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Hate Toronto? I must admit, amid the craziness of WMCFashion Week last month, it was hard for me to appreciate it, too. Not to mention I’m a diehard frenchie from MTL. But there were a couple of noteworthy spots on my checklist.

DRAKE GENERAL STORE

Drake General Store

Drake General Store

Trendy canadiana paraphernalia mix with local goods like limited-edition SOMA chocolates or their homemade hangover tea make for great x-mas gifts!

1144 Queen St. West
82A Bathurst St. (Go see Claudia!)
1011 Yonge St.

 
SPECTACLE

Spectacle

Spectacle

I loved this space – I peeked through while dropping off the stylist for the Mackage SS13 Fashion show, I liked what I saw. Brands like Cutler & Gross in a very raw, atelier-style eyeglasses shop. Look no further.

3342 Younge St.
752 Queen St.
55 Mill St.

 
GUSTO 101

Gusto 101

Gusto 101

Gusto 101 is famed for its northern-italian cuisine. Be seduced by the smells, lovely service and industrial decor. Noms!

101 Portland St.

 
MOMOFUKU

Momofuku

Momofuku

Right next to the Shangri La hotel, Momofuku serves up hot and cold noodle bowls and satay-style sandwiches. A little bit of NYC in Toronto (a very little bit).

190 University Ave.

 

I recently visited Barcelona for the first time, and it had been built up by friends and fellow travelers for years. Nevertheless, I was so impressed by it’s charm (especially while visiting the quaint El Born district), authenticity (from Gaudi’s signature on many of its historical buildings to the freshness of their tapas) and grandeur (hello, the beach? the large, parallel, Haussman-esk boulevards?).

Here are a few snapshots I took from my trip – and of course, a short to-do list of sights and snacks you must experience if/when you are ever in Barça.

Besos!

La Pedrera (and the Gaudi museum): Most amazing and inspiring piece of architecture that I’ve ever seen. It’s so impressive to see the objects that inspired this artist’s work, and the exposition is really a peephole into his creativity. A must see, if only for the amazing view of downtown Barcelona from the rooftop.

Sagrada Familia: Get there early and buy a ticket to visit inside. Unfortunately, we never got there in time… but it’s said to be filled with colorful pastel columns, very different from the exterior. 

Fundacio Miro: Over 10 000 works of art from the painter, illustrator and sculptor. Definitely worth the short teleferico ride up the Montjuïc to see it!

Park Guell: Gaudi’s infamous green space comissioned for Count Guell needs no introduction, it’s simply amazing. You can actually listen to flamenco musicians on its paths, very Vicky Christina Barcelona!

DHUB: The Disseny Hub, Barcelona’s design museum, doubles as a textile museum and is really worth the visit, very visually stimulating. Try the restaurant and adjacent bookshop as well. I bought about 15 postcards with witty blurbs on them such as “F*** Design, Let’s Dance”. Well OK, not witty as much as silly but still.

Finally, here are a couple of suggestions of where to eat while in Barcelona, although you really can’t go wrong as long as you stay off the main strips, like Las Ramblas. I found the food to be very fresh and authentic.

Flash Flash tortelleria
Inopia (former), renamed Lolita – as suggested on Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle blog, GOOP.

Lilipep: Just steps from the Picasso museum, this bar doubles as a coffee house and bookstore.

That’s all I can think of for now, but there will be a part II since I plan on returning to Barcelona very, very soon! X