A Mexican Food Adventure (Part I)

Many people know me as someone who works in the Wine Industry, writes about wine, shares on social media and travels. But, not many know that I started my career in Tourism and Travel. I actually worked at my Mom’s Travel Agency (Vista Travel Olds) after finishing College. I took continuing education courses to become a Certified Travel Consultant a few years later. I’ve worked full time to part time and casually every since.

When I worked full time, it was hands down, the happiest job I’ve had – sending people on a vacation, guarantees way more smiles than it does frowns! So all of this to say, travel is in my blood and I’d say I do it well (now). There is however, always room for improvement ;).

In early May, I attended a conference with my Mom just south of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Because these years I’ve worked “outside of Travel”, I’ve secretly  been working with my Mom and her office in some way, shape or form!

a stop at Vino Volo at the Airport for wine & pizza

So I decided to fly via Hamilton, Ontario (to see cousins), then hop on a non-stop flight to Cancun and spend 48 hours on my own, touring and soaking up the sun before my Mom arrived!

Because, why would I NOT do this?!

So let me start by sharing about my time in Hamilton, Ontario. No typing error. Hamilton. Yes, the former steel city that can resurrect itself as an artsy, culinary destination. My cousins are avid foodies and adventurers, and just moved to the area within the last couple of years from Toronto. So they of course planned a culinary tour (Donita style) of Hamilton for us!

Stop #1 – a visit to the Hamilton City Market. A great place to get inspired for cooking at home and discovering local small vendors making yummy things, including local wines!


Stop #2 Radius for Lobster Poutine & Korean Fried Cauliflower along with a cocktail to kick things off. A casual and big space, fun menu and definitely turns into an evenings spot to enjoy drinks and dinner. Loved the exposed Brick and atmosphere.

This photo of Radius is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Stop # 3 – Berkeley North for Mushroom Dumplings, Shishito Tempura Peppers and a rotating fresh in-season menu with a vegetable focus & a good little wine list of local and Int’l wines. Try the Leaning Post Winery Chardonnay from Niagara Wine Region and/or the Sunset Winery Dolcetto from Italy. This was one of my favourite stops. It’s a smaller restaurant with intention in what they create in the kitchen and what they have on their wine list. 

Stop #4 – Brux House for a beer flight and Tamarind Rum Pork Ribs and Miso Hoisin Brussel Sprouts and dessert. I am not sure how we still had space to eat more, but we did! A great place in an old house, with a bar and seating downstairs or upstairs. Delicious food and a great place for beers!

That was a fantastic culinary and drinking tour of Hamilton! Don’t underestimate this comeback city!

Part II will be all about Playa del Carmen, Mexico!



Rooftoppin’ in New York City

Wow, where did the time go?! It’s been months since I’ve posted! Well…. here come a few related to travel, wine, food and cocktails!

Who doesn’t love New York City? I suppose a few, but I’m guessing most like the vibe of the city, the sights and of course the people. I recently visited some friends out in Long Island and we spent a day touring New York City from up above… rooftop to rooftop. No, not like some super powered hero, jumping from one roof to another. We visited rooftop bars throughout the city, and enjoyed wine, beer and cocktails and great views! Have a look at what we did, and add it to your “to do” list for New York!

The map shows us moving Downtown to Uptown, West side to East side.

1)      Grand Bankshttp://www.grandbanks.org/   Pier 25, Hudson River Park.  On the water on the West Side Highway.

they had a fantastic list of rosé on tap!


a floating restaurant & bar!


local New York Oysters

2)      Jane Rooftophttp://www.thejanenyc.com/   113 Jane Street. **A hidden gem atop an old heritage hotel, I opted for a refreshing local beer to enjoy with the beautiful sunset**

3)      Plunge @ The Gansevoort.  http://www.plunge.nyc/  18 Ninth Ave & 13th St. **Make this one a Quick stop for the view, not for the service or the wine list ;)**

4)      PHD Lounge @ the Dream Downtown.  http://phdlounge.com/home/  355 W 16th Street between 8th & 9th.  **May need reservations after 8pm, but before that, here’s what you can enjoy, good snack food and a good wine list!**

5)      Alternate if it is raining – The Tipplerhttp://www.thetippler.com/  425 W 15th Street between 9th & 10th.

6)      Gallow Green @ The McKittrick Hotel.    https://mckittrickhotel.com/gallow-green  542 W 27thStreet between 10th & 11th.  **Reservations recommended – we couldn’t get a seat, so had to stand, and it’s a big patio**


7)      Cloud Socialhttp://www.cloudsocialnyc.com/ 6 W 32nd St between 5th & 6th. **A busy but cool kind of vibe**


Our last stop was a surprise find…. Spyglass Rooftop Bar http://www.spyglassnyc.com At Archer Hotel
47 West 38th Street / 22nd floor (between 5th and 6th Avenues) **look at the view!! Empire State Building!!**

view from the bar!


We finished off our rooftoppin’ tour here at Spyglass. And it was the perfect place to order a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne NV by the glass! Superb!

Here is the rest of the tour, if we hadn’t run out of time!…

8)      Refinery Rooftophttp://refineryrooftop.com/  63 W 38th St between 5th & 6th. **We did stop here, but it was a full on nightclub, vs. a restaurant and lounge, so we carried on! During the day might be better.**

9)      Salvation Taco @ Pod39 Hotel rooftophttp://www.salvationtaco.com/menus/ 145 E 39th St between Lex & 3rd.

10)  Aretsky’s Patroon Townhousehttp://www.aretskyspatroon.com/ 160 E 46th Street between Lex & 3rd. For dinner en route.

11)  Haven Rooftop @ The Sanctuary Hotel.  http://www.havenrooftop.com/  132 W 47th St between 6th & 7th.

Harmony Vineyards & Art Gallery

And if you have time to venture around Long Island…I found a quaint little winery! Stop in for lunch or just a tasting at Harmony Vineyards & Art Gallery .

For an additional list of bars under or on the ground in New York City, check out this cool list: https://www.thrillist.com/drink/new-york/secret-nyc-bar-speakeasy-hidden

And a local, well-connected mixologist here in Vancouver, recommended some bars serving up the best cocktails by the best bartenders, check out his article: http://justcocktails.com/2014/11/24/best-lesson-pdtnyc-pdtvan-pop/

Enjoy! xo