umbrellas at fabarnak


FABARNAK restaurant located in the Church and Wellesley Village is a 519 Church Street Community Centre initiative that not only serves delicious food, but is focused on doing social good. They strive to help people with employment barriers through their training and employment program. They offer people who have faced some kind of employment barrier the opportunity to receive training and job experience that will help them gain future employment or help them transition to school. Some of their participants have included trans youth undergoing a gender transition, newcomers to Canada with limited Canadian work experience and young people in recovery from addiction.
Their menu items are creative and unique and over 60% of their ingredients are sourced locally. Though the menu was small, every single item had personality and sounded delicious. We started with some Crispy Ricotta Gnocchi which was a perfect sharing dish.

Crispy Ricotta Gnocchi by FABARNAK
Next up with some crispy KFQuail. Nice and crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside dipped in some spicy ketchup. Delicious!
We also had the Lambchetta which if you’re on a diet, the amount of fat on this dish may not be your cup of tea. It was tender and full of flavour but not a dish I could complete on my own. I’d definitely recommend ordering one for the table so everyone can try a small piece.
Lambchetta from FABARNAK

Overall, the experience was wonderful. Great service and amazing food means I will definitely be returning!


519 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2C9

Monday to Saturday 8:30 AM to 9:00 PM
Daily take-out and cafe service | Weekday Lunch (11:00AM-3:30PM)
Friday Dinner (5:30PM-9:00PM) | Saturday Brunch (9:00AM-4:30PM)

For more information about the Employment and Training Program, contact:

Matthew Cutler, Director of Development and Community Engagement
416-355-6798 | MCutler@The519.org


Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario


As the winter is finally passing and the warmth of summer is within reach, I wanted to share with my Toronto friends a wonderful volunteering opportunity that really changed my life. A few summers ago, when I was in the middle of so many life changes that left me a little bit lost, I knew it was time to make some changes in my life. I needed to stop thinking about just myself and I knew that if I started looking at how my life could help others, that I would eventually find my way again. I remembered my friend Julian had mentioned that the Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario was in need of volunteers so after work I dropped by their little office to see what I could do. This sailing club provides people living with a disability the opportunity to learn about and enjoy sailing.

I volunteered as a sailing companion and was able to learn how to sail, spend my summer surrounded by water, and hang out with some of the best company I’ve ever had. I met more inspirational and positive people that summer than I have in my whole life. They showed me that you can overcome any obstacle with the right mind set. One particularly amazing person that I met was Joseph Chessari who had both of his legs severed above the knee, a year earlier in a work place accident. You would have never known from speaking to him that the accident had been so recent. There was never any traces of anger or bitterness. Just appreciation for the life that he still had, and the determination that he was going to do everything that anyone else could do. And he really does! He now runs, swims, rock climbs, paddle boards and pretty much is just an awesome rock star! Visit his site walkingwithnewlegs.com and learn more about his story and his initiatives to support and encourage other amputees.

It was also at this club that I met a boy who’s genuine desire to help others, and unmeasurable understanding and empathy, still continues to push me to achieve more from my life. He truly is the best person I’ve ever met and I’m so lucky that he lets me be a part of his life. I promise you that while you volunteer here, you’ll meet at least one person that changes your life. You’ll be constantly surrounded by amazing stories, strong people, and open minds. I really couldn’t imagine a better way to have spent my first summer in Toronto and highly encourage you to get involved.


Queen’s Quay Disabled Sailing Program

283B Queen’s Quay West (Toronto’s harbourfront area)

Open from May to September.
Days: Wednesday – Sunday
Hours: 11 AM – 7 PM
Sail sessions: 12 PM, 2 PM, 4 PM
Racing: Wednesday – 6 PM


My photo was used in a feature article in 24 hours!
disabled sailing association of Ontario in 24 hours

The Planet Bakery

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When it comes to moving, I am the ultimate procrastinator. The job always seems so daunting and I am always in disbelief at just how much junk I can actually fit in one little bedroom. Not to mention I have the arm strength of a 6 month baby and am completely useless when it comes to heavy lifting. The only good thing about moving day was that I got to have another meal in Peterborough.


My wonderful parents met me at 8am to get the party started. By 2pm, we had barely made a dent in the packing so we decided we needed a food break. Both of my parents are vegetarian so we went to this cute little vegetarian shop in downtown Peterborough called The Planet Bakery. IMG_0685 copy

Every time I visit this shop, I can’t help but think of one of my best friends, Sam. The orange floors remind me of the bright orange walls in his old apartment and just everything from the minimalistic design, to the mismatched recycled chairs, to their openness and friendliness of the atmosphere just screams out Sam Robertson. I could easily see him working his chef magic here.

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We were so hungry that we ate most of the food before I thought to take a photo to share with you guys. So the only thing I have pictured is their rosemary walnut burger. SOOO good! Moist and flavourful, it sits on a fresh Focaccia bun with basil mayo, melted cheddar, and a sweet and savoury cranberry-onion confit. YUM!
We also had their green apple & old cheddar sandwich, as well as their cranberry and brie sandwich. I personally preferred the crisp freshness of their green apple sandwich over the sweet tartness of the cranberry.


These flavourful dishes will make even the biggest meat lover opt for a vegetarian option every once in awhile.

The Planet Bakery

374 Water Street,

Peterborough, ON


The Magic Rolling Pin

welcomeI can’t believe I almost ended my Peterborough experience without a stop to the Magic Rolling Pin! It’s a place you might easily miss as it’s tucked away a little bit in a residential area… this adorable quaint house turned restaurant is full of warmth and grandmothery (definitely not a word but the only appropriate way to describe this place) charm.


Think doilies, fresh flowers, floral printed couches, fine china, and the sweetest servers ever.

I’m not a huge fan of chicken, crepes (unless I’m in Paris) or fruit in an entrée so I was a little sceptical when our server suggested the grilled chicken crepes but her voice was so trusting that I went ahead and ordered it. And goodness was I ever happy I did. Grilled chicken, carmalized onions, apple and havarti layered inside their homemade crepes, and covered in a rich cream sauce. Every single bite put a smile on my face. On the side, they had a beautifully presented salad drizzled with their homemade poppy seed dressing.
IMG_0581aThe whole experience reminded me of when I lived with my gramma and would come home after work to the most amazing home cooked meals.


IMG_0556aI usually opt out of dessert as I’m much more partial to savoury and salty over sweets. However, the displays of home baked goodness at the front were just too delicious to pass up. I had a raspberry coconut delight which is a tart filled with raspberry jam and coconut custard that was just the right amount of sweet and crumbly. I’m craving another one as I type this now. For only $2/tart, I really regret not ordering a bunch to take home.IMG_0585a

The Magic Rolling Pin is also a great place if you just want to meet up with a friend for a spot of tea. Their premium loose leaf tea is served in the sweetest little tea cups.

I absolutely loved loved loved everything about this place and want so badly to go back! Definitely on my list of things to do next time I find myself back in Peterborough.


They have fairly short hours and are usually very busy so make sure you make a reservation as to not be disappointed!

The Magic Rolling Pin

302 King Street,
Peterborough, Ontario
Monday-Friday 11-5
Saturday 10:30-4

P: 705-745-6556

Sympathy for the Rebel



The exposed brick walls and the wooden crates and shelves gives the shop a rawness that I completely love. And then add in eclectic and edgy decor to really give the place a rock and roll, mod, and just downright edgy atmosphere.


Don’t even get me started on their incredible shoe selection. Cow boy boots and for $20-30 a pair!


I’m always a little conflicted when it comes to fur but I’ve decided that wearing second hand is ok. This incredible fur shawl was only 60 dollars.


I picked up an adorable red hand bag for $6, a pair of vintage ski gloves for $12 and a pair of boots for $18.

If you’re a fan of pre-loved items, and you happen to be taking a stroll down town Peterborough, than a stop into this store is a must!

Sympathy for the Rebel

387 Water St.
Peterborough, ON


My humans are getting married

catadambannerOne of my best friends will soon be tying the knot with her Mr. Right. As a bridesmaid, there’s always this tiny fear that your wonderful, level minded friend will somehow turn into a god awful bride-zilla. Thankfully, she’s been very calm and collected… though even if she weren’t, I definitely know better than to say otherwise.

So far, my only bridesmaid duty has been to help her take some engagement photos for her “save the date” invitations. Here’s a sneak peek of some of the shots from the very cold and cloudy day in Toronto. catpincatring
As adverse to marriage as I am, I’d have a hard time saying ‘no’ to a ring like that!
winter engagement photo blowing snow by ngoc nguyen
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The Sapphire Room

I finally popped by the Sapphire Room in downtown Peterborough and was quite impressed with their atmosphere and decor. Think 50’s glam with a bit of naughty and jazz mixed in. It was fairly quiet on a Thursday night but I’ve heard that Sundays are quite poppin’ with their trivia nights.



I loved the soft glow of the lights and the wall of framed album covers. Such a great decorating idea.


Though I’m more of a beer, or gin and tonic kind of girl, sometimes I like to class it up with martinis.


Their mile long drink list includes some of the more traditional drinks as well as a bunch of their own specialties.


I was pleasantly surprised by their food menu as they had some unique dishes for reasonable prices. I opted for “Wrapped in Bacon” which was Rumaki, water chestnuts, wrapped in bacon with a chipotle whiskey sauce. The saltiness of the bacon was an interesting mix with the cold water chestnuts. It’s different and had some mixed reviews, although I’d probably order it again. I also ordered the “Cheesy Goodness” which was artichoke, hot pepper vodka cheddar fondue with corn chips. It was a great sharing dish and at 2 items for $12 , you can’t really go wrong. IMG_0232

If I wasn’t leaving Peterborough in a few weeks, I’d definitely come back for a girl’s night or for after dinner drinks.


The Sapphire Room

137 Hunter St W
Peterborough, ON K9H 3R2

DIY Sharpie Mug

With the holidays just around the corner (EEEKKK less than a week until Christmas!!), I’ve spent many hours on pinterest looking up potential gift ideas. In my perfect martha stewart world, I would be giving everyone beautiful gift baskets filled with delicious cookies and hand-made crafts. Unfortunately, of my list of crafts, I only got around to making one of my pins. The Sharpie mug.


My co-worker and I were tossing around ideas about what to get our supervisor when we settled on a coffee themed basket. And of course, a custom mug would add the perfect touch! I had envisioned Ontario with a plane flying over top taking some hi-res orthophotography of the province. And since he loves ‘metadata’ so much, we knew we had to incorporate that into the mug somehow. This is what we came up with. mugdraft
After getting really excited about our craft project, we decided to look up craft fails to see how others faired with similar projects. DISASTER. I quickly learned that regular sharpies NO NOT WORK! The consensus seems to be that oil-based paints were the way to go so off I went to Michaels to pick up supplies. I picked up these oil-based Sharpie paint markers for $4/each and this white ceramic mug from Walmart for $3. whitemug
After doing a few practice drawings, we came to the sad realization that our artistic abilities resembled that of a first graders. How is it that things always look WAY BETTER in your head than they do on paper? We decided to try a less ambitious design. Even then… I’m horrified by our inabilities to draw a nice circle. carrie
Here’s what they looked like before putting them in the oven to bake.metamug
We also included one of his famous quotes on the side.operators
While I was at it, I also made a mug for my grams. For this mug, I attempted to draw each of the cousins. I’d say it was moderately successful. grammaMug
The next step was to throw it in the oven to set the paint. Put the mug in and then turn the oven to 350 degrees and once it reaches this temperature, leave it in for another 30 mins. Once your 30 mins is up, leave it in the oven to cool down.

So I can’t say for sure how long the design will last but I gave it a quick rinse under water and the paint seemed to stay on ok.

To complete the gift, we picked up a little basket, a bag of coffee from Natas Cafe, and a box of amazing truffles from the Naked Chocolate. Check out my other post for photos from my visit to the Naked Chocolate.

Chasing the Cheese

Knock Knock
Who’s There?
Cheese Who?
Cheese a jolly good fellow

You can imagine how many knock knock jokes I’ve heard growing up (because my name sounds like knock)… but this one may actually be the worst.




Owner, Julie Austin, aims to expose people to both great and humble cheeses that they might not otherwise have an opportunity to try at home. They encourage branching out and trying new varieties and let you sample the cheeses before committing to buy. Their passion is evident and it’s clear how much they want to help you find something to make your taste buds smile. I left my first visit with a little brown bag filled with roaring 40s blue – an amazing blue veined creamy cow’s milk from austrailia, Sartori Bellavitano Espresso – a pasteurized cow’s milk soaked in espresso coffee from Wisconsin, USA, and Commanda – I can’t remember what this was exactly other than it was made with ewe’s milk. All 3 were quite distinct but each delicious in their own way. I also picked up some white Stilton Mango Ginger which is a little on the sweeter side and the Shropshire Blue which has a nice earthy taste.



I’ve already gone back to Chasing the Cheese twice this month and I’m sure I’ll be popping by a lot more often. If you’re a cheese lover, or are looking for the perfect gift for your cheese loving friend, then this shop is guaranteed to have what you’re looking for.



Chasing the Cheese

372 Water Street
Peterborough, Ontario
K9H 3L6
(705) 775-0525