Best of Summer Eats

As you are all fully aware of, I spent approximately 95% of the summer eating. So I thought it would only be right to share some of my best summer eats with you all, and hopefully inspire you all to the level of gluttony I achieved.

Enjoy! (Especially because I likely won’t have time to blog in the next coming weeks as I get acclimatized back into my work routine.)

Best salad (starting off light) – Parallel Salad at Parallel, 217 Geary Ave., Toronto

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This new Middle Eastern restaurant has been getting lots of hype, and rightly so. They nailed it with this salad of kale, sweet potato, lentils, walnuts, and beet tahini. It was filling from the vegan protein, and was tangy and savory AF. Note: there is also goat cheese on this salad, but I fear all things goat, so I omitted. I’m sure it’s even more delicious with the cheese.

Best pasta – Gnocchi Gorgonzola at Scaddabush Italian Kitchen and Bar (various locations across the GTA)

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I eat a lot of carbs, so I consider myself a carb connoisseur. This gnocchi wouldn’t be something I normally order, probably because I don’t think I like Gorgonzola cheese, but these little babies were cooked to perfection, and the sauce wasn’t nearly as rich as I anticipated (but still plenty rich). Basically this dish was a solid 10/10 for me, and I highly recommend it, and various other pastas and pizza from this Italian restaurant.

Best avocado toast – Oliver and Bonacini (various locations across the GTA)

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This avocado toast was to die for. It had hummus on it for a little zip, and it was essentially a salad on bread, with tons of fresh veggies. I put bacon crumble on top for $2 (I think), and it added some much needed protein, saltiness, crunch, and just general happiness.

Best dumpling/dim sum – Yu Garden, 8750 Bayview Ave., Richmond Hill

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While all the other dim sum restaurants we used to frequent north of the city have gone out of business, Yu Garden has been around for quite some time. We were reluctant to try it, because it’s very authentic Chinese food from Shanghai. They’re known for their soup dumplings, and other than the odd scalding here and there from the various times we’ve gone this summer, I have nothing but good things to say about this place. The food is incredible and you will leave very very very satisfied.

Best cocktail – Green Sangria from Scaddabush Italian Kitchen and Bar

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What can I say? This delicious fruity concoction pairs well with gluttony, carbs, and cheese. I drank this on their adorable patio multiple times this summer. Runner up for best cocktail goes to Radisson Admiral Hotel (249 Queens Quay W., Toronto), for their delicious white sangria as well…

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Best pizza – Sorelle and Co. (various locations across the GTA)

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Never in a million years would I have thought that the best pizza I’d have this summer would be a vegan one! I did eat a lot of pizza this summer, so that’s saying a lot. This Sorelle and Co. pizza was topped with tons of fresh veggies, and was perfectly balanced and not greasy like most of the pizza I traditionally consume. I highly recommend it!

Best ice cream – Cacao 70 Dip Shop, 180 Enterprise Blvd., Markham

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Once you eat your ice cream smothered in decadent chocolate, you can’t go back. There was way too much ice cream in here and I had trouble finishing it, but the rich coffee flavoured chocolate (pictured right) was to die for!

Best appetizer – Kung Pao Caulifower at the Keg (various locations across the GTA)

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So this summer I won a whopping $300 gift card to the Keg from an Instagram food account (Shout out to ToFoodies)! I don’t eat steak/don’t really care much for meat in general, so this cauliflower app was the real MVP for me. It was fried and tasted like Kung Pao chicken. It was incredible!

Best vegan dessert – Cookie Dough Cinnamon Bun at Cinnaholic, Promenade Mall, 1 Promenade Cir., Thornhill

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Feast your eyes on this baby for a moment, will ya? It only cost me $10, but it was well worth every penny. You’d think the frosting mixed with the chocolate sauce, chocolate chips and vegan cookie dough on top would be a bit much, but somehow I managed to devour the entire thing. Pro tip: I recently tried a basic cinnamon bun there and was disappointed. It didn’t fill me with the same kind of happiness. So my suggestion is if you’re going to go there, go hard and splurge on something extra.

Best sushi – Tomo Japanese Restaurant, 9625 Yonge St., Richmond Hill

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The sushi at Tomo is fresh, high-quality, and super delicious. Pictured are the dynamic roll (above), and the spicy beef roll (below). The service is amazing too!

 

 

On Food Freedom and Intuitive Eating

Being a mother and in my 30s has been very liberating for me in terms of how I perceive food. In my 20s, I struggled with disordered eating for several years, surviving to a large extent on skinny vanilla lattes and protein bars, and took immense pride in barely tipping the scales at 100 lbs.

But in 2007, the disordered eating stopped. Why? Because I was forced to stop eating. I was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal blockage, and had multiple abscesses in my bowel, which had to be cleared with IV antibiotics before I could have surgery to remove the blocked piece of intestine. For three long weeks, I was in the hospital with no food by mouth. I was kept alive (barely) by IV fluids and a PICC line to my heart (which later resulted in a blood clot in my arm; a story for another day). I weighed 90 lbs, and I distinctly remember leaving the hospital in XS sweatpants that kept falling down because my waist was too narrow to keep them up.

Since then, I’ve had a wake up call about food. I am so blessed to have a working bowel that can process and absorb nutrients. We take food as sustenance for granted, and being deprived of it was a sober awakening to never starve myself again. Now, I don’t deprive myself of anything. I do have a relatively clean diet, but mostly because I actually *love* healthy food. I nourish myself with vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and good quality dairy, but every day I have a little treat, and on the weekends I splurge. I like tacos, and ice cream, and pizza, and wine, and I find embracing these “forbidden” foods, has actually helped me keep a relatively stable weight for many years now (pregnancies aside; that’s when I allowed myself to become a gluttonous beached whale). I personally would never do a diet like Keto or Whole 30 (no offense to those who do, and find it works for them), because I don’t believe in cutting out entire food groups. I’d never measure my foods into containers that restrict portions (again, no offense to those that do), because I have a healthy appetite, and portion control isn’t really my thing. Balance and moderation are the key to happiness and health for me.

Food freedom is really the most liberating feeling in the world. I don’t stress if I “cheat” too much, or put on an lb. or two, and I just eat. I eat when my body tells me it’s hungry. I eat what my body is craving. I eat because I can.

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First I eat the tacos, then I wear the bathing suits.