Our vote for the best Indian food in Ottawa? It's the East India Company - in part because Chef Mehra took us behind the scenes and into the tandoori room at his prized restaurant. (Updated in 2022!)
What's our vote for the best Indian food in Ottawa? It's the East India Company - and it's thanks in part to a few secrets we learned behind the scenes! Most chefs are notoriously tight lipped when it comes to sharing their culinary secrets but Chef Nitin Mehra couldn't spill the beans even if he wanted to. The exact recipe for his restaurant's famous garam masala is a secret guarded so tightly that there's only one person on earth who knows the exact formula - his mother. Technically, it's not even her recipe. She inherited it from Chef Mehra's great grandmother on the day she passed away.
If you get goosebumps just thinking of how close that recipe came to being forever lost, you're not alone. Talking with Chef Mehra gave me amazing insight into the careful crafts of the culinary world, the passion and discipline that are poured into every sauce, and the role that family, tradition, community, and care play into making good food taste great.
Guest bloggers Illia and Nastia from Crazzzy Travel share their best Galapagos travel tips for saving money on food, accommodations, and tours on the beautiful islands.
Note from Vanessa: Hi everyone! We're so proud to feature this guest blog post from our friends Illia and Nastia. We haven't been to this part of the world but we know that many of you are dreaming about it (as are we!) We're so happy we can share these Galapagos travel tips from some real travel pros so we can all get a grasp on what to expect in terms of Galapagos travel cost predictions. Happy planning and dreaming!
There is a common misconception that Galapagos Islands are an extremely expensive place to go. To a certain degree it is true. However, you can considerably cut your costs on accommodation, food, and tours. Galapagos budget travel IS possible! Here are some tips which will help you to save big and go to Galapagos Islands on your next vacation.
In honor of Pancake Tuesday, we asked our travel blogging friends to tell us: where are the best pancakes around the world? Don't read on an empty stomach!
In the summer of 2010, we embarked on a 2 week road trip to Eastern Canada. I was determined spend less than $1,000, which meant a lot of camping. I came up with a plan to prep the majority of our food in advance, freezing it Ziploc bags and finalizing the cooking at the campground. Sounds like a great plan, right?
Everyday we had whole wheat caramelized banana pancakes for breakfast. I would take the frozen batter out of the cooler to thaw at night and, in the morning, I simply had to snip the edge of the bag and squeeze the pancake batter into the waiting hot pan. I thought (and still think!) they were delicious but the novelty soon wore off for Ryan who even today will shudder if they're on the menu more than once in a trip. Happily, his hesitation doesn't apply to other pancakes and their culinary brethren around the world!
Pancakes are a hot, hearty meal that's both comforting and familiar and yet curiously exotic no matter where you go. And they're always affordable! I asked my travelling friends to share their favourite pancake spots around the world and they didn't disappoint. Stay tuned for an amazing recipe at the end - and Happy Pancake Day!
You save money and meet locals - but is couchsurfing right for everyone? Guest author and world traveler Claudia weighs in.
Internationally acclaimed as a must for travelers on a tight budget and as great way to get an insider's perspective of the country visited, I decided to give couchsurfing a try for the first time when I left for my big trip across Latin America.
I heard some great stories, and was ready to find out what it was all about. I was ready for some bad experiences too, and those were not missed. Indeed, I have had my share of good and bad experiences, where the bad was so bad that I have even wondered if couchsurfing was for me at all!
Traveling to Montebello, Quebec? Here's where to get the best food and drink.
Jennifer Doré Dallas is a blogger, foodie and paparazzi who has traveled to 35+ countries. While traveling, she has a Ziploc bag addiction and hates umbrellas. Stuff she can’t leave behind? Her notebook and camera (ok, ok, her iPhone as well…). Her budget tip? Markets and grocery stores and staying away from guidebook restaurants. Follow her adventures at Moi, mes souliers.
Those who know me know I’m an absolute foodie and I love discovering new spots in my province in between my international wanderings. That’s how I got around to Montebello, a place that had often been recommended to me time after time that I had not yet set foot in.
Well-renowned because of its imposing Château Montebello, the city, or town I should say, is bustling and its popularity isn't slowing down! More and more local producers are opening shop to complement those who have been around for ages, for the great pleasure of my taste buds.
Top travel bloggers share their most inspiring deep winter travel tales.
It's hard to imagine travel or vacation without instantly picturing a beautiful beach somewhere - and I must confess to being a fan of warm weather myself. But there are amazing travel experiences all around the world and all around the calendar. Cold weather is no reason not to enjoy travel to the fullest. Even deep winter experiences, where the snow goes up to the roof and the thermostat plunges down to -20 (or even -40!) can be incredibly enriching and surprisingly comfortable experiences - provided you know what you're getting into!
I asked nine experienced travel writers to share their best tips and happiest memories from their frostiest travel experiences and I know their advice will warm your heart - and maybe even your toes!
Welcome Home! What's the First Thing You Do?
On my last trip to Bulgaria, I awoke at 3:00 AM after a very short, very fitful sleep to meet up with a driver to bring me from Plovdiv to Sofia for an early flight to Paris, where I spent a blissful day walking and eating and walking some more. Scooting back to the airport, I caught my flight to Montreal and from there I just made it onto the train to Ottawa. Pulling into the train station, I dragged my luggage to my parked car to retrieve my parking stub, headed back inside to pay my balance, and drove home. It was SUCH a long, full, incredible, exhausting day. When I arrived home, I was greeted by an equally joyous yet exhausted doggo. Oliver himself had recently been on an adventure -to the doggy hotel as Ryan too was away that week - and a friend had kindly picked up him before closing time and dropped him off at my house so I could reunite with him without delay. With a quick walk (for Oliver) and a bite or two of macaroon (for me!), it was time for bed.
What followed was the BEST SLEEP IN THE WORLD! For both of us, actually, as Oliver was blissfully flaunting all the rules and sleeping in the bed next to me. There are no words to describe that moment before you drift away in what you know will be the perfect, jet lag busting sleep, your final day of busy chaotic travel behind you and your body swathed in soft, fuzzy, sweet scented pajamas. Sure, Bulgaria and Paris were wonderful. But reuniting with my own bed and my beloved fur boy was SUBLIME!
As much as I love to travel, I'm always anxious for the last 24 hours of a trip to pass so I can return home. As luck would have it, some of my most aggravating delays have corresponded with my final flight home, putting my fuzzy pajamas tantalizingly out of reach. Not every travel day goes as smoothly as my return from Bulgaria did. So frustrating! There's nothing so nice as sleeping in your own bed, on your own sheets, wearing your favourite pj's - you know, the impractical fluffy flannel purple polka dot ones that you never take on the road. Throw in a long, hot bath, some homemade food, a cuddly pet or two, and you have a one outstanding homecoming!
I'm not the only one who feels this way. Everyone I know who is passionate about travel is also passionate about returning home, connecting with the people and things they love as they re-calibrate from their latest adventure and adjust to 'normal life'
Find out what other travel bloggers think is the best part of coming home!
Could Ottawa's Best Tea Actually Be in Hull?
A stone’s throw away from the Parliament buildings is Old Hull. A little grungy and edgy, this area is often overlooked even by people that live close by. Its imminent gentrification is obvious by the hip shops and restaurants sprouting up amongst condemned buildings.
Enter Cha-Yi (61 Eddy Street): a tea shop that is inviting, with room at the back to bring your laptop and get some work done while sipping a warm cup of tea. The counter area resembles a Chinese medicine store. Embossed, shiny silver containers line the shelves behind the counter, holding teas, some decades old, that were all chosen by the owner on his yearly trip to China. The staff here are knowledgeable beyond expectation and will help you pick a delectable leaf to brew at home or to enjoy on site.
Packing should be a pleasure, not a pain! Here are our best tips to help you pack and prepare for tricky situations.
Playing around with the contents of my backpack is a well known favourite hobby of mine. Show me a 3-1-1 kit that needs reorganizing and I'll show you a rockin' Friday night! But not everyone feels the same way - in fact, most people hate packing! While I'd like to say they don't know how much fun they're missing, the truth is that there are a lot of seriously un-fun things about packing. Strict rules, tight restrictions, so many packing "gadgets" that don't actually work, and so many challenging destinations - no wonder people hate packing!
Travel bloggers are no exception to packing frustrations, but fortunately their pain and past experience is your gain! I asked 8 travel bloggers to share their best packing tips, accumulated over years of experience. So if you are driving from London to Mongolia, packing a carry on bag for Antarctica, smuggling a bicycle half way around the world, trying to look fancy on a cruise or backpacking bar, or just trying to keep organized, their stories are sure to help.
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