Posts by: Nicola Brown

Fairmont Scottsdale

The Ultimate Spa Day at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel in Arizona

In the heart of the Sonoran Desert is an expansive Spanish colonial oasis, just outside of McDowell Mountain Regional Parktucked in North Scottsdale.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, one of only four AAA 5-diamond hotels in Arizona, lives up to its name in every way: I felt a bit like royalty in my Deluxe King room with one of the best views in the hotel. Continue Reading →

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New Culinary Spots Get Personal in Upstate New York

Upstate New York’s diverse Finger Lakes region is known for its extensive wine production, but it’s also an emerging hotbed of culinary talent, craft breweries, and distilleries.

But the thing that stood out the most to me when first visited was a distinctive approach to culinary creation that draws inspiration from personal and local historical details. Continue Reading →

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Three Historic Foodie Stops in Upstate New York

Before arriving in Rochester, I knew just as much about Upstate New York as I did about Bora Bora: that they weren’t going to share a similar climate in February, or ever.

What I was not expecting to find was a rich historical backdrop for some seriously good food spots, a growing craft beer scene, and the second largest wine producing region in the United States after California. Continue Reading →

Bar Fish Toronto

Introducing Barfish: Toronto’s Narrowest Cocktail Bar

Have you been inside Toronto’s narrowest cocktail bar yet?

Squeaking in with a liquor license just in time for its official launch, BarFish, nestled as cosily as you can get alongside neighbourhood veteran BlowFish, made its King West debut elegantly. Take one step too many and you’d walk straight past this modern addition, wedged between the old Bank of Montreal building (that has housed BlowFish for 13 years) on the corner of King and Bathurst and somewhat dwarfed by office spaces next door. Continue Reading →

Amsterdam light show

Amsterdam’s Love Affair with Light: A Photoessay

Amsterdam is a city of contrasts. Historic, narrow 17th-century buildings and canals coexist with liberal drug, prostitution and same-sex marriage laws. But no contrast is so clearly embraced as the one that continues to permeate the Netherlands’ approach to artistic expression.

The Amsterdam Light Festival turns three this winter, and already draws international artists and spectators, in the dead of winter. The festival’s emphasis on light in contrast with dark breathes new life into the Netherlands’ rich artistic history. For more than fifty days, the historical center of Amsterdam is illuminated with light sculptures, projections and installations by contemporary (inter)national artists. Continue Reading →

Snowy Vancouver

Five Things to Love About Vancouver’s Food Scene

Let’s face it: Vancouver’s stunning scenery and love of green space is almost enough to make us don some Lululemon gear and become green gurus. In Vancouver, “local”, “eco-conscious” and “sustainable” aren’t just PR words — it’s a way of life.

Next time you’re on Canada’s West Coast, take some time to explore Vancouver’s Foodie Trail and you’ll discover more than just leafy greens and fruit smoothies. Here are five things to love about Vancouver’s food scene: Continue Reading →

Okanagan Valley Wineries, British Columbia

British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley: Second Best Wine Region in the World?

As I wind my way through the grape-heavy vines of the sun-dappled Naramata Bench in mid-September, I can’t shake the feeling that I must be in the viticultural heart of France or Italy. Surely not British Columbia in Canada.

But believe it. Travelling through Naramata, one of the richest wine-growing regions in the world, the only thing more arresting than seeing the Okanagan Valley is tasting it. USA Today readers seemed to agree when they named the Okanagan Valley the second best wine region in the world.

My mission for the day: taste as many different wines at as many different wineries as possible. Continue Reading →

Moules frites (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Haute Cuisine: Fancy Foods from Southwestern France

In southwestern France, particularly in the Dordogne, you can feel like you’ve stepped back in time to a place that is quite isolated from the rest of the world.

Medieval castles blanket the hilltops and prehistoric caves are home to some of the oldest known cave paintings in the world. Townships host a market day once or twice a week where some of the best culinary pickings are still produced the way they have been for centuries. Accordingly, price tags range from reasonable to extortionate.

Despite this region’s humble environs, it is home to some of the richest and finest French delicacies that grace the tables of all the top dining destinations across the world. Continue Reading →