Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Date Night at e11even

My favourite night of the week? Date night.

As the cold weather & snow welcomes us into December, all John & I want to do in the evenings is eat some good food and drink wine. And last weekend, we did just that at e11even.

I am someone who will always look at a menu online before going to eat there. It takes me forever to decide what to eat if I don't haha. So although I had a couple things in mind of what I wanted, luckily, e11even put together a little menu for us with some of the dishes they thought were perfect for the holidays.

Monday, November 27, 2017 / Nashville, TN, USA

Weekend Getaway to Nashville, TN

Grab your whiskeys on ice & experience music on fire in Nashville, Tennessee.

Visiting Nashville was one of the best vacations I went on this year.
Disclaimer: it may be because all I did was eat and drink haha.

Nicknamed Music City for obvious reasons, I had the best time bar hopping, or honky-tonk hopping, all while listening to live country music. Everyone says that the best time to visit Nashville is during autumn, mainly due to weather, & I'd have to agree. We went in November & it was warm with the perfect amount of breeze - basically t-shirt weather during the day & at night, you're able to wear cute boots (without your feet getting sweaty lol)!

Located in the Upper South, you won't be able to escape the southern cuisine and hospitality. One piece of advice? Leave your diet at home.

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Places To Eat & Drink

Gray & Dudley — Locally sourced ingredients really makes a difference and you can tell if you eat here. I could barely stop gushing over how delicious my braised ribs were. They also serve a mean old fashioned.

The Flipside — Order yourself a plate of tots and chicken (with 21 different toppings) in a retro-styled diner, with an enormous bloody mary on the side? Yes please.

Marsh House — They're known for their buttery biscuits & I can attest to that. I could barely stop licking my fingers after. They also serve the freshest seafood dishes (oh hi oyster platter) & recently won the best fried dish with their shrimp toast.

Biscuit Love — The hype is real. Although there is always a line out the door, it'll be worth it once you get your hands on a East Nasty - a piece of fried chicken in-between a buttery biscuit smothered in sausage gravy (pictured above). Pro Tip: if you don't want to wait an hour in line, head over to Biscuit Love's new location in Hillsboro Village.

Hattie B's Hot Chicken — Speaking of fried chicken, you haven't had it good until you've had it hot from Hattie B's. I personally can't handle spicy food, which is why I'm smiling like this here lol, but the above was still some of the best I've had & their constant line up is a true testament to it's goodness.

ACME Feed & Seed — This three-story building has different vibes on each floor. So depending on your mood, you can enjoy fast-casual cuisine while trying out the 28 different beers on tap on the first floor - OR you can lounge around on the second floor by playing vintage games & order from an extensive bourbon/whiskey collection.

Tootsie's — 3 story bar with a bar on each floor & different types of music (live music, of course) on each floor? Hellya.

Legends Corner — Recently voted as the number one Country Bar in Nashville! And you just know it'll be a good time if a place is always packed with people no matter what day of the week or time of day.

Things To Do

Visit Broadway Street — Also known as "Nash Vegas", because of the strips of honky tonks spread out over 5 blocks. If there's one thing you must do in Nashville, it's this.

Tour the Grand Ole Opry  To listen to live country music at a honky tonk is one thing, but to hear a mix of new stars and legends perform on stage is another. Be sure to book in a show if you have time!

Attend a NFL/NHL Game  If you're a lover of either of these sports & there's a game going on when you're in town, this is a no brainer. But even if you aren't, the atmosphere when you're in the stadium is something you have to experience. Also, when there's alcohol involved, why not?

Browse around the Country Music Hall of Fame — just cause you're in Music City. But also, only recommended if you are a huge fan of country music and stars. 

Explore the city by foot & find the wall murals  There are a number of iconic walls you have to take pictures in front of (yes, you'll have to line up to get a picture). The "I Believe in Nashville" sign is located in 12 South with the exact location here. For a great compilation of wall murals in different areas, visit this site!

Where To Stay

Union Station Hotel — The perfect mix between a modern hotel with an old flair, as it was originally a railroad terminal in 1900. The train lines under the hotel are still running, but you won't need to take a train to get to the Broadway strip or The Gulch area.

21c Museum Hotel Nashville — Steps away from Broadway & the water, this hotel made museum can be your perfect home for the weekend. It's quiet throughout the day, but you're always just a stone throws away from the action. It is also home to the yummiest restaurant, Gray & Dudley, so book your resos here.

Thompson Hotel — Located in The Gulch, which I would call the Liberty Village area of Toronto, this luxury hotel is a great place to stay. It has a stunning rooftop bar, LA Jackson, which a great view of the city's skyline. It is also just quick ride away from the 12 South area & the Broadway strip.

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& there you have it! I hope this travel guide either convinced you to want to visit Nashville or helped you plan your trip :) 

Thursday, November 09, 2017 / Toronto, ON, Canada

Dining at Victor Restaurant

One of the most difficult decisions I have to make when thinking of where to go eat is what cuisine I feel like eating (lol, I know - #firstworldproblems). So I just love it when restaurants have a bit of everything on their menu, like Victor Restaurant. Next to the restaurant, there is also a cafe where you are able to pick up little pastries and coffee. 

Victor Restaurant is actually located in the Le Germain Hotel on Mercer Street, so it made sense that I order the Le  Germain cocktail ;) St. Germain elderflower liqueur and pearl cucumber vodka topped with frothy egg whites... It was the perfect thing to sip to start off my meal!

Before we got to the restaurant, I actually took a look at the menu online. There is literally any kind of food you could want - salad, raw seafood platters, mac & cheese, steak, fish, you name it. They also had vegan options too! And because of this variety, we were able to pick and choose exactly what we wanted to eat. Here is a list of what we ordered:

• Small Seafood Platter: 4 oysters, 2 crab claws, 2 shrimps, 2 scallops, & 1 lobster tail
• Pesto Crusted Halibut with Confit Tomatoes
• 8oz Beef Tenderloin
• Smoked Mac & Cheese

The seafood platter was to die for & I have to say that I was quite shellfish... I ate all the oysters and scallops & shared the lobster and crab legs with John fifty-fifty (aka I basically ate the whole platter lol oops). I ordered the halibut and J ordered the beef tenderloin, which was perfect since I wanted both hehe. We debated ordering the side of mac & cheese and am so glad we did. I devoured that side dish, and feel like I'd be back just to eat the mac & cheese haha. 

Overall, the food was great and the service was very attentive. I also found that the crowd dining at Victor was a great mix. There were hotel guests, people going on dates (haha like me), fancy group dinners, casual family dinners, etc. What I also really liked about Victor was how aesthetically pleasing the space was. I mean, look at the plush booths and the tiles of the cafe?! I can definitely see myself hanging out at the cafe and take pictures with the tiles haha. Safe to say I'll be back soon!


Friday, November 03, 2017

DIY Project: Instax Photo Frame

Who else remembers the days of travelling around with a disposable camera where you have to spin the wheel on the top right after snapping a shot? And then when you go get it developed, you realize that the flash on the camera is horrible and that half the shots have your finger in it? Hahaha. Those were the days.

I was always someone who developed photos and put them in photo albums. I just love flipping through them a couple years later to relive those memories! This year, I've visited 9 cities so far & really wanted to find a way to showcase it in my room. I was going to go develop my photos at Costco or Walmart but then, I discovered the best thing ever: Fujifilm's Instax Smartphone Printer.

I got the Instax Share SP-2 printer this summer & all you need to do is send a picture to the printer from your smartphone over wifi to get it printed! To prove how easy & fun this little invention is, I decided to make my own frame to showcase some of my favourite travel moments this year. So I bought a frame from Michaels (clear, so that you can remove the top glass), a spool of string, and some baby clothespins.

I chose and edited the photos I wanted to put in the frame on my phone, and sent them to the printer. It only takes 10 seconds to print 1 photo lol. Yup, it's that simple! Just hang up three lines of string like I did in the photo below while you wait for the photos to develop. Finally, just clip the photos on!! If this isn't the easiest little frame to make, I don't know what else to say.

The best thing about it is that you can easily print other photos as time passes & replace it in the frame! I absolutely love my little frame as it holds a couple of my favourite memories in 2017!

I also really like this printer because you're able to edit the photos & make sure it's how you want it before you print it out. So have fun & go nuts! You'll never have to worry about your instant photo having a weird colour or printing with your finger in the corner. You can now pick and perfect your photo before printing :) perfect!

*Please note that this post was done in partnership with Fujifilm. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

From Italy with Amore, from Loblaws

Earlier this week, I visited Loblaws at the Maple Leaf Gardens to learn about the Italian cuisine and culture from Chef Massimo Bruno. He also taught us how to make simple, yet delicious, Italian dishes (obvs pasta - my fave) and how to pick out authentic Italian ingredients at your local grocery store. We did all of this while cooking, eating, and drinking. Honestly, what else could I have asked for on a Monday evening?!

Monday, October 09, 2017

6 Instagram Spots in Prague

But I'm 100% sure that I'm not the only one...who wants a good Instagram photo.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Enjoy Patio Weather at Jules Bistro

Can you believe it's nearing the end of September already?! I can't!! August & September passed by so quickly for me, and although the weather is gorgeous right now, I'm so sad to see summer leave! Back looking back on my photos from the summer, a particular memory comes to mind when I think of patio season which I'll talk about here today :)

Monday, September 18, 2017

CODA Restaurant • Prague

When finding places to eat when I travel, I always try to find spots that serve delicious food (lol obviously) and great views. I mean, you have to be efficient! Who doesn’t want to be able to “sightsee” while they eat? CODA, the restaurant located at the Aria Hotel in Prague, met that exact criteria. Located in the heart of old Praha, CODA is the perfect restaurant to go to after a morning of exploring Prague Castle. Besides having a beautiful dining room in the hotel, which can be used for private events, they have a rooftop terrace that I would highly recommend you to sit at. It gives you a stunning view of the city.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Summer Coppo Salad

Guys, did summer come back and give us an extra week?! I am loving this warm weather this week, as opposed to the cold winds that were giving me chills last week. I'm definitely taking full advantage of this weather until it's gone! Enjoying the last bit of summer means being outside, and maybe even enjoying a BBQ on the patio.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017 / 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, UK

STAY: Shangri-La at the Shard • London, UK

"Is this real life?!" - the repeating phrase that was going through my head during the first 5 minutes as I walked around my Deluxe City View room at the Shangri-La during my stay in London, UK.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Penne alla Vodka & Capocollo

If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed that all my meals that I eat involve carbs - specifically, pasta. Another thing I always have in the fridge is charcuterie. I find it to be one of the most satisfying little snacks you can have on the go whenever. So when I was asked how I would incorporate capocollo into one of my every day meals, I naturally thought PASTA.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Diwan at the Aga Khan Museum

Walking into Diwan, you are immediately transported to another part of the world. The décor is made up of decorated wooden panels that were hand-carved and painted in Damascus back in 1799. Sitting by the window at Diwan, you're able to have a stunning view of the gardens of Aga Khan Park (which we totally frolicked around in afterwards). The floor to ceiling windows really make it the perfect spot to spend an afternoon.

Chef Mark McEwan is the mastermind behind the menu at Diwan. With the menu focused around using innovative approaches to Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian cuisine, we knew we were in for a treat. But with summer in full effect, it comes with no surprise that Diwan would open up their patio and launch a new summer menu. It features a range of sharing plates with flavours from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, North Africa, and Turkey. Below are the items that we got to taste (a combination of their regular lunch menu + the new menu).

• Sweet Onion Bahji with tamarind chutney
• Advieh Spiced Calamari with Aleppo aioli
Borani-e-Bademjan, a yogurt and eggplant dip with naan
Lamb Kofta Meatballs with corn, and coconut curry
• Chicken Shwarma Salad with shawarma-spiced chicken breast, romaine, quinoa, tomato, cucumber, onion, chickpea puree, egg, tahini yogurt, and naan
• Grilled Octopus and Chickpea Salad with Moroccan olives, stewed sweet peppers, and Aleppo aioli
• Walnut and Pistachio Filo Rolls with honey lavender syrup topped with fig gelato
Strawberry Cheesecake Panna Cotta topped with raspberries and meringue

Out of the items that we tasted, my favourites were definitely the lamb kofta meatballs and the grilled octopus. The lamb kofta meatballs were swimming in the most delicious corn and cocunut curry. I smothered as much curry as I could on those meatballs! The grilled octopus is actually cooked three times - boiled, baked, and then grilled until cooked to tender perfection. A surprise favourite was the bahji. We actually didn't order it but our waiter highly recommended for us to give it a try, and I'm so glad we did. It was the perfect crunchiness of a fried sweet onion when dipped in a delectable chutney sauce. See below for photos from our dining experience.

On another note, if you've never been to the Aga Khan Museum, you have to make your way over here. The space is just stunning, including the gardens of the Aga Khan Park. Tell me what you think of it!

I mean... Can anyone not like this place?! Open for lunch on Tuesdays through Sundays (11:30am to 2:30pm), I'd suggest for you to make this into an afternoon affair. Come and relax in this gorgeous garden, and walk through the museum. At the end of your exploration, sit out on the patio & order a couple delicious dishes at Diwan. You won't regret it!

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