Posts Tagged ‘toronto’

Cherry Blossoms in High Park 2013



One year, I went to High Park and all of the cherry blossoms were gone. That was incredibly sad, so each year I make sure to follow the Cherry Blossom Watch so that I won’t miss out!

If you’ve been waiting, wait no more! The cherry blossoms have peaked and will be around for the next two weeks. Go and see them! Be careful where you park, because it can be hard to find a spot and you will get ticketed if you park in the wrong spot!








California dreaming with iYellow Wine Club



When I first came across iYellow Wine Club, I was intrigued. I’ve been to wine classes before (notably, the LCBO class I took a couple of years ago) but I am by no means an expert. I was very excited to be a guest at the final session of one of their classes.

Angela and Chris

Angela and Taylor

The founder of iYellow Wine Club is Angela Aiello. She designed the club to help build wine confidence. With this club, you can taste, learn and have fun with wine.

The Winter session classes were held weekly at the lovely Ritz Carlton Hotel from Feb until April. Each class ran from 6-7:30pm and is $45 per class. At each class you get to taste 6 wines all paired with (DELICIOUS) cheeses specially selected from the TOCA Cheese Cave. The theme for the winter classes was California Wines.

blind taste test!

blind taste test!

I unwittingly arrived on exam day. The class had to blind taste  6 wines, 3 white and 3 red. We had to guess the grape, vintage (how old the wine is) and region. Needless to say, I just watched. And was amazed! This class knew their stuff. The class was fun and informal. Sommelier Taylor Thompson and Angela were charming and informative as we tasted each wine.

Here are some things that I learned:

  • Wine legs are the streaks of wine the fall down the glass after you have swirled the wine. If the legs fall quickly, the wine could be from a cool climate.
  • If wines are called a specific grape, it must contain at least 75% of the grape
  • Don’t know what to say about tasting notes in a white wine? Try pear, there is almost always a note of pear in a white wine
  • If the wine is a ruby red colour, it’s a young wine. Red wine gets brown with age.
  • If the wine has less acidity, it could be a warmer wine.
  • If you taste leather or earth, the wine has been aged.

The wines we tasted included: Entwine, Bonterra Piont Noir,and Silver Palm chardonnay. Yum.

After the quiz, our wines were accompanied with some fantastic cheese (and really good bread) from Toca’s cheese cave.



I snuck a quick peek at the Toca cheese cave

I loved this class, and would definitely recommend signing up for their next session. In addition to classes, iYellow Wine Club organizes day trips and wine events around Toronto and outside the city. On May 25th they will be hosting a Prince Edward County Tour and they have several other Toronto events. If you’ve always wanted to learn about wine, but were too afraid, this is the club for you.

Picture This: The Good Food and Drink Festival

This weekend, I stopped by the Good Food & Drink Festival at the Exhibition. Smaller than I expected, this crowded show had lots of interesting vendors. Here are some of my favourites.


I had always heard good things about Evelyn’s crackers, but never had the chance to try them. I picked up a delicious bag of Cheddar Crispies. They were amazing. Softer and and flakier than expected, they practically melted in my mouth. No need for cheese on these, just eat them as they are.


Rainbow kettle corn from Original Kelly Corn

Grow your own mushrooms with this Shroom box!

IMG_8107This shortbread was so good! I thought I had my local shortbread bases covered with Coach House Shortbread and Mary MacLeod, but I hadn’t tried Scotch Mountain! This shortbread was rich, buttery and available in a dazzling array of flavours like toasted coconut, brown sugar, toffee, cheddar and more. Mmm.



Buster’s Sea Cove was a very popular food truck during the show. I waited a long, long time for my shrimp and fish tacos to be ready. (20 minutes!). I was a bit disappointing that they messed up my order, but the fish was incredibly fresh as was the shrimp.



I was delighted to discover the Pie Guyz from Brampton. They specialize in all sorts of interesting UK style meat pies. They had some unique flavours, like tandoori chicken, mutton curry and sweet corn and cheese. I tried a classic chicken pot pie and enjoyed the puff pastry and savory flavour. I need to visit them one day!



Hot Dog from Mike’s Dog House.

Sweet treats at Ps by Prettysweet


Tucked into a quiet section of King West is a charming bakery in a unexpected place.
Ps by Prettysweet is one of the most well designed bakeries that I’ve seen in the entire city.



The owner, Adjoa Duncan, has decorated the store in pink and white, with items from her own collection. Charming touches include vintage frames, a handmade spoon and fork chandelier and giant whisk lights.




The food is just as sweet as the decor. Cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, butter tarts and blondies are available daily. I sampled the best blondie ($1.75) I’ve ever had. Chewy and dense, this blondie could very well be your new best friend. You can buy bags of brownie or blondie “ends” for $5. Yum. I also loved the chocolate chip cookie: chewy, buttery and studded with large chocolate chips, it was perfect.




Tea, hot chocolate and lattes are available to go with your tasty treat. You can also order custom cakes or pick up one to go. Judging from the amount of people I saw in the store within the short amount of time that I was there, I think that it will do well!




Ps by Prettysweet is located on 848 King Street West.

Unwinding at the Hammam Spa

The Hammam Spa is a welcome oasis from the hustle and bustle of King Street West.
When you step inside, everything is still and calm. And you feel almost instantly better.

I am greeted and shown into the change room. Inside my wooden locker is a wrap and a towel.

I had a brief tour of the spa and was shown a small sitting room where I could relax between treatments (a quick peek at this showed couples canoodling and people sipping tea) and the way to the Hammam.

” “Hammam” translates to “Ritualistic Bath”, and it’s a traditional Turkish bath. Turkish Baths traditionally functioned as steam-filled grottos for segregated social gatherings of the upper classes. Women and men would lounge among themselves, enjoying fragrant steam and luxurious body treatments while discussing politics and gossip.”

This spa features a 500 square foot urban Hammam. It’s co-ed and feels like a natural grotto with black slate surfaces and lit onyx bowls that hold iced towels and cold water to cool down. Eucalyptus oils are diffused in the Hammam, which helps to relax the muscles.

I was excited to try it! I was warned that it could get quite hot (90 degrees at its peak!) so if I felt uncomfortable I was welcome to try it in short bursts. When I went inside, I had the whole place to myself (yes!) and it was incredibly relaxing, warm and soothing. I feel like I definitely sweated out some toxins. As someone who finds it hard to breathe in saunas, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to handle the Hammam, but I was! It didn’t bother me at all.

After a bit, I was called in for my treatment. There are a variety of treatments available.  I had decided to get the Argan Oil Massage ($155). Argan Oil comes from Morocco and has tons of excellent properties. It promotes anti-aging, protects your skin and hair and can help with blemishes. My massage therapist was very receptive to my needs and adjusted the pressure for me if I thought it was too hard (I’m a wimp.) It was the best massage I ever had! I left feeling refreshed and super relaxed. When I was done, I enjoyed a cup of tea and some dried fruit in the sitting room.

If you are getting stressed out during your holiday shopping, just pop into this spa, take a moment in the steam room, maybe get a treatment…and continue with your day. You’ll feel so much better!

Hammam Spa is located on 602 King Street West.

Win Tickets to the One of a Kind Show

The One of a Kind Show is almost here! This show is a great destination for holiday shopping. Filled to the brim with handmade crafts, jewellery, clothing and delicious foodie gifts, you are bound to find something for everyone. I love visiting to taste Coach House Shortbread and to take part in their awesome workshops.

The One of a Kind Show and I are giving you a chance to win 8 pairs of tickets to the holiday show! 2 pairs will be given away exclusively on Twitter, and the other 6 pairs will be given away by entering below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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