Unexpected Buffalo. The Complete Travel Guide to Buffalo, Niagara.

Close to a decade ago when I was still in university at McMaster University in Hamilton (totally giving my age away now), going to Buffalo meant only one thing. SHOPPING! Whether it was road trips with my family or with my friends, the roughly 90 minute drive from Toronto/Hamilton to Buffalo had only one goal in mind. To buy as many items as possible and locate the best deals. Walden Galleria anyone? Yep, that was the shopping mall I would frequent on Black Fridays and many other long weekends when I felt the urge to spend some of those green dollar bills.

It was always a quick day trip. I never would stay over night and explore the city. The day would go something like this. Wake up at 9AM. Drive across the border and arrive at Waldern Galleria in Buffalo just before lunch time. Grab lunch at the food court. Shop until my stomach started grumbling (or until my wallet gives out). Find dinner either at the food court again or any nearby restaurant in the area (Cheesecake Factory was always a go-to), and then drive back home and call it a night. Rinse and repeat for years and years.

If this is also like you, I have some news. We were so naive!!! There is so much more to explore in Buffalo. The food. The culture. The museums and outdoor activities. Buffalo is so much more than just the Walden Galleria and shopping. I didn’t even know Buffalo had a waterfront and boardwalk (and it most definitely has!). I recently spent two nights in Buffalo last month thanks to Visit Buffalo & Niagara and just fell in love with the people and city. I experienced so much more of Buffalo in those two nights than my entire lifetime I spent going back and forth to Buffalo on all of those shopping day trips.

I put together what I think is the complete travel guide on your accommodation, food, and excursions you would want to experience in Buffalo. There are some Buffalo staples here, but also some hidden gems. Get ready to experience Buffalo, Niagara like never before!

To read up on my other travel guides I’ve put together, find them at the links below:

STAY

Aloft Buffalo Downtown

The newest hotel to be built in Buffalo (at least as I’m writing this blog post today) is Aloft Buffalo Downtown. Aloft Hotels is an international hotel chain most notable for its modern architecture and colourful room designs. Acquired by Marriott International in 2016, you’ll also be able to redeem all your travel rewards through their loyalty program Marriott Bonvoy if you are already a member. Situated close to the nearby Theatre district downtown, you’re just walking distance from taking in a show and many other restaurants and bars in the nearby area. My favourite part of my hotel room were three things. My personal outdoor balcony with downtown views, the 55 inch TV (with Netflix capability), and the rainfall shower head.

EAT & DRINK

Breadhive Bakery & Cafe

Breadhive Bakery & Cafe is Buffalo’s only worker-owned bakery and cafe, serving up wickedly delicious baked breakfast and lunch goods since 2014. You’ll find here hearty sandwiches that can be chosen to be on their bread, bagels, or pretzels, alongside their house-made cookies, soups, and salads. Their sandwich names are fun and pay homage to some of their favourite musical influences. I ate the best breakfast sandwich right here! Make sure you order “The Aaliyah!.” Trust me.

Charlie The Butcher

A Buffalo staple is Charlie the Butcher. If you traveled all the way here to Buffalo and you didn’t eat their world-famous “Beef on Weck Sandwich,” did you really come to Buffalo at all? Come inside to watch the roast beef carved right in front of your eyes, before being sandwiched in-between a Kimmelweck roll that’s sprinkled with salt and caraway seeds. It’s the perfect vessel for the thinly cut slices of beef.

Watson’s Chocolates

If you’ve come all this way to Buffalo, you got to try the famous Sponge Candy! This is a Buffalo-centric treat with the likeness of fudge, except with extra sugar. It’s a light and crunchy toffee on the inside made from sugar, corn syrup, and baking soda. There are a few variations of this chocolate treat that was made famous by the Cadbury company in Great Britain, but it’s here at Watson’s Chocolates in Buffalo that brought this fun treat here in North America. You’ll also be able to find some artisanal ice cream here with a Sponge Candy flavour you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Watson’s Chocolates was also voted Best Chocolatier year after year!

Dobutsu

I wouldn’t have guessed Buffalo to have a great seafood scene here, but Dobutsu proves otherwise. A casual pacific fare restaurant, Dobutsu specializes in the cuisine of the American and Asian Pacific region, highlighted by globally sourced fresh seafood and shellfish programs, traditional noodle dishes, Hawaiian poke and rice bowls, and fresh coastal produce salads. I absolutely loved their Seared Big Eye Tuna. My personal recommendation would to ask them to cook it rare. Their Chocolate Bar for dessert is also always changing. The night I went they made their chocolate bar look like the beach filled with sand, turtles, and seashells!

Five Points Bakery & Toast Cafe

Breakfast never tasted so good! Five Points Bakery makes whole grain bread using wheat sourced only from local farms. This has also now expanded into honey, milk, eggs, and a host of other local goods, so if you want to get a real taste of Buffalo this is the place to be. They also sell their loafs of bread inside their restaurant, so if you order a menu item and fall in love with one of their many varieties of toast, you’ll most likely find an entire loaf of it to buy and bring home.

Gabriel’s Gate

American history 101. Do you know where “Buffalo Wings” come from? You guessed it… Buffalo! The flavour “Buffalo Style” wings has basically graced the menu of nearly every pub in North America, and it was in 1964 where a Buffalo restaurant called the “Anchor Bar” changed the course of American food history by inventing the first Buffalo-style chicken wing which is simply a fried chicken wing coated in hot sauce and served with ample helpings of blue cheese. Although it was the Anchor Bar who first created the Buffalo Wing, Gabriel’s Gate ranks high on the local’s list of serving some of the best wings in the city. It’s also one of the 12 locations on the Buffalo Wing Trail. As you can see, Buffalonians sure love their chicken wings!

Ted’s Hot Dogs

A year-round family tradition since 1927, Ted’s Hot Dogs is famous for its charcoal broiled hotdogs, homemade hot sauce, old-fashioned milk shakes with made real ice cream, handmade onion rings, and other menu items grilled to perfection. What you’ll need to order here is this. Repeat after me. “Footlong, Extra Charred with the Works, and a side of Onion Rings.”

Swan Street Diner

I love nothing more than an old-school diner, especially when it’s built inside a circa-1937 era Sterling Co diner car. These limited edition diner cars were manufactured between 1936 to 1947, each numbered upon completion. The Swan Street Diner car is number 397. While the diner is decorated to portray a nostalgic feel, the menu items feature traditional American food items along with some cutting edge culinary offerings. Opt-in for their French Toast and Breakfast Tacos. They also make some kick-ass mini donuts!

Lloyd Taco Factory

What started as a food truck in Buffalo has now grown to become the restaurant in Buffalo to get your taco cravings fulfilled. From authentic Mexican tacos, burritos, and side dishes, Lloyd Taco Factory also has a full bar deep with tequila and mezcal for those nights (or days?) you just want to let loose and get your drink on. They also make their very own hot sauce here, bottled up for you to be ready to be taken home if your hearts desire. They even have here a Fried Chicken and Waffle taco. So much yes!

Churn Soft Serve

Literally right next door to Lloyd Taco Factory (and not surprisingly their sister brand), Churn Soft Serve has a fun, quirky atmosphere where your ice cream cone creations come to life. Bringing you soft serve ice cream made from natural, grass fed cows. There are so many creative toppings to choose from here with vegan options as well. Their signature churro topping is a stand out here. We all scream for ice cream!

Bocce Club Pizza

If you’re craving pizza, look no further than Bocce Club Pizza, another Buffalo tradition since 1946. They use only the freshest and most natural ingredients from 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese to dough made from scratch and hand stretched daily. Their key to success though can largely be attributed to their secret pizza sauce that’s mixed and made every single day. You also know their pizza will be good when you realize that they ship their pizzas nationwide by ordering their pizzas online.

Paula’s Donuts

I couldn’t have been more happy to have found this hidden gem! The best donuts I’ve ever had and believe me I’ve had a lot of donuts in my life. Established in 1996, Paula’s Donuts is a family owned and operated business. Their hand cut donuts are baked fresh daily on the premises, the old fashioned way. With over 30 varieties of donuts along with pastries, muffins, bagels, and breakfast sandwiches there’s something here for everyone. But lets face it if you’re choosing to come here, there’s no way you won’t be walking out with at least a dozen of their donuts. Their donuts are not only huge in size, but extremely affordable coming in at only around $13 for fourteen donuts! Buy a dozen, get two free. Seriously so worth it! I’ll be coming back here each and every time I visit Buffalo. Fact.

EXPLORE

RiverWorks

If you’re an adrenaline junkie this is the place for you! Located in an industrial zone with massive grain elevators that are painted to resemble a six-pack of beer visible from cruising altitude, RiverWorks is an entertainment complex that’s become a one-of-a-kind destination. Not only can you do zip-lining here like what I did across the massive grain silos, you’ll also find within this entertainment complex a brewery, restaurant, rock climbing, roller derby, and even ice skating and curling here in the Winter months.

Albert-Knox Art Gallery

A major showcase for modern and contemporary art, the Albert-Knox Art Gallery is one of the oldest public arts institutions in the United States having first opened its doors to the public in 1905. The gallery’s collection includes several pieces spanning art throughout the centuries, with original art pieces displayed here from the likes of Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. Self-guided or group tours are also available. The building itself is also a wonder on its own, resembling the Erectheum on the Acropolis in Athens.

BFLO Harbor Kayak

Probably one of my most anticipated activities here was getting to kayak along Buffalo’s harbourfront. Located at Canalside on the wharf, you’ll be able to rent kayaks (single and tandem) or stand-up paddleboards at hourly rates. BFLO Harbor Kayaks also offers kayak tours down the Buffalo River, and if you’re having doubts of not knowing how to paddle board, you’re also in luck because they also offer lessons! Remember to wear some sun screen here because you’ll definitely get a sun tan here being under the blazing heat and sun.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Complex

One of America’s greatest architects was from right here in Buffalo by the name of Frank Lloyd Wright. He constructed and designed the “Martin House” between 1903 and 1905 which exemplifies his “Prairie House” ideal and ranks as one of his finest residential works. Book a tour here at the Martin House to see Frank Lloyd’s architectural genius illustrated in timeless themes evident in his remarkable design: family, friendship, the meaning of home, and the American spirit.

I want to send my thanks again to Visit Buffalo Niagara for their wonderful hospitality in opening my eyes on all the great things Buffalo has to offer beyond the typical shopping malls. This is just a small glimpse into the city, so if anybody else has other Buffalo favourites whether it’s a place to stay, eat, or explore I would love to know! I think now that hockey season is just around the corner again, it’s time to book myself some Leafs vs. Sabres tickets and catch a game in Buffalo at the Keybank Center. Just another great reason for me to go back and visit. See ya soon Buffalo!

Standing the Test of Time With Tanqueray London Dry Gin

As minutes move forward we find moments and things that will stand the test of time. Take the song “Yesterday” by the Beatles, “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, grandma’s famous lasagna recipe, or heck what about Toronto Raptor Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer beater in Game 7 vs the Sixers. These are all things that will be talked about and enjoyed for years to come no matter how long ago it happened.

Although gin isn’t normally included in lists of this nature, I would argue that it very well should be especially when it comes to a long-standing classic like Tanqueray. Its founder Charles Tanqueray created this gin all the way back in the 1830s over 180 years ago, and to this day it is still enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. On top of that, they are still winning accolades in 2019. For the 7th year in a row, Tanqueray has won the “Bartender’s Favourite Gin” award as voted on by the World’s Top 50 Bartenders (2019 Drinks International Annual Bar Report).

The one thing that all these moments and things have in common that allow them to stand the test of time is quality. Quality in the music notes on a page, the words behind a motivational speech, ingredients in a family recipe, or just a generational sport talent. It’s what what makes something last beyond the years of you and I. Tanqueray is no exception.

Charles only used the finest quality botanicals to perfect his gin recipes. In fact, he created over 300 gin recipes that inspired all the Tanqueray variants we have today. It didn’t come easy though. Charles experimented with many ingredients, tasting only the finest botanicals from all around the world. After extensive trials, he discovered a perfectly balanced recipe that combined a rich, full flavour with a bold and invigoration taste. This ultimately led to the birth of what we know today as Tanqueray Gin.

Most gins are mixed with tonic water. Tanqueray London Dry Gin has distinct flavour profiles that make it truly unique and versatile! The variant I really fell in love with was their classic London Dry gin. It consists of four perfectly balanced botanicals that combine to produce one unmistakable taste. My favourite part of the Tanqueray London Dry Gin is how versatile it is and how easy it is to switch it up by just choosing a different garnish to go along with it.

The signature way to enjoy the Tanqueray London Dry Gin is just with tonic water and then garnished with a lime. You will find here below this signature recipe for you to try at home, and I also included two other quick variations with lemon and cucumber garnishes that will switch up the flavour profile, but still stay true to its strong heritage and taste.

Tanqueray London Dry Gin Signature Recipe

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  • 1.5oz Tanqueray London Dry Gin

  • 3 oz Premium Tonic Water

  • Garnish with a Lime

  1. Add ice into glass.

  2. Pour Tanqueray London Dry Gin over ice

  3. Add tonic water

  4. Garnish with lime

Tanqueray London Dry Gin With Cucumber Garnish

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Tanqueray London Dry Gin with Lemon Twist Garnish

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Happy to be a partner with Tanqueray this summer because whether you’re hosting a summer party for your friends this year or just drinking for one (no judgement here!), any of these Tanqueray London Dry Gin cocktails will do the trick. Let me know below which one of these cocktails is your favourite, or better yet if you created your own way to enjoy it I would love to know that too! Remember to enjoy responsibly, whether it’s 1830 or 2019, because Tanqueray will still live on one glass bottle at a time. Cheers!

The Top Moments of SIAL Canada 2019

Just like that another SIAL Canada has come and gone. It was only last year in 2018 that I took part in my very first SIAL Canada trade show. I came back home last year feeling even more proud and patriotic than ever. There was no doubt that Canadian companies are now at the forefront of innovation in the food industry, and that was clearly evident by the quality of Canadian products being showcased at North America’s largest food-innovation trade show last year in Montreal.

Read a recap of my Montreal SIAL Canada 2018 experience here.

So when asked to become an official media partner at SIAL 2019 in Toronto, I jumped at the chance! For three days in May, Toronto was transformed into an agri-food industry hub not just for Canada but for the entire world! With a one-stop-shop concept, the Enercare Centre opened its doors to more than 1,100 food and beverage exhibitors from 60 different countries. Bring an empty stomach and comfortable shoes because when you’re walking through a 270,000 sq ft building with an endless supply of food and beverage samples, you’ll be exhausted and full….in the best way possible.

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If you recall my previous blog post, one of the main events and my personal favourite part of SIAL Canada is the SIAL Innovation Awards. Cash prizes with a value of $20,000 is handed out to the top three products that best embody innovation with criteria such as recipe, packaging, manufacturing, and positioning that gets judged by a panel of highly-esteemed industry professionals.

Read a recap of SIAL Canada’s unveiling of the Top 10 Finalists this year here.

During the first day of the trade show, the official SIAL Innovation Awards ceremony was held live at 10AM where Dana McCauley, SIAL Canada 2019 Innovation Ambassador, announced the Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Hopeful prize winners. As all the finalists held their collective breath, the winners one by one were announced. Below are your 2019 SIAL Canada Innovation Winners!!

Gold - Unbun Keto Foods - Vegan Keto Buns (Ontario, Canada)
Silver - Yummy Doh - Raw Cookie Dough (Quebec, Canada)
Bronze - Lofbergs Canada Inc - ICE (Ontario, Canada).
Hopeful - Partake Brewing - Partake Pale Alt Craft Non-Alcoholic Beer (Alberta, Canada)

For the first time ever this year in SIAL Canada’s 16th year history, all levels of Canadian government (federal, provincial, municipal) were in attendance. This is a huge milestone for the Canadian food industry as its further affirmation that investment in our local companies is important to further develop food innovation and sustainability within the Great White North. During the official opening ceremonies, Canadian government officials made their opening remarks to ring in the start of all the various festivities. Among them were Mr. Jean-Claude Poissant (Parliamentary Secretary), Ernie Hardeman (OMAFRA’s Minister), and Michael Thompson (Deputy Mayor of the City of Toronto). A special presentation was also made by Italian dignitaries to celebrate Italy as the chosen country of Honour at this year’s trade show.

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Speaking of the various festivities, one of the crowd’s favourite at this year’s SIAL Canada was the inaugural Canadian Plate Competition. Four competing Canadian chefs pushed themselves to new culinary heights when they were tasked to create a dish that they felt truly represented Canada, using thirteen ingredients from each province and territory. The four competing chefs were Andrea Carlson (Burdock and Co - Vancouver, BC), Laura Maxwell (Le Select Bistro - Toronto, Ontario), Josh Crowe (Monkland Taverne - Montreal, Quebec), and Pierre Richard (Little Louis’s Oyster Bar - Moncton, New Brunswick). Throughout the challenge, the four competing chefs pushed themselves further than they ever have and each presented dishes representative of their immense talents and Canada’s diverse ingredients. Ultimately it was Pierre Richard who came out on top taking inspiration from his east coast roots creating a twist on the traditional chowder. From dried morel mushrooms hailing from the Yukon, to snow crab from Newfoundland and Labrador, Pierre kept an open mind and applied regionally-specific techniques to perfect his dish. The final presentation included a bannock-inspired tuile and a pour over ‘Ocean Nage’ intended to represent the coming tide of The Bay of Fundy. A truly Canadian plate. Oh Canada!

Another big milestone event at this year’s SIAL was the very first International Cheese Competition. This was not only the first time it was held at SIAL, but in all of Canada as well. A jury of industry cheese professionals evaluated 230 cheeses from 9 countries across 23 different categories. Held in an open area at the Enercare Centre, visitors and exhibitors were able to watch the competition unfold right in front of their eyes along with the entire deliberation process. This competition aimed to highlight the innovation, know-how, and passion of cheese-makers on an international level, where awards like Best English Cheese prize, Best Italian Cheese prize, Dairy Farmers of Canada prize, Best New Cheese prize and Grand Champion Cheese were announced. As if the suspense wasn’t enough in waiting for the Grand Champion to be crowned, there was a deadlock between two cheeses by the jury on which cheese would be crowned victorious. After a tie-breaking vote, Quebec`s Fromagerie La Station’s Alfred le Fermier Grand Crucheese ultimately was selected as the big winner for its leading technical and aesthetic properties.

A personal favourite exhibitor booth I found at this year’s SIAL belonged to Davide Bazzali of Cuisine Opera who sang and cooked his heart out on the Italian Pavilion. Italy was in the spotlight at this year’s SIAL Canada as the country of honour with the very best of Italian cuisine being showcased along the many aisles of the building. Not only did Davide cook everyone a delectable plate of pasta, he also serenaded the crowd by singing Italian opera transporting everyone there to what felt like an authentic cultural experience in Italy. You just have to watch it to believe it!

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Overall SIAL Canada set a record attendance this year in Toronto compared to two years ago with a growth of 10%. Over 25,000 professional visitors from over 60 countries were present over these three days with 1,130 exhibitors and brands on hand.

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During my time at this year’s SIAL Canada I also had the pleasure of doing a sit down interview with Xavier Poncin, SIAL Canada’s Executive Director, as he talked about all the great things SIAL Canada 2019 was able to accomplish in Ontario and the milestone of having all levels of government involved in this year’s trade show.

“It’s just proof that our show is now anchored within the food industry in Canada. We first launched SIAL Canada in Montreal, so many people have always seen our show as more Quebecois than Ontarian, and even in the different contests we do like SIAL innovation for example, Quebec was number one. But the biggest growth that we have now been seeing with our exhibitors is now coming from Ontario. So having those three levels of government being involved in our show this year shows that SIAL CANADA is the top event for the agri-food sector not only in Ontario, but for all of Canada to be and participate in.”

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I want to extend my deepest thanks to the entire SIAL Canada team for inviting me to become a media partner at this year’s event. If you’ve missed it this year in Toronto, don’t you worry because SIAL Canada will be having its 17th edition in just under a year from now in Montreal at the Palais des Congres from April 15th to 17th, 2020. See you all there!

SIAL Canada Back With A Bang In Its 16th Edition

North America’s largest food innovation show is back bigger and better than ever, and for its 16th edition SIAL Canada will be held again in Toronto from April 30th to May 2nd at the Enercare Centre. Like the Rogers Cup, SIAL Canada is hosted in Montreal one year and then Toronto the year after that. I had so much fun last year in Montreal at my first SIAL Canada experience and was blown away at the enormous scale that it was. This is the trade show to be at if you are involved in any way within the food and beverage industry. A resounding 2018 success in Montreal, SIAL Canada last year welcomed 1,068 exhibitors and brands from 51 countries, where an astonishing 20,771 professional visitors made their way out to the 240,000 sq ft facility inside the Palais des Congres. It’s a must-attend event for anyone who wants to stay on top with the upcoming food trends.

For a full recap of my 2018 experience of SIAL Canada in Montreal, I’ve documented my experience in the blog post HERE.

This year I’ve been brought on as an official media sponsor for SIAL Canada and I cannot wait to show you all the new and innovative food products that will be coming out of it. One of my favourite aspects of this international food and beverage trade show is that it’s a “one-shop-stop.” It’s the only national trade show that offers a complete range of food products under one roof, whether it’s retail, catering, or food processing, you can find it all at SIAL Canada all under one roof. Even regional specialties from half way around the world you can find it here! SIAL Canada is not only key to the Canadian agrifood industry, but it’s also a priviledged entryway to the U.S. and international markets.

In fact, every year SIAL Canada honours one specific country during the trade show that has had and still has a large impact towards the Canadian food industry. This country will be featured heavily throughout the three days. Last year the country of honour was Spain. This year SIAL Canada names Italy as 2019’s Country of Honour. If you love Italian food like I do, this is the one year you do not want to miss!

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There will also be two brand new sectors making its inauguration in Toronto: Beverages and Food Start Ups. As SIAL Canada understands the current market trends, it created a new space dedicated to beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and food start-ups where fifteen young dynamic companies will illustrate this new branch of the industry: Food Tech. Last but not least there will also be a brand new international cheese competition that aims to highlight the innovation, know-how, and passion of cheese-makers at an international level. You literally can get full at SIAL Canada just by going booth to booth trying all the cheese samples. Trust me, I’ve been there!

With all these new and exciting additions to this year’s show, my favourite part of SIAL Canada has to still be the SIAL Innovation Awards! It’s a unique international contest that rewards the best innovations in food and non-food related products such as packaging and containers. The contest is open to all SIAL Canada exhibitors where the contestants are judged on the four following criteria: packaging, manufacturing process, merchandising, and recipe.

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The unveiling of the SIAL Innovation 2019 finalists happened just this past week in Toronto at Second Floor Events. Dana McCauley, SIAL Canada 2019 Innovation Ambassador was on hand to kick things off to a room full of industry professionals. She re-iterates that one of the most important things the jury must do each year is to take time to think beyond their personal feelings about the products submitted for evaluation, and must assess whether the products have a clear and solid value proposition for their intended target market. Once all that is considered, the top 10 most innovative products are chosen and the official awards for the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners will be handed out during the very first day of the show! Lots and lots of money will be at stake! $20,000 to be exact!

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Take a look below at the top 10 SIAL Innovation 2019 Finalists!

Vegan Tofu Dips - A&M Gourmet Foods Inc.

Booth #1221

Booth #1221

Seaweed Fed Lamb - Les Bergeries Du Margot

Booth #937

Booth #937

Instant Miso Soup - Abokichi Inc.

Booth #133

Booth #133

Partake Pale Ale - Craft Non-Alcoholic Beer - Partake Brewing

Booth #133

Booth #133

Todd’s Protein Crisps - Evova Foods Inc.

Booth #149

Booth #149

Vegan Keto Buns - Unbun Keto Foods.

Booth #1311

Booth #1311

Ice - Lofbergs Canada Inc.

Booth #905

Booth #905

Yellofruit

Booth #2145

Booth #2145

Naturalbliss Infusions

Booth #133

Booth #133

Raw Cookie Dough - Yummy Doh

Booth #949

Booth #949

Personally I cannot wait to check out all of these innovative products at this year’s show! If you’re unable to make it down in person to this year’s SIAL Canada, make sure you stay tuned right here as I will be writing a follow up blog post in the next few weeks to document everything that happened inside the Enercare Centre including which product will get crowned the winner at this year’s SIAL Innovation Awards! However if you’re able to come down in person (which I highly, highly recommend!), make sure you attend the most anticipated event of the show on April 30th at 10:30AM happening at Booth #625!

If you still have not registered for your visitor’s badge at this year’s SIAL Canada, make sure you do so HERE. What are you waiting for? I’ll see you all there!

The Most Insta-Worthy Rice Noodles You've Ever Seen!

Get your cameras ready! North America’s largest rice noodle chain brings something so Insta-worthy it’s worth lining up for! Yunshang Rice Noodle was founded in Toronto back in 2016, and with its huge success at its original location at the intersection of Warden and Steeles in Toronto, it has now grown to become the biggest Chinese rice noodle brand in North America with locations now in Vancouver, Montreal, and even in New York.

As I lived fairly closely to it’s first location in Toronto, I remember various weekends going to Yunshang Rice Noodle for lunch on many occasions. What drew my friends and I to this place back in 2016 was their flavourful soup broth, the affordable price, along with their promise of unlimited noodle refills! Yes, for people with large appetites like myself, having the option of refilling your bowl of noods for a second (or even third!) helping at absolutely no extra cost was incredible.

For those that may be unfamiliar as to what “Crossing The Bridge” Rice Noodles means, it has over a hundred years of history. According to a popular fable, it was invented by the wife of a scholar who had to cross a bridge to bring him lunch while he worked. To keep his soup from getting cold along the journey, the wife added a layer of oil at the top to insulate it, and carried other ingredients such as rice noodles, thinly sliced meats, and tofu skin separately so they wouldn’t get soggy. She would assemble everything upon arrival, and as the soup was steaming hot and the meats were so thinly sliced, everything cooked immediately in the soup. This Chinese fable was passed on by word of mouth and over time has come to symbolize affection, endearment, and admiration.

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That’s why when you come dine at a Yunshang Rice Noodle restaurant, the various toppings for the soup is provided to you separately. Once the steaming soup base is ready and served to you, then you will manually mix in the noodles and toppings one by one to ensure your bowl of noodles is as hot and as fresh as it can be. Each bowl of noodles comes with broth boiled for more than 12 hours to use on the same day with no MSG or other artificial flavours added.

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With its newest location that has now opened up in North York, Yunshang Rice Noodle is celebrating the launch with an exclusive “Yunshang Bridge Rice Noodle”, a never-before-seen rice noodle containing all kinds of premium seafood placed upon an actual wooden bridge! For only $19.99, each set of this “Yunshang Bridge Rice Noodle” comes with Canadian Atlantic lobster tail, fresh French Kiss oyster, sea scallop, shrimp, and crab sticks. Other accompanying ingredients include beef slices, fish cakes, ham, enokitake mushrooms, Chinese lettuce, egg tofu, and quail eggs. This all of course comes with a selection of their signature soup bases such as Signature Bone Soup, Tomato Soup, Coconut Curry Soup, or Spicy Pickled Pepper Soup. My go-to is always either the Tomato or Coconut Curry base. Can’t go wrong with either!

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This exclusive “Yunshang Bridge Rice Noodle” will be available now until March 31st, 2019, and only a limited quantity per day will be made available at their latest North York location (5285 Yonge Street). It’s first come first serve so if you don’t want to miss out make sure you come early starting at 6PM each night.

Whoever said noodles are boring eh?