Brunch at The Beaver, Toronto

Brunch at The Beaver Toron

Kiyo and I had brunch one morning in Toronto at The Beaver on West Queen Street, right in between the two hotels we stayed at that long [Thanksgiving] weekend (the hotels were The Drake and The Gladstone - more on those later). We began with a French press. It was nice to leisurely wait for the coffee to steep; taking your time at a meal truly makes travel feel like a vacation.

Beaver Canada Breakfast

I had their standard breakfast plate: eggs, meat, greens and a pastry (my choices: scrambled, bacon, chocolate croissant). I liked having the fruit on the side, as well (there were a few berries under that grapefruit). This plate had a bit of everything, which I love, and although I it filled me up the dish felt light. None of it was unique, but it was all tasty.

The Beaver Toronto panini

Kiyo, who always prefers lunch over breakfast, ordered a sandwich and soup. Again, it was not the most exciting or interesting sandwich he’s had, but it was definitely good.

The Beaver Toronto interior

I think the ambiance is what really won me over: it feels leisurely, there is free wifi and good coffee, they serve simple, straightforward (and not overpriced) yet satisfying food, and sunlight trickles in, although the place is slightly dark and private.


Location: 1192 Queen St W. Toronto, ON M6J1J6 Canada Phone: (416) 537-2768 

Beaver on Urbanspoon

What I Ate Wednesday: Astoria

WIAW bfast

This is what a day spent at home, mostly alone, looks like.

Breakfast: I woke up and made vegan chocolate-banana-zucchini bread, a variation on this recipe. Half the batter was in a loaf, but I also put a couple in muffin tins. While I watched video lectures for the online Nutrition class I’m taking through Vanderbilt University, I ate breakfast: two of the muffins with butter, and coffee with almond milk. The muffins were so delicious! I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Lunch: By the time I’d watched all my video lectures, taken the quiz, done the homework assignment, cleaned up the apartment a bit, and done laundry, I didn’t feel like prepping more food, so I just ate two more muffins! After lunch I went for a 4-mile jog and then to yoga.

WIAW healthy burger

Dinner: On the way home, I picked up two challah buns from Parisi Bakery because Kiyo and I planned to make burgers! We used a Greek spice mix Zan brought us back from Greece this Fall, and grilled the burgers on our cast-iron indoor / stove-top grill. We topped the burgers with gouda before sticking them in the oven to finish. I smeared candied mustard seeds and ketchup on the buns, and added bibb lettuce. This was my first time making burgers at home and they turned out delicious!

pickles & zucchini chips

On the side, we had garlic dill pickles and zucchini chips, with homemade tzatziki (I made it with Greek yogurt) for dipping. To be honest, the zucchini chips didn’t turn out well. I fried the zucchini in olive oil but since it has such a high water content, it’s difficult to get them to crisp up, so they were kind of soggy. We still ate them, though! There weren’t too many, about half of a zucchini, very thinly sliced (with my mandoline).

huge brownie


Dessert: While at Parisi, I’d spotted this huge, frosted brownie and just couldn’t resist. We split half of it. The cake was good but the frosting was definitely the best part.

I didn’t even realize until looking back on this day, but I basically just ate different combinations of zucchini, chocolate and breads; not good! Sometimes it’s hard cooking for one or two people, because you have to eat everything before it goes bad! In case you couldn’t tell, I had a lot of zucchini to use up this day. Even at this insane rate of zucchini-banana-bread-eating, we had to throw some away before we could finish it all, which is too bad. Luckily we learned our lesson enough to freeze the rest of the uncooked burger patties!

Total estimated calories: 2,000

What did you eat today? Have you ever eaten the same food in different variations over the course of one day? 

Lunch at The Hardware Store, Vashon

Lunch at The Hardware Store Vashon

This year I spent Christmas in Seattle, Washington, with Kiyo and his family. If you can believe it, we’ve been dating for four years now and I’d never been to his hometown, a small island called Vashon (only 37 square miles with just over 10,000 residents). I had only met his family once, at our college graduation; obviously, it was time to fix that. We spent a lovely four days between Seattle, where his brother and sister-in-law live, and Vashon. On Christmas Eve, Kiyo and I had a nice lunch in the large but cozy Hardware Store. No, it’s not what it sounds like, but it is the oldest commercial building on Vashon and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Right in the middle of “town” (a couple blocks of restaurants, a grocery store, bank, one bar, etc… I’m telling you, this island is small!), the restaurant offers free wifi, classic American food, and many gluten-free options.

I began with an Oregon Chai, blended with steamed milk and finished with a dash of cinnamon. It was delicious and perfect for the chilly holiday.


I ordered the gluten-free buttermilk fried-chicken salad: mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, grilled corn, bacon and ranch dressing. This dish made me realize that if all salads included bacon and fried chicken, I would eat them more often! It was the perfect size for an entrée, large but not overwhelming, and all the ingredients tasted really fresh. I loved it. 


Kiyo started with a small salad with apples and walnuts…


…and then indulged in the artisan cured meat lahvosh (an Armenian flat-bread) which, in true meat-lovers fashion, was topped with pancetta, salami, capicola, ham, house-made chorizo, Tillamook sharp white cheddar and fresh herbs with paprika oil drizzle. He ate the whole thing, so it must have been good!

The Hardware Store

Location: 17601 Vashon Hwy SW Vashon, WA 98070 Phone: (206) 463-1800

The Hardware Store Restaurant on Urbanspoon

What I Ate Wednesday: Astoria & New York

WIAW green smoothie

Have I ever mentioned that WIAW is hosted by Peas and Crayons? It is worth checking out, and if you haven’t already, you can also see what a bunch of other bloggers ate for a day!

Last Thursday I was endlessly hungry. I attribute this partially to the fact that I worked out pretty hard all week: on Sunday evening I went to a grueling but invigorating yoga session that focused a lot on strengthening and core conditioning. On Monday (my last WIAW documented that day) I jogged five miles. Tuesday I took a break from working out to grab wine and cheese with some work friends. Then Wednesday after work, my friend / coworker / fellow blogger Jenna and I went to our first-ever CYC class, and it was so hard! It was 50 minutes of pedal-pumping, ab crunching, and weight lifting. The next day my legs felt ok but my arms were so sore; and when I had to walk up a bunch of subway stairs, I did start to feel a little soreness in my legs as well. While at CYC, it came up that Jenna plans to do a half marathon in Brooklyn in April, and couldn’t find anyone to do it with. What a perfect coincidence! On January 1, I decided my one New Years’ resolution (and I never make them) was to run a half marathon (proof here) but I couldn’t find anyone to do it with me. I even asked friends in other cities, offering to come to them, but no one wanted to have to train for it. So, I’m excited to say I will be joining Jenna in April and am now officially in training :)

Breakfast: smoothie for one (Kiyo was up and out of the apartment before me):

  • 1 cup water
  • .5 frozen banana
  • 1 celery rib
  • .25 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 thin slice fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp. vegan protein / fiber powder
  • 1 tsp. chyawanprash
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • topped with 1 tsp. chia seeds

Not pictured: one large cup of coffee with half a tsp. honey and .25 cup almond milk

NYC slush

The weather last Thursday was unbearable; this is a shot of the pedestrian cross walk at 59th St. and Madison Avenue on my way in to work. We should have had a snow day! I’ve noticed that cold weather also tends to make me hungrier…

skinny butternut squash mac & cheese

Lunch: By noon my stomach was literally growling, so I heated up my “skinny butternut squash mac & cheese” that I’d made for dinner after CYC (I got the recipe from Nutritionella). It was filling although low in calories (roughly 350, which for a large serving of three-cheese mac & cheese really isn’t too bad).

dark chocolate macadamias

Snack #1: Our office was gifted dark-chocolate macadamia nuts (yes, from Hawaii!) by a client, so of course I had to have some (two, to be exact).

Continue reading

What I Ate Wednesday: Astoria & New York

WIAW smoothie

Breakfast: smoothie! This one included mixed organic frozen berries, fresh parsley, fresh celery, unsweetened cranberry juice (not from concentrate), water, a mix of vegan protein and fiber powder, chia seeds, honey and chyawanprash. Not pictured: coffee with milk (no more Coffee Mate!) and stevia, at work.

beet chickpea zucchini rice lunch

Lunch: I was hungry early! This lunch satisfied: black rice with zucchini (sautéed in olive oil and Greek spices), topped with roasted onions, beets and chickpeas, a tiny bit of quinoa, and a lemon-tahini-parsley dressing. SO GOOD! (On top is how it looked before I mixed it all up)

WIAW snacks at work

Snacks: later in the afternoon I had one ants-on-a-log, and half a container of cottage cheese. I also drank a lemon seltzer and later, a cup of Egyptian licorice tea.

Continue reading