NYC Travel Guide

Autumn in New York City is like living a weekend-long dream. The colors are so vibrant, the weather is crisp and the storefronts are beginning to look a lot like Christmas. There is something about New York and the energy in the city that makes you feel as though you can conquer anything; And by conquering anything, I’m talking food!

EAT
NYC is the ultimate foodie’s dream. Endless opportunity for adventurous bites, there is honestly something amazing on every street corner. Everything you can ever imagine is right at your fingertips… or right at the tip of your tongue. If you tend to keep up with my Instagram stories, you know that my primary activity when traveling anywhere is eating! New York City is the type of place that as your eating breakfast; you are already thinking about lunch, dinner, and everything in between. Below are some of the places that I visited which are mostly Asian or Italian influenced;

Drunken Dumpling – You must try the Pork soup dumpling. This is incredible and is unlike anything that I have ever tasted before. The service is really good and the prices are reasonable. The food came steaming hot and fresh, which is never something to complain about.

Momofuku Noodle Bar: I ordered the Chilled Spicy Noodles, which were so flavourful and enough for two people! This was my first time at Momofuku and even though I know that there is one in Toronto; I had to try the original in NYC. The noodles are coated in what I consider; an Asian version of pesto, Sichuan sausage, crunchy cashews. They are not portion shy here, I was as full as I have ever been in a while.  Although, I’m not sure if this was just my stomach giving up after a weekend full of eating 100x my body weight.

Milk Bar: The ever Instagram famous Birthday Cakes and Cereal Milk Softserve stole my heart. Recently I had seen Christina Tosi’s episode of Chefstable on Netflix and fell in love with her culinary style, and her “coloring outside of the lines” view on baking and creating. I was convinced, after watching that episode of Chefstable; Cereal Milk Softserve will be the greatest thing that I will ever try. After waiting in the longest line of my life, finally.. the holy grail of soft-serve ice cream was in my hands. My first bite and I was severely disappointed.  I forced myself to eat just over half of the serving, because of how long I waited in line and how much I paid for s o f t-s e r v e ice cream. I do not recommend trying this.. not worth the time, hype, calories or money.

Cacio e Pepe: Probably one of the greatest restaurants ever, just based off of the Homemade tonnarelli pasta, tossed in pecorino cheese & whole black peppercorns. This is a dish that I had been dying to try for years and finally, my food dreams came true. A truly simple yet incredible plate of fresh pasta. Who doesn’t wish for pasta served to you in a Parmesan wheel? I highly recommend giving this place a try and suggest that you make resos because of the limited space inside.

Ivan Ramen: This is my second time visiting Ivan Ramen and damn does it ever impress. To start, I ordered the Kabocha Squash Tempura which is glazed in miso maple brown butter and crusted in pecan. Then to follow all of that goodness, polished off a bowl of the Chicken Paitan with enoki mushroom. Ramen has got to be one of my faves, especially as the weather starts to cool up!

Boba Guys: My new found obsession. I literally went to every location in New York City because it was so good! I ordered the Strawberry Matcha Latte with boba every time and I have been missing since. The boba is so fresh and all of the ingredients taste so authentic and not artificial; I’m not kidding, I could actually taste the freshness. They also have the option of dairy-free kinds of milk here like; almond or oat for no additional cost!! If you are from Toronto, you know that this is practically unheard of to get dairy-free options for free99. I would head back to New York for Boba Guys any day.

Some other places to try would be; Eataly Serra Rooftop, Shake Shack, Magnolia Bakery, Little Tongs, Maman Coffee and Cha Cha Matcha.

SLEEP
There are a ton of stunning hotels and places to stay in the city and fortunately enough, a family friend let us stay with her in her amazing home. We stayed in Gramercy, which was gorgeous and felt super central to everywhere that I wanted to go. Gramercy is a quieter area with beautiful apartments on tree-lined streets. There are endless fun and happening restaurants and bars. In this area, there are some really nice hotels too. The Marcel and The Gramercy Park Hotel are both great options if you are looking for something in this area. When looking for a hotel or Air BnB, it is important to keep in mind that you most likely will not be spending too much time in the room; so I wouldn’t go overboard in terms of spending on that. Save your spending money for your food and shopping.

SHOP
Shopping may or may not be my middle name. New York City is home to some of the best shopping and makes you want to spend money. A word of advice, bring some comfortable shoes because if you did the city like I did, it was all about walking. I found that the best way to find the stores that you didn’t even know that you were looking for. I believe that the city really has something for everyone, in terms of fashion and shopping. I’d be sure to head back to Soho because the stores there are incredible, the scene is so fun and the architecture is literally made me stop and stare. From Stores like Aritzia, Topshop and Zara to Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Stella McCartney you can really find anything you are looking for. Be sure to visit and pop-ups while you are in the city too!

FUN
Aside from the obvious fun; Shopping and Eating.. there are a ton of other incredible things to do while visiting the city. Definitely going for a walk in Central Park is a must! I had never been to Central Park before and upon entering the park (which is a huge chunk of the city) I felt like I entered a dream. Have you ever seen the movie Enchanted? I sort of feeling like I was a princess and all of these talking animals were going to come out and be my friend. Maybe it is all of the sodium I had throughout the weekend getting to my head. I swear I’m not crazy.  It is such a magical place and it was nice to see greenery in such a busy city.

I can’t wait until my next trip back because I am missing Boba Guys like crazy. I hope this helped and always feel free to ask me any questions about my stay in New York. I love hearing from you guys and enjoy sending over recommendations.

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NOCE Restaurant

NOCE on Queen West opened 22 years ago and I just recently went for the first time. I regret not paying this amazing Italian restaurant a visit sooner. They serve the freshest food I have ever experienced. The employees at Noce are outstanding, super friendly and outgoing! They seem to love their jobs and really engage with the guest.  The chefs know exactly how to incorporate the flavours of Italy and work with the most beautiful ingredients. Truffle, Bottarga, and Parmigiano Reggiano to name a few. I grew up eating traditional Italian food and I am very particular when it comes to choosing an Italian restaurant. I was very impressed by all aspects of this restaurant. I highly recommend checking out Noce especially, with the holidays quickly approaching.

They recently renovated and the interior is absolutely stunning. I love how rustic and retro meet modern and eclectic. They have several rooms to dine in which is perfect for a date for two to a party of 20+. I think this is the best spot to take your family or friends this holiday season and would recommend it to anyone who knows what good food is. Noce is a great place to go for any occasion and I highly recommend checking out the features on the board. It’s such a lovely restaurant to spend an evening and I can’t wait to go back during the holiday’s.

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Queen West Room – The main dining room overlooking Queen Street West at Trinity Bellwoods Park. This dining area has the perfect view of the talented NOCE Chefs preparing menu dishes.  
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Noce has a set menu but also offers specials that change accordingly and frequently. They now offer Sunday dinner service.
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“God made food, but the devil made chefs”
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The Tuscany Room – This room offers a lively dining experience is semi-private can be customized to your preferred seating arrangements; perfect for your next get-together. Book your holiday dinners here asap!
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The Queens at 875 – Aperol, St. Germain Elderflower liquor, grapefruit, Fiol prosecco   
Honolulu – Crystal Head Vodka, Mango liquor, Amaretto di Saronno, lemon, orange bitters
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Olive Ascolane –
Fried meat filled olives. These are the perfect appetizer for any olive lover! Yes, they are fried but they are not greasy at all and are the perfect combination of crispy and full of flavour.
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Crostini con Baccalà-
baccalà affumicato, bottarga di muggine. This is a must order!! Creamy cod on house made squid ink bread. topped with a true Italian delicacy. 
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Tonno Scottato – Wood fried tuna, tonnato sauce, infornate olives, crispy capers, pickle purée, parsley. I love that they used the wood oven for cooking more than just pizza. The crispy capers add the best touch on this dish. They add just the right amount of salt to the fish.

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Ecuadorian Shrimp – Giant shrimps fresh from Ecuadore. A variety of imported fish come in to the restaurant on Thursdays. These were to die for and super smokey.
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This was my absolute favorite menu item. Im pretty sure this is one of the featured specials. Pastina with a light tomato brodo, Clams and Rapini pesto. Everything about this was incredible. I love having pastina because my Nonna (Italian Grandmother) used to make it for me as a kid. But this was another level! I love the delicate clams and powerful taste of the rapini pesto. 
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Cauliflower roasted with Gorgonzola
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Crispy brussels sprouts with creamy goodness inside. Every time I go to a restaurant and there is brussels sprouts on the menu, I always order them. I have ordered them 50+ times and Noce makes them the best! Plus they are topped with Parmesan, which makes them 100x better.  
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16 OZ Ribeye – Cooked to absolute perfection. I am not a big steak orderer but I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Seasoned lightly with salt and garnished with fried basil leaves. This steak is crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth tender on the inside.  

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Sex in a pan – Roasted base with Nutella, mascarpone whip, chocolate and crunchy. There is always room for dessert when it tastes this good.

Continue reading “NOCE Restaurant”

Maggie Oakes – Montreal

A quick visit to Montreal calls for some amazing food at Maggie Oakes. I had heard great things about this beautiful restaurant and had been wanting to try it myself. The restaurant was unique and was like nothing I had seen before. The decor was simple and elegant and so was the food ( simple in a good way ). We enjoyed a few drinks to go along with our feast and really did enjoy ourselves.

I loved the way that the ingriedients they use in the dishes were incorporated into decorative statement pieces. On one side of the restaurant they had a wall covered in a display of fresh growing greens, spices, and plants. All edible, all used in creating the perfect menu options. On the opposite end of that, was the meat. Aged meat, sealed up in glass showcases. I had never seen anything like this and thought it was so different and awesome.

 

The drinks were amazing and fairly priced. They were not your average cocktails which I liked! Light and not overly sweet, great for a huge dinner.

 

Everything we ordered, we shared. I love going with a larger group that enjoys the same type of food as you. We tried the sweet potato and leek soup, which had nutmeg sour cream. It was  fresh and was a great start to the evening. We also tried the beetroot duo, which was a dish with arugula, roasted walnuts, toasted goat cheese. This was incredible, so rich and decadent!

 

 

The main that I ordered was the linguini with butternut squash. It was hard to decide because, I kid you not…everything on the menu sounded amazing but this definitely caught my eye. I am a fan of pretty much anything butternut squash. The pasta was very filling but the pecorino shavings, toasted pecans and sage all came together to create an unforgettable dish. I also got to try the sweet potato ”manicotti” with homemade ricotta, roasted red pepper sauce. I thought this was very unique and had a modern twist on the classic manicotti recipe. I loved this and I am going to try and make this at home!

 

 

We also ordered the grilled bavette to share amongst the group. This was served with green tomato chime-churri, french fries and a homemade ketchup. It was all great but the bavette was honestly nothing that special. It was good, but nothing to rave about.
The burger on the other hand, was great! Topped with La Savaging cheese, Kumato tomatoes, bourbon glazed onions, and homemade ketchup. As if that burger wasn’t enough it also came with fries.

Overall an amazing dinner at Maggie Oakes and would love to come back and try the brunch. Next time I visit Montreal, I know exactly where to go.

Hungry Amoo – Toronto

The most recent restaurant that I have visited, Hungry Amoo. This is a great spot for snacks and drinks on Ossington, you have to check out! All the dishes that I tried were creative and so flavourful. Hungry Amoo offers dishes from different international cuisines, some of which I had never tried before. Something that I really love about this restaurant is that the menu is seasonal and changes based on which ingredients are most fresh.

All the employees here were very friendly and helpful, especially our server Yasmine. She was passionate about the menu and explained how it worked, so we could get a better understanding of the type of cuisine. Yasmine also recommended a few dishes, which I found really nice. Needless to say, we were definitely taken care of @ Hungry Amoo.

But my favorite thing about eating @ Hungry Amoo, is that we left with belly’s full of wonderful food! And all of it was gluten-free.

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Cool bar setup! Delicious cocktails too, most of which I had never heard of before. I tried the pomegranate spritz and I found it had such a unique flavour. This is definitely a great place to go for drinks with friends!

 

 

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Tamarind Beef (GF) $12

Crispy Pulled Brisket, Cashew, Date sauce, Brussel Sprout. This dish was by far, the favorite dish of the evening. The beef was so tender and cooked beautifully. I had never tried Tamarind Beef before, and I was really impressed.

 

Overall, I had a great experience dining at Hungry Amoo. I would recommend trying it out here because the menu is so diverse and unique. They master all different cuisines, theres a bit of everything.

 

Thank you to the Hungry Amoo Team and to Yasmine for being such a great help! I will be back to try the Pistachio Soup.

 

 

Blu Ristorante – Toronto

Monday evening, I discovered a true hidden gem on Yorkville Ave in Toronto. Blu Ristorante and Lounge is a fantastic place for modern Italian food. They offer two separate dinner menus. One is a regular dinner menu with a wide variety of antipasti, salad, pasta, meat and fish to choose from. The second menu that Blu offers is The Five Course Chef’s Tasting Menu. This is a prefixed menu that can be done as is, or can be done as a pairing with some of their best wines. They also offer a group event prefix menu, depending on how much you are looking to spend per person. This is definitely a venue to consider for any upcoming holiday function, meeting, birthday or anniversary.  All the staff at Blu Ristorante are extremely helpful and friendly, always making sure we were well looked after.


There is honestly something for everyone on the menu at Blu. The menu accommodates all carnivores, vegetarians and even your most picky eater. With a large selection, they even offer gluten free alternatives. Gluten Free Rice Pasta or Quinoa Fusilli are available by request.

Below are a variety of items, which you have to give a try.

 

Truffled Beef Carpaccio, Crispy Capers, Parmigiano, Crostini – ($17.00)

  • Beef was so delicate and fresh. This is seasoned and sliced in house
  • Topped with just the right amount of parmigiano
  • Sun dried capers were so unique and delicious
  • Pickled zucchini on top was something I had never tried before and was so addictive. (all pickling done in house)
  • This is a great antipasti for sharing
  • This was the only time that I have been impressed by a dish with pork belly
  • Pork belly was so tender and the meat on it fell right apart, so flavorful
  • Scallops were large in size and cooked to perfection
  • The outside was golden but were still a little raw in the centre which I love
  • Poached pears had a bit of a perfumy taste, was the only thing I was not crazy about
  • The salsa verde was so fresh and herby, could literally eat this on its own it was so good
  • Outstanding aroma
  • My favorite of all the dishes we ordered, this was unique and pure excellence
  • The roasted beets cooked with the rice brings out such a vibrant colour and taste
  • All of the dishes @ Blu are artistic creations
  • The lemon mascarpone in the centre was desert worthy, perfect amount for this type of rich dish
  • Crunchy pistachio crumbles on the top complimented this smooth risotto beautifly
  • This is a must order from the dinner menu at Blu Ristorante and Lounge, I could eat risotto for the rest of my life
  • Before digging my fork into this, I couldn’t help but notice the elegance and style that went into creating such a masterpiece

  • Tuna was served cold, refreshing and top quality grade of fish
  • This was crusted in black and white sesame seeds and added a pleasing contrast to the light, soft tuna
  • The quinoa and lentils were a bit peppery, but added a nice punch to this dish
  • The smooth, velvety Basil Saffron Beurre Blanc was rich and buttery….I love butter
  • Excellent dish
  • Sea Bass is one of my favorite seafoods and this was the best that I have had it
  • The miso glaze was full of flavour, salty but the perfect amount for this type of fish
  • The skin on the Sea Bass was crispy and the actual fish literally melted in my mouth
  • Nice size potion for the fish
  • The black kale was so juicy and sweet and paired well with the rich butternut squash
  • Not lacking a single ingredient, all parts of this meals complimented one another
  • Highly reccomended

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  • This comes 15-20 minutes after you order it, baking it fresh before bring it to the table
  • Chocolate Cake stuffed with a gooey chocolatey inside, incredibly addictive
  • Chocolate lovers dream dessert
  • Just enough Vanilla Gelato for every bite of the Chocolate Cake, perfect pair

 

Thank you Alfredo and the team @ Blu Ristorante and Lounge , Most amazing dining experience in Downtown Toronto yet!

We will be visiting Blu again in the near future, nothing but good things to say about this place.

Brunch @ Cibo Wine Bar

Cibo Wine Bar is probably the best restaurant I have been to for Brunch in Toronto! I visited Cibo on King W. this Sunday and really enjoyed the whole experience. To start, the layout of the restaurant is absolutely stunning and very clean. It is best to make reservations ahead of time, although it was not very busy. As it was my first time having brunch at CIBO, the waitress explained how it worked. There was multiple stations including freshly made waffles, omelettes, homemade pizza and pasta, and a massive dessert section!  The brunch option @ Cibo is all you can eat and $5 mimosas, which sounds great to me 🙊. The food is all to die for and it was all worth it. I had the best arancini (rice-balls), I have ever tried and i would go back again just for those alone.  I was blown away by the amount of selection they had like the fresh to order stations.

I had dined at Cibo’s other location in Yorkville for dinner a while back and I really enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend trying Cibo, especially for brunch on King W. My expectations were beyond met and I can’t wait to go back. Would love to plan a birthday or  night with friends in the private/party rooms, they are so nice!

Check out Cibo here !

or 

522 King St. W. Toronto