Cafe de Olla: A Sweet and Spicy Mexican Delight!

Have you craved Mexican? I mean really craved it? Like lick the salt from your tongue, feel the beans in your tummy kind of crave it? Well, I have! Last night, despite a sincere dislike for all things Tequila, I was craving Margaritas, or at least the idea of an icy cold Margarita on a patio in the midst of Canadian summer heat.

I had the perfect excuse for a night in the city since a friend from Hamburg was visiting and we knew it would likely be years until we met again (okay definitely not years, but many months at the very least). So, five of us got together and plopped ourselves down at Milagros, a tasty little cantina in Queen West, one of the Toronto’s hotspots.

Despite having the best of intentions to follow my taste buds, I backed right put of my strawberry Margarita and settled on a glass of sangria and a slurp of my companions’ Micheladas; beer mixed with chili, lime, Worcester sauce and hot sauce. That was one of the strangest things to got my lips in a long time, but truth be told, it was like a Mexican Caesar, and was pretty much delicious.

We kick-started our meal with a scrumptious serving of nachos and guacamole. After washing that down with a refreshing Corona, I ordered myself a Tinga tostada and two tacos (Hongos con Quesa) filled with a type of feta cheese that was grilled to perfection!

The highlight of my meal however came after our food was cleared away. Since I was the designated driver, I opted in for a caffeine-inspired pick me up to carry me the 40 minutes back to the burbs. I’m not a coffee drinker my nature, so I thought I’d spice things up (literally) and order a Café de Olla, a delicious cup of coffee served with cinnamon and molasses. Topped with a dollop of milk, it was surprising flavourful and proved a sweet – and spicy – way to end the perfect night.

Heading to Milagros? Give it a try! It’s a Mexican delight you won’t find anywhere else.

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Categories: giraffe travel, thetravelinggiraffe | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading the News Was a Lot Easier, Before I Was a Mom

It’s Sunday afternoon and I’ve just poured my second cup of tea. My little girl is upstairs sleeping and I finally have time to read the news. During the work week, I handle digital content for a handful of clients and after months curating content for an NGO that specializes in inter-ethnic conflict, I’m fairly up to speed with the latest news and international headlines. Prepping myself for another glimpse into the ongoing refugee crisis or the latest suicide bombing, I just didn’t see this coming.

Child Sex Scandal in Pakistan

Flashing across my news feed was the headline: “Pakistan stumbles upon its ‘biggest’ child sex scandal”, the latest post from Al-Jazeera.

India Pakistan borderAfter having a mini melt-down two nights ago after reading an article about a series of child killings in Pakistan, I was hesitant to click into the article, but old habits are hard to kick and I stand by the fact that it’s far better to be in the know. I might have been wrong. My heart sinks as I read:

“Shock and anger as police discovers 400 video recordings of more than 280 children being forced to have sex in Punjab.”

Innocent. Vulnerable. Scared. Abused. Hurt. Helpless. Poor. Suffering. Alone. These words flash through my head as the words “abuse” and “child” embed themselves in my subconscious. “How can they…? Who would…? Those poor…” My brain wants to find words to express the feeling of heaviness that has set in. Like a rock being placed at the bottom of my stomach, making it harder and hard to breathe. But I quickly realize that it’s not the usual empathy I have for vulnerable groups of people. This feeling that is beyond disgust. This desire to lash out that goes beyond revenge. This is happening because I’m a mother. Continue reading

Categories: giraffe lifestyle, the view from above | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Why My Husband (Still) Owes Me a Trip To Vietnam

Typical. Just when you think you’ve bitten the bullet and set off on a solo-adventure to “find” yourself, you end up meeting some handsome German guy who sweeps you off your feet. I spent years looking for that guy in a bar only to have him encroach on designated, uninterrupted “me” time. On the whole, having a dashing foreigner pick me up over a bucket of booze at the full-moon party wasn’t all that bad, but to this day, I can’t watch “Good Morning Vietnam” (pause for a moment of reverence in memory of the late and great Robin Williams) without clenching my teeth and raising a shaky fist in the air with feigned annoyance. Here’s why.

The Happy (solo) Traveler

It all started in Bangkok. I had been traveling for a few weeks by that time, working my way up from Singapore and passing through Malaysia via Malacca, Langkawi, Penang and Kuala Lampur and avoiding tourists like the plague. I had set out alone, created a map of where exactly I wanted to go and what I wanted to see, and was determined to stick to my guns. I rose with the sun and returned around dusk when it became less than ideal for me to wander around solo. Now, don’t get me wrong, I met some fabulous people along the way who were great for dining after dusk (hats off to Julia and Patricia, two of my favourite Germans of all-time); sharing a gondola ride up Penang hill (because 3 white people being stared at is way less awkward);or embarking on a chaotic adventure involving waterfalls, a crazy Russian, a couple of newlyweds and an island with no taxis. But honestly, on the whole, I absolutely loved the parts of my trip where I just wandered around alone for what seemed like hours, stopping to grab sugar cane juice in a bag from this hole in the wall or some pineapple tarts from that little bakery just around the corner. I was on a mission to take charge of my own life, making my own plans and doing so well, until… he came along. Continue reading

Categories: giraffe travel, thetravelinggiraffe | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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