Tea and Crepes at Cafe Cristal…

Tea and Crepes at Cafe Cristal…

Hey y’all

I’m visiting Ottawa  for the Thanksgiving season and my cousins and I decided to go and grab a bite to eat.  They mentioned to me about a great place to get amazing crepes- Cafe Cristal. So off we went!

IMG_1444

At first glance, when you pull into the parking lot and see the sign, it seems like just your regular run of the mill mom and pop hipster spot. But folks, this place is so much more. As I entered the building, I was immediately transfixed by the sheer elegance of the place. Beautiful floral arrangements, elegant mirrors, very classic furnishings. It was cozy enough to feel like I was in my own home yet opulent enough to feel like a classy cafe in Paris.

IMG_1424IMG_1429IMG_1447IMG_1428

 

Now let’s talk about the food. I chose to try out the French Toast crepe. The sweet taste of the French toast was mirrored by the savoury taste of 3 scrambled eggs. I wasn’t positive I was going to like it but I was pleasantly surprised! The crepe was light and fluffy and extremely filling. I paired my meal with a large cup of Earl Grey Tea which complimented my meal choice perfectly.

IMG_1431

If you are not in the mood for crepes, Cafe Cristal offers many other food options such as waffles, a variety of desserts, sandwiches and a plethora of other cold and hot drinks. Cafe Cristal also offers… wait for it…. free wifi! ( LOL) which makes this place a great spot to bring your laptop to and get some work done.

IMG_1449

If you are ever in the Ottawa, Ontario area, get yourself over to Cafe Cristal.- you will not be disappointed .

Til next time…
xoxo
©justlovethemanyway

IMG_1165

When in Nashville…. You Eat Hot Chicken…

When in Nashville…. You Eat Hot Chicken…

Hey y’all!

Recently I travelled to Tennessee; Memphis, Cleveland, Chattanooga and of course Nashville. Nashville is  known for many things such as country music and of course the world renowned Hot Chicken. Now I have tasted a Canadian version of a Hot Chicken dish and it was pretty good. But while in Nashville, I had to try the authentic thing!

I met up with my homegirl Sam, who has been living in Nashville this summer and has made Nashville her home away from home while her boyfriend lives out his dream of hitting it big with his band! (Fingers crossed for them)

IMG_0055
Sam and I behind Draper James

She ever so graciously took me and my friend to some of Nashville’s hot spots- one being the restaurant we ate at called Party Fowl. ( Thanks again Sammy girl)

Image result for party fowl

 

Now I like spice and I can handle it ( Jamaican to the bone:) )  but let me tell you , I have never had spice like this in my life.

Let me backtrack and tell you a little bit about the restaurant. Party Fowl is a restaurant that has three locations: Two in the Nashville area and one about an hour outside of Nashville. Party Fowl serves to bring together three of the things the Music City is known for; Hot chicken, ice cold drinks and amazing music. The downtown location I went to had a very country/ sports bar vibe. It’s a great spot to catch a drink with your girls or just kick back and watch the game.

Let’s talk about the menu. Now I thought that it would be just hot chicken and sides but they had so many variations of hot chicken from Hot chicken tacos to Hot chicken poutine! ( You know this Canadian girl was excited by that) But I thought for my first time that I would try the plain simple dish of Nashville Hot Chicken which came served on Texas toast and a side of coleslaw.  I added an additional side of Mac and cheese because…. why not?

The Nashville to sauce comes in a few variations of heat levels. Here are the levels down below. Southern fried which is as mild as they can make it to Poultrygeist which is ( in my opinion) a severe punishment for your insides! (lol)

heatmeter002.png

I played it safe and stuck to the middle of the road level of heat with the medium spice option. Now this “medium” was not for the faint of heart. After 3 bites, I felt the back of my neck become a little flushed and my nose begin to run! While it was extremely hot in spice, the heat did not take away from the incredible flavour, seasoning and tenderness of the chicken. It was well prepared and I throughly enjoyed my meal. The tanginess of the coleslaw and just the right amount of creaminess in the Mac and cheese were the perfect complimentary sides to this meal.

IMG_0245

To wash it down, I went with one of Party Fowls signature frozen vodka infused lemonades. It was DIVINE and the perfect addition to cool me off while experiencing what I like to call a hot chicken hot flash!

IMG_0035

If I’m ever back in the great state of Tennessee and happen to pass through the Nashville area, I’ll be sure to pop in and visit Party Fowl once again!

Till next time…

IMG_8424
©justlovethemanyway

Food Files: Dinner At The Ship…

Food Files: Dinner At The Ship…

Hey guys!

It’s been a long time since I’ve featured a restaurant here on the blog, but with the nice weather sticking around I thought it was time for me to start exploring the amazingly quaint little restaurants in my town! So with my homegirl in tow, off we went to explore…. “The Ship”

This restaurant is located near the downtown Hamilton core district. ( 23 Augusta St.) The Ship is set inside an old historic Hamilton home that has been refurbished to house this awesome little hangout.  The ambiance is so cozy! Very intimate. Great place for some late night eats and drinks or, an early evening with someone special! I would suggest you get there early as space is limited and they do not take reservations at this time.

The hostesses are so friendly and welcoming as you enter. The bartenders really know how to make a great drink! Our server ( his name has slipped me) was just wonderful! Extremely patient with my indecisive self !:)

Ok, now on to the most important part: The food! This pub offers everything from brunch ( Sunday’s until 3pm) which features awesome things such as breakfast poutines. Dinner, which offers everything from duck wings and catfish to gourmet burgers and po’ boy sandwiches ( there’s even a salad or two) and also provides late night eats which include nachos and coconut shrimp.  Is your mouth watering as much as mine is? (lol)

We ended up deciding to try out a few of their gourmet burgers. My homegirl. chose “The Hawaiian”  which included the ingredients: grilled pineapple, cheddar, bacon, ranch lettuce and tomato. For me pineapple DOES NOT belong on a burger… or pizza… or on anything other than a fruit skewer.(I’m sorry to all the hot pineapple lovers out there!) However , my friend really enjoyed it, and pineapple aside, it looked fantastic!

 

IMG_8982

I chose a burger called “The Big Pickle” which featured the following components: fried pickle strings, bacon, cheddar, pickled red onion, honey lime sriracha, lettuce , tomato. I got mine without the red onion ( not a huge fan)This burger was delicious! My burger was prepared medium well which allowed all the burger to be really juicy and flavourful . The honey lime siracha sauce added just enough spice to enhance the seasoning of the patty and not overpower it. The friend pickle strings were an added bonus. This burger is definitely not for the faint of heart and its probably not first date eat worthy either! ( It can get a little messy!) You’ll  definitely have to use both hands. I would be remiss if  I didn’t mention how soft the bun was….. so good!

IMG_8981

What I like about this pub is that it offers a variety of different patty options such as beef, chicken, as well as vegan and gluten free options as well.  The price point is a very reasonable one where you can get one of these gourmet burgers with fries and a drink ( soda/pop) for about $25 dollars give or take a few bucks!

Would I suggest checking out The Ship? Absolutely!
Will I be returning to try more of the delicious fare The Ship has to offer? Without a doubt!

Lastly: I probably had one of the best Amaretto Sours  I have ever had in my life with this meal… Just saying! 🙂

That’s all for now!
Till next time…
xoxo
©justlovethemanyway

Food Files: World’s Easiest Pancake Recipe…

Hey guys!

I back again with another long overdue edition of Food Files! Last night I was just in the mood for some good old fashioned pancakes! Living in Canada with no IHOP nearby and with Denny’s too far away, my only resolution was to make them myself! So I went on the internet in search of a simple recipe to make some pancakes from scratch… ( yeah I had no ready made pancake mix either lol)

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and It made the most delicious pancakes that could serve about 1-3 people.  ( I had quite a bit of batter left over and I served myself and 1 other person) The recipe is as follows :

The best way to make sure your batter is nice and creamy and makes the lightest, fluffiest pancakes ever, is to mix the wet ingredients separate from the dry ingredients and then whisk them together at the end.

IMG_5080

 

Warm up your pan with the cooking oil/spray or butter of your choice and make sure it is on medium heat. You don’t want your pan too hot as it tends to burn the pancakes before they can cook all the way through and they definitely don’t taste as nice or look as aesthecially pleasing. You definitely want to make sure not to flip your pancake  until you see the batter begin to bubble. That’s how I know that the first side is cooked throughly.

I like to pair my pancakes with good ol’ maple syrup and some fresh fruit. Last night I had some super sweet strawberries that I threw on top!

IMG_5086

There you have it! The world’s  easiest pancake recipe! Try it out and let me know how it works out for you!

Till Next Time…
xoxo

Food Files: The Coop Wicked Chicken…

Food Files: The Coop Wicked Chicken…

Hey guys!

I’m back again with another edition of food files! This time I stopped in at another local spot called, “The Coop Wicked Chicken”.  The Coop is located in downtown Hamilton Ontario. With lots of new trendy restaurants popping up on Locke and James streets respectively, its nice to see a restaurant open on one of the main streets of the downtown core.

So what exactly is “The Coop”? You’ve probably surmised from is name, that it is a restaurant that specializes in chicken dishes.  They have everything from chicken burgers to chicken and waffle dishes. But before I talk about the food, lets talk about the restaurant itself.

When I first walked in the first place thing I noticed was the amazing graffiti artwork on the walls. I really liked the industrial/ distressed wood decor and ambiance. There were a couple of tv’s placed around the restaurant for the sports lovers. Also the dining area had a loft that would be good to book if perhaps you were having a small get together. Coop has this epic coke machine that you can choose from an abundance of different beverages! So cool!  Both times I went to Coop, I sat in the loft section and what was cool about that was that you could actually see the prep area and basically watch them prepare your meal.  This restaurant seems to be geared towards a more mature clientele, like 20+ years old. It’s not exactly family oriented as they play very mature music ( no radio edits lol) and the atmosphere is pretty loud and bar like. There is a disclaimer on the door though that explains that the music they play may contain explicit content which I thought was wise! I enjoyed the music because Im an 80’s baby and they were playing all kinds of early 90’s R and B and hip hop! Dope!

img_3267

Let’s move on to the food! The first time I went, I ordered the Nashville Chicken Sandwich.  The sides are sold separately  so I added waffle fries to my order as well as a fountain drink. The sandwich was well seasoned ( with a little bit of a kick to it) and the bun was nice and soft( which I love!)  The waffle fries were just okay. I may be biased because the best waffle fries I’ve ever had were from “Chik-Fil- A,” ( American Food Chain) and so every other waffle fry is just mediocre in comparison (lol sorry) and for the price of the side ( $2.99) and the 6 fries I got… I’d suggest you skip the waffle fries. The presentation was really cute! All in all, I would definitely get this item off the menu again. img_3640The next time I went,  I decided to try the Chicken and waffle option as well as the crispy dil pickles as a side. Guys…. These dill pickles were AMAZING! If ( and by if I mean when!) I go back I would definitely get these again.  Now the waffle was really soft and was garnished with an egg , bacon crumble and green onions.  It was presented nicely and tasted phenomenal . My only qualm with this item was that it was super teeny tiny! I would’ve enjoyed so much better if there was more of it to enjoy!

img_3638

So heres my final wrap up of Coop:

Pros:
-central location
-cool ambiance
-well seasoned food
– awesome presentation
– reasonable prices

Cons:
-very small portions
– items sold separately

I would visit again and if you’re ever in the Hamilton, Ontario ( or Burlington ) area stop in and check them out!

xoxo

Food Files: Serve Ping Pong Bar and Lounge

Food Files: Serve Ping Pong Bar and Lounge

Hey guys!

I’m finally back with another edition of food files! On this edition, I ventured to Serve Ping Pong Bar and Lounge.  Now if you’re anything like me, you are probably skeptical about a place where adults go to play ping pong. I honestly haven’t played ping pong since childhood but on a night out with the man dem (lol) we decided to try it out… and what a fantastic decision it was.. so much so that ive been there twice since!

So, think your average pool bar on an upscale level. Serve is a 10,000 square foot lounge with multiple ping pong tables, a few couches and many places to grab a bite to eat! The ambience inside Serve is bar none and to add to it, they play fantastic music for us 80’s born babies! ( think biggie, the bad boy family, tupac, lots more hip hop hits….etc…)

The experience was so cool! You didn’t have to worry about collecting your stray balls ( and I had so many of them lol) as they have a staff member who collects them and returns them to you! It was fun to let loose and let down my inhibitions and just enjoy my time!

The staff at serve are all so friendly and accommodating. Great staff can truly make or break an experience.

Let’s talk about the food! I was pleasantly surprised at how good the food was. In my visits, I tried a few items.

The menu came in a cute ping pong paddle shape. One side had the food options and the other held the beverage options.

img_2499Here are some quick snaps of the food I tried. The Nashville Hot Chicken was by far my favorite with the nachos a close second!

img_2282img_2283img_2284

If you are ever in the Hamilton/ GTA area pop on down to Serve! You won’t be disappointed! I’ll definitely be back again… and again… and again!

img_2275

xoxo

Food Files: Brunching At The Drake Hotel…

Food Files: Brunching At The Drake Hotel…

Hey folks!

Awhile back I went to brunch with some girlfriends at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, Ontario Canada.  The Drake hotel is quaint little spot in downtown Toronto that not only boasts really neat hotel rooms, but also a fantastic restaurant/lounge area for anybody looking for a great spot to grab a bite to eat!

So, this lunch in particular was a bridal party get together. Shout out to my amazing friend and bride to be for putting together such a posh get together!

IMG_9620

So, lets jump right in! First lets check out the brunch menu.
Nothing says weekend like brunch at The Drake Hotel! Whether you're having a family reunion, hanging with friends or lovers, our famous brunch will make your belly smile. There's always room for Drake's chicken and waffles, no matter how many eggs you've had.

I went ahead and ordered the chicken and waffle dish with a side of bacon. I had heard so many great things about it that I just had to try it out! I was not disappointed at all!The waffle itself was so light and fluffy. The chicken was well seasoned and complimented the waffle well.  Now I’m not one to deviate from basic options so I must admit the Niagara cherries kind of threw me for a loop! But, boy was I ever surprised at how much I liked it! The tart flavor of the cherries really complimented the salty flavor of chicken and the sweet taste of the maple syrup on the waffle.

IMG_9601

If you are looking for a cool place to brunch with your girlfriends or even a significant other, The Drake Hotel may be the place for you!

Happy eating!
xoxo