Many people know me as someone who works in the Wine Industry, writes about wine, shares on social media and travels. But, not many know that I started my career in Tourism and Travel. I actually worked at my Mom’s Travel Agency (Vista Travel Olds) after finishing College. I took continuing education courses to become a Certified Travel Consultant a few years later. I’ve worked full time to part time and casually every since.
When I worked full time, it was hands down, the happiest job I’ve had – sending people on a vacation, guarantees way more smiles than it does frowns! So all of this to say, travel is in my blood and I’d say I do it well (now). There is however, always room for improvement ;).
In early May, I attended a conference with my Mom just south of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Because these years I’ve worked “outside of Travel”, I’ve secretly been working with my Mom and her office in some way, shape or form!
So I decided to fly via Hamilton, Ontario (to see cousins), then hop on a non-stop flight to Cancun and spend 48 hours on my own, touring and soaking up the sun before my Mom arrived!
Because, why would I NOT do this?!
So let me start by sharing about my time in Hamilton, Ontario. No typing error. Hamilton. Yes, the former steel city that can resurrect itself as an artsy, culinary destination. My cousins are avid foodies and adventurers, and just moved to the area within the last couple of years from Toronto. So they of course planned a culinary tour (Donita style) of Hamilton for us!
Stop #1 – a visit to the Hamilton City Market. A great place to get inspired for cooking at home and discovering local small vendors making yummy things, including local wines!
Stop #2 – Radius for Lobster Poutine & Korean Fried Cauliflower along with a cocktail to kick things off. A casual and big space, fun menu and definitely turns into an evenings spot to enjoy drinks and dinner. Loved the exposed Brick and atmosphere.
Stop # 3 – Berkeley North for Mushroom Dumplings, Shishito Tempura Peppers and a rotating fresh in-season menu with a vegetable focus & a good little wine list of local and Int’l wines. Try the Leaning Post Winery Chardonnay from Niagara Wine Region and/or the Sunset Winery Dolcetto from Italy. This was one of my favourite stops. It’s a smaller restaurant with intention in what they create in the kitchen and what they have on their wine list.
Stop #4 – Brux House for a beer flight and Tamarind Rum Pork Ribs and Miso Hoisin Brussel Sprouts and dessert. I am not sure how we still had space to eat more, but we did! A great place in an old house, with a bar and seating downstairs or upstairs. Delicious food and a great place for beers!
That was a fantastic culinary and drinking tour of Hamilton! Don’t underestimate this comeback city!
Part II will be all about Playa del Carmen, Mexico!