Valentine’s Day in YGK: Special Menus

I am not typically into Valentine’s Day but given the circumstances of the last year, I will take any excuse to have a really good meal and celebrate love. And I don’t think Valentine’s Day is reserved for couples! Self-love is just as key, love for a parent or kid, close friend – all of the love! If you’re not in a romantic relationship, don’t skip the opportunity for a treat! I digress haha… Kingston restaurants have really lit it up this year with their Valentine’s Day menus! Even though we are in the green this week, many restaurants are still in the middle of the covid pivot and offering takeout for this weekend. I’ve included a list of menus I’ve come across in the last couple of weeks below (some are takeout and some are dine-in), click on the images/restaurant names for more information from each place listed:

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Black-Owned: ELA Psychological and Counseling Services

If you’re familiar with the blog, you know that I started a Black-owned business directory in 2020 to amplify Black voices and entrepreneurship in our community. It’s been so amazing to watch this list grow with so many incredible businesses. To celebrate Black History Month, I want to go a step further and get to know a few of the business owners listed in the directory. Check back weekly to learn about someone new! 

E.L. Adams is originally from North Carolina and now has a private practice in Kingston. E.L’s practice is geared toward youth (ages 6-23) in our community to support them with coping mechanisms for mental wellness. I’ve had the pleasure of working with E.L. this year and know from experience that Kingston is incredibly lucky to have him and his services available to our young people. Learn more about E.L. and his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs below.

When and Why did you start your private practice?         
I began my private practice in 2016 to open up professional opportunities. I felt like my current placement offered a lot of varied experiences, but there were still some opportunities that I could not pursue due to limits on time or policies, so I went private to open up more decision making on my end and try different things. 

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Black-Owned: Afiya Beauty

If you’re familiar with the blog, you know that I started a Black-owned business directory in 2020 to amplify Black voices and entrepreneurship in our community. It’s been so amazing to watch this list grow with so many incredible businesses. To celebrate Black History Month, I want to go a step further and get to know a few of the business owners listed in the directory. Check back weekly to learn about someone new!

I use Afiya’s Beauty’s daily face oil serum as well as a few of their other products and I love them. My skin has never been so glowy. Sisters, Kaltum and Shamsa, are very passionate about what they do and it shows in their products. Learn more about their philosophy and experience as small business owners below.

Kaltum and Shamsa of Afiya Beauty

Tell me a bit about yourselves…
We are two sisters who share a passion and love affair with all things clean and holistic beauty. The name Afiya means wellness and health in Arabic and Swahili and it is really the cornerstone of our brand. Through our business we strive to provide not only effective products to our customers, but also create engaging and valuable content and information. We love to create innovative products that are not only beneficial for the skin, but also promote various aspects of wellness, as well as sustainability. 

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Black-Owned: Munchy Guru

Munchy guru jerk chicken

If you’re familiar with the blog, you know that I started a Black-owned business directory in 2020 to amplify Black voices and entrepreneurship in our community. It’s been so amazing to watch this list grow with so many incredible businesses. To celebrate Black History Month, I want to go a step further and get to know a few of the business owners listed in the directory. Check back weekly to learn about someone new!

When I first found out about Shenice Scott and her business, Munchy Guru, I was so excited to see Jamaican food being offered in Kingston. I would previously ask my dad to grab my favourite patties from a shop in Toronto whenever he was in the area! Not anymore! Munchy Guru’s patties are perfection – so flakey and flavourful and the jerk chicken is awesome, too! Shenice is also an incredibly thoughtful and giving person. We are so lucky to have her in our community. Learn a little bit about her journey as a small business owner in Kingston.


Tell me a bit about yourself? 
My name is Shenice and I’m a self-proclaimed foodie.  I’m passionate about trying new foods, and staying up-to-date on food trends. I view food as the most holistic form of medicine that heals the mind, body and soul from the inside out. 

When and why did you start Munchy Guru? 
The more I get asked this question, the more I realize that Munchy Guru has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I don’t have any formal culinary training, however, my life experiences to date have been preparing me for the chef life.  Growing up, I didn’t watch cartoons like most kids. I got excited for the Food Network.  After school I would rush home to make elaborate snacks, and eventually dinners when I was able to reach the stove. When it came time to select my path for post-secondary education, my traditional Jamaican family pushed me towards what they thought was a responsible career. I ended up going to the university of Windsor where I studied psychology. Although I didn’t go to school for the culinary arts,  I cooked every chance I got. I would host weekly dinners with friends, and they became quite popular. This is when the idea of opening my own restaurant first started to become a little more clear. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to pursue the idea any further as my responsibilities in life required me to focus on my career in psychology. Like so many others my job was negatively impacted by COVID-19 and I had to figure out other ways to support myself. With the pandemic at play I knew I needed to come up with something truly essential. I noticed that the Kingston area had a surprisingly active food scene. For a smaller city it surely has its fair share of restaurants and talented bloggers that frequent them. However, the food scene in Kingston lacked in ethnic diversity and I saw it as an opportunity to make my mark. I figured I couldn’t be the only person in the area craving more diverse rich flavors. In late March 2020 I created the Munchy Guru Instagram page and started reaching out to people. I offered to make Carribean dishes and it wasn’t long before I was invited to do my first pop up event. 

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Black-Owned: Skeleton Park Creations

If you’re familiar with the blog, you know that I started a Black-owned business directory in 2020 to amplify Black voices and entrepreneurship in our community. It’s been so amazing to watch this list grow with so many incredible businesses. To celebrate Black History Month, I want to go a step further and get to know a few of the business owners listed in the directory. Check back weekly to learn about someone new!

Taylor Bailey-Hopkins and the beautiful work she does with Skeleton Park Creations was put on my radar when I first started the Black-Owned business directory. As soon as I saw her earrings, I wanted a pair. I love the designs and colours and they are affordable, too! Learn more about Taylor and why she started Skeleton Park Creations below.

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Black History Month

It’s February, it’s Black History month! Growing up in Kingston this meant it was the one time in school that educators would cram in the very complicated and complex histories of the the Black diaspora into the shortest month of the year. In the Kingston community, it didn’t feel like a celebration. Any important and empowering Black history I learned was handed down to me from my parents and books my mom would buy me by Black authors like Toni Morrison. It was never centred on the Black community that chose to live in Kingston and its impact.

I am happy to say that Black History Month feels different this year. After I shared about my experiences last year and started the Black-owned business directory, I’ve met so many incredible and talented Black people who have not only chosen to live in Kingston and the surrounding area but are growing businesses, conducting important research and creating change. I am here for it.

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Updated: Kingstonlicious Menus Have Something for Everyone

Tango Nuevo Kingstonlicious Menu items

Please note that this post has been updated to include menu updates and additional menu options from new
restaurants!


Generally speaking, there’s not much to do these days but eat, walk and nap. Lockdown life is lame, yes. But Kingston restaurants are trying to make the best of it and offering up some delicious, pre-fixe menus to accommodate all needs: Want a romantic, hot dinner for two? They’ve got it. Want a family meal? No problem. Vegan? There’s something for you. Prefer to take and bake? You see where this is going. The nice thing about the menu options is that the theme is ‘healthy choices’ so it’s very in line with many new year’s resolutions to ditch junk food and pack in the nutrients.

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My Favourite Kingston Take and Bake Spots

beef patty Munchy guru

I typically love to cook but over the course of the pandemic, I’ve realized that I don’t actually like it that much. Before having our daughter we could just grab a bowl of cereal in a crunch but parenthood means full status adulting has kicked in and thinking of balanced meals 24/7 is not really that fun haha. Enter, the take and bake! With another lockdown in full swing, I’m sure many will be drained from cooking holiday meals and when the leftovers run out, might not want to take to the kitchen for long durations! These are a few spots around town that offer great local take and bake options. Many of these places curate their ingredients locally and the dishes are made in-house so there are less preservatives which is always great! Perfect way to support our local businesses through another challenging time. Check out my list! I know I’ve likely missed some, feel free to share your favourites in the comment section!

Bella Market: I like the curried chickpeas and the beef madras! They also have curry sauces, pulled pork, soups and more tasty options.

Union Market: Only recently checked them out but enjoyed the chicken pot pie – it wasn’t cream based and I like that about it!

Go Italian: My husband and daughter love the cheese tortellini! They also have lasagna (veg and beef), rigatoni sausage and peppers, rigatoni with parmesan and meatballs. Continue reading

Downtown Kingston is Lit

Downtown Kingston Light Installation

I don’t even know if the term “lit” is popular anymore but I am going to roll with it for the purpose of this post which is to tell you about Kingston’s beautiful light installation downtown. The bright, twinkling, (they literally twinkle), lights are certainly needed at the end of this dreadful year. No, they will not act as the light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, however, with Christmas around the corner it’s important to find the silver-linings available to us and hold on tight to them! We can’t control  the current state of the world but we can control how we react to the madness! Continue reading

A Good Review: Our Latest Purchase from Kingston’s Carloft.ca

 

I am going to preface this post by saying the whole reason I started this blog was to share great experiences I have in our community. Most of the time it’s related to food and I am always happy to support local. This post is a little different! It’s about our recent trade in experience at CarLoft.ca’s Kingston‘ location. It was awesome enough that I feel the need to tell you about it.

About a month ago (when we were not in the middle of a severe covid outbreak for our region) we finally decided to test drive a vehicle we had our eyes on. For full context, we bought a brand new truck five years ago and we are over it. It was very much the Kingston thing to do coming from the GTA (a driveway, no street parking, shorter commutes = truck). But it’s not practical. And we’ve been talking about trading it in for months. I digress…So about a month ago we test drove a vehicle and liked the salesperson who helped us, Devon, so we grabbed his business card. Three weeks later after more consideration, we texted Devon to follow up. Fast-forward and we have said goodbye to our truck (we named it Buck) and hello to our newer, more affordable, SUV (name tbd). If you’ve been patient enough to read this far, thanks for sticking it out. Continue reading