My Favourite Neutrals for Fall

It’s Fall y’all! I feel like I haven’t done a fashion or styling post in a while so here it is! Fall is here in full force and I couldn’t be happier to show off my Fall fashion.

This year I’ve noticed a shift away from the usual burgundies, greens and jewel tones we usually see in Fall fashion. An affinity for neutrals has definitely developed. I personally love neutrals as they’re so versatile and can be worn in any season. In this post I’ll be sharing some of my favourite neutral pieces for Fall.

Colour Block Coat

I picked up this colour block coat from Shein and it’s a great addition to my Fall wardrobe. I love the camel, black and white colours in this piece. It’s a great coat to wear with blue or black jeans. To put this neutral look together I paired it with a neutral taupe turtleneck from Dynamite along with some black jeans. To accessorize and elevate my outfit to a more polished look I added a belt from Gucci, some block heels (you can also wear booties with this) and one of my Tory Burch handbags

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Camel Sweater with White Jeans

Camel is a colour I’ve recently come to love. I wasn’t a fan of it before but I have converted! I love this oversized camel turtleneck, it’s cozy and chic. I always love wearing white so I paired it with some white jeans. This is one of my favourite neutral looks. It’s dressed down yet classy. In keeping with the camel look I added some matching booties and accessorized with an off-white Tory Burch handbag. The booties and bag really help tie this look together. This is a perfect outfit for running some weekend errands or grabbing a quick coffee with a friend.

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Faux Leather Crocodile Skirt

Faux leather is back again this Fall and although this may seem more of an edgier trend you can sport it in neutral colours. I found this midi skirt online at Chicwish. I’m not normally a fan of faux leather or crocodile print but I did like the colour and shape of this skirt. The crocodile detailing is subtle and the taupe colour really helps  soften the look of the faux leather. I styled this skirt by pairing it with an off-white turtleneck and some brown pumps. I added an off-white handbag. I wore this look to work as the skirt definitely lends itself to workwear.

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Dusty Pink Coat

Pink isn’t typically a colour we see in Fall coats but this one sure makes an impression. If you haven’t guessed already, pink IS my favourite colour. I love the gold button details on this coat and the removable faux fur collar. Throwing this on top of any outfit would definitely elevate your look. This would also work as a Spring coat.

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What colours do you prefer wearing in the Fall?

Staycation at the Frontenac Club

Have you joined the Club? I recently discovered a hidden gem just an hour and a half away from Ottawa. The Frontenac Club located in Kingston, Ontario is a beautifully restored and renovated boutique hotel. Once home to the Bank of Montreal in the 1840s the building itself boasts a rich history and stately architecture.

Since its origins as a Bank the Frontenac Club evolved to become a well known B & B in Kingston and although it was built in the 1800s the building has only had four owners in its 175 year history. The Club went through a massive two year renovation beginning in 2018. This Summer the next chapter of the Frontenac Club began as it  reopened to the public, presented as a chic and sophisticated boutique hotel.

Sashien and I were invited to stay at the Club and we were so thrilled to visit this Kingston stalwart.

The Hotel – First Impressions

We arrived at the hotel on Friday evening and as soon as we turned on to King Street we couldn’t help but notice the majestic building that is the Frontenac Club. The grey limestone facade which is updated with modern and vintage elements coupled with accents of greenery around the edges make this building stand out from the B&Bs and period houses down the street.

We loved how convenient the parking lot and back entrance to the hotel were. Located at the rear of the hotel is a beautiful courtyard with outdoor seating and a water feature. This would be a great place to have a coffee in the morning.

When we entered the hotel we were impressed by the modern touches such as the lighting, decor and overall ambiance of the place. The Frontenac Club makes quite the first impression.

The Rooms

The Club boasts 20 guest rooms all of which have their own character and unique features. We stayed in the 1000 islands suite which was in the Cartwright Wing of the hotel. This was on the upper level of the building. This room has views of the 1000 islands  and lake Ontario from the windows along with exposed limestone walls. The room was very spacious and had a large sitting area complete with a gas fireplace. One touch I found particularly special was the fact that the room came with a full bar complete with bar tools and glasses. You could definitely make yourself at home, mix yourself a drink  and enjoy it by the fireplace in this room.

The Bathroom was spacious and modern with almost a European feel to it, complete with luxury bath products by Gilchrist & Soames of London

Some other notable spaces in the hotel are the Ondaatje room, named after Sri Lankan born author Michael Ondaatje which features a separate writing room with a bar. The Locomotive Suite which is the largest suite in the hotel is home to the largest bathroom in the hotel along with a generous sitting area and views of downtown Kingston. Another interesting space is the Backstage room that features a turn table and records from The Tragically Hip. All rooms at the hotel are modern, luxurious and give you major big city vibes.

The Frontenac Club is a pet friendly hotel with all pet rooms located on the first floor of the building. The staff love animals and your pet will be treated like royalty; with a special welcome, treats, a door sign that says Dog on Vacation and a bed reserved specially for The Dog. I would definitely bring my Yorkie Chloe on a visit to the Club I’m sure she’d love all the attention.

The hotel also has all COVID-19 precautions in place. Masks are required in all common areas such as hallways and stairwells. Amenities such as towels and glasses, and food orders are delivered to your door. Staff do not enter the room for room service however you can request any replenishments you need. We felt really safe and well taken care of at the Frontenac Club and had no concerns regarding safety measures.

The Food

The Bank Gastrobar is the newest space to open at the Club. This chic lounge makes you feel like you’re in New York City! The decor and ambiance at The Bank are the epitome of modern elegance combined with old world grandeur.

The hotel also serves its breakfast at The Bank daily from 8 am-10 am. Our first morning at the hotel we were served Eggs Frontenac probably the fanciest hotel breakfast I’ve had in Canada. The Club always offers a great starter with their breakfasts as well; on our second morning we were treated to poached pairs in syrup topped with greek yoghurt, what a delicious start to a meal.

In the evenings The Bank offers a great selection of cocktails and a host of  fine dining dinner options. The cocktail menu is quite sophisticated and divided in to two parts; Club Classics, a selection of signature cocktails and The Vault Series, a cocktails curated to The Club’s ever-evolving list of unique whiskeys & gins to build their twist on the classics.

Our first evening at the hotel both Sashien and I ordered from the Club Classics menu, I was feeling quite adventurous so I ordered a drink called Something Sexy, the ingredients weren’t listed on the menu so I let the bartender surprise me. I certainly wasn’t disappointed as this drink was lovely and came topped with dried rose petals. Sashien ordered The Boulevard Split which was a heavier drink, definitely something I’d call a gentleman’s drink.

The Bank also features a private dining space called The Vault which actually was one of the vaults used when the building was home to the Bank of Montreal. This intimate dining space is perfect for a smaller group event such as a wine tasting or even a private date night. We got to dine in the vault for our Saturday night dinner and the Chef certainly delivered. The food was in a word amazing! I ordered the Confit Pork Ribs and Sashien had the Pan Seared Beef  Tenderloin. Both dishes were cooked to perfection! We also ordered some drinks with dinner. The bartender listened to our preferences and created some great cocktails for us. My favourite cocktail is the Kir Royale so he created a drink for me with pomegranate liquor dubbed the Pom Royale. Sashien’s drink of choice is an Old Fashioned and he got to customize his drink with his choice of whiskey, the bartender also added in some Charcoal bitters for an added touch to the drink. Speaking of whiskey the Vault also boasts a grand whiskey cabinet which is both a design feature and a restaurant element.

The Verdict

The Frontenac Club features contemporary style mixed with old world elegance. One of the newer features of the hotel is a rooftop patio featuring water views and a great city scape. We loved sitting outside and enjoying some fresh air. You can also bring a glass of wine upstairs and enjoy the sunset as guests are encouraged to relax in this great outdoor space.

We absolutely loved our stay at this boutique hotel and can’t wait to visit again. I would highly recommend The Frontenac Club to anyone who enjoys the finer things in life in a warm and welcoming setting. Besides the beautiful architecture, modern style and renovations, what makes the Frontenac Club a true gem is the staff and the service they provide. The attention to detail and the care they extend to all guests is unparalleled; arguably the best service I’ve received at a hotel in Canada. I cannot say enough good things about the Frontenac Club but don’t just take my word for it, check it out for yourself! Room reservations can be made through their website and if you’re in Kingston just for the day you can also book a tour of the hotel and stop in for a quick drink at The Bank.

A big thank you to Sean and the team at the Frontenac Club for this unforgettable gifted experience.

 

 

All In Good Taste: Buyers+Cellars Tasting Room

Have you been to the newest wine spot in town? I’m talking about Buyers+Cellars tasting room in Ottawa. If you’re looking for a luxurious wine tasting experience without the pretentious attitude that usually accompanies such places, then this is the spot for you!

Founded in 2018, Buyers+Cellars is Ontario’s newest boutique wine company. Their business IS wine,  from curation, sales, tasting and education. Buyers + Cellars opened their Tasting Room in August and it’s just what Ottawa needed. The Tasting Room located at 327 Somerset St. West offers a curated 90 minute tasting experience to explore the uncorked potential of the wine world. The Tasting Room is also a local bottle shop for customers to come and purchase a few bottles to take home. Sash and I had the pleasure of being invited to experience a curated wine tasting experience and we absolutely loved it.

The Ambiance

As you walk in to the Tasting Room the first thing you notice is the decor. The entire space is newly renovated and gives off some major big city vibes. We felt like we were in New York City thanks to the lighting and decor. The space was designed by West of Main Design who did a phenomenal job with every aspect of the decor. The showstopper in the Tasting Room has got to be their wine wall. It’s absolutely exquisite and a great showpiece for their extensive collection of bottles from around the world. Another interesting feature is the Enomatic machine which staff use to serve you a perfectly measured sample of wine. The machine sits at the back of the bar and is just as much a design element as it is a piece of equipment. They also have all the Covid-19 safety protocols in place with hand sanitizer on hand and social distancing measures in place.

Now that we’ve talked about how fabulous the space looks, let’s get in to the wines! Our tasting experience was  guided by expert Sommelier and Tasting Room manager Curtis who was there to provide us with all the details about what we were drinking. We started off with white wines and then progressed to the heavier red wines in a beautifully curated journey.

The Whites

Our first white wine was Rosehall Run Ceremony Blanc de Blanc Brut NV(Non Vintage). This estate grown Chardonnay is a delicate and toasty sparkling wine from Prince Edward County, Ontario. It has a distinctive minerally finish which bares a dry yet fruity undertone of citrus.  This wine is perfect for a celebration.

We then moved away from Ontario and on to Europe with RAR Vin Singulars Bianco, Garnacha Blanc from the sought after Priorat region in Spain. This wine was full bodied with hints of apricot and floral notes.

Next we moved over to Germany with Weingut Huls Alte Reben Riesling Feinherb from Mosel. The grapes used for this wine are planted on steep slopes on the Mosel River which is rich in mineral clay soil. I love Riesling and this wine didn’t disappoint with intense aromatics of grapefruit, passion fruit and yellow plum.

After this we switched continents again and were off to Argentina with Alandes Paradoux White NV (Sauvingon Blanc and Semillon), a rare Non Vintage still wine from the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina. This wine was by winemaker Karim Mussi who immigrated from Lebanon to make bordeaux style wines in Argentina. This was the last of our white wines.

I should also mention that we also got to see photos of the vineyards for each wine, which were projected on two tv screens behind the bar. It really felt like we were right there in each vineyard.

The Reds

We started off our red wine journey with Salcheto Rosso 2019 (Sangiovese) from  Tuscany, Italy. This wine is an Italian table wine so it’s a perfect everyday wine. It was light with a refreshing acidity which makes it a versatile wine to pair with food or drink by itself.  Curtis informed us that Salcheto  values biodiversity and has a zero carbon foot print, being off the grid in Tuscany.

We stayed in Salcheto for our next wine Salcheto Nobile 2016 (Sangiovese). This is the exact same wine as the Rosso but it was aged in oak for two years. Our Sommelier wanted us to see the differences between the wines and the flavours that resulted from the aging process. This wine had more tannins and a much bolder flavour. Between the two I preferred the Nobile and so did Sash.

Next we moved on to the Middle East with Jordan Classic Barbera 2018. This was truly a treat since this is the first time we have wines from Jordan in Canada. Prior to this I wasn’t aware that Jordan was a winemaking country. The winery Marfaq Plateau is located next to a volcano and we even got to hold one of the volcanic rocks from the region. This wine had a fruity flavour and I really enjoyed it as did Sash.

We came closer to home with the next wine Barnard Griffin Syrah from Washington State. This was a really enjoyable wine with flavours of dark cherry (I love wines with flavours of red fruit). The wine also had some bite to it with some acidity and spice.

The grand finale of our wine tasting experience was another Karim Mussi creation from Argentina, the Alandes Malbec. This was introduced to us as a big finish wine and is an example of an extreme elevation wine with grapes frown over 1000 meters above sea level. This was a big bold wine with a lot of character and we really enjoyed it. If you’re looking to impress someone special then this is the one I’d recommend 😉

The Food

Just to be clear we did have lots of food with all the wine 🙂 We were treated to a beautifully created charcuterie board by the resident chef at the Tasting Room. Our board had a great selection of locally sourced meats and cheeses finished off with some edible flowers. We also have a lovely selection of spreads and jellies to go along with our board and the bread.

The Verdict

Well what can I say if you haven’t been to The Tasting room yet then you’re surely missing out on a truly unique wine tasting experience. This is a hidden gem in Ottawa and I highly recommend trying it out. You can book a curated tasting through their website or Instagram page. We loved the decor, the design and the entire experience; this was something we will always remember. The Tasting Room is a great spot for a Fall date or a get together with a few close friends. I would highly recommend adding it to your list of place to visit in Ottawa. Keep in mind you can always stop by the Tasting Room to purchase wine as well. If you’re looking for a unique selection of wines from around the world that you won’t typically find at the LCBO then this is the spot for you.

Thank you to Buyers+Cellars and Curtis for this amazing wine tasting experience.

 

 

 

Italian Inspired Cuisine at Kara Mia

I love Italian cuisine so when I was thrilled to check out Kara Mia Restaurant which opened its Ottawa location earlier this year. This restaurant is definitely a hidden treasure located in Ottawa’s east end.

First Impressions

I was surprised I hadn’t noticed this place before. As you walk in the ambiance is amazing. Sashien and I were so pleased with the decor and set up of the restaurant. I actually forgot I was even in Ottawa, Kara Mia definitely gave me major Toronto vibes; which is not surprising since they also have a location in Markham. You could even feel like you’re in New York City when you step in to Kara Mia. The lighting, photos on the wall and set up definitely give the place an upscale big city feel.

The staff were also so warm and welcoming and in full compliance of City guidelines concerning COVID-19 protocols.

The Drinks

Kara Mia is open for lunch and dinner and has a large selection of dishes on their menu. We started off with some cocktails, keep in mind this is a Halal restaurant so none of the cocktails actually contain alcohol.  They were delicious none the less and I really didn’t miss having a glass of wine with my dinner. Sashien and I both tried the Kara Mia Cocktail which contained mango juice, guava juice and Sprite. I’d definitely try making this at home! Kara Mia also offers a Pina Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri and Peach Bellini as part of their non-alcoholic cocktail offering. You can also choose from some exotic juices on their beverages menu.

The Food

Saffron Poutine

Breaded Shrimp

We started off with some appetizers and our server Ayaan recommended we try the Saffron Poutine which consists of fries covered in Kara Mia’s signature Saffron sauce and baked with mozzarella. It was a great twist on a regular poutine. We also tried the Breaded Shrimp which was amazing!

Penne Picante Rosé

Penne Salciccia

For our mains we had to go with pasta because Kara Mia is after all an Italian inspired restaurant. My favourite pasta is Penne so I went with the Penne Picante Rosé. This dish contains diced chicken breast, onions, bell peppers and penne pasta in a spicy rosé sauce. The flavours in this dish were delicious and I loved rosé sauce. Sashien ordered the Penne Salciccia which consists of spicy Italian sausage sautéed with bell peppers, onions, cayenne peppers, finished in a spicy rosé sauce. The flavours in this dish were also amazing and the sausage was well seasoned and cured. We really enjoyed our pasta.

In addition to Pasta, Kara Mia also offers a selection of Burgers, Chicken and Steak dishes. There’s also a Kids Menu which adds to the family friendly feel of this restaurant.

The pasta dishes were so filling and the portions were generous so we ended up taking some home as well. We were so full we didn’t try dessert but I’m sure it would have been delicious.

The Verdict

Kara Mia is a family restaurant with an upscale feel, serving  flavourful food and offering great value for money. The ambiance is amazing and the prices are very reasonable. There is also ample parking in the plaza nearby. I would recommend adding Kara Mia to your list of Ottawa dining go-to’s. The restaurant also offers takeout via Uber Eats and Door Dash. Another service they offer is Catering for events, for details visit their website.

Thank you Kara Mia for this gifted dinner experience we really enjoyed it!

The Weekend Fashionista Facial by MC Laser & Hair

Have you had a facial lately? I am so excited to announce that I’ve collaborated with my favourite medical aesthetician Cherine from MC Laser and Hair. I met Cherine about 3 years ago when I went in to get my eyebrows threaded. She subsequently introduced me to iS Clinical skincare products and I’ve been using them ever since. I wrote about my experience in a previous blog post as well.

Cherine and I wanted to create a relaxing and fun experience so we created a facial that is both rejuvenating and luxurious.

The Weekend Fashionista Facial is a customized combination of rejuvenating and hydrating iS Clinical treatment followed by the luxurious Casmara 24 Karat Gold Mask for an added revitalizing, firming and hydrating effect. I mean who wouldn’t want to have their face dipped in 24K gold right? Is there anything more luxurious or decadent? This facial will leave your skin glowing, plumped and extremely energized.

This 8 step facial is 90 minute long and is a great way to relax and recharge.

The products used in this facial are:

1- iS Clinical Cleansing complex

Skin is double cleansed to insure make up removal the first round and proper skin cleansing with second cleanse. I went in to my facial with a full face of makeup and the cleansing complex takes it right off. I use this product as part of my morning and nighttime skincare routines.

2- iS Clinical Warming Honey Cleanser

This rich, luxurious treatment cleanser with the purest raw honey, royal jelly, and propolis imparts an extraordinary sensory experience, while effectively cleansing and gently exfoliating the skin. It leaves the skin ultra-hydrated and moisturized.  The Warming Honey Cleanser is massaged on the skin for 10 minutes for a deeper cleanse, gentle exfoliation and added hydration. I really enjoyed this step and it’s very relaxing and great for your skin at the same time.

3- iS Clinical Rejuvenating Masque

This antioxidant rich, refreshing, and soothing masque is extremely hydrating and revitalizing. I found this step really refreshing and cooling.

4- iS Clinical Prohealth Serum Advanced+

15% L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) combined with a powerful blend of superior Olive Leaf extract and pure Vitamins A and E. This product provides powerful antioxidant protection and helps improve the appearance of blemish-prone skin. It’s also great with reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

5- iS Clinical Hydracool

Hydracool serum is formulated to rejuvenate, hydrate, and visibly soothe the skin. This refreshing, powerful, penetrating serum combines superior antioxidants with essential botanicals and bio-nutrients. This product is designed for all skin types and gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin. I love the feeling of hydracool on my skin it provides an instant cooling and soothing sensation.

6- iS Clinical Moisturizing Complex

This product provides an antioxidant-rich protective barrier. It penetrates the skin and provides surface hydration while the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

7- Casmara 24 Karat Gold Mask

This is my favourite part of the entire facial. You literally have 24K gold dust mixed in to a mask and placed on your face. This mask is amazing and reduces the temperature of the skin by 6 degrees celsius. The gold mask is the most relaxing part of the facial as you get to relax for 20 mins while the mask does its magic.

8- iS Clinical Eclipse SPF 50

Sunscreen is so important, especially after a facial. You should always protect your skin against the sun irrespective of whether it’s Summer or Winter.

I really enjoyed my experience with Cherine and I’m so excited to share it with all my followers in Ottawa. The Weekend Fashionista facial is now available at MC Laser and Hair. Booking can be done online or on Instagram.

Three Ways to Wear Leopard Print this Fall

It’s officially September and I can’t wait to write about the hottest trend for Fall 2020. You guessed it, it’s leopard print. I’ve been totally obsessed with leopard print lately. I never cared much for the print in previous years but this year there’s so many interesting ways to wear it I’m all in on this trend.

Here are some of my favourite ways to wear leopard print this Fall.

Look 1 – Comfy and casual tee

I found this leopard print t-shirt on amazon. It’s one of my favourite Fall pieces as it’s so versatile. Since we still have a few warm days left I paired it with a some jean shorts and my go-to Tory Burch flip flops. I accessorized with a hat for more of a Fall touch. You can also wear this tee with distressed blue jeans or black leggings and even throw a cardigan over it as the weather gets cooler.

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Look 2 – Weekend maxi skirt

I came across this skirt while shopping at Suzy Shier. I was a little apprehensive at first but I’m so happy I decided to pick it up. It’s so comfortable and easy to wear for a relaxed weekend look. I have literally worn this outfit for the past two Saturdays. I paired the skirt with a simple white tank top and a jean jacket. To accessorize I added my fave Tory Burch purse and flip flops. You can also dress this skirt up by pairing it with a black long sleeved bodysuit or turtleneck and some booties.

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Look 3 – Nighttime Glam

This is definitely my favourite leopard print look! I picked up this skort at Zara, I initially thought it was a skirt but was thrilled to find out it came with shorts 🙂 This is definitely one of the edgiest looks I’ve worn. I paired it with a pleather crop top which I also found at Zara and a blazer with pleather detailing that I had in my closet. This is a great look for a night out. For cooler weather I would pair the skort with some sheer pantyhose and pumps. You can also switch out the crop top for a black bodysuit or turtleneck.

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Which of these looks is your favourite?

My Favourite Fall Blazer

Can you believe it’s almost September? I’m not thrilled that Summer is coming to an end but I do love Fall fashion. I recently shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary sale and stocked up on some Summer pieces. Living in Canada we unfortunately don’t have access to all the Nordstrom sale items before they sell out but I was able to find some similar pieces from Canadian retailers.Today I’m sharing one of my favourite Fall transition pieces.

I love this checked blazer I picked up at Dynamite. It’s a versatile piece that can be dressed up or down. There was a similar blazer that was part of the Nsale as well. I paired the blazer with a white lace trim tank top and high waisted jeans which are also from Dynamite.

You can also pair this blazer with a black tank top, or a white or black mock neck top. For cooler weather I would pair it with a turtleneck. I like that this blazer can be a casual or work wear look depending on how you style it. I was going for more of a casual look.

To accessorize I picked up this triple chain medallion necklace at Dynamite. It’s very similar to the popular Styled Collection medallion necklace but at a lower price point. I picked up these Steve Madden booties at the Nsale and they paired perfectly with the entire outfit. These particular booties run a bit small so I went up a half a size to a 7 in them.

I finished off this outfit with my favourite anniversary sale find which a purse from Tory Burch. You can wear it as a cross body or carry it as a clutch and the colours are just perfect for Fall.

Stay tuned for more of my Fall fashion finds!

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Picnic in the Park Date Idea

Can you believe it’s August already? Well the good thing is Summer is not over yet! Every Summer Sashien and I plan to go on a picnic. I’ve always loved picnics, I went on my first picnic when I was four years old. My grandmother took me on one since I didn’t know what a picnic was and hadn’t been on one yet. Since then picnics have always held fond memories for me.

Picking a Venue

I’d been looking in to quarantine safe date ideas this year and a picnic seemed like a great fit since we would be outdoors but still away from others. For our picnic date we decided to do some research on parks in the city and came across Strathcona Park. I’d never been to it before and the pictures of the fountain online piqued my interest. Picnics are a great way to enjoy nature whether you’re out at a park or in your own backyard.

The Food

As you all know I’m quite active on Instagram so I had seen the page Ottawa Picnics and loved their charcuterie to go concept. I immediately decided to place an order for the earliest pickup date which was July 18. I was so pleased with our picnic box.

Here’s what was in the box: Pepper-encrusted Italian wine salami, hot Genoa salami, Manchego cheese, Double-smoked, aged cheddar, “apple” goat cheese, “everything bagel” goat cheese, baked crostini, beetroot crackers, chive pita crackers, garlic and Parmesan twists, pickled radishes, red onion and jalapeños, fire and ice wine jelly, Canadian honey, gherkins, Kalamata olives, dried figs, local green beans, garden rosemary, grapes. It truly was a treat and we had some leftovers as well.

We decided to spruce up our picnic and brought along a bottle of our favourite sparkling rose Bulles de Nuit. We picked this up in Gatineau for under $10. It’s sweet and light with a hint of strawberry. Perfect for a summer picnic.

The Ambiance

 

I wanted to have a formal picnic setting so in addition to a picnic blanket I brought along a pink striped outdoor tablecloth and some plastic plates and cutlery. I found the plates and table cloth at my local Dollarama and they were so affordable. As products at Dollarama vary I’ve linked some similar plates and table decor at the end of this post.

 

We really wanted to enjoy our time outdoors and what better way to add to the ambiance than with some music. I had forgotten to bring my bluetooth speaker with me so we used our phones to play some relaxing jazz music that really helped set the mood but you can choose whichever music you like. I’d also recommend bringing a portable fan if you’re going on a particularly hot day. I’ve link some options for speakers and fans below as well.

We really enjoyed our picnic in the park, special thanks to Ottawa Picnics for the scrumptious spread.

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Dine like a Maharaja at the East India Company

The East India Company (EIC) is my favourite Indian restaurant in Ottawa. I have been frequenting their Somerset location (they also have a location in Bells Corners) for over 10 years. I have dined at this restaurant multiple times but it wasn’t until I was invited to try out their new Thali menu that I truly gained an appreciation for everything it has to offer.

The History

The East India Company restaurants were founded by Kamal and Sudha Mehra. The Mehras migrated to Canada in the 1970’s and opened their first restaurant Mehra’s Delicatessen in Wippineg, Manitoba. They then went on to open India Gardens, Winnipeg’s first North Indian restaurant. The East India Company restaurants came about when the Mehras decided to expand their business in 1994 and opened another restaurant in Winnipeg. Today the East India Company has two locations in Ottawa and one location in Winnipeg. The restaurants are now run by Kamal and Sudha’s children; Sachit, Anish, Divya and Nitin.

The Ambiance

The Mehras pride themselves on filling their restaurants with carefully curated pieces of art and antiques from India.  As you walk in to Somerset location you can’t help but notice the large mandap at the front of the restaurant. A mandap is a covered four pillared structure typically used for Hindu and Jain weddings. This particular mandap is 350 years old and was originally placed at a temple in India. Following the mandap you come across a Palki or palanquin, which is the oldest piece in the restaurant. The palanquin was used to transport brides on their wedding day and is around 400 years old. As you move towards the back of the restaurant you will find marble pieces including a marble window frame which is around 200 years old. Carved marble blocks with designs composed of semi-precious stones such as sapphires, emeralds and rubies also adorn the bar at the back of the restaurant. You really feel like you are in a museum as you dine at this location.

What restaurant isn’t complete without music right? Well you can listen to some of your favourite Bollywood tunes while you enjoy a meal at the East India Company.

The Food

Now the part that everyone’s been waiting for, the food! The food at EIC has always been fantastic, whether you’re at the buffet or dining a la carte you are guaranteed to leave this place feeling like a king. EIC is famous for their lunch and dinner buffets and a reservation is highly recommended. In order to keep up with the changing rules and restrictions on indoor dining during the COVID19 pandemic EIC now offers you the best of both worlds with their Thali menu.

The Thali

A thali is a meal that consists of multiple dishes in small portions, it is typically served on a round platter called a Thali. EIC offers two choices of Thali. The New Delhi Thali which offers you the choice four entrees and the Mumbai Thali which offers you a choice of 3 entrees. Both thalis come with basmati rice, papadum, salad, a samosa, and gulab jamun for dessert.

I chose the Mumbai Thali with Shrimp Curry, Chili Chicken and Navratan for my entrees. You can view the full Thali menu below which features some of the buffet favourites as entree choices:

In addition to their food the East India Company also offers a selection of wine, beer and their signature cocktails. I tried Mehra’s Special which is a tropical, fruity rum based cocktail. It was really refreshing and not overly strong. Sashien had the Kala Ice which is a stronger drink incorporating Irish whiskey, Black label and Kahlua. The cocktail menu also features liquor from local suppliers such as Dillon’s Gin and Top Shelf Vodka.

The Verdict

Both Sashien and I really enjoyed our dinner at the East India Company. I highly recommend checking out the new Thali menu. Don’t be fooled by the small portions of curries the thalis are very filling, in fact we ended up taking some food home with us. I’ve always enjoyed the food at the East India Company and this menu is no exception. If indoor dining isn’t your thing just yet you can always sit out on their patio where tables are placed a generous distance apart. It should also be noted that all COVID-19 safety measures are strictly followed at the restaurants. All staff wear masks and hand sanitizer is placed on each table. Physical distancing is also in place. You can also order a la carte at the restaurants or place a takeout order.  If you live in Ottawa and haven’t dined at the East India Company I suggest adding it to your list of must do’s in the city.

 

 

 

Oh My Honey Buns

Who doesn’t love something sweet? Well Ottawa friends, if you’re ready to try a sweet treat this Summer check out Oh My Honey Sweet Honeycomb Buns. This Ottawa based business launched just a month ago and has already become a favourite among locals.

Oh My Honey Co bakes and delivers sweet honeycomb buns to residents in the Ottawa/Aylmer area. The buns are so fresh and come in a variety of fillings. You can choose from Nutella, Cream Cheese, half/half or no filling based on your personal preference. I wanted to try the best of both worlds so I opted for half/half. My box came with 6 buns, 3 Nutella and 3 cream cheese.I loved both the cream cheese and Nutella fillings but if I had to choose a favourite it would definitely be the Nutella. Each box of buns also comes with  home made honey syrup which is perfect for dipping.

Honeycomb buns are a traditional East African and Middle Eastern sweet dish typically seen at events or special occasions. They are also eaten as a sweet treat at Breakfast. I had mine for breakfast and the buns pair beautifully with tea or coffee. I would even recommend including them as part of a high tea service.

If you’d like to try these sweet buns for yourself order via DM on their instagram page @ohmyhoneyco The buns cost $20 for a dozen and payment can be done via paypal or e-transfer. The owner Zein is as sweet as the buns she bakes so corresponding with them is a delight 🙂 You can also check the instagram page for order and delivery dates.

 

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