Toronto Haul – August 2018

I go to Toronto more than I actually should. Actually this year was the exception to the equation. I usually just go about once a year or something unless something else comes up and well, something else came up. This past weekend was my best friend’s wedding. Her husband is from Toronto so they ended up holding their wedding there. I honestly think I’ve been to more wedding outside of Montreal than in Montreal. Its a weird thought and shows how many of my friends have moved away, I guess.

Either way, it was a really fun weekend. We ate some awesome food, tried out some new places: two of which I’ll do a restaurant overview for during this week. I’ll show more of the wedding stuff in the next Weekly Adventures, mostly because well, it seems we may have skipped the last one. I know I did and it was deliberate.

Before I jump off onto another tangent, let’s check out some stuff I got in Toronto.

Things I Bought Because I Was Forgetful..
Scarborough Town Centre – Yves Rocher & Walmart

Cosmetics and Lotion

First stop on Friday in Toronto was the hunt for everything we remembered that we forgot during packing for the wedding stuff. For myself, it was not exactly all forgot but I don’t use make-up a lot so a lot of mine had expired and I needed to get some new stuff. Nothing heavy since I don’t do eye make-up because it causes eye infections for myself so just some simple concealer to do the job and seeing Fantasia and work destroyed my sleeping schedule, I’m currently rocking some puffy panda eyes and I had forgotten my eye cream. A trip to Yves Rocher was in the stars and the closest we could find on the way to the hotel was at Scarborough Town Centre. I’ll share the eventful moment there in the Weekly Adventures but one of the great things was the great service at Yves Rocher but a lovely lady who gave me some really fantastic suggestions and actually suggested that I changed to the other skincare line as my skin had changed and its why I was having all the blemishes I’ve been having lately. I didn’t get the skincare line seeing as I was away and didn’t really want to spend so much just yet but I loved the service of just sharing the knowledge of it all. So I got some body lotion and the eye care gel at Yves Rocher.

At Walmart, I got a concealer and some nail polish. I actually ended up not painting my nails for the event but I did also pick up this interesting product called a blur stick which I’m still exploring whether its something I could use or not as it felt really oily. I’m not sure the texture works well for my skin type, so I passed on using it and am still researching. If you all know what it is and have any suggestions or dos and don’ts, please do share with me.

T&T Supermarket (2 Trips)

T&T Supermarket

Most of the snacks and such were bought on the first stop. We didn’t think that we would go back but we did end up going again on Sunday. Friday was to pick up a late lunch of dimsum, which I didn’t take pictures of. We stocked up on drinks which I also didn’t take pictures so and they are all consumed. I can tell you that I was on a semi caffeine detox since March where I cut tea out of my life completely. I don’t drink coffee so its a given, I suppose. Either way, this weekend, I drank all the tea that I didn’t drink in the last few months or at least it felt that way. However, the Vita brand which usually is known for its lemon tea and such actually has this Green Tea and Japanese Green Tea which both tastes fantastic and its unsweetened so its the legit ones. Going back to the picture, look at these flavors, its like a world tour of Lay’s flavors.

T&T Supermarket

During the first trip, we saw these pokemon Ocean Bomb sparkling water. Actually when we went back in the second trip, we saw one new one and lost two so I guess I shouldn’t procrastinate so much in buying stuff. Either way, that was a spontaneous purchase although I’m still fairly unsure about trying the Pikachu Cucumber flavor. We also saw this KIM brand drink for bird’s nest drink. I’m not sure how many people know about bird nest’s drinks. Regardless, the happiest purchase here is the black sesame stuff because I love black sesame paste. Its my favorite dessert. I’ve never tried this brand so hopefully it’ll be good. I ended up sharing the bag with my mom.

Big Apple & 401 Brewery

Big Apple

Our always must-stop location is The Big Apple. I love to grab a pie and strudel and my husband loves the brownies. It is quite amazing to see how this location as grown in size and variety of what they offer. I remember stopping there the first time and it was still known but not quite as popular as it is now. I kind of miss the quieter days but they have really diversified and made it a truly Canadian experience with what they offer also.

401 Brewery

In the building, they have the store for 401 Brewery. We’ve never had anything from there before. Seeing as we didn’t manage to pick up anything at LCBO this time, we decided to grab some ciders. We picked the traditional apple cider and then a peach cider and a pear cider to try. We also saw a sparkling oaked cider which seems like it could be a nice smoky taste sort of experience. We are looking forward to trying it out eventually.

That wraps up this shorter Toronto haul as I get things into order!

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Hiking: Parc Regional du Mont-Ham – Button & Panoramique Trails

The second hike of 2018 takes us back to the Eastern Townships of Quebec to the Parc Regional du Mont-Ham.

We actually found this one the way back from the last hike in a little pamphlet. There is a nice variety in the trails and the loop you choose to make. If you want to do the direct path, the L’Intrepide trail is 1.7km (intermediate to difficult level) and takes you on a climb to the summit. Of course, being the hikers that we are, we decided to do one of the longer loops starting out in the Button Trail to reach the summit and consequently hitting about 3 lookout points before, then going back on the Panoramique Trail. It took us about 4 hours to complete the 6.9 km route we went for. These two trails are also intermediate to difficult levels so much to our surprise, it was very challenging with the steep slopes and constant quick changes in elevation. A lot of times, hiking for us is both exercise but to see the natural beauty around us at the peak and this one takes you to the absolute peak of Mont-Ham so nothing is obstructing the view (except other hikers). There’s a cross at the top and its quite the climb where they give you ropes to go up. Like I said, its a pretty awesome spot. We actually like to do secluded spots so this location was a little too popular for our preference but we still thought the feeling was fantastic.

Here’s a few snapshots of the trail!

And for a more 360 degrees view, here’s my Instagram video for it. Of course, if you want the updates more, just follow me there. I don’t post a ton but a lot of this hiking views and food stuff.

This wraps up this hiking adventure!
A memorable and breathtaking one as well as a very crazy uphill trek!
We climbed up rocks and hopped down rocks and it almost felt like an obstacle course at some parts.

Hiking: Le Mont-Megantic Trail – Mont Megantic National Park

Hiking season has officially started for us this year!

Eastern Townships

The road to the national park

Monday was Victoria Day in Canada so it was a day off and we were able to figure out somewhere fun to hike. Our plans almost did change in the morning but things worked out and we headed off to the Eastern Townships in Quebec to Mont-Megantic National Park.

Its about 2.5 hour drive for us to get there. We always stop at the visitor’s center first. Essential when you are doing a hike to get the bathroom break and also to pay for the fee while getting info on the trails. The lady at the desk was a great help and gave us a good idea of what trails were around us while also telling us the original trail we were going to do was still covered in snow. Usually that wouldn’t be a problem but I haven’t gotten around to getting a new pair of hiking shoes so I was in my running turned walking shoes so the grip wasn’t as good. We ended up going for the Le Mont-Megantic Trail which is a 10 km loop and takes you up to the observatory at the top. The entrance here includes parking and the entrance code to go to the observatory and sanctuary up the hill by car. So, we actually stopped at the top of the trail just before the hill up the observatory which was muddy and snowy in various areas. The trail here is intermediate (although it felt hard for a first hike). Here’s a few pictures and the scenery! Trust me, its so worth it!

A lovely trek but it was a little tough so the pictures were a little scarce for the path going up. Before I wrap this up, I’d love to share a video I posted on Instagram for the scenery at the Sanctuary since that is the top most part of the area and offered a 360 degree scenery almost.

There is a whole bunch of trails at this national park and we’re pretty sure that we’ll come back for some of the other ones later this season. Its a close enough drive and the Eastern Townships are pretty and the national park also has some space observation stuff that we’d love to check out when its not a statutory holiday and they are open.

Not sure when the next hike is but we’re planning on doing a lot more this year so I’ll probably be checking in with another trail that we’ve explored soon!

Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition at Canadian Museum of History (Gatineau, Quebec)

I’m going to confess right now that I procrastinated in transferring my pictures to the computer and that is why this is only going up today. Honestly, I wanted it to be posted a little earlier so that if anyone in the area could go check it out before it ends. It runs until April 8th if you are in the area and want to see it! You can more info HERE.

This is our first time at the Canadian Museum of History. It did feel a little pricey when we first went to pay $20 per person for entry fee but then we realized it included not only all the exhibits: 2 (or it seems more) special exhibits and the 6 other permanent exhibition plus the Children’s Museum along with a film viewing of Shrek 4 – Forever After (it changes every week, I think). Anyways, thats quite the bang for the buck since we did get there late but managed to skim through a lot of the permanent exhibits and hopefully will come back for another exhibit and get there earlier.

Journey from Sketch to Screen

dreamworks animation exhibition

There are days I sit at home watching animated films, especially when Disney (or Pixar) drops sequel non-stop that I think about how great Dreamworks Animations are in general. With that said, I have my definite love for them from Kung Fu Panda to Rise of the Guardians (review), Flushed Away and of course, How to Train Your Dragon (review). So many things to love about this exhibit since it had a lot of the models and sketches and artwork. It had some cool parts where it showed off how the whole creative team goes from sketches to the drawing board. There was even this video that took us for a first person view as we saw Berk be built.

This is only a super tiny portion of exhibition. It was pretty enlightening and lots of stuff to learn from.

After this exhibition, we went to check out the First Peoples Hall, Tsimshian Prehistory and the Canadian Stamp Collection and then wrapped up with the top two floors with the The Canadian History Hall.

Tsimshian Prehistory

Canadian Stamp Collection

Canadian History Hall

This is such a small snippet of what we walked through in the few hours we were there.

Its a pretty awesome museum and we’re definitely looking forward to going back to have more time. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any other cool exhibitions that’ll be going on in the future and hopefully when that happens, we can spend an entire day there to just carefully go through everything. Just the Canadian History Hall was a whole two floors from the very very start to modern history, which is pretty interesting even if I’m not much of a history nut (although my husband is.).

Overall, it was a great experience! Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition was all kinds of awesome and has me wanting to add on the Dreamworks movies to my Baking project although the title would have to be changed.

Toronto 2018: EGLX 2018

Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo 2018, aka EGLX ran from March 9th to 11th at The International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. Game Warp didn’t quite meet the requirements so we didn’t bother to try to get the press pass. I might have just been busy and a little lazy. Either way, its nice to get back into the gaming expo coverage gear because I didn’t realize how much I did miss it especially since while there were a few familiar faces here from Montreal, a lot of games were fresh and new. Its nice to go to these expo also with friends because it gives so much opportunity to get into multiplayer games and there were a great deal of those.

If you want to see a indie game zone coverage, its over at That Moment In here.

EGLX is quite the fantastic gaming convention. Aside from the Indie Zone. There was a ton of cool stuff to look at. It was something like a ton of fests meshed together but balanced out to be a nice glimpse into the gaming world. Its always fun to jump into this atmosphere as its like being cut from the real world for a little while. I sometimes think its why I love gaming so much. The concentration and different worlds is such a nice escape.

EGLX 2018

A fraction of the indie games I checked out

EGLX 2018

Super Smash Bros Tournament

EGLX 2018

Giant Catan board

EGLX 2018

Nintendo booth

EGLX 2018

Cosplay (one of the many)

EGLX 2018

Furious Seas in the VR zone

There was some tech stuff from MSI and Microsoft and other hardware and other gaming-related gears. We went to try out some racing and gaming seats. Something we are definitely looking at especially myself  with my constant back issues. The effects of an office job and blogging and gaming after hours resulting in a lot of sitting time plus, my cat is destroying my current chair. Anyways, its an investment down the road. There was a lot of stuff going on that aren’t in pictures like retro zones and arcades, etc.

We wrapped up the day with the cosplay competition except this one is quite unique as its one where the contestants are groups that had a few hours with  designated materials like cardboard and whatnot to put together a costume while giving themselves a story and a special finishing move. There were four contestants and lets just say, it was pretty funny.

To see the EGLX haul, you can find here.

This wraps up the EGLX 2018 recap (as well as Toronto 2018)!

Toronto 2018: Toronto Zoo

On the first day in town, we actually didn’t go to EGLX yet but rather went for a day at the zoo. Normally, whenever we go to zoos, its pretty much a quick max 4 hour experience but Drew had mentioned that he was set for a full day there and other than a short lunch break, Toronto Zoo did have a lot to see and we stayed for about 7 hours. The highlight for Toronto Zoo which ends this weekend is saying goodbye to the Giant Pandas, who happen to be the first pandas born in Canada.

Toronto Zoo is pretty huge. It covers a lot of different continents. Due it still being in the winter schedule, it had a lot of empty spots so some areas like Africa was just a walk through the place and then checking out the pavilion. I think that is what sets it apart is that there are a few pavilions to go through for the more exotic animals and it gives it a lot more space to check out some cool birds and more.

Since this was a huge day and I have like 800 pictures or something, I’m going to trim it down to pictures that turned out well or animals that I found were pretty unique to this location.

And here you go! Not all of them are really that rare but its always a challenge to get pictures of animals because of how far away they are. A lot of really cool ones here in all the different areas plus a lot of them are various levels of endangered which really makes it worth it to see them protected. There was a ton more than what I have here from meerkats to sloths and all kinds of monkeys and a lot of fishes and frogs and snakes and other reptiles and insects. I could go on and on.

Toronto Zoo is really worth it to just see what they have. Not a lot of zoos have such a huge terrain with indoor pavilions and outside areas. It would be nice one year to visit when its the summer to see how its set up when a lot of the warm climate animals are back.

Plus, luck was really on our side for the zoo. A lot of times we would be right on time for feeding times or speaking by the carers of a certain animal. Sometimes, we’d double back and the animal would have woken up from their nap and started moving around. It was a really great time!

Toronto 2018: Meals Recap!

Toronto is the closest haven for good Asian food. Of course, after last year’s success with Asian Legend for Drew, I started thinking up some spots to go to already. There were some changes in plans but in general, it all tastes pretty awesome and we had a few nice chats and some great drinks.

Lets check out where and what we ate!

Day 1 Dinner: Kinton Ramen, Markham

Kinton Ramen

Hogtown Ale, Sake Mojito and Bamboo

Kinton Ramen

Chicken Ramen

On the day we arrived in Toronto and even the day after, we had still some snowfall and what beats winter like eating some hot ramen. It helps that my husband was so excited to go. And when we got there and they had the whole Yakuza game soundtrack sort of music blasting, it was super good for everyone’s mood.

Day 2: Moxie’s Grill and Bar at CF Fairview

Moxie's

Moxie's

Starters: Sushi Cones

Moxie's

Half rack ribs

Hunger after a long day at the zoo and then some shopping took us to a more convenient location at the mall. We have had Moxie’s before in Markham and Vancouver and both experiences either left us with a sour taste from bad service or kind of average food for the price tag. The one at this Fairview mall however gets a thumbs up in both categories. It had some delicious food and pretty decent drinks.

Day 3: Korean Grill House in Markham

Korean Grill House

Cherry Blossom (Gin + Orange Juice)

Korean Grill House

Special Bibimbap (Spicy)

Korean Grill House

Chicken Bibimbap

The original plan was to do the whole Korean grill experience since my  husband hasn’t tried it before but since we were all fairly tired after EGLX, we ended up just going with some bibimbap. I personally love it a lot but wasn’t feeling quite as hungry so just took the chicken bibimbap. In the afterthought, I probably should have gotten beef but it still tasted fantastic. There was a choice to add on the spicy sauce but I didn’t take any. My husband on the other hand took the special bibimbap which had chicken, shrimp and beef and also added in one spoon of the spicy sauce.

Day 4 Brunch: Ding Tai Fung Restaurant

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Soup-filled Steam Dumplings

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Fried Rice

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Ding Tai Fung Markham

Fried Pork Buns

To wrap things up, we went for a lovely little brunch at Ding Tai Fung for a little dim sum. Of course, there was no denying the soup-filled steamed dumplings because they are my faves. We also ordered a few other dumplings and such from the menu as well as a fried rice to wrap it all up. Everything still takes very good. I haven’t been here in 2 to 3 years and its nice to see the food quality still very much the way I remembered it.

Overall, a great foodie trip (as much as it was everything else)! 
We had some nice chats and tried some nice cocktails and beers.
Awesome company usually makes it even better!

Toronto still has lots of great food that we’re going to be trying out soon (or next year)!
The recap of our two main highlights of the trip are coming up!