My Food Travels – Summer Getaway 2017 to Kingston, Ontario

Hi everyone,

Well it’s officially Fall weather despite the weather being a warmer Fall than seasonal temperature and with mid-October already, which means we are in full swing with the season for apples and pumpkins both representing the Fall season. One of my fave seasons is Fall, why? I love the cooler yet sunny days and the beautiful colourful leaves changing. The best thing about Fall is the delicious and warm apple desserts that I pick fresh from the farm.

What are you looking forward to enjoying in the Fall season? What dessert or foods you usually look forward to enjoying? Let me know below in the comments, I always love to hear from my readers.

3rd Feature – Food Travels in Kingston, Ontario AGAIN – Part 2

Fall is also the perfect time for Fall getaways or day trips as its in between the high peak seasons and I usually love travelling at this time to take advantage of the off-season prices, still warm & beautiful weather before winter and less crowded for tourist areas.

This is my 3rd Feature for my Food Travels if you haven’t read my previous ones, I love travelling to new cities or towns to explore and discover new bakeries and restaurants along with the sights and attractions in a new city or town whether it is in Ontario or in Canada or USA. I love sharing my discovery with my readers.

Why I Love Kingston?

Last year, I discovered the beautiful and historic charming city of Kingston and because I fell in love with this charming city so much that I went back to visit Kingston on an one night getaway in the summer back in July to visit one of my friends who recently moved to Kingston.

Kingston is one of my new fave travel destination and it is the perfect getaway for Spring, Summer or Fall. As I have previously travelled to Kingston in the Fall last year, you can check out my Fall Adventure here ->My Food Travels – Fall Getaway 2016 to Kingston, ON“. If you haven’t been to Kingston yet, you are definitely missing out. It is located in the Eastern part of Ontario on the end of Lake Ontario where the beginning of the St.Lawerence River is. The city is located midway between Toronto and Montreal. It is known for the “Thousand Islands” tourist region.

A great reason to visit Kingston in the Fall or Spring is that Kingston offers local fresh foods and you can find an array of fresh produce and products at Kingston’s Farmers market. I love fresh and local foods, Kingston is a great place to enjoy local foods. There are a few Farmer’s markets that you can check out during your visit. One of the popular markets is the Kingston Public Market, which is located in Kingston’s historic downtown, right behind City Hall, the Public Market is full of vendors selling the highest quality local produce, prepared foods, garden plants, flowers and handmade crafts. I was able to check it out during my visit in July and loved checking it out discovering some fresh jams and along with handcrafted jewelry.

There are other farmer’s market such as The Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market, The Frontenac Farmers’ Market, and more, which I haven’t been able to check out yet. You can find more information about other farmer’s market on Kingston Tourism site -> www.visitkingston.ca.

Quick Facts on Kingston

Some quick facts on Kingston, Ontario for those who would to know more information on this city:

  • Kingston is home to Fort Henry and part of the Rideau Canal of UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Resting-place of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister
  • The Best freshwater sailing harbor in North America
  • Queen’s University, the Royal Military College of Canada and St. Lawrence College
  • Offers vibrant arts, entertainment, recreation and leisure communities
  • Offers lots of events, festivals, and attractions
  • A bustling downtown core with a variety of independent & unique shops and a variety of amazing restaurants to offer
  • Beautiful parks and trails

Kingston City Hall at Night

My Experience

My 2nd visit to this beautiful & charming city of Kingston was this summer in mid-July 2017. Despite the short visit, I enjoyed every minute being in my new fave travel destination. It was my 1st time though in Kingston in the summer time and loved it! This year it wasn’t a hot summer, but still enjoyed the warm weather while I was in Kingston. This is why Kingston is a perfect destination for Fall as well.

I travelled by VIA Rail Train to Kingston with a stop to Belleville, ON first then to Kingston for an event. I usually travel by VIA Rail Train within Ontario as it’s the easiest, comfortable and relaxing way to travel from Toronto to destinations within Ontario or Quebec. As I previously discussed in my other Travel posts why I love travelling by train, you can check out my Travel Reviews here -> click here for more information about VIA Rail and why I love travelling by train.

On my short summer visit to Kingston, ON, I didn’t get to explore as much as I wanted to. But still had an amazing stay in Kingston catching up with my friend and exploring the downtown area of Kingston more.  I love the small town feel in a city like Kingston with the beautiful waterfront views and nature surrounding the city! The water views in Kingston are stunning and I never get enough of this amazing view. I enjoyed my overnight stay with shopping, eating of course and sightseeing the downtown core. Of course, I had to stop by the popular “Kingston” large signage by waterfront near City Hall and the train. Love these huge signages around Ontario, Toronto is not the only one now having these signs for tourist spots! 😀

A must stop in Kingston for me is checking out my fave bakery, Cards -> click here, located downtown Kingston and walkable distance to the waterfront afterwards to enjoy their sweet treats. They make my fave Oatmeal Raisin cookies. I love Cards because they use quality ingredients with no additives or preservatives and it is homemade. Check out my Kingston – Part 1 for more about my fave bakery, Cards and why I love it. Definitely recommend for all my readers to stop here for a sweet treat as Cards has a large variety of baked goods to try!!

I also love to discover new bakeries or restaurants in Kingston as well with every visit besides returning to my fave places. I love the variety and local food in Kingston, I’m excited to share with you 2 vegan friendly places I found that I didn’t know about in my last visit to Kingston.

New Vegan Friendly Restaurant & Bakery To Check Out in Kingston

Score Pizza

If you are looking for dairy-free pizza like me if you didn’t know, I have a dairy intolerance and now enjoy dairy-free products. I discovered Score Pizza in downtown Kingston who offers custom pizzas with fresh and healthy ingredients made with their stone fire oven where your pizza is ready in minutes. They have a large variety of fresh veggies, meats and cheeses to choose from. They even have gluten free crust. Yes, Score Pizza has vegan cheese, which is perfect for me and those who enjoy dairy-free products.

It’s not often in Toronto that there are places who offer dairy-free cheese so I don’t get to eat pizza as much as I used to. So I was happy and thrilled to have found Score Pizza in Kingston to enjoy a custom order pizza with vegan cheese.

What I love about Score Pizza is that you can custom made the pizza you want it, there are lots of combinations of ways you can enjoy your pizza and made tailored to each individual as we all know, everyone has their own taste!

I custom made my pizza to a chicken, pineapple, mushrooms and tomatoes as I love pineapples in my pizza!! It was simply delicious, their quality of food is excellent!! It was quite busy when I went to Score Pizza on a Friday night, but the service was friendly, helpful and at a pretty fast paced, which I loved. Great atmosphere as well!

If you are looking for a fresh and healthy customized fire oven pizza with a variety of combinations, then look no further than Score Pizza to satisfied all different individual tastes.

Score Pizza interior, *Photo Credit to Score Pizza Official Website*

For more information on Score Pizza, please check out their website -> Score Pizza

You can follow them on their Social Media networks, Facebook @ScorePizzaKingston and Instagram @ScorePizza.

Geneva Crêpe Café

A new vegan friendly dessert place I discovered in Kingston is Geneva Crêpe Café, which is a cozy café with a taste of Paris in Kingston. How lovely is that!! This cozy and sweet café is located downtown area of Kingston. What I love about this café that it offers fresh local ingredients and seasonal produce, that’s why I love about what Kingston has to offer.

Geneva Crêpe Café first opened in August 2010 and it specializes in French crepes (savory & sweet), Belgian waffles, homemade soups and seasonal salads. They also offer great choices of espresso and speciality coffee and tea. Geneva Crêpe Café is privately owned and operated and is proud to support local farmers by offering fresh seasonal produce and meat.

What I like about Geneva Crêpe Café is that each crepe is made fresh to order with their fresh and local ingredients. They offer vegan options with their buckwheat batter for a gluten free, dairy free and vegan friendly alternative.

I ordered a custom crepe – Strawberry and mango buckwheat vegan crepe with strawberry sauce and sugar icing on top! I like that they offer a variety of crepes and even do custom made crepes to suit each person taste. It tasted delicious, the sweet fruits and the crepe itself was made fresh and you can tell from the first bite of it, it’s hard to describe how perfect this crepe was. If you didn’t know, I love any mango desserts so this was a perfect dessert for me to end my 1st night in Kingston. I also ordered an Earl Grey tea with soy milk to go. I love that this café is vegan friendly and I’m able to order dairy free products here.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the café – a casual and friendly place to enjoy this sweet dessert. Also, the customer service at this café was excellent and friendly. If I had any questions, they were able to answer them and assist me if I needed any help with deciding my order.

If you haven’t stopped at Geneva Crêpe Café in Kingston, then you are definitely missing out on a taste of Paris in Kingston as their crepes are simply the best! You would feel like you were in Paris after enjoying their sweet crepes. Don’t forget to stop at Geneva Crêpe Café when in Kingston…😊

For more information on Geneva Crêpe Café, please check out their website -> Geneva Crêpe Café.

You can follow them on their Social Media networks, Facebook @GenevaCrepeCafe and Twitter @GenevaCrepe.

My Accommodations – Inn

For my 2nd visit in Kingston, ON, I decided to stay at Green Acres Inn, which is conveniently located 10 mins within the downtown area of Kingston. My last visit, I stayed at a hotel within the core of downtown Kingston, making it easier to walk around downtown.

Green Acres Inn is a charming and spacious Inn making you feel like a country side home with spacious appointed rooms and suites that includes a small kitchenette in the room and modern feel to the room. In most rooms, there is even a whirlpool tub, which my room had and it was great to have to use to relax after a day of walking around downtown. Green Acres Inn has a large spacious space as they have a Victorian Gazebo and a large outdoor pool beautifully situated on seven picturesque acres.

This is a very charming and friendly Inn to escape to for your trip, vacation or getaway to Kingston. It is operated by a family owned Inn and very friendly front desk service I received when I checked in and any questions I had during my stay. Also at this Inn, it is also environment friendly as they offer water with water bottles or in jugs for your room.

Overall, I had a great and relaxing stay at Green Acres Inn and loved the beautiful landscape views that it offered. I didn’t feel like I was in the city at all more like in the country and peaceful. I especially loved the outdoor pool as I was lucky to have gone when the weather was warm enough still to use the outdoor pool. I enjoyed a late afternoon swim after I checked in before heading into the downtown Kingston area. I highly recommend this charming, friendly, and beautiful landscaped Inn if you are planning a stay in Kingston and looking for an Inn where it is like a home away from home in the country side.

For more information on Green Acres Inn, please check out their website -> Green Acres Inn.

You can also follow them on their Social Media networks, Facebook @GreenAcresInn and Instagram @GreenAcresInn.

Another amazing, fun, and foodie adventure getaway to a charming and beautiful city of Kingston, Ontario. If you are still reading this, thank you for letting me share my travel adventure with you I know it was a bit long. 😉 If you haven’t travelled to Kingston yet, I definitely recommend you check out this beautiful and charming city a perfect Fall, Spring and Summer getaway. There is so much Kingston has to offer that you will definitely not be disappoint as this was not my 1st visit and will not be my last one either. I look forward to visiting Kingston again very soon most likely next year!!

It’s a busy month for me in October with working on ideas for new blog posts, the surprise project I’m working on, which I will be sharing with you guys shortly and of course I’m excited about attending the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference in a few days. Been busy prepping for that as well!

Don’t forget to stay connected with me for the latest blog post updates & especially for the upcoming FBC Conference as I will be doing lots of updates from Ottawa with photos and yes Instagram stories too so look out for all the fun and yummy foods I will be enjoying.

If you don’t already do, please follow along with me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 & on Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

Until next time….will be doing a full blog post on FBC2017 Ottawa once I’m back so look out for that to get the full scoop and if my summer getaway to Kingston, ON isn’t an inspiration for a Fall getaway to enjoy the beautiful Fall scenery in Kingston and the warm weather we still have, what are you waiting for?? 😀✈

-Sweet B.

For more information about visiting Kingston, please see below:

Kingston Tourism Website -> Visit Kingston

You can follow them on their Social Media networksFacebook @StayInKingston, Twitter @VisitKingston1 and Instagram @VisitKingston.

For more information on VIA Rail, please check out their website -> VIA Rail Website

 

 

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My Food Travels – Spring Getaway 2017 to London, Ontario

Hi everyone!

Welcome back to my sweet foodie blog!! I’m back now!! Can you believe that it is August and half the summer is already over?? 😁 Summer is going by quickly, but we still have the rest of the month to enjoy these sunny and rainy days?? There seem to be more rainfall this year than normal, which I’m not too fond of. I hope that everyone is still enjoying their summer so far like me.

I decided to take a mini break from writing in July as I had a busy schedule with my mini summer getaway to Belleville and Kingston along with other activities like attending food festivals, watching baseball, spending time with my family and more. What have you guys been up to this summer?? Did anyone discover a new bakery that I can try?? You can leave me a comment below, I always love to hear from my readers.

Quick Update

Getting things back on track, I’m also working on a few ideas and looking for new delicious bakeries or restaurants or sharing with you my next foodie events in August as in August & September there are a few food festivals to attend that I’m looking forward to.

Don’t forget if you want the latest updates on my next blog post or to follow my foodie adventures, please follow me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 OR on Instagram where I’m posting a bit more stories now so you can check those out too @SweetBFoodie24. For any upcoming food festivals or events I’m attending, check my Instagram stories as well as my photos for the live updates.

2nd Feature – Food Travels in London, Ontario

My next feature in my Food Travels is in London, Ontario where I went to London for a mini getaway in the Spring time on the last week of May 2017. I haven’t been to London before even though I was born in Toronto, ON I am still discovering new cities within my province of Ontario. I love exploring new cities or towns so I was excited to go to London as I read and heard that London’s culinary scene is known for it’s local and seasonal food from farm to table and their outstanding farmer’s market and on the rise in a lot of their restaurants are plant-based cuisine. I was excited to explore what London’s vegan type of foods has to offer and esp discovering their vegan bakeries.

I look forward to sharing with you in this blog post more about my foodie adventures in London, ON. I love travelling in the Spring as well because that’s when warm weather is back after the winter and travelling in the Spring I find that it is less expensive than travelling in the summer. You can still enjoy warm weather with less crowd than the summer for sure. I always prefer to travel during off seasons than high peak seasons.

I travelled by VIA Rail Train to London, ON as with my 1st Feature to Kingston, ON (click here -> Fall Getaway 2016 to Kingston, Ontario ) I mentioned why I love travelling by travel, you can check out that post for more information. Overall, for me, it’s the easiest, comfortable and relaxing way to travel from Toronto to London or to any destination within Ontario or Quebec. I have yet to travel further yet but train for me is a good option for Ontario and Quebec areas. This year I love the signage for celebrating Canada’s special “Canada 150” year on the trains.

Quick Facts on London

Some quick facts on London, Ontario for those who would to know more information on this city:

  • London is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada along the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor
  • London is at the confluence of the Thames River where there are trails to see the beauty of Thames River, approximately halfway between Toronto, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan
  • It is approximately 2 hours train and drive ride from Toronto
  • London is known for its culture and entertainment scene with their The historic Grand Theatre, Museum London, London Music Hall, Western Fair District and the 10,000 seat Budweiser Gardens, all located downtown. As well a city home to festivals including: Sunfest, the Home County Folk Festival, the London Fringe Theatre Festival and etc.
  • London has a number of parks to explore including Victoria Park which is located downtown London making it accessible that has lots of events and attracting an estimated 1 million visitors per year. Other major parks include Harris Park, Gibbons Park, Fanshawe Conservation Area, Springbank Park, and Westminster Ponds.

Information taken from London Tourism website (click here -> London Tourism site)

My Experience – Sightseeing

Overall, I enjoyed this small town feel in the city of London, Ontario for my mini Spring getaway. As I live in a big city in Toronto. I loved that London has a small and friendly town city feel with their downtown similar to Toronto easily accessible with shopping and variety of restaurants to choose from. I love the combination of the city life and nature surroundings in London with the Thames River and parks within the city.

With my short visit to London, I was able to visit a few of the main attractions including Covent Garden Market (which is a large market filled with fresh produce, shops, restaurants and a farmer’s market located in the heart of downtown London), Museum London, Eldon House Historic Site (located in downtown London’s oldest residence that has been preserved and maintained since 1960 and was donated to they city of London by the Harris family. It has the most beautiful gardens in the city.), Budweiser Gardens, visited a few parks including Victoria Park, Ivey Park along the Thames River, and Harris Park and of course visited a few bakery shops (details below my fave bakery shops).

There are still many more things to do and see in London, ON, which I would love to come back and visit again. I did quite a few things and visited and ate so much delicious foods and desserts in London lol…😄 in one short visit…😊 I left London feeling so full and satisfied my sweet cravings lol!! But in a good way!! It was a fun culinary foodie adventure in London and I look forward to my next visit!!

Hotel

I stayed at the Residence Inn by Marriott London Downtown hotel. It is conveniently located downtown London, Ontario on Colbourne Street at King Street making it easily accessible to the downtown core. It as only a 10 mins walk from the VIA Rail train station, which I was happy that I was able to get to the hotel by walking.

The Residence Inn London Downtown Hotel was recently renovated with a fresh, newly updated and modern bold look to the overall hotel and even the rooms. I been staying with the brand Residence Inn and Marriott and I always love their spacious rooms compared to other hotels. And this was no difference, I stayed in a 1 bedroom suite and loved how big and spacious the room was and loved the newly updated look. My bedroom was in a separate room on it’s own and love how the living room and kitchen in it’s own space. It felt cozy and right at home like a small apartment.

I loved the location of the hotel as I was able to take a bus or walk to most of the restaurants, shopping, and attractions within the hotel area. Other great features about the hotel are complimentary wifi and full American breakfast in the morning. Only negative is there was no pool in this hotel. As I love to swim especially in the evening after a day of exploring the city, that would have been nice. But I can’t complain as everything else about the hotel was exactly what I expected with a lot of great features.

The Lobby of Hotel

Most importantly, I had great customer service both at the front desk very friendly and welcoming when I first arrived and checking out along with any issues I had during my stay, which I didn’t. They were very helpful as well with any directions I needed within the downtown area.

Overall, another amazing stay with my fave brand – Marriott, this time staying at Residence Inn London Downtown. I highly recommend this hotel if you are planning a stay in London and especially great for longer stays with the spacious rooms making it feel more like home than a hotel with kitchenette, business center services available and lots of space to work.

My Fave 3 Desserts / Bakeries in London, Ontario

If you are looking for some sweet desserts shops and bakeries, I am recommending when coming to this beautiful and foodie city to satisfied your sweet cravings, you will not be disappointed. Here are my Top 3 that I recommend you checking out in London:

1. Marky’s Crepe Café

Location: 484 Richmond Street, London, ON

Website: Marky’s Crepe Cafe -> click here

Social Media: Follow them on Facebook @Markyscrepeandwaffles, Twitter @Markyscrepecafe and Instagram @Markyscrepecafe.

Looking for the best crepes and waffles in London, ON, then go to Marky’s Crepe Café is a small, cozy and friendly café offering authentic desserts to diverse taste of London’s locals known for their delicious waffles and crêpes. They also offer Panini, Sandwiches, Salads, cakes and smoothies. I love that they have vegan and gluten free options. If you are looking for a vegan option for the crêpes, they offer buckwheat crepe options, which was perfect for me as I enjoy dairyfree option now. I requested by e-mail a day in advance that I was coming and they were able to accommodate to make the vegan option for me as they don’t make it on a daily basis so if you were coming please let me them know ahead of time. Overall, a great experience at Marky’s Crepe Café, I love their small and cozy café. They have a very small selection of seats inside and now they have a patio as well. Great customer service, the staff was very friendly there and very helpful loved how patience she was with me. I ended up ordering a custom vegan crêpe with fresh mangos and strawberries and icing sugar on top. It was simply delicious!! Loved it!! If you are looking for delicious freshly made desserts esp crêpes, don’t look any further than going to Marky’s Crepe Café in London!

2. Organic Works Bakery

Location: 481 Ridout Street North, London, ON

Website: Organic Works Bakery -> click here

Social Media: Follow them on Facebook @OrganicWordsBakery, Twitter @OWBakery, and Instagram @OrganicWorksBakery.

Organic Works Bakery is a cozy and boutique organic and gluten-free bakery located at their new retail bakeshop location at Eldon House. They originally first formed in 2007 and over the years made its mark as the only certified organic, gluten free bakery with savoury treats, breads and other baked goods made in a gluten free facility. They are continuing their focus on providing healthy options to their customers.

When I visited Organic Works Bakery, the Eldon House was still under construction on the outside, but was still able to locate it. I love this rustic and cozy bakery with so many options to choose from. Great customer service by the staff as well and very helpful explaining about their products as well. It was hard for me to choose, but chose the Vanilla Raspberry Swirl cupcake and took home a few organic apple oats cookies as I love cookies so how could I resist lol!! The cupcake was moist and soft, the frosting wasn’t too sweet, it was just perfect!! I loved the cupcake!! The apple oats cookies I took them home on the train ride to have a snack and it was delicious! If you are looking for a variety of baked goods with healthy options and gluten-free, I highly recommend Organic Works Bakery.

My delicious & sweet Vanilla Raspberry Swirl cupcake in the garden

3. The Boombox Bakeshop

New Location: 520 Adelaide Street North, London, ON

Website: The Boombox Bakeshop -> click here

Social Media: Follow them on Facebook @TheBoomBoxBakeshop, Twitter @BoomBoxBakeshop, and Instagram @theboomboxbakeshop.

The Boombox Bakeshop is a vegan friendly bakery and café where they specialize in cupcakes, cakes, mini pies, cookie sandwiches and more. I was excited to visit one of my fave desserts, cupcakes esp vegan cupcakes…😋 I visited The Boombox Bakeshop on one of their last few days before moving to their new location, so please be aware that they have now officially moved into their new location, which is only a few spaces down from their original location at 520 Adelaide Street North, London, Ontario.

I loved their outside signage, very cute with bright & bold colours! Despite the moving process, inside their old bakeshop, love the unique and cozy environment with the boomboxes as decorations and a combination of the music and baking! I had the Tropical Punch cupcake and definitely felt like it was a summery cupcake filled with sweetness. The cake of the cupcake was moist and not too sweet. I look forward to my next visit to The Boombox Bakeshop to check out their new location and see what it looks like along with sampling more of their cupcakes and other baked goods. That day I had lots of yummy food and desserts before going to the bakeshop so was a bit full lol!!

It was a great Spring getaway to London, Ontario exploring a city with a combination of beautiful natural scenery and water views along with their fresh and local culinary scene focusing a bit more on the plant based cuisine. I definitely had a very foodie weekend enjoying lots of different foods and desserts / baked goods in London. I have enjoyed London’s small town atmosphere in this city setting.

If you haven’t been to London, ON before, I would definitely recommend for you to come and explore this small town atmosphere in a city setting to see what I been talking about. I can’t wait to come back to London again to further explore other parts of London and enjoy more of their local and plant based cuisine!! I always love exploring new cities and I look forward to my next foodie and travel adventure!

If you read most of this blog, thank you as I know it was a bit long, but hope you enjoyed reading about my foodie travel adventure in London, Ontario.

As summer is coming to an end, I’m enjoying what is left of summer and looking forward to more Fall food festivals coming up in September. Looking for my next sweet vegan bakeshop or restaurant to share with you….😋

-Sweet B.

For more information on London, Ontario, please see below:

Website: Tourism London Site -> click here

Website: City of London, Ontario -> click here

Social Media: You can follow Tourism London & stay up to date through

Facebook @TourismLondon, Twitter @Tourism_London, and Instagram @TourismLondon.

Hotel: Residence Inn by Marriott London Downtown -> Website -> click here

 

 

 

 

My 2016 Year In Review

Hi everyone,

Welcome to a brand New Year of 2017 🎉, though I started my 2017, a bit rough with a horrible cold, but I am finally recovering from this cold and ready to take on a brand new Sweet & Healthy 2017 Year!! 😀🍎🍰 There’s a saying that “it is not how you start, but how you finish” so in my case how tackle the challenges for this year and how I will finish it strong & on a positive note!! I’m excited for this Year 2017 with many exciting things happening with travel and new food adventures (especially with my Las Vegas trip already booked in March 2017 to name one of the many fun things happening)!

Typically you would find most Year In Reviews blog posts at the end of the year, but I am continuing my tradition here being the 2nd time doing this that I like to reflect on the Year before to start off this New Year 2017.

Thank You’s

I like to start off by thanking each one of my “sweet readers” and as well as any new readers who have checked out and decided to follow along on my sweet adventures!! I always love to welcome and invite new readers to my blog. I really appreciate each and every one of you who comes to visit my blog truly mean it as a still beginner blogger I love seeing and getting to know my readers whether you are from Toronto or from overseas in UK or Europe. So on that note, I would love to hear from you with any comments or a suggestion for my blog. Please don’t hesitate to share them with me.

My Stats from 2015 to 2016

It will be 3 years next month that I have started this blog and I feel that I have grown from where I started yet I am still learning new and exciting things in the blogging world everyday. I believe that there is still more room to grow with my blog and I should say thanks to an amazing & friendly community called: Food Bloggers of Canada (click here for their website -> here) who I have mentioned in other posts how joining this community expanded my networks and provided me with learning resources and tools to help me in this blogging world. They will continue to be part of my blog in this growing experience providing me with guidance and networking.

With my blog still growing, in 2016 I can’t believe it was viewed in 53 countries, which doubled since 2015! Wow!! Most readers are from Canada & USA and then expanding to new readers in UK, Europe, Denmark and Asia countries to New Zealand, which is great to know that I have people on the other side of the world interested in reading about my love for food, travel and events.

According to the stats on WordPress, my Blog was viewed 906 times in 2016, which doubled the views from the year before in 2015! In 2016, my stats showed that I had 715 visitors to my blog, which also doubled since the year before in 2015! That’s pretty impressive as I’m still a beginner blogger and my blog is still growing so thank you again to all my readers for the continuing support and coming back to read my blog!

My Sweet & Healthy Year In Review For 2016

2016 was a year of change and discovering my food sensitivity (intolerance) to dairy products. It has been a slow adjustment to non-dairy products as now I’m part Vegan and learning & discovering that I can still enjoy what I love like sweet, desserts, etc in non-dairy products. It is still a learning experience becoming part Vegan and also helped me eating more healthier, but it doesn’t stop what I love most, which are my love for desserts. I’m able to still balance being healthy and still enjoy my sweets but vegan style now…:)

Besides my big adjustment in my diet, in 2016, I still attended several delicious food events in Toronto including my 1st Vegan Food & Drink Festival, Vegfood Fest, Taste of Toronto 2016, and more. Also, in 2016, I attended my 2nd Food Bloggers of Canada Conference held in my own city this time in Toronto for their 5th Anniversary. I enjoyed this year theme “Do the Work”. It showcased a lineup of bloggers/speakers who have done the work whether they have found success on their terms by doing what they love and by putting hours into it. I enjoyed learning, networking and of course the delicious foods.

At the VegFood Fest in September 2016, sampling Nanashake Nanapops, mango flavour!

In 2016, some of my travel adventures continued and started a new feature for the blog on Travel, in the Fall of 2016 went to Kingston, Ontario for my 1st time and discovered this charming and historic city where I discovered lots of delicious bakeries and restaurants for a foodie like me to enjoy. Want to check out this historic city & don’t miss out on this adventure, read my blog post here -> link.

As well, summer of 2016 went on a magical adventure with my family to Orlando, Florida where we went to Disney World as it is my niece 1st time going and enjoyed the delicious and variety of restaurants at Universal Studios & Disney Springs. I’m looking forward to 2017 to new & exciting travel destinations and rediscovering places I visited to share with you my readers.

In May 2016, at Magic Kingdom in front of the Disney Castle

What would you like to see more of on my Sweet B., the Exploring Foodie blog? Is there a specific dessert place or restaurant you would like for me to try? All suggestions are most welcome!

Check out below my Top Review Posts for 2016

My Most Views for Dessert Review Posts

1 – My Sweet Adventure on Macaron Day 2016

It is no surprise that the most views and likes are from my sweet Macaron Day adventure. Macarons are one of my fave desserts and to have a dedicated day for it, is even sweeter..:) I love my macarons!! Check out my review post on which macaron places that I visited that day to enjoy my sweet, little and elegant treats!

Read here -> link.

2 – My New Fave Healthy & 100% Yummy Dessert Place: Nanashake

One of my fave new frozen dessert place is Nanashake and I’m happy that my readers also liked it as much as I did being the 2nd most viewed dessert review post. Nanashake is a friendly, healthy plant-based and delicious frozen dessert place. If you haven’t heard of it before and is looking for a healthy and non-dairy frozen dessert, definitely check out Nanashake, it’s my go to dessert place, I love it!

Check out my review post on why I love Nanashake so much -> link.

My Most Views for an Event Review Posts

1 – Food Bloggers of Canada Conference 2016 in Toronto

My most views from the many events/conference I went to in 2016 was not surprised, but my Food Bloggers of Canada 2016 Conference I attended in Toronto. It was a great networking and learning experience along with feeling inspired after a fun one day conference with so many talented and inspiring bloggers. As well, you can’t forget about the most delicious & healthy food served at this conference.

I have already purchased my ticket for this year 2017 Food Bloggers of Canada Conference being held in Ottawa this year, how exciting to celebrate Canada’s 150 Birthday there. It will be my 1st time attending the full 3 day session, can’t wait!! It is already sold out this year wow so fast, happy to have got mines early!! This is how exciting this conference is so be sure to always check early!

For more information about FBC Conference in 2016, please read my blog review here -> click here.

2 – My 1st Toronto Vegan Food & Drink Festival

My 2nd most views of attending my food events is the Toronto Vegan Food & Drink Festival that I attended with my sister. With my new dietary having non-dairy products, it was my 1st vegan festival that I attended and I’m happy that my readers enjoyed reading about my 1st experience at a vegan festival. Despite the rainy day, it was a great experience sampling and learning what vegan products are there and particular for me desserts.

To read more about my 1st Vegan festival experience, check it out here -> click here

My Dessert Review Post That Was Missed

1 – Best Homemade Pies in Toronto: Wanda’s Pie In the Sky Bakery Cafe

I am highlighting my review post on one of the best pies in Toronto in my Review as I believe that Wanda’s Pie In the Sky, has one of the best pies in Toronto, if you haven’t been to her cozy and warm bakery shop located in the Kensington Market then you are missing out. Wanda’s Pie In the Sky has daily freshly baked desserts such as pies, tarts, cakes to take home or stay with plenty of space to sit with large windows or their patio on warmer days. Wanda’s pies are known for reminding you of home, a freshly cut pie from home. She also offers freshly homemade vegetarian lunches and brunches on the weekends.

Why not stop by this cozy and warm bakery perfect especially for the winter time to warm up with a warm delicious pie, read more why I love Wanda’s Pie In the Sky here -> click here.

Stay Connected

I am excited for this exciting 2017 Year to discover new, healthy and sweet food adventures, travel and events!! I look forward to sharing them with all of you. So why don’t you come and follow me on this sweet & healthy travelling foodie adventure!

To stay connected with me and updates for the next blog post, please follow me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

Thank you again for reading, commenting, liking, sharing, and more importantly sharing my love for sweets & desserts!

Here’s to a sweet & healthy 2017 to all my sweet readers!!! 🎉🎊🍰🍭🍩🍹🍜🍎🍓🌽🍆🌴✈😀

Your sweet vegan foodie,

-Sweet B.

 

 

 

 

My Food Travels – Fall Getaway 2016 to Kingston, Ontario

Hi everyone!

With Holiday Season approaching us very quickly as I can’t believe it’s already end of November and Christmas is around the corner. I can’t wait to share with you some Holiday/Christmas posts soon.

But first, I thought that I share my 1st feature with my readers on my food travels as some of you know, I love to travel and not only travel, but when traveling, I love to try new restaurants and esp. searching for new sweet bakeries or desserts places to share with my readers. There will be a few foodie travels blog posts per year depending where I go that year! I hope that you will enjoy this new feature I’m adding to my blog. Let me know what you think.

travel-icons-3

One of my fave time of the year to travel is during the Fall season because the weather is still warm and not cold to still enjoy the outdoors. I prefer to travel during the Fall season as well it is not peak time to travel (i.e. summer high peak travel time) where certain tourist areas are less crowded and prices are reasonable or lower priced at this time to travel. There are always advantages and disadvantages traveling in the Fall or off season it’s finding the right fit for you to enjoy your trip, which is most important.

Beautiful Kingston Downtown Waterfront Area

Why Kingston?

Why did I pick Kingston, Ontario some of you may ask? Well, even though I’m a Canadian born and raised in Toronto, I still haven’t seen some parts of Ontario. I have always like to discover new cities even in my own province and see what Ontario has to offer for me as I love exploring new cities. I thought that Kingston would be the perfect Fall getaway for a few days to explore, eat and relax!!

If you haven’t been to Kingston, Ontario before, don’t miss out on this historic city located in the Eastern part of Ontario on the end of Lake Ontario where the beginning of the St.Lawerence River is. The city is located midway between Toronto and Montreal. It is known for the “Thousand Islands” tourist region and nicknamed the “Limestone City” because of the heritage buildings that was constructed using local limestone.

Quick Facts on Kingston, Ontario

Some quick facts on Kingston, Ontario for those who would to know more information on this city:

  • Kingston is home to Fort Henry and part of the Rideau Canal of UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Resting-place of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister
  • The Best freshwater sailing harbor in North America
  • Queen’s University, the Royal Military College of Canada and St. Lawrence College
  • This city offers vibrant arts, entertainment, recreation and leisure communities
  • Has lots of events, festivals, and attractions
  • A bustling downtown core with a variety of independent & unique shops and a variety of amazing restaurants to offer
  • Beautiful parks and trails

View from Fort Henry Historic Site

My Experience

I really enjoyed my getaway to Kingston in mid-September 2016 as this charming small city has a lot to offer from the amazing & superb restaurants, love shopping at the boutique & independent shops, love seeing the waterfront view from almost any point of view in the downtown area, and I love the feel of this small city charm combined with the beauty of the nature in the city that I don’t usually get in Toronto. Kingston also offers lots of different events for everyone from live music to festivals, food tours, farmer’s market, walking tours for attractions and more. Overall, Kingston for a small city has a lot to offer and many things to do & explore.

Harbourfront Sunset Views near my Hotel

The best way to travel for me is I would recommend is taking the VIA Rail train as it is easy, comfortable and affordable. You can avoid the traffic and have an enjoyable with scenic ride to your destination. Ever since I started traveling by train for travels within Ontario & different parts of Canada, I always travel by business class now. It has a lot of perks including business lounge available for you at the station, complimentary Wifi, extra room on the train, power outlet and hot meals, which I love my non-dairy meals on this train, if you could believe it, the train food is pretty good and filling just like any restaurant. Check out my delicious lunch hot meal that I had on the way to Kingston!

Activities & Attractions

If you haven’t been to Kingston before, I would recommend you doing the Kingston Trolley Tour as I did it during my time in Kingston and really enjoyed this tour that takes you on an in-depth tour of Kingston’s historic downtown and waterfront, stopping at all of the city’s most well-known visitor destinations including Fort Henry, the Penitentary Museum, and Queen’s University. I was only disappointed that Fort Henry was closed for the season and wasn’t able to see it just the outside of it. This Trolley Tour captures what is in the city of Kingston in a short amount of time.

Besides shopping and exploring & sampling Kingston’s amazing restaurants, I also did the Kingston 1000 Island Cruise, which Kingston is known for its beautiful water and islands. I did the 90 minutes cruise only, which is called the Discovery Cruise and sailed off on the Island Belle. During this cruise, it introduces the unique sights and heritage of the 1000 Islands region and the historic waterfront of Canada’s First Capital. The cruise passes close to National Park Islands and National Historic Sites, and I enjoyed taking in the majesty of the 1000 Islands.

Hotel

In Kingston, I stayed at Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston Hotel Water Edge, which I highly recommend you stay at because this amazing hotel is right by the water and you have the perfect view of the waterfront overlooking Lake Ontario and the beauty that comes with Kingston. It is the perfect location as it is located downtown Kingston within walking distance of several restaurants, Kingston downtown area, Springer Market Square, Thousand Island dock, City Hall, shopping on Princess Street, and more.

Residence Inn Kingston also offers you spacious fully-equipped suites, free Wifi, complimentary breakfast, indoor saltwater pool, whirlpool & Fitness Centre, and Business Centre. From my experience, they offer outstanding customer service from front desk staff to cleaning staff, the front desk staff were very friendly and helpful including helping me order a taxi and they do luggage storage as well. Overall, a very welcoming, warm and great hotel to stay at, the waterfront views are amazing to see everyday, this hotel will make you feel like you’re at home with their very spacious rooms.

My beautiful & amazing view from my room

View of the beautiful waterfront by the hotel

My Fave 3 Desserts Shops/ Bakeries in Kingston, Ontario

If you are looking for some sweet desserts shops and bakeries, I am recommending coming to this charming city to satisfied your sweet cravings, you will not be disappointed. Here are my Top 3 that I recommend you checking out in Kingston:

1. Cards Bakery & Goods

Location: 115 Princess Street (Downtown Kingston)

Website: Downtown Kingston Website for more info on Cards Bakery -> click here

Updated New Website: Card’s Bakery -> click here

Website for Krista (owner): Cakes by Krista

Social Media: Follow them on Twitter @Cardsbakery & Facebook @CardsBakery.

My fave bakery in Kingston is Cards Bakery & Goods because of their freshly baked and use of finest ingredients from scratch to make the most delicious baked goods. Their baked goods taste like homemade straight from your mom’s or grandmother’s kitchen! I love this warm & cozy bakery after walking in the shop right away filled with variety of baked goods to offer from delicious pies, cookies, cupcakes, turnovers, tarts, and more. It was so hard to choose what to get. In the end, I picked my fave of course oatmeal raisin cookies, cherry tarts & a few assorted cookies. Loved every bite of my delicious baked goods! I took my yummy treats to go to enjoy on the train and at home. As well they offer light lunches with soup. Cards Bakery & Goods also offer selected kitchenware items and gifts. If you are in Kingston, definitely make a stop at this yummy bakery, it is all worth it!

My delicious cherry tart  

2. Mio Gelato

Location: 178 Ontario St. (Downtown Kingston)

Website: Mio Gelato -> click here

Social Media: Follow them on Facebook @MioGelato, Twitter @MioGelato_KTown and Instagram @miogelatokingston.

If you are looking for a cool & freshly made treat, I definitely recommend Mio Gelato as some of you know, I love gelato and I seem to always find the perfect and best Gelato place wherever I travel. This is no exceptional if you are in Kingston, please definitely go to Mio Gelato where they offer homemade fresh & delicious gelato, sorbetto, and frozen yogurt as they use local fruit in their product if possible. One of the highlight of this gelato place is perfect for me as they offer dairy-free gelato and sorbetto, YAY!! I couldn’t choose a flavor so I went with 3 lol…I enjoyed their delicious Ontario Peach as it was in season in September, Raspberry and Mango. Loved it!!! They also have very friendly staff to assist you if you can’t decide what flavor you want, there are samples of course. So when in Kingston, definitely come by this friendly & yummy gelato shop.

3. The Common Market

Location: 136 Ontario Street (Downtown Kingston)

Website: The Common Market -> click here

Social Media: Follow them on Facebook @TheCommonMarket and Twitter @TheCommonMarkt.

A great coffee/tea and bakery shop to go to is The Common Market as it was across the street from my hotel so great location wise as it is downtown Kingston and near the waterfront. They had a variety of baked goods such as croissants, loaves, & etc., sandwiches, wraps, soups and of course coffee and tea to offer. I ended up ordering a refreshing ice tea and loved their fresh cranberry cookies for snack! This coffee shop had a warm and cozy environment as you can probably sit there for hours.

Even though I didn’t get a chance to stop by this cozy coffee/tea & dessert bar called: Sipps Coffee, which is located in the main part of downtown by the Market Square, I heard many great reviews on this place so I also would recommend it. I’m hoping to go back to Kingston one day and definitely be stopping by Sipps Coffee as you can see Kingston has so many bakery and coffee shops to offer that keeps you coming back.

Website: Sipps Coffee Info from Downtown Kingston -> click here

Social Media: You can follow them on Facebook @SippsCoffee and Twitter @SippsCoffee.

My Fave Burger Place in Kingston, Ontario

Besides my love for desserts & sweets, I also love burgers who doesn’t right? I usually love trying new authentic burger places in new cities or places that I usually travel. So this is no difference being in Kingston, I discovered the best burger place, which is Harper’s Burger Bar, located downtown Kingston on the shopping district on Princess street.

Location: 93 Princess Street (Downtown Kingston)

Website: Harper’s Burger Bar (Kingston’s Local Burger Joint) -> click here

Social Media: You can follow them on Facebook @HarpersBurgers, Twitter @HarpersBurgers and Instagram @HarpersBurgers.

Why Harper’s Burger Bar? I really enjoyed this local burger joint with it’s modern and friendly environment with their delicious & fresh “AAA” local beef made burgers. It was probably one of the best burgers I had, loved how fresh it was and homemade. Where can you get waffle fries? I love waffle fries! They offer hot & fresh Yukon fries, onion rings and along with their yummy premium shakes. They also have friendly and excellent customer service by their wait staff.

If you are looking for local and fresh burgers, don’t look any further than Harper’s Burger Bar.

It was an amazing Fall getaway to Kingston, Ontario where I relaxed after a busy summer filled with food festivals and working, it was great to enjoy both the beauty of Kingston’s nature & waterfront views and at the same time enjoyed their amazing restaurants with delicious foods and desserts. I enjoyed the small historic city charm that Kingston have to offer.

If you haven’t been to Kingston before, I highly recommend you come and explore this beautiful historic city for yourself to see what I been talking about. I can’t wait to come back to Kingston again to further explore this beautiful city and sample other bakeries that I didn’t get a chance to try…:)  I love exploring new cities in Ontario so I can’t wait for my next adventure!

I can’t wait to share my next travel location and exploring new dessert / bakeries with you my readers! I already have a few trips planned out for next year 2017 so look out for them!

Until next time, getting into the Christmas spirit, look out for my next blog posts (yes there will be more than 1 posts next month..:) ) feeling more festive and ready for Christmas & Holiday season!

To stay updated on my next blog post, please connect with me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

-Sweet B.

For more information on Kingston, Ontario, please see below:

Website: Kingston Official Site -> click here

Website: City of Kingston -> click here

Social Media: You can follow the City of Kingston & stay up to date through

Facebook @StayInKingston, Twitter @VisitKingston1 and Instagram @VisitKingston.

Hotel: Residence Inn Kingston Water’s Edge -> Website – click here

My Highlights of 2016 Food Bloggers of Canada Conference

Hi everyone,

Is it getting chilly here or warm here in Toronto for this Fall weather, lol, it seems like the weather can’t make up it’s mind lol….I think I have to say that it is officially feels like Fallish weather!!! It’s been a busy few weeks for me with my Full time Admin job being busy and then of course two events that happened in one week so I been trying to do catch up. I hope that everyone have been enjoying the warm Fall early this October before the cold weather has hit as it is now November.

Quick Update

With my busy work schedule, I have decided that I will be doing monthly blog posts so at least one blog post per month until things have settled down with me in regards to my Full time Admin job. I still love working on this blog and still passionate for it especially after attending the FBC conference has inspired me more. I been working on the last few months to have this has my main focus and I haven’t quite gotten there yet. Hope you all will be patient with me and enjoy my monthly sweet blog posts! My special project is still coming end of November is the date of the launch. Look out for it soon!!

You can always check my daily updates and my food adventures through Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

Without further delay, here are my highlights of this year Food Bloggers of Canada 2016 held in Toronto, warning it might be a bit long and filled with yummy food photos that might leave you a bit hungry after reading this blog post…:)

My Highlights of Food Bloggers of Canada 2016

This year Food Bloggers of Canada celebrated their 5th Year Anniversary in Toronto, where my hometown city is. They held their 4th Annual Food Bloggers of Canada Conference FBC2016 from October 21-23, 2016 at the Delta Toronto located in the heart of downtown’s bustling Entertainment District.

Saturday, October 22, 2016 – Day Before My Sunday Session

With this year FBC2016 being held in my city in Toronto, I decided for convenience and for a city getaway to stay overnight at Residence Inn Marriott Toronto Downtown for Saturday night. This year I was attending only the Sunday Session and with the early start for the session, I thought it was more convenient for me to stay closer to the conference hotel as I don’t live near downtown. I always love mini getaways and why not even in my own city as I still discover new places and restaurants in my own city of Toronto.

I arrived to Residence Inn Marriott Toronto Downtown late afternoon on Saturday, October 22, 2016. I chose this particular hotel as ever since I stayed at this brand of Marriott hotels with their spacious rooms including a kitchenette with a fridge, I really enjoyed it as they are known for Extended stays and it feels like you are in a bachelor apartment for a few days as some hotels have small rooms. I guess I just enjoy the more spacious rooms. This hotel wasn’t too far away from the conference hotel – Delta Toronto about 10 minutes walk to it so it was a convenient.

Residence Inn Marriott Toronto Downtown is located in the heart of the Entertainment District and steps to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Rogers Centre, Ripley’s Aquarium, Mirvish Theatre, CN Tower and the TIFF Bell Lightbox. All within 3 blocks distance to the hotel. Staying at the Residence Inn Marriott Toronto Downtown you can experience the fine dining, night life and theatres that are offered within. If you are taking the subway like I did, it wasn’t far walk from St.Andrew’s subway station to the hotel about less than 10 minutes walk.

My City View from my room

I had an amazing stay at the Resident Inn Marriott Toronto Downtown hotel and enjoyed what the hotel had to offer for me, though unfortunately didn’t have time to take a swim in their beautiful pool. Hopefully next time. I loved my corner suite with a king bed and sofa, which I loved the sofa as it was very comfy and the style I wanted in my own home one day. The service at this hotel was exceptional and friendly as I was greeted right away when I walked in to check-in the hotel and had no problems checking out. Amazing staff at this hotel with friendly & helpful front desk staff & doorman. I highly recommend this hotel if you are looking for a place to stay in Toronto!

After a busy work week, I spent my Saturday evening taking it easy starting off after I checked in the hotel – went shopping at the Eaton Centre and then a delicious dinner at Pickle Barrel trying their new addition to their menu – Local Harvest. Enjoyed their freshly made – Honey Apple Chicken topped with Ontario apples & cranberry chutney with local seasonal vegetables and fries. It was simply delicious!!! Definitely would come back to try their other new Local Harvest items on the menu. I spent the rest of the evening relaxing in the hotel since it was an early morning session for Sunday. For those who don’t know, I’m not a morning person lol…so it was a bit hard to get up lol…but for the delicious breakfast, it was all worth it…:)

Me relaxing at the hotel

Sunday, October 23, 2016 – Sunday General Sessions

On Sunday, October 23, 2016, it was Food Bloggers of Canada general sessions and on Saturday, October 24, 2016, this year was a bit different that they did workshops sessions, which I was unable to get tickets for that day too as it was sold out quickly. I’m hoping that I will be able to attend the full conference next year.

This year it will be my 2nd time attending this amazing & fun intimate conference for 150 food bloggers along with brands and speakers. If you haven’t been to this conference, then you are definitely missing out on a very foodie and networking event. Though this year, I felt like I wasn’t able to give my full attention to the conference for personal reasons and I felt like I couldn’t enjoy it as much! I tried to take in as much as I could and hoping I will be able to take away some information to focus on after the conference.

This year theme is: “Do the Work”. Food Bloggers of Canada put together this year their lineup of people who have done the work whether they have found success on their terms by doing what they love and by putting hours into it. Here are just some of the speakers that I heard that day including: Noelle Chorney, Claire Tansey, Dana Harrison & Joel MacCharles, Dennis Prescott, and more.

Starting Sunday Session with a wonderful and a selection of delectable variety of breakfast foods hosted by Breville Canada. Despite not being a morning person, it was hard to resist all the yummy and delicious foods, which I decided to have a light breakfast and sample a few of everything! My fave breakfast item was the pork breakfast slider, just the perfect little bite!! I also really enjoyed the Spinach, Green Apple, and Banana smoothie – the non-diary version. I loved the idea that all the breakfast foods was made using Breville Canada kitchen equipment and I simply love the very modern toaster to make my toast..:)  Only recently for who don’t know, I have a mild lactose intolerance and I thought that it was great to see how Food Bloggers of Canada accommodate with the food allergies.

The amazing modern toaster by Breville Canada

1st session – Defining Your Own Success with speakersNoelle Chorney & Claire Tansey

Website – Noelle Chorneyhere, Follow her on Twitter @KitchenAmazon

Website – Claire Tanseyhere, Follow her on Twitter @tanseyclaire, Facebook @clairesrecipes, and Instagram @tanseyclaire.

  • It was very inspiring to hear both speakers talk about their success and how each worked on where they are now. A few key notes I took away from these speakers are – to be happy & successful (which I really took to heart as I want to be at that place to where I am happy and I feel I haven’t gotten there just yet with my Full Time job, so I guess a bit insight for my readers, I’m still trying to find my happy place), being able to say no & yes and the question is “What do you love about it?” Some great key notes to think about and make goals for next year in 2017.

For Coffee Break, we had some delicious Fall-like treats sponsored by Crosbys Molasses. We had Gingersnaps with cream in the middle and I enjoyed the vegan version of it! Love how they can accommodate us like me who eat dairy-free foods!

The amazing view of the CN Tower and Rogers Centre from the conference hallway

2nd session – Food Photography with Dennis Prescott

Website – Dennis Prescott –here, Follow him on Facebook @dennistheprescott, Instagram @dennistheprescott, and Twitter @dennisfprescott.

  • It was great hearing Dennis speak from a photographer point of view and learn how he got into food photography. Key Notes I took away from Dennis – how to tell your story through a photo, the human element in a photo and take photos other than foods.

Dana Harrison & Joel MacCharles

3rd session – Stepping Outside Your Blog To Take It to the Next Level – Dana Harrison & Joel MacCharles

Website – Dana Harrison & Joel MacCharles – here, Follow them on Twitter @WellPreserved, Facebook @wearewellpreserved and Instagram @WellPreserved.

  • It was interesting and insightful to hear from the authors of “Batch” and their approach and how they got to be successful. Key Notes I took away are they mentioned: “Find Your North Star”, basically that means why are you doing this?, which I thought it’s such a simple question yet not quite an easy answer and Know your audience. As well, I thought it was a good idea that they mentioned that these days everything is electronic and they mentioned about having something physical for you to visual like for example if you did 30 blog posts have 30 pieces of pages in a binder and you can physically see it. I agree that sometimes you need something physical to see how things are in prospective.

Finishing off FBC2016 with a delicious & healthy lunch courtesy of Half Your Plate. Enjoyed the variety of veggies, fruits & meats that are available for everyone. My fave item for lunch was the beef and pork skewers, it was very tasty and grilled perfectly, I always love skewer foods lol!! Of course, we can’t forget desserts and they saved the best for last as they used Breville Canada’s mixer to make the most delicious Virtural Ice cream!! I was quite excited to see how they made it as they made it to you right in front of you and I was even more excited when they were making my fave flavor – mango..:)  I enjoyed the dairy-free version of the mango ice cream with fresh raspberries and candies on top!! A great way to end the conference.

My delicious & healthy lunch filled half my plate with veggies & fruits

There were also one-on-one blogger/brand networking during the lunch. As most of the timeslots to speak with certain brands I was interested in was taken, I did end up speaking to Nature Path’s and enjoyed introducing myself and getting to know the brand a bit more. I’m looking to connect with other brands in the next conference and I guess one of my goals for 2017 is to connect and network with other brands.

Special thanks to Melissa and Ethan of course who put together this amazing conference every year for us food bloggers to get together, network, learn and grow in one united community!!! I can’t thank you guys enough, it has been another fantastic conference filled with these amazing speakers and sponsors!!! Every year it seems to grow and become a great conference making it annually something I always look forward to going to. It was great seeing a few familiar faces again and making new connections along the way again.

Some of the amazing sponsors at this year FBC2016 to name a few are: Breville Canada (love their tea maker, definitely need one), Half Your Plate, DeltaFaucet, Canadian Turkey, Lentils, Diary Farmers of Canada, Farm & Food Care Canada, Mushrooms Canada, Cookina, Ontario Apple Growers, Nature’s Path, Egg Farmers of Canada and more!! You can their links and connect with them from Food Bloggers of Canada website (will be listed below).

Of course, every year we get these amazing Swag bags, check out below some of the goodies I got this year! If there’s one way of tempting you to come this conference are these foodie filled swag bags!

Next year the FBC2017 conference, will be held in Ottawa in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday and it will be Food Bloggers of Canada 5th Anniversary!! How exciting can this be?? Right now, Food Bloggers of Canada have an early bird ticket sale if you are interested in going!! Can’t wait to get my ticket soon!

I’m hoping that I will be able to attend the full conference next year!! See you guys next year in Ottawa!!

If you manage to read most of what I wrote, thank you. Probably my longest blog post, I hope that you enjoyed reading it and checking out some of my delicious and fun photos!!

After this inspiring and delicious foodie filled conference, I am in search for my next sweet vegan dessert place….:)

Until next time…

-Sweet B.

fruit_and_vegetables- 1Bfruit_and_vegetables-2b

For more information on Food Bloggers of Canada community & conference & links to the sponsors,

Website – Food Bloggers of Canada -> click here

You can also follow FBC on Facebook @FoodBloggersofCanada, Twitter @foodbloggersCA and Instagram @foodbloggersca

 

My Magical & Foodie Vacation in Florida

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the delay everyone for not posting this earlier due to some technical difficulties with my cable last week, it is all fixed now & then I got sick lol! Lots of things happening at once, thank you once again for being so patient with me!

I’m back now from my sunny & a bit rainy Florida vacation!! It was definitely a nice & much needed break since starting my new full time Administrative job. I had an amazing time with my family enjoying the Disney side of things in Orlando! It’s been a month since my vacation and it has taken me a few weeks to get back into a swing of things and get settled again with unpacking & more!! I hope that you all didn’t miss me too much and wasn’t craving too much without my sweet posts…:) For those following me on my Instagram or Twitter will already have a sneak peek of my foodie & sunny Florida trip.

I am currently working on my next sweet post so something for you my readers to look forward to, it will be posted by the end of the month, so don’t forget to come back to check what my next sweet adventure is.

(At Magic Kingdom where the Magical Castle is)

In the meantime, I would like to share with you some of my sweet discoveries while I was on vacation in Orlando, Florida. If you are planning a trip to Orlando, if you are looking for some sweet bakery items a must stop is Carlo’s Bake Shop at the Florida Mall. If you haven’t heard of Carlo’s Bake Shop, Carlo’s is a family owned bakery featured on the TLC hit show Cake Boss. It’s one of the shows I love to watch as well as his other show, The Next Great Baker Show and I also saw Buddy Valastro in person at the Baking & Sweets Show a few years ago.

So when I heard that his bakery is at the Florida Mall, I had to of course stop by and check it out. When you first step into the store, you smell the aroma of sweet baked goods and a very friendly atmosphere in the store. There were so many delicious looking baked goods it was definitely hard to choose. I love the variety of selections that they offered and each one looked more appetizing than the other. I ended up trying my fave old-fashion oatmeal raisin cookies, it is probably one of the best oatmeal raisin cookies I ever had! It was soft & it literally melts in your mouth, wish I got more than 1 cookie lol! The size of the cookie was bigger than a normal size one, pretty big too. We also got some shortbread with jam cookies, delicious!! Check out some of the photos of Carlo’s Bakery at the Florida Mall. I hope one day to check out his original bake shop in New Jersey.

Carlos Bake Shop - 5(My delicious Oatmeal Raisin cookie & shortbread cookies from Carlo’s Bake Shop)

If you are in the Walt Disney World area, I definitely recommend you going to Disney Springs, which was formally known as Downtown Disney. It is an outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex that is going through a major expansion and a transformation. There are some parts of Disney Spring still under construction and new stores are still coming everyday.

(A view of part of Disney Springs)

With their variety & large selection of dining at Disney Springs, it’s hard to choose which restaurant, pub or dessert shop to go to. I would definitely recommend for a dessert place is, Amorette’s Patisserie, which is a sophisticated pastry shop filled with a delicate gallery of goodies from signature beautiful cakes, éclairs, cheesecakes, cookies and of course my fave macarons. The moment you enter the pastry shop, it feels like you are in a world of elegance and fine pastries from Paris, France with professional chefs to watch them decorate cakes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to taste any of the sweet & fine delicious pastries that day due to time constraint and was very disappointed. I look forward to trying some next time I’m back at Disney Springs and know where to go for desserts as it was a very popular & recommended dessert place by many. If the photos I took doesn’t show how delicious some of their elegant desserts look to intrigue you to stop by then you are missing out on some fine pastries.  I was able to check out the pastry shop at least, so please see below some of my delicious photos from Amorette’s Patisserie shop.

Amorettes Patisserie - 2(Love these cute Mickey & Minnie cakes, very Disney like)

On a very hot day in Florida like the day I went, the perfect place to stop by in Disney Springs is, Vivoli Il Gelato, where they make with freshly made & finest ingredients the most delicious Italian gelato. This world-famous, family-run gelato shop from Florence, Italy finally chose to open its second storefront in Disney Springs. Besides gelato, they also offer sweet and savory baked goods in the bakery case that includes an assortment of panini sandwiches and traditional Italian cookies and tarts.

Vivoli Il Gelato is a small shop with no seating area inside but there is a small patio sitting area just outside the shop to enjoy your sweet cool treat!

If you are unsure of what flavour you would like to try, there offer samples to make your decision from the 24 flavours available. I ended up with two flavours my fave Strawberry & Mango, I love mango flavours and desserts!! It was simply delicious and tasted like authentic Italian gelato made smooth and melts in your mouth. I definitely recommend you drop by this sweet cool Italian spot to cool down!

Another sweet spot to mention is Sprinkles where you can find gourmet cupcakes. Unfortunately due to time constraint I was not able to stop by Sprinkles, but if I were to come back definitely will stop by to try a cupcake as they are well known for delicious cupcakes and Florida has the World’s Cupcake First ATM that dispenses freshly baked cupcakes, how cool is that??

(View of Sprinkles from across the water)

Those are a few of my recommendations if you are looking for some sweet baked goods & dessert places in Disney Springs.

My recommendations for the more savory/non-sweet places, in Disney Springs and Universal Studios Walk are the 2 main places to discover more restaurants to dine to fit any appetite in the Orlando, Florida area.

For one of our dinners, we went to Wolfgang Puck Grand Café in Disney Springs it is divided into 3 sections: express, café, and dine in. Wolfgang Puck is an Austrian-born American celebrity chef & well known restaurateur, so it is no surprise that I had to dine at one of his restaurants. It was my first time dining at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant and enjoyed his take on casual dishes with his homemade Austrian cuisine. I ordered the Rigatoni Bolognese pasta and thought it tasted pretty good, but to be honest I had more authentic Bolognese sauce. Overall, enjoyed my experience at Wolfgang Puck.

One of the places I love going to when I was in Orlando, Florida is the Universal Studios City Walk as we stayed near the Universal Studios side and if you didn’t, I definitely recommend you stopping by to check out this unique entertainment complex. Universal Studios City Walk is the entertainment and retail districts located adjacent to the theme parks of Universal Parks & Resorts. This is where one-of-kind-collection array of themed restaurants is available along with boutique shops prefect for anytime.

During my stay in Florida, I went to the Universal Studios City Walk several times dining at different restaurants that they offered, which I also recommend and dined at Hard Rock Café, NBC Sports Bar & Brew (you can check out my Instagram @SweetBFoodie24 for those food photos) and more.

(Evening view of Universal Studios Walk with the Globe)

If you are looking for some authentic Italian food, I definitely recommend Vivo Italian Kitchen as I love Italian food and of course while I’m on vacation love to have some Italian food. When I first went to Vivo Italian Kitchen, I was welcomed with a modern Italian decor but with the aroma of the old Italian cuisine of simmering sauces, freshly baked breads and freshly made pasta that is made right in front of you. The restaurant has the modern open concept kitchen that takes center stage where guests are able to observe the chefs cooking from fresh bread, preparing homemade mozzarella to fresh pasta.

I enjoyed the classic Parmigiano with chicken and marinara sauce with Raspberry Ice Tea (love my sweet teas and it was freshly brewed tea), it was simply delicious! It tasted like an authentic Italian meal with the sweet marinara sauce and freshly made pasta. Some of you many already seen this classic authentic meal on my Instagram account.

I would definitely recommend stopping by Universal Studios City Walk, it would be definitely worth to check out with the many dining options, shops and the beautiful atmosphere of Universal Studios that it has to offer.

Here are 2 more photos from my magical day at Magic Kingdom with my family, see below:

(Me with my sisters, my mom and my niece in front of the castle)

(My mom & me in front of the Mickey Mouse entrance at Magic Kingdom)

What a magical, sunny and sweet Disney Florida vacation I had filled with yummy treats, shopping, sunny poolside days and fun magical theme parks adventures! I hope that everyone has enjoyed reading my Florida foodie adventures and I look forward to sharing my upcoming summer adventures with everyone. There are a few exciting summer foodie festivals coming up and I can’t wait to taste & explore new foods to share with you all.

So please don’t forget to check my Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 or Instagram @SweetBFoodie24 accounts for updates on when my next post is coming or what foodie adventure I’m enjoying on a more daily basis. Don’t forget to come back in a few weeks for my next sweet post.

For now I leave you with my magical fairy dust of a sweet Disney adventure, until then…

-Sweet B.

Mickey Mouse - Border - 4A

For more information on any of the dessert places or restaurants in Orlando, Florida, see links below:

Carlo’s Bake Shop – Website: Carlo’s Bake Shop Florida Mall

Social Media: You can follow Carlo’s Bake Shop on Twitter @Carlos_FLMall & Facebook @CarlosBakeryFloridaMall & if you want to follow Buddy Valastro himself, check him out on Twitter @CakeBossBuddy.

For all Disney Springs restaurants/shops, check out their website: Here and you can follow them on Twitter @DisneySprings, Facebook @DisneySprings & on Instagram @DisneySprings

Amorette’s Patisserie – Website: Disney Springs – Amorette’s Patisserie

Vivoli Il Gelato – Website: Disney Springs – Vivoli Il Gelato

Wolfgang Puck Grand Café – Website: Disney Springs – Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe & Follow them on Facebook @WolfGangPuckOrlando

For Universal Studios City Walk, check out their official site -> Here, Twitter @UniversalORL, Facebook @UniversalStudiosOrlando & Instagram @UniversalOrlando.

Vivo Italian Kitchen – Website: Vivo Italian Kitchen

 

 

 

A Sweet Update

A Sweet Update

(Dreaming of warmer & sunny days ahead for Summer

w/ this adorable Ice Cream Cookie frm Mad Batter Bakers)

Hi everyone,

I’m back!!! So sorry I haven’t posted a new blog post for awhile now! I know it’s been awhile since you guys, my readers have gotten their sweet craving fix of desserts & more! Don’t u all worry (a sigh of relieve lol!!) as I’m still here & still have more to share with everyone for my love of sweets and desserts.

So you might have been wondering what is going on with me since the last blog entry, well, I have experienced some health issues during the last month it is not something major, but a minor issue that I have to learn to adapt and change in my life. The minor issue is changing my diet because of certain food that my upsets my digestive system called: Food Sensitivity, which is what it is called. I’m still in the beginning stages, but I’m trying to be healthier and still finding a balance & the right changes to my dietary. But things are definitely better now.

All this is still new to me and I want you all to know that it doesn’t change my cravings for sweets as I have always had a sweet tooth. Lucky me I still can have certain or most sweets still and there are definitely alternatives to still enjoy desserts.

So with that said, been working on a new blog post and it will be posted by next week. May is a busy month for me as in 2 weeks I will be going to Florida this year for my yearly vacation. I usually have 1 big trip per year and a few getaways in between to destress & relax.

I hope to come back from my Florida trip with a sweet review for everyone as you all know I love discovering new dessert places esp when I’m travelling.

I’m looking forward to getting back on track with my sweet blog and giving you my readers something to look forward to this summer with new healthy or non-healthy desserts places and of course summer means outdoor fun food events as I already looking forward to attending a few!

Until then, I’m off with my new perception on a healthier, but still sweet adventure…

-Sweet B.

For more Information on Mad Batter Bakers:

Website: www.madbatterbakers.com

You can also find them on Instagram @madbatterbakers, Twitter @MadBatterBakers & Follow them on Facebook @Mad Batter Bakers.