My Food Travels – Summer Getaway 2018 to Montreal, QC

Hi everyone,

Welcome back to my sweet dairyfree blog!!! It’s been a very hectic & busy but fun summer and I can’t believe it’s already end of September and it’s officially Fall now!!! Where did the summer go? Can’t believe how fast summer went!! There were many events and things happening in August so unfortunately I didn’t even have time to share them with you all some of the amazing moments and times during my fun and busy month of August. From food festivals to watching live tennis to going to the beach (many days) to day trips and lastly to my summer getaway to Montreal at end of the month.

It was one of my busiest summers ever for me and now I’m actually looking forward to be more focused on this blog & working on it before the busy Holidays in December. How was everyone’s summer?? What was your fave part of your summer for 2018?? I hope everyone enjoyed this year really humid summer days even though at times I wish it was cooler lol!! With some warm Fall weather, you can still always enjoy dairy free desserts and here are some of my previous blogs for some suggestions:

4th Feature – Food Travels in Montreal, Quebec

This is my 4th Feature for my Food Travels if you haven’t read my previous ones, you should definitely check them out here as some of the food adventures places that I have travelled include Kingston and London, ON.

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.

The Old Charming City of Montreal, QC

Marche Bonsecours in the Old Port

I travelled to Montreal, QC for my summer getaway as a last minute trip for a personal event so of course while I’m there you know I love my dairyfree and vegan desserts so it is not surprise that I had to check out a few bakeries in Montreal as Montreal is known for delicious and amazing foods and yes even vegan foods and had to share them with you guys while I was on vacation. This is not my 1st visit to Montreal as I been to Montreal a few times over the last few years but haven’t been since 2015 for the Food Bloggers of Canada conference.

If you haven’t been to Montreal before, it is the largest city in Canada’s Québec province and set on an island in the Saint Lawrence River and named after Mount Royal because of it’s triple peaked hill in the middle of the city. What brings the old charming feel to the city of Montreal is the architecture and cobbled streets in Old Montreal, which has been maintained or restored by the city, it is a historic area southeast of the downtown area with many attractions including the Old Port of Montreal, Place Jacques-Cartier, Montreal City Hall, the Bonsecours Market, Place d’Armes, the Notre-Dame de Montreal Basilica and more!!

Montreal is a big, busy, exhilarating city, with so much to see and do from their entertaining nightlife on popular streets like Saint Catherine and Crescent Street filled with lots of variety of restaurants, bars and clubs to Montreal’s fashionable shopping districts and then of course, Montreal’s amazing food with a large variety of different tastes around the world for everyone! Montreal also offers a diversity of recreational activities from the many parks to explore in Montreal like Mount Royal or going to the Casino de Montréal or going to the Botanical Garden or going to music festivals and more to name just a few activities that Montreal has to offer.

As you can see, Montreal is a big and exciting city to explore with many things to do and see that I always love coming back to do different things that I haven’t done before or explore back to the places I been to that I love seeing again like the Old Port while enjoying their old and charming city feel when I return.

My Experience

My delicious dairy free lunch on the VIA Rail train

I travelled to Montreal by VIA Rail train as I enjoy taking the train as it’s the most comfortable and easiest way for me to travel to another city. Travelling by train is affordable and great low prices too. I usually travel the train under the Business class as I love the comfortable of spacious seating and delicious meals esp for longer journey like to Montreal. It’s a great way to travel as you don’t have to worry about the traffic and you get to rest comfortable to get to your destination. I highly recommend travelling by train within Ontario, Quebec and even further cities, it’s a great way to explore Canada.

I stayed at the new Holiday Inn & Suites Montreal Centre-ville Ouest hotel, which is located in the heart of Montreal’s business district. Within walking distance from CGI and WSP corporate offices, Concordia University, the CIBC Tower, Mary-Queen-of-the-World Cathedral, Place Ville-Marie, Place Bonaventure and more!!

It is one block away from both St-Catherine Street, which is known for it’s street of shops and restaurants and Crescent Street, well known for it’s nightlife, bars and restaurants.

It is a great downtown location as it is close to a Metro station for easy access to get around the city by transit. Some of the amenities include: panoramic indoor salted pool, the state-of-the-art fitness center and Le Restaurant Crossbar.

The lobby beautiful lights

It was my 1st time staying at the Holiday Inn & Suites Montreal Centre-ville Ouest hotel and loved it!! It is one of the newer hotels located in the heart of downtown. The design and interior of the hotel is modern and beautifully updated along with a spacious size King bedroom that I stayed in with city views. The staff at this hotel was very friendly and helpful to me when I needed directions or restaurant suggestions around the area. Only con I found about this hotel is that at the moment there is a huge construction going on around the area so it was a bit hard to navigate to get to the actual hotel from the Metro as it was also in the under construction area as they are working on a new building and fixing few things. Once completed it would look great and easier to walk around.

Otherwise, I was very impressed with this Holiday Inn & Suites Centre-ville in Montreal definitely a very sophisticated and modern 4-star hotel and most important is that it was a very clean hotel. I also had time to enjoy their beautiful and large pool during my stay. I highly recommend if you are in Montreal to stay at this amazing hotel as it is close to a lot of attractions in Montreal!!

My 3 Fave Dairy Free Dessert Places To Visit in Montreal

When visiting a new city I love discovering new dairy free bakeshops, despite having been to Montreal already this is my 1st visit to Montreal on my dairy free diet as I haven’t been to Montreal in a few years now. Check out below my 3 Fave Dairy Free Dessert / Bakeshops in Montreal and why I love them.

1) Creperie du Marché

If you love crepes like me, I was so excited to find a crepe place called, Creperie du Marché that makes organic dairy free, gluten free buckwheat crepes that is located in the heart of the Jean Talon Market. Jean Talon Market is a large farmer’s market in Montreal, which is located in the Little Italy district. It is open year-round and yes even in the winter where about 300 vendors mostly farmers from Montreal sell their local produces from meat, fish, cheese, fruits, vegetables and more along with stores offering baked goods and more!

Creperie du Marché offers their French cuisine to their healthy gluten free buckwheat crepes using organic and local products in Montreal to make one of the best dairy free buckwheat crepes I ever had!! They offer a good selection of crepes from savoury to sweet crepes with breakfast types like ham, apple and cheese to vegetarian/vegan crepes like spinach, tomato, egg and cheese to sweet crepes like apples, pears, caramel and whipped cream to name a few from their menu. Besides crepes, they also offer drinks such as coffee, organic tea, juices, sparkling cider and more.

I decided to try their special summer buckwheat crepe, which consists of fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries topped with sugar icing, which was added for my crepe as it was originally with maple syrup. The buckwheat crepe was delicious, moist and tasty, I loved it!!! I love the summer fruits – strawberries, raspberries and blueberries on top making it taste like summer in my mouth!!

Also great and friendly customer service at Creperie du Marché as if you had an allergy that you can let them know and they can accommodate you. If you are looking for a healthy gluten free and dairy free buckwheat crepe with a variety of toppings available from savoury to sweet to vegetarian then I definitely recommend you check out Creperie du Marché.

For more information on Creperie du Marché, please see below:
Check out their website -> click here
You can follow them on their Social Media networks, Facebook @Creperiedumarche and Instagram @Creperiedumarche.
2) Ca Lem

A definitely must visit when in Montreal looking for freshly made ice creams, sorbets and homemade soft serve swirls with vegan options is Ca Lem. Ca Lem is located in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG) a residential neighborhood of Montreal in the West end on Sherbrooke Street. It wasn’t too far to travel from the downtown area by Metro to visit Ca Lem as it was definitely worth the trip.

Ca Lem is a cozy, charming and cute shop with bright interior design of benches to sit while the outside of the shop feels like a backyard home with fake grass though with benches and beautiful flowers surrounding the area. Ca Lem has Instagram worthy shots spots inside their cozy shop set up to take photos of your ice cream, if it isn’t melting yet lol…like mines was lol!! I instantly fell in love with their cozy and brightly designed shop!! The staff at the shop are very friendly and very helpful about the types of ice cream, sorbets and soft serve available esp for people like me that is dairy free.

They offer 18 delightful flavours of creamy to fruity, hard to soft, or even a mix of ice cream, sorbets to soft serve along with some exotic flavours. I love the variety of options that they have here for both dairy free and with dairy. They also update on a weekly basis with their flavours and esp the homemade soft-serve duos!! I love that they change it up every week with the soft-serve duos but only wish I could enjoy them as well as they are only one side is dairy free. Would love for them to incorporate more dairy free options. They also offer pints to take home with you so that is great to enjoy at home.

I was happy to have made it to Ca Lem after the rainstorm that day in Montreal and there’s no better way than after the rain to enjoy a sweet treat. I decided on 2 sorbet flavours the Mango and Strawberry Lychee, it was delicious!! I love the light and flavourful of the sorbets!!! It was still hot that day despite the rain so my sorbet was melting a bit so it was hard to get the photos so sorry my photos I am sharing with you guys my sorbet looks like it’s melting lol!!

I highly recommend this cozy and cute ice cream, sorbet and soft serve shop in Montreal!! It is definitely worth the trip with their friendly customer service and a variety of delicious and different flavours available. They are closing for the season end of September and possible few dates open in October I heard so definitely if you can check them out and enjoy a sweet dairy free sorbet before the end of season, I love my sorbets anytime and any season though!! You can check out their Instagram as they do a lot of updates on their IG stories for what flavours they have available each week and they also update about their hours. I look forward to checking them out again on my next Montreal visit!!

For more information on Ca Lem, please see below:
Check out their website -> click here
You can follow them on their Social Media networks, Facebook @Calemmontreal and Instagram @Calemcreamery.
3) Cookie Stéfanie

I’m happy to share with you a new gluten free, dairy free and egg free bakery in downtown Montreal in the Old Port area called: Cookie Stéfanie. They first opened the bakery in 2012 created by Stéfanie Poulin and continued to grow successfully offering the best gluten-free products and partnered and is now headed by Marie-Claude Huard, a cookie industry veteran and who first created the 1st gluten-free cupcakes in Montreal.

Cookie Stéfanie offers a variety of gluten free baked goods with some baked goods that are also dairy free and egg free from their famous cupcakes to muffins, cookies, cakes, brownies, and grilled cheese sandwiches. As well they offer specialty drinks such as coffee, espresso, latte, chai latte, cappuccino, tea and juices. They also offer light lunch options such as fresh salads and soup bowls.

It was a cozy and modern bakery with a decent area for sitting to enjoy your baked goods. Great customer service from the staff who was knowledgeable and friendly to assist me with what is available of baked goods that they had.

With so many choices, it was hard for me to decide but I decided on 1 Vanilla cupcake with Raspberry frosting and 2 mini cupcakes both Vanilla but one with Raspberry frosting and the other one is caramel frosting as well as a Blueberry Cranberry gluten free muffin. It was nice to have these delicious gluten free and dairy free treats to bring on the train with me home and enjoyed one of the cupcakes on my train ride home. It was delicious as the cake of the cupcake was moist and the frosting wasn’t too sweet.

I would definitely recommend Cookie Stéfanie if you are in the Montreal area of the Old Port if you are looking for delicious, sweet and gluten free cupcakes along with their variety of selection of baked goods is another great reason to stop by yourself to see why I love this bakery! I’m excited to return to this bakery on my next visit to Montreal and happy to know where I can get gluten free and dairy free cupcakes!!

For more information on Cookie Stéfanie, please see below:
Check out their website -> click here
You can follow them on their Social Media networks, Facebook @CookieStefanieSG and Instagram @CookieStefanie.

Exploring Montreal

As I was in Montreal for a short getaway for the summer, I wish I had more time to explore more of Montreal as there are still parts of Montreal I haven’t seen. During my short visit, I got to do some shopping on popular Saint Catherine Street and Montreal Eaton Centre. I also got to enjoy the charming cobberstone streets of the Old Port and rode the La Grande Roue Montreal where I saw the city of Montreal from the highest views. As you can see, I also enjoyed a lot of delicious and dairy free desserts and foods while in Montreal. I can’t wait for my next visit to Montreal already to explore more!!

The Clock Tower

Update

Don’t forget to stay connected with me for the latest updates on my next blog post through Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and follow along on my foodie adventures with my IG stories on Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

If you are planning to visit Montreal or live within the area of Montreal, if you are looking for delicious, dairy free, gluten free desserts, check out my 3 Fave Dairy Free Dessert Places/Bakeshops that include: Creperie du Marché in Jean-Talon Market, Ca Lem, and Cookie Stéfanie in the Old Montreal area. I highly recommend these 3 amazing and unique dairy free and gluten free dessert places that you definitely won’t be disappointed. They will satisfy your sweet cravings while in Montreal!!

As we are officially in the Fall season and soon to have colder weather, I’m off on my next foodie adventure on a search for a warmer dairy free dessert place for the colder days ahead!!! Stay warm or cool depending on this Fall season everyone, I’m ready for sweater weather, seeing the beautiful colourful leaves and of course the yummy apple warm desserts and apple ciders!! 🍁🍂🍎🍑🍰☕🚂

-Sweet B.

For more information on Montreal Tourism, please see below:

Montreal Tourism Official Website -> click here

You can follow them on their Social Media networks, Facebook @Montreal, Twitter @Montreal and Instagram @Montreal.

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My 2017 Year In Review

Hi everyone,

Helloooo 2018!! 👋 As we already coming to the end of the 1st month of 2018 in January, I’m back with my 1st official blog post of the year. I hope everyone is enjoying the 1st month of 2018 despite the very freezing temperatures then now warmer days we are getting in Toronto, the ups and downs of the weird weather for winter?? 😜 I took a bit of a break to relax from the busy Holiday Season and to also refocus & recharge again in the first few weeks of January with my winter getaway to Niagara Falls (you can see more photos on my Instagram). It was a beautiful & restful yet short getaway as I always love visiting Niagara Falls and enjoy it’s natural beauty even in the winter with the beautiful Frozen Falls. A great 1st trip to start off 2018!

The beautiful Frozen Niagara Falls View in 2018

As we start this New Year of 2018, I like to reflect on my 2017 Year and recap & share with you as I continue my tradition every January with my Year In Review post.

Reflecting On A Year of Changes In 2017

In 2017, for me, it was a year of making changes and discovering where my career path was heading and I officially left my full-time Administrative Assistant job to pursue and focus my attention to this blog as a food blogger and writer. It was a difficult decision to make, but after being unhappy and stressed in a job for quite some time now, I decided this was the best decision I could make. I’m now at a happier and stress-free place where I enjoy and continue my passion & love for food particularly desserts to share with my readers. I am looking forward to pursuing new opportunities for my blog and focus on new goals in 2018.

I continue with my adjustments with my food sensitivity to dairy products in 2017 and discovering new foods that fit with my new diet plans.

In 2017, I also got to travel to a few beautiful places and exploring some new and returning faves places such as Niagara Falls, Las Vegas, NV, London, ON, Kingston, ON, Belleville and to Ottawa for the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference where it was held this year in honor of Canada’s 150 Birthday. I love travelling and I’m looking forward to exploring new places and searching for new & delicious foodie places to share with you guys. I’m excited for my one big trip this year already booked for May to beautiful Jamaica…😊

Me in downtown Ottawa for FBC2017

Me in downtown Kingston with their Kingston signage

I attended some delicious food festivals in 2017 such as my 1st time to Niagara VegFest and back at my fave food festivals such as Taste of Toronto, Vegan Food & Drink Festival and VegFood Fest. I love attending food festivals and events to discover and learn more about foods! I can’t wait to attend more delicious food festivals in 2018!!

Me at the Vegan Food & Drink Festival in Toronto at Fort York

My Stats From 2016 to 2017

It will be 4 years next month that I have started this blog, can’t believe it!! But as I continue to grow and expand that in 2017 with the shift to writing a few posts about travel as part of my blog now that it affected my traffic and readers. As I take on the challenge of adding also travel along with my love of dairy-free desserts and events as part of my blog that I hope that my readers will continue to support me and enjoy the combination of food (mainly desserts) and travel together that I’m sharing with you.

My 2017 Stats:

Number of Visitors: 585 Visitors

Number of Views: 805 Times

Number of Countries Viewed: 36 Countries

Check out below my Top Review Posts for 2017

My Top 2 Most Views Posts 2017

1 – My Honey Sweet Summer Dairy Free SkinnyPop Popcorn Recipe

I’m excited that my 1st dairyfree recipe is my Most Viewed for 2017 and I’m happy to share this sweet, healthy and summer feeling popcorn recipe with my readers. The healthy dried fruits in this recipe brings out the brightness and sweetness to the popcorn. I love discovering my 1st vegan (dairy-free) popcorn brand – SkinnyPop to share with you guys. I’m happy that you all also share how much you like this recipe by making it the Top Most Viewed post. I can’t wait to share more dairy free recipes with you guys in 2018!!

If you haven’t checked it out yet, see why everyone loves my sweet & fruity SkinnyPop popcorn recipe -> link

2 – My New & Healthy Fave Vietnamese Place – Pho Vistro

My 2nd Most Viewed of 2017 Review Post is sharing my love for pho noodles soup with my readers with this new healthy and vegan version of pho restaurant called: Pho Vistro. They are not like any other pho place, they offer all-natural, organic and old-fashioned Vietnamese cuisine with zero MSG. They consider their pho soup to be a healthy alternative to other soups to help your immune system. I highly recommend this delicious & cozy Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Vistro located downtown Toronto.

Check out my review post & why I love this pho place so much -> link

My Most Views for Dessert Review Posts

1 – My Fave Sweet Summer Treats by Eva’s Original Chimney Cones

One of my fave summer or all season treats are Chimney Cones by Eva’s Original. I’m happy that my readers share my love for Chimney Cones as well being the Most Views for Dessert Review Post. What I love about Eva’s Original is that her Chimney Cones are the base dough is made for vegans. Eva’s Original offer vegan soft serve (dairy-free) and with dairy ice cream as well, which I love that they accommodate for everyone. Eva’s Original is a great option for dairy free vegans to also enjoy sweet desserts too.

Check out my review post & read further why I love Eva’s Original Chimney Cones -> link

2 – My 2017 Macaron Day with Butter Avenue

My fave French small and delicate yet big flavour dessert are macarons and for the 2nd year in a row it’s one of the Most Views Dessert Review Post. I’m happy to share my Macaron Day at my fave macaron bakeshop, Butter Avenue with my readers as you guys seem to love reading about it too.

Check out my Macaron Day at Butter Avenue & read why I love Butter Avenue’s macarons -> link

My Most Views for Events & Travel Review Posts

1 – My Highlights of Niagara VegFest 2017

I love attending food festivals and trying out new ones as well and this was my 1st time attending the Niagara VegFest 2017 in downtown St. Catherines. I’m happy that you guys also enjoy reading this Review Post as it is my Most Views for Events Review. I enjoyed sampling and discovering the Niagara Region culinary vegan foods from pizza rolls to cupcakes to dairy free ice cream waffles. I enjoyed this more intimate size and great variety food festival in St.Catherines!! I’m looking forward to attending it again this year in 2018!

Check out my Review Post on more about this amazing food festival, Niagara VegFest -> link

2 – My Food Travels – Summer Getaway 2017 to Kingston, Ontario

Dairy-free Buckwheat Crepe from Geneva Crepe Cafe in Kingston, ON

I love to travel and enjoy my little getaways despite what season it is!! I’m happy to return back to my new fave travel destination to Kingston, ON last summer and share my foodie adventure with you guys. It is my 2nd Most Views post for Events / Travel Review Post so I’m glad that you guys are enjoying my foodie adventures as well. I enjoyed discovering new dairy-free restaurants in Kingston, ON last summer from dairy-free pizzas at Score Pizza and dairy-free crepes at Geneva Crepe Café. Of course, you can’t forget the beautiful waterfront views downtown that I love to stroll around and sit and enjoy the perfect views!! I’m looking forward to new foodie adventures ahead in 2018!!

If you haven’t been to Kingston, ON before then, you definitely need to check out my post to see why I love Kingston so much & why you should go to Kingston this year -> link

Stay Connected

I’m looking forward to an exciting and new foodie adventures, travels and events in 2018!! Can’t wait to discover more dairy-free desserts and foods to share with you all!! I’m looking forward to sharing with you guys my official Facebook Page soon, it’s taking longer than expected, but it will be released in the next few months. Stay tuned!!

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 & Facebook Launch, please follow me:

Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 &

Instagram @SweetBFoodie24

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

Cheers to a sweet, healthy and an adventurous foodie 2018 Year to all my sweet readers!! 🎉😋🍹🍰🍦🍜🍩🍓🌱✈🌞

Your sweet dairy-free foodie,

Sweet B.

 

 

 

My Highlights of 2017 Food Bloggers of Canada Conference – Part 2

Hi everyone,

Welcome to Part 2 of my Highlights of the Food Bloggers of Canada 2017 in Ottawa. Let’s wrap up this amazing conference on a beautiful Fall Sunday and my leisure time to do some sightseeing attractions in Ottawa on Sunday evening and Monday half day.

Day 3 – Sunday, October 22, 2017

On the last day of the FBC2017 conference, we had a hearty and healthy Sunday breakfast consisting of variety of fruits, sausages, grilled vegetables such as tomatoes and mushrooms, Burnbrae Farms provided different types of eggs, and in the vegan section there was red bean & potato hash too. I love that FBC was able to provide different options for different allergies for people. I love the tea station and they even had my soy / almond milk for my tea.

We had the morning session with 2 inspiring speakersPailin Chongchitnant who is the author of the cookbook, Hot Thai Kitchen, host of TV series One World Kitchen on Gusto TV, and creator and host of the YouTube channel PailinsKitchen and Dana McCauley from Food Starter where she helps start up food businesses to grow. Dana also has authored four cookbooks. She discussed the food trends in 2017 and upcoming food trends, which was great to hear about.

My fave treat was during our coffee break with Vegan Glutenfree scones by Strawberry Blonde Bakery. I tried the Apple Cinnamon flavour ones and loved it!!! Yum!! As scones tend to be dried a bit, but this one wasn’t and I love the apple cinnamon flavour, as some of you know I love any apple treats and desserts!! I had my scone with Spiced Cranberry & Iced Apple Wine jam by The Preservatory and it was a great combination the sweet jam with the scones!!

Last, but not least where is FBC2018 headed for next year…..drum roll please…FBC2018 is a Road Trip across Canada for 3 weeks in September 2018 with our hosts, Melissa and Ethan along with special guest: Dennis Prescott. How exciting is this?? They have announced a few set cities/provinces such as Vancouver, Manitoba, Alberta, Halifax, and ending it in my own city, Toronto, but there are no confirmed details at this moment until January 2018 where they will give us more details. I’m excited and hoping I will be able to attend one of the intimate cities conference.

I love to travel to different cities as some of you know, so it would be great to attend one outside my own city maybe the West Coast as I haven’t been to the West Coast in awhile. So we shall see. Waiting patiently for FBC2018 details…😊  Maybe I might see you there too.

Ending the conference with a light and healthy lunch by Dairy Farmers of Canada where I enjoyed a variety of foods including winter squash salad, tofu, fruits and more. We even got a cute small plush cow at the tables. Check out my delicious & healthy lunch below.

After the lunch, there was a brand networking session with sponsors and mingling with our fellow bloggers at the FBC Lounge located at the top level of the hotel. It was a beautiful & stunning view of Ottawa with the beautiful Fall colours. It was great catching up and meeting new Canadian bloggers, so happy to finally meet Deb – The Sugared Teacup where we mostly talk on Instagram.

By the end of Sunday afternoon session, I was tired, but feeling of course inspired, filled with new information and tips for blogging and energized about my new ideas for my blog!!

View from the Top Level of the Hotel

Mary Tang & me on the 1st Night of FBC2017

Me & Debra (The Sugared Teacup) during lunch on the last day of FBC2017

Me with the FBC2017 sign on the last day

Of course, you can’t forget about Food Bloggers of Canada amazing Swag Bag that we get every year. I look forward it to it every year to see what goodies I get to bring home. This year we got cookbooks of course, 2 containers, utensils, cooking tools, and snacks. My fave definitely has to be The Sugared Teacup coaster, it was so cute!!! Check out my photo of my Swag Bag.

FBC2017 Amazing Swag Bag

For more information on the above sponsors, speakers and bloggers, please see below:

Day 3 & 4 – Sunday, October 22 (Evening) & Monday, October 23, 2017

Me with the Ottawa signage on Sparks Street

During and after the FBC2017 conference, I still manage to do a bit of sightseeing and exploring in Ottawa. I was happy to have stayed an extra day after the conference to enjoy the beauty of Ottawa especially during the Fall season as Ottawa has a natural beauty of colourful trees and scenery to enjoy.

Some of the attractions that I visited are: of course no stop in Ottawa without seeing the Parliament building, Byward Market, Sparks Street, shopped at CF Rideau Centre, and Rideau Falls.  I loved shopping at the Byward Market with unique items that you normally don’t find at a shopping mall. I found a great kitchen shop called: Ma Cuisine recommended by Deb (The Sugared Teacup) where I bought a new mug as I love drinking tea and always looking for new mugs or tea accessories. They had lots of variety of mugs and tea accessories so if you love tea I definitely recommend you stop by Ma Cuisine as they also have lots of other kitchen supplies.

Me in front of the Rideau Canal

Me in front of the Parliament Building

When travelling to new cities, I always love to discover new vegan bakeries so of course while I was in Ottawa for the FBC2017 conference, I made time for one new vegan bakery shop that I discovered. Because Strawberry Blonde Bakery made some of the delicious vegan desserts at the conference as well, I had to stop by their bakery shop itself to see what other delicious vegan baked goods that they had.

On my last day in Ottawa, I stopped by Strawberry Blonde Bakery shop, which is a vegan, gluten-free and nut free bakery. Their mission is to “create a place where the growing number of people with food allergies can buy a treat and not have to worry about cross-contamination, while also not having to compromise on taste or aesthetics.” –Strawberry Blonde Bakery website.

Their bakeshop wasn’t far from the downtown area of Ottawa, very accessible by transit as I took the bus there. I feel in love with their cute bakeshop from the outside with their beautiful & colourful exterior. They have a sitting area only outside thou. I love the atmosphere of their cozy and friendly bakeshop inside despite the size of the bakeshop quite small, but filled with delicious and beautiful aroma smell of freshly baked goods.

Strawberry Blonde Bakery has a large variety of baked goods to choose from cupcakes, cookies to pies, scones, squares, Nanaimo bars, brownies, cakes along with a few savory items as well. They also serve vegan soft serve (ice cream)…YAY!!! It was hard for me to choose what to get.

I ended up getting one Strawberry cupcake with Vanilla frosting and it was simply delicious with their moist cake and the frosting wasn’t too sweet either. One of my fave new vegan cupcakes for sure!!

I also bought their packaged Oatmeal Raisins cookies to bring home with me to try on the train ride home. These are the best Vegan Oatmeal Raisins cookies I ever had, I love Oatmeal Raisins cookies and it’s rare to find one soft and tastes exactly like a regular Oatmeal Raisins cookie. I wish I bought another box of them!! I loved them!!!

Me in front of the Strawberry Blonde Bakeshop

If you haven’t tried, Strawberry Blonde Bakery yet at Ottawa downtown area in the Wellington West area, I highly recommend you checking out this cozy and friendly vegan bakeshop. It definitely won’t disappoint you!! Go try it yourself…😊

For more information on Strawberry Blonde Bakery, please see below:

Websiteclick here

Address – 114B Grange Avenue, Ottawa, ON.

You can follow them on Facebook @StrawberryBlondeBakery, Twitter @BlondeBaking and Instagram @BlondeBaking.

Another amazing FBC conference for 2017 is done already!! Wow!! As it was my 3rd time attending this inspiring and great conference, I love seeing the growing Canadian food bloggers attend this amazing conference every year. Every year I attend this event, I enjoy networking, learning, being inspired by others and of course the delicious and variety of foods at the conference.

Thank you Melissa and Ethan for putting on another fantastic conference for all of us!!!! Every year you guys bring something new and fun to the conference. I am excited for next year’s 2018 Road Trip Conference!!! Looking forward to further details in January 2018! As I can’t wait to start planning which destination I would love to travel next to.

For now, thank you to my wonderful readers who managed to read most or if you are still following along on my Part 2 of my Highlights of Food Bloggers of Canada conference. I admit it was a bit long to read, but I hope that you enjoyed it that you are just as inspired and eager to attend 2018 Road Trip FBC conference like me! You can check out Part 1 of my FBC2017 Highlights if you haven’t read it yet here -> click here.

Feeling inspired and getting ready for the Holiday spirit, I am busy prepping for my Holiday post that I am excited to share with you soon!! I am also working on a special project slowly yet progress is happening that I will be sharing with you soon for the New Year 2018. Look out for that announcement soon!!

For the latest updates such as when my next blog post is along with you can follow along on my foodie adventures, please follow me on Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 and Instagram @SweetBFoodie24.

Until next time, I am in search for my next sweet Holiday spirit adventure….

-Sweet B.

For more information on Food Bloggers of Canada, please see below:

Food Bloggers of Canada – Website – click here

You can follow FBC on Facebook @FoodBloggersOfCanada, Twitter @FoodBloggersCA and Instagram @FoodBloggersCA.

My Highlights of 2017 Food Bloggers of Canada Conference – Part 1

Hi everyone,

Welcome back 😁 and saying Hello to a new month, November already! How did this year go by so fast that it is the end of the year now? Wow!! Thou will be a busy end of the year with the upcoming Holidays and I love the Holidays!! Excited to be sharing with you guys soon about Holiday posts😀 But first, I been very busy since being back from my amazing Food Bloggers of Canada conference in Ottawa at the end of October. It was a busy yet a fun & foodie filled 3 days conference with my fellow Canadian bloggers. I left the conference feeling inspired, filled with new knowledge & information and excited about expanding my own blog.

This was my 3rd time attending this amazing conference and it has become an annual tradition for me attending the FBC conference. I love getting together with my fellow Canadian bloggers and catching up with friends or meeting new friends. Every year it is different and I love the experience along with learning new concepts and ideas on blogging.

If you were following me along with my FBC conference adventure through Twitter @SweetBFoodie24 or Instagram @SweetBFoodie24 (and my stories), hope you enjoyed the photos and live updates while I was at the conference if you weren’t able to join us.

Quick Update

Things will be busier for me for the end of the year as I have started a temporary Admin job with my focus and career path still as a blogger. As some of you know, I left my full time Admin job earlier this year to focus on this blog and refocus my health situation. I am still continuing to grow with this blog and still maintain a balance between Admin work and blogging. I am looking for the right Admin job to balance what I love to do more as a blogger. We will see how this temporary Admin job turns out…😜

So finally I’m here and excited to share with you all, my readers my full experience at the Food Bloggers of Canada conference for those who were not able to attend this foodie conference.

This is my full Recap (warning has it might be a LONG post…😊) of the amazing and fun Food Bloggers of Canada 2017 conference taken place to our nation’s capital in Ottawa, Ontario this year to celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday and their 5th conference where 150 bloggers, brands and speakers in an intimate atmosphere to network, providing professional development and of course delicious food. FBC2017 was held at Delta Hotels Ottawa City Centre. The conference was held for 3 days.

Day 1 – Friday, October 20, 2017

I took the afternoon train by VIA Rail train from Toronto to Ottawa. I had a relaxing leisure train ride to Ottawa after a very busy 1st work week at my Admin work and at the same time packing & prepping for the conference. I usually take Business class when I take VIA Rail and this was no difference, love travelling business class as I liked the assigned seating and meals on the train. I enjoyed my dairyfree lunch consisting of delicious rice with chicken and beans, salad, whole wheat bun, and fruits! Some beautiful scenery as I headed to Ottawa. Arrived in Ottawa around 4:50pm there was a slight train delay.

I arrived at the Delta Ottawa City Centre Hotel by bus, which took approximately 20 mins not too far from the VIA Rail station. There was a Lentils Lounge to welcome us attendees and for Conference Registration as well in the Life Lounge of the hotel. I wasn’t able to attend as I arrived after 4:30pm.

I took a few minutes to take in, unpack and relax from my train ride of the beautiful and modern Delta Ottawa City Centre Hotel in my hotel room. I had the King bedroom and with a cityview on a lower floor, not much of a view, but enjoyed my medium size room. I guess I’m more used to more spacious rooms, but still enjoy this room with the modern design and high tech gadgets such as the clock with iPod plugin.

Kickoff Cocktail Reception

Starting FBC2017 with a cocktail reception and I arrived for the cocktail reception near the end and enjoyed a few appetizers along with my fave drink to start off the conference – a refreshing & sweet Fall Sangria with apples and cloves inspired by Ontario Apples

There were lots of yummy appetizers to enjoy. My fave was a Vegan Carrot Chickpeas Patties with Lemon Tahini Dressing by Half Your Plate.

Lentils.org Dinner

For the dinner that evening it was hosted by Lentils, it was a mix and mingle type of dinner with tabletops where we were able to chat with other attendees while enjoying a healthy delicious foods that incorporates lentils in each dish. I thought that was an interesting and great idea. I don’t eat much lentils and it was great to see what dishes that each vendor decided to do. There were several food stations to select from. It was hard to find a tabletop to eat though…😀

Thank you to Lentils for our 2nd Swag Bag that includes “All The Things Sweets” cookbook by Renée Kohlman, cute Go To utensils and lunchbox.

My fave dish of the evening was of course not surprised the dessert table, it was the 1st thing that I saw and loved the 4 different dessert that was offered. Love that these desserts had lentils in it.

  1. Top Fave – Spiced Apple Skillet Cake with Streusel toppings by cookbook author of All The Sweet Things – Renée Kohlman, love any apple desserts so it was not a surprise when I fell in love with this dessert!! It wasn’t too sweet just perfect, love the moist cake too. I secretly had more than 2 pieces I’m so bad lol!!
  2. Sticky Toffee Cookies with Dark Chocolate Chucks, this was pretty good too despite me not a chocolate person at all (yes if you didn’t know I don’t eat chocolate, it’s a surprise to lots lol!!) and I don’t eat chocolate. I tasted more the toffee part.
  3. Fruit Skewers – Loved the fresh fruits too, beautiful display! Always refreshing to have fruits and stay healthy.

Besides the desserts, my 2 fave savoury dishes were:

  1. Lentil Sweet Potato Pierogi with Cider Pickled Cabbage and Crème Fraiche, but I had the Vegan option so no Crème Fraiche by The Wellington Gastropub.
  2. Lentil Sausage by Carben Food & Drink. It was a simple yet delicious sausage and love that it was vegan too. Beautiful plating for this dish!!

Overall, a great and delicious different types of food to start of this amazing and foodie conference. It was great to reconnect with familiar friends & bloggers and meeting new bloggers during the mix and mingle dinner as well.

For more information on the above Sponsors, vendors and authors, please see below:

Day 2– Saturday, October 21, 2017

Breakfast with Ontario Apple Growers

FBC2017 started Day 2 with a healthy & nutritious breakfast by Ontario Apple Growers. Unfortunately due to personal reasons sadly missed this delicious breakfast as I love apples too.

Ontario Apple Growers provided a healthy and delicious breakfast with Apple French Toast, Apple Parfaits, fresh fruits, and etc.

The Keynote Speaker for the morning was Elizabeth Baird, author and editor of multiple cookbooks both on her own and with Canadian Living who she was also a former Canadian Living food editor. She also is a member of the Order of Canada. With her many years of experience in the food industry, it was an honor to listen to Elizabeth Baird and listen to her vast experience working in the food world about the history of food and cooking and tips.

The rest of the morning was divided into workshops that we (attendees) got to sign up before the conference. I attended 3 workshops that morning that included:

  1. How to Snag Media Opportunities and Survive Interviews – Presented by Zannat Reza and Will Lamont
    • Even though I haven’t pitch to any media yet about my blog and brand, it was a great topic for me to learn more and understand. It was interesting to hear about how to handle radio, print and tv interviews if I was ever to approach towards the media section.
  2. Behind the Brands: What PR Teams Need Bloggers To Know – Presented by Heather Travis
    • Great session with Heather Travis with lots of tips and advice for beginner bloggers like me. Getting a better understanding what PR are looking from bloggers such as pitching the right time of season/year, Earned vs Paid means through relationships, define your business, and more. Learned lots in this short session.
  3. Standing Out In a Crowd: Building Your Brand Identity – Presented by: Sam Turnbull
    • Great presentation and lots of advice & tips from Sam Turnbull on learning more about your brand identity. Her main points was to know your niche so your readers know who you are. Another tip was having keywords related to your topic and blog and use those keywords in your blog or when you talk about your blog so the readers know who you are.
    • She was very inspiring speaker and passionate about her niche and who she is.

Saturday Lunch hosted by Half Your Plate

After a full morning session of learning and filled with lots of information to take it, I was ready for a healthy lunch hosted by Half Your Plate. They provided for us a create your own Buddha bowl (I think that’s what you call it), which is a bowl full of vegetables, healthy grains and lean protein for a perfectly balanced, nourishing meal topped with a unique sauce.

It was actually my 1st time having a Buddha bowl and loved the variety that Half Your Plate provided for us with full of fresh ingredients to create it. I love the vegan Soba noodles!! I created my Buddha bowl with Soba noodles, rice, fresh apples & oranges and tofu topped with hoisin sauce. Yum!!!

Of course, I always love my dessert and loved the fresh fruits and the delicious lemon squares.

Boots & Roots with Farm & Food Care

For the 1st time at the conference, hosted by Farm & Food Care – 8 local farmers (egg, mushroom, diary, beef, hog, grain, vegetables and apples) held a great session for us bloggers to answer our questions about food and farming. Each farmer had it’s own table where we were able to go to different farmers and learn more about that particular farmer food specialty. It was great to learn more about local produce.

Afternoon Treats with Cookina Popcorn Bar

I loved the Cookina Popcorn bar station for our afternoon snack session. I loved that there was a diary free option as well as they had kernels available to pop fresh popcorn with no butter. They used Cookina reusable bag to pop the fresh popcorn and love that you can reuse it. They had a variety of flavor toppings to add to the popcorn as well.

Saturday FBC Dinner

FBC hosted a beautiful and appetizing dinner that evening and sat with a variety of people from bloggers to cookbook authors. It was great to interact and engage with others. I had the diary free option dinner that evening so my main course was the delicious, moist, and flavourful roasted chicken with mini potatoes and asparagus. My fave was the palette cleanser, which was a lemon sorbet with frozen fruits on top, it was soooo beautiful! I loved it!!

Winter Squash Salad

Lemon Sorbet with frozen fruits & flower

Roasted Chicken with mini potatoes, carrots and asparagus

That evening, our dinner speakers were food writers & adventurers and authors of their new cookbook, Feast – Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller. It was a pleasure meeting them and hearing their story on their road trip and how they met each other.

Me with Dana and Lindsay during book signing

Of course, the best part of any meal is my fave desserts, FBC had special desserts by Cake & Shake Dessert Bar to make their famous Nanaimo Bar cakes. For the vegan and gluten free option, Strawberry Blonde Bakery made a replica of the Nanaimo Bar cakes in the vegan version.

I decided to go with the Apple Nanaimo cake with the apple donut on top (I couldnn’t resist lol!) as I spoke with the baker and he explained the apple one doesn’t have any diary product in it except the frosting so I didn’t eat the frosting..:) I also tried the gluten free cookies as well!

What a great and scrumptious dinner to end Day 2 of FBC2017. I couldn’t believe how fast the conference was going and that only Sunday half day left of the conference before it finishes. I booked to stay an extra night instead of leaving Sunday evening so I was happy to have majority of Monday to enjoy sightseeing in Ottawa before going home Monday evening.

This concludes Part 1 of my Highlights of FBC2017 conference in Ottawa, stay tuned for Part 2 to find out about Day 3 of FBC2017 and how my last day in Ottawa went and what places I visited and did I visit a vegan bakery? Stay tuned! Check back this weekend to find out!! ☺

-Sweet B.

For more information on the above Sponsors, vendors and authors, please see below:

Food Bloggers of Canada

Website – click here

You can follow FBC on Facebook @FoodBloggersOfCanada, Twitter @FoodBloggersCA and Instagram @FoodBloggersCA

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

 

 

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.