Cooking with Alison

Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Introducing Cooking with Alison’s Social Media Accounts!

In Random on March 28, 2016 at am

Hi everyone! Cooking with Alison is becoming more active on social media!

All accounts will have slightly different focuses, so I hope that you will ‘like’ and subscribe to them.

Thanks very much!

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@cookingwithali – I plan to use twitter to tweet about my favourite restaurant dishes, product brands, and wine recommendations.


Cooking with Alison – On the ‘Cooking with Alison’ facebook page, you will see current food-related news, cooking tips and tricks videos, and some of my favourite older recipes. Furthermore, all future food blog posts will also be publicized on the facebook page.


@cookingwithalison – On the Instagram account, I plan to share photos of restaurant meals, wine recommendations, recipes (old and new), and favourite lifestyle products (e.g. make-up, kitchenware, serveware, etc.). You can also find some of my wedding photos on Instagram.


@cookingwithalis – Follow me to food events and festivals through Snapchat!


Don’t forget to keep pinning your favourite Cooking with Alison recipes!

@cookingwithalison – This is where you will find all of my reviews for restaurants in and around Toronto.

Introduction to Chocolate Tasting

In How-To, Random, Reviews on March 13, 2016 at am

Chocolate tasting samples at Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Vermont.

I went to Burlington, Vermont in the fall of 2014 for a family road trip. We ate and drank our way through the city and Lake Champlain Chocolates was one of my favourite discoveries. I really like their dark chocolate, because it doesn’t contain milk products (I don’t like chocolate that has a lactic sour taste). Also, their white chocolate is the best I’ve ever had. The best part about Lake Champlain Chocolates is that they offer complimentary seminars on chocolate tasting. Their chocolate is available for sale at many Whole Foods locations. We really enjoyed their introduction to chocolate tasting and, although I’m a bit late in sharing this information, I hope it helps you enjoy, appreciate, and choose wisely from the abundance of chocolate that this coming Easter is sure to bring.

(On a side note, check out my Introduction to Coffee Tasting here.)


Cocoa pod, cocoa beans, cocoa nibs.

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Recommended Toronto Restaurants (Updated Periodically)

In Reviews on December 7, 2015 at pm

Most recent updates were made on March 28, 2016. (Original version date: December 7, 2015)

Here is a list of our favourite places to eat in Toronto and the surrounding area (GTA – Greater Toronto Area). John and I shared this list with our out-of-town wedding guests. Since restaurants tend to lose their consistency or change ownership frequently, I plan to update this list periodically, so be sure to check back every now and then. I’d love to hear your recommendations!

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Must Try in Belize: The Beer

In Drinks, Reviews on August 6, 2014 at am

My favourite beer in the whole world, Belikin Beer, is made in Belize.  In my opinion, it has the perfect balance of lightness with body, and sweetness with bitters.  It has a non-offensive carbonation and a clean finish.  But what makes Belikin so special isn’t the taste, it’s the type of buzz that you get from drinking it.  Maybe it’s the water they use, but whatever it is, I got the best, most gentle, smooth, relaxing buzz that I’ve ever had from drinking anything alcoholic.  It was truly blissful.  Unfortunately, they don’t currently export their beer to Canada, so be sure to grab a few cold ones if you’re ever traveling to Belize.



Must Try in Malaysia: Sabah Vegetable

In Asian, Other Asian Foods, Seafood, Sides and Sauces on May 10, 2014 at am


When I traveled to Malaysia in May 2013, I tried many new foods in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, and Kuala Lumpur.  One of my top three favourite things was sabah vegetable.  The stems of this leafy green vegetable have, in my opinion, the perfect crispy and crunchy texture.  To my knowledge, Sabah, Malaysia does not export this local vegetable, so be sure to look for it in restaurants the next time you’re in Sabah, Malaysia.  I tried it stir fried with sambal belacan.

Authentic and Delicious Hong Kong Style Milk Tea Recipe

In Asian, Breakfast, Drinks on February 9, 2014 at am


Hong Kong style milk tea is one of my favourite types of tea.  A good cup of milk tea should be strongly brewed and well balanced with creaminess that isn’t too rich, and sweetness that doesn’t overpower.  It should also feel and taste smooth, silky, and light in weight.  The secret to making the best milk tea lies in the blend and ratio of different types of black tea.  Ceylon tea is a common component.  Every establishment guards its recipe.  Luckily, it’s not difficult to make authentic milk tea at home.  I’ve shared three recipes below.  The recipes differ in authenticity, in the amount of work involved, and in the types of equipment required.  I made this for my parents the day after they got back from a trip to Hong Kong and they said that it tasted just like the milk tea they had there.  My uncle, who travels to Hong Kong 3 times every year, was surprised by how good it was too.


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Ramen Tour of Toronto and New York City (Restaurant Reviews)

In Reviews on September 10, 2013 at am

Three years ago, I became obsessed with tonkotsu ramen, a Japanese dish of noodles in a pork bone based broth.  Tonkotsu broth is made by boiling pork bones (sometimes in combination with chicken) until the soup has rich and hearty pork flavour (see my recipe here).  The broth should be milky and practically opaque in colour.  Some people find tonkotsu broth too heavy, but that’s what I love about it.  Ramen noodles come in various thicknesses and some restaurants will let you specify your desired texture (i.e. al dente or soft).  Ramen toppings differ depending on where you go.  My favorite toppings are soft boiled marinated eggs and thinly sliced pork jowl.

At the time that I first discovered ramen, the only ramen you could find in Toronto, ON was MSG laden and closer in resemblance to instant noodles than the real thing.  So when I had the opportunity to travel to New York City and San Francisco, USA, I went in search of the best ramen they had to offer.  I’ve only shared my review of my favourite ramen place in NYC, because I didn’t like any of the ramen places that I tried in San Francisco.  San Francisco supposedly has some of the best and most authentic ramen in North America, so it’s possible that I simply failed to choose the right places.

Luckily, over the past year, we’ve seen an explosion of new ramen places in downtown Toronto.  So, naturally, I ate my way through all of the promising ones.  I ate so much ramen in such a short period of time, that I haven’t eaten it since I completed my ramen tour.  But that just means that the next food obsession may begin.  😉  Keep your eyes open for my Donut Tour of Toronto.  Why couldn’t I be obsessed with something healthy???

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Malaysian Cincalok Dip and Steamed Pork Belly Recipe

In Asian, Meat and Eggs, Seafood on August 25, 2013 at am

I traveled to Malaysia for the first time in May 2013.  It was an amazing food experience and I am excited to share what I learned about Malaysian cuisine with you.  The best part of the trip was watching my dad enjoy nostalgic food from his childhood.  While souvenir shopping in a Malaysian grocery store, my dad spotted a bottle of cincalok and told me that when he was a child, his family’s servants would toss nets into the ocean during shrimp season to catch tiny shrimp for his mom to make cincalok from scratch.  After hearing that story, I had to bring some home.

Malaysian cincalok

Malaysian cincalok

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Review of Norwegian Cruise Line in Comparison to Royal Caribbean and Princess

In Reviews on August 20, 2013 at am

In December, 2012, my family celebrated my dad’s retirement and my parents’ wedding anniversary by cruising to the Eastern Caribbean with the Norwegian cruise line aboard the Epic ship.  This is a review of the Norwegian cruise line in comparison to the Royal Caribbean cruise line (Liberty of the Seas ship) and the Princess cruise line (Caribbean Princess ship).  See here for my original and detailed review of the Princess cruise line food.  Also, see here for my review of Royal Caribbean in comparison to Princess.

I love traveling by cruise and I can’t wait for the opportunity to sail with the other major competitors, Celebrity and Holland America.  Hopefully, my reviews will help you choose the company best suited to your interests and priorities.

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Favourite Restaurants and Things to Do in Kingston, Ontario

In Reviews on June 15, 2012 at am

I lived in Kingston, Ontario for 9 years.  I moved back to Toronto in January 2012, but I still visit Kingston frequently.  Although I’m loving rediscovering Toronto’s restaurants and food festivals, I still miss my favourite restaurants in Kingston.  Here’s a list of where I love to eat in Kingston.  I’ve also included a list of things to do in case you’re planning a trip to Canada’s former capital city. Read the rest of this entry »

Review of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in Comparison to Princess

In Reviews on May 6, 2012 at pm

I cruised to the Western Caribbean with the Royal Caribbean cruise line on the Liberty of the Seas ship in January, 2012.  This is a brief review of the Royal Caribbean cruise line in comparison to the Princess cruise line, Caribbean Princess ship.  See here for my original and detailed review of the Princess cruise line food.

I am officially hooked on cruising and I plan to try ships from the other major competitors over the next few years, including Celebrity, Holland America, and Norwegian.  I can’t wait to declare a favourite company!

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Have You Tried Ice Cider?

In Reviews on April 10, 2011 at am

During a visit to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, a friend of ours introduced us to the most wonderful dessert  wine – ice cider (cidre de glace).  Canada (Ontario in particular) is very well-known for its ice wine, which is made from frozen grapes, but few seem to know about ice cider, which is made in the Quebec province using frozen apples.  I’ve never liked ice wine, because I find the sweetness to be overwhelming without complexity.  But I love ice cider, because its sweetness is accompanied by a wonderful apple flavour.  I can’t believe that it isn’t more well known!  I’ve only tried the brand Neige.  Although it is close to the affordable end of dessert wines, I have fallen in love with the packaging (shown on the left in the photo above) as well as the taste.  (I will update this post when I try a more expensive brand for comparison.)  If your local liquor store doesn’t carry ice cider, try ordering it online and be sure to pick up a few bottles at a SAQ the next time you’re traveling through Quebec.  Enjoy it ice cold!

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