Monday, December 28, 2015

My Favourite things to do in Toronto this Winter

If you're in town for a week, a weekend or just 24 hours......
Here's MY guide of things I love to do in the city both indoors and out:

If you didn't know then you'll soon find out that we Torontonian's LOVE to go out for brunch on the weekends.

Here's my favourite places to brunch:

1. Blue Grass Brunch at The Dakota Tavern

2. La Cubana
Delicious Cuban food and great decor.

3. Old School
Make reservations if you decide to check out this hotspot. So many things to choose from; pulled pork on waffles to burgers. Yummy town!

4. Colette Grand Cafe'
This cafe reflects the essences of Parisian style foods & decor.

Favourite Spots For Dinner:
1. Terroni
They have a few locations in the city but this is the one I always head to.
In my opinion it's the best pizza in the city. Love the Natalina. It's the best. Ask for hot peppers to top off your slices. They have a cute little dry and preserves area where you can buy some of their tasty treats (great for house warming gifts)
Everything is AMAZING on the menu but, if I'm not feeling like pizza, I then go to another favourite
Pappardelle alla Iosa - homemade spicy sausage, button & oyster mushrooms, peas, parmigiano, extra-virgin olive oil

Chinatown! Great food and amazing little shops to check out.
Favourite Chinese Restaurant:
2. New Sky Restaurant
Address: 353 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2G3
Phone:(416) 596-8787

3. My favourite burgers and fries:
The Burger's Priest

Fave Spots for Drinks!
1. Mill Street Brewery (also serves food)
Located in what's called the Distillery District there's lots of shops and restaurants around there too.

2. Indie Ale House

3. Sweaty Betty's
    Address: 13 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 1H1
    Phone:(416) 535-6861

Fave Spots For Late Night Eats: 
1. The Lakeview

2. Thompson Diner

Things To Do:
Visit Niagara Falls
This wonder of the world is just over 1hr away by car and, no matter what time of year you visit, it's always breath taking.
Canadian Falls 

                                                                                   U.S.A Falls 
Other Things To Do:
1. Tour Graffiti Alley
We have some amazing Artists that make their artistic mark on the walls of the city. Graffiti Alley (just type in Graffiti Alley, Toronto, ON M5V into google maps) is well known in our city. There's also a group that gives tours but I like to wing it and go exploring on my own. The best thing also is that the art is always changing so if you pop back in a few days, weeks, months later you'll see something new!
Here's some of the pictures I took while strolling though Graffiti Alley:

2. DJ Ice Skating Nights on the Toronto Harbour Front

3. Take a Walk In High Park (there's also a mini zoo)

4. The Distillery District
Stroll through this Historic District and checkout the various shops & restaurants. Also check out Soulpepper Theatre Company for plays and musical performances.

5. The AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario)

6. The ROM (Royal Ontario Museum)

7. Spin - Ping Pong Bar

8. Winterlicious : January 29th - February 11th
Winterlious is a culinary event that happens annually. During the event well known restaurants throughout the city offer a limited menu of prix fixe dinners at a discount from it's everyday prices. The prices are usually $15, $20 or $25 for lunch and $25, $35 or $45 for dinner. Drinks & tip are extra.
The event gives locals & visitors a chance to try these restaurants which some are known to be quite pricey at a responsible rate. 

TIFF Bell Lightbox
There are 5 cinema and 2 galleries.

My Favorite Concert Venues:
I'm a huge music lover & enjoy checking out live music with my friends. We have tons of great acts that come though this city as well as tons of talented, local artists that will rock your socks off too! Checkout the venue websites for events and concert listings.

1. Danforth Music Hall

                                          La Roux at Danforth Music Hall

2. Massey Hall

3. The MOD Club

4. Horseshoe Tavern

5. Lee's Palace

Favorite Places to Shop:

1. Favourite Shoe Store :
Heel Boy

2. Favourite Home Decor:

3. Cool Store For Housewarming Gifts and Home Decor/Gadgets:

4. Favourite Store for Greeting Cards and Trinkets
Located on a street called Roncesvalles this neighbourhood has lots of shops and restaurants. It's known as the Polish neighbourhood.

Favourite Streets to Stroll:
1. Roncesvalles

2. Queen Street West

3. Bloor Street

To find out or share what's happening in your neighbourhood          please visit Eventbrite. It's also a great place for planning your own events.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

DIY: Holiday Ornaments Using Crayons

I love making gifts for friends and family for the holidays. Here's a super and fun craft project/gift idea you can make this holiday season using crayons!!!

You Will Need: 
- Crayons
- Exacto knife
- Clear plastic or glass bulbs 
- Hair dryer

How To Make: 

1. Pick your crayons in your desired colour palette you can use broken crayons you may have around the house. I found shaving them with an exact knife created fine flakes and made it easier to melt and also loved the flaky look. If your flakes are too big you can also break up into smaller pieces with your finger tips.

2. Take your clear ball and remove the top.

3. Place your small shaved pieces of crayon inside the ball.

4. Once you have filled your ball, place the top back on.

5. Take your hair dryer and aim at the ball. Make sure to constantly rotate your ball in order to evenly coat the inside of your ball with your bits of crayon. You may want to use gloves as the ball does get hot especially the metal topper. 

*NOTE: If you are using the plastic balls they will melt as well due to the heat so make sure to rotate fast and keep an eye on maintaining their shape at the same time melting the crayon bits as well. 

6. Once all your pieces start to adhere to the ball and leaves a desired pattern you're done!
The longer you heat, the crayons will eventually melt together and give a milky/stain glass appearance which also looks pretty. Heres what each style will look like. 

Be creative and have fun!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Apple Cider Sangria

This weekend I whipped up this delicious cocktail for me and the girls for our Saturday afternoon crafting bonanza. It was a hit and will definitely be making it again over the holidays. 
See the recipe below....

You Will Need:
  • 1 Bottle of chilled prosecco (or champagne, I prefer prosecco) 
  • 2 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1 Cup of club soda 
  • 1/2 cup amaretto 
  • 2 Apples, sliced 
  • Cinnamon sticks, for garnish (optional) 

How To Make:
  1. In a large pitcher, add the prosecco, apple cider, club soda, and amaretto.
  2. Stir and add apple slices 
  3. Place 1-2 apple slices (not required but it looks pretty) and 1 cinnamon stick (also not a requirement but takes things up a notch) into glass and pour. 

           Happy holidays!
           xo Desta 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Desta's Grilled Peach Summer Salad

2 firm ripe peaches halved and pitted
4 cups baby mixed greens with arugula
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 ball buffalo mozzarella
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Unsalted almond slices

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat BBQ
2. Rub cut side of peaches with olive oil, season with salt & pepper
3. Place peaches cut side down on the grill and grill for 4 minutes (slightly charred and soft)
4. Transfer peaches onto cutting board
5. Mix dressing and set aside
6. Toast almond slices in small frying pan (watch! they burn fast)
7. In a large salad bowl toss baby mixed greens & red onion with dressing
8. Slice peaches and mozzarella
9. Divide mixed greens and plate, then top with sliced peaches,mozzarella, red onion and sprinkle toasted almond slices on top.
10. Enjoy!!! xo

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Desta's Fresh Baked Cherry Pie Recipe

2 frozen pie shells (you can make fresh but these taste great and cut down on time)
4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
4 cups pitted cherries
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) & take out frozen pie shells from freezer. Take one out of pie pan and place upside down on a cutting board and let deflate until flattened.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine tapioca, salt, sugar, cherries and vanilla. Let stand 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, spoon out mixture into bottom pie shell and dot with cold butter. 
3. With a sharp knife cut your top deflated pie crust into 1" strips, start with the middle/longest strip in the centre over your cherry filled base and work your way out, use 1/2 of the top for one direction of your pie crust and use the remaining 1/2 for the other direction weaving in and out like a basket or you can always simply place strips over top of each other still looks/works great! Trip your edges with a knife if needed.
4. Place your pie on a foiled cookie sheet in case it bubbles over and drips
5. Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven until, golden brown. Let cool for a couple of hours to allow the filling to set.
6. ENJOY! xo