The Benefits of Drinking Organic Wine

As winemaking has swept from the old world to the new world and across emerging regions within that, we need to look to wineries, like Bonterra Organic Vineyards, that employ sustainable practices. Despite the evolution and modernization of viticulture, the most refined practices are still the organic and biodynamic methods of old—staying true to the fruit of the vine by nourishing the soil that provides it. Continue reading “The Benefits of Drinking Organic Wine”

Culinary Kids Menu at The Omni King Edward Hotel

How come all the health movements in dining skipped kid’s menus? No matter the restaurant, it’s all chicken fingers and fries, pizza with pepperoni, or spaghetti…with butter. As a health-conscious parent, it’s frustrating. We want to educate our children’s palates; stimulate their imagination; teach proper etiquette; and feed them the most nutritious meals. It’s high time we elevate the kid’s menu.

Heeding the call, the Omni King Edward Hotel has created a “Culinary Kids Menu” that covers all the bases: simple dishes of quality ingredients presented artfully. Seated comfortably in the Consort Bar, the arrival of the first course is met with a “Wow!” Warm, thick “sticks” of French toast are stacked like a Jenga tower and bejewelled with strawberries and orange wedges. “I never knew French toast could be like this!” My son beams. His eyes light up as the waiter offers him a saucière filled to the rim with Ontario maple syrup. Proportionality is not yet part of his vocabulary, so a drizzle quickly turns into a flood. It’s okay. I love watching him try something new, or get excited about trying something in a new way. Never before was French toast as enjoyable as this.

Next up, Grilled Cheese triangles oozing with a medley of aged cheddar and Gruyere. It’s the kind of cheesiness that you can pull apart and then put back together again.

Chomp chomp chomp. He devours bite after bite. There’s a bowl of tomato soup for dunking, and three dips: avocado ranch, barbecue, and local strawberry jam, but I can only coax him into trying one. After studying them all, he tepidly dips a corner into the jam. One nibble later and he’s scooping it all up. This is how grilled cheese is supposed to be: fun, crunchy and delish!

Not to be outdone, more dishes arrive. Panko crusted chicken skewers, tender and lightly seasoned, are served with ramekins of maple honey mustard, house-made barbecue and avocado ranch, and a side fruit cocktail. Lost in culinary heaven, my son is mixing and matching, and trying new flavours, which is what this is all about.

Chicken fried rice is served in a Chinese take-out box accompanied by orange wedges and grilled shrimp chips. First of all, everything is better in a take-out box. It reminds me of college, or a stakeout. As for my son, it’s a new way to dine that is fun, even rebellious. My inner Cliff Clavin emerges as I begin telling him that the Chinese take-out box, or “paper pail” was actually patented in Chicago in the 1890’s, but he’s already face-deep in light savoury rice, chicken and julienned veggies.

Each dish is as visually stimulating as it is savoury and nutritious. Nothing heavy, nothing oily, everything is light and fresh. I’m happy. He’s happy. Mission accomplished.

Rubbing his belly he admits defeat and says he’s too full for dessert. Excuse me? Well, the kid in me is not about to pass this up. In short order, two interactive desserts arrive that immediately entice a little more room. Warm doughy beignets are presented in a paper bag. The waiter instructs my son to “shake, shake, shake” to coat them with sugar, and then set them between two dips of chocolate and dulce de leche. OMG! These beignets, soft and warm, just saved me the trip to New Orleans. I know my son is enjoying them, but I’m in a doughnut daze, and am taking this moment for myself.

The finale, of course, is a paint palette set with one chocolate chunk cookie and one oatmeal raisin cookie surrounded by chocolate, dulce de leche, dollops of raspberry puree, vanilla ice cream, light whipped cream and one paint brush. Ok, so this may not exactly align with my “healthy” rant, but…this is fun! Normally I’d say, “Don’t play with your food,” but this dish really buttons the idea of “culinary kids” in an interactive way that enables my son to imagine, engage and experiment with the art of flavour. “Have you ever had a brunch like this, before?” I ask him. “Nope!” he enthuses, as he focuses on his masterpiece.

For more info go to: Omni King Edward Hotel, 1-888-444-OMNI

Read more:

Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs – What Are You Eating?

About every six months, a new study comes out pitting high-carb vs high-protein (usually higher-fat) diets. Sometimes carbs win. Sometimes protein wins. But what’s most important in terms of shedding excess weight and living healthier isn’t really about carbs vs protein. It’s about good carbs vs bad carbs. Continue reading “Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs – What Are You Eating?”

Ask Sara: Mending a Strained Relationship

Tormented? Perplexed? Issues have you tossing and turning? The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind. Or wait! Ask Sara…

After my husband and I separated, my relationship with my 23-year-old daughter became very strange. I know it’s related to my leaving her father. While she and I live in the same city, we never see each other and barely speak. Occasionally I write her letters, but I’m wondering if this is only exacerbating the situation. Any advice?

My dear Distressed,
Your daughter is punishing you for some real or imagined injury and has slammed the door in your face. If you bolt the door, there may never be a reconciliation. Still, the more you try to see her, the more she’ll dig in her heels. Ask nothing. Just keep sending her cards on birthdays and holidays, and sign them with love. One day, hopefully within your lifetime, she’ll want her mom, and you will have left the door ajar.

Would you like to ask Sara a question? Send your query to and watch for “Ask Sara” every Sunday morning.

Read more:

The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice

Are you curious how avocados made their way into the sushi roll or how sushi came to exist in the first place? Inca uniquely told tale that blends facts in with a fictional style of writing, the story of sushi does just that.

Author Trevor Corson takes us through the experiences and life lessons of various students and teachers at the California Sushi Academy in Los Angeles. Bringing in elements of personal struggles and triumphs, you follow each character as they tell their story and learn about the fascinating and complex history of sushi from the floodplains of rural Asia to the Americanization of Sushi and its availability all over the world.

The Story of Sushi, Trevor Corson

Although sushi is often synonymous with rich and meaty fish from the ocean, the origins of sushi actually began inland. Historians are unsure of exactly when this happened but believed it corresponded with the adoption of rice farming along the Mekong river sometime around 300-400 BCE in what is now Southern China. During the rainy season, the rivers would flood and fish would become trapped in the rice fields. Long before the invention of refrigeration, sushi actually started out as fish that were jarred and fermented in cooked rice. Fast forward to the 1400s in Japan and people began eating this jarred fish when it was still raw on the inside and when the rice was still edible. The rice would become sour which connects to today’s sushi, which uses rice vinegar to add that sourness.

From that point, sushi evolved from a side dish to a main course and its growth in popularity inevitably hinged upon the policies and regulations of cities in Japan. Edo, the former name of modern day Tokyo, once burned to the ground in the 1600s. At the time a majority of the “fast food” available aka street food stalls, were producing hot soups such as ramen for the local workforce. In order to avoid starting another fire the city decided to change their laws in 1686 and only cold food was allowed for serving during busy dinner hours. This massive opening for new cold food businesses led to a drastic increase in availability of sushi for the masses. It is funny to think that something so widely available today could have taken much longer to take hold in the culinary world had a fire not occurred hundreds of years ago.

That was just a minor sample of the many bits of history that have influenced and built sushi into the respected and well-recognized dish that we all know and love. Whether you enjoy sushi as an exotic treat or as a regular part of your weekly meals, there is so much more to this dish than just fish and rice. When looking for places to enjoy sushi in your neck of the woods, download the Ocean Wise app and support Ocean Wise businesses that promote sustainably sourced sushi.

This article has been reprinted with permission from the Ocean Wise Aquablog.

Read more:

  • Growing Your Ocean Wise Life
  • What’s In A Name? Mislabeling Canada’s Seafood