Belles in Cowtown

Cibo Wine BarCibo Wine Bar Yorkville

By Cathryn Gagnon:

A recent visit to see Cityline in Toronto brought the girls and I to Yorkville.  We discovered that a favorite restaurant named Ciao, at  133 Yorkville Avenue, has been renamed Cibo Wine Bar. It did not disappoint.  I was pleased to hear that there now is a Cibo Wine Bar on King Street as well.The place is huge, among the other posh eating establishments in Yorkville.  Cibo is trendy and loud, but the whole atmosphere is vibrant.

Cibo Wine Bar-2

Taste Sensations:

  • CARPACCIO – thinly sliced raw beef, arugula, shavings of parmigiano.
  • FUSILLI – chicken, porcini mushrooms, light cream sauce.
  • ARUGULA – Prosciutto di Parma, shaved parmigiano reggiano, red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil.
  • TONNO SCOTTATO + CAPONATA Seared Ahi tuna*, black olive salsa, green beans.

We chose to eat a lighter fare, but every mouthful was amazing.  I highly recommend Cibo Wine Bar, rating it 9 out of 10.

Continue reading “Belles in Cowtown”

Toscana…All the Buzz

10898173_10152949472657357_5363379731868830981_n

By Cathryn Gagnon and her Dining Divas 

This month the Dining Divas experienced Toscana Restaurant and Wine Bar at 3891 Dougall Avenue, in Windsor.  When making the reservation, the restaurant was completely booked, but they were able to accommodate us in the redesigned bar area.  I actually prefer to sit in the bar area at restaurants; the energetic atmosphere is abuzz, making it a fun setting.

Although it’s a fair size, Toscana is always full. The new bar area now seats about 20, and puts diners face to face with the sushi chef. Stylish round booths surround the comfy bar stools. Our favorite way, for my husband Ed and I to enjoy Toscana, is to reserve a bar stool and share a few of our favorite starters, paired with a bottle of wine.

Continue reading “Toscana…All the Buzz”

Relax at the Ben Miller Inn

IMG_2881-001

Two of the main buildings at the Ben Miller Inn & Spa are over one hundred and thirty years old, but it’s the simplicity and charm of the old grist mill, that keeps visitors coming back for some good old fashioned country R & R. It’s nestled in the rolling hills near Lake Huron, about ten minutes from downtown Goderich.

Rooms are available in different buildings or cottages, depending on the experience you are looking for. We stayed in one of the Mill rooms that overlooked a gushing stream and the Maitland River. The sound of the water and the view were amazing.

The room was clean will all the amenities, including a mini hideaway kitchenette. I was a bit disappointed with the overall condition of the old Inn. There is being old and there is looking old; the Inn looks like it could use some TLC. It was more evident on the property away from the main building.

Continue reading “Relax at the Ben Miller Inn”

Captain America: Civil War

maxresdefault

“Captain Crunch and his cereal box heroes,” would be a more appropriate name for this MMA match-up. Okay, I admit I’ve never read a single comic book, but I’ve grown up on Batman and Superman and even heroes like Mighty Mouse. Why can’t he get in on the action? Even Ant-man got in on this one.

I’m sorry to say, but I was a bit lost in this action flick, mostly because I didn’t know who all the enhanced humans were. I felt like this movie was part three of a trilogy, and I’d missed the second part.

The fights and action were good, but I always thought iron was tougher than flesh and muscle. These guys drop trucks and buildings on each other and only end up with a few bruises. The theme and plot were interesting. It reminded me of what is going on in the real world, where the police are being handcuffed for doing their jobs, because of collateral damage they might cause in the execution of their duties.

The parallel is uncanny. Let criminals or super-criminals run a muck, then wait and see what kind of a world we’ll be living in.

In my opinion Ant-man was a cool addition to the super ensemble, but Spider-man (Tom Holland)  stole the show with his fresh and young perspective.

I saw this flick with a long-time buddy. Although he didn’t give me a number, he said he thought the movie was more suited to his pre-teen grandchildren. I give it 7 out of 10.

Contrast – Valparaiso, Chile

Graffitti in Valparaiso, Chile
Graffiti in Valparaiso, Chile

This story is an excerpt from Ed’s book, A Casual Traveler

The ride from Santiago to Valparaiso was uneventful in comparison to some of my Asian bus adventures. I had planned to ride the Train del Vino while in Santiago, but it only ran on Saturdays. I arrived on a Monday, and didn’t want to stay in town that long.

 I’m a true wino at heart, and also planned on touring some Chilean wineries, but as fate would have it, I had to settle for doing my tasting in restaurants. To put it simply, I found Santiago was just too big and busy and noisy, and just not where I wanted to be at that point in my South American adventure.

Don’t get me wrong, I was impressed by the colonial architecture, and I know the city has many things to offer, but I just wasn’t in the big city mood. I needed something smaller, and more laid back. Valparaiso turned out to be just the place.

 On the bus, I sat beside a local guy, who appeared to be around my age. We struggled to communicate in broken English and Spanish. I gathered that he was retired from the Chilean navy, and proud of his prior service. He was married, with children, and he lived in Valparaiso.

He was curious about my plans and exact destination, but we couldn’t place it on the city map. He used his cell phone, and called someone to Google the street I was looking for. I had previously selected a couple of hotels, up in the hills above town, that were in my guidebook. The retired navy man seemed obliged to get me there. Silence eventually crept over both of us, and we nodded off for a bit.

 The city of Valparaiso took advantage of its position on the Pacific Ocean, by becoming a major shipping port. In it’s heyday, before the opening of the Panama Canal, it was an important stopover for ships on their way around the bottom tip of South America.

Continue reading “Contrast – Valparaiso, Chile”

Nice Guys did Finish Last

Russel Crowe apparently called Ryan Gosling to be his buddy and to make a movie together. I hope their friendship goes further than The Nice Guys will. We both agree on this one – you should wait for the video to come out, if you really want to see it. The 70’s theme, music and muscle cars were imagesall cool, but the dry humor had me parched and looking for water.

It could have been a descent detective drama, like so many of the old P.I. shows we grew up on, but letting one of their teenage daughters run rampant through most of the movie pretty well killed any resemblance of a good dick flick. And speaking of that, the plot revolves around a porn video. Hearing teenagers talk about rim jobs and showing their dick’s was a bit much.

The only nice surprise in the movie was seeing that Kim Basinger is still alive and kicking. We both give this a 6.

 

Early Acclaim for Finding Hope

2016-05-19 09_56_26-Gagnon_314.pdf - Adobe Reader

“Finding Hope, The Highway of Tears, is a fictional depiction of a true real-life horror story. Gagnon tells us the story of Hope, who goes missing along the notorious Highway #16, in northern B.C. and is sought by retired Detective Norm Strom. Engrossing plot, engaging characters, and superb imagery make this a hard story to put down. This well-written and timely account of a truly heart-wrenching problem, is well worth the read.”—Christine Hayton – Author, Samhain Publishing Ltd. 

“Fix yourself a cup of tea and settle in for a great rainy-day read. You’re not going to want to put down “Finding Hope.”  The author takes you on a haunting ride up western Canada’s Highway #16, from Calgary to Hyder, Alaska. Along the way, retired Detective Norm Strom meets Hope Lachance, and then helps the RCMP try to find her after she’s gone missing. Strom learns the real reason why the aboriginal people call the route, The Highway of Tears.” —Caroline Hartman – Author of Summer Rose

“Ed Gagnon weaves fiction and reality into an exciting story about the Canadian women who have gone missing along The Highway of Tears, in northern British Columbia. More than a book about crimes against women and the lack of attention from law enforcement, Finding Hope is about prejudice, despair, and the courage of one woman named Hope.”   – Ben Van Dongen – Co-Author of No Light Tomorrow

Read More Reviews 

Click Here for Direct Buy Links