Celebrate!

It’s Friday & the last day of super freeze February!! Lots to celebrate ūüėČ

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Wanderlust Wednesdays ~ Ios, Greece

¬†A younger version of Mykonos..this tiny island nestled just above Santorini is blessed with lots of varied, gorgeous beaches ready to party at a moments notice!¬†You would think after¬†24 hrs there,the islands name¬†should mean Good times…all the time!¬†A destination for the young or young at heart.

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Chora (the main town) ¬†is a maze of narrow alleys and painted white¬†cobbles reminiscent of Santorini. Shop owners and residents alike hand paint the lines¬†in front of their properties daily keeping them pristine and perfect¬†complement¬†to the many gorgeous vistas found at every corner! The town itself is very hilly and you will undoubtedly¬†be climbing stairs for most of your visit…luckily it’s more than worth it!

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 Beaches : There are 8- 10 prisitine beaches scattered around the island..each with its own flavor. These two were my favorites

Mylopotas Beach¬†is the most popular beach on the island and very international . It regularly features as one of the “Top 10 Beaches in Europe”.¬†More than 1km long and very wide,¬† golden sand and crystal clear clean water stretch out in a horseshoe banked by rocky outcroppings that are great for snorkelling.¬†Located 2 km’s from the main town and is easily accessible by public bus, or simply walking. Since the town is on such a steep incline walking down¬†is¬†the prefered mentod as you can take time to take in the magificent 365 degree views before descending. A bus ride back is usually a good idea though ūüėČ

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While wandering to Mylopoptas beach, there are lots of alleys and donkey paths one could decide to explore. This is how I stumbled upon Kolitsani Beach. (The best adventures are always that way) Down a random steep path you step out to find yourself in cove protected on all sides by rocky cliffs. Super calm, even on the windiest of days it is a great place to spend a low key day away from the crowds. The ocean is still and perfect for floating till your hearts content. These are no amenities here so hopefully you remember to bring what you need!

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Activities: Laying on the beach or lounging in one of the many super chill beach bars is the favorite pastime of many visitors. For the more active traveller, windsurfing /kite surfing and sea kayaking are all avaliable by the water.  You may also hire a boat to take you a little further out for some snorkelling and diving. Volleyball nets are set up at a couple of the beaches and is a great way to get to know fellow travellers!

Nightlife: The main town is a maze of tiny alleys connecting what seems to be a million clubs and bars that stay open until the sun rises. Famous DJ’s come to spend the Summer and lead the all night parties. Most of the hostels plan nightly bar hopping adventures and when you first arrive it’s easier to follow the crowd than get lost in the alleys later!¬†¬†The most popular spots change yearly but some of the most memorable are :

Orange:  Famous for its jelly shots and homemade chocolate and caramel vodka shots.

REDBULL: Great dance floor and fantastic drink specials!

Shooters: Pump action fun guns loaded with alcohol make sure everyone gets a taste.

Slammer Bar: you wear a helmet, take a shot, and the bartender slams you on the head with a hammer. ( yup, it’s true! )

Kandi: international cast of DJ’s,outdoor seating and open until sunrise!

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A beautiful island absolutely full to the brim with zest for life and quite unforgettable ūüôā

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Wanderlust Wednesdays ~ Montezuma, Costa Rica

This stunning, laid back beach town located on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula will be the first stop on our “Beach Lovers SUP, Surf & Yoga adventure this November and with good reason. This tiny spot on the Pacific embodies the “Pura Vida” lifestyle Costa Ricans adore. ¬†Tourists, villagers and ex-pats agree this is a special spot on earth. Many a traveler has ventured in for a few nights and ended up spending their remaining time within its charms…more than a few just didn’t come home at all! ūüôā

MontezumaNext stop...paradise

So let’s explore some of the things that make Montezuma amazing!

 Area Beaches:

 Playa Montezuma

Located right in front on the town. Very picturesque white sand beach and the busiest in the area. Great for sunbathing and nightly bonfires. I didn’t really spend too much time here other than taking pictures as it’s fairly busy with boat taxi’s and passengers coming and going. That’s okay because there is nothing but stretch after stretch of fabulous beaches on either side!

Main Beach

Going Left:

The miles of named beaches are usually only seperated by rocky outcroppings between them. Climbing over and exploring rewards you with unexpected delights like hidden warm pools in the craggy rocks exposed as the tide went out…now that is¬†magical afternoon if you remember to bring the Bubba Keg lol

Montezuma sunrise Craggy outcroppings divide the beaches

All of the beaches are snowy white, some with buttery soft sand..some with larger sand granules but all have qualities that make them awesome unto themselves. Hermit crabs LOVE the granular beaches and they are everywhere! There are many sea turtles that come to nest in the area and protected hatcheries spring up to watch over the eggs until they hatch. If you are lucky, go at the right time of year and know where to look you might even get to see the babies hatch and be released en masse into the ocean. I was lucky and got to see giant leather-back babies! The nearby reef is also great for snorkeling.

Baby Leatherbacks!!Crabs on the beach

There are 2 main waterfall areas on this side..¬†Piedra Colorada¬†and El Chorro. My favorite was Piedra as it’s an easy walk and the cascading pools are all in the shade..especially great if you’ve gotten too much sun.

Playa Grande is next with a wide, gorgeous beach that is perfect for surfing or swimming. One of the favorites with the locals and most visitors.

Isla Tortuga is located 9 km further and is an optional all day trip that is more than worth the time. Super fine, buttery soft white sand and blue/green waters surround it and provide amazing snorkeling!! Here the vivid hues of turquoise, green and blue ocean reminded me of the Caribbean!

Isla Tortuga Beautiful calm waters

On the right:

MonteZuma Waterfall

Not a beach but surely worth at least an afternoon of your time. Bit of a clamber upstream along boulders you will follow seemingly endless freshwater cascades and swimming pools. The big waterfall with the deepest swimming basin is an appx 30 min hike up and around obstacles but it’s worth it! A giant 60 ft waterfall drops straight down and you can swin right underneath if you like. The brave can clamor up the steep “path” to the top pool and take in the views. Lots of places to climb up and jump in too ūüôā

Montezuma FallsMontezuma Falls lower cascades

Cabuya and Cabo Blanco

A short bus ride away Cabuya boasts a rare island cemetery that is used by the villagers up until recently. The path is only accessible at low tide BUT that doesn’t stop an adventurer from snorkeling their way across lol¬† Some of the best snorkeling is beside the island and right in front of the beach itself. It was amazing to see the burial sites and get a tiny glance into the culture of the area.

View from the island cemetary

Cabuya cemetary

This island borders the famed Cabo Blanco Reserve that was the first protected area in CR! ¬†Brimming with monkeys, lizards and¬†exotic colorful birds¬†as far as the eye can see, it is only surpassed by the¬†even more amazing sea life can be seen within its borders. Several loops can be taken in the park and a guide can help you spot things you didn’t even realize were looking back at you!

Jan  2013 150CR 2013 048 Cr wildlife sloth toucanSnorkeling fun

 

If you didn’t get the impression before, I have to admit of all the magnificent destinations in this beautiful and much varied country, this tiny little village really placed me under its spell.¬†Nestled between the ocean and steep cliffs lush with vegetation, it’s a nature and beach lovers paradise!! Most mornings you are awakened by the calls of howler monkeys urging you to run to the beach to check out yet another magnificent sunrise. Days are spent wandering the endless ¬†great beaches and little hidden nooks that Montezuma seems to have in endless supply. The bohemian little one road beach town itself is full of restaurants & peddlers that serve up delicously fresh and flavorful meals. ¬†When dusk settles, most congregate in the middle of the 2 road intersection to socialize and watch fire dancers from the nearby school practice and perform their intoxicating dances ¬†and eat the most amazing gelato ūüėÄ

Fire dancers in the main square Delicious home made goodies Seriously good food

Not a bad beginning to our epic adventure and a MUST DO if you are lucky enough to find yourself in this glorious country!

 

If YOU would like to join us on this amazing adventure, feel free to contact us via the form below for the full itinerary & pricing. Dates are Friday, November 21st to Sunday, November 30th…9 nights for 5 vacation days…Woo hoo!¬†

Go team Canada!!! Sochi Olympics 2014

Olympic ceremonies begin at 11 a.m. today and we are totally pumped to watch our fine Canadian athletes take the world stage!

Canada will have a record 220 athletes competing in Sochi. 64 of them hail from Ontario and are a part of the largest ever Canadian team to be sent to a winter games!

We will be watching and cheering!!
Go get’em team Canada!!!!

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Taste of Burlington Winter Launch ~ Food Porn to warm a winter’s night!

We had excitedly awaiting this fabulous sold out event since purchasing tickets in December! Pictures and delicious scents had drifted down the beach during last Summer’s launch and we were pretty stoked to be able to attend this Winters event at the new Burlington Performing Arts Center. We were not disappointed ūüôā

From the time we wandered in through the massive glass doors, we were welcomed with smiles & a listing of all the wonderful restaurants participating in the event by the girls from Tourism Burlington. Coats were checked and we were ready to investigate all the mingling, delicious scents coming from the different stations.

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Over 30 Burlington restaurants gathered in one spot, creating their signature dishes for lucky attendees to savor and delight in. Where else could you so easily find a new favorite or rediscover an old haunt with a fresh new twist? To help wash it all down we were also joined by Cameron’s Brewing company who offered up a light & smooth Lager & full bodied tasty Auburn ale.

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We spent the next 2 hours wandering between the different stations, indulging in so much fabulous food that we could barely get home at the end of the night. Even trying to limit ourselves to a little bite here and sharing a plate there…the portions were fabulous for a tasting event and we were too full to try all 32 dishes..the shame ūüôā

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Thanks to the pamphlet we were handed, we were able to keep track of our most favorite offerings to share with you today. Due to full tummies and a pork allergy we weren’t able to get to everyone but it all looked fabulous!

Amaya Express- 490 Brant St   Serving: Leek & Parsnip fritter, butter chicken & rice

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Perfectly done, light seasoned rice with the perfect amount of spice and flavor to the butter chicken. Fritters were nicely crisp & and a nice contrast. Our bellies were very happy with our first tastings and we will be visiting them for a great Indian dinner sometime soon.

Beaver & the Bulldog 2020 Lakeshore Rd  

Serving : Mediteranean sliders with creamed herb goat cheese, cucumbers, brushetta mix  & red pepper hummus

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What a flavor combination!! Loved the way the flavors came together…soo good!

Queens Head Pub 400 Brant St   Serving : Sweet potato donuts & espresso

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Sweet potato donuts?! Yes and they were delicious, perfect amount of sweetness with a creamy filling…a must try if you have a sweet tooth. The acidity of the espresso to accompany was a great touch.

Rib Eye Jacks  4045 Harvester Rd  

Serving : Wonton Nachos with pulled beef, white beans, chedder, pico de galo, green onions & chipolte

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What a fantastic twist! Loved the interplay of flavors, a tiny bit of savory taste. Would be a great choice for almost everyone to try…we almost went back for another.

Stone House  3106 South Service Rd.  Serving: Beer braised short ribs with truffled turnip puree

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Omg…the short ribs just melted in your mouth and the truffled turnip puree was amazing!! I must admit, my mouth just started salivating just thinking about it again lol ¬†A must try!

Test Kitchen    455 Brant St.       Serving: Tuna Canapes

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This was definitely my top pic for presentation last night! Total food porn and even though I’m not much of a raw fan…the flavors were amazing and we loved the crunchy bits mingled with buttery fresh tuna. This restaurant is all about trying new things..they “Test” new recipes with their patrons for 6 weeks and join the normal menu only if they are adored. If not…on to the next dish!

Turtle Jacks   900 Maple Ave & 1900 Appleby Line     Serving: Award winning Ribs 

Somehow managed to not get a pic of these “to die for” fall off the bone ribs. Maybe because we were too distracted by the generous portion and mouth watering flavors on a plate. If you’re a rib lover and haven’t tried these…Go, go now!

West Plains Bistro   133 Plains Rd. E    Serving: Curried cauliflower soup with dried mango, raisin & almond garnish

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Loved the flavors and especially the addition of raisins into this exotic soup. I’ve been experimenting at home with similar flavor combinations and really enjoy the subtle curve in flavors.

The Naked Sprout  4040 Palladium Way  

Serving: Prima Donna Primavera   Spiraled zucchini, tossed in a sun dried tomato marinara sauce, garnished with tomatoes, kalamata olives & a cashew meatball sprinkled with Brazil nut parmesan. 

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I was skeptical when trying this initially but it turned out to be my most favorite dish of the evening…and it was vegetarian! The spiraled zucchini tasted like amazing fresh noodles and the sauce was to die for.The flavors combined made for a most fabulous treat and we will definitely be bring our vegetarian daughter with us to dine & discover what other fabulous things they have cooking over there. Beautiful presentation and table set up…kudos ladies!!

Spencer’s at the Waterfront ¬† ¬†1340 Lakeshore Rd ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Serving:¬†Ice wine¬†marshmallow¬†s’mores

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We saw these delicious looking morsels as soon as we got there but saved tasting them until last. With a cup of Lakeshore coffee House French Vanilla organic roast in to perfectly compliment it, the tiny bit of room in our bellies was immensely satisfied with the choice. As delicious as it sounds, with smooth & velvety chocolate ganache melding the flavors it rounded out a fantastic night of food porn. Hoping they might deliver some of these down to the beach this Summer! ( Hint, hint lol)

Lakeshore Coffee house also had their popular Guatemalan coffee to sample along with jars of all their tasty fair trade choices to help patrons to appreciate the delicious aromas. We’ve always loved their coffees and cozy shop right downtown. Make sure to stop by and sample something on your way to walk the lake or just to sit by their beautiful warm fireplace when you’re done!

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From beginning to end, it was a wonderful event. Everyone was friendly and hospitable taking time to interact and explaining their dishes. It was a treat to talk to some of the chefs and see the passion in their eyes when they talked about the food they created.  The crowds loved every minute and everyone went home full & happy having discovered at least one new favorite dish. Congratulations to everyone involved on a fantastic event!

Taste of Burlington Winter runs from February 16th – March 9th and offers a prix fixe lunch ($15/20) and dinner ($30-40) at all participating restaurants. Reservations are highly recommended! Visit their website at http://www.tasteofburlington.ca for more information and to book your food porn experience now!