WIAW: The W’s of my Week

I’ve always wanted to participate in “What I ate Wednesday” (WIAW) and what better way to summarize my week of eating out (birthday celebrations) than through Jenn’s great link-up. I really enjoy reading WIAW posts because they teach me about great restaurants, new recipes and favourite products of fellow bloggers. I love that Jenn reinforces how WIAW posts aren’t meant to be judged or compared to. Everyone is different in their eating habits, patterns, likes and dislikes and these posts should never leave someone feeling guilty about what they ate or better yet, didn’t eat. Sure my last week of meals might not have been extremely balanced or nutritious, but they were delicious none the less. The reality is our bodies can compensate to handle a temporary change in our diet and I am learning that it’s okay to skip salads and overdo dessert from time to time.WIAWbutton

I figured I’d add to the “W’s” in WIAW through “Who (The People), What (The Food), Where (The Restaurant), When (Last week) and Why (We all need to eat)”.

The Restaurant: Fresh, Toronto

The Food: The Holiday Wrap which was a whole wheat tortilla filled with avocado, marinated tofu cubes, garlic mayo, grated carrot, jicama, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, red onion & alfalfa sprouts. It came with a side of marinate kale slaw and we ordered sweet potato fries to share. It was extremely filling and I only managed to eat half since I was saving room for dessert.

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The People: I enjoyed Megan’s company while dining at Fresh. We were staying at her apartment in Toronto since she is a student at UofT which is right down the street from from Fresh, a restaurant we’ve both been dying to try. We followed our meal off with frozen yogurt from Menchies (I got blueberry cheesecake, lemon cake and birthday cake) and later snacked on some fruit and candy while watching Glee.

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The Restaurant: Pumpernickels, Toronto

The Food: There were so many delicious sandwich and wrap combinations to choose from, but I ended up ordering a medium salad instead. They let me choose as many different blends as I wanted so I ended topping a bed of romaine with lentil salad, chickpea salad, black bean corn salad and pickled beets.

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The Company: In March I met Alex at “Unleash the Noise” which was the first ever youth-led Mental Health summit. The experience was life changing and left me with everlasting friendships. Alex goes to school in Kingston so I haven’t been able to see her since, but she was employed for the summer with the same project. I stopped in to say hello and Alex and I used this opportunity to catch up over lunch.26

The Restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory, Buffalo, New York

The Food: I started my meal off with a coffee as I hadn’t consumed any caffeine yet that day. Our waiter also brought us some freshly baked pumpernickel bread that really hit the spot. I ordered Ahi Tartare, which was avocado layered raw tuna and ginger, seasoned with soy-ginger sesame sauce. It came with pita crisps for dipping. I also shared the Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake with my mom. Emma got the Margherita Fresh Baked Flatbreads, my Mom got the Shrimp Summer Rolls and my Dad got the Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos. My mom and I shared the Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake where as Emma and my dad went for a chocolate based variation.

blogpost 3The Company: My family and I traveled to Walden Galleria for some shopping, the day of my birthday. We usually just grab a quick bite to eat so that we can maximize our shopping time, but the Cheesecake Factory didn’t look busy so we chose to have a sit down meal instead. I went in without the intention of having cheesecake but after seeing the pastry case I decided on having a light lunch to save room for dessert.

969774_315887578547027_175737680_nThe Restaurant: The Keg, Oakville

The Food: I hadn’t been to the Keg in ages so I let my friends choose our appetizers since they are more familiar with the menu. We ended up getting Lobster Gratiné which was oven-baked lobster with garlic, herbs and melted Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese, Sante Fe Chicken Dip which was a mixture of smoked chicken, cheeses, chilies, black beans and bell peppers and served with tortilla crisps and Calamari that was lightly fried, with red peppers, jalapenos. I really enjoyed my Bellini as it masked the taste of alcohol and our waitress surprised me with free dessert! She knew about my allergies and brought me Crème brûlée.

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The Company: Caitlin and Elyse, two friends from elementary school, treated me to dinner at the Keg. Despite us being separated in High School and University, we’ve managed to stay extremely close. We opted for appetizers to share rather than one big meal, which allowed us to try more menu items. The food was great but their company was what made the experience so enjoyable. A girl’s night was exactly what I needed.Oh no

So while this isn’t a typical WIAW recap, I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the highlight meals and snacks thaT I munched on this past week. What do you prefer, cooking for yourself or dining out? Do you enjoy chain restaurants or local cafes? What was your favourite meal from this past week? ♥ Molly

“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” – Anna Thomas

Kindfood: Restaurant Review

July is all about firsts, so after visiting Kindfood, I decided I would write my first restaurant review. I mentioned my visit briefly in this week’s MIMM, but I didn’t quite capture how marvelous the outing was. I truly believe that hard work and great execution deserves praise, and Kindfood did just that, so it only made sense to let others know how much I enjoyed my meal.

Chelsea is always talking about Kindfood on her blog and more often than not I am left drooling over the photos. When I saw her back in May at Whole Foods, we agreed that another lunch date was in need since we had more than one lunch worth of topics to discuss (It had been over a year since we last saw each other). Neither of us had to be convinced that Kindfood would be the place to meet up (the bigger issue was finding time). After looking on the website, I saw that Kindfood is Canada’s first, and Award-Winning, 100% Gluten-free Vegan Restaurant featuring local and organic plant based cuisine created with deliciously vibrant flavours that are nourishing, healthy and revitalizing (taken from the website). With a statement as bold as the preceding, I obviously went in with high expectations. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint.

The Food

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What I ate: The Happy Buddha Bowl which was a bed of organic brown rice topped with grilled sweet potato, diced red onion, chopped tomato, cilantro and avocado. Mixed in for flavour was a combination of dried herbs, olive oil and tamari. It comes with sunflower seeds and raw almonds, but I omitted them due to my allergies and supplemented in tofu for protein instead. The only thing I might have added to my meal was a sauce of some sort. I don’t eat rice that often, so this request is more to do with texture than taste, but I did find that the rice needed something to make it a bit less dry. Maybe a spoonful of hummus?

Even though I had scanned the online menu before visiting Kindfood, I still had trouble deciding what I wanted to eat. The menu offers a great selection ranging from burgers to salads and everything in between. It is very detailed and informs you of all the ingredients in each dish, which I found particularly helpful for my allergies. They also have a juice bar, and sell pre made beverages such as beer and Kombucha. Other things that interested me on the menu included the Beauty Salad as it featured an orange & umeboshi vinaigrette, the Sprout Sandwich because the combination of hummus and cilantro pesto sounds very appealing, the QuinWOW bowl as it includes a sauce of  miso gravy which is something I’ve never tried, Kelly’s Tempeh Burger because I hardly ever cook tempeh on my own, and of course the Salted Caramal Cheese cake because I can never resist a sweet and salty dessert, not to mention it’s vegan!

Service

photo-99Good customer service is all about bringing customers back, and I would not only return, but also recommend this restaurant to friends and family. I found everyone to be so informative, friendly and outgoing. They were able to guarantee no cross contamination occurred with nuts, and they accommodated my addition of tofu, even though it isn’t on the menu (Thanks Chelsea for letting me know). My meal was delivered after only a few minutes of waiting, despite the restaurant being quite busy. The food was warm, had good presentation and was served by a waiter who possessed knowledge about my meal and polite manners. A meal might be delicious but if the customer service isn’t at least adequate, I won’t return to the restaurant. Kindfood received 100% and I repeated told Chelsea how kind (no pun intended) the staff was.

Value

My meal was $12.00 before adding the tofu and tax. For the quality and care put into my dish, I actually would have expected to pay more. The ingredients tasted fresh. While I managed to consume the entire bowl, it was definitely a generous portion. On a typical day, I would have probably been over-satisfied after having half so if you divide the cost by two meals, it’s extremely reasonable. Did I mention it was organic? This is a quote I found on the menu: “Organic may cost a little more… but we think you’re worth it.”

Atmosphere

photo-100In one word, the atmosphere is fun, but to be quite honest it’s hard to describe the atmosphere of the restaurant in depth, as I was more concentrated on my food and my get-together. I’d say it’s a location to go on a first date, or with family. It’s fairly casual as you seat yourself and get your own water. From what I saw, it was common for people to share two dishes so you can imagine the atmosphere is fairly relaxed (Fine dining often doesn’t involve passing plates around). Some tables are lower to the ground and some are higher up, so some tables offer stools or chairs and others offer a bench across the wall (I think!). It’s very cozy and very clean but you also have the option to sit on the patio! The walls are painted orange, the artwork is minimal, the menu is hand-written on a chalkboard and overall the restaurant is extremely welcoming. The meals were served in appropriate (wooden bowls), clean (no scratches from previous uses) dish ware that I actually owned (the plates, I am hoping to buy the bowls).  You could dress this restaurant up by wearing a summer skirt and wedges, or you could show up in jean shorts and flip flops.

What would I change? Probably nothing!  It’s situated downtown Burlington right by the lake which is a great area to go shopping in. After our meal Chelsea and I had a bit of time before she started work and I left to go home, so we walked off our meals. Parking is affordable, window glancing is optional and there is always the water to walk beside. Did I mention Kelly’s Bake Shoppe is owned by the same family? Apparently the baked goods were so popular from within Kindfood, there was a high demand for a separate bakery. Just recently Kelly opened up her shop less than a block away. I was too full to fit any more food inside so I bought four to take home. I’ll definitely do a review on the bakery in the near future (after I’ve tested a few more varieties of course) but they were excellent are a great for individuals who can’t stomach gluten!

IMG_5788Want to know more? Check out the website for Kindfood or Kelly’s Bake Shoppe! I just found out Kelly even has her own blog!What is one of your favourite restaurant? Do you prefer fine dining, cafés or even food trucks? Do you typically eat at a restaurant chain, or a local family-operated restaurant? ♥ Molly

“We all eat and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” – Anna Thomas

MIMM #1

This summer I am not working, so I am able to live a more relaxed lifestyle. While I do love a schedule to keep me on task, it has been nice to make last-minute plans with friends. Despite not having a set routine, I still seem to be keeping pretty busy. From the upbeat “Color Me Rad” race, to low-key Strawberry picking, I’m so thankful for everything that I’ve had the privilege of doing this summer. My life has been pretty “marvelous” so in appreciation, I’ve decided to participate in Katie’s “Marvelous In My Monday” link-up.

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Marvelous is sitting down for a family meal, cooked by someone with love. It’s learning about what is going on in the lives of your parents or siblings, because you are truly interested in hearing what they have been up to.

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Marvelous is for the moments when you wake up to the sound of birds chirping in time to see the sunrise and for the times when you sleep in unexpectedly. It’s for falling asleep while reading a good book, but also for the times when you wake up energized for the day ahead.

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Marvelous is being able to get together with a friend who you haven’t seen for a while, without it being awkward since you share so many similar passions and interests. It’s for having friends like Chelsea, who you can ask for good recommendations when it comes to television shows, books, restaurants and foods.

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Marvelous is trying a new restaurant or a new dish, and eating until you are completely satisfied. It’s being able to pick an item off of the menu that you truly want or are craving, able it’s being able to enjoy every mouthful without regret.

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Marvelous is staying active in your every day life, whether walking to get the mail, biking to the library or completing a workout video. It’s being able to go to the gym five days in a row because you enjoy exercising, but it’s also being able to take several days off without guilt.

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Marvelous is catching up on a TV series with a cup of tea in your hands. It’s being able to watch an uneducational show without feeling lazy, because you find yourself entertained by the humour and suspense.

Marvelous is spending time smiling and laughing with family. It’s watching your niece learn and grow, as she discovers new things each and every day.

photo-95I have so many great adventures to come this summer, but already, I’ve managed to make my day to day life pretty marvelous. Thank you Katie and everyone else, for reminding me how marvelous my life truly is. Be sure to check what other bloggers find marvellous in their life, as it is a great way to find favourite products, DIY projects, new recipes, motivating quotes, fun songs and of course fitness tips. I bet Katie has had a lot of marvelous moments this past week, as she recently delivered a handsome and healthy baby boy named Rocco. He is definitely a bundle of joy and my best wishes out to their growing family.  ♥ Molly

“It is always the simple that produces the marvellous.” – Amelia Barr