First quarter roundup

At the start of this year I had great plans to do a monthly recap of my foodie and non-foodie activities. I got the idea from my blogger friend Robyn, but this is the first month that I’ve actually got time to sit down and do it. So I'm going to do a quarterly round-up and get back to my monthly re-cap in April. 

Ruby ©

The first three months of this year have not been easy. It has been a winter of loss - February in particular has been very painful.

  • I lost my beloved Ruby who has been my muse and inspiration for the start of this blog, and it has rocked my world. I’m still not ready to write about her or talk about it yet because the mere mention of her name makes me feel incredibly sad and weepy. I’m not sure when I’m going to be able to share but I’m going to let her spirit guide me.
  • One of my dear friends lost her father to cancer. He passed away after a short but intense battle, 3 days after Grandma Ruby passed. 
  • I lost the mentorship of someone I respect very much, and it's been very hard to continue to put a brave face on, but continue I must.


It's been a lot to handle in a relatively short period of time, it feels as if I've been shrouded in darkness and I'm hopeful that with spring I can step step more fully into the light. Over the last three months things to note;

  • I have a new word in my vocabulary – POLAR VORTEX. I hope never to type those words again. As everyone who lives North of the 49th can attest, it was a BRUTAL winter. I’ve been living in Canada for 26 years and I can honestly say this was the worst winter that I’ve ever experienced. I’ve seen a lot of snow and a lot of cold temps but this winter was unrelenting. I am not ashamed to say I tucked my lil island girl butt in my house and stayed home A LOT. I cooked a lot of comfort foods and did my damndest not to pack on the pounds during my hibernation.
  • Was that really just the FLU? I swear it must have been something else - I’ve never, ever, ever been so sick in my life AND I never want to be that sick again. It took me out of commission for a full week in February and made a return engagement mid March. I'm now left with an annoying dry cough that I just can't shake.
  • I completed a 6-week Spanish cooking class to feed my addiction for all things Spanish. I’m sitting here trying to figure out how I can get back to Spain this year. Finishing that course means I’m only 2 courses away from my certificate in Culinary Arts. OMG!!! 
  • My 12-week writing class seemed to go on forever, but it's finally done.  I had a blast, wrote lots of non-foodie content but I’m glad it’s over so that I can re-focus on food related writing.
  • Read a really great book called Starting from Scratch- What You Should Know about Food and Cooking by Sarah Elton. Check out my review
  • Signed up for FBC 2014 – Four Seasons Vancouver Oct 17 – 19. October is a LONG way off so I'm gonna try to contain my excitement until it is a bit closer to the date. 

Snowy Toronto ©

Despite the cold weather, I actually went out more times than I thought in the last couple of months. Quite a few of them were in the West End, because they were easy to get home once the snow hit. I've been to some of these before but I'm going to still mention them because West End restaurants don't get enough love :). 

  • Mondello Ristorante – Excellent Italian restaurant that is a welcome surprise in the family friendly large restaurant chain food mecca of the suburbs. This was a very welcome surprise and I was thrilled to find this high quality restaurant in my neck of the woods. Now I don't have to drive to Toronto, I've got options in my neighbourhood. 
  • Saucy’s Grill – An old favourite that never gets old. The menu changes often enough to keep it interesting at all time. Italian, Canadian, Fusion cuisine. 
  • Goodfella’s Pizza  Great ambiance, very busy on the weekend so it's best to make a reservation before you go. We had very good service from the waiter who was very attentive and informative - would definitely go back here again. 
  • TheTea Room – The man and I went there for tea. He likes to go out for high tea and neither of us felt like going very far, so it was off to the Tea Room around the corner where 15 bucks gets you a pot of tea, and an assortment of finger sandwiches and scones. 
  • Bistro Narra – This is my absolute favourite restaurant in Mississauga and I'm not the only one who feels so. It's owned by a Viennese pastry chef and his wife who moved from Germany to Toronto. They ended up in Mississauga and opened a bistro within walking distance of my house. It is brilliant because it is the ONLY grown up place in walking distance of 6 neighbourhoods, so you HAVE to make reservations to go on the weekends. A true gem and I really hope they never realize Mississauga is outside of the GTA. 
  • Tavolo Pizza - I went there for an informal but oh so fun meetup with Jenny - The Brunette Baker, Robyn - Planet Byn, and Heather - The Tasty Gardener. Lots of fun, tons of conversation, closed the restaurant. Nuff said. 

In Toronto, my new fave is 

  • Mangia & Bevi - A pizza place that is on par with pizza in Italy. 

Looking back over this list, it seems like I did get out and about despite the polar vortex and 2 rounds of illness.Thankfully the warm weather is finally coming and a look ahead to the temperatures next week, it looks like we're definitely out of the negative temps.

To that I say BRING IT ON!  See ya next month!

Copyright © 2014, Olive & Ruby. All rights reserved.


Robyn's picture

I LOVE this roundup!!! I was nodding along as I read, as I agree, this was the worst winter ever, and I also got sick twice. BOO! So excited for Spring and busting out of my hibernation mentality! I love all your restaurant recommendations in the west end...and I (shamefully) have never been to any of them!!! Looking forward to reading all of your monthly recaps :)

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