Archives for September 2012

Instant L.A.

Los Angeles, California.

While we were in L.A. for our friends’ wedding, we did a little sight-seeing as well.  It turned out to be a pretty special part of our summer travels. Good friends + Mexican food, all you really need.

On the Santa Monica pier.
 Classic palm trees. 
Olivia Newton John’s star on the Walk of Fame.
A little donut stop. 
The greatest double exposure of all time. Molly, Shera, and Mike crossed with a giant Coke bottle. 
Taco run. (One of many).
xo, jill

Novelty Snacks of Canada.

Good, eh?

Novelty snacking in Canada was pretty fun because I was finally able to eat some of the foods my Canadian friends often talk about. I mean, I had been waiting three years to get a taste of poutine! Visiting the Jean Talon market also afforded the opportunity to try a few new fruits and vegetables.

Novelty Snack: Toronto street hotdog (veggie dog, really)
Description: A hotdog grilled right before your eyes with your choice of toppings
Tastes Like: Pickles and mustard. My topping choices overpowered the hotdog itself, which didn’t taste like much.
Verdict: Thumbs up!

Novelty Snack: Beavertail
Description: Fried dough covered in cinnamon and sugar, shaped to resemble the tail of a beaver
Tastes Like: A thicker version of an elephant ear.
Verdict: Thumbs up!

Novelty Snack: Poutine
Description: French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds.
Tastes Like: What you would imagine. Delicious! (Although Mike says it wasn’t actually that great compared to other poutine he’s had.)
Verdict: Thumbs up!

Novelty Snack: Green, purple, and orange cauliflower aka rainbow cauliflower
Description: Alternative varieties to the classic boring white cauliflower that may be healthier too!
Tastes Like: Pretty much the same as white cauliflower but perhaps a tiny bit sweeter.
Verdict: Thumbs up!

Novelty Snack: Cerise de terre (ground cherries)
Description: Like a tiny tomato with a papery cloak.
Tastes Like: A bit like a pineapple and a bit like a tomato.
Verdict: Thumbs up!

Novelty Snack: St. Viateur bagels, sesame variety
Description: Bagels made in the Montreal style: boiled in honey-sweetened water and baked in a wood fire oven.
Tastes Like: A normal bagel but a bit sweeter and more dense.
Verdict: Thumbs neutral when plain (I don’t like sweet bagels) but Thumbs up! with spread.

xo, jill

From the Hip Friday

Horse and cart.

Today’s photo from the hip comes from Elin at Taste of Slow. She took this photo in the fishing village of St. Louis, Senegal. I love how these two men may not know their picture is being taken, but still seem like they are very aware of Elin walking down the street. And the horse parked on the sidewalk is a little comical too.

I’ve really enjoyed all of the photos from Senegal Elin has submitted. You can see the other two here and here

Thanks again, Elin!

xo, jill

From the Hip Friday features photos taken without the use of a viewfinder. If you have a photograph that was taken from the hip you’d like to share here, please contact me!

Kiva: September/October

5 down, 1 to go!

My Kiva loan for September/October went to Otila in Samoa. Otila is requesting money to buy… bingo supplies! She runs a small bingo business and is hoping to expand. But, before she can do that, she needs to buy more equipment. She plans to put the money she earns from her expanded business towards her family’s needs.

I think Otila’s listing is the first I’ve ever seen to include the word, “bingo.” It made me chuckle. I wonder if running a bingo business is as fun as it sounds?

There’s another free trial period on now. Click here to try lending for FREE! 

xo, jill

Niagara Falls

 Nature vs tacky.

Our very last stop in Canada was at Niagara Falls. It’s such a classic destination that I was excited to finally get my chance to take a look. And let me be very specific when I say, the falls were amazing. I mean, 5.7 million liters of water go crashing over the falls each second*… you can’t not be impressed.

We spent some time taking in the massive falls and enjoying such a wonder of nature. Mike’s parents generously treated us to a trip on the Maid of the Mist. (But we didn’t pull a Pam and Jim.)

It was like taking a shower!

I kept wondering what it would be like if the area around the falls had been left undeveloped. I mean, the view was gorgeous. In the absence of the surrounding hotels and casinos, it would be truly incredible.

Because really, the not-so-amazing feature of Niagra Falls… is the town. Oh boy. I had been warned but I’m not sure anything can really prepare you. The place was tacky. Ok, it was mostly just the main tourist road…but it was bad (and slightly gratifying that it was on the Canadian side!).

I suppose most tourists need something else to hold their interest after seeing the falls, but it’s too bad that couldn’t be hiking or some other outdoorsy non-Ripley’s Believe It Or Not pursuit. 

That night Mike’s parents reserved all of us a room in a nice hotel overlooking the water. It was a pretty special place to be. Not only did we have a great view, but Mike got to spend his last night in Canada with his family.

View from the room.

Early the next morning his parents drove us to Buffalo and off we went to Los Angeles for the next stop on our North American extravaganza!

xo, jill

*at peak flow

Quebec City

Wet and windy.

I found Quebec City to be a bit…soggy.

Before the heavy rains.

Just like when we visited Toronto, a big storm hit shortly after our arrival. We tried to not let the weather affect our sightseeing. We even bought those silly rain ponchos from the souvenir shop!

Eventually, we had to admit defeat. Touring a city in the wet is just not very pleasant, especially if you’re not equipped with galoshes.

Still, it was very evident that Quebec City is a charming place.

The next morning we hopped in the car and did a bit of a marathon drive back to Oakville. Our Canadian roadtrip was nearly at its end.

xo, jill

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