DSC08861-3Kōst | 80 Blue Jays Way | ★★★★ | $$$

The warm weather has finally arrived to Toronto, meaning all of the winter hermits (read: me) are crawling out of their hibernation dens, stretching their stiff limbs, and are ready to reconnect with old friends and explore the city’s gems once again.

Kōst is the BISHA Hotel’s 44th floor rooftop restaurant. The food is Baja-Mexican, and the space is absolutely beautiful. The hotel itself is still relatively new, having opened last September. In the warmer months, the doors to the patio open up to the pool and bar, offering unreal views of the city and the CN Tower. I can’t stress how valuable it is to begin your meal here while the sun is still shining so you get the full experience of the restaurant’s design and great location. Kōst is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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Kōst has “sunset hour” every day from 4-7pm – buck a shuck and half-priced wine. Our reservation was at 6:30pm, so when our server came around and told us to act fast, we acted fast. Who can say no to dollar oysters and cheap wine!?

The interior design of this restaurant is every Cali-lover’s dream. Bright and airy, filled with light warm wood and punches of white, green, and blue. It’s the perfect aesthetic. The restaurant also opens up to a beautiful full-perimeter patio in the summer months, featuring the BISHA Hotel’s Instagram-famous pool and a bar. The Thompson Hotel has some stiff competition here.

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After the oysters, we started with the ahi tuna ceviche (very refreshing) and the littleneck clams (made with a mezcal broth). For our shared mains, we split the dry-aged ribeye (the truffle crema is to. die. for.), the ricotta agnolotti, and a side of broccolini. My only wish was for the agnolotti to come in a bigger portion. I could have eaten four plates of that alone.

For dessert, we shared the tres leche cake and the chocolate molten lava cake. As expected, the lava cake was extremely rich and decadent, but the tres leche cake was a masterpiece. I could have eaten a whole 16″x24″ pan of just that cake.

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Overall, we really enjoyed the food and the service was very friendly. We had so much catching up to do after not seeing each other for so long that our meal spanned 4 hours. It was a perfect night.

I absolutely can’t wait to come back soon in the warmer months – both for the food and the incredible views of the city.

Every month, my friends and I try a different restaurant in Toronto that we’ve never been to before in search of great food and delicious drinks. Have a recommendation for us to try? Let me know in the comments below!

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Going to the Toronto Christmas Market is an annual tradition for Amanda and I. Now in its seventh year, what I love most about the market is its uncanny ability to get me into the Christmas spirit, even though it’s still November. The light canopies, the music lightly drifting through the air, the vendor stalls selling decorations, the Christmas tree! It fills my heart with joy and cheer, and after the week I’d had, spending Saturday afternoon at the market was a sweet experience.

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I love browsing through the vendor offerings. The round-up slightly changes every year, but there are always a few familiar ones, like the candles from La Vela Bella (the pear candle smells so good). 

There are also a few good food options if you’re feeling hungry, from grilled cheese sandwiches to chimney cones. My biggest disappointment was not seeing the Wafel Bar stall. I have had a craving for waffles for months and I do not own a waffle iron. Christmas gift, anyone?

The market is also a good chance to visit some of the shops and restaurants in the Distillery District if you don’t often get to stroll through. Peruse a gallery, do some shopping at the specialty stores, and grab dinner at the Mill Street Brewery.

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Amanda loves the red noses they give you when you enter the market. I thought about not taking one, but just knew she’d want a photo like this one.

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We had the good fortune of visiting the market on a relatively warm afternoon, but as the weather gets chillier, be sure to layer up! On this afternoon, I opted for a cozy sweater and leggings (Black Friday steals from Express), a peacoat, and heeled boots.

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A visit to the Christmas Market (or just the Distillery District) mandates a warm drink from Balzac’s. My go-to order is a Parisian Mist with nonfat milk, especially comforting on these chillier days. In the mood for something with a kick? Visit the various beer gardens for mulled wine, cider, beer, or a variety of other holiday beverages. The options are endless.

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Seriously, she loves the noses.

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My favourite part of the market this year was the addition of the pink trees. So pink! So twinkly! It’s a small maze (there’s only one turn) you can line up to walk through and take a few photos. I wish there had been a full forest of them. My love of pink has never blazed so hard as it did amongst these trees.

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The market runs until December 22nd, so don’t miss your chance to peruse the shops, sip on a warm beverage (alcoholic or not), gaze at the lights and installations, and feel that lovely holiday cheer. Entry is free on weekdays (closed Mondays) and only $6 on the weekend. The countdown to Christmas is on!

Featured Outfit //
Peacoat: Primark; Sweater & Leggings: Express; Necklace: Forever21, Rings: H&M; Shoes: Spring; Lip: NARS

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My extended family gathers every summer to camp out in Ontario’s beautiful outdoors. This year, we visited Grundy Lake Provincial Park and spent the Canada Day Long weekend under the stars.

I absolutely love these camping trips. Not only does it give us time away from city life and the everyday hustle and bustle, it allows my extraordinarily large family to have a getaway together. Some of our best family memories have been made on these trips.

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Mamakas | 80 Ossington Avenue | ★★★★ | $$$

Over the last year, Mamakas has been repeatedly named as the best Greek restaurant in Toronto. That comes as no surprise, as the stretch of Ossington between Dundas and Queen hosts some of the city’s best restaurants (looking at you, Union and Pizzeria Libretto).

This taverna has been building its name on its offering of classic Greek fare against a “contemporary canvas”, which is to say that each dish has a lovely authentic, yet fresh and modern quality to it. The space is designed to feel like you’ve been transported to a family restaurant in Greece, where all of the dishes are meant to be shared and the seafood comes from the bustling open air fish markets earlier that morning.

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One of the best feelings this time of year is seeing everyone getting into the Christmas spirit. The twinkling lights go up, the trees are trimmed, and everyone is bustling to prepare for the season’s numerous parties and shop for gifts. I love seeing the city come alive with the holidays.

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Toronto’s Christmas Market in the Distillery District is one of the city traditions that I love to take part in. This year, Amanda and I visited the market on a surprisingly warm Saturday afternoon. After picking up our weekend entry tickets (it’s free on weekdays!), we queued in a relatively short line, grabbed our free Rudolph noses, and headed into the fray.

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