennel, smoked grapes, pickled mustard seed

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Second course – Confit Pheasant Leg with pickled mushroom, strawberry gastrique, green icicle radish

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Third course – Wagyu Blade Steak with beet & truffle tortellini, horseradish potato, red wine jus

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Fourth course – Spiced Apple Cake with dark beer caramel, granola, vanilla ice cream

 

Both the chefs Jonny OC  (his instagram is spot on) and Binh An Nguyen came out to explain the dishes as each one arrived, they also prepared a vegetarian option as well! The staff were very kind and at times turned the lights brighter to assist in the photography, haha. My favourite (and also most people’s) was the Wagyu Blade Steak. It was most interesting out of the 4 since it came with a horseradish potato mash, truffle tortellini and my favourite from watching way too much Master Chef – purple cauliflower.

I’m definitely looking forward to trying out more restaurants now that I am downtown. Since my 2 weeks of working downtown, I have only gone to Blowfish and random joints within the PATH. Let me know if you have suggestions, I don’t follow any food blogs anymore : /


The Beverley Hotel on Urbanspoon

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life

Goodbye, 2014.

This year has honestly sped by so quickly that I am not quite sure if I’ll be able to compile a list of moments that I am proud of accomplishing within the year.  But here goes anyway, in no particular order of things that I am happy about in 2014. Simply just what came to mind.

  1. Passing Year 1 of CMA (half a year to go!)
  2. Got a new job (finally! managed to squeeze it in before the year ended, super clutch)
  3. Joined the gym and have been actively going at least 2-3 times a week….excluding the past holidays…
  4. Managed to read a new book – An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
  5. Made some awesome new friends and got to know some older friends better
  6. Sorta perfected the Salmon Wellington
  7. Discovered some talent in scrapbooking (still working on finishing it)
  8. Levelled up my eyebrow game (my favourite aesthetic trait…)
  9. Kept in touch with all friends who moved out of town this year at a satisfactory level (still miss you guys lots and wish the time zones worked more favourably)
  10. Got to be apart of the Zomato Canada launch (albeit small it was)
  11. Won several medals with the PaddleBears this year <3
  12. Successfully took public transit and driving downtown all on my own (quite a feat I must say)
  13. On the most part completed a marketing campaign for MSYG and elderly awareness, and had an interview about it broadcasted on TV and radio

Looking at my list I feel like I must have done more since it was a good and enjoyable year…but I don’t want to dwell and rack my brain trying to think of more brag-worthy successes…not that any of the above mentioned are. I suppose a lot of the things that make me happy are not necessarily “big” events but small everyday joys. Sometimes what makes me happy on an everyday basis is simply my friends tagging me on funny and relatable Instagram pictures (ahem Nancy with the sarcastic ecards) or my cat willing to sleep beside me at night : 3

Here are what resolutions I can come up with thus far for the new year.

  1. Continue working out at least 2-3 times a week
  2. Read more – daily
  3. Cook more by trying out new recipes – monthly
  4. Assist with household chores more ._.
  5. Blog at least once a month and in a more timely manner
  6. Be grateful
  7. Not really a resolution but more of a goals that I want to pursue – study/review Japanese, attempt drawing/painting/art, and attempting to do OOTD’s towards having some sort of fashion related blog/social media

I personally don’t really like following guidelines and budgets sort of things because I want to be able to do what I want; as long as it is within reason – and I would be anyway. So my resolutions are more of just reminders to myself. But with the new year there is a feeling of a new start and I think that gives some motivation to work harder towards any personal goals!

I read somewhere that it only takes about 60 (or 70) days to form a habit, so we just need to keep it up for about 2-3 months and the new year resolutions should be a go! As long as they were set realistically and measurable : ) SMART goals people, haha.

Have a happy new year everyone!

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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 – 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!!!
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#sunsoutgunsout as always.

Let’s go for gold next year too Paddle Bears! #wefight
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