Monday, June 18, 2018

Taste of Toronto - Part II

After work and a dance class led by my co-workers, I headed to Montecito for dinner with three of my colleagues. I started with this cocktail - May Flowers - a concoction of gin, yellow chartreuse, Bigallete Verbena, lime and cucumber. So refreshing!
We shared a giant kale salad, some delicious bread, and I had this beautiful albacore tuna crudo with smoked tomato jam, egg yolk, and grilled gem lettuce. 
On Thursday, I went for a long walk to dinner with one of my work friends and we made it to the Harbor. I will never get enough ocean or tall ships in my life, so this was a win for me!
There's a really nice paved path all along the water that's lined with little pocket parks. Not sure what these flowers are, but took they're pretty!
The CN Tower in the background of a cool metal sculpture.
After the whole Foundation crew had a celebratory meal together, I headed to WVRST for some beers with four of my teammates, Lindsey and Mehan (pictured) are two of my favs! The giant selection of ciders, sours, and funky ales could have kept me there for days had it not been for needing sleep to survive the last day of meetings.
The last highlight of my trip, which you may have caught on Instagram already, was my friend Vanessa (who lives in Boston) reaching out via IG to see if I might just happen to be in Chicago O'Hare. Not only had I just landed, but we were ten gates apart in the same terminal - what are the odds? We hadn't seen each other in a year and packed a rapid pace conversation into the hour we had over cava and prosecco. It was the best!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Taste of Toronto

I was in Toronto for work this week and due to all-day meetings and all-night catch up with teammates, bring you a slightly delayed collections of highlights from my trip. I arrived mid-morning on Monday (due to a 5:15am flight from KC > Chicago > Toronto), and wandered around the city a bit. After a full day, I headed to kiin for some delicious Thai food. The alley and the front signage were so pretty - I knew I was in for a treat.
The inside was cozy and classy. I loved the curved marble bar and the vintage decor.
I had the Roy Thai royal thai platter with chor ladda, rhoom, and thoong thong. It was coconutty, sweet, spicy and crunchy.
And the Pomelo Salad - pomelo, peanuts, poached shrimp, toasted coconut, lemongrass, sawtooth coriander, and lime fish sauce dressing. It was very good (although the fish sauce dressing was a tad too fishy for me).
The next morning, my boss and I walked to work the long way and got coffees from this adorable little nook called The Coffee Lab. It was so charming and they even provided you with water in a beaker while you waited for your drink.
Since many of my Foundation colleagues live in Toronto, they hosted local tours we could all choose from. My colleague Ruzanna (who you might recall from my January Torontonian adventures) hosted a night of hip hop and rooftop brewery dining.
Here's our group at The Underground Dance Center's rooftop penthouse studio in our "selfie" pose. If you're ever in town, it's easy to sign up and attend a class.
After working up a sweat, we headed to Mascot Brewery for some drinks and dinner. I had a delicious tempura cod po' boy, a Waterfelon (gin, St. Germain, watermelon, lime, rosewater), and a Too Julep to Quit (bourbon, amaro meletti, dolin rouge, ginger, lemon, mint). It was a lot of fun.
After dinner, a few of us walked through the city (checked out the iconic sign above, that changes colors) and headed to meet up with some other co-workers for some karaoke. I'll be back with the rest of the highlights tomorrow!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

For the Road

I have shared some recommendations for travel gear with you from time to time. I was thinking yesterday that it had been awhile since I had done that, and there are a few things that I have been loving that are still available, should you want to add to your collection.
I am such a huge Patagonia fan. I love what their company stands for as much as the products they make. This 45L Black Hole Duffel Bag ($119) is perfect for a three-day trip. I love the backpack handles or the duffel bag option - and it's bright orange (my fav!). It's also held up in a couple of rain storms, keeping my things nice and dry.
Oh my goodness, I love these Phaiser BHS-730 Bluetooth headphones ($35.99) so much!! The sound is awesome, you can adjust the volume on the side (as well as on your phone), they magnetize together around your neck if you want to wear them between flights without losing them, and when the person next to you goes to the bathroom frequently, you're not tangled up in a cord!
More and more airports and planes are getting better charging options, but there are still times when you are out exploring, away from an outlet, and you need a little juice. ThiBelkin MIXIT Power Pack 4000 mAh Battery Pack ($11.49 - on SALE!) hasn't let me down (although I did see in the reviews that a user had trouble charging their Fitbit with it). 
I've been using TripitPro ($49/year) for a long time. I love how I can email it all my itineraries, tickets, and reservations and it organizes everything chronologically and adds things to my calendar. I also like how I can look back and see how many places I've been, how many miles I've flown, and what's coming up next (and how long I have to wait until my next trip). It also keeps all my loyalty club and frequent flier details and balances in an easy to see panel.
I think I have finally found the perfect travel pillow! (I literally have six others that just didn't do it for me in a little tub under my bed.) The Trtl Pillow ($29.99) has an inner flexible plastic frame that is wrapped in soft fleece. You wrap the scarf around your neck and the tough Velcro holds your head in place. You can wear it in a variety of positions and it's made it possible for me to actually fall asleep on long flights, which I rarely have been able to do.

That's it for me! Let me know what you've been loving lately or if you have any of these!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Will Work for Food

Hi! I am not always very good at recapping my work trips on the blog. I am usually indoors or eating conference food, but this week I was in Chattanooga working with my boss and staying in an Airbnb and eating some photo-worthy foods, so here goes!

After I arrived, we headed to Matilda Midnight for a cocktail. I had this delicious drink called Tiptoe Through the Tulips -- Dulce Vida 100 Proof Reposado, orange, lime grapefruit, honey, house bitters, soda. 
The next morning we headed back to Solarium Cafe for breakfast. I just love the decor!
I had their super yummy oatmeal (which tasted like it had some Cream of Wheat in it too) with honey, berries and sunflower seeds and a half an avocado with sprouts.
The next day we went to Mean Mug Coffeehouse for breakfast and I had this quality avocado toast - you really can't have too much breakfast or avocado in your life, folks.
On my last night in town, we went for a fancy meal at St. John's.  I started with this amazing cocktail, the Garden Variety -- Letherbee gin, cocchi americano, pink peppercorn-thyme syrup, grapefruit, lemon. So refreshing!
We started the food off with these beauties - Dungeness Crab & Pimento Cheese Crackers.
Then we each had the Spring Onion & Yukon Gold Potato Soup with buttered Maine lobster. Heavenly! 
And I finished off with the Warm Roasted Beets -- blackberry farm sheep milk’s cheese, strawberries, asparagus & rhubarb. It came with a lid on and they unveiled the smoky concoction at our table.
Thanks for a wonderful trip, Lindsey!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Big Birthday in the City - Days 4 + 5

We started our last full day in the city with some friends - who we were too busy visiting with to take any pictures of - and breakfast at Foster Sundry. The selection of cheeses and baked goods were amazing.
I had this amazingly gooey/melty egg and cheese biscuit, an iced latte and part of the delectable cinnamon roll in the background.
After visiting with our friends, Brian and I went to check out STORY (my favorite store in the city; it changes themes like a magazine - this month it's "work" - and the curation of items is impeccable; some of you might remember the Nickelodeon theme awhile back when I played in the Double Dare games there). After that, we were starving, we've barely eaten a thing! ;) So, we headed to Tenth Avenue Cookshop for this beautiful spread (above). I had a paloma fresca, grapefruit brûlée with granola and creme fraiche, and another warm and flaky biscuit (why not?).
It was another beautiful day, so we headed to the rooftop bar, Gallow Green, at the McKittrick Hotel. There were way too many people with the same idea, but we managed to grab a couple of drinks and a little corner to enjoy them in. I loved all the flowers and fabric pennants hanging from the rafters.
After drinks, we took the freight elevator down to experience the immersive theater experience, Sleep No More. Described as "telling the story of Macbeth through a film noir lens," the whole thing was wild to experience. The scene above is from the bar that we started in before donning kinda creepy masks and heading into the very dark hotel to follow around mostly silent actors as we tried to figure out what was going on.

I had a moment of fright with another attendee who screamed when he saw me, so I screamed because he screamed. Needless to say, I took a cocktail break in the middle of the three-hour experience. If you are up for something totally unique, you should not miss this!
When we were done, I thought the sky looked really cool outside with the Empire State Building peeking over the other buildings and trees.
We went to Cooper's Craft and Kitchen for some appetizers - shishito peppers, sliders, cheese curds, and buttery soft pretzels...
...and then to Ample Hills Creamy for just the tiniest kiddie cone of Oatmeal Lace ice cream.
I swear we slept a full night before hitting Covina for a delicious brunch. These lemon ricotta pancakes really hit the spot, along with my fresh squeezed mimosa.

We had such a wonderful time and my fears before the trip about it being a little too "touristy" were unfounded. I loved seeing the city in a new way that I hadn't seen in a long time. I love going to the city to visit friends or for work, but it is pretty fun to stay in Times Square and navigate the subways like a champ. Thanks for following along with our adventure!