259. Toronto | Restaurants

I miss the Tube/London! This map was a life-saver..always led me back to one of my two most important places when I was there - my hotel or Harrods ;]
I'm going to take another short break from my vacation posts. Here's some photos of what I've been doing and where I've been eating since I came back:

Holts Cafe: inside Holt Renfrew, located beside their shoe department. I came here for lunch the day after I came back to Toronto. When I was in Europe I usually ate out at restaurants alone, and realized it's not as bad as I thought. So I'm trying to do that more here in Toronto - it's nice to have good food & unfortunately I don't always have people at my disposal to eat out with! Holt's Cafe is pretty casual and they have really good food. I got the chicken pot pie with a side salad. Delicious!

Another new obsession: French style cafes and restaurants with good brunch. It's rare to find ones I really love in Toronto, but here's two of my favourites at the moment.

Le Select: Came here for the first time last weekend to have brunch with my sister. I loved the atmosphere and the decor in this place. I got their Belgian Waffles - some of the best I've ever had! I'd definitely come back again.

La Societe: Came here with my friend while he had dinner & I had dessert: the espresso mille-feuille. I've been to this place a few times before and it's also one of my favourites in the city. I've tried their dinner and brunch and loved everything so far.

Bier Markt: I've been here many many many times already. They mainly serve Belgian/German food and have like 100 different beers. I came here yesterday with my friend to watch the Germany-Italy Semifinal match (we were both disappointed with the result) but at least I found a new favourite drink - the Swedish Mojito! I'm very picky with drinks..I only like drinks that are very fruity and don't taste like alcohol. Which is what this drink was. I also got the smoked chicken "Flammkuchen" (aka flatbread) which tasted amazing!

Swish by Han: I don't like Korean food so I may be biased to say whether or not this place is good, but I love their food presentation.

Pravda: You're probably familiar with this place if you've been following my blog for awhile. My favourite place to end the night.

PS - I think I'm going to start doing full restaurant reviews in Toronto.


258. Copenhagen | a few favourite places

Copenhagen has always been one of my favourite cities in the world, despite the fact that there isn't too much to see and it's ridiculously expensive (my tea and the strawberry custard pie above cost like $20). I really love the atmosphere here, the people, the colourful buildings of Nyhavn, the cafes & the food!! The previous time I was here was in 2005 with my dad, which was WAY too long ago so I was really excited to come again during my Eurotrip last month.

In this photo I was sitting at the Cafe Norden patio one night until they closed. It's probably a really touristy spot but it was my favourite place to sit and people-watch.

This is the Stork Fountain, right in front of the cafe. It's located in the middle of Strøget - the famous pedestrian shopping street.

This is what it looks like during the day.

I feel a bit creepy taking this picture but I really liked that a lot of guys here wear bright red, green or blue pants!! Something I've never seen in Toronto.

Nyhavn is my other favourite part of Copenhagen - a row of colourful restaurants and patios lined along the harbour. I'll post more photos of this area in my next post.

Amalienborg Palace. Again, more photos of this place in my upcoming posts..



257. Sadaharu Aoki

Sadaharu Aoki was a pâtisserie I had on my list of places to go when I visited Paris. Unfortunately I didn't end up going to half the places on that list (due to unplanned events/ran out of time) but I am glad I made it here. They have a boutique on Rue de Vaugirard; about a 5-min walk from my hotel, so I came one morning to buy "breakfast". I wanted to buy everything in that store!! In the end I got a fruit cake, macha (green tea) cakes, champagne biscuits (the pink sticks), macaron rusks and a box of their signature rainbow chocolates. I devoured everything but the box of chocolates within the first day. The macaron rusks were my favourite & I'm craving them now as I type this post.......

I thought these would be cool to photograph so I waited til I came back to Toronto before I ate them. They're all chocolate with different flavoured fillings inside like lemon, blueberry, green tea, passion fruit, orange, and my least favourite - wasabi!

A few souvenirs I brought back from London

Union Jack box of Laduree macarons

Jubilee Tea

Keychain I got from Copenhagen. Any of you watch the Euro Cup? I've been watching almost all the matches but I can't really choose a favourite team. I like so many of them (I'm not from there so I'm allowed to hahah) I wanted to see the Scandinavian teams advance but unfortunately they're both eliminated now..
I still regret not booking my Eurotrip for this month instead so I could've watched it from there!

Sailing with my friend last weekend.

I'll continue with my vacation posts soon! Just thought I should take a short break from posting those back to back.


256. Blakes Hotel, London, England | *****

Blakes Hotel
33 Roland Gardens
London SW7 3PF
T: +44(0)20-7370-6701 (or toll-free from US: 1-800-926-3173)
E: blakes@blakeshotels.com

Blakes Hotel was one of the hotels I was looking forward to the most during my trip, and it certainly did not disappoint! It was created and designed by Anouska Hempel, and considered the world's first luxury boutique hotel. The elegant designs of the rooms were inspired by Hempel's exotic travels around the world. Numerous actors, actresses, musicians and top designers have stayed here in the past, which earned the hotel a reputation as the "couture hotel".

London was the first city on my itinerary, with Blakes being the first hotel. I had quite a stressful flight - main reason being that my luggage was lost and delayed. I already had a problem with my first flight, so that was not the ideal start to my trip. I was told by the airline customer service that they would deliver my luggage to me once (if?!) it arrived. So since I didn't have anything with me, I attempted to take the Tube for the first time. I successfully arrived at South Kensington station, hopped into one of those famous black cabs, then arrived at Blakes after maybe a 5-min ride. The hotel has a great location. It's at the end of a beautiful residential street. A short walk will bring you to many cafes, boutiques and several museums (V&A, Natural History Museum, etc).

I walked into the lobby and was greeted by some extremely friendly staff (as well as a very nicely-scented and serene lobby)
Jet-lagged, exhausted and preparing for the worst case scenario (that I wouldn't be able to get my luggage back), I was quite happy to get an early check-in and this beautiful "Director's Double" room.

This is the bed. I can honestly say it was one of the comfiest beds I've ever slept in!!

Out of all other hotel washrooms from this trip, this was my favourite. It was very well-equipped: lots of towels, Molton Brown toiletries, a bidet, fluffy bathrobes and my favourite - heated floors.

The room also has a Bang & Olufsen flat screen tv and walk-in closet with a mini-safe inside.

Nice selection at the mini-bar and complimentary Blakes water

Room service breakfast! I had the continental breakfast included with my room. A juice, toast & tea or coffee (normally £16.50/$26 which I actually think might be a bit too pricey, although I did enjoy it)

Here is the lobby.
I did eventually get my luggage back in the evening that day, and it was promptly brought up to my room by the porter. I really enjoyed my stay at this hotel. The staff were excellent at providing directions and suggestions on where to go. If you plan on going to the Summer Olympics this year, or just visiting London in the future, I definitely recommend a stay here. The only minor issue I had here was the elevator. It's pretty small so you might have to take two trips if you have a lot of luggage, or if there are already people inside (as it can only fit a few people).

Location: A few minutes walk to South Kensington or Gloucester Road Tube stations.

Prices (exclusive of tax or breakfast):
Parisian Single: from £259/$410
Luxury Double: from £319/$500
Director's Double: from £399/$630
Luxury Suite: from £549/$860
Corfu Suite: from £749/$1180
Top Suite: from £1049/$1650

The top suites are available for weddings, with other rooms available to be used for meetings or cocktail parties

For any questions, requests, or to tailor your special visit, you may contact Jesus Sauri

Blakes Hotel is also considered a Design Hotel



255. Paris | Snapshots

Probably not going to come as a surprise, but Paris was the city I took the most photos in during my trip. I hope you are all enjoying my vacation posts because this is mostly what I'll be posting about for the next month or so. Besides trying to find a job and figure out a way to move to Paris, I've edited all the photos I've taken there so here is the first set.
Thanks for all the recent comments/feedback - I hope you all enjoyed the hotel review because I'll be doing a lot more of those!

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