The Helm | Dining in Greenwood Lake, New York

Talk about a hidden gem in upstate New York. The Helm is a fun place for all to enjoy good food, beer and cocktails. There's even a bar for those who want to watch their desired team whilst enjoying a local craft beer. Nothing to write home about on decor but it's a quaint dining room with great lighting and partial view of Greenwood Lake. Specials are always written up during the week and their brunch is definitely one of a kind. The portions are definitely hefty but can be enjoyed by all - it's more fun to go with more than just two people so you can try all their foods. Enjoy their poutine with truffle or Cajun poutine, and their smoked wings which you can get with any of four flavours and they offer They smoke their own meat - in the parking lot! The cocktails are handcrafted and their selection of local beers are many to choose from.  Go for the obnoxious Chicken and Waffles - deep fried chicken, on top of a chorizo patty, which is all on top of a waffle - and to top that off, a fried egg! Insane? We should hope so! It's a fantastic spot to dine, so be sure to spend some time at The Helm!

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Food: Cajun Poutine, Truffle Poutine, Smoked Chicken Wings, Champagne Margarita Cocktail, Corn Biscuits with Chorizo Patties, Chicken and Waffles - Deep fried chicken on a crispy waffle, bacon, chorizo patty, and a fried egg with maple syrup and hot sauce to top it off!
Made by: The Helm
Location: 649 Jersey Ave., Greenwood Lake, New York

The Bar Hemingway in the Hotel Ritz Carlton Paris | Bar in Paris

It's a fancy affair at the Hotel Ritz Paris. Come here for a fancy cocktail or dinner experience - but you must come and discover Bar Hemingway. The bar opens early in the evening, and there will always be a line. Approximately 25 people can fit into this charming establishment. Bar Hemingway (if you haven't already figured it out) was named after Ernest Hemingway. Back in the day, he apparently used to write some of his infamous works of literature in this particular bar. Filled with a unique persona and items that he admired, Bar Hemingway welcomes all.  The cocktails are all original and the bar tenders are extremely knowledgeable in mixology. Most of the cocktails we tried were quite potent - so one or two will already have you relaxed or get you ready for your upcoming dinner reservation. It is definitely a one of a kind experience! We highly recommend you take a sip or two at Bar Hemingway. Santé!

Location: Paris, France
Made by: The Bar Hemingway 

Anglers at Dolphins Resort BC | Dining in British Columbia

I had a pleasurable experience at the Anglers restaurant in Campbell River. It was a quaint spot with amazing views of the river, with optional seating outside on their patio. The food is fresh and unique. The ingredients are well prepared daily and the chef has a great eye for plating. Needless to say, I was surprised at how sophisticated Anglers really was, especially having come from Vancouver into the tiny town of Campbell River. (Don't underestimate!) All the flavours were there, the presentation was beautiful and the service was fantastic. Also be sure to have their house made bread (made daily!) It is absolutely delicious. 

Food: House Cured + Smoked Meats, Variety of House Pickles, Horseradish Aioli, Craft Beer Mustard, Celery Root, Lavosh Crackers. House Togarashi Crust, Smoked Strawberry Ponzu, Sesame Sticky Rice, Grilled Bok Choy, Wasabi Cucumber Pearls. Dark Chocolate + Espresso Torte with raspberry coulis, and a special of Pavlova. 
Made by: Anglers
Location: 4125 Discovery Dr, Campbell River BC.
 

Market Table | Dining in NYC

New Yorkers! If you’re looking for a fun, fresh and tasty place for lunch, Market Table is a great spot to hit up in the West Village.  Last October, I visited my family in New York City, and we had a fantastic lunch here. All the ingredients were in season and delicious. It was very much comfort food but with a twist of sophistication. We started with the quinoa hushpuppies, which were very hot to the touch but extremely unique and paired well with a spicy aioli. We all ordered our own dishes. I had the seasonal butternut squash risotto side dish that was being served at the time. As a side dish, it was a great portion and not over cooked, and the flavours were all there. That butternut squash really shined throughout the dish. Others had the cheeseburger, the grilled flatbread with truffle mushrooms and caramelized onions, and lastly the beef carpaccio with alfalfa sprouts and croutons. All very delectable! 

Overall, the restaurant was very accommodating and helpful with making wine and food choices. We enjoyed the large windows that surrounded the room; it was such a delightful experience.
I would definitely go back any day for a superb lunch. I would also love to try their dinner menu!

PS: Their cocktails are very good and at the time they had a special cocktail of the day! Be sure to make reservations as they do get booked up very quickly. Bon Appetit! 

Food: Quinoa Hushpuppies, Cheese Burger, Truffled Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions Flatbread, Butternut Squash Risotto, and the Beef Carpaccio. 
Made by: Market Table
Location: 54 Carmine Street, New York, NY

Ladurée Harrods | Dining in London, England

If you ever have the chance to dine at Ladurée (anywhere) for breakfast, be sure to do so. But by far, the top spot isn’t in Paris from my experience. In London’s infamous department store, Harrods houses La Durée and has been for quite some time. Established in 1862, this tearoom is beautifully lit and filled with macaroons, pastries and wonderful brunch and lunch menus. As you can see, this one morning for breakfast, I had a very delectable eggs benedicte. The hollandaise sauce was gently poured over my two perfectly poached eggs, and the coffee, c’est parfait!

Be sure to treat yourself to a macaroon. They are each made to perfection (and flown in from Paris daily every morning…)

Food: Eggs Benedicte, Café
Made by: Ladurée Harrods, London
Location: Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, Knighstbridge London

Marukame | Dining in Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu

If you’re looking for a quick fix of udon, and you’ve found yourself in Waikiki Honolulu, Marukame is THE place to go. An array of udon bowls and tempura to choose from, Marukame serves the best tasting udon in the area. The texture of the noodles is unlike any other (of course if you go to Japan I’m sure you will find even more yummier noodles, but we’re keeping it real in Honolulu).

When you see the crazy long line up outside the door, don’t be alarmed as it actually goes by real quick. The way it works is like a canteen: you line up, pick your meal, pick your tempura, and pick your sides. Finally you’ll reach the cash register and then find a seat to enjoy your udon. The tempura is fantastic – crispy, crunchy and tasty. You can choose from veggies to prawn to an assortment and more. There are so many options for noodles: bukkake (cold), curry, ontama (egg) bukkake, and more. The one you see in the picture is Kamaage udon, where the noodles have come straight out of the boiler and doesn’t go through any cooling process. This makes the noodles have more texture – and it is delicious. It’s served with a bukkake sauce but it’s hot. There is so much flavour from the sauce that it adds to the noodles perfectly. Beware, it is a BIG bowl of noodles – but under $4 if I remember correctly! I can never get enough of udon, so this portion was perfect.

And the best part? The sides. I think this is where I had the best tasting spam musubi.  You can choose from other musubis too but nothing beats their spam musubi. You have to at least try it once in your life – you have no idea what you’re missing. The spam is marinated in I guess their secret marinade… not sure what is in it but I have never tasting any other spam musubi like it.

You can get all this for a seriously good price. Be sure to head to Marukame if you’re in the area!! 

Food: Kaggame Udon, Shrimp Tempura and Spam Musubi
Made by: Marukame
Location: 2310 Kuhio Ave, Suite 124, Honolulu, HI

B&G Oysters | Dining in Boston, Massachusetts

Last May, I got to travel with my boyfriend and his family from New York to Boston for a few days. It was another great trip I got to enjoy early last summer.

Oysters were definitely number 1 on my list of foods to eat when in Boston. B&G Oysters was one of the fine restaurants I got to check out while I was there. Oysters were fantastic – fresh and a huge assortment to try from, east to west coast (mostly east which is what I was looking forward to.)  The menu is filled with seasonal seafood dishes were definitely delicious. I had a halibut tartare as well as the oysters and some raw clams (different but had to try!)

B&G was a fun experience, as we got to sit semi at the bar on a table for six. Watching how their delicious fries were made and all sorts of dishes made us salivate while we waited for our meals. A very popular spot, make sure you get there early or make a reservation. You can’t go wrong in an establishment like B&G! I cannot wait to go back to Boston and visit B&G once more.  

Food: Oysters, Clams, Halibut Tartare
Made by: B&G Oyster
Location: Boston, MA

Thirsty Thursday: A Pint of Smithwick’s | Kilkenny, Ireland

This week’s Thursday features a throwback to when I went to Kilkenny last year in April. I took a week trip to Ireland and traveled from Cork to Galway to Dublin with family and friends. Along the way, we were going to pass Kilkenny, and that meant stopping for a pint. So Smithwick’s was our first stop on our road trip. I was very excited. It was a great way to begin our journey around Ireland.

Although I have drank many pints of Smithwick’s in Toronto when I was studying, there was nothing compared to that of a Smithwick’s poured in their own brewery (duh). The aroma of a campfire, caramel on the palate, and all in a ruby red ale. The flavours lasted on the palate from the front and all the way to the back of the throat. Smithwick’s has perfected probably one of the best tasting Irish ales: The Superior Irish Ale.

When you get to the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny, you will be booked into a guided tour – very informative for those who are interested in how the brewery came to be and how they make their beers. Of course, the end of the tour is the best part. Tasting the ales, you receive a full sized pint (or a half for those of you who aren’t as keen on beer… but you’d be missing out), and you can take your time to enjoy it with your friends and those around you on the tour. Of course there is a gift shop in the next room from the tasting room, but the best pour is from the taps of the brewery. Savour every sip!

PS: Don’t be confused with the name of Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny with Kilkenny’s brewery. Smithwick’s is from Kilkenny (the area).

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Location: Smithwick's Experience Kilkenny
Beverage: Smithwick's Superior Irish Ale
Made by: Smithwick's