All posts by diegorojasphoto

A Classic Gem Montreal Style

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The search for the best and most authentic farmers’ markets took me recently to Montreal’s iconic Marché Jean Talon.

Having been to Montreal several times in the past, I don’t understand how I’ve never included this gem on my “to-see” list while in town.  It is by far one of the best markets I have visited recently and from now on, it will be a the top of my list of things to do when visiting Québec.

The atmosphere at Jean Talon is colourful and very lively.  The beautiful food displays all around, entice the visitors to try everything, and try they do!  The “GOUTEZ-Y” signs invite you to try samples of the fresh fruits and vegetables…THIS IS HEAVEN!  Bright tomatoes, juicy pineapples, tasty cucumbers, crispy brussel sprouts, you name it and they have it!  A must while at Marché Jean Talon is definitely Aqua Mare.  The oysters, which are chuckled right in front of you and served on a wooden box, are to die for!  Also try the bhajis, which although not the classic ones, they are delicious.  And don’t leave the market without getting a pint or two of Québec’s Maple Syrup…it is worth every penny!

The wonderful food is complimented by the merchant’s friendly attitude.  Always with a smile on their face, they make the experience at Jean Talon an unforgettable one.  Drop-by Aqua Mare and say hello to the very funny and charismatic fish munger…yes, the one playing with the fish!

Jean Talon…á la prochaine!

Shooting the streets as fashion moves forward

As Fashion Week Toronto carries on, photographers and bloggers alike hunt down the fashionistas of the city to document how fashion is moving forward on the streets of the city.  It is a pleasure to see how the street becomes the runway turning the spotlight (if only for a few seconds)

to real people and their fashion sense.

Deep in the Snow

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have always believed that to enjoy winter, one must get outside and get involve in some of the outdoor activities and sports Canada has to offer.  This is easier said then done for many, and specially for a “made in Colombia” canadian such as myself.  Nonetheless, I have been trying to stay true to my believes and have been out skiing a couple of times, have wonder around town (camera in hand) during the few snowstorms we’ve had, and most recently, headed up north to the Algonquin Highlands in Ontario  for my first ever snowshoe trip along with my girlfriend Kako and my good friends Amy and Juan.

WOW!   What a amazing weekend I had.  The scenery around Haliburton is just mind blowing.  The snow-drenched trees, the hilly roads surrounded by snow and frozen lakes (lots of them), and the random deer sighting, made this the perfect backdrop for my snowshoeing initiation.

On the first day we headed to the southern tip of Algonquin Park to checkout the High Falls.  Ploughing through the heavy snow, we made it up the narrow tree-wrapped path and after passing several frozen ponds we reached the falls… Such a magical place, and such a great feeling to be out in the snow, surrounded by trees and seeing the water rushing down the mountain and overpowering the ice and snow covering it.  We could not help it and took out a flask with warm tasty whiskey to celebrate this wonderful moment.

On the second day, our snowshoes took us over to the historic Log Chute and the Hawk Lake.  The log chute  is the only one that remains standing in Ontario, and lies at the bottom of the Crests of the Kennisis trail.  Hiking up this trail was a tough workout and it is not for the faint of heart, but it is definitely worth every bit of effort!  Walking through the forest felt like getting lost in a scene of Alice in Wonderland.   We were fortunate to have very deep and powdery snow and lots of sun piercing through the trees, which made it easier to bear the very cold -20 degrees nature surprised us with.  The top price for this hike…the beautiful views of the Kennisis River, which cuts through the forest on a perfect zig zag!

As I said before, the best way to enjoy the winter is to get out there and enjoy the picturesque canadian outdoors.  I am totally sold on this idea and very thankful for getting the opportunity to visit such an amazing place as the Algonquin Highlands.  Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoy taking them.

B&B Heaven in Haliburton

 

I recently came back from a weekend get-away in Haliburton, Ontario, and  my very first Bed & Breakfast experience courtesy of Akané B&B.  Oooh my…how fortunate I was, having found this wonderful and homey wood cabin in the middle of the Algonquin Highlands!  From the moment I pulled into Akané, I knew I was in for a treat.  The dream-like winter scenery of its surroundings, the comfort of its wooden architecture, the exquisite food (Shabu Shabu dinner, oven-baked eggs and waffles for breakfast), and the unsurpassed hospitality of the wonderful hosts Mieko and Gary, made my long weekend vacation perfect.

To all the B&B lovers out there, it would be wise to add Akané B&B to your list (www.bbloghome.com).  You will not be disappointed.  As for me, I’m already looking forward to visiting them in the summer!

Translation: Acabo de regresar de Haliburton, Ontario, y de mi primera experiencia en un Bed & Breakfast cortesía de Akané B&B.  Wow…que afortunado fuí al haber encontrado está maravillosa y acogedora cabaña en medio de la región de Algonquin Highlands.  Desde el momento en que estacioné sabía que lo que se venía era de lujo.  Los paisajes invernales de ensueño, la comodidad de su arquitectura, la comida exquicita (cena Shabu Shabu, huevos al horno y waffles al desayuno), y la insuperable hospitalidad de sus anfitriones Mieko and Gary, le dieron el toque de perfección a mi fin de semana largo.

Para todos los amantes de los Bed and Breakfast, sería muy sabio agregar a Akané B&B a su lista (www.bbloghome.com).  Les aseguro que no se arrepentirán.  Por mi parte, no veo la hora de regresar en el verano.

Finds at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market

Recently, my quest to visit as many farmers market as possible this year, took me to the historic Hamilton Farmers Market (HFM).  Lately, I have been curious about what makes “Steeltown” tick, and being only about a half hour drive away, it seem only fitting to pay a visit to this popular community gathering.  Although, the HFM is missing the quaint and country-style character unlike other markets I’ve visited, I found a very special community feeling and a warm atmosphere in this market.

The vendors at the market were very friendly and the product offerings were culturally diversed.    Two vendors that stood out the most on this visit and for which I will definitely to go back are Vinnie’s Fresh Pasta Factory and Odessy Olive Oils and Vinegar (http://www.odessyoliveoilsandvinegars.com/index.html).  Vinnie’s fresh pasta is a mouth-watering treat (spinach-red pepper fetuccini) for a very reasonable price of $4 per lb; not only is it made fresh right in front of your eyes, but it is also made with a smile.   At Odessy you will find a wide variety of organic olive oils and vinegars (a yummy sicilian lemon balsamic) and the expertise and great service of Robert Lalla.

Farmers market are all about the people that gather every week to showcase their goods and about finding those special treats that give visitors joy.  Based on these two factors, the Hamilton Farmers Market is worth the drive  and a visit!

Market Saturdays

 

Saturday has arrived again and with it a new chance to visit one of my new favourite places, the farmer’s market!  Although I have been visiting these markets for a while,  only until recently have I started to fully appreciate the beauty of the community gathering, the freshness of the produce, and the excitement of indulging on a new treat never tasted before.  I recall how much of a hassle it was, as a kid in Colombia, having to stop playing with friends to accompany my grandmother to the market…fortunately I have grown up!

Today I would like to share with you a small collection of photos from some of the recent farmer’s market that have caught my attention:  The “Mercado Municipao” in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with its electric atmosphere and filled with perfectly displayed product.  The Farmer’s Market at Union Square, being an oasis of freshness in the middle of bustling Manhattan.  And, the more quaint and historic St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market, with the special touch of the mennonite tradition.

More markets to come…stay tuned!

White Holiday

 

So after 15 years of living in Canada, of which many holidays have been spend down in South America, I have finally come to the realization that winter  in Canada is definitely better with a good dose of snow and winter sports.  Although I have skied in the past, it took a 6 hour drive to Mont Tremblant, enduring -25C degree temperatures, a couple of bruised ankles, and all the powder snow I had dreamed of, to appreciate the beauty of skiing and getting away from it all “‘à la Canadien”.

Here are some photos of my recent trip to Mont Tremblant.  This was my first visit to the Laurentians in Québec and I know it will not be the last.  From the scenery and the great skiing, to the great atmosphere at the mountain and the friendly people, Mont Tremblant is by far my best experience of a white holiday in Canada.  Set your eye on this destination and go visit, you won’t regret it.

A la prochaine!

Después de 15 años de vivir en Canadá, durante los cuales la mayoría de las vacaciones de fin de año incluyeron calor, brisa y mar en Suramérica, finalmente llego a la conclusión de que el invierno en Canadá es muchísimo mejor con una buena dosis de nieve y deportes de invierno.  Aunque he esquiado en el pasado, fueron necesarias 6 horas de viaje por carretera hasta Mont Tremblant (Québec), un par de noches de  -25 grados centígrados, un par de contusiones en los tobillos, y toda la nieve polvo con la que he soñado, para poder apreciar la belleza de esquiar y escaparse de la rutina al estilo canadiense.

Aquí les comparto algunas de las fotos de mi más reciente viaje a Mont Tremblant, Québec.  Esta fue mi primera visita y seguro no será la última.  Desde los paisajes y una esquiada inolvidable, hasta el buen ambiente y la amabilidad de la gente, Mont Tremblant es sin duda alguna la mejor experiencia que he tenido de una navidad blanca en Canadá.  Que esperan para visitarla?

Hasta la próxima!

Be careful what you wish for…! (cuidado con lo que pedimos)

Although I am sure in two months time I’ll be wishing for the snow to go away and dreaming of warm weather,  I cannot help but enjoy the beauty and freshness of the first real snowfall (10 to 15cms) of this winter in Toronto, Canada.
Aunque estoy seguro que en 2 meses estaré deseando que desaparezca la nieve y soñando con el clima cálido, no puedo evitar disfrutar de la belleza y frescura de la primera nevada (10 a 15cms) de este invierno en Toronto, Canadá.

The season to be jolly…at the Toronto Christmas Market

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Having been away from Toronto the last 4 years and not knowing about the Christmas celebrations going on around town, I was happy to have made my way down to the Lowe’s Christmas market at the Distillery District in Toronto.

Although I have read mix reviews on the experience (too crowded, too cold to be outdoors, pricey food, etc.), I enjoyed my visit and the chance to share with others the spirit of Christmas.  The beautiful lighting, the smile and great attitude of the vendors, the yummy treats, and the live music, all made my Christmas extra special this season.  Two thumbs up for this great idea from the Distillery District.

How about you? Was there a Christmas Market in your city or a special event to celebrate the holidays?

Happy Holidays to you all and enjoy the photos.

Up in Brooklyn

I have to confess…it took me several visits to New York City to finally venture out to Brooklyn (if only I had known better…). Fortunately for me and thanks to my amazing guides (Moeko and Kaoruko Nitohbe), I got a taste of the best that Brooklyn has to offer.

A visit to Brooklyn has got to be on the top of anyone’s “to-see” list for a saturday in New York City.  After hopping on the Q Broadway Express  in Manhattan, we got off at the Atlantic-Pacific metro station.  The first thing that hit us was the new Barclays Centre, home of the new Brooklyn Nets, and a hard-to-miss black and modern structure that contrasts Brooklyn’s typical architectural style.  From here on, the day was full of excitement and beauty:  vintage hunting at the Brooklyn Flea Market (http://www.brooklynflea.com/markets/), delicious treats and beautiful panoramic views of Manhattan at the Smorgasburg at Williamsburg, a tasty pour over coffee at the Blue Bottle Café (http://www.bluebottlecoffee.com), an unexpected live band at Radegast Hall (http://www.radegasthall.com), and the overall eclecticism of the people, the places, and the things this very hip and trendy borough has to offer.

I am definitely looking forward to my next visit.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.