Blogmas Healthy Hors D’oeuvres

It’s that time of year where holiday parties are in full effect. With both Christmas and New Years on the horizon, food is the one common denominator binding us together to celebrate. While gingerbread cookies and candy canes may be examples of some of the season’s favourites, holiday foods tend to be  full of processed sugars and other additives.

Trying to maintain a balance with healthy eating may be a challenge. Below I have included some ideas for healthier options.

 

1.Baked Pear with Feta & Pomegranate

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What you need:

  • fresh pears
  • pomegranates
  • feta cheese
  • walnuts

 

Directions:

  • slice pears in half and scoop out seeds in centre
  • place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350F
  • top the pears with feta, pomegranates and walnuts then continue to bake for another 5 minutes or until pear is golden and cheese is slightly melted
  • Pears are best served warm.

 

2. Chocolate Avocado Mousse

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What you need:

  • half an avocado
  • 1/2 cup dark cacao nibs
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp pure cacao powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

 

Directions:

  • In a saucepan, melt the cacao nibs. Once melted, let cool for a few minutes
  • In a food processor blend all the ingredients – avocado, cacao nibs, honey, almond milk, vanilla essence, cacao powder, salt and coconut oil until the texture is creamy.
  • Spoon into glass bowls then refrigerate for  a few hours
  • Garnish with shredded coconut, fresh berries or any other topping you desire.

 

3. Veggie and Fruit Chips

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What you need:

KALE CHIPS

  • kale
  • salt
  • pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Cajun spice

 

APPLE CHIPS

  • sliced apple
  • cinnamon
  • coconut oil

 

ZUCCHINI CHIPS

  • sliced zucchini
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ginger powder
  • EVOO

 

SWEET POTATO CHIPS

  • sliced sweet potato
  • cinnamon
  • dried thyme
  • EVOO

 

Directions:

KALE CHIPS

  • In a ziplock bag, mix the kale in with the various seasonings and EVOO.
  • Shake the bag, and then spread the kale on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 10-15 mins at 350F, making sure to stir half way

 

APPLE CHIPS

  • In a ziplock bag, mix sliced apples with melted coconut oil and cinnamon
  • shake the bag, and then spread the apples on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 30 mins at 350F, making sure to flip half way

 

ZUCCHINI CHIPS

  • In a ziplock bag, mix the zucchini in with the various spices listed above and EVOO
  • Shake the bag, and then spread the zucchini slices on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 30 mins at 400F, making sure to flip half way

 

SWEET POTATO CHIPS

  • In a ziplock bag, mix the sweet potato in with the spices and EVOO
  • Shake the bag, and then spread the sliced sweet potatoes on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 30-40 mins at 400F, making sure to flip half way

 

4. Banana Boats

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What you need:

  • bananas
  • plain greek yogurt
  • honey
  • cherries or other fruit as toppings

 

Directions:

  • Slice bananas in half
  • Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 mins at 350F
  • Spread plain greek yogurt and top with fruit like cherries
  • drizzle with honey
  • Serve while still warm

 

 

5. Swirl Energy Balls

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What you need:

  • dried strawberries
  • dried apricots
  • dried dates
  • crushed cashews
  • coconut oil
  • shredded coconut
  • honey
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • almond milk

 

Directions:

  • in a food processor, blend strawberries with a few drops of coconut oil, almond milk (enough to make it moist, not liquid), cacao powder, honey and cashews
  • repeat with dates and apricots, keeping the 3 fruits separate
  • take part strawberries, part dates, part apricots and roll into a ball. Top with shredded coconut.
  • Repeat until you have used all the fruit
  • refrigerate for a few hours then serve

 

6. Frozen Yogurt covered Grape 

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What you need:

  • handful of grapes
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • handful toothpicks

 

Directions:

  • wash a handful of grapes and pull them off the stems
  • pierce the centre of each grape with a toothpick
  • pour plain greek yogurt into a bowl
  • pour chia seeds into another bowl
  • dip each grape into the yogurt followed by the chia seeds
  • place each grape on a baking sheet and freeze overnight

 

 

7. Date Pops

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As I have previously posted about date pops, please refer to this link for the recipe:

https://scrubs2sweats.com/2017/06/28/date-pop-recipe/

 

8. Black Bean Hummus

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What you need:

  • half can black beans
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini sauce
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • pinch salt
  • dash cumin

 

Directions:

  • In a food processor, mix all the ingredients above
  • Add more salt, EVOO and lemon juice to taste, as needed
  • Garnish with greek olives

 

Hope you enjoy trying out some of these healthy yummy recipes. Please feel free to comment below.

xo

Jessy

Barbados Travel Guide: Where to Stay

Welcome to part 3, the final segment to my Barbados travel guide. The focus on this post will be on where to stay in Barbados.

While I am fortunate to have my own house on the island, I wanted to offer travelers a variety of options who may not have this option. I have strategically chosen some places based on location, price point, and amenities.

 

  1.            Personal touch – AirBnB

 

This year I had my first experience using Airbnb in South East Asia. And once I swallowed that Kool-Aid, there was no turning back. In addition to the much cheaper prices and unique accommodations, there is also that added bonus of a personal touch provided by the host.

 

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There are two newly renovated 2-bedroom apartments on the south coast of the island (central to shops, night life, restaurants), minutes from the beach. Less than 1 year old, these modern apartments offer guests comfort with AC, laundry and dryer, wifi, all included in the nightly rate. In addition guests can enjoy a fridge stocked with Bajan snacks and beverages (including daily Turkish coffee), pick up from the airport, and the host will help prebook a variety of tours (Harrison’s cave, catamaran rides, private tour of the island).

 

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The links for both apartments are:

https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/14221858?locale=en

https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/21998285?

 

 

2.                  Island escape  – Santosha Barbados 

 

Ocean breeze. Serenity. Peace. Tropical. Nature. These are some of the many words that can be used to describe Santosha Barbados. Located on the eastern part of the island, in St Andrew, these self-catering studios offer the perfect escape. Only 40 minutes away from the airport or Bridgetown, one can still access nearby attractions.

 

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The property offers panoramic views of the coast, suites equipped with kitchenettes and balconies, salt water pool, BBQ as well as access to Bathsheba beach. These beaches are not ideal for swimming but are perfect for any surfer. There are bath pools in the ocean, where one can sit and enjoy an ocean soak.

 

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I had the pleasure of spending the night at Santosha. The solitude provided distinct sounds of the waves crashing and smell of salt water air, which provided the perfect recipe for a great night sleep.

 

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And the sunrise over the coast is like no other. I highly recommend staying here, at least for a weekend, to experience a truly relaxing holiday.

 

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For more information on Santosha:

http://www.santoshabarbados.com

 

 

3.                Guest House Rentals – Eden on Sea  & SeaForth Barbados 

 

If you are looking for more private housing, that is central to dining, shops and of course the beach, there are 2 neighbouring properties near St Lawrence gap.

 

The first, Eden on Sea, offers the perfect beach front property. It is a 4 story villa, with 3 en-suite bedrooms.

 

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For more information on Eden on Sea: http://edenonseabarbados.com

 

The second property, SeaForth Barbados, is minutes away from Eden on Sea. This 2200 Sq ft property also offers beach front access. It boasts 4 bedrooms, but is capable of sleeping 6. The outdoor verandah gives a tropical view with swaying palm trees and bright blue ocean.

 

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For more information on SeaForth Barbados: http://seaforthbarbados.com

 

 

4.                All Inclusive- Sugar Bay

 

While I have never stayed here, and can’t make comments regarding the hotel rooms, I can comment on the property. The hotel is a mix of minimalist vibes with tropical beauty.

 

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It is located in the Southern part of the island, near the Garrison Savanah (within 10 minutes of the properties listed in 1 and 3 above) and central to many shops and restaurants.

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A 10 minutes drive to Bridgetown and 20 minutes from the airport makes it an attractive all-inclusive- one of the few on the island.

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For more information on Sugar Bay: https://sugarbaybarbados.com

 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them below. Also be sure to check out part 1 (where to eat) and part 2 (what to do) of my Barbados Travel guide series.

 

xo

Jessy

 

 

 

Barbados Travel Guide: What to do

Welcome to part 2 of my 3 part Barbados travel guide series!

This section is dedicated on various activities you can do on the island, ranging from physical activities, places of interest and unique spots to check out.

 

FITNESS

As fitness is part pf my lifestyle, as it is for many, being active while on vacation is important. Some of my favourite activities include:

1. Crossfit- Limitless Performance

One of my favourite things to do whenever I travel is to check out various crossfit boxes. Limitless Performance is my go to on the island. Founders Levar and Renee Greaves created a box that encourages “breaking out of your limits”.

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The industrial area provides the perfect location, with coaches that add a level of island warmth to their teaching style. One of the coaches, Kim Sealy, is a childhood friend so I am partly biased when I say write that her classes are a must.

 

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In addition to being a crossfit certified coach, Kim is an attorney and was recognized by Reebok Crossfit Games in 2014 and 2015 as the “Fittest Woman in Barbados”. If you are looking for some one-on-one coaching,  Fit Appeal by Kim Sealy can get you sorted.

 

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For more information on Limitless Performance or to contact Kim , check out: https://www.limitlessperformancecf.com

 

2. Gym- Surfside Wellness Centre 

Surfside is my go to for a conventional gym workout .Their memberships include weekly passes, which are ideal for travellers. Members can have access to a variety of equipment and  group classes, as well as personal training, if desired.

 

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Surfside also has a high performance weight room so for me its the perfect location to practice some olympic lifts and crossfit movements.

 

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They also started a new initiative last week called “hike grill and chill” whereby members and visitors to the island can enjoy a hike of the East coast followed by a gourmet healthy BBQ by Chef Scott Ames. Contact the centre for more details and possible upcoming dates.

 

For more information on Surfside Wellness Centre: https://www.surfsidebarbados.com

 

3. Paddleboarding – Paddle Barbados SUP 

 

One of my favourite activities is paddle boarding, which I also try to do whenever I travel to a lake or ocean and have access to a board.

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Located on my favourite beach on the island (Pebbles), Paddle Barbados offers a variety of paddling including SUP, surfing, yoga on a paddle board AND paddle boarding retreats (how is that for a wellness escape?).

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For more information on Paddle Barbados: http://www.paddlebarbados.com

 

4. Workouts on the beach

When you have access to sand and ocean, you take advantage and take your gym outdoors!

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If you can get access to weights, take it to the shore and have a workout on the sand. It is a different sensation and offers a challenge (balancing on the sand). Do some sprints, swim a few laps or practice some yoga.

 

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PLACES OF INTEREST (paid entry)

 

1. Harrison’s Cave

One of Barbados’s greatest wonders lies a limestone cave 15 metres high in its largest cavern. It is an active cave as the stalagmites are still growing (the thickness of a piece of paper each year).

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For $30USD, you can experience a 1 hour guided tram tour with local experts. You get to enjoy both the sights and sounds of the streams inside the cave.

 

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For more information on Harrison’s Cave: http://www.harrisonscave.com

 

2. Animal Flower Cave

Animal flower cave is located under the cliff of North Point, the most Northern part of the island. It is the only sea cave on the island, and one of the cave chambers offers the opportunity to swim.

 

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For $10USD, local guides can take you on a tour of the cave, including swimming. The tours are not set time, so in true island style, come whenever you want! The surrounding property offers some magnificent views of the ocean, so be sure to stop by their restaurant for some Bajan cuisine, and if you are lucky, maybe spot some Humpback whale at the cliff tops.

 

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One of the many Iron Cannons scattered throughout the island from the 17th and 18th century, as Barbados used to be a military base for the British.

 

For more information on Animal Flower  Cave: https://www.animalflowercave.com

 

3. St Nicholas Abbey

St Nicholas Abbey is a plantation that is 350 years old! The property is over 400 acres including the main estate, a rum distillery and over 200 acres of sugar cane fields.

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It is a great property to explore, so when not closed to the public as a wedding venue, you can check it out (Sundays to Fridays).

 

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For more information on St Nicholas Abbey: http://www.stnicholasabbey.com

 

UNIQUE SPOTS 

 

1. Morgan Lewis

Located in St. Andrew (on the way to St Nicholas Abbey and near Bathsheba), Morgan Lewis is the only intact sugar mill on the island. From December to April, you can see grinding of sugar cane into cane juice.

 

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Row of palm trees at the bottom of the hill from Morgan Lewis

 

2. Speighstown & Holetown 

Speighstown and Hometown are towns on the West coast of the island. They offer an array of colourful houses (chattel houses- see below), architecture dating back to Barbados’s first settlement, beaches, shops, hotels and restaurants.

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3. Plantations e.g. Society Plantation

Barbados has a number of plantations dating back to the 17th century. In the 18th century, the island boasted over 600 of them, producing tobacco, sugar and cotton.

Plantation houses, or great houses, often took a Georgian or Victorian style architecture. Two that have been restored to their original state and are for public viewing include St Nicholas Abbey and Sudbury Plantation.

But there are many other plantations on the island, which are distinguished by the double rows of palm trees on either side of the road, marking the entrance way to the plantation. Society Plantation, for example, is one visible from the street and offers an opportunity for photography as shown below.

 

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4. Codrington School

While not an official place of interest, Codrington School is an International high school on the island with a gorgeous property. On the weekend it is worth stopping by for a few minutes to take a few photos.

 

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5. Codrington College

Codrington College, not to be confused with Codrington School, is the oldest theological school in the Western Hemisphere.

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It was built in the 1700s and was originally part of a sugar cane plantation. While not advertised, the grounds equipped with a pond and beautiful architecture provides the perfect setting for photos.

 

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6. Bathsheba

Bathsheba is located on the East side of the island. As the waters are the Atlantic Ocean (versus the Caribbean Sea on the west/south), it tends to be a bit rougher. Swimming here is not advised. However, the many shallow pools near the shore are perfect for cooling down and hanging with friends.

 

Soup Bowl at Bathsheba is where many pros go to surf. It’s the perfect spot to watch, especially during competitions.

 

With the exception of competitions and the island’s Boxing Day Lime (many locals drinking and hanging out aka liming on Boxing Day), this side of the island tends to be fairly quiet. It’s the perfect place to escape and enjoy the sounds of the waves crashing. I stayed at Santosha for a night (more to come in Part 3: where to stay) and feel asleep to the cool breeze and the sounds of nature. Watching the sunrise over Bathsheba was nothing short of breathtaking.

 

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View over Bathsheba from Santosha

 

7. North Point 

North Point is the most northern part of the island, in St Lucy. It offers a great view of the ocean and the rocky coral of the coast. It is near Animal Flower Cave so may be worth checking them out together.

 

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OTHER 

1. Sunsets on the beach

While on the island, it is recommended that you experience a sunset on the beach. I recommend viewing this at Accra Beach, and taking a walk along the Boardwalk.

 

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Photo taken from the Boardwalk by Accra Beach

 

2. Tiami Catamaran Cruises

This is my top recommendation for the island. What better way to experience Barbados than a boat ride along the West Coast of the island, listening to soca music, feeling the salt water air against your skin, enjoying some Bajan food, swimming with the turtles and frolicking in the blue waters?

 

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They offer unlimited drinks, buffet style lunch so you can try your hand at some Bajan delights, and snacks throughout the trip.

 

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IMG_2964                       Another opportunity to try flying fish! (see part 1 for food guide)

 

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For more information on Miami Catamaran: http://tiamicatamarancruises.com

 

3. Chattel houses

Chattel houses are unique to Barbados, meaning moveable property. Originated from the plantation days, the idea was to be able to move these wooden houses from one property to the next.

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They are scattered throughout the island and come in an array of colours. Many locals still occupy them.

 

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4. Rum shops

There are over 12,000 rum shops across the island. You can drive by and see many locals and tourist listening to music and enjoying rum in some of these tiny little bars.

Our island is famous for Mount Gay rum, dating back to 1703, the official rum of Barbados and known worldwide. You can also book yourself a rum tour at Mount Gay or  Malibu.

 

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A  typical rum shop in Holetown

 

5. Spa- Coral Reef Club

If you are looking for a Spa to relax and have a bit of pampering, the one at Coral Reef Club comes highly recommended. The colonial inspired property is on the West side of the island and offers a tranquil escape. They also offer Wellness retreat packages for foreigners, so be sure to check out their website for more details.

I am personally a huge fan of the hydro pool at the Spa.

 

IMG_6680                   Disclaimer: the pool is actually blue but I edited it to look teal green

 

For more information on Coral Reef Club, https://www.coralreefbarbados.com/The-Spa/About-The-Spa/

 

While this list is not the most comprehensive, to me it offers a variety of culture, unique experiences and of course some wellness related activities.

 

Stay tuned for Part 3 of my Barbados travel guide, which will cover where to stay.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them below.

xo

Jessy

 

 

 

Barbados Travel Guide : Where to Eat

Hello and welcome to the first of my three part travel guide  for Barbados!!

This has been one of my most excited and highly anticipated posts to date. As an experienced traveler (52 countries and counting), I tend to seek out off-the-beaten path recommendations wherever I travel to, especially from the locals of the area. On occasion I see travel guides on Barbados, and photos on social media, but they tend to be the same places on repeat. As a native of this paradise, I often get asked for advice on where to stay, what to do, and where to eat so I take great pride in sharing some of my favourite and sometimes not well known spots.

I knew that once my website was launched that it would be a matter of time before I shared my local perspective’s travel guide on Barbados, with some emphasis on a holistic and wellness approach. A couple weeks ago I went home to visit my family and thought it would be the ideal opportunity to collect the content I needed to put this piece together.

The first part of this guide is focused on where to eat. While some of these places aren’t necessarily part of my everyday diet, a large part of traveling includes experiencing the cuisine.

Below are some of my favourite restaurants and food spots that I recommend.

 

  1. Fresh Fruit & Veggie Stands 

Tropical destinations are synonymous with fruits like mangoes, pineapples, bananas, papayas and so forth. Fruit stands are common in Barbados, usually off the side of the road.

I highly recommend supporting local farmers and stopping off to buy some of nature’s skittles. Some of the local fruit include bananas, golden apples, carambola (star fruit or five fingers), mangoes, grapefruit and guava.

 

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This also includes coconut stands. Every time I arrive on the island, I make a beeline to one of these stands so I can get my dose of fresh coconut water and some coconut jelly.

 

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2. Cheapside Market 

The largest and busiest market from is in Bridgetown on Cheapside Road. This public market, open Thursdays to Saturdays,  is where many farmers and vendors sell their produce and craft. Many locals make it a ritual to shop here on a Saturday morning. If you love visiting local markets, then this place is worth checking out.

 

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3. Just Grillin 

This is my favourite restaurant on the island. There are several locations and many offer casual outdoor seating. As the name suggests, they grill everything- from the ocean catch of the day to chicken, steak, veggies and more.  The prices are reasonable  ($1.50 BDS is approx $1.00 CDN, $0.75 USD) so a steak with a side of veggies and salad is approx $28 CAD. As I don’t eat meat often, and the price is cheaper than Toronto, my go to tends to be the steak with a double side of grilled veggies (corn, squash, carrots).

 

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For more information: http://www.justgrillinbarbados.com

 

4. Oistin’s Fish Market 

Barbados is known as the “land of the flying fish”.  In fact the fish is one of the national symbols of the island often depicted on the Barbados Passport, coins, structures, and logos including the Barbados Tourism Authority.

 

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Home made flying fish, purchased from Oistins Fish Market 

 

Thus a visit would not be complete without trying flying fish and many other local fish, especially on a Friday night fish fry. One can enjoy grilled fish with some drinks (approx $ 35 BDS) while listening to some calypso and soca. But be warned, it gets very busy so be sure to head there by 5:45pm.

 

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         Fisherman showing his morning conquest 

 

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         The seating area of Oistins Fish Fry 

 

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             Typical fisherman boat on the island 

 

5. Tapas 

Tappas is located on the beach boardwalk by Hastings on the South of the island. It is one of my favourite spots especially because it is so close to the beach. You can hear the waves crashing and feel the salt water air as you enjoy a meal.

 

IMG_3360                                         View from one of my favourite seating area at Tapas 

You can choose to share a variety of dishes (hence tapas) or go for a larger meal of pasta, fish or meat. The dishes range from $20-$60BDS while the tapas are approx $20. I recommend the cerviche and quinoa salad or the fish cakes.

 

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                   Quinoa and Cerviche Dish 

 

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                    Thai Fish Cakes 

 

For more information: http://www.tapasbarbados.com

6. Cuz’s Fish Stand 

Any local on the island knows about Cuz for their fish cutters (sandwiches). This food truck is stationed outside Pebbles Beach. For $9 BDS you can either get fresh fish alone or with cheese in a salt bread (buns made with yeast and salt typical to Barbados). I am not a huge fan of sandwiches and don’t really eat bread but I love these fish cutters and usually grab a couple after a good paddle boarding/tanning session at Pebbles.

 

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There isn’t any seating but really who wants to sit by the shack when the beach is 20 steps away. Cuz is only opened during the week (weekends off) although there may be some fluctuations depending the time of year.

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7. Brown Sugar 

Brown Sugar is known as the home of Bajan cuisine. Located around the corner from Pebbles Beach, by the Garrison, this restaurant is in a former Bajan heritage home. They offer a la carte or buffet style, allowing you the opportunity to try various local and creole dishes. The prices range from $19 to $95, but the biggest bang for you buck is the buffet for $69 BDS.

 

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                Fried and steamed flying fish 

 

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                       Cou- Cou and lentil pea rice 

 

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                            Okra, Squash and Chinese cabbage 

 

This is my go to restaurant if I want to show others our island’s cuisine or if I want a more formal spot (and by formal I mean not in flip flops and a bikini). Some of my recommendations include pepperpot (it’s an Amerindian dish made of meat and spices), coucou and flying fish (our national dish), coconut beer shrimp, spice fish fillet, bajan rum burger, baked cinnamon plantain and much more.

 

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Amerindian dish of Pepperpot 

 

For more information: http://brownsugarbarbados.net

8. Raw Juice Barbados

Smoothie bowls are becoming more popular in places like Hawaii, Bali, Mexico and even North America. Barbados is no exception. Located inside Quayside Centre Plaza, across the street from the boardwalk and Accra beach, one can grab a smoothie drink or bowl. This is the perfect healthy snack, especially while trying to beat the heat and humidity.

 

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        Berries and peanut butter smoothies 

 

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Picnic of the beach with our smoothie bowls 

 

Other  Notable Recommendations:

  • Cin Cin

https://www.cincinbythesea.com

 

  • Champers

http://champersrestaurant.com

 

  • The Cliff 

http://www.thecliffbarbados.com/

 

  • Tides

http://www.thecliffbarbados.com/

 

  • The Fishpot 

https://www.littlegoodharbourbarbados.com/Barbados-Fine-Dining/

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Barbados travel guide, which will cover what to do.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them below.

xo

Jessy

 

 

TEA-licious: top Tea Cafes in Toronto

I frequently see blogs about coffee spots across the city, but not often do I encounter ones that cater specifically to TEA. If you are a non-coffee drinker like myself (never had a cup in my life), then tea may be your best alternative for a hot drink, especially on a cold winter day.

And just like my last blog post (top fitness studios in Toronto), I spent many months exploring cafes across the city as I compiled a list of my top spots. The places that I listed provided more than just a tea bag in hot water; I was looking for unique blends, tasty lattes, great ambiance and Pinterest-worthy decor.

 

  1. Early Bird Espresso & Brew Bar 

Located at 613 Queen Street West (Queen and Bathurst), Early Bird is one of my favourite cafes in the city. The patio upstairs is the perfect hideaway and the food is Instagram worthy AND heathy- double win.

 

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The tea menu is your typical selection that can be made with water or milk (almond, regular, soy). Their chai lattes was my go to but as of this summer, I became obsessed with their charcoal latte (charcoal and milk; no coffee. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog about all the benefits of charcoal).

 

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Charcoal Latte with Smoothie Bowl

 

In the winter or rainy day, the atmosphere is perfect for meeting a friend for a tea or doing some solo work with the many other entrepreneurs in there. You may get lucky and meet a new friend. I had an unexpected good chat with actress Troian Bellisario, who played Spencer Hastings on the popular show “Pretty LittleLiars” and wife to Patrick  Adams (Mike Ross from the  show “Suits”). In fact, I left her reading through my website so who knows, maybe she is reading this one too?

 

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Chai Latte with Almond Milk

 

2. Forget Me Not Cafe 

This is one of Toronto’s hidden gems for a coffee shop. It’s part retail store (dishes, jewellery and other hand made items) and part coffee shop. I walked past it many times for years before I ventured inside 506 Adelaide Street West.

 

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Forget Me Not makes one of my favourite tea lattes year round. In the summer I order an iced almond tea latte made with almond tea from the brand “Tealicious” (it gives it the pink colour pictured above) and almond milk. In the winter I order the same as a hot drink. And it tastes as yummy as it looks pretty.

 

3. Calii Love 

Calii Love is known for their Poke and smoothie bowls. During the opening week at the King Location, the owner made a tea latte for me that was unique and became a favourite of mine- coconut latte.

 

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They have a list of teas from the brand “Serenitea”, one of which is called “coconut dream”.  He made this for me with coconut milk and it was one of the tastiest tea lattes I have ever had. It’s not on the menu so you will have to ask for it explicitly, but the staff are always agreeable to making this tropical dream.

 

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http://caliilove.com

 

4. Sud Forno 

Sud Forno has a few spots across the city, but one of my favourite locations is on Queen street. They carry the “Sloane Fine Tea Merchant ” brand with flavours like Rouge Provence (rooibos French florals), Ginger Twist, Jasmine Snow Dragon, to name a few.

I usually grab the tea to go as I roam Queen street,  sit in Trinity Bellwoods or hang out in the back patio of Kit and Ace (pictured below).

 

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5.Cafe Cancan

This place blew up instragram this summer for its decor and cute patio. And I admit that I jumped on that bandwagon. While many frequent here for a meal, I think it would make the perfect tea date.

 

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They carry the Pluck brand tea, which you can request with milk for a latte or with water. I ordered an Earl Grey tea latte, pictured below.

 

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https://www.cafecancan.com

 

6. Simit and Chai

I go to this authentic Turkish cafe on 787 King Street W for a Simit (Turkish circular bread that I get with olive paste and prosciutto) and a Chai. On occasion, however, I get the Turkish black tea , which has a unique yet rich taste that I enjoy.

 

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7.Maman Tea

I first stumbled on this cute cafe in NYC and was pleasantly surprised to find out that they have a location in Toronto at the First Canadian Place on King Street. The decor of Maman is top notch including their bathroom!

 

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Maman  carries the Sloane brand tea. But they are also known for their Blueberry Lavender Loaves. I am not a fan of pastries and cakes, especially if they haven’t been made with minimal processed ingredients. However, this loaf is one of the few pasties I enjoy and I usually compliment it with the “Rooibos French Florals”  tea latte.

 

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http://mamantoronto.com

 

8.Jacked Up Coffee 

You can’t venture into Yorkville without noticing this bright blue truck parked on Yorkville Avenue. Jack, the owner, is often manning the truck during the weekdays and brings with him some serious barista skills from many countries (Australia, England).

 

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While Jacked Up Coffee is known for their coffee, they also sell tea (by the Genuine Tea Company). The atmosphere there is perfect for grabbing a cup of peppermint or English breakfast tea while people watching.

 

http://www.jackedupcoffee.com

 

9.The Poet Cafe 

This Persian inspired cafe is located on King East and offers customers an atmosphere  reminiscent of Old Tehran. I’m a huge fan of unique business, and while many boast of the cuisine here, I love the vibe the Poet cafe brings to the city.

 

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One of my favourite chai lattes in the city comes from here as they make an in house chai syrup consisting of saffron, rose, cardamon, black tea and honey.

 

https://www.thepoetcafe.com

 

10.Rooster House Coffee 

With a few locations across the city, Rooster house is becoming one of the more popular coffee shops in the city. I’ve gone to both their King and Jarvis locations a few dozen times and I have never seen it empty (even at opening and closing time).

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The Jarvis location remains one of my favourite decorated cafes. I love the old English vibe that makes me feel like I am trapped in time.

 

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They are also one of the few cafes that has more than a chai tea latte on the menu. Two of my favourites tea lattes from here are the Ginger Honey Tea Latte (perfect if you are feeling sick) and the Toasty Almond Latte.

http://roostercoffeehouse.com

 

11.Music Garden Cafe 

Music Garden Cafe is a quaint little spot on the Harborfront. I used to live in the area and love the decor (especially at Christmas) which made me feel like I was sitting at my grandma’s home. Also, the location is perfect for a grab-n-go tea followed by a stroll along the waterfront.

 

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They cary the brand “Two Leaves and a Bud” tea with a variety of flavours but my go to is usually the organic mountain high chai.

 

12.Versus Coffee

I am obsessed with the minimalist look so I was instantly drawn to Versus. The customer service and the fact that they are an independent company were also bonuses for my attraction towards them.

 

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Versus also carries the Genuine Tea brand, my favourite of which is the vanilla rooibos flavour. I rotate between getting this as a latte with almond milk or with just water.

 

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13.The Place 

I was turning around the corner from the Flat Iron Building off of Church street when I randomly stumbled on The Place- a flower shop complimented with a cafe. French music played in the background of this fairly quiet cafe, which immediately drew me in.

 

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Their signature latte is the rose latte- but it is coffee based. Seeing that I wanted to try these rose petals but omit the coffee flavour, the barista created a unique latte for me that I must share with you – a cinnamon tea latte garnished with rose petals. It isn’t on the menu but I encourage you to request it if you go.

 

14.Her Majesty’s Pleasure

One of the most popular spots in the city for a bachelorette or birthday, Her Majesty’s pleasure is often sought out for their cocktails and spa services. But the bright atmosphere, leaf-printed cushions and metallic decor just screams for you to come in and enjoy a spot of tea. It is called Her Majesty, after all.

 

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As with many of the places that carry the Sloane tea brand, you can enjoy as a latte or with hot water. And maybe as a bonus while you sip away, you can book yourself a quick manicure.

http://www.hermajestyspleasure.ca

 

15.Kitten and the Bear

This tiny little tea room in Queen West offers only 2 seating arrangements for a jam and tea service – a 2 seater and a 3 seater table. I am a huge advocate for balance so I had no problem enjoying their freshly made scones with gelatin-free all natural jams to compliment my Sloane tea.

 

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They don’t take reservations so be sure to visit off peak hours or take your chances coming down there. The quaint atmosphere and intimate service though will make it worth your while. You can however grab a tea to go, but I would recommend sitting down for high tea.

 

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https://www.kittenandthebear.com

 

16.Plentea 

Plentea is almost exclusively just teas- probably  one of the few cafes heavily void of a coffee selection. Hello Tea heaven!

 

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This spot is another one of my favourite spots namely because they offer a large variety of tea and tea lattes . Some of my recommendations here include coconut cream, black velvet, and for the fall flavours like numeric milk and pumpkin.

 

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http://www.plentea.ca

 

17.Infuse Cafe 

Another unique tea only spot is just steps away from Eaton Centre. So this Christmas while you are doing your shopping, be sure to check this cafe out. They also serve iced teas so the perfect spot year round

Their teas range from herbal, green, black, organic milk, white and oolong.

Some of my favourites include: apple pie, scarlet rose, turmeric ginger, chocolate chai and marshmallow smores.

 

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http://www.infusecafe.ca

 

18.Strange Love Coffee

With a couple locations in Toronto, the Spadina one became increasingly popular this summer namely because of its pink instagrammble “Toronto” sign mural painted outside the cafe.

 

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They serve gelato and coffee, but the teas shouldn’t be ignored. Specifically if you are a matcha lover, then you will want to try out their seasonal “gingerbread matcha latte”.

 

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https://www.strangelovecoffee.ca

 

19.Fika Cafe

Fika is a Swedish word, meaning “to have coffee”. So it is no surprise that someone was bound to name a coffee shop “Fika”.

 

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Fika is nestled in Kensington Market and is one of my favourite cafes in the city (I am aware I wrote that a lot but when there are hundreds of cafes, have a handful of favourites is inevitable). It takes the cake for decor, atmosphere and teas. I am yet to figure out how or why, but their chai lattes are the best. They use the Genuine Tea brand but the baristas admit to adding both honey and cinnamon to the milk, giving it an even more enjoyable flavour.

 

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https://www.fika.ca

 

20.Dineen

In the hustle and bustle of the Financial district, Dineen offers many city goers coffee both on the go and in store. It is rare to find it peaceful in there as the energy of Toronto is evident. And one can’t help but feed off of it.

 

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My go to at Dineen is the Chai latte. I admit that this place is a high contender for atmosphere and decor. Many bloggers and instagrammers are often seen taking photos of their drinks showcased above the patterned tiles (case in point below).  Often in the summer I will sit on the road side patio with friends or people watch.

 

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http://dineencoffee.com

 

21.Light cafe 

Light Cafe is a Taiwanese inspired cafe that takes pride in their decor (green plant covered wall) and presentation. They stand by an interesting philosophy ” Eat fresh. Live true. Stay hungry”.

 

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While they are known to many for their charcoal waffles and cotton candy coffee, they do make some pretty tasty teas including their Earl Grey Rose latte.

http://lightcafe.ca

 

22.Balzac’s Coffee Roasters

Balzac’s is growing coffee company with 13 locations across Canada. They are highly rated for their coffees, and this summer they became known for serving coffee in a cone!

 

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Their teas are not to be overlooked. Specifically they serve an organic chai tea, which unlike many places, is not too sweet (I like to taste the spices in my chai latte, not the sugar).

http://www.balzacs.com