At Barbados Food & Rum Festival, a renowned chef shared her secrets for creative, sustainable food (as well as the treat she can't travel without!)
"The smell of happiness is, for me, frying plantain in Barbados."
Shelina Permalloo is a British-Mauritian chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author specializing in Mauritian cuisine. She's known worldwide as the first woman of colour to win BBC's MasterChef competition in 2012, but when I met her, she was thrilled to simply be an attendee of the Barbados Food & Rum Festival (just like me!)
Permalloo first visited Barbados after finishing university (she reports: "There were 16 of us... and the island knew when we arrived!") That initial trip made some lasting impressions, as the large group quickly made friends with locals, got invited home for homemade dinners, and provided the future chef with an abiding love of Barbadian (Bajan) cuisine.
During the Food & Rum Festival's Chef Classics event (an intimate series of cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs), Chef Shelina shared her thoughts on elevating traditional comfort food, embracing sustainable ingredients, and the special treats she can't live without when she travels.
Prepare to be 'Carried away' on one of New York City's most unique tours.
Please note: We were provided with complimentary media passes to participate in this tour and we thank On Location for their support. Some links in this post may be affiliate links, which means we are paid a small commission should you make a purchase.
There's nothing I love quite like a layover, the chance to discover a city and explore a destination all while you're in between flights. New York City is the perfect layover location. There are easy transportation connections to every nearby airports, there is plenty to see and do no matter the weather, and it's the kind of place that never gets old.
I've learned a bit about New York City and layovers since our first round the world trip in 2013. New York was our first stop! Once again, on this round the world trip, we were in New York first and, like last time, we had a scant 12 hours to explore. Fortunately, I knew exactly what to do. On Location Tours offers bus and walking tours that highlight television and movie scenes that were filmed in New York City. We boarded their signature TV And Movie tour several years ago and loved it. It was the perfect way to discover the city! This time, I knew I wanted to dig a bit deeper, discover some new neighbourhoods, but still enjoy all the amenities that their bus tours offer. Their Sex And The City tour was the perfect solution. I was a fan of the show AND it would take me into brand new areas of New York. Perfect!
As lead character Carrie Bradshaw might say "I couldn't help but wonder...." what I'd discover along the way. Turns out it was a lot! Here is everything I loved about On Location Tours' Sex And The City bus tour.
The Jigsaw Escape Room in Ottawa's Byward Market was my latest test of nerve!
Let's hear it for all the wimpy travelers! I'm an anti-adventurist, through and through. I'm not bold nor daring. I can't handle the wild side of life and things that are seemingly innocuous to the average traveler, say, like visiting a butcher shop or taking a fast boat ride, carry the same heart pounding intensity for me as, say, naked bungee jumping does for all the other travel writers. This is important background information for, as a true anti-adventurist, I would normally never find myself in such an unpredictable and devil-may-care situation as visiting an Escape Room, but I was under the influence. The influence of two nefarious friends that is, Sandy from Canadian Blog House and Ann from Kickass Living. With these devious women acting as a corrupting influence, I threw caution to the wind and entered an Escape Room for the first time.
What makes a girls' getaway all the sweeter? Adding in a delicious dose of maple on a trip to Montebello, Quebec.
Can there ever be too much of a good thing? Not when it comes to maple! This classic Canadian flavor is so much more than a pancake topping. And when I had the opportunity to partner with Ford Canada for a girlfriends' wellness weekend in Montebello, Quebec, I knew that my favorite autumn flavor would only sweeten the experience.
I was excited to indulge in as much of Quebec's signature condiment as possible, and I soon learned that there was more to maple than meets the eye. Traditional pancakes, step aside! Here are my favourite Montebello maple moments.
Travel writer Emma Higgins spent a year traveling solo around Ireland and the UK... and didn't shy away from taking some walks on the wild side.
Travel writer Emma Higgins went on a journey through the UK and Ireland for the whole of 2015. Emma travelled around her native land from the Hebrides in Scotland to the far corners of Cornwall, the west coast of Ireland and eastern England. Her book, A Year in the UK & Ireland, which is out now, is a collection of twenty long-form stories about her voyage, with beautiful accompanying photography aimed to inspire you to see the British Isles from a new perspective.
We sat down with Emma to talk about her incredible adventure!
When a jet-setting friend comes to town, you better make sure you're ready!
It's not everyday that a friend flies half way around the world to see you - and it's even better when that friend is an incredible travel writer! Jo from Frugal First Class Travel is coming to Canada for the first time and I get a rare opportunity to show off my home city of Ottawa. It's so seldom that international visitors come to Ottawa on their first trip! I've seen Jo on her home turf of Sydney, Australia, as well as Athens, Greece - both tremendously interesting, stylish, fun, delicious cities. I have to make sure that Ottawa measures up and that I come up with a girlfriend's guide that's worthy of an international jet setter.
On the icy surface of Lake Simcoe, I went fishing for adventure...
I've often thought that there is no better way to enjoy the splendor of the great outdoors and the beauty of the Canadian winter than from the warmth of a cozy window seat, with a latte and good book in hand. But a girl cannot live on caffeine and Jane Austen alone - sometimes you just need to get outside for a breath of fresh air. I'm sure that this is what was going through my head when I agreed to go ice fishing on rural Ontario's Lake Simcoe. This was going to be as anti-adventurous as it gets!
When four girls converged on Whitewater Village, we had recipes for cookies - and fun!
What do you think happens when four women, who haven't let their hair down in a long time, get together for a weekend retreat with no men allowed? There's a wee bit of wine, a heaping serving of gossip, and a whole lotta food! Add in a gorgeous cottage in the pristine setting of the Ottawa Valley and you have a recipe for adventure and fun (and hopefully not too much mischief)! I was eager to add my own kind of recipe into this mix - of the gooey, indulgent, Christmas cooking kind - and was keen to share some festive treats with my girlfriends.
Food & Friendship in the City of Brotherly Love
I'm not sure exactly what I expected for my first visit to Philadelphia, but I certainly hadn't anticipated the City of Brotherly Love to be so darn opinionated about food, shops, and even art. Within a few hours of announcing my trip, I was inundated with social media messages from locals suggesting -no, ordering - where to go and what to eat. Talk about a passionate crowd! This first visit was far too short (I'm already musing a return visit) but even a brief stay had the makings of a fantastic girlfriend getaway.
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