Shoutout to my homegirl, Jo

The battle of blue vanilla scones vs strawberry cheesecake buns

Blue vanilla scones for two

Matcha scones — the biggest scones I ever did meet

A visit to Ottawa, Little Jo Berry’s, March/April 2017

No matter where I am in the world — even after relocating to a different city — I always seem to find my way back to my hometown in Ottawa, to Little Jo Berry’s for Jo’s scrumptious vegan treats. Because maybe, just maybe, home is where the tummy is.

I’d mentioned Jo’s before — everything she bakes at her vegan bakery is sprinkled with funk, dedication, and passion. And while I’m not vegan myself, time and time again I’d somersault a mile for her scones, especially my beloved matcha, and, just recently, the blue vanilla, as she makes the most divine scones in the world — so much so, that I’d choose them over their non-vegan counterparts any day. (I’ve eaten a great many scones in my time; in fact, I’ve become a walking scone with four limbs.) They’re melt-in-your-mouth soft, with a moist crumble on the inside and the ideal level of sweetness.

When living in Ottawa, it was tradition for me to pre-order scones from Jo, enjoy one on site with a cuppa coffee on the morning of pick-up, and then bring the box home to my family. Little moments like these — bringing treats home to loved ones and sharing laughs with my favourite local baristas — have long been associated with feelings of home for me. That’s why, returning to my happy places — my long-time sacred nests of fond memories and solace — when visiting Ottawa, and recreating such moments, is always a heartwarming feat.


Being back at Little Jo Berry’s recently, where eternal friendships were birthed, and seeing M — stunning as always in her casual yet sleek and sophisticated outfit, fit for a powerful feminine woman of the modern era — and her bright blue, oceanic eyes and warm smile that can set any room ablaze, and seeing Jo — her unicorn hair, a sassy palette of dancing shades of blue, pink, and purple — and hearing her roaring lioness laughter, meant that I was once again at my happy place.

As with any other day I find myself back in Ottawa, and at the same old memorable places, I knew and understood: Nothing in life was promising, yet there was the heart’s forever-companion, named Trust, that would always stand at the same street corner, under the same moon, waiting patiently for one’s return. That was home.

Paris, France: Tales of arrests and baguettes


Merci Used Book Cafe @ 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003, Paris

This was the entrance to the Merci Used Book Cafe, or the Cafe itself. If you walk through the gate on the side, you’ll end up in a small courtyard (where my little red car was parked, of course) that leads to Merci’s chic and trendy department store, and through which you may also enter the Cafe.

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Dreams do come true. Merci Used Book Cafe and Shakespeare and Co. have been on my to-go list since time immemorial. I had discovered these two bookstores when I was on Tumblr years ago, and I would often flood my blog with photos of them.

I knew I was going to venture to Merci Used Book Cafe in Le Marais during my time in Paris, but the best part of the excitement was learning that scones were on their menu. Scones constitute my favourite breakfast, and to have it at this dreamy cafe, wow, was I ever on Cloud 9!


The scones were orange, and so was the jam. The hint of citrus was scrumptious! Their coffee was ace, too. And their butter? Well, let’s just say that any butter in France is tummy- and fat-approved.

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A cozy corner fit for coffee and philosophical discussions on a fine autumn afternoon, don’t you think?


Besides Merci Used Book Cafe, Eric Kayser’s bakery was also on my to-eat list. I had read that he makes mean baguettes, or mean breads and pastries of all types in general. Many people recommended his financiers, particularly the pistachio financiers.

Being a fan of pistachio desserts myself, I tried one, and it was heavenly — not too sweet and it actually had large chunks of pistachio baked into the cake. Even my partner loved it more than her pain au chocolat.

Eric Kayser’s bakeries are widely dispersed around Paris, so it’s relatively easy to find one while getting lost in one’s exploring adventure. I stumbled upon one quite easily myself when I ventured off the Seine River into the Saint-Germain-des-Près shops area.

Love locked

Love locked


The following day was low key; it was Juliana’s last day in Paris, and since it was raining, we thought spending the afternoon at the Musée d’Orsay would be ideal.

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Out of all the works of art at the museum, Van Gogh’s paintings were my favourite, not only because they brought back memories of my art classes in high school, but because back then, to me Van Gogh was, and today, still is, one of the most enlightened men who had ever lived (even if throughout his life it seemed otherwise).

Back in high school, I felt enamoured every time I looked at photos of The Starry Night, Starry Night Over the Rhone, Café Terrace at Night, and Bedroom in Arles in art history textbooks; they were among my favourite paintings by Van Gogh. I even tried replicating La méridienne or La sieste with oil pastels (my favourite art medium besides charcoal), and Bedroom in Arles with oil paint and papier-mâché!

I was lucky to see some of his famous paintings at the Musée d’Orsay. Whether it was the younger me in high school looking at his paintings in books, or the current me standing physically in front of his paintings, my feelings never changed: I didn’t see what people would often call a passionate artist, because to me, this man couldn’t be labelled; instead, I saw a regular individual, a human being like you and me, who had reached a depth of self to such a staggering degree, that this painful and sweet process itself became a work of art. And I see in his works of art just that: the depths of his vulnerabilities, in all their madness, darkness, passion, and beauty.


After navigating the Musée d’Orsay, we walked around looking for a place to eat lunch, until my partner pointed to a cafe/bistro that had just what I’ve been wanting to try: French onion soup, which was perfect for a cold and rainy day.

I wish I remembered what the cafe/bistro was called, because that French onion soup was delicious (and so was their margherita pizza). Some people will cry at the thought, sight, and smell of onions; as for me, I might as well marry them. I love onions so much that I can eat them with anything, even raw (while praying to my biochemical processes that I never smell like one).

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Something else I tried spontaneously was gelato from Amorino. After seeing people licking these purdy looking rose-shaped gelato, Juliana and I both knew we had to try one. A few days later, we saw a family of three eating them again, so we did what normal, sane people would do: we stalked them to trace the whereabouts of the gelato store, and, Bingo.

If I get arrested in Paris, it’s probably because of one or all of the following reasons:

1. Stalking someone because they have good food;

2. Walking over uncharted grass;

3. Whacking someone with a baguette to test its freshness.

There were many incredible flavours to choose from, and you were able to choose however many you wanted. I chose speculoos, pistachio, and fig — the flavours were really nice! At first I thought it was an artisanal gelato chain in France, but to my surprise, I came across one here in Prague, too.


One of the neat things that we often take for granted, is learning how to survive and perform our normal daily routines in a new country. My first time at a laundromat in Paris was memorable — fun, even. Normally, people don’t equate travel and fun with doing laundry, but for me, it was an opportunity to learn how to live like a local. Of course I had to ask for help, but that was part of the neat experience; and frankly, I found sitting at a laundromat quite calming.

The second time I went to a laundromat, I met a gentleman (sounds like a romantic love story, doesn’t it?) who was, I’d say, about twice my age. I asked him if the machine was working as it should, and this later sparked a conversation. Perhaps it’s my intuition about people, but I read his energy even before we spoke. From his physical appearance alone and the air of malaise and ennui about him, I knew we were similar in profound ways.

Some people — a rarity for me — feel safe at first encounter, as if I recognize them on a soul level. It might sound crazy to some, but it’s an experience many empaths can understand. As it turns out, I wasn’t far off in my observations. I learned that we’ve read the same books and appreciate the same authors, that we think similarly philosophically and ethically, and that we share an overall similar life perspective. This is no love story, but I appreciate having met someone who shares so much with me.

In retrospect, I’m still amazed that the universe can conspire two individuals with such uncanny similarities to meet at such an unusual place. For lonewolves like myself, we often feel alienated and alone in the universe, but when we can connect with someone (at least one other person) who understands us, it feels amazing — more than we can ever articulate in words.

Paris, France: Macarons and gluttony



Can you spot my beloved Molière hiding somewhere?

Can you spot my beloved Molière hiding somewhere?

There I am!

There I am!

After becoming familiar myself with the metro and the whereabouts of the main sites, I helped my roommate navigate maps and adopted the role of mother goose. She was a snazzy partner, reason being that I’ve never met anyone who enjoyed taking so many photos of oneself. Nevertheless, she was quite the character and we had a great time.

We started at the Galeries Lafayette and walked to Le Louvre, and continued past the Jardin des Tuileries to la Place de la Concorde, walking across the Champs-Élysées to l’Arc de Triomphe and then to the Trocadéro, and finally, to the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars. A long walk, to be sure!

Ladurée @ 75 Ave. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris

Ladurée @ 75 Ave. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris

image image imageimage Eating macarons from Ladurée was one activity I had set to accomplish in Paris. The second time I walked along the Champs-Élysées, I actively sought out this maison classique and purchased a box of six macarons, which cost 17.10€. The six flavours I chose were caramel lemon, orange blossom, iced mint, pecan vanilla, rose petal, and either pistachio or tonka (I forget the last one!).

My initial plan was to take a bite of each flavour and save the rest for the next day, but knowing me, that wasn’t going to happen; and so, I ate all six in one sitting. (In reality it was half on a bench in front of the store and the rest under the Eiffel Tower later that evening.) After all, I’m in Paris and the gods of glutton are in my favour.

I’m no macaron connoisseur, but I must rave a little and say they were divine; the flavouring was edgy and light, with seemingly a hint of parfum. I wish I could bring some home for loved ones, but I’ll be travelling for quite some time.

My camera battery died just as I tried snapping a photo of the macarons, but luckily, it held on to its breath long enough to allow me a final photo at the Trocadéro. I returned home later to grab another spare battery, and I’m glad I did, because Le Jardin du Luxembourg was a heavenly sight — one of my most loved spots in Paris, thus far.

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadéro

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadéro

Palais du Luxembourg, Jardin du Luxembourg

Palais du Luxembourg, Jardin du Luxembourg

Le Panthéon

Le Panthéon

Where unicorns go


Little Jo Berry’s @ 1305 Wellington St West, Ottawa, ON

Now that I’ve mentioned SBB, I must introduce Little Jo Berry’s, too; otherwise, my heart will break, because this newly opened local vegan cafe/bakery is my all-time favourite go-to spot for an afternoon coffee and treat, and I think it deserves all the love in the world.

Inviting and cute-as-a-button, this charming shop looks, feels, and tastes like home sweet home. With classic comfort treats like pop tarts and twinkies (even the names are music to my ears) baked with a vegan twist, I mean, how stinkin’ magical. Whenever I come here, I always feel as if I’m coming home to Grandma’s for baked goodies and hugs.

(Psst, SBB and Little Jo Berry’s are only a two-minute walk from each other, and they’re pals!)

No scones today, unfortunately, but check out some of these kewl vegan sweets!

No scones today, unfortunately, but check out some of these kewl vegan sweets!

The first time I visited Little Jo Berry’s, I encountered my twin flame. No, it wasn’t a karmic or a soulmate connection; it was a twin flame connection. Not with a human being either, but with a food item. Friends, I met the oh-so-sweet, divine love of mine: the matcha green tea scone.

I’m weak in the knees for scones and green tea desserts, and when the two dance the bachata together, golly gee, do I ever feel the electric current sizzling down my spine. Suffice it to say, that matcha scone was the best scone I’d ever had in my twenty-five years of je ne sais quoi existence — and it was vegan, too. Matcha or not, whatever the flavour, their scones are ace.

Matcha scones

Updated, Feb 2017: The matcha scones I’d ordered back in December (which would be a few months after this post)! These scones are a hit and miss – as rare as a blue moon – so I ordered them ahead of time, and shared them with my loved ones. One’s missing from the box, of course. 


And the owner, Jo? Besides the fact that she’s a versatile and talented baker, a gift from the gods of glutton, she’s supah awesome and darn adorable. Picture a little lady with dorky glasses, snazzy blue hair, a museum of funky tattoos, and a cheerful and expressive nature that could magically transform your insipid ol’ day into a sweet lullaby. I really think there ought to be a cartoon character of her, because if you’ve met her, you’d know what I mean. Her cute game is real.

Yummy choco PB pop tart and twinkie. Tables had block letters, paper, and colouring pencils for visitors to unleash their inner creativity.

Yummy choco PB pop tart and twinkie. Tables had block letters, paper, and colouring pencils for visitors to unleash their inner creativity.

I wasn’t craving anything sweet today, but I decided to return to my happy place anyway, and finally try Jo’s infamous pop tart and twinkie (these call for three thumbs up). Of course being here solidified that communal and homey feeling; besides sharing some exciting news with Jo, I also engaged in a brief exchange with a fellow customer about, of all things, PB. Who would’ve known it was PB day?

“Eat PB today,” she reminded me and smiled as I walked out the door.

And so I knew.

SBB’s adopted child


Strawberry Blonde Bakery @ 114B Grange Avenue, Ottawa, ON

Open daily 8:30am-6:00pm 

Yes, I was once SBB’s adopted child. I say “adopted” because that’s the literal word I used when I wrote a spontaneous email outlining my deep-rooted passion for baking — which in retrospect sounded more like a creepy declaration of love — to star owners, J and C, in my desperate hopes of landing a volunteering position there, once upon a blue moon ago. And Reader, adopt me they did.

I’m still deeply grateful that these lovely ladies and E, the manager at the time, took a chance on me. I didn’t have a baking background or any baking credentials whatsoever; I just had my word and my puppy dog eyes that reflected a desire so real and deep, that they felt it too. The best gift was their belief in me, and seeing how passionate I was and how eager I was to learn, they welcomed me into their quaint little bakery with open arms.

During what little time I’d spent with my SBB family, I was given the opportunity to bake all sorts of desserts, with E and my co-workers to help lead the way. Bakery life was no walk in the park, I realized — as with any job, it requires hard work, discipline, commitment, time-management, and the will to succeed — but at the end of the day, being able to create scrumptious treats and to exercise my creativity in a fun and creative environment, with creative and inspiring people, was the cherry on top.

Fast forward to today.

Would I still want to pursue a career in the baking industry? Probably not. Indeed, there goes my wild, passionate dream. But what I can say with certainty is that I’m glad I pursued different interests after graduating from university, and took a chance on the callings of my heart. That’s the only way I could’ve discovered uncharted avenues within myself: by doing things and taking chances, no matter how absurd. And sometimes, what I think I want, isn’t what I truly want; and my soul, the wisest of the wise, knows, and I trust its wisdom.


I didn’t mention it yet, but dear vegans and gluten-free people, this is a vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free bakery! The best of its kind in Ottawa, I dare say. Not because I’m biased, but because the mother whale in me has already been around town sampling treats from all walks of life, and this bakery here is a keeper. Plus, as a non-vegan and non-gluten-free nutty, if I purposely come here for desserts, then you know what’s crackin’. Try their cinnamon buns, please and thank you.


Like a faithful child returning to its parents’ arms, today I went back for another visit. I’ve always wanted to try their blueberry lavender scones because they sound so exotic and I enjoy trying unique flavours; and luckily for me, they were on today’s menu. (I’m a young woman with old lady tendencies — I love tea and scones; in fact, scones are the highlight of my existence.)

Their blueberry lavender scone was kickass. I died and went to heaven, then came back down because I heard a human voice, which smacked me upside the head. “Is it good?” a lady walked up to me and asked, as I was sitting outside enjoying my scone, on cloud-9. “REALLY good,” I said. So good, I returned a few hours later to buy the vanilla peach scone to take home.

They raised me well, and as their long, lost adopted child, even if I’m chasing my tail in circles, I shall never wander far, and will always find my way back to my roots.

Thief of the village

Sunshine - eggs, sausages, baked beans, pancake filled with fruit and English cream, potatoes, toast & coffee

Sunshine – eggs, sausages, baked beans, pancake filled with fruit and English cream, potatoes, toast & coffee

Eggs Benedict - poached eggs and ham served on English muffin, topped with hollandaise sauce

Eggs Benedict – poached eggs and ham served on English muffin, topped with hollandaise sauce

Allô Mon Coco @ 239A boul. Samson, Laval, QC

I’m back home from visiting family in Montreal. I enjoyed spending time with the big sis; we had a fun-filled weekend. On Saturday, we had brunch at Allô Mon Coco, did errands during the day, and then attended her co-worker’s get-together in the evening.

I try to challenge myself to do something different every day, and attending a stranger’s intimate family gathering was certainly different for me. I’m grateful for being welcomed into their home and culture with such great warmth. Everyone was inviting, animated, and comical. Not to mention they even fed us enough to last an alpacalypse.

I also met their cat, Garfield, who of course resembles Garfield. However, I think Grumpy Cat sounds more fitting because he really does look grumpy. Besides that, his face looks as if it had defied the laws of physics. I’d post a photo of this ball of cuteness, but I’m afraid his spirit will murder me in my sleep.


Meet Miami

Meet Miami

The following day, my sister took me on a tour around our childhood abode which I haven’t visited in years. She waited in the car while I walked about and explored, trying to trace footsteps to the past. It was unfortunate that I couldn’t recall much, which is why listening to her tell stories about our childhood was so enticing. Who would’ve known I had a thing for hiding in the corner of Harvey’s and pooping? (In my diaper, that is.)

While in the area, we also visited my cousin and I met her dog, Miami, for the first time. I find it really precious that once her dog arrives home from a walk, she’d run straight to the bathtub and wait for her paws to be washed. I think this deepens my desire to become what my friend calls a petophile, driving around in a white van and kidnapping animals. Either that, or becoming something along the lines of a tree whisperer, a cat whisperer, or in this case, even a dog whisperer.

Marché Jean-Talon @ 7070 Avenue Henri Julien, Montréal, QC

Together, my sister, cousin and I took a trip to Jean-Talon Market, a farmer’s market located in the Little Italy district of Montreal. It was my first time there, and I really enjoyed scanning the endless aisles of fresh produce and witnessing the heartfelt interactions between the friendly staff and keen customers. There’s just a communal and inviting vibe to farmer’s markets that makes me feel a deep sense of belonging. My moment of utmost failure, though, was when I bit into my sandwich and my sausage flew. I’m sure it was entertaining for the world to witness.




Spiced hearts

Spiced hearts

Wawel Pâtisserie Polonaise @ 3628 Bld. St-Laurent, Montréal, QC

Call it serendipity, call it synchronicity. But on our way to Kitsuné, of all places, we parked in front of a Polish bakery. I have a love affair with traditional Polish spiced or gingerbread cookies, and for quite some time have been trying to find a local Polish bakery that sells them. I even asked my good Polish friend for some pointers. So stumbling upon this humble little shop, and so unexpectedly, was quite a blessing. The spiced hearts and ponki were a delight! A note to all who wish to see the next sunrise: Please, hands off my cookies, because this is what I’d call a crime of passion.


Maple syrup waffle - waffle topped with blueberries and strawberries, served with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup

Maple syrup waffle – waffle topped with blueberries and strawberries, served with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup

Juliette et Chocolat @ 3600 Bld. St-Laurent (coin Prince-Arthur), Montréal, QC

Vermicelli bowl with spring roll and pork

Vermicelli bowl with spring roll and pork

Restaurant Hoai Huong @ 5485 Avenue Victoria, Montréal, QC

I try to explore the coffee shop scene whenever I’m in Montreal, and Kitsuné, a gem of a cafe with a minimalist and eclectic feel, is one venue that’s been sitting on my list of places to visit. But since it was packed, we decided on an alternative: Juliette et Chocolat. Funnily, I’ve been meaning to try this dessert haven anyway, and to our luck, it was nestled in the corner of the street.

A perfect palm-sized portion, their Maple syrup waffle was oh-so-heavenly. It’s certainly satisfied my tigerous cravings for waffles. Desserts and hot choco were then followed by a visit to Restaurant Hoai Huong, which is now my top contender for the best vermicelli bowl. Methinks my body’s in a coma now from all the yummy food I ate this weekend. I probably need a new hobby.

Ray Donovan’s doppelgänger


Cacao 70 @ 2087 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montréal, QC

After having dinner with our cousin S, M and I had a date night at Cacao 70, a dessert haven for all the chocolate (and sweets) lovers. I heard of Cacao 70 only after stumbling upon reviews of it here on WordPress, and ever since then, it became the first contender to occupy my list of dessert joints to visit in Montreal.

As anticipated, because it’s a popular late night dessert venue in the downtown area, it was packed. However, it was precisely the sight of young adult couples and friends around the room laughing and having a good time, that gave the atmosphere a vivacious and heart-warming touch. It’s no secret that each one of us share a weakness for sweets, and therefore, I think it’s safe to say, an unbreakable soul-to-soul understanding of each other’s life longings.

Scanning the shop, I couldn’t help but eyeball other people’s plates of delicious goodies. Classic chocolate fondue, chocolate marshmallow pizza, Nutella and fruit crepe, Tutti-Frutti waffle, raspberry brownie parfait — you name it, everything was on the menu. Although M likes crepes and I like waffles, we decided to share a plate of dessert as we were still recuperating from dinner, and together we compromised on a selection that could be said to have fallen from the heavens: the banana split waffle.

Topped with caramelized bananas, drizzled with melted milk chocolate, and served with a side of vanilla ice cream, chocolate-coated cereal, and chocolate melt, this plate was divine. The waffle was warm, soft, and fluffy; the caramelized bananas were sweet and crunchy from the coat of caramel; and the melted chocolate spelled heaven on earth for the chocolate fans.

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It was a breezy summer evening, and instead of heading straight home, M gave me a tour around Mount Royal knowing that I’ve been longing to visit the site again, as it’s been years since I’ve last stepped foot there. The site was beautiful — just as I remember it. In fact, sanding atop the mountain overlooking the mesmerizing city lights made me long for my childhood days.


Meet Pepé Le Pew

Raccoons at Mount Royal! There were so many of them that everywhere I stepped, I could almost feel a little furry body brushing up against my legs. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should be running for the hills like my life depended on it, wrapping my limbs around a stranger’s back like a koala bear, or simply relaxing and befriending these raccoons.

Everywhere around me, visitors were petting, feeding, and playing with these wild raccoons without the slightest fear. In fact, one gent rolled on the ground next to a raccoon just to take a selfie. I couldn’t help but laugh, because one thing’s certain: Montrealers are hilarious and crazy. Especially crazy. I know because they’re my people.

Apparently, these raccoons are harmless because they’re already used to having human interaction, so it’s normal to feed and play with them. M told me that they can even be selective about what food they eat; that is, between regular chips and ketchup chips, they prefer the latter. I thought this was pretty funny.

Mother, father, babies — they were all so fluffy and chubbs that my inner Agnes was about to manifest itself. I even entertained the idea of kidnapping them and bringing them home with me. So adorable!

We’re talking pole dancing


Banana pancakes are a breakfast treat for me, and I make them only once in a blue moon even though they’re quick and healthy, with just two eggs, a banana, and a dash of baking powder, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon. But because the other morning nature suddenly called, I gave these pancakes a go for a belly-satisfying breakfast.

That morning’s eat deserves highlighting because it marked the first time where I felt I’ve truly eaten mindfully, being in the present moment and savouring each bite of my food without my thoughts somersaulting to the extraterrestrial dimension. I didn’t even read while eating which has been my daily routine for the past few years, and instead focused on one task at a time. It’s remarkable how good I felt when I invested my presence in the process at hand.

I guess you could say that I’ve embarked on a meditative footing lately; and now that I’ve completed undergrad after five bittersweet years, divorcing myself from the pollutants of everyday life has been effortless. Solitude, which is something I value immensely, is imperative in order for me to establish my equilibrium. Only when I hibernate for a light-year — and I mean this in astronomical terms — and concentrate on aligning my mind and body, can I then begin to embrace greater awareness, and gain perspective and insight into myself and life at large.

I feel that although progression is rampant in the realm of technological and scientific advancements, regression simultaneously occurs in the realm of the human spirit and psyche. Every step taken forward is equivalent to one step taken back. The progression of society and the machine has simultaneously prompted human beings to become strangers to nature, each other, and more importantly, to themselves. It’s mind-boggling.

Diving into the depths of one’s psyche and confronting the darkest shadows of one’s soul, and doing so ruthlessly, yet with the utmost compassion and understanding, is one project that each individual who treads the soils of this fine earth ought to undertake. That is, if we intend to make the world a better place, for collective fear (neurosis) and collective love are two sides of the same coin.


Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana @ 200 Preston St., Ottawa, ON

The highlight of yesterday was venturing to Pasticceria Gelateria, a pastry shop at the heart of Little Italy. I was ecstatic when V suggested this little gem, for I’ve also been meaning to venture here for quite some time, especially after having read good reviews on their gelato and desserts.

Talk about heaven on earth for those with a sweet tooth! Cakes, macarons, biscotti, mousses, flans, croissants, fruit tarts, cannoli, assorted cookies, gelato, you name it. The choices: V decided on the orange-chocolate mousse, raspberry macaron, and Nutella chocolate truffle; and I ordered the pistachio macaron, strawberry-chocolate mousse, and pomegranate cookie.

With V, it was love at first bite with her raspberry macaron and the rest of her picks. As for me, I was enamored by the heavenly taste of the pistachio macaron; however, texture wise, the shells lacked that crispness that I would’ve liked, and were rather chewy. Moreover, although I didn’t like the mousses or the pomegranate cookie, I did fall in love with V’s Nutella chocolate truffle. It was rich and divine.

Following our dessert date on the patio, we decided to wind down and sit on a bench at a park and talk. Unconditional love in modern day society; self-knowledge and self-growth as a life process; the fleeting nature of external forms; cultivating authentic happiness; pet peeves we have; her love of, and my inexperience with, cosmetics; the age of technology. We even learned that each of us has been harboring a secret desire to learn the art of pole dancing, or pole fitness — whatever suits your fancy. Such a comical revelation undoubtedly marked a moment of marriage between our souls.

You could tell when someone’s passionate about something, especially when you witness a glow on their face and they go on and on about it for hours on end. But you simply sit there and listen, for in that moment, their happiness is also your happiness. To listen to someone attentively and compassionately, and to dedicate yourself wholly to them in their presence, is one of the greatest gifts that you can bestow upon another. However, to be here for someone, is also to be here for ourselves. Interbeing and Suchness.

How serene it feels to sit down face-to-face with someone and just bond with them on a spiritual, emotional, and mental level without engaging in any sort of activity. Moments of chatter can even be interrupted by long periods of silence, just basking in our stillness and presence. Or, if you’re alone, just simply being. That’s life in an in- and out- breath, right here. And to truly be here, in this very moment, with all of you, with someone you love and care about, or even just with yourself — that’s life lived well.

It has to be your last (chip)


Flapjack’s Pancake Shack @ 809 Bank St., Ottawa, ON

At midnight last night, I felt the onset of a craving for pancakes and/or waffles. So while yawning a sea of tears, I dispensed whatever remaining energy I had browsing the internet for pancake joints in the city, and stumbled upon Flapjack’s Pancake Shack. After scanning their drool-worthy menu, I messaged a friend ASAP about my new discovery, and being the spontaneous birds that we are, we agreed to meet the following afternoon for a pancake mission.

It was endearing that this pancake shack was nestled safely in the courtyard behind Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s, away from the hustle and bustle of the street core. Note the colourful and artsy wall mural that leads to the courtyard, too — really cool! And the awesome thing is, after you’ve placed an order you’re given a playing card which they call out. My stroke-inducing moment was forgetting what the suit was called. Spades, hearts, diamonds, and darn it, what’s that leafy one again? Ah, Clubs — 9 of Clubs!

Our “panwiches” were impressive. Whereas the friend ordered “The Campfire” which included marshmallows and Nutella between two graham cookie pancakes, I tried their infamous “Breakfast Panwich” — bacon strips, egg, and cheddar cheese between two original pancakes. The “panwich” was the size of a palm, and the pancakes themselves were super light, soft, and fluffy. It was very yummy — a light eat, and not heavy or greasy at all.


Second Avenue Sweets @ 151 Second Ave., Ottawa, ON

Following our pancake mission and accomplishing some readings at Bridgehead, we ventured to Second Avenue Sweets to hunt for desserts, since I recall having read good reviews about this cozy and inviting little bakery. Even though their selections looked both enticing and deadly, I left with just a pecan cookie. Nothing special, just your ordinary cookie — hard, brittle, and sweet.

All in all, this fine spring day was excellent for wandering about in the Glebe. Not only did I experience a bittersweet nostalgia for old times, but my inner child was filled with excitement, for I felt a deep desire to scurry left and right like a mouse and explore every food joint.

What’s sweet, too, is that all of these shops — Marble Slab, Morala Coffee, Wild Oat Bakery, Truffle Treasures, Flapjack’s Pancake Shack, Second Avenue Sweets, you name it — are all in close proximity to each other, which makes hopping from one shop to another a breeze. Well, at least one could dream, right? A great deal of exploring to be done this summer, that’s for sure.

I mean, dat da vey I met her


Assortment of sashimi, sushi, hand rolls, etc.


Green tea and red bean ice cream


Doughnut rolls

Kanda Sushi @ 7373 Boulevard Décarie, Montreal, QC

Every time I visit my sister in Montreal, we’d do a dinner date at Kanda, and yesterday her girl friend P also joined us. By the time we arrived at the resto, all three of us were starved, so appreciating our food became our first priority; never mind taking snapshots of the wide selection of dishes we’d ordered.

I think it’s safe to say that yesterday I had the best sushi of my life — allow me to place special emphasis on the super fresh hand rolls — and following what felt like a food and laughing coma, we finished off with dessert, which consisted of a few scoops of ice cream and doughnut rolls.

Apparently, one time my sister added a doughnut roll to her vanilla ice cream, and intrigued, the customers at the table next to her asked the waiter for the same dessert, which of course wasn’t on the menu. Until this day, she proudly claims that it’s her signature dessert.


La Miam: Steak haché, merguez, oignons, tomates et fromage suisse


La “3 Amigos”: Saucisse hot-dog, saucisse porc/boeuf et saucisse merguez

La Banquise @ 994 Rue Rachel Est, Montreal, QC

The biggest fail of my life, is being born in Montreal and never having had poutine there until today, in which case the sister suggested La Banquise.

With all the dangerous options on their menu, I undoubtedly had a challenging time choosing an option that spoke to my soul. Yet as with other aspects of life, one thing’s for sure when it comes to food: being adventurous is imperative; never mind playing it safe. So whereas the sister ordered La “3 Amigos,” I decided on La Miam.

Our orders deserved two thumbs up, hands-down. A tad salty due to the mishmash of assorted meats, but the fries were definitely the highlight — a perfect mix of soft and crispy. Topped with lots of ketchup? Excellent.

I finished both plates and was on the verge of popping a button. Even the neighbouring couple did a double-take, for I had two clean plates stacked on top of each other in front of me. They’ve witnessed nothing. I could’ve devoured a third.