Monthly Archives: March 2012


I finally went to check out a2Zane (753 Queen Street West two weekends ago. I was impressed with the well curated assortment of accessories and handbags. Zane’s selection of Cambridge satchel company bags and Vlieger and Vandam was what I liked most of the handbags. I liked the tight collection of accessories even more.  I fell in love with this Sook Ihn Kim bracelet in particular and pondered it for a week.
I went to buy it on Sunday. It is a definitely a statement piece that channels my rockstar style proclivity-I love it!! Everyone who saw it loved it too.

Goodbye Four Seasons Avenue

I said goodbye to the Four Seasons Avenue lounge more than once this month. It was always a great place to meet friends for a quick drink or bite. A lively environment where it was possible to have a conversation. Their burger is one of my all time favourites in addition to the fries. Even the pickiest burger taster I know, chef Melissa Saunders thought the burger was great. It had the perfect proportion of bun, juicy burger and a hint of cheese. The fries were super crisp. Enjoying a drink, great burger and fries is a healthy indulgence. So many fond memories of enjoying life at the Four Seasons while watching people go by on Avenue Road and Yorkville.


Mushroom Soup Recipe (vegan)

This is a simple, absolutely delicious and rich tasting vegan mushroom soup. The secret is the homemade veggie stock and dried shiitake mushrooms, which add depth of flavour.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound organic cremini mushrooms finely chopped
3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water overnight
4-5 cups homemade veggie stock
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp celtic sea salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
In a large pot, saute the garlic and shallot in olive oil. Add chopped mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms start to brown. Add veggie stock, bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Add thyme and let simmer for 20-25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let soup cool slightly and puree with hand immersion blender until relatively smooth. Makes 4-5 servings. Enjoy!

Toronto Favourite: Buca Restaurant

Perhaps the magic was in the company I had. In addition, the people at Buca create a wonderful dining experience through warm, attentive service, amazing creative food, great wine pairings in a relaxed, vibrant and sociable setting. Earlier this month, I brought three friends for a post ballet bite and drink. We ordered 4 pizzas and each of them was outstanding. I ordered the octopus and clam pizza.

What a clean and interesting combination of flavour with the bold tomato sauce, a touch of roasted garlic, octopus and clam offset with a bit of parsley. Of course, the super thin, crisp crust is just the best. The favourite of the table was the funghi, which we all agreed was ‘to die for’ with the buttery, sweet combination of mushrooms paired with the perfect cheese. I just love this restaurant!

Sleeker Food Courts

I have recently noticed that food courts in office buildings and malls are starting to become nicer environments. I saw this in malls in the US and here in downtown Toronto. They look sleeker all around, the lighting is bright to offset the underground location, and there is more variety of food on offer. My curiosity and a bit of lunchtime hunger finally got me to try Amaya Express for lunch yesterday. Amaya is a restaurant that I have really enjoyed, so I have been intrigued by the concept of their Express locations, which seem to be popping up everywhere. I had a samosa and some saag paneer. The samosa was warm, reasonably tender and slightly flaky, but was lacklustre in its seasoning in its filling of mainly potato. The accompanying sauce was too cold in temperature and too sweet in taste. The saag paneer was decent, but again lacking complexity in its spicing. I would try the ‘healthy’ combos of rice, veg and curry the next time, but I think I can only expect so much from a fast food setting.

For a great healthy food court lunch spot in downtown Toronto, check out:

Recipe: Multigrain Carrot Muffin

This is a healthy muffin recipe that is adapted from bestselling cookbook Spilling the Beans. Pureed white beans add extra fibre and nutrition to the muffins, as does the different flours and ground flaxseed. The ingredients sound a little strange, but the muffins are tasty with a moist texture. Organic ingredients are preferable if possible.

Multigrain Carrot Muffins
1 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/3 cup oat flour
1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 apple, unpeeled coarsely grated
1/2 cup currants
1 cup white beans
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sunflower or safflower oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl. mix together the flours, ground flaxseed, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Add the carrots, apple and carrot and combine.
In a food processor, puree the white beans. Add buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla and process until smooth.
Add buttermilk mixture to flour and carrot mixture. Stir until just combined.
Fill muffin cups until almost full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are springy to the touch. Makes up to 18 muffins.
Enjoy the same day, refrigerate for 2-3 days or freeze. The muffins have a short shelf life due to the organic ingredients.

Carrot Apple Juice

Let me preface this by saying that I really dislike eating raw carrots. I make an effort, but have never enjoyed the taste of a raw or cooked carrot much. I do understand that carrots are a healthy food to include in your diet. I was doing some research on juicing and came across the idea of fresh carrot apple juice. I made some and it was delicious, even someone who dislikes carrots enjoyed drinking it!

Carrot Apple Juice
Makes 1 glass
(just double, triple or quadruple the amount of carrots and apples to make your desired quantity)
2 peeled organic carrots
1 organic royal gala apple, cut into quarters
small sliver of fresh ginger if desired for flavour
Place carrots and apple into the juicer and enjoy the juice immediately.