Where To DINE Now: TOCA

Among the gastronomic highlights of the past year in Toronto, we choose a hotel dining room. If TOCA, on the mezzanine level of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Toronto was a free-standing, privately owned downtown restaurant, the renown and the applause would be deafening. It took a few years of trying this and that, chefs and their concepts who came and went. But, Chef Oliver Glowig, originally from Germany, based in Rome and recognized as one of Italy’s top restaurateurs, has fulfilled the promise of this unique, appealing space. Continue reading “Where To DINE Now: TOCA”

Chef Profile: Jason Bangerter

Some people say they don’t like food to look “too pretty”. I agree. I prefer it to be beautiful. Chef Jason Bangerter creates stunning dishes that enrich our eyes first, then our palates. Bangerter not only thinks outside the box, he’s inspired by what’s outside the window. No stranger to the finest kitchens in Toronto, as well as across Europe, he has, through his own gastronomic passion and curiousity in his position as Executive Chef at the renowned Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa in Cambridge, Ontario, become one of the most important chefs in the vanguard of those defining regional Canadian cuisine. Continue reading “Chef Profile: Jason Bangerter”

Tree Top Trekking in Stoufville

Kids love to climb. Parents only think they can. That’s why benches along the wooded path are full of parents beaming with pride as they catch their breath, while all the kids frolic above in the trees. No rest for me though, because my son’s rule is I have to catch him. He darts through a network of tunnels, while I crawl after him. He runs up wooden footbridges, scales 8-foot tall hammock nets between tree houses and descends back down slides. It’s no use. He’s too fast. Continue reading “Tree Top Trekking in Stoufville”

Shopping and Dining in Bal Harbour

The laminated bag ladies who shop and lunch have certain buzz words that define their style. Mention the Bal Harbour Shops and there are knowing looks. One hundred fine stores in a landscaped garden include Valentino, Chanel, Lanvin and Van Cleef and Arpels. The casual Carpaccio and La Goulue, a study in art deco, are celebrity-sighting eateries that also serve some inspired dishes. A five-minute complimentary limo ride away, or a 15-minute walk if you’re wearing the right shoes, is the newest member of the neighbourhood, The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour. Continue reading “Shopping and Dining in Bal Harbour”

The Forks in Winnipeg

In the footsteps of the bison hunters. About 6000 years ago, they walked right here where I am walking. The bison hunters, Nakoda, Cree and Anishinaabe and Dakota, following the vast herds of bison along the frozen river, where the Assiniboine flows into the Red. Continue reading “The Forks in Winnipeg”

Palm Beach Stories

Palm Beach was created by men at the turn of the last century who had the foresight to buy up a tiny island of swampland. They had princely tastes and built majestic vacation homes. It was a hedonistic time of extravagance and partying—until the ’30s, when the whole world tanked. Continue reading “Palm Beach Stories”

Moon Over Bourbon Street

New Orleans is a Crayola box of sights, sounds and tastes bursting around every corner at any moment. Any week of the year is a different festival with an intoxicating allure of the voodoo and the vibe, from the sax to the fiddle, and the bayous to the bars. They call it the Big Easy, because anything goes. It’s a marvelously complex culture, and it’s never too early to start drinking, although there is one sacred rule: you may not drink from a container–made of open glass–on Sunday–at noon–in front of a church–naked. Continue reading “Moon Over Bourbon Street”

San Diego: Rediscovering “America’s Finest City”

As we make the turn on to 5th Ave., the hub of the historical Gaslamp District, it’s clear we’re not in Kansas City anymore. With a Pacific Ocean breeze wafting up from the bay at our backs, we’re going SoCal. In San Diego, while meat, too, is on the menu, the main attraction here is the farm-to-table freshness of locally grown, organic fruits, vegetables and, of course, the bounty of the sea. Continue reading “San Diego: Rediscovering “America’s Finest City””

Wellness and Luxury at Mandarin Oriental Spa in South Beach

South Beach rocks all night long. The bold and the beautiful, the young and the restless, old money, new money and no money, meet to eat, drink and hang out in this hub of social intercourse. The official designation of this 6.9 square mile tract of land is Orchid Island in Indian River County. For people watching, the view is sublime. Continue reading “Wellness and Luxury at Mandarin Oriental Spa in South Beach”