Saturday, December 21, 2013

[Product Review] Sweets From the Earth - Peppermint Nanaimo Bar

Company: Sweets From the Earth


Product: Peppermint Nanaimo Bar, $2
Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free?: Yes to all

This review is long overdue, but now it is finally up! I finished my last exam this past Wednesday and I have more time on my hands before the winter semester starts. I will try to tackle the posts that need to be done before I get busy again (fingers crossed)!

In the beginning of November, I was at Ryerson when I saw a sign for free snacks around the school. Being the kind of girl that stake out for free food, I obviously had to check out the event. To my surprise, there was a big booth set up for Sweets From the Earth (SFTE) where they were giving out free samples and selling individual snacks for $2. If you aren't familiar, all of their desserts are all natural and 100% vegan. Whilst I was piling on the samples, I introduced myself to one of the co-owners who was manning the booth. I told him that whenever a cafe sold their products, I always mentioned them in my review. As a thank you for spreading the word of SFTE, I was given a free Peppermint Nanaimo Bar! I was quite excited because I never tried anything from SFTE, despite seeing their products in 90% of the cafes I'd been to.

I decided not to eat the bar that day because I wanted to save it. So the next day, I went to The Abbott and thought it was perfect to have with my latte. When I took a bite out of the Peppermint Nanaimo Bar, it did not last five minutes before everything was consumed. It was my first nanaimo bar and it was absolutely delicious! To the point where I was scratching on the packaging to savour what was left! It was soft and chewy with just the right amount of chocolate and peppermint combined. I would not have realized it was vegan if I did not know beforehand. Combining it with the latte was perfection. This was the best nanaimo bar I had up to date and since I haven't had the chance to try anything else from SFTE (asides from the mini cookie samples, which were good as well), I definitely recommend picking up a Peppermint Nanaimo Bar the next time you see it in a cafe!

To read my interview with the founder and owner Ilana, check it out here:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Coffee Shop Project

I like to support independent related-things. Independent art, independent jewellery brands, and of course independent cafes! Do you know what else is great? Independent music, for free!

I was reached out by Kaitlyn from The Coffee Shop Project for a quick shout out. I actually knew about this project when I picked up one of their download cards at El Cafecito last year.

For those who aren't familiar, The Coffee Shop Project's goal is to promote independent music at different independent places, such as cafes. Each month they feature an artist from Maple Music Recordings and you could download the artist's single for free. All you have to do if find a cafe that offers the download cards and you can drop by to pick one up! Check it all out at: and let me know if you downloaded any cool songs.

Friday, December 6, 2013

[Interview] Sweets from the Earth with Ilana Kadonoff

So I decided to do something a bit different on my blog today. If you are a regular reader or cafe-goer, you may be familiar with Sweets from the Earth. A majority of the cafes I have featured on the blog actually sells many gluten-free and vegan snacks from SFTE. I thought it would be nice to do a quick interview with the founder of this delicious company (I will have a mini product review up later once I figure out the post set-up!). Hopefully you enjoy this interview and will pick up something from SFTE next time!

You can check out their site here:

1. Please introduce yourself and your role in Sweets from the Earth!

My name is Ilana Kadonoff and I am the founder and president of SFTE.

2. What inspired the creation of SFTE?

I was a long time vegetarian/pastry chef with a sweet tooth, and a budding vegan with no sweet options! I started playing around in the kitchen with traditional pastry recipes using alternative ingredients, and when I came up with a few good products, I approached some stores and cafes to get some feedback, and people loved them! I never actually set out to start a business – turned out that vegans were ready for great tasting vegan desserts instead of the “healthy-tasting” ones that were available at the time, so this little hobby quickly evolved into a business.

3. What is the future of SFTE? Any plans for expansion?

The future of SFTE is to keep growing and coming up with new products. We’re working on some exciting new things out of both our gluten free and nut free facilities.

4. Out of all the treats that are currently being sold, which is your personal favourite?

I have two favourites and they are both from our original product line. Chocolate cake with a tall, cold glass of almond milk, and chocolate chewy nut bars, right out of the freezer. I also have a soft spot for the cashew cookies and our chocolate mint cupcakes.

5. Will we be expecting anything new from SFTE soon?

I have a list a mile long of products to develop. The key is finding the time! But as I mentioned above, we are working on some new things, and hopefully some of them will be making an appearance in the new year.

6. Since this is a cafe blog, which is your favourite Toronto cafe? It doesn't have to be one that you are working with!

I base my café opinions on how good their lattes are and whether they offer vegan treats! There are a few I love:

1. Hotel Gelato has great vegan lattes, large assortment of vegan pastries (from us as well as other companies), and delicious vegan gelato!

2. Aroma

3. Café Con Leche

4. Cocoa Latte

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fuel +

Cafe: Fuel +
Address: 471 Church St.
Phone: 647-352-8807
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30 AM - 9 PM, Sat-Sun 8:30 AM - 9 PM

Wi-Fi?: Yes
Study Appropriate?: Yes
Stamp Cards?: No



Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Yes to all
- Roasted coffee beans from 23 Degrees Roastery
- Offers Spicy Ginger Chai
- Offers Amsterdam Black
- Offers Amsterdam Blonde
- Offers protein shakes
- All ginger ales are made in-house!
- Will be offering Cranberry Mint drinks this upcoming holidays!
- Sells organic juices
- Sells Karma
- Sells Kombucha (fermented mushroom tea)

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Yes to all
- Offers fuel balls, made in-house
- Offers 3 flavours of gelato from Gelato Fresco 
- Gluten-free biscotti from Sweets Everything
- Vegan and gluten-free snacks from Sweets from the Earth

Ginger Ale

Pina Colada and Kiwi Kale Detox


Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Protein Shake, $5.99

Various treats including: Cranberry Fuel Ball, Cinnamon Fuel Ball, Peanut Fuel Balls, Gluten-Free

Roast Beef Panini Grilled Sandwich, $4.99


Drink of Choice: Spicy Ginger Chai, $4.19

I was invited to Fuel +'s Fall/Winter tasting event on October 29th to try out their new menu items. This was my very first media invite so I was super excited. When I got there, I was flooded with samples. I definitely enjoyed their signature fuel balls, which were all made in house and only 100 calories each! In my opinion, the best item I got to try was their Grilled Breakfast Burrito! I kept asking if there were going to be more samples because I couldn't get enough of it! I thought it was pretty cool that their ginger ale were made in-house, so if you enter the cafe, you'd be hit with a strong ginger smell. The Spicy Ginger Chai was definitely delicious! I do recommend drinking it slowly and thoroughly enjoying it just because it can overwhelm the taste-buds.

My advice for anyone who hasn't had a protein shake before is to not order one head-on. I always like trying new things so I decided to order one of their shakes. I thought it would probably taste like milkshake. I was wrong. It was a lot to take in and if you are not a peanut butter lover, definitely do not order the Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana flavoured shake (I prefer their Pina Colada one instead). I couldn't finish up my shake because I was starting to get headaches, probably because I wasn't used to having so much protein at once (additional to all the other samples I had). However, if you use protein shakes to bulk up and tired of drinking the same kind you have at home over and over, give Fuel Plus a try! They have many flavours to choose from.

I spoke with both owners, Chester and Gary, who were extremely passionate about their cafe and what they were all about. Fuel + is about having healthy and organic options at a very affordable price. They felt that eating healthy shouldn't come with a high price. They wanted to give an opportunity for those who are thinking of eating healthier a chance without breaking the bank. They mentioned that their drinks are cheaper than Starbucks and for a generous quantity as well. Fuel + is also involved with a couple of running groups, such as Nike's Running Group every Tuesday and Get Out Canada. Runners in the area are also free to stop by and use their lockers for free as well! If people are interested in finding gifts for a vegan/gluten-free friend or a family member, Fuel Plus is currently offering gift baskets for this holiday!

Thank you Fuel + for the media invite! :)

Fuel+ on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tangerine Cafe (Downtown)

Cafe: Tangerine Cafe
Address: 221 Yonge St.
Phone: 416-644-5929
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 9 AM - 6 PM, Sat 11 AM - 6 PM, Sun 12 PM - 5 PM

Wi-Fi?: Yes
Study Appropriate?: Yes
Stamp Cards?: No


Main Floor

Second Floor


Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Only almond
- Roasted coffee beans from Fresh Coffee Network

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Yes to all

Orange Juice, $2


Drink of Choice: Fair Trade Coffee, $2

I first found out about Tangerine Cafe when my friend wanted to meet up there. I passed by the cafe often but I never thought much of it. I didn't realize that it was a community space where people were free to come in and do their work. The cafe has free Wi-Fi and several iPads for use. Their drink menu is unfortunately very limited. You can get either tea, coffee or OJ. However, they are all organic and fair trade.

The purpose of the Tangerine Cafes (they have 5 locations altogether across Canada), is to teach finance in a fun and unique approach. People can come in an inquire anything finance-related and the staff can also set up an account for you! The cafes are not bank branches, though there are two ABMS available for clients' at the downtown location.

The cafe also offers co-working space, where companies can rent the space for $20/day or $100/month. 100% of the money generated is donated to charity. More details on their website.

I think Tangerine Cafes are a unique concept. They really want to change the way people talk about money and provide an open space for that type of discussion, instead of boring money talk. It's a great place to have quick meetings with a friend or co-worker when you need a place to do so downtown as well.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cacao 70

Cafe: Cacao 70
Address: 2087 Ste-Catherine Ouest
Phone: 514-933-1688
Store Hours: Mon-Sun 11 AM - 10:30 PM

Wi-Fi?: Yes
Study Appropriate?: No
Stamp Cards?: No



View menu here: &

The House Special (I think, I don't remember), $12

Meat Lover Omelet, $12.50


Although yes, this is the Toronto Cafe Blog, I think it's nice to have a little variety here and there. As well, this is a filler review since I don't have as much content to post compared to my upcoming reviews.

My boyfriend and I visited my cousin in Montreal three weeks ago. We got to try a popular chocolate dessert cafe/restaurant called Cacao 70. They offered a limited selection of coffee drinks but I wasn't there for the coffee. Since it was brunch time, I was desperate to have some content into my stomach. I didn't want to order dessert because I had nothing in the morning and didn't want to be filled up on sugar. So I ordered one of their savoury crepes, The House Special (I think, I'm basing it off their online menu since I forgot to record it). It came with fruit appetizers that you could dip in chocolate before the main entree came. I definitely enjoyed the food! It was not crazily mind-blowing and unique, but it definitely gave me a fill and I was definitely content.

I really liked the atmosphere and their chocolate-themed restaurant. You could also buy chocolate to take back with you if you wish. I didn't buy any only because they were a bit pricey for a bag.

If I was to come back to Montreal (which I obviously am), I would definitely try their dessert crepes. Even if you hate chocolate (like my boyfriend), there is definitely something there for everyone.

Cacao 70 on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Cafe: Joes
Address: 250 Sourauren Ave.
Phone: 416-539-9420
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30 AM - 6 PM, Sat-Sun 8:30 AM - 6 PM
Website: N/A

Wi-Fi?: Yes
Study Appropriate?: Yes
Stamp Cards?: No



Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Yes to all
- Offers americano with misto
- Offers iced americano with steamed milk
- Offers iced latte
- Roasted coffee beans from Alternative Grounds

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Yes to all
- Cookies and muffins made in-house
- Bagels from Montreal
- Offers soup and chili in the winter, types changed daily
- Offers salads and sandwiches in the summer
- Specialty mountain oatmeal cookies available


Drink of Choice: Iced Latte, $3.56 (Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture!)

I'm unsure if this cafe is called Sunny Joes or just Joes. On the ICP, it says Joes. However, on BlogTO and other sites it's referred to as Sunny Joes. Since it goes under Joes on Facebook, I will assume that it is the correct name.

Joes is located near Balluchon Raymond Inc., another cafe, in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood. When I went there, it definitely had a quiet, neighbourhoodly-vibe. Patrons kept to themselves, in contrast to Balluchon Raymond Inc. down the street, where the owner would happily talk about his cafe for hours if you wished to hear.

I don't have much to comment on in regards to Joes. For the drink, I had the iced latte, which I cannot recall my opinion of it. However, what I found was unique was that it had coffee cubes rather than regular iced cubes. This was so the drink would not become diluted when the ice cube melted and would stay true to its taste.