If you follow me Instagram, you would’ve seen all the home made pasta The Hubby and I have been churning out every week. This was all practice for the real thing!
We’re going to Italy!
To be more precise, we’ll be in Paris, Naples, Rome, Venice, Cinq Terres, Florence and Amsterdam.
This will be my third time to Paris, second time to Amsterdam and first time to Italy. So far, we’ve planned to eat plenty of macarons, Nutella crepes, foie gras, gelato, pizza, pasta and seafood. Those are just snacks throughout the day. I was also able to make a lunch reservation at newly 3 Michelin star minted restaurant, Le Cinq in Paris. My dream restaurant for this trip was Osteria Francesca, but unfortunately I missed the reservation window. *Fingers still Crossed* for the wait list.
While on vacation, blog posts have been pre-written and queued to publish.
If you’d like to tag along with my travels, follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat! All under the handle xiaoEats.
For our honeymoon, The Hubby and I spent 5 nights in Bali. However since we arrived in the evening on the first day and spent our last day lounging around the resort, we truly only spent 3 days exploring the island. Our itinerary was tight, and we did end up cutting a few activities (no underwater scooter). Since we were in Bali for only a short time, I decided to stay at one resort and hire a driver, rather than moving from city to city. We chose to base ourselves in Nusa Dua, where many of Bali’s luxury resorts are located, because we wanted to spoil ourselves and enjoy the stunning white sand beach.
- – Tackle one area of the island at a time. Traffic in Bali was awful, at one point we even decided to hop out of the car and walk to dinner, rather than crawl along on the road.
- – Prioritize, what’s more important? Catching the sunset at Tanah Lot? Or Avoiding crowds? In general, I prefer to avoid crowds.
- – Money exchanges were literally every few steps, and each offered a different rate, which fluctuated daily, sometimes hourly. We exchanged USD to the amount of IDR we needed for 2 days at a time. With the ease of money exchanges (many open at 8am and close around 6pm) and the fact that IDR is difficult to exchange back into other currencies, I wouldn’t worry about having IDR before landing at Denpasar and exchange only the amount needed for a few days at a time.
- – The monkeys in Ubud are fearless. I would not recommend a visit for anyone who’s not comfortable with the thought of having monkeys randomly jump on you without consent.
- – Hire a private driver, the cost is fairly low (~$50 USD/day) relative to the convenience.
- – Bargain. I am not good at haggling and don’t think I made a single purchase that was well-priced. I think I got better by the end of the trip, but I’m sure I still overpaid for every souvenir.
- – Take advantage of the fresh tropical fruits. Mangosteen every day!
- – Massages are incredibly well priced. We really enjoyed the service and treatment at Bodyworks
Day 1 – Ubud
Explore the green rice paddies in Ubud. At the very touristy area, as we hiked through the paddies, there were people collecting “donations” to maintenance. However, as you wander, you may run into the toll booths multiple times and the villagers may be pushy and aggressive with their collection efforts. After that, we stopped by a cafe close by that served Luwak coffee and walked us through the process. We drove into the city for lunch at Naughty Nuri’s and to visit the Monkey sanctuary before heading back to relax at the resort.
Day 2 – Ubud
Spend the day with one of the many cooking classes in Ubud. The day starts early with a tour of the morning market, before turning hands-on. After preparing a traditional Balinese meal, classes will end around 2pm, the perfect time to head to a massage. Both the cooking class and massage should be booked at least one day ahead of time. Originally, I had planned for dinner at Locavore, but they were all booked a day ahead. I would recommend making reservations at least one or two weeks ahead of time. If you have a chance, I would also recommend picking up some fresh fruit to enjoy throughout the week.
Day 3 – Seminyak
Start with a visit to Tanah Lot early to avoid the crowds. Grab a lunch of Babi Guling on the way to a beach club, Ku de Ta or Potato Head to spend the afternoon people watching and enjoy the sunset. Both clubs have direct access to the beach, loungers and DJs. We sipped on cocktails until the evening set in. For dinner I would recommend trying Mama San or Sardine.
Day 4 – Nusa Dua (Optional)
Relax at your resort, stroll on the beach and take a dip in the pool. We spent the day lounging and snacking on fresh fruit and chocolates. While the ocean was too choppy for us to venture into, I enjoyed my beach time sipping on coconut water and reading.
My backlog of posts built spanned several months and I’ve just finished blogging about 2015, which is why I’m only now compiling my Best Eats of last year. For me, 2015 was full of food and travel. I was lucky enough to go on an epic 5 week vacation through Asia and am still working on blog posts from the trip! I also hopped down to the states to visit family and attended a wedding in Vancouver.
Oh and I got married.
Between the traveling, wedding planning, wedding attending, I still managed to sink my teeth into some great food in Toronto. The theme of the year seemed to be cheap eats and celebration.
A menu full of game, unique flavours and cooking techniquesMust Order:
Braised rabbit papperdelle, deer chopGood For?
Small groups, date night, cocktails, carnivores
Stunning set menu, Japanese flavours with French influenceMust Order:
Set menuGood For?
Special occasions, birthdays, celebrations, anniversaries, dates
Consistent qualities, authentic flavoursMust Order:
Red braised pork with hand-pulled noodlesGood For?
Groups, quick meal, noodle lover, cheapeats
Super hip, amazing tapas, the place to beMust Order:
Canned seafoodGood For?
Snacks, date night, late night, drinks, lunch
Best shrimp wontons ever, under $10Must Order:
Rice noodles with Shrimp WontonsGood For?
Quick meals, small groups, cheapeats
Elevating dim sumMust Order:
Rice roll with tofu and pea sproutsGood For?
Groups, midtown dinners, special occasions
Authentic flavours, there's a line for a reasonMust Order:
Laksa, Nasi LemakGood For?
Take-out, solo meals, cheapeats
Fell in love with a whole new type of dessertMust Order:
Classic cheesecake, angel hat cakeGood For?
Take-out, people who like light desserts
Brilliant drinks, comfort foodMust Order:
Charcuterie, seasonal cocktailsGood For?
Special occasions, big groups
Ramen Isshin – 4.5 $
Miku – 4.0 $$$$
Phoenix Restaurant – 4.5 $
Carmen’s Steakhouse – 4.0 $$$$
Woodlot – 4.0 $$$
Yu Garden – 4.0 $
Did I miss your favourite restaurant? Let me know in the comments.
Last Updated: 02/22/2015
What is it: Frozen Meals
Disclaimer: Products reviewed below were provided complimentary by Ely Products. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine and not indicative of the opinions or positions held by Ely Products.
Made from ingredients sourced from Ontario farmers, Fudi offers a healthy alternative to frozen dinners. Using an all-natural, preservative-free sous-vide cooking process, Fudi maximizes flavour while maintaining the nutrition of their ingredients. Each entree comes with pouches of kale, pearl barley and a quarter chicken (de-boned) seasoned with one of the Fudi spice mixes. To prepare, the pouches are reheated in boiling water for 15-17 minutes. There are 5 Fudi entrees available and 6 spice mixes, which may be purchased online through their website or in store at Whole Foods and select Foodland locations.
Fudi is currently running a contest on their Facebook page, featuring photos of their product taken by bloggers, including my photo of their Santa Fe Chicken. Find out more about their products and vote for your favourite photo here!
I have a soft spot for frozen dinners. Often I’ll grab one for lunch at work for the convenience and knowing the calorie count if I’m trying trim the waistline. While healthier options have emerged, frozen dinners generally still have low protein content and high grain. Preparing one of the Fudi entrees may be slightly more work than throwing it in the microwave, I found the ingredients healthy (often more so than my home cooked meals), and the portion size filling. While testing out Fudi, I ate way more kale, whole grains and lean white meat than I would have on my own.
- What I liked:
Each entree was a balanced meal and only 400 calories
The chicken in all 5 entree flavours were well seasoned with a mix of dark and white meat
My favourite flavour was the Santa Fe while The Hubby favoured the Cacciatora
The convenience, even though preparing the meals took 15-20 minutes, this was still quicker than making a similar dish from scratch
Minimal clean up! All that was needed to prepare Fudi was a pot (and some tongs)
I was surprised at how filling each entree was. With a ¼ cup of pearl barley and 1 cup of kale I often ended up passing scoops of barley from my plate to The Hubby’s
- What could use work:
Distribution of kale leaves – in some entrees, my kale was only ends of leaves while others only had tips. This meant even re-heated for the same amount of time, some packages my kale became a boiled down clump
When reheating the bags in boiling water, they kind of float, which sometimes meant uneven re-heating. I followed the preparation instructions to the tee and I’m not sure what could be done to fix this. Is a rolling boil needed for the entire reheating time?
After reheating, the bags are super hot to handle, larger print of this warning would be helpful.
The kale is unseasoned and needs to be seasoned after, maybe a small seasoning packet for the kale could be included?
TL;DR: Full of high quality and healthy ingredients, Fudi offers a quick, convenient and unique frozen meal solution that doesn’t involve the microwave.