What we did in Maui

We went to Maui to attend a wedding that was being held in Olowalu (west side), so we stayed in Lahaina for most of our vacation (also west side, where the resorts were). We stayed at the Royal Lahaina resort, which was BEAUTIFUL. I believe we booked through Costco travel, which was the cheapest and included a car rental.


This was our fucking view every day from our balcony. On the right is the ocean. AMAZING. BEAUTIFUL. UNREAL.


Number 1 recommendation: The acai bowl from BAYA BOWL in Lahaina.

The berry smoothie base, the insanely sweet fresh fruit, the crunch of the coconut and granola. UGH. So good we basically went back three times in one week.


I couldn’t really find a poke place that everyone recommended as a MUST GO. But lots of people said go to Foodland near our resort, and we did. It was great. SO much selection. Tastes like the sea! Ervin went nuts. We actually bought a lot of snacks, food, and beer at Foodland because food is expensive at restaurants.


Saw a cool giant banyan tree in downtown Lahaina. The in-laws took some submarine tour that we didn’t want to go on, so we wandered around Lahaina. Cool little walkable town.


We went to the Old Lahaina Luau. There were two to choose from in our area, but this one was supposed to be better. Make reservations. Bottomless drinks and traditional Hawaiian buffet with a great show! Lots of history, dancing, and right on the water. The food was good, the drinks were great, and the show was mesmerizing!


Here’s us being tourists!

The couple invited the whole family out to Kimo’s (Lahaina). The view from the patio was spectacular. Right on the water. Food was good iirc, but nothing reaaally stood out. I just remember it being good. We didn’t pay so I don’t know what the pricing is like.


Had shaved ice because apparently that’s the thing to do in Hawaii. It’s like Taiwanese shave ice except instead of being creamy, it’s more like sweet syrup fruity. I guess kind of like a sno-cone… but better? Pretty good but nothing crazy.


Cute shop pie shop. Pies were good. Nothing crazy, but good pie. We went here before leaving for the airport.


The only hike we did: The Waikhee Ridge Trail. Ervin only made it up about a half hour haha. But if you get to the top of the ridge, you get basically a 360 view of the island. SO BEAUTIFUL. Peaceful. We went really early, probably like 6 or 7 in the morning. No one was around. Not too hot. It was great!!!


We took a whole day to drive out to Hana – the eastern tip of the island. Usually people recommend staying the night in Hana before heading back because you definitely DO NOT want to be driving those roads at night. It’s very dark (no lights), and VERY windy (like switchback curves, not air flow haha). So our plan to do it in one day was to leave early and not stop at every stop on the way to Hana.


First stop was Ho’okipa Lookout. This is a world-famous windsurfing beach. Very cool to watch dozens of windsurfers flow in and out. Calming to watch from afar but focussing on each surfer gave an adrenaline rush.


We doubled back about 10 minutes for our reservations at Mama’s Fish House. It is the most famous/popular/best restaurant on Maui. The view is AMAZING. Romantic. Quintessential Hawaii. Lots of famous people go here. The food was GREAT – local, fresh, seasonal.


Fat, fresh oysters with a passionfruit mignonette. THE BEST OYSTERS I’VE EVER HAD. Period. Pointe finale.


However, super super expensive. We probably tipped about $40, so $220 for 2 apps and 2 mains,  very much on the pricey side, but very good. I think I’d be happy with it if we paid $200 CAD but in USD, it tipped it over to the too pricey to come again. Maybe for like a 25-year or 50-year anniversary.


Twin Falls – there’s a cute fruit stand and it’s a short hike (5-15 minutes) to the Falls. It’s cute, picturesque, people having fun and swimming. Not the most beautiful waterfall I’ve seen, but it’s cool to see a tropical waterfall compared to the ones we have in Hamilton (Waterfall Capital of the World, what-whaat). You also get to see lots of small waterfalls trickling along the road as you drive to Hana.

So a small note about the drive itself. Lots of switchbacks – beautiful, fun, lush, green! Coastal views at parts. There are some blind curves, and some parts where you have to yield to opposite traffic because the road only fits one car. Fun drive, but definitely advanced driving.


Halfway to Hana landmark! Little shack. Sells banana bread. Bought banana bread for photo. Banana bread is basic and regular. Good, but not unlike any other banana bread you’ve ever had.20171003_153328.jpg

Next stop: Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach state park. Very cool! Checked this off my bucket list. We probably spent almost an hour here. At this point we’re pretty tired, and got talking to people who got to Hana. It was only ten minutes away, but they said it was just a small town with not much to see.

In our research, people are often saying it’s about the journey – the things you see on the way to Hana – not the destination that is important. So we decided at this point to turn around instead of driving all the way around. Maybe if you stayed the night in Hana, you could do a hike on the east end of the island.

So on our way back, we stopped at Da Kitchen in Kahului, which I think we saw on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The portions were HUGE. And the prices were the most reasonable that we’d seen all trip (aside from Foodland). Like seriously gigantic portions. I ate to my heart’s content and didn’t even make a dent. Anyway, pictured above is a Loco Moco – a Hawaiian specialty. We probably ate like 4 of these on our trip. Fried rice with a hamburger patty, fried egg, and gravy. So so so so good and such a comfort food. We also had the deep friend spam musubi here. Very good. Very satisfied with our meal here.

I definitely recommend this place.


So we went out for a family trip out to Kihei. We went to what is touted as the best sushi in Maui -. The food was AMAZING. I don’t think we had a single bad dish.

But you know what was even better? We happened to go on a half price event. BY ACCIDENT. Here’s our bill:


This was the bill for 5 people for very high end sushi. SO GOOD.

So we went on a Sunday (but I believe the deal is for Mondays too). The restaurant opens at 5pm. From 5pm-6pm, it’s 50% off. Line up before 4:30 AT LEAST to make sure you get a table before happy hour is over. It’s an AMAZING deal.

We didn’t get to go to all the places we wanted to go:

  • Geste Shrimp Truck – Everyone says you HAVE to get garlic shrimp from a truck, and this one came highly recommended. Unfortunately for us, we tried to go 3 times but it was closed all three times. Just bad luck for us because we just weren’t in the area at the right times.
  • Aloha Mixed Plate – also was closed the day we were available to go
  • JAWZ Taco Lunch Truck – Also just didn’t make it out there

Anyways, I think that’s it for our trip. Hope yours is just as amazing! We didn’t do much because of the wedding, but also because we wanted to try out a vacation where it wasn’t all GO! GO! GO!

Enjoy some of these other pics as a send-off. Maui was beautiful, relaxing, and fulfilling.


Apparently some sea turtles down here.


Sunset at the wedding.20171002_075451.jpg

Taking a pic of your husband VS


Your husband taking a pic of you…


Views for days.


Look how young and relaxed we are.



You are probably here because you asked for recommendation of things I did on my trip out east, so without further ado.


Our route – the odometer read approx. 5800km over 11 days

We started off in Hamilton and drove to Montreal to pick up a friend (5.5hr) and stopped for a quick lunch at a Québecois classic.


La Belle Province

A chain restaurant that serves up the poutine I think about when I think about poutine. The submarine (buncha meats and veggies and french dressing) is what I used to get after school and is either delicious or nostalgic or both.

After lunch, we began our drive towards Métis-sur-mer for our friend’s wedding (6.5hr).


Spectacular sunsets on Metis beach

We stayed in cabins at Domaine Annie, which was recommended by our friends who were getting married. The chalets had an amazing view of the St. Lawrence river and was just a few steps from the rocky beach.

We ate at Le Matelot, a well-loved seafood restaurant – it was okay (3.5/5), good seafood but nothing mindblowing. We also ate at a casse croute called “Place Petit Miami” at the intersection of Rue Beach and Route 132. Just a regular snack-bar, but coming from Toronto, a $3 cheeseburger is an anomaly and I wouldn’t have even been mad if they had brought out a plate of dirt. I had my first lobster roll here ($12 with fries).

Next, we drove out to Forillon National Park (4hr) to hike Cap Bon Ami, the tip of Quebec’s “tongue”.


Entrance fee was $7.50pp. Hike was moderate but we were lucky to have cooler weather (15 degrees) so we weren’t burning on the way up. We hiked up to a observation tower that gave you 360 degree views of Gaspesian coast.

After our hike, we drove to Percé to spend the night (45 minutes).


The Percé Rock

Apparently this rock is super famous, but I had never heard of it. Look at how the sun hits the rock at sunset. This magical moment lasted barely a half hour.


Bonaventure Island

Because the sun sets in the west, the rays spray across the sky turning it a cotton candy colour which is then reflected in the water. Sitting along the pebble beach with ice cream cones in 9 degree weather was serene, beautiful, and an almost mystical experience.

I heard that tourists to Percé take day trips out to Bonaventure island.


Dinner at Comptoir Monsieur Emile. It was fancy (a bit pricey) and they use all local and seasonal ingredients. We were dressed in hiking gear but as I’ve learned from my asian family, my money is as good as anyone else’s. The food was A+, the view is A++.


Our airbnb was the HIGHLIGHT of our trip. The hosts of the bed and breakfast also sled huskies in the winter so they live on the property. They slept just outside our window and we got to play with the puppies. The host also made us a wonderful breakfast in the morning where we got to eat with other travellers staying there.

The next morning we drove to Shediac (6.5 hr) to spend 5 minutes taking photos with a giant lobster.


Next was Hopewell Rocks (1hr).


If you go during low tides (pictured above), you can walk on the ocean floor. Bay of Fundy has the world’s highest tides, so during high tide, you can rent kayaks to paddle around the rocks. You can find the times for high and low tide on the website.

We then drove to the Tidal Bore Rafting Resort (2h45m) where we were staying the night.


We arrived at 11pm, which is a shame because the facilities were so amazing. I wish we could have spent several days here. Super clean, safe, fire pit, bbq.

The next day, we went out tidal rafting on the resort. While I couldn’t bring a phone (and you wouldn’t want to anyway) here’s a video of what it’s like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX7NXCH7zJo

  1. When they offer you the spare shoes to wear, take them. You walk into the water with them, so you don’t want your shoes to be soaking wet and take 2 days to dry (like I did).
  2. When they say the entire boat fills with water… it does. At some points, the water level was up to my chest.
  3. The water, while it looks like chocolate milk, tastes like sea water.

Next, we drove to Halifax (1hr).


We stopped at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market for the best lobster roll I had all trip from Gold Water. $17 for lobster roll and chips (or salad). FULL of fresh lobster in a buttery roll. UGH. So good.

Took a day trip out to Peggy’s cove (45m one way).



Picturesque, can’t even take a bad picture here. So serene. Lots of tourists but still tranquil. At least it was for us. The drive up to the lighthouse has such an alien terrain.

For dinner, we had donairs at King of Donair and Tony’s Donair and Pizza. Can’t leave Halifax without having them. They’re like spiced doner kabobs with a sweet garlic sauce. I prefer King of Donair, but Tony’s has a crispier pita. Both are good, KoD sells meat and sauce so that you can take home and recreate (which I did). Kept everything on ice until we made it back to Toronto.


We stayed the night in Halifax, but before we left, we went to The Canteen for a Crobster Roll (Crab and Lobster) in Dartmouth. It was full and buttery and had lots of dill. Pricy (I think it was $22 after tax and tip for just the sandwich). Not worth the price but good nonetheless.

If you’re going between Halifax and Dartmouth, pay the $1 to cross the toll bridge and save yourself 30 minutes of going around.

The next few days called for rain, so we decided to get a jump on it, and hiked the Skyline Trail (5hr) on Cape Breton island before the rain.


I would consider the trail pretty easy. Well paved with loose gravel, wide, mostly flat, and the payoff of the wide Atlantic is pretty fantastic.

We stayed the night in Sydney with family (2h30m).


My cousin took us to Black Spoon Bistro in North Sydney because I asked her to take us for the best seafood chowder and gosh darnit this was the best seafood chowder I’d ever had. Very reasonable prices. I need a place like this back home.

Apparently the Lobster Pound nearby also has amazing seafood chowder (recommended by locals).

The next day, we headed back to the Cabot Trail (1h45m).


We hiked the Franey Trail. This trail was DIFFICULT. I was huffing and puffing. Steep staircase climbs. We didn’t do the loop, just to out to the lookout and back and it was still 8km. The views were fantastic with well appreciated wind at the second lookout. The pictures don’t do it justice here.


We stayed the night at an “equipped camping” site offered by Parks Canada at Ingonish Beach. For $70, they provide all the equipment you require – tent, cooking equipment, firepit, utensils, etc. You just need to provide your sleeping accoutrements and food. We forgot to bring a pillow (big mistake) and sleeping on the thin sleeping pads kind of sucked. An air mattress would be better.

For $100, you can get an otentik , which was bigger (more cabin-y), sturdier, seems more comfortable, sleeps six, and actually has mattresses and a door. I would recommend that.

The next day, it was time to head home. We stopped by Lick-a-chick for lunch after going to Cabot’s Landing (just a quick monument)

20180629_124724 copy

With a name like this, we had to go in. The fries were nostalgic, the chicken was reminiscent of KFC but less salty. BUT the chicken was so soft.

That was the end of the trip and it was time to go home. We took one last small hike to see some waterfalls at Victoria Park (4h).


Short and sweet hike (1.8km round trip) that was nice for us to stretch our legs. An easy hike, paved, and had lots of families.

We stayed the night in Fredericton (4h) and ate at St. Mary’s Fish and Chips. $13 for 3 pieces of fish, an upgraded side (deep fried pickles) and coleslaw. The man behind the counter was SO nice, and the fish was meaty, well battered, delicious. I wouldn’t travel far for it, but if you’re in Fredericton, I would definitely recommend.

The next morning, we went to see another giant attraction – the World’s Largest Axe in Nackawic (45m) which was on our way home.


Set in a beautiful park and very big.

I then dropped my friend off in Montreal (8h) and then just drove the rest of the way home to Toronto (6h).

If you have any questions, please reach out.

My Canada

It seems like this past week has been heartbreaking both locally and nationally. It began with the suicide of a colleague’s friend, continued with the murder of Quebec soldier,  Patrice Vincent, the terrorist triple shooting in Ottawa and murder of another soldier, Nathan Cirillo from my hometown of Hamilton, and concluded by the death of two Burlington teenagers. My heart cried for these people and their family and friends who lost a loved one so suddenly.

As the news of more deaths came with each passing day, so close to home, my heart sank further and further. Speaking to the murders of the soldiers, definitive acts of hate and rage against our country, they sought to tear down our spirit. However, the outpouring of love and support, both from Canadians and others worldwide, came as a swell. It rose up loud, strong, telling the attackers that we as Canadians will not be afraid. We will honour the dead as heroes, and we will not let the perpetrators gain the infamy they so crave.

Tomorrow, Hamilton honours Nathan Cirillo, and Canada stands by his side. Our community coming together with love makes me proud to be Canadian. No, I was not born here, but Canada is my culture and my pride.

I’m the kind of person that, no matter how long I’ve been out of the country, gets a knot in my throat and a bit teary-eyed every time the border or airport security guard says “Welcome home.” Canada is my favourite country. I’ll travel anywhere and everywhere, but I’ll never settle anywhere but here.

I just wanted to put that out there, and share this chilling video of the Highway of Heroes tradition, honouring fallen soldiers along Canada’s largest autoroute. I cried for our heroes, for our country, and at the amazing show of love and patriotism.

O, Canada.

Charlie’s Chopsticks Grand Opening

Charlie's Chopsticks Logo

My little brother got the chance to be a part of the creation of a new fresh take out restaurant! How very exciting. I got the chance to go in and sample everything and share my experience with you.

If you have passed 970 Upper James (right near the Linc) recently, you may have noticed this little shop open up in the sex shop plaza. Leading up to their grand opening, they have been giving out samples of all their menu items for everyone who walked in.

Charlie’s Chopsticks is a custom asian open concept kitchen that caters to those who want to eat well, healthy, and quickly.

Sushi Cut

Charlie’s Chopsticks offers three main items: Rolls (Sushi & Summer), Rice Dishes, and Drinks. When you walk into the store, you’ll immediately see the counter with the main ingredients that you can choose to customize your meal.

Sushi roll charlie's chopsticks

The first thing I had was the sushi roll. I really like how you really just get to choose whatever you want to make your own custom sushi roll just the way you like it. I think you can have a maximum of 5 items, which is a ton to fit inside one roll. I chose to put my favourite items: salmon, crab stick, cucumber, sweet egg, and mango. It was pretty cool to watch them roll my sushi.

sushi cutter

This blew my mind the most. They put the sushi roll into this machine and it cuts it all up for you. WHAT?! So cool. Where do I get one for my house? My carrots would be such even sizes.

Charlie's Chopsticks Sauces

This is the part that gets really interesting. In addition to the soy sauce that you usually get with sushi, you have a range of other sauces you can try too. Their spicy mayo is particularly interesting. It’s not just the Kewpie Mayo (or baby mayo, as we call it in my house) & Sriracha combination that you basically get everywhere else, but this has a great hint of ginger to it as well. I loved it. One of the workers encouraged me to try the wafu sauce as well, which is a Japanese sesame dressing, and I’m glad I did because that tasted great with the fresh sushi. I don’t have anything else to compare the wafu sauce to though, but it was great.

There is also a few secret sauces. The two of my favourite being Honey Peach and my absolute favourite: Maple Ginger. I just could not get enough of that Maple Ginger. Just the right amount of sweetness and savouriness.

Custom Summer Roll Charlie's Chopsticks

The next thing I tried were the Summer rolls that they offered. Patrons of Vietnamese restaurants may know them as fresh rolls. They are basically any ingredient you like, wrapped up in a rice paper wrap. It’s light and yummy. Traditionally, in my home, we add vermicelli into it as well, but this way you get more fun stuff and less filler. I had mine with lettuce, mango, sweet egg, cucumber, avocado, ginger beef, and a little slice of clementine, which the employee strongly suggest. I never would have guessed to put the clementine it, but the sweet burst of flavour was a great enhancement.

Charlie’s Chopsticks even offers traditional Vietnamese nuoc mam, or fish sauce. Please don’t let the name scare you away because it tastes NOTHING like fish. It is a fish sauce mixed with garlic, lemon, and a few other things that I don’t know because I haven’t asked my mother how to make it yet. But seriously, this sauce is a staple in Vietnamese cuisine, and the salty lemony garlicky flavour compliments these rolls like nothing else. I think it’s the greatest compliment when I say these rolls taste just like we make them at home.

I won’t lie. I stood there and tried a few other rolls, a few with strawberries for colour, and of course, fresh bacon. The owners order many of the veggies local and the bacon come straight from Mennonite farmers in Hamilton’s Farmer’s Market.

I have never had bacon this good.

I don’t know what it was about it, but dang. It was just crispy enough with a bit of chew, my perfect texture. The taste was beyond anything else. Damn, I was just about ready to hop off the bacon train, but that piece of bacon in one of my many fresh rolls was just BEYOND.

meat dish

Lastly, I tried the rice dish. You get to choose your meat: chicken, beef, or pork, and then you have the piece of meat basted with whatever flavour you like (I got chicken with maple ginger, and beef with teriyaki). It goes through the oven (though I think they might be replacing that with a grill), and gets served with a bowl of rice and your choice of veggies. Again, I highly recommend trying the fish sauce with this dish.

Charlie’s Chopsticks will be serving bubble tea (with choices of grass jellies, fruit jellies, tapioca) and fresh fruit smoothies.

All in all, while the food is not gourmet or out of the box, it is good, wholesome, fresh food, which is definitely hard to find in today’s fast food industry. Their prices are awesome for a quick lunch, or a light, healthy dinner. The best bit is that they’re open late every night (past midnight on Fridays and Saturdays) and they do delivery as well. Who HASN’T sat there thinking, oh, I could totally do sushi right now, but balked at the time, drive, price of sushi restaurants? And who really wants to put pants on to go buy some crappy day old grocery store sushi?

Charlie’s Chopsticks officially opens TODAY (!) October 18, 2014, at 11 a.m. and the first 88 people in the doors will receive a voucher for 30 free items. Spread the word, #hamont, the new take out is here.

Facebook – Charlie’s Chopsticks

Instagram – @CharliesChopsticks












Beast Restaurant

Deep Fried Pickles

Beast Restaurant – 96 Tecumseth St, Toronto

I heard such great things about Beast’s brunch since Dave (@1goatroti) and Adrienne (@AdrienneDLR) went there a few weeks ago. So of course, I had to come and try since I found out they had a dish called the Beastwich.

Above is our appetizer. Boyfriend can never say no to deep fried pickles. I loved these ones because they were sliced, not quartered like other places usually do them. The breading was beautifully seasoned and retained their crunchiness. They served this with a homemade ranch sauce. So delicious, I actually wanted a second order and we hadn’t even started eating our real meals yet.


We ended up ordering one of their specials, which was the meat omelette, made with beef tongue and sauerkraut (boyfriend’s favourites). It was served with a nice fresh salad and a buttermilk biscuit. I didn’t like the omelette too much, but the salad had a yummy balsamic dressing. The biscuit was perfectly buttery and salty, and we kept eating it even after we were extra stuffed.


I don’t know what it is with the word po’boy, but I am a sucker for them. I had a softshell crab po’boy at Porchetta and Co about a month ago, and I swear I might have died right then and there. This was a deep fried oyster po’boy with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and pickles, served with a side of homemade bbq chips. The chips were nice, light, and crispy. The po’boy was soft and cheesy, and while it was deep fried, the veggies kept it tasting fresh and light. The only thing wrong with it was that I realised I forgot that I don’t like cooked oysters. But I’m sure if you like them, then you would love this sandwich. The oysters themselves were huge and meaty, encased in a beautiful coating of fried dough.


There’s a third?? How many were you?? It was just me and boyfriend, but of course I had to have a third meal. There were too many choices to just end up with two! And how could we not have the beauty that was called the “Beastwich.” Deep fried chicken atop a buttermilk biscuit, fried egg, cheese, and topped with sausage gravy, served with homefries.

I love sausage and biscuits so much. After the first time having them in Atlanta, I was hooked. The chicken was so moist and deliciously deep fried. Everything together was soft, and moist, and savoury, and heavy in the best way possible. This is exactly what I expect from a sandwich called Beastwich.

Altogether, our bill came up to about $60 — three meals, an appetizer, and a $5 caesar — which wasn’t too horrible, but at the end of my birthday month, our bank accounts are tapped out! I would love to come back and try their dinner though; they have some really yummy looking things on the menu.