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gettin critical

gettin critical, reflections, restaurants, travel


I’ve been travelling a little lately.

I spent a while in a remote region of Northern Ontario. Took a brief but sweet trip to Ottawa. But most recently, I went on a somewhat impulsive trip to New York City.


If you want a rundown of all the insanely delicious, allergy-free, vegetable-centric, healthy restaurants New York has to offer I highly suggest you check out these posts from Angela and Leanne. In the city that never sleeps, you have virtually round the clock access to clean, healthy eats. And I’m sure they are all fantastic…

However…that was not my New York food experience.

While my usual approach to menu-hunting involves assessing all options and choosing the thing that sounds the most healthful and vegetable-dense, this time I had the singular desire to DO and EAT all the BEST THINGS this new city had to offer me. A bit of a change in strategy, if you will. From best for me, to the straight up best…And I’d say I fared pretty well.

So…where did I go? (In order of appearance)


What: light as a feather steamed taiwanese buns filled with braised meat, cilantro, pickled radish, peanuts & red sugar. veg options include tempura broccoli & tofu.

Why: everything is delicious and the place is just cool. blaring hip hop, tiny space and stupid-cute pics of owner Eddie Huang’s grandparents playing mah-jongg hanging on the wall. 

Where: 137 Rivington St, Lower East Side


Source: The L Mag


What: Thai-ish mixed bag. Fusion style small plates. Mandatory noodles and curries. Fresh fish mains. 

Why: ill admit the food might not blow your mind. but candlelit tables, quirky music, swank cocktails & prime people people watching make this place somewhere i’d go again. also, the waitresses and clientele were notably babely. soooo….theres that. 

Where: 196 Elizabeth St, NoLIta



What: Naples-style pizza (maxing out at $15) with a selection of other homestyle salads, seafood, pasta and small plates. 

Why: Its pizza. In brooklyn. And the place looks like this. YOU WANT TO GO TO THERE. 

Where: 435 Halsey St. Bed-Stuy. (Brooklyn)


Source: Gothamist


And lastly…


What: the compost cookie. a bizarrely satisfying blend of chocolate, butterscotch, graham crumbs, pretzels, potato chips, oats and coffee grinds. Sounds more like my kitchen floor after a particularly solitary Saturday night. Am I right, ladies? 

Why: The short answer is David Chang. And the shorter answer is justgoeathedamncookie. Or was that the long answer?

Where: Multiple locations. I wento 382 Metropolitan Ave. in Williamsburg. OBVI. 


And there you have it. NYC in a chocolate covered, cheese drenched, pizza flavoured nutshell.

Ima go eat sum salad and fantasize about my next visit.


coffee, fitness, gettin critical, reviews

Fitness Apps: Help or Hindrance?

What a beautiful morning it is here in downtown T.O! The sun is shining brightly, the skies are a vibrant blue & I am double fisting coffee and kombucha like a post-rehabed, pre-weirdfaced Lindsay Lohan.

Peculiar beverage combinations aside, I wanted to take today to nerd out a little and discuss Fitness Apps. 


For a good long while I thought that using applications on your phone to track fitness goals was a waste of time for someone like me, considering I am not in training for anything in particular nor do I have a desire for either weight loss or a substantial amount of weight/muscle gain. However I realized over time that certain apps actually would make my life a little easier and (just like everything in the health/finess world) I could take advantage of those good helpful bits and ignore the other stuff.

So I’ve compiled a little list of the apps I really do use on a regular basisand the ones I haven’t found so useful…

First up…THE HELPS

1) Standard Stopwatch.

No downloads necessary. Just use the straight-up stopwatch that comes with your phone to measure cardio, interval or strength excersizes that go by time as opposed to reps.

2) RunKeeper

Don’t be scared off by the name, I use this free app all the time even though I’m not a “runner” because it has some really useful functions including:

  • GPS to map your runs or walks when and if you do run outside.
  • Detailed information about your distance and speed (much more accurate than you’d get on a treadmill)

  • And (my personal favourite): The  Coaching function. It lets you set interval workouts  in advance, then gives you verbal cues about when to switch as you go. I use this for indoor and outdoor cardio as well as during strength training as an easy a hands-free timer!

3) Fitness Pro

I recently discovered this app but so far I’ve really been enjoying it. It’s totally free and has a massive library of exercise suggestions AND instructions so you can put together a customized plan that works for you. Customization is crucial because your workouts will vary a lot based on what equipment you do (or don’t) have access to.

It also has a whole anatomy section where you can choose which muscle groups you want to work and it will provide you with suggestions for what to incorporate into your routine. Very informative. A great way to break out of a workout rut and mix things up a bit!


1) Calorie Counting Apps. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Food tracking is a slippery slope and one that I don’t recommend for anyone, even those with weight loss goals. I genuinely believe food restriction is an addiction and one that we are all highly susceptible to. Becoming mindful of serving sizes and enjoying balanced meals and snacks made with unprocessed foods is a much healthier and infinitely more sustainable approach…And sadly there ain’t no app for that.

2) One Size Fits All Workout Apps. 

These include things like the Women’s Health Magazine app, the Nike Fit App & basically anything preset. In my experience the suggestions are good but too rigid and don’t take into account what your personal needs are. Plus you usually pay for workout apps like this and there are typically a limited number of workouts to choose from. And you guessed it….new workouts come at a cost! Better to find your workout inspiration online (for free!) then manually input it to a customizable app.

So…what do you think about fitness apps?

Do you have any faves? Would you consider trying one of these?
Or is the whole thing just too nerdy and not worth the effort? 

cities, gettin critical, reviews

The Right Demographic

A word of warning…if you could care less about shopping or interior design feel free to breeze on past this post.

Alright so you know how sometimes a new film/product/store comes out that is so transparently targeted to your demographic its embarrassing? If you’re struggling to think of an example, just look at the the following ad campaign produced by everybody’s favourite Soybean Oil and High Fructose Corn Syrup-based mayonnaise alternative…Miracle Whip:

 Jeez Miracle Whip is so much like me! I mean when I’m in a panini or crostini…you definitely know it! Ahem…

The only thing more embarrassing than a failed attempt at capturing the hearts and minds of young people (or, more specifically, hipsters) is when it totally works. When your advanced liberal arts degree makes you completely aware of the marketing ploys being used to capture your attention, but you still can’t help becoming obsessed with it? Like how I felt about that movie Garden State back when I was in college, or Miranda July movies now. American Apparel Henleys. The New Yorker App for Ipads. Fjällräven Backpacks. Portlandia. Jason Schwartzman…just generally.

Well this afternoon I had the opportunity to check out CB2, the DJ-on-the-weekends-but-mostly-just-freelancing younger brother store of the Crate & Barrel franchise and the newest addition to Toronto’s Queen St. West neighborhood.

The building was recently converted from a dirty bar we used to call The Big Bop.





Suffice it to say this store had my number.

Allow me to demonstrate using this visual checklist of Stuff Toronto Hipsters Like. Starting with (of course)…

Vegan Food

Ironic T-Shirts 

Vintage Toronto Nostalgia AND Dirty Bars (2 for 1!) 
That’s right, they preserved the original Big Bop sign and displayed it in-store.

Canadiana, Racially Insensitive “Native” Themed

Canadiana, Sports & Mountie Themed.

Needless to say I’ll be returning to this place as soon as I have the money/time/space/patience to redecorate. So basically when I’m in my 30s and no longer find this stuff cute. Siggggh.

Does interior design make you drool or do you still store your records and clothes in milkcrates?
Are there any products/marketing campaigns you hate to buy into…but just can’t resist

gettin critical, restaurants, snacks

Salad is Lame: How to make it slightly less so.

The strangest thing happened to me the other night. I was out to dinner with friends and just as our food arrived, two women sitting nearby stopped their conversation and (in all sincerity) complimented my salad. Not the chef. Not the farmers who grew the produce. But me…as if ordering that salad for dinner was some kind of noble act worthy of public praise.

While I laughed it off in the moment to be honest the whole thing made me feel downright icky. Fortunately they then proceeded to compliment me on my dress, which was a thrifted find that I was more than happy to take credit for! 😉

Still, this scenario got me thinking…perhaps it is time to dedicate a post to one of my all time favourite meals: The Salad.

In my experience no matter who you’re talking to ordering a salad is lame. If you’re with a girl: its lame because it looks like diet food and she feels judged so she’s judging you. If you’re with a guy: its lame cause its green and…I dunno I guess dudes hate fibre. BUT I accepted long ago that sometimes the stuff that makes me feel good and happy also happens to be super lame and nerdy. And the things that make me feel like crap (crapst?) like drinking, blowing my money, eating trashy food, not participating in sports/physical activity/anything new or different etc. are always gonna be cooler.

So when I finally made peace with that and put all the criticism/judgement aside I realized that I don’t order salad because I want to “limit my this” or “control my that”….I still want to eat a full and satisfying meal. When it comes right down to it I order a salad because

    I love vegetables

And salads are a very efficient delivery system. Simple as that.

SO after that long winded intro here’s a few tips on how to I make the perfect salad order to keep myself full & fueled while mowing down on rabbit food.

20111203-203919.jpgHarvest salad from The Beet Cafe: mixed greens, shredded beets end carrots, grape tomatoes, roasted organic chicken, seeds and nuts, avocado slices and quinoa topped with citrus cilantro and flax oil dressing

The key is to use the veggies as a base but I always try to include
a protein source (from eggs, chicken, tofu, tempeh, fish, etc.)
healthy fats (from avocado, seeds and nuts, cheese if you enjoy dairy as well as the olive/flax/nut oil in my dressing)
a complex carbohydrate (potato, squash, whole grain bread, cooked grain, chickpeas or other beans)

Nicoise Salad from Boom Breakfast: Mixed greens with tuna, grilled asparagus, sweet potato, olives, topped with a poached egg and balsamic dressing.

Trust me. Keep your veggie quotient high but don’t skimp on these additions and you’ll never be left feeling like you “just” ordered a salad again!

gettin critical, reviews, snacks

Gettin’ Critical: Granola Bar Review!

At first I wanted to call my review section “UGGHH You Actually BOUGHT That?” Cause hipsters are judgey and hate everything, obvz. But since I figured its really easy to find awful products out there and much more difficult to find good ones, I might as well use this opportunity to share stuff I actually like with you. That’s funner anyhow, m i right?

HECK, LETS GET STARTED. I’ve already discussed my obsession with eating kid-food at the snack time. So it probably comes as no suprise to you that I’m a big fan of granola bars…well…kinda…

I do not love high fructose corn syrup or impossible to pronounce ingredients. I also do not love snacks that leave me famished 15 minutes after eating them.

So which grocery store granola bar is your best bet? 

In my opinion the Kashi TLC  Almond Flax Granola Bar is head and shoulders above the competition. Kashi products use a mix of  whole grains including wheat, rye, brown rice, barley, oats and (my fave) buckwheat.  But more than that the nutritionals on these bars are IMPRESSIVE. They are low in sugar, contain heart-healthy fats and omega 3s, are full of fibre and contain a decent amount of protein. In practical terms this means they are a very energizing & satisfying snack! Which is what you want in your food…Ahem…Duh.

For me there is no comparison between this bar and the classic Quaker chewy bar. Quaker bars are actually lower in calories but much higher in sugar (all of it refined), they also only have 1 gram of protein and 1.5 grams of fat (coming from oils, saturated fats, etc.) as well as a zillion types of preservatives. Quaker bars essentially give you all the carbs (energy!) with none of the protein or fat (staying power!!!) In other words, they will leave you feeling wicked hungry.


When it comes to mid-day on-the-go snacks, staying power is key and that means a balance of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fat and fiber. So while I’d always prefer homemade unprocessed food over the grocery store aisle kind…Kashi TLC Almond Flax bars are definitely a snack in the right direction.

**Special Note: the healthy hipster is in no way associated with kashi, quaker or any other companies mentioned in this post. all of my reviews are purely based on my own tastes and opinions, to be read, deeply contemplated or ignored at your discretion.