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Food & Recipes

THE FIVE MOST CANADIAN FOODS TO EAT

April 7, 2017

CANADIAN FOODSIt’s difficult to define “Canadian Cuisine” as the country is such a diverse melting pot of influences from other cultures.

However, there are a few dishes that have come to be known as Canadian Foods. Here are a few of the most popular Canadian foods to eat. These are foods that are iconic to Canadian culture and although none of them are particularly healthy, they are essential foods for any visitor to Canada to try.

Poutine

“What’s so special about chips, cheese and gravy?” you might ask. However, this French Canadian dish is so much more than that. TheCanadian Foods cheese must be cheese curds, which have a particular “squeak” when you bite down on them. The gravy should be thin, meat based and peppery and the chips should be crispy on the outside and soft on the outside. Some poutineries will offer dozens of different variations, including toppings like bacon, chicken, sausage or even lobster.

Nanaimo Bars

Named after a city on Vancouver Island, these rich and filling dessert bars are irresistible. They have a crunchy, chewy brownie base that usually features chopped nuts, a creamy custard middle part and a layer of smooth chocolate on top. There can also be variations with different flavours added to the custard, such as mint or mocha. Nanaimo bars are incredibly satisfying and are a classic dessert to bring to any CCanadian Foodsanadian potluck. The best place to try them is their namesake city, so follow the Nanaimo Bar Trail.

Butter Tarts

Butter tarts are a sweet and delectable Canadian delicacy. They have a flaky exterior and are light and sugary. Sometimes they have walnuts are pecans inside, other times raisins. They are yummy and bite sized, so it’s easy to eat too many of them! They have a long history – they were eaten in the early 1600s by the first pioneers.

Tim Hortons Timbits

Tim Hortons is a Canadian institution and every Canuck knows the thrill of rolling up the rim of their coffee cup to win a free donut. Even better than the donuts are the Timbits – tiny donut balls just big enough to pop in your mouth. They are fluffy and soft, with a sweet glaze and come in a range of flavours including apple fritter and blueberry.

TourtièreCanadian Foods

This style of meat pie originated in Quebec and is made with finely diced pork, beef or veal. Wild game such as venison is also sometimes used. There is no one correct filling for a Tourtière – the type of meat depends on the region. Sometimes in coastal areas salmon is used. It is traditionally served at Christmas, but many French Canadians will eat it all year long.

There are so many other Canadian foods and treats that didn’t make it onto this list, including Kraft Dinner (packaged Macaroni and Cheese), Montreal smoked meat, Saskatoon berry pie, ketchup chips, maple syrup, split pea soup, Newfoundland Jigg’s Dinner, Canadian bacon, Beavertails and much more. Let us know your favourite Canadian foods in the comments!

Be sure to also check out our blog on our picks for restaurants and cafes for comfort food!

Business Travel, Downtown Toronto, Food & Recipes, Vacation Travel

The Best New Restaurants in Toronto to Try

March 1, 2017

New Restaurants in TorontoFantastic new restaurants in Toronto are popping up so quickly that you would have to dedicate yourself to eating out several times per day just to see them all. (Sounds pretty fun, to be honest…) With so many great eateries to choose from, you’ll never go hungry when you are exploring this vibrant Canadian city.

Let’s take a look at some of the restaurants that have opened in recent months and should be on your foodie bucket list for 2017.

New Restaurants in Toronto : La Banane

This sophisticated French restaurant, run by Chef Brandon Olsen, opened its doors on January 3rd, 2017. It is pricey, but if you want to treat yourself to a date night the cuisine is superb. Olsen gives a modern twist to traditional French dishes such as liver and onions and fluffy omelettes. Try the mussels marinated in an espelette pepper vinaigrette or the duck breast with charred endive and jus. Make sure that you make your reservation in advance and dress your finest, this is a swanky spot!

Calii Love

Start your morning off with a bit of healthy nourishment at this Hawaiian inspired cafe. The new restaurants in Toronto focuses on superfoodNew Restaurants in Toronto smoothies, healthy snacks and poke bowls that are heaped with nutritious ingredients such as shredded coconut, blueberries, strawberries, chia seeds and more. It is a breakfast that will give you the energy to conquer anything.

Imanishi

This Japanese gastropub hasn’t been around for very long, but it’s garnered a lot of interest due to its top notch food. It features homestyle Japanese cooking made with fresh high quality ingredients. They have excellent dishes such as sticky, smoky short ribs, spring rolls filled with curry chicken, squid tentacles with soy sauce and butter and seared beef tataki. The Japanese soul music sets the scene in this Dundas Street spot and the staff wear vintage sweatshirts, salvaged denim and Toronto Blue Jays caps.

Charidise

New Restaurants in TorontoThis new gourmet Taiwanese restaurant opened in January and is already well known for its authentic cuisine and friendly staff. The food is steeped in Taiwanese tradition and includes classic dishes such as Basil Chicken Rice, Hot & Sour Sweet Potato Noodle and Golden Squid Balls. Charidise also has a great selection of bubble tea flavours such as Honeydew, Mango and Taro. It’s a great place to stop for a drink or a snack if you are walking around downtown Toronto.

El Local Loco

This new Mexican restaurant on Church Street is work checking out. It’s laid back and welcoming, with heavy wooden tables and brightly coloured Mexican-inspired murals on the walls. How about braised beef rib with roasted corn and a cerveza chipotle reduction? Or maybe cod ceviche with jalapeno, cucumber, sweet peppers, citrus, avocado and honey? They even serve up a whole lobster tail taco that sounds muy deliciosa.

These are just a few of the exciting new restaurants in Toronto that you can check out this year. However, there are many others that we don’t have room to list here. Toronto is paradise for a foodie, as there is always something new and exciting on the menu. Dont forget to check out our picks for healthy restaurants and cafes!

Downtown Toronto, Fitness and Health, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk

Healthy Toronto Restaurants and Cafes

January 11, 2017

Healthy Toronto Restaurants Is your New Year’s resolution for 2017 to eat healthier? Here are some healthy Toronto restaurants that will make your goals easier to achieve.

Eating healthier and more nutritious food will bring you many benefits. Not only will you lose weight, but you will also find yourself with more energy, better skin, a boosted immune system and much more. Most of the time eating healthy means stocking up on veggies, whole grains and lean proteins from the supermarket and cooking up nutritious meals at home.

However, what about those nights when you just don’t have the energy to cook for yourself? Eating out at a restaurant or café doesn’t have to mean giving up on your healthy food goals. There are many places that serve up nutritious and delicious food that will be good for your body.

Live Food BarHealthy Toronto Restaurants

This healthy Toronto restaurant in the Annex will help you to feel more vibrant and alive, with its inventive and flavourful sugar free, gluten free, raw gourmet dishes. The entire menu is gluten free and they use high quality organic ingredients. Try the Mediterranean Platter that is great for sharing, with cherry tomatoes, cashew dill ricotta, hemp basil pesto and sunflower falafel.

Impact Kitchen

This healthy cafeteria focuses on serving up healthy dishes that are as nutritious as possible. It aims to dispel the myth that good-for-you food has to be bland or boring. Some of the tasty dinner options include grilled flank steak and bison meatballs, or you can head there for breakfast and feast on granola bowls or a Power Breakfast that features salsa, scrambled eggs, sweet potato, avocado, spinach and chorizo.

Urban Herbivore

Healthy Toronto RestaurantsThis vibrant Kensington Market restaurant offers a fantastic salad bar where you can fill up on greens and quinoa, as well as yummy healthy sandwiches, dairy free cupcakes and gluten free treats. Try the grilled vegetable sandwiches which are warm and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and stuffed with veggies such as zucchini, grilled eggplant, spinach, sweet potato and shredded carrot.

Lola’s Kitchen

This friendly restaurant has a menu that features naturally raised local meat and organic produce. The menu includes a lot of yummy dishes that will make you feel good about your New Year’s goals to get healthy, such as roasted beet salad with goat cheese and organic walnuts and chickpea and almond burger with curried cashew aioli.

What’s one of your favourite healthy Toronto restaurants you’ve visited before? Please feel free to share your recommendations with us in the comments below. Dont forget to check out these quick and easy healthy snacks when you are busy and on the go!

Business Travel, Customer Service Experience, Entertainment, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk

Tipping Etiquette in Toronto

September 23, 2016

Tipping EtiquetteIf you are visiting Toronto and you are from a culture where tipping is not the norm, you might be wondering what the appropriate local tipping etiquette might be. Who should you tip, and how much money should you give?

In Canada the tipping culture is similar to in the USA – tips are expected for many staff in the service, hospitality and food and beverage industry. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when it comes to tipping etiquette while visiting Toronto.

In a Restaurant

Unlike some destinations in Europe, a gratuity is not included in the bill at most Canadian restaurants. Instead, you should calculate approximately 15-20% and add that onto your bill. If the service was unsatisfactory, you caTipping Etiquetten give less and if the service was exceptionally good you can give more. You essentially tip based on the service experience.

Sometimes if you have a table with a large group, usually 8 or more, the restaurant will add an automatic gratuity to the bill. Some servers may rely on tips to bump up their wage and may feel frustrated by a large group who take a lot of time and effort to serve but don’t tip.

If you have a poor restaurant experience and you are considering not leaving a tip as a response, consider whether your experience was the fault of the server. If the food was bad or the service was slow because there weren’t enough staff, this is the fault of the kitchen and the manager. Consider asking to speak to the manager so that you can voice your complaints in a constructive way – you might even be offered a discount or a free meal as an apology.

Other Places to Tip

Tipping is also customary in other situations in Canada. You would be expected to tip your taxi driver, valet parking attendant, hotel room attendant, hotel concierge, hairdresser and manicurist. If you visit a spa during your visit to Toronto it is expected that you will tip your spa service provider around 10% of the cost of your treatment. Also, if you go on a guided tour and your guide offers you great service it is good to tip them around 10-15% to show your appreciation. When you are drinking at one of the many great bars in Toronto it is customary to leave around $1 per drink for the bar tender, depending onTipping Etiquette the cost of the drink.

In some situations, there will be a “Tip Jar” on the counter of a business, such as in a coffee shop, cafeteria and sometimes even in retail stores. However, in these situations the tip is optional. You can put a tip in these jars if you have enjoyed great service but you don’t have to – and it won’t be considered rude not to.

It can be tricky at first to remember who to tip while visiting in Canada, but if you are unsure you can always ask a Canadian friend or colleague about the appropriate tipping etiquette. Make sure to carry around a few small bills, loonies and toonies so that you have the right change whenever you need it!

Remember to tip on the sub-total, and not on the taxes!

Business Travel, Family Vacations in Toronto, Fitness and Health, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel

Quick Healthy Snacks when You are Busy

August 8, 2016

Quick Healthy SnacksIt can be incredibly challenging to eat healthy when you are travelling. Whether you are on a long flight, a bus journey or an epic road trip, often the only food available is from convenience stores and fast food outlets. Greasy fast food will not only pack on the calories, it will make you feel bloated and tired when you are in transit. If you can bring along some quick healthy snacks on your trip, you can refuel with nutrients that will give you energy and help you feel great.

Looking to prepare some healthy foods for your next trip but don’t know where to start? Here are a few ideas of some quick healthy snacks:

Dried Fruit

This travel snack ticks all the boxes – it is healthy, tasty and extremely portable. It is also great for kids because it won’t make a mess or cause stains in the car or the plane. There are many great tasting types of dried fruit including dried bananas, apple rings and dried peaches. Look for fruit that has doesn’t have any additives like sugar, colour, flavor or preservatives.

Hard Boiled EggsQuick Healthy Snacks

Having travel snacks that are high in protein is important, because the protein will keep you feeling full for longer. Hard boiled eggs are a great travel snack, so boil up a few before you go and keep them in a container. They can last a long time if you don’t peel the shell, as the egg itself is the perfect wrapper.

Trail Mix

Another great portable healthy snack is trail mix. You can bring it along in a Tupperware container or Ziploc bag and grab handfuls whenever hunger strikes. There are lots of different types of trail mix out available out there in the bulk section of the grocery store. Or, you could make your own by combining the nuts, seeds, dried fruits and other items that you prefer.

Granola BarsQuick Healthy Snacks

A store bought granola bar can be the perfect item for keeping you fueled up when you are on the road. However, when choosing your granola bar be aware that some brands are loaded with sugar that you may as well be eating a chocolate bar! Look for these quick healthy snacks with low sugar and plenty of natural ingredients.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a fantastic food! It offers lots of protein and energy and it’s very portable. You could bring along a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter on a road trip and stop for sandwiches whenever you are hungry. You can also bring along some crackers or celery sticks for spreading peanut butter on – whatever tastes good to you. Finally be sure to check out some healthy on the go snacks children love.

These are just some ideas for portable quick healthy snacks that are great to bring with you when you are travelling, so you can satiate your hunger without filling up on junk food and arrive at your destination or furnished apartment in Toronto feeling great.