Month: June 2013

Dinner at Pazzo Taverna in Stratford

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It’s been three weeks since I visited Pazzo, but I still think about it now and then. That deep fried buffalo mozzarella….mmm.

Pazzo is a small restaurant that packs a punch! Not only does it consist of the Taverna (main eatery), but it also has a pizzeria in the basement and a bakery next door. (I tried the salted chocolate chip cookie. Heaven.) Whatever they do, they do it well, and it shows.

Pazzo Taverna has appointed Yva Santini as  head chef for 2013. Her dishes are made with fresh sustainable seafood, house-made pastas and locally sourced produce.

 

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We were all collectively wow-d by the three tier seafood appetizer platter that was brought out! The Grande Platter ($145) was heaped with 16 shrimp, fresh scallop ceviche, P.E.I marinated mussel salad, 2 king crab legs, lobster tail & claws, a dozen oysters and tarragon aioli, with warm butter. Eating this in combination with the fresh baked focaccia bread that they brought to start off our meal was heaven.

Next up was a fantastic selection of mozzarella and a variety of bruschetta.

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The bruschetta was delicious, but the cheese from their mozza bar stole the show for me. It was simply amazing. Fresh mozzarella dipped in honey and served with grilled figs, pingue prosciutto. House made burrata with Sicilian olive oil, roasted garlic that melted in your mouth and fried rosemary.

My personal favourite was the Fried burrata with tomato jam and pesto. I could have eaten that entire cheese by myself! Seriously. Each dish was $14 and was served with grilled focaccia.

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House made burrata with sicilian olive oil, roasted garlic and fried rosemary
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fried burrata with tomato jam and pesto

At this point we were all pretty much stuffed. The very last dish to arrive was the gnocci. ($18)

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The gnocci ($18) was served with Baccalà, cream, lemon and black  pepper. I was worried that it would be a very heavy dish, but it was done with a light touch. Baccalà is salted cod. There were small chunks of this lightly salted fish in the creamy lemon sauce. It was the perfect end to a fantastic meal.

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Pazzo is at 70 ONTARIO STREET, Stratford, Ontario.

Persona Leather Wrap Bracelet

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I’ve been admiring Persona bracelets ever since I first came across them on Valentine’s Day.

This summer, I was lucky enough to be able to receive one! My bracelet has a sandy leather double wrap with an elegant sterling silver barrel lock closure. The leather wraps come in several shades and textures. Perfect for summer, my bracelet is accented with three pretty pastel Italian glass beads called “Fun in the Sun.”

One of the things that I love about Persona bracelets is that you can dress them down or up. You can buy sparkly beads, sterling silver charms and playful enamel ones. You can wear a more causal leather wrap, or you can choose to get sterling silver. The choices are many, and they are all yours! Plus, they always have promotions. Right now, you can buy any bead and get 50% off of their pearl collection.

Here are some beads that I’m considering adding to my bracelet. What would you add to your Persona bracelet?

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Blunt XS Metro Umbrella Review

 

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This little guy is the Blunt XS Metro, and it’s been a lifesaver for this past month. I’m not sure where you live, but in Toronto it’s been pouring almost constantly this spring.

The Blunt XS Metro is a tough, durable (not to mention adorable) umbrella. It features blunt tips that form part of the RTS system. This system redirects, transfers and distributes the effort used in opening the umbrella throughout its entire canopy surface.

It makes the umbrella super strong and almost impossible to get turned inside out from the wind! It’s excellent for travel or stashing in a tote bag. The automatic open button is handy,and the umbrella is available in an array of beautiful colours! I chose yellow to brighten up gloomy rainy days.

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The Blunt XS Metro retails for $49.99 and can be found at The Sporting Life  and Ziggy’s at Home in Toronto.

Miami Living in Toronto at Cabana Pool Bar

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Cabana Bar is exactly how I picture Miami in my head. Lots of white, people hanging out in bikinis and swimming in infinity pools while holding cocktails. Welcome to Cabana Bar, a little piece of the beach life in the city. Cabana Bar just opened this weekend, and yet it already seems like the majority of people I know have been there. (On Saturday the weather was perfect, so I don’t blame them.)

Entry on Saturdays is $10, or $20 if you’d like to swim in their beautiful pool. The vibe is very daytime clubbing. Pulsing dance music and girls dancing on the tables in bikinis. (for real.) Shisha is available, if you enjoy that, and tables have bottle service.

Oliver & Bonacini has created an interesting menu of sandwiches, wraps and appetizers. We tried the grilled angus beef burger, heirloom tomato and watermelon salad, and classic poutine. We found the food to be fine, but nothing outstanding. Our waitress also messed up our order several times, and service was slow. Still, this was their opening weekend, so maybe they need time to adjust.

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Cabana has room for a whopping 2,500 (standing) on their 50,000 sq. foot enclosed patio area. They also have 12 elevated and private cabanas. If you love to soak up the sun, people watch and pretend that you live in Miami, then this is the place for you. It’s certainly a nice way to spend a Saturday!

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Starting in July, Cabana Pool Bar will be open 7 days a week. The bar is located at  11 Polson Street, Toronto, Ontario .

Loft announces new locations in Ontario

 

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Guess what? One of my all time favourite stores, LOFT, is opening up 4 brand new stores in Ontario! On Friday, they will have a grand opening celebration at their new Eaton Center location. Stop by the store this Thursday, June 13 between 5 and 9 p.m. to enjoy treats, live music and 20% off full-price purchases!

Loft has affordable (especially when they go on sale) and stylish clothing with great cuts and fun patterns. They fit all ranges of sizes, from petite to extra large.

Later this year, LOFT will be opening up at Lime Ridge Mall in Hamilton in July, Markville Shopping Centre in Markham in August and Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga in October. Take a look at some of their summer styles below and online!

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5 Things I Learned From TBEX

Deciding to attend TBEX was the best $60 I ever spent. The Travel Blogger Exchange was held in Toronto last weekend, and I’m still recovering. TBEX is the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, and new media content creators. It was an exhilarating whirlwind of meeting like-minded people that loved to travel!

I attended a writing workshop, a delicious Leslieville food tour and a fantastic pre-tbex trip to Stratford.

If you are a newbie blogger thinking of attending, go. If you are an expert blogger thinking of attending, go. You’ll meet amazing people and learn so much! Here are some things that I learned.

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1. Toronto is an amazing city.

Now, I already knew this, (obviously. I live here! ) but it was amazing to see so many bloggers and sponsors complimenting Toronto! It made me really proud. Toronto Tourism threw a fantastic party that featured all the different food areas of the city at Roy Thompson Hall. It literally blew my mind. So many inventive and creative dishes! Do you see the giant gummi bears? Great job guys!

2. Travel bloggers are awesome!

Travel bloggers are generally a friendly, energetic bunch. I met so many new friends, and met old Twitter friends in the flesh.

One thing that surprised me was that there are so many different types of travel bloggers! I expected most people to be in their gap year traveling the world, or perhaps they had quit their job and now travel for fun.

I met those types of bloggers and more. I met flight attendants, retirees, weekend travelers, luxury travelers, slow travelers, 48 hour travelers and more!

3. You’ll learn so many new things

Not only are there many workshops and sessions for you to attend, but you’ll learn from other bloggers! I spent lots of time trading tips and tricks with bloggers outside of the scheduled session.

4. Speed dating is not the only way to connect with brands and companies

I signed up for speed dating, and I was able to connect with lots of destinations and brands. Some of the key places that I really wanted to connect with had filled up. I sent a few of those brands messages through Blogger Bridge and they were happy to meet with me outside of their scheduled time.

Aside from that, many companies were open to informal meetings during the Open Marketplace and at lunch time. Don’t give up, you’ll get to talk to them!

5. It pays to have a media kit

I decided to create a media kit to bring with me and share with brands that I really wanted to work with. The media kit outlined my blog mission, target audience, previous partnerships and mission statement. It was bright and colourful, and branded with my logo. I was surprised to see that this got a lot of positive feedback, and many bloggers and brands were impressed.  It was definitely worth the time and effort I put into it!

If you missed out, TBEX will be returning in the fall..in Dublin!! Check it out.

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