After nearly nearly two years of research, we're finally ready to crown a winner! These are Ottawa's best chicken wings.
My quest to find Ottawa's best chicken wings began in the early summer of 2020, when restaurant patios were just beginning to reopen - temporarily, as it turned out. I revelled in the simple joy of sitting outside and ordering the kinds of foods that always taste better from a restaurant. I loved every bite of those meals but it was the chicken wings that made the strongest impression. They were so delicious! Had chicken wings always been this crispy, this juicy, this tasty? I was so enamoured that I decided to try as many wings around the city as possible.
I envisioned myself as a kind of Ottawa chicken wing hero, giving the public the kind of much needed independent wing assessments they've long craved, all while delivering sub-standard wings the evisceration they've long deserved. Little did I realize it would be a hobby that would hold me in good steed through many a lockdown.
I thought I was ready to fly with Santa Claus - but was I? The plane was small - and the naughty list loomed large!
Every writer dreams of an exclusive celebrity scoop and I got one to top them all: Santa Claus! Not only did the head elf himself give me the inside scoop on what he loves about Ottawa but I also got to spend some time with him in his very own plane. That's right - Santa doesn't just fly a sleigh but he also offers 15 minute aerial tours of downtown Ottawa in a vintage Cessna 172 in conjunction with Ottawa Aviation Adventures as part of a program in support of the Ottawa Food Bank.
There was just one tiny complication. The plane is tiny. Santa is all-knowing. And I'm a big ol' scarde-y cat. An Anti-Adventurist, if you will. Would my notorious stomach hold up in a vintage aircraft? Would my nerve hold up if Santa started grilling me about whether I was naughty or nice?
Fun, easy, festive gifts for your pet sitter (and anyone else who deserves a little treat this holiday season).
People ask me all the time what’s the hardest part about planning my trips. They probably expect me to say that it’s arranging the visas or searching for cheap flights or maybe even just deciding where to go. But my surprising answer is always the same. My biggest challenge is Ollie!
Ollie is my beloved dog and he often does accompany me on road trips but for most of my travels, figuring out his care is a bit of an adventure. He can’t exactly come along when I’m on safari in Botswana or even when I’m at a conference in New York City. I want Ollie to be happy and relaxed when I’m gone and I want his pet sitters to feel the exact same way. I do everything I can to make sure their job goes smoothly. I set up meet and greets, I leave long lists of emergency information, and I make sure the house is well stocked with everything Ollie needs. And I go the extra mile over the holiday season. You can bet the cupboard is filled with ALL of Oliver’s favourite treats. And you’ll probably find a few gifts from Santa-Paws in there as well. But what about the sitters themselves? What do they need to feel comfy and cozy in my home? And how can I make sure their holidays are special too?
The pet sitter – pet parent relationship is one of immense trust. Nomodor understands how important this is. Their process ensures that you feel comfortable and trusting with who is in your home and the site has built a reputation on providing reliable and trustworthy pet sitters for those that need one.
Afterall, you are counting on your sitter to take care of someone you deeply love, while they are counting on you to provide a safe, warm, welcoming work environment. You’ll talk about things you might not share with anyone else. But other things are more opaque. You probably know their professional qualifications much more than you actually know them. They’re staying in your home and caring for your beloved pet – but you don’t even know their favourite colour!
No wonder it’s so hard to find the perfect gift for your pet sitter. It’s a quandary! You want something professional but not formal, personal but not presumptive. Most of all, you want something that shows how much you value their work and the relationship they have with your pet. Here are some ideas to help you find that perfect present.
This avocado mango salad is the perfect snack to have on a plane, roadtrip, or picnic.
I have a secret to confess about this avocado mango salad. You're looking at a stolen recipe.
Once upon a time, I hosted a potluck dinner and one guest brought a date - who brought this incredible concoction of deliciousness. She described it as a salsa and served it alongside tortilla chips and it was just about the most magical thing I ever tried.
There was only one thing to do. I stole it the receipe and claimed it as my own.
Actually, there were three things to do. First, steal the receipe. Secondly, rebrand it as a salad, not a salsa. Thirdly, enter it in a recipe contest with a local produce store and win a $50 gift card. Done, done, and DONE, thank you very much.
You could say that this receipe is criminally easy to make. You don’t have to get too hung up on precise measurements for it to taste great. It’s sophisticated enough that a seasoned entertainer will be proud to show it off, yet simple enough for a new cook to conquer. Most importantly, it's SO travel friendly.
You could pack a cup of this as a rich, healthy, flavourful snack for the plane or the train. You could easily mix it up at a hostel or rental apartment without needing any special equipment. This avocado mango salad is great for potlucks and it stores well in your cooler for camping trips. The lime juice keeps the avocado from turning brown (though you can always prep the other ingredients in advance and add avocado at the last minute for maximum colour.)
Everything you need to plan a day trip to Rottnest Island, Australia.
If I told you to fly half way around the world to explore a place whose name translates to "Rats' Nest", you might think twice about my intentions. However, Western Australia's Rottnest Island may just be the most begilling destination you never knew you needed to visit - and you'd be glad to have taken my advice.
A Rottnest Island day trip itinerary usually starts with a ferry ride from the city of Perth, involves lots of amazing (and I am talking AMAZING) animals, offers ample history and culture, and ends with plenty of happy memories as you make your back to the mainland.
We had the chance to enjoy a day trip to Rottnest Island as part of our 2018 round-the-world trip that included a week in Perth. However, even if you had but a couple of days in Western Australia, a visit to this small island should be a top priority. To help you get started, we're happy to share our research about how to get there, what you should do when you arrive, where you can eat, and our personal tips about making the most of your time.
Connecting with my Istanbul instructor, I learned about killing onions, feeding neighbours, and always adding extra olive oil.
There's an old-fashioned tradition which dictates that, if you cook something especially fragrant while preparing Turkish cuisine, you must share it with your neighbours. After all, you never know who might be particularly roused by your aromatic fare. Perhaps there is an expectant mother who has a craving or an elderly person who isn't able to easily visit their favourite cafe.
There's a second part to this tradition. If you are so fortunate to receive a sample of your neighbour's cooking, you must return the cleaned plate with some cooking of your own. It's simply poor form to return a dish empty!
I first heard about this cozy custom from Aysin, my cooking teacher in Istanbul. Under her tutelage, I learned more about Turkish culture and cuisine than I thought possible - and we did it all as a virtual experience, cooking side by side even though we're half a world away.
The history of Irish coffee involves a chef, a travel writer, and a journey around the world - but you can easily make it at home.
An oral history of Irish coffee usually begins in Foynes, a small community in western Ireland. But in actuality, the legend of this popular cocktail wraps around the world, from Dublin to the Marshall Islands. And a travel writer plays a starring role!
This boozy, creamy drink first gained popularity after it was served by Irish chef Joe Sheridan at Foynes Airbase, likely in 1943. It was offered up as a bracing concoction for passengers whose flight was forced to turn back due to poor winter weather and they promptly fell in love with the combination of coffee, whiskey, sugar, and cream. However, it was travel writer Stanton Delaplane who popularized it in 1952 when he brought the recipe home to San Francisco.
(Let's all take a moment to appreciate how fitting it is that someone whose last name is "Delaplane" choose a career as a travel writer. Marvelous.)
Stan convinced his friend Jack Koeppler, owner of San Francisco's Buena Vista cafe, that the drink would be a hit. Or, depending on who you believe, Jack approached Stan and tasked him with the job of recreating the Irish drink that was slowly getting a word-of-mouth reputation. According to official lore, since they couldn't figure out how to to properly add the cream, they offered Joe Sheridan a job and the chef immigrated to San Francisco in 1952. Problem solved!
Alas, there may be more to the story. In a Time Magazine interview with Joe in 1955, he stated that he immigrated through Canada and Hawaii before settling in San Francisco by coincidence, where he found work in an all night dinner called Tiny's Waffle Shop (now closed). Like many travel legends, it seems like this story has some tall tales.
My list of the best things to do in Ogunquit, Maine, includes lots of cozy, affordable microadventures - plus plenty of foodie fun.
There’s nothing like the sound of the waves, the smell of salt spray, and proverbial long walks on the beach to make you realize just how much you love oceanside travel. The tiny town of Ogunquit, home to less than 900 people, stands out as one of my favourite seaside escapes in southern Maine. I promise it will check every box on your cozy wish list, but this is no place to simply be idle. There are plenty of things to do in Ogunquit, Maine to fill a long weekend - or maybe even an entire week.
These are some of my absolute favourite places to stay, spots to eats, and things to do in the Ogunquit area.
If you can't go to Rio for Carnival, this festive Brazilian chocolate brigadeiro recipe is a delicious alternative.
If there's one thing that travel has taught me, it's that every country seems to have their own special chocolate concoction and Brazil is no exception. Brigadeiros are best described as a Brazilian bon-bon. These soft, truffle-like delights are incredibly easy to make (cocoa and sweetened condensed milk are the star ingredients) and you can easily customize them according to your own tastes. This Brazilian chocolate brigadeiro recipe is the perfect way to inject a little travel coziness into your day, even if you can't exactly fly to Rio!
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