Weekly Fitness + Food Review

This has been a busy week! I am finally out of my not wanting to cook rut and ready to get back in the kitchen. The crazy hot temperatures have not been helping, but I did a lot of recipe searching to get me feeling inspired again. I generally try to get 4-5 workouts in a week. I walk anywhere from 6-10 km most days and try to end my day with some foam rolling and gentle yoga stretches. Since I tend to be fairly active in my daily life, I find I need to be careful about getting in rest and varying the intensity of my workouts. I learned that the hard way (hello nagging shoulder and knee issues).

Monday: This was my SoulCycle day! Still can’t stop raving about how much fun that was. Definitely plan to go back again this summer.

Photo credit: https://www.soul-cycle.com/studios/king

Tuesday: Took Charlie on an extra long walk and did some restorative yoga at home.

Wednesday:  Went on a hike with Steven and Charlie. Charlie was very happy about this. The hike was about 7 km and we incorporated the Main Loop which is always a nice addition. We ran into a group of preschoolers and some very patient adult handlers who managed to wrangle them into semi submission. Charlie isn’t great with really young kids as I find they tend to grab out at him since he looks very cute and fluffy. He has been skittish since we rescued him and takes a while to feel comfortable with new people so we got ahead of this group as fast as we could. It’s hard to pass a group of wild 3-4 year olds!

Thursday: Again took Charlie on an extra long walk and did some restorative yoga.

Friday: 6:30 a.m. Follow the Yogi class at Moksha. I LOVE these classes. They really start my morning off on a great note. I enjoy the energy of a group practice, but don’t always love hearing the teachers go on in the morning. These silent classes are totally my jam.

This weekend we are planning on doing some more long walks and I will probably hit up a yoga class or two!

Breakfasts: Still sticking to my usual boring oatmeal. I don’t think I will ever tire of my stovetop oatmeal.

Lunches: Some highlights from this week include this delicious bowl at Fresh and this kick-ass smoothie from Green bar. I never think smoothies will keep me full, but this one did a great job.

Dinners: We hit up Tabule on Monday while we were in Toronto, but otherwise managed to eat home the rest of the week. Yay for sticking to my meal plan!

Desserts: It’s ice cream season for sure. We started out the week at Ed’s Real Scoop on Queen St East and then rounded it out with a visit to Paninis & Ice Cream out in the east end. It was our first time there, but Steven is already talking about what to order next time!

Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians! Have an amazing long weekend!

SoulCycle Review- King Street

435 King Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 1K4
647.559.5040
soulking@soul-cycle.com

Photo credit: https://www.soul-cycle.com/studios/king

Confession time. I am a fitness class junkie. Mention a new fitness trend or class and I will frantically Google my way into finding a class near me. Some trends stick like the hot yoga I have regularly practiced for 7 years now while others have faded like the barre classes that gave me terrible neck and shoulder pain. One trend I have loved is spin class. Sadly, there are not great options for spin classes in Hamilton. Perhaps this is for the best because when my friend invited me for a date at the King Street SoulCycle, she warned that classes are $30 a pop. Luckily, the drive to Toronto is a fairly strong deterrent to regular attendance.

We decided to head over for a 12:15 class which was being taught by Jenna G. The studio is pretty centrally located at King & Spadina, but parking options are a bit limited if you are coming in from out of town. I was worried about being a newbie, but turns out a large portion of the class was made of new riders. There was a staff member standing at the door handing out paperwork for new students. It’s a fairly large space for a Toronto studio and has a wall of lockers with combination free for use. The women’s change room is just past the studio and fully equipped with towels and toiletries. Be warned though, those showers fill up fast!

Photo credit: http://notable.ca/soulcycle-coming-to-toronto-to-offer-a-unique-spin-on-fitness/

As for the class itself, it. was. AMAZING! I spent the entire class on a high and it just flew by. The instructor had a great energy and great music. Let me take a moment now to call out the spin classes at World Gym Hamilton (previously Phoenix) that play 70s rock music and crappy house music for their classes. The music is so terrible at those classes that I just started doing solo classes with my Aaptiv app. Music makes an enormous difference to the energy, speed and enjoyment of a spin class. I am not sure how typical my class was to most SoulCycle classes, although I intend to find out on return visits. I loved the resistance dial on the bikes. A lot of spin bikes have crazy resistance with a single turn, so I liked the flexibility their bikes offered with the resistance building fairly slowly on each turn. We did some hills, sprint intervals and a weight segment on the bike. I had to do that part without the weights since I messed my shoulder up from barre.

If you enjoy group fitness classes or high energy cardio heavy classes, I highly recommend checking them out.

Weekend Recap

This weekend was a lot slower paced than last week, but it felt so good to relax at home. On Friday night we went to visit our friends for dinner and their adorable 18 month old daughter. We brought all the fixings for a taco bar and they provided desserts from Sweetness Bakery. We had a lot of fun catching up and I was having so much fun with their little one that I forgot to take any pictures!

Saturday morning we headed out early for a hike in Dundas Valley. We included the Headwaters trail and ended up doing about 10.5 km. It was perfect weather for a hike. Charlie LOVES hiking. I was listening to an MFM episode earlier this week and they mentioned how there is no valid reason to be in the forest because dogs don’t care where they are walking.

Sage advice from myfavoritemurdershirts.com

 

Although I agree about the solo forest visitor caution, dogs absolutely care about where they are being walked. Charlie cannot contain his excitement when we are out on a trail. He always overexerts himself in the beginning and then starts to slow down around the 2 hour mark. This hike was about 2.5 hours and by the end of it he was totally pooped.

Charlie very clearly NOT staying out of the forest.

Dead to the world after 2.5 hours of pulling on the leash, running into nettles and barking at horses.

We debated hitting up Green Smoothie Bar for lunch, but laziness took over so we decided to make smoothies at home instead. Saturday night we went to our friend’s house for a going away party. They are moving to Vancouver and we are excited for them, but sad to see them go.

Sunday morning I headed over for a lovely SSU class with Sonya at Moksha. It was perfect after a pretty intense exercise week. The rest of the day we hung out around the house and went for a few walks with Charlie. We ended the night watching Terminator 2! When Steven found out I hadn’t watched it, he insisted this needed to be remedied ASAP. The movie was a huge hit of nostalgia. Remember when Leonardo DiCaprio had a fringe?

All in all a great weekend!

Lisbon Eats

One of the most important parts of a trip for me is the food. When Steven and I reminisce about trips it often sounds something like “Remember that amazing seafood place in Venice? When we ate the entire platter of grilled fish for four?” or “Remember that amazing feta we ate in Oia?”. I spent a lot of time planning our Lisbon stay because I wanted to be sure we had good access to some great restaurants. We stayed in this Airbnb. I would recommend it for 1-2 people as it’s a bit cramped, but gorgeous. Although you are in Chiado, the street is very quiet and we were well rested. My favourite part was the private terrace.

Photo credit: Airbnb

Now for some of my favourite meals in the city:

Breakfast:

Tartine: Located fairly close to our apartment, this place was very cute. It provided a bit larger breakfast on the travel days where an espresso and pastry were not going to cut it. A bit pricey, but lots of space to sit and the freshest bread.

Photo credit: http://www.tartine.pt

Copenhagen Coffee Lab: By far my favourite breakfast. I know it’s not a traditional Portuguese breakfast, but Lisbon was our last stop on this trip and I wanted a light, but non-pastry breakfast. Everything we had here was amazing. Overnight oats with homemade granola, yogurt with homemade jam and aforementioned granola and soft boiled eggs with freshly baked rye bread. My husband the Australian coffee snob gave their cappuccinos the stamp of approval. I stuck to green tea and their loose leaf was wonderful.

 

Lunch/Dinner:

Time Out Market/Mercado Ribeira: If you are even vaguely contemplating a trip to Lisbon, you MUST go here. I had read about the market and knew we would give it a try, but we ended up eating here a couple of times because of the variety, freshness and absolute deliciousness of the food.

The first time was for lunch and I grabbed a poke bowl. I know, I know not traditional Portuguese, but again I had been eating local foods for almost the entire trip and I wanted something different. This was so fresh and delicious after many days of doing 4 course meals!

The second time we got an 8 item tasting menu. This was my favourite meal of the entire trip. This was from the Marlene Viera stall, you should definitely check it out if you head to the market.

StashaThis was our first dinner in Lisbon. I had the salmon with sun-dried tomato and mushroom risotto and Steven had the pork chops with goat cheese and a balsamic berry reduction. This place was reasonably priced (except the starters which were a bit ridiculous) and had a cool busy atmosphere. Very tight in the restaurant though so you need to be comfortable getting friendly with your neighbour 🙂

Sacramento: First off, the vibe in here is amazing. Very cool, nicely spaced and great service. We started with a meat and cheese plate figuring it would be the same small plates we had been used to elsewhere in the city. Wrong, we were given a huge plate of the most delicious meats and cheeses. Even when I am fairly full, it is hard to turn down a great meat and cheese plate. After a day of wandering on foot, we were ravenous. We were also very very full halfway through the plate and realized we would not be able to eat our mains. Which was a bit of a shame because the place is a bit pricey and neither of us was able to finish what we had ordered. Mine was the tuna steak and Steven had the salted codfish on wilted greens. Sorry for the terrible photos, the lighting was not great.

Photo credit: http://www.sacramentodochiado.com/pt/

Organi: This was another ‘I-am-sick-of-vacation-food-and-need-vegetables’ meal. This restaurant focuses on organic local ingredients and has a varying daily menu. I was starving by the time we got here, so again no pictures, but the photos on yelp and trip advisor give you a pretty accurate idea of what the food is like. We met a lovely Australian woman while we were here and had a great time.

Photo credit: http://www.organi.pt

Dessert:

Santini Gelato: This was our go to gelato spot. I will preface this by saying, this is no Italian gelato. Last year around this time we were at the gelato festival in Rome and this doesn’t really compete. That did not prevent us from returning several times to try every flavour. Favourites were pistachio and vanilla. Meh and not worth ordering were caramel and chocolate.

Manteigaria: Best custard tarts in Lisbon. Yes, better than Pateis de Belem which I feel is unnecessary overrated. There, I said it.

And that’s it! I would love to hear if you hit up any of these places and want to share your experience.

 

Weekend

After a series of delayed flights, we finally made it back home from Portugal on Friday morning. I was so exhausted and irritable from being stuck in airports and planes for 24 hours that I didn’t pine over the end of our trip too much. Even when travel is not painfully delayed, my favourite thing about going away is always coming back home. You appreciate things so much more after some time away.

Friday was a write-off with bleary eyed laundry, grocery shopping, meal prep and picking up Charlie from his sitter. He was so happy to see us!

We arrived home just in time for a crazy heat wave. We are talking a feels like temperature of almost 40 degrees Celsius. Our current apartment has terrible AC circulation and it has not been very pleasant. I had been missing my hot yoga practice a lot in Portugal. I do a solo practice, but I love the energy of a class practice so I decided to hit up an earlier class before I was too dehydrated to go!

Post sweaty flow I came home and made this recipe from Wholefully over basmati rice. After dinner we decided to walk over to Light up the Knight being held at Dundurn Castle. There were a few stalls and a light and sound show planned for 9:30 and 10:15 p.m. If you know me, you know that I am a cantankerous 90 year old man at heart and 9:30 p.m. is far too late for anything to be starting. We decided to hit it up early anyways to peruse dessert options.

We got some ice cream from Foundry’s (their london fog- so lovely!) and some smores with from scratch graham crackers AND marshmallows!

I was a bit disappointed at the food truck selection. Their were only two for a fairly large event so I was glad we had eaten at home before we left. After watching a very cute 1920s inspired dance routine (interrupted by many twirling toddlers lol), we wandered through the garden and then sat down in the grass for a while. The weather had finally cooled down and there was a lovely breeze. It was a great welcome back home to Hamilton.

Sunday morning I was up bright and early to walk Charlie before the heat became too oppressive. I hit up yoga for another 9:30 flow class. This time the heat really got to me and I left feeling not so great. I find in the summer, hot yoga for me is best practiced early in the morning.

Sunday night we headed over to Toronto to take my parents to Fat Pasha! It was a combined Mom’s birthday & Father’s Day celebration. We ordered everything…and then I forgot to take any pictures because I was so excited. Their food is amazing, take my word for it. Their lamb hummus and tahini with everything bagel spice are my absolute favourites. They don’t have the lamb hummus on the menu right now, but their lamb kofta made up for it in deliciousness. All in all it was a pretty awesome weekend and I am glad to be back home!