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: 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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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

Prince Edward County, A Fun Fall Destination

 

Veggie Stand Bloomfield
Veggie Stand in Bloomfield

If you were born and raised in Kingston, Prince Edward County may spark memories of beach days at Sandbanks. Now, Prince Edward County is the hub of incredible farm-to-table food, top-notch breweries and wineries and trendy bed and breakfasts for all to enjoy. In the summer it’s packed with people ready to be charmed by its quaint beauty. But just because the leaves have changed, that doesn’t mean we should abandon our plans to flee to PEC. Fall is also a great time to take a trip to the County. Room rates are lower in the down season and it’s less crowded! Continue reading

Grab Your Besties for Hochelaga Inn’s High Tea

Hochelaga Inn High Tea
Do you love tea? Do you love treats? Do you love beautiful Victorian-style houses? Do you love to enjoy all of these things while in the company of your favourite people? Then this post is for you! Last week I was invited to attend High Tea at the Hochelaga Inn. The Inn has teamed up with local bakery, Top Tier to bring guests their fresh take on High Tea with a menu featuring locally curated ingredients.  Continue reading

Pre-Made Meals Done Right: The Bella Market

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it many more times: I love Bella Bistro and the Bella Market. Their attention to detail is impeccable, they always source locally and as a result their food quality is s top notch. I wrote about The Bella Market when they first opened and now that they’ve been open a few months,  I want to share with you how much I love their pre-made meal options. As someone who loves to cook and doesn’t love buying processed frozen meals from the grocery store, their pre-made meals are perfect when I’ve had a busy week. When I visit Bella, the staff are always happy to share their culinary expertise and I love how excited they get about their food! I appreciate how they can always share a personal experience and insight on anything I am considering picking up. Continue reading

Knifey + Spooney Up Kingston’s Vegan Game

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Meet Christina and Rad, they are the brilliant minds behind new vegan catering company, Knifey Spooney. For anyone who is vegan or has ever dined with a vegan, they know how difficult it can be to have a solid dining experience in Kingston that does not involve a salad. Christina and Rad felt this frustration and decided to take matters into their own hands. Just recently in September of 2017, Knifey Spooney was born.

Thanks to Kingston’s beautiful community-over-competition mentality, business was booming from the very start. “We were encouraged to enter Vegfest and it really took off from there,” says Rad. Christina adds, “We were asked to do a wedding and a cooking demo before we even had a business. The vegetarian community basically gave us a business and we just had to show up. Every single step of this has been in the works forever and it was never the right time to do it and there just comes a time when all of your dreams and ideas come together and you just kind of have to take the leap.”
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Black Dog Hospitality Houses Perfect Venue for Private Parties


Black dog food Lab
I am always looking for new ways to enjoy Kingston — new places to visit and new foods to try. Luckily, there is always a new spot opening up in our wonderful foodie city for me to explore!

I recently celebrated a birthday and wanted to try a new space that my friends and family wouldn’t have visited yet. I saw that Black Dog Hospitality Group — the umbrella company of popular restaurants Dianne’s, Chien Noir, Atomica and Harpers also offers catering. Initially I thought I would host everyone in my house and cater in but decided against that idea (boo clean up!) and settled on hosting a dinner in their catering space – Black Dog Food Lab. This hidden space downtown on Ontario steet is decorated beautifully and perfect for an intimate gathering! Continue reading

The Grocery Basket Kicks Off Cooking Classes

 

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I’ve mentioned before how much I love The Grocery Basket. They do a fantastic job at supporting local farmers and businesses in Kingston and have a great selection of local produce, delicious baked goods and vegan-friendly products.

Recently, they posted about upcoming cooking classes they would be hosting with their chefs. Tacos, Salad and Eggs Benny would be their first themed workshops and I couldn’t wait to try one of them! I love a good week night adventure. My husbands go-to meal to cook is tacos so I thought that would be the most appropriate class to try for a fun date night!

We arrive at The Grocery Basket and make our way downstairs to the kitchen in the basement to find the tables neatly set up with aprons, stacked bowls and utensils. The class is a good size — five other people as well as my husband and myself.

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