eating avocados a different way


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it’s not hard to tell that i love food.  it’s probably the thing most people remember about me – that i talk about it.  a lot.

people used to suggest i become a food critic or do a blog of restaurant reviews, but the honest truth is, while i am passionate and love food, there’s plenty i don’t eat.

then, there are the foods that i do love to eat, but can only do so in small amounts.  one of these examples?  avocados.

most supermarkets label the ripe ones so you can use them right away instead of waiting for them to ripen. be sure not to get one that's too ripe!

most supermarkets label the ripe ones so you can use them right away instead of waiting for them to ripen. be sure not to get one that’s too ripe!

when you hear/read about avocado, what comes to mind?  Continue reading

stroopwafels – how do i love thee?


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stroop crop

stroopwafels, what’s not to love?

these Dutch cookies (literally translated as “syrup waffles”) are common in the Netherlands.  they can be bought at supermarkets or fresh from vendors at markets.  full disclosure: i have never had a fresh stroopwafel that was not from a supermarket (yet).  i can only imagine they would be out of this world, since the ones i have eaten have been fantastic!

Continue reading

don’t forget the empanadas


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after tips 1,2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 – a final tip on Buenos Aires…

tip #7  eat some empanadas (or take a cooking class and make them!)

thanks lonely planet!  from reading your Buenos Aires travel book during some trip planning, i knew i’d have some time to kill in the city, and decided to book a cooking class.  Continue reading

let’s dance, let’s (Argentinian) tango!


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previously, tips 1 &2, and tips 3 & 4 from my reflections on Buenos Aires…


tip #5 visit a market, but be smart and keep valuables close at hand.

Buenos Aires has different neighbourhoods and the weekends (particularly Sundays) are the days when markets are filled with people.

it's hard to see in the photo, but the sea of people continues to infinity (ok, as long as the street keeps going)

it’s hard to see in the photo, but the sea of people continues to infinity (ok, just seems that way, it’s a pretty long street)

there are markets for food, jewellery, crafts, antiques…the San Telmo market is known for antiques.  it was really something.  so many knick knacks…



and even a place filled only with dolls (*shudder*).


i met an Irish girl while i was in Brazil who foolishly did not lock her backpack (or wear it on her front) and her wallet got snatched by a smooth criminal (unintentional pun, i swear).  like any other big city filled with people, common sense is important but in an unfamiliar city, amp up the safety quotient a couple notches.  the necessity of this was unfortunately a reminder more than once on this trip.  even so, i personally never had any problems.

tip #6 Continue reading

the tale of two peking duck restaurants – part 2


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previously, i ate peking duck at Dayali in Markham.

after that enjoyable meal, i was curious to see how my usual go-to peking duck establishment fared in comparison.

restaurant #2: Chung King Garden (4394 Steeles Ave E., Markham, ON)

this establishment is nestled in between other stores in the outdoor access only section of Market Village. it has been the place i’ve gone to in previous years for a peking duck fix.


as i mentioned in the previous post, many restaurants offer peking duck in a 2 or 3 course format.  the main/first course is always the crispy skin (and some slices of meat) with steamed wraps and condiments.  the wraps can range from delicate and thin (what i prefer), to thick and doughy.

2-course: $38.95   (2nd course either chopped duck pieces or lettuce wraps)

3-course: $43.95  (2nd course soup/broth, 3rd course lettuce wraps)

as i wanted to be able to compare the broth at both places, we opted for the 3 courses. Continue reading

the tale of two peking duck restaurants – part 1


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the holiday season always involves a lot of eating, doesn’t it?

i thought this would be a relevant time to share my recent experiences at two Chinese restaurants in the GTA that offer peking duck (also called beijing style roast duck).


first off, in case you are wondering, my Christmas meal still includes turkey, however peking duck is an any time of year tradition :)  secondly, while i have eaten peking duck in Beijing, this was several years ago, well before i developed an appreciation for what qualities make for a good one.  i had no clue that the bbq roast ducks hanging in the windows of chinese bbq takeout places weren’t really just one and the same.  i’m not sure that a lot of people do know the difference, having read comments about how many restaurants pass off bbq roast duck as peking duck.

what’s the difference? the coles notes version: peking duck involves more preparation steps prior to roasting, including separating the skin from the meat so the skin can really crisp up, and different flavouring ingredients are used.

there are countless places you can go for peking duck in the GTA, so why am i writing about these particular two?  most food aficionados would say these are the most authentically prepared and pretty much that makes them the best in the city.

and detailed reviews of restaurant meals is not usually my ‘thing’ either, but i guess i feel passionately enough about high quality peking duck that it warrants writing about it :)

restaurant #1:  Dayali (20 Gibson Dr, Unit 101-103, Markham, ON) Continue reading

winter wonderland in hyde park


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covent garden

covent garden

Christmas time in London is lovely, with many lights on the main streets and various Christmas trees throughout the city.  although i have been to London before the holidays in the past few years, for whatever reason, i only just learned about “winter wonderland”.

since 2007, hyde park in london, uk, hosts “winter wonderland”, running from late november and ending in early january. a German Christmas market type feel, with added fair rides (think CNE), you can do some souvenir or Christmas shopping or just go for the food and the atmosphere.


if you just want something free to do for an evening, this can also be a good option, since there is no charge for admission.


various rides and amusement park games are available (does cost $)

various rides and amusement park games are available (does cost $)



wooden ties, anyone?

wooden ties, anyone?

so, onto the food.

you can get burgers, and pizza and maybe some healthy veggie friendly food from various stalls. the likes of bratwurst and currywurst are pretty popular, and rightly so – German sausages never go out of style. especially if cooked on a huge circular grill, pretty awesome.


potato pancakes, crepes, churros, fries, mulled wine, mulled cider, beer…





this is the sort of Christmas/winter market i would love to have at home. the rides i guess might be a tough sell if we have a particular snowy and/or cold december, but it seems like something that would be totally feasible down at the Exhibition midway area.

i would love to return again during this time period in future years. getting ready for Christmas with some festive outings at Christmas markets really adds to the holiday season for me.

have you been to London around the holiday season?  what are things worth doing/seeing in the city around this time of year?

to those that also celebrate – Merry Christmas! Happy holidays to all!


a Christmas tree in Southbank