It’s impossible not to be a total tourist in Hoi An, Vietnam. The streets are so pretty that you’ll find yourself snapping pictures every few steps. The high-end restaurants are a far cry from the street stalls of Hanoi (but still affordable by western standards). And the bars that come alive at night along the Thu Bồn River, serving cheap beers and shisha, practically force you to behave like a drunken backpacker,… Read More
It took me all of a day to decide I didn’t like Hanoi. I arrived at night under a sky that was starless and rainy, air that felt cool and clammy—and in a taxi that cost me $15 more than I had anticipated. Come morning, a grey haze hung over the city, drizzly rain seeping into every crack of the mangled sidewalks and into my pores—admittedly a welcome relief after leaving behind… Read More
Pop quiz: You’re headed to Calgary for a culinary weekend. What are you going to eat? Beef, you say. Of course. Well, not exactly. Sure, the west is known as the beef headquarters of Canada, and the first time I visited Calgary, I ate so much of Alberta’s acclaimed AAA beef that I’m pretty sure I cleaned out at least one cattle ranch entirely on my own. But as it turns out,… Read More
It’s the little things in life that are the most wonderful. A small exchange with a kind stranger, a moment of laughter with a good friend, a taste of something homemade and pure. And when you can experience all that together under the warm sun on an August afternoon—like I did this past weekend at at the annual Flavours in the Field culinary festival, in New Tecumseth, Ontario—well, it really is pretty… Read More
Okay, let me explain. I am not guzzling wine in some sort of pity party, lamenting my singleness and crying while watching Nicholas Sparks movies. No, far from mourning the romance of Valentine’s Day, I’m celebrating it. Or, more specifically, I’m celebrating the month of February. Because February means it’s time for the Niagara region’s annual Days of Wine and Chocolate festival. Wine. Chocolate. I can think of no combination that could… Read More
Tell someone you’re headed to Cuba and you’re likely hear two things: how beautiful are the beaches and how terrible the food. Yes, Cuban food can be bland, especially in the massive resorts where buffet-style fare leaves much to be desired. But what kind of dining experience can you find off-resort? That was what I wanted to find out as I headed to the city of Havana.
It was the scent that first caught my attention. The sweet smell of frying batter floated through the air, catching my nose and transporting me on a cloud of memories to funnel cakes and BeaverTails at amusement parks and carnivals back home. My interest—and nostrils—completely captured, I then noticed the line of people that snaked along the cobbled Calle Mercaderes in Old Havana. There were dozens in line—young Cuban children clutching coins… Read More