Spend A Weekend With Me In Toronto!

Toronto, Canada

Hey everyone!

As some of you may already know, I spent this weekend travelling back to Toronto to spend with my family. While it was only a short trip, we still managed to pack a lot into the two and a half days I spent there. When I arrived, it seemed winter was already in full swing — not only was the weather super dry and chilly, there was already snow on the ground (which isn’t very common for Toronto Novembers). However, I still managed to make the best of the situation, with a lot of food-based restaurants and activities I have to share — for those of you looking for somewhere to plan your next weekend getaway, living in Toronto and looking for new suggestions — or just those of you curious about how my weekend went!

Meet Dmitry!

My baby, Dmitry

First of all, and most importantly — I wanted to introduce you all to my cat, Dmitry! He’s a one-year old Siberian Forest Cat, and he’s my little baby. Admittedly, I do spend a lot (if not most) of my trips home hanging out with Dmitry rather than exploring the city. (Can you blame me though? Look at that face!).

As a little introduction, Dmitry is very sweet and loving, but also a little high strung — very fond of our family and quite weary of strangers. He loves treats, whipped cream, and surprisingly enough — anything “cheese” flavoured (but not cheese itself). He’s an indoor cat, but he loves to sit on the window sill and watch squirrels. And — most importantly — he loves belly rubs.

But without further ado — lets get into the rest of the weekend!

Dinner At Montecito

Lobster Spaghetti at Montecito

This restaurant was absolutely fantastic. From start to finish — the atmosphere, the drinks, the food — just overall, it was a great experience. I had some lobster pasta that was literally just a delight — and the cocktails (while strong) were both inventive and delicious. If you need a downtown restaurant in Toronto to try out — be sure to add this place to the list.

Girl From the North Country

Set of Girl From The North Country

My mom and I spent Friday night going to see the production Girl From The North Country. It’s been an awfully long while since I’ve been to the theatre, but I used to go all the time. The storyline and production of this play was heartbreakingly beautiful — however, the best part by far was the music numbers and simply INCREDIBLE vocal talent of all the actors. The play is based on the music of Bob Dylan, so all the music was already incredible — but the singing was just next level. If you’re in Toronto and have the chance to see this production, give it a shot — I know theatre may not be your first thought on how to spend a Friday night out, but give it a shot (you won’t regret it, I promise).

Dim Sum at The Rol-San

The Rol-San, Chinatown, Toronto

Okay, if you’re ever in Toronto, the Rol-San is a must-eat. Famous for its All-Day Dim Sum and strange but efficient plastic tablecloths, you’ll seldom see the Rol-San without a line — but trust me, it’s worth the wait. This place has some of, if not THE, best Dim Sum in the entire city. If you go, be sure to get the Deep Fried Shrimp Wontons and the Shiu Mai — SO good.

Brunch At The House On Parliament

Brunch at The House

Okay, I won’t lie, I’m writing all this up for you on the plane home — and this meal is really all I can think about. All the food was absolutely next level — I’d never been here before, but I already can’t wait to go back on my next trip home. The deep-fried cheese curds were like little bites of heaven, and the soup and breakfast poutine I ordered was the most elaborate and incredible meals I’ve ever had. Seriously — you really can’t go wrong with potatoes, poached eggs, melted cheese, double smoked bacon and Hollandaise sauce, but I swear it tastes even better than you’re imagining. Absolutely 10/10, if you need a brunch place to check out in Toronto this is it. Added bonus: the Caesars were pretty fantastic too.

Shopping on Bloor Street

My Lil Sephora Haul

Last but not least, we snuck in a little last-minute shopping before heading to the airport. Shopping on Bloor Street is just a wonderful, uber-classy experience, even if you’re just hitting Sephora like always (we get it, I’m predictable). However, I did treat myself to my first ever Pat Mcgrath Labs eyeshadow palette — which I am SO excited to test out and report back with ALL the results.

And that’s it for my little weekend getaway! Now it’s back to real life for me, unfortunately. I hope you guys enjoyed reading, and if you’re from Toronto or travelling there soon — hopefully you’ve found some good recommendations from this post! If any of you guys are ever heading to Toronto for a visit, feel free to message me for any kinds of suggestions, I’d be more than happy to help.

In the mean time, I hope you’re all having a great week and you’re Novembers have been off to a great start. I have some VERY exciting holiday-themed posts coming up in the next couple weeks for you guys, so stay tuned for that! And in the meantime, have a fantastic week!

Xo,

Meredith

Bonus Pics!!!

Places To Eat: Toronto Edition!

Toronto, Ontario

Hey y’all!

This past week I’ve been back in my hometown — Toronto, Ontario! Being the largest city in Canada, Toronto is somewhat of a cultural hub and has a HUGE foodie culture. So I figured I’d share some of the places I hit up this week that have been my favourites to visit whenever I go home!

For When You’re Craving Chinese

If you’re looking for a bit of an upscale meal, Kwan is a great place to check out. Not only is it’s Chinese food to DIE for, but it has a lovely, cozy atmosphere and a great vibe overall. If you go, don’t miss out on the truffle fried rice, sesame chicken or chilli garlic shrimp — I literally order these every time I go and they’re outstanding every time.

For When You’re In The Mood For Sweets
Booyah Ice Cream

Booyah Ice cream is straight up one of my favourite places to go for cool treats in the summer. Not only do they have their own store-made ice cream, they also offer Kawartha Dairy and soft serve! Their homemade flavours are to DIE for, just the other day I got these two scoops of Earl Gray and Honey Lavander and I was in love. On top of all that, you have the option to get it in an ice cream sandwich (featuring homemade cookies) or even ice cream tacos! This place really is one of my favourites to visit in the hot Toronto summers.

For When You’re Feeling Fancy

Buca Yorkville

If you’re feeling up for something bougie and love Italian food as much as I do, Buca is a must-try. It’s a little on the pricier side, but oh man is it ever worth it. Everything here is amazing, from the appetizers to the desserts (their pine panna cotta is unreal). On top of that, the environment is amazing and the service was next level. 100% recommend for a classy night out.

For When You’re Craving Mexican
La Playa Hacienda

This place seriously has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. For years, it’s been a go-to every time I go home–I’ve been sure to introduce everyone I know and they all fell in love. The tacos are outstanding, the drinks are incredible, and if you go be sure to try the Elote–it’s a personal favourite of mine. On top of all that, the vibe here is so cool, there really isn’t anything not to love.

For When You Need Your Bubble Tea Fix
Labothéry

There’s so many amazing places to get bubble tea in Toronto, but this one is just SO fun. You get to choose for yourself from so many flavours (complete with the ability to mix and match) plus so many tapioca and jelly add-ins that are so different from other places I’ve been to. This stuff was so amazing, seriously, even if it’s not nearby it’s worth the trek.

And that’s it for this time! Stay tuned for more Toronto hot spots when I go visit again this fall. I hope you enjoyed this blog, and if you have any suggestions for where to hit up on my next trip home I’d love to hear it!

Love you all,

Meredith

Things To Do (Part Two!): Bangkok Edition!

Ross Kitchen, Bangkok

Hey y’all!

So, sadly, my time in South East Asia is coming to an end, making this the last entry in my South East Asia travel series. I hope you guys have all enjoyed reading the series as I’ve enjoyed writing it! I really hope that I’ve inspired some of you to go on adventures of your own, or hopefully take recommendations from my travels if you ever visit South East Asia in the future.

So, to end off our trip we returned to Bangkok for the last two days before our flight home. This time was a lot more eventful than the first time, since we’ve now adjusted to the time zone, weather and food, giving us waaaay more time to actually explore. That being said, we only had two days and were looking more to relax than explore for the remainder of our stay, so this entry is going to focus more on that since we didn’t see too much in terms of historical, cultural and religious attractions in Bangkok. (But hey, I guess that just gives us another reason to go back!)

So, without further ado, here’s my final travel journal (for now), an overview of my favourite things to do in Bangkok!

Go To Khao San Road!
Khao San Road, Bangkok

In terms of places to go out in Bangkok, Khao San Road is certainly one of the most popular. As a pedestrian only street, the road is full of people going out, having buckets, and blasting music! This place was an absolute blast and honestly none of my favourite nights out this whole trip. If you’re looking for a night out of the town, this place is a must-see.

Hit Up A Rooftop Bar!
Barracuda Rooftop Bar, Bangkok

Rooftop bars are officially my favourite thing. Especially in big cities like Bangkok and Hanoi, when you get an overlook of the whole city from above. Not only were the drink at this bar — named Barracuda — next level, but the views honestly just made the whole experience a 10/10. Rooftop bars are ALWAYS a good idea, but if you’re ever travelling to a big city, they’re just that much better.

Go Shopping!
Purchases From Bangkok

Okay, seriously, the shopping in Bangkok was insane. The mall we hit up had to be the biggest mall I’d ever witnessed in my whole life, and it’s far from being the only mall in Bangkok. Everywhere you look there’s opportunities to shop and get so many things that I, at least, probably would be hard pressed to find in Vancouver. I’ve heard all sorts of stories of people travelling to Bangkok JUST for the shopping, so if you ever find yourself in Bangkok, be sure not to miss out!

Get A Massage!
Massage Studio, Bangkok

If you’ve been to Thailand, you’ll know that everywhere you look there’s spas and massage spots. Even if you’ve never been, it’s fairly common knowledge that Thai massages are on a level of their own. Not only that, but no matter what your price range is, you’ll be able to find a place. For only 250 Baht (about $10.50 Canadian) I seriously had the best massage of my life. I’ve never had a Thai massage before, and it was so different from what I usually think of a massage as. There’s no oil (which was actually really nice for not feeling gross after), you’re fully clothed, and it’s certainly way more about stretching and pressure points than relaxing. I’ll admit it was a little borderline painful at moments, but MAN did I ever feel good after. I have chronic knots in my back due to back problems and stress, and I’ve seriously never had my back feeling that good in ages. It was amazing.

Go To Our Fave Restaurant, Ross Kitchen!
Ross Kitchen, Bangkok

For our last dinner abroad (sigh), Nylah and I decided to go to Ross Kitchen. We didn’t really know what to expect, but it was honestly one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The interesting catch — we didn’t really know what was in a lot of the food we were eating. Usually this would really bother me; I can be an adventurous eater but I’d like to know what it is that I’m eating. Honestly though, the food was so good we didn’t care. We didn’t even know the ingredients of our drinks, and they were some of the best I’ve ever had. If you’re in Bangkok and looking for a fancier night out, consider Ross Kitchen for sure. My dinner — Curried Kobe Beef Cheeks — was unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before. Seriously, I’m already dreaming of going back.

And, sadly, that wraps up my South East Asia travel series. This trip was some of the most exciting, crazy, and important weeks of my life and through all the ups and downs, it really was one of the best experiences of my life. I’m honestly not sure how to wrap up 5 weeks of this experience in a neat and tidy way — it’s far too overwhelming and impossible of a test to easily summarize the experiences I’ve had. All I can say is I know this trip will not be my last — now that I’ve really gotten a chance to go out and see the world on my own terms, I’ve just become that much more motivated to do it again. So the best I can say is stay tuned for the next trip, and let me know if you have any suggestions or were inspired by any of my posts! Honestly, nothing would make me happier than knowing I’ve inspired others to go out and see the world themselves, it really can be the most life-changing experience.

So, that’s all for now! Keep an eye out as I’ll be doing a summary of all my favourite places we visited for those looking for travel recommendations. But for now, it’s back to Vancouver life!

Thanks for reading!!! If you’re reading this now, just know I appreciate you 🙂

Love,

Meredith

Spend A Weekend With Me In Hoi An!

Friends Made In Hoi An!

Hey y’all!

Okay, so this entry is going to be a little different from the others. I honestly wasn’t all too sure how to go about writing this one, as this stop on our trip was VERY different from the others. While many of our other stops have either been predominantly focused on culture, food, exploring and hiking, this one was much more about socializing and making friends.

During our stay in Hoi An (which was really only about three days), we stayed in the Vietnam Backpackers hostel. It was almost like an all-inclusive style hostel, complete with bracelets to load money on, a pool, and a restaurant/bar. There was honestly little need to ever leave, which made it the perfect place to make friends. In our short time here, Nylah and I met and befriended people from England, Italy, France, Australia and even a whole bunch of people from Canada.

The hostel threw daily events meant to facilitate meeting other travellers, such as barbecues, beach parties and full-moon style glow parties. The Vietnam Backpacker hostel chain is known as being a bit more “party-focused” than most hostels, which certainly has its upsides and downsides. I’ve heard from other people on our trip some of the other locations can be a whole lot — they’re often pretty loud and busy, and can get a bit overwhelming with trying to balance sightseeing with the hostel culture in other cities. However, others said they were super fun and exactly what they were looking for.

I can certainly vouch for a lot of other hostels not really creating much of a social environment — many of the other places we’ve stayed at guests have stuck to themselves and we hadn’t met many other travellers. However, Hoi An is the perfect location to stay in a hostel with this kind of environment. It’s pretty small, so it’s easy to see the town as well as get to meet other young travellers from all over the world!

Plus, if you’re thinking of visiting Hoi An, there’s still plenty to do and see. Here’s a couple of the best places I saw during my stay!

Check Out The Local Restaurants!

Hoi An Serene Garden Restaurant

The town of Hoi An has plenty to offer in terms of food. Depending on where you stay, it might be a trek, but we’ve recently been introduced to Grab, the Uber of South East Asia, which made getting around super easy. In particular, our two personal favourites were Burger Craft and The Serene Garden. At Burger Craft, we all got the O Canada burgers as a joke about half our group being Canadian, but thank god we did because they were beyond fantastic. All of us collectively agreed it beat out any burger joint we had been to in our lives. This includes the Burgers Priest (if you’re from Toronto), Five Guys and even In-N-Out. Seriously.

The other restaurant, The Serene Garden, was a little more upscale but absolutely worth every penny. The lemongrass BBQ beef I had was to die for, and the cocktails were amazing. 10/10, all 6 of us who ate there said it was spectacular.

Head Into The Old Town!

Hoi An Old Town

The town of Hoi An is a mix between a smaller town vibe, like Ninh Binh, but also the hectic nature of Hanoi. It’s a perfect mix of culture and getting outside of the cities. I’d certainly recommend going at night since it was both so beautiful as well as a much more manageable temperature out, however. While you’re in town, there’s many outstanding shops to check out, as well as the rivers and lanterns, which were beautiful. Pro Tip: if you go at night you can even take a boat along the river to see the lanterns!

Hit Up The Beach (Or Kahunas!)

View From Kahunas Bar

Hoi An was the first real beachside stop we’ve had on our trip, but it was well worth the wait. The beach was so beautiful and vast, and the water was perfect for swimming in. (I wish I had photos for you guys but I got a little caught up in swimming while I was there and didn’t even consider it). Furthermore, if you want to stop in for drinks, our hostel had a pool and bar on the beach called Kahuna’s, which was a great place to go for chill vibes and drinks beachside.

That’s all for Hoi An! Next week we head off to Ho Chi Minh city (formerly known as Saigon). It’s our last stop it Vietnam before we head to Cambodia, so stay tuned!

Lots of love,

Meredith

Places To Eat: Hanoi Edition!

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hey Everyone!

So, anyone who knows me knows I LOVE Vietnamese food. Naturally, my time in Vietnam has like 90% revolved around food. Honestly, I’m pretty in love with everything about Hanoi (except for the humidity but so what else is new) but the food here is really amazing. So without further ado, here’s all my favourite places to eat!

When You’re Looking For Something Bougie

The Diamond Skybar

The Diamond Skybar is a great place for dinner with a view. The rooftop bar features a view over the city of Hanoi, and many excellent drink and food options. I felt so classy eating dinner here, and the view was beyond spectacular.

When You’re Looking For A Quick Bite

Bún Bò Nam Bộ Bách Phương

Next up: Bún Bò Nam Bộ Bách Phương! This Beef and Noodle place was honestly the most convenient meal of my life. It wasn’t my favourite but it was pretty damn good, plus it was so fast. The restaurant essentially only has one thing on the menu, so after you’ve ordered you get your food literally within a minute. Not even McDonalds has comparable speed. It was insane.

When You’re Looking For Breakfast, Lunch, And Dinner

My Pho

My Pho really has it all. From Pho (duh), to spring rolls, to sticky rice and more, the menu has something for every meal of the day. This was the first place me and Nylah stopped in Hanoi, entirely by chance, but it was amazing. All of the food here is outstanding, you really can’t go wrong with this one.

When You’re Looking For Pho (And Only Pho)

Pho Ten

The Pho at Pho Ten is phenomenal. It’s essentially the only thing on the menu, but they have plenty of options to pick from, some more adventurous than others. This place was fantastic to stop in for breakfast, and the Pho was next level. 10/10 would recommend.When You’re Looking For Banh Mi (And Only Banh Mi)

Banh Mi 25

If you’re looking for fantastic Banh Mi, be sure to check out Banh Mi 25. They have both seating and take-out, and their food and fruit juice were BEYOND delicious. They have a range of options of pork, chicken, beef and vegetarian — some kind of adventurous, some not. Overall, there’s really something for everyone and the food is 10/10 so why not!

So that’s Hanoi! I gotta say, I really love this city. It’s crazy hectic and super loud, but also full of amazing architecture and shopping. You can visibly see all the cultures that make up Vietnamese culture coming together in one place and it’s just so cool. The French Quarter is a total must see if you’re ever travelling to South East Asia.

I hope you enjoyed reading! Stay tuned for my next Vietnam instalment: Spend A Day With Me On A Boat Cruise In Ha Long Bay!

Much Love,

Meredith