Category Archives: Life & Style

My Best Bite in Greece

Saganaki and Fig Marmalade at Assyrtiko in Fira, Santorini

I’ve been holding onto all of the images from my trip to Greece for far too long. I finally put them on my computer and the first thing I want to share with you all is the hands-down best bite I had on my 9-day trip to Greece. The best part about it was probably that I happened upon it by surprise. Nestled in an article in Food & Wine was a mention of a restaurant Assyrtiko that said you had to try the fried saganaki with fig marmalade. To my dismay, I could not for the life of me find the restaurant when we arrived in Santorini.

It wasn’t until my last day in Greece that I stepped out onto our hotel’s terrace to spot the restaurant sign, and less than a block from where I was staying no less. I convinced my friends to pop in to try what I was promised would be a delectable treat. There are so many words for delicious, but nothing comes close to describing the incredible ride my taste buds were on. The way the salty-sweet combination of the melted cheese blends with the fig marmalade, as the flaky pastry melts on the tongue, it’s positively exquisite.

Assyrtiko Restaurant
Ipapantis 40, Fira, Greece
(take the stairs up to the restaurant)

Postcards from… Venice

Baroque Side Table; $675.00 Alessandra Di Tommaso | Baroque Skull & Lava ring; $369.00 Murano Mosaic Millefiori Tumblers; $99.00 Mystery gold Murano necklace nr. 379; $238.00 Josh Goot | Slim Skirt; $450.00 Image Map

My trip to Venice inspired a love of baroque, Murano glass and so much more.

[1] Baroque Side Table; $675.00 – NeimanMarcus.com [2] Alessandra Di Tommaso Baroque Skull Lava Ring; $369.00 – Luisaviaroma.com [3] Murano Mosaic Millefiori Tumblers; $99.00 – Gumps.com [4] Mystery Gold Murano Necklace; $238.00 – Boticca.com [5] Josh Goot Slim Skirt; $450.00 – ShopBop.com

My trip to Venice sparked an adoration for Murano glass and re-ignited my love for the baroque style. The city floats on the Adriatic Sea, it’s beauty unveiled in every corner and crevice. My mom took to repeating “Venice is like a fairy book,” an interesting combination of fairy tale and storybook. From the Realto Market to the bridges and old doors on the canals and the man playing his violin in a corner at sunset, it’s not hard to imagine how the quiet magnificence of this city sparking a Renaissance. The spirit of the city is somehow captured in my picks and all of the plethora of pictures I took.

Recipe: French Onion Grilled Cheese

I love french onion soup and I love grilled cheese, combine the two and I don’t know what to do with myself except eat!

French Onion Grilled Cheese

I adapted the original recipe I found on Chatelaine’s website here.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
3 medium onions, sliced thinly (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/2 900 mL carton low-sodium beef broth
1 thyme sprig
8 slices rye bread
4 slices gruyére or swiss cheese (about 120 g)

Directions
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high. Add 1 tsp oil, then onions, broth and thyme.
Cook, uncovered, stirring often, until liquid is reduced, about 15 min.
Remove thyme.
Top each slice with about 1/3 cup onion mixture and 1 cheese slice.
Top with remaining bread.
Wipe pan clean.
Heat over medium. Brush pan with 1 tsp oil.
Cook 2 sandwiches at a time, about 2 min per side.
Repeat with remaining oil and sandwiches.

Enjoy!

Live for Today – 9/11

Live for Today 9/11 SoHo Street Art

This city inspires me everyday, and today was no exception. I hopped off the N Train at Prince St this morning only for my (speed) walk to work to be obstructed by people snapping pictures of the street. I looked to my left and discovered an infinitely cool, literal piece of street art memorializing 9/11. Everyone remembers where they were that day, I didn’t even live in the US and I can tell you that I sat in horror as the TV in my middle school classroom relayed the news. It occurred to me that I never really knew New York before it was scarred by terrorism. In a sense my heart breaks for the New York City I’ll never know, more than ever, it breaks for the people that never made it past that day, the families that grieve such a profound loss to this day. I don’t think there was a more New York way to honor their memory 11 years later than a piece of street art in Soho at Prince St and Broadway with the words “Live for Today 9/11″ spray painted on a pedestrian crossing turned makeshift American flag.

I won’t take those words lightly.

 

Twenty-Four Hours in… Toronto

If I could have any super power, I’d want to be able to teleport. I’d go as far as to dive into a vat of toxic goo to get it…

Yes, that’s how much I love to travel. I fantasize about teleporting from one place to another constantly, so the question is – if you had twenty-four hours to spend anywhere, doing anything (minus the airplane rides and the jet lag) where would you go and what would you do?

If you’re teleporting to Toronto…


Niche Coffee Bar - Niche Benedict Nadege Toronto - My favorite patisserie! REDS Bistro Click to Enlarge Image Map

Start your morning off right with breakfast at Niche Espresso Bar. While I’d usually do this a little later and call it brunch, if we’re going to pack as many events into twenty-four hours as possible – this is where you start. I recommend the Niche Benedict. Yes it’s an espresso bar, but if it’s a choice between coffee and my eggs benny, I’m going for the latter. The signature eggs benedict plate at Niche is the picture of perfection with two poached eggs, pemeal bacon and hollandaise sauce piled on top of a generous portion of simply delicious cornbread. (BEST. COMBO. EVER.)

Ed Note: If you go in the summer – ask for a seat out back.

Now that you’re full, it’s time you walk it off. If you’re going to see a city properly you can’t stumble upon the best things in the city in your car – you just can’t! Since I was in high school, I’ve been walking down Queen St – finding jewelry, dresses, vintage shops and so much more – go ahead, window shop and browse. Here are my usual stops on the lane… Spoof, Get Outside, Style Garage, Black Market Vintage, The Beadery and whatever else catches my eye.

For the good stuff, make your way to Kensington Market for a mix of vintage shopping and yummy snacks. Whatever you do – you must try a spinach, feta and pesto scone from Cobs. If you’re interested in vintage scarves and buttons – head to Courage My Love. I’ve been known to sit on the floor and rifle through their scarf bin – each scarf goes for about $3.00 (CAD). On the subject of buttons, some people are content with whatever buttons a garment comes with, for the rest of us Courage My Love has the wall of buttons. I’ve probably spent $100 dollars here – which is saying something because these buttons aren’t that expensive. Peek into Flash Back and peruse the vintage shirt racks on the street, then make sure to take a long and leisurely stroll in Bungalow – my favorite vintage store of all time. Almost every vintage pencil skirt I own came from this place, and I’ve also scored quite a few blazers here too. Their stock is carefully curated to give you just about everything you could want when you walk through those doors.

Lunch Time: saunter back down to Queen St, heading further west to my favorite French patisserie – Nadege. Order up a croissant sandwich – whichever one your heart desires. I’m likely to grab the one with smoked salmon, cucumber, dill and cream cheese (but Fresh Figs and Goats Cheese on a Nadege croissant are equally as delectable). Grab some goodies to go, like mini madeleines and homemade marshmallows – chocolate covered, regular, or flavored (I’m still savoring my strawberry and basil marshmallows).

Walk around the city some more, sit in the park across from Nadege, or head up to Dundas and head east towards Yonge Street. You’ve still got time to pop into the Art Gallery of Ontario – so go. Or, make your way to the waterfront and take in the sunset over Lake Ontario before you head over to REDS… When Holly Golightly said that thing about the mean reds, these weren’t them. With the greatest wine selection in Toronto, this is a must stop for the visiting wino. Order the crab cakes and lap up the vino. And, in the event that you’d like to dance the night away – head to Wet bar on Peter St or Guvernment on Queen’s Quay down by the lake shore.

Ed Note: Full disclosure, I don’t think I could ever get everything I wanted to do crammed into 24 hours in Toronto. I grew up there, so having to see friends and family trumps this itinerary.

An Emotional Ride on a Streetcar

A Streetcar Named Desire

I’d clambered out of the office after yet another conference call that ran late, hoping I didn’t get stuck on one of those Murphy’s Law trains. I hopped on the 1 train up to Times Square – 42nd Street and made my way up the two blocks to the Broadhurst Theatre. I tried to remember what I’d read in that tenth grade English class, but all I could muster was my version of Stanley’s voice bellowing “STELLAAAA,” then A Streetcar Named Desire began. It all came flooding back to me in bits and pieces, as I watched the brutish Stanley played by Blair Underwood, excite Blanche DuBois’ (Nicole Ari Parker) dramatic nature. Then I remembered, someone gets raped…
For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what scene this horrendous act would take place – so I found myself on the edge of my seat wondering when Stanley’s anger would catapult into full blown assault. It did a couple times as he formed his fist at Stella, but it wasn’t until that fateful moment that my heart leapt out of my chest. Moments after the scene went to blackout, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. The last scene brought me to tears. This cast had wreaked emotional havoc on me, and they deserved their standing ovation.
My heart bled for Stella and Blanche, and while a friend of mine and I had just discussed how stupid we women can be, the art of the stage imitated life. People call Tennessee William’s Streetcar a masterpiece, and I suppose I felt it was a tragedy of the human condition. We make excuses for those we love (or even like) because we’re so afraid to be alone. This isn’t just a play written in the 1940′s, it’s a story of people that accept less than what they deserve time and time again, and the people that smile as they do. I don’t think I understood that when I was all of thirteen years old in an English classroom, failing to see beyond the words on a page. Blair Underwood, Nicole Ari Parker, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Harris Wood captured a piece of Streetcar that had escaped me all those years ago.

The Great Googa Mooga

The Great Googa MoogaI don’t spend enough weekends in Brooklyn, but I’m glad I stayed home this weekend to witness the food-loving splendor that is The Great Googa Mooga. With all the crazy, bad weather we’ve been having, this weekend was a slice of heaven. Sprawling over Prospect Park, the grounds of Googa Mooga were littered with people on blankets and booths serving some of the best food in NYC. It was an all around perfect day to be outside, soaking up some rays, drinking a few beers, and consuming half my weight in food. Music poured through the airwaves and we danced around trying not to spill our beers but refusing to put them down.

Never mind the fact that I had absolutely no cell phone service and couldn’t upload anything to Instagram and Twitter. It was a bit like the dark ages in a way that makes you yearn for the days when life was simpler. I didn’t find myself checking my email every two minutes, instead I enjoyed the sights, sounds, and spread of delectable culinary goodness. My favorite was a toss up between the pork belly tacos from Colicchio & Sons and what I’m almost sure was crawfish mac and cheese from Crawfish Monica. Lest I forget, the summer heat bearing down on my shoulders – beyond the booze was a special treat from People’s Pops. One ice block, a shaver and a tasty plum tarragon syrup made for a refreshing shaved ice treat.

people's pops

There may have been an almost intolerable swarm of people, but the music and food made it bearable. I’m looking forward to next year and I’m making my way to The Spotted Pig and Red Rooster as soon as possible to get a real taste of their offerings.