Coffee Walking: Chocosol

Chocosol Coffee

I have seen the Chocosol booth set up at various different festivals and markets around Toronto over the years, but I obtained this particular bag from the Canada 150 festivities on Canada Day happening at Ontario Place.

Ontario Place Canada 150 Festival

Each morning, for the past couple of weeks, I have been waking up to this bag of fresh, whole bean, Oaxacan sourced coffee. Each day I start the day off not being disappointed. The fact that we stocked up on lots of Oaxacan chocolate from Chocosol while there as well, that definitely doesn’t lose them any points.

Although me and my trusty mokapot are quite good at this, I would also suggest buying a cup directly from them if you see their booth around. I remember sipping on that coffee while checking out the park grounds and thinking it was one of the best I have had. Perhaps the nostalgia of being on the old fair grounds was getting to me, but I’m pretty sure they make a better cup of coffee than I do, and mine are pretty darn awesome.

Added bonus of this walk, on the way there and back, I also got to wander through the newly opened Trillium Park on the waterfront.

Good coffee and a good walk. It’s exciting to see Ontario place open and doing things again!

Ontario Place Dome

Digging Through Old Journals

Over the past weekend I started cleaning around here. What was supposed to be a full house scrub down and late spring cleaning, ended in the distractions of sorting through travel things both hardcopy and digital. There has been a change of plans now. With the Oaxaca, Mexico Trip Reports being recently completed, I will now continue to sort through my Italy trip files from last year and post everything here as well. It was a good trip and I am finding some good stuff that I am excited to post on the blog. Just as a bit of a tease, here’s a sneak peek of some of the stuff I’m digging up. Very distracting work, but someone’s got to do it… stay tuned!

P.S. Follow me on Instagram @kayerottingham

Coffee Walking: De Mello Palheta

De Mello Paheta Coffee Shop, Toronto, Canada.

Yesterday I dropped into De Mello Palheta while walking in a different part of town than I am used to, so I don’t know much about this place. All I know is that I was uptown in Toronto to get my dog groomed and it was the only place I found that wasn’t a Starbucks or Tim Horton’s along the walk from Lawrence Avenue to Eglinton Avenue. I got the Deadman Walking house blend to continue my journey with, seemed appropriate and grim.

For a dark roast, it was quite smooth. Usually, I like my coffee to be punch me in the face strong and smokey, but this one had a nice sweetness to it and great flavours. Good stuff!

Deadman Walking Coffee from De Mello Paheta

I continued on my way to explore this exotic new land I was in. Uptown is a strange place full of SUVs and minivans trying to run me down, big fancy houses with people keeping an eye on me as I walk by and apparently the folks up there have nothing better to do then to just literally throw their money away, because I found a few 20 dollar bills on my walk through the area while killing time.

Alexander Muir Memorial Gardens

To end things off, I got caught in the rain and sought shelter under a tree. Thankfully, I had the trusty Deadman to keep me company while I waited out the downpour. In a stroke of good timing, I got the call to pick up my freshly groomed buddy just as the rain began to stop. We hopped on the train together and headed back to our more familiar surroundings of downtown Toronto.

Stuck Under a Tree

Riding Trains with a Bedlington Terrier

Overall, it was a good walk and I plan on going back to De Mello Palheta next time I am in that area.

Coffee Walking: Jimmy’s Coffee (on Portland Street)

Jimmy’s Coffee is one of my favourites in the city! I don’t know if I ever walk by without popping into this place. There’s usually always a long lineup from the office crowds, but they are super efficient with the order taking, so you are up to the front of the line in no time. The Jimmy Hendrix dark roast is my cup of choice.

The last time I went was the first time sitting in the new backroom at the Portland Street location. I remember going there a few years ago, before I had home internet, to book a tour using the wi-fi there. I sat outside and baked in the sun until my netbook computer overheated, shut down and would not turn back on. Panicked, I ran home and threw it in the freezer. Luckily it worked again after that. Anyways, that was an ok patio, but this backroom is way more nice, especially for doing work like that I’d imagine. Plus, they do still have a piece of the outdoor section for those who hate their electronics (or just enjoy being outdoors with coffee.)

Jimmy's Coffee on Portlant Street, Toronto.
Jimmy’s Coffee on Portlant Street, Toronto.

Coffee Walking: Firebat Coffee

I walk to work, as well as pretty much everywhere else. I also drink plenty of coffee. So naturally, living in Toronto, I get to combine the two on a daily basis and my options to try new and great caffeine is, to put it modestly, quite vast in this city.

So basically, I am just going to use this space to document the coffees that I try along the way to the places that I am going. Nothing too detailed, just coffee that doesn’t suck (or maybe coffees that suck too, if there is a good story involved, but I don’t want to be unnecessarily negative here…)

OK, here we go:

On my way to work, on weekends, there is a market in HTO Park on the Queens Quay during summer. A couple weeks ago, during my bike ride to work, I decided to dismount and try the coffee booth set up there. Today, I am drinking the rest of the bag I got from them a couple weeks ago. It’s good stuff, perhaps a bit more of a citrus taste than I normally prefer though. I’ve been making it in my mokapot, but I’d like to get more to see how it tastes in the French press at work too.

The business card goes as: Firebat Coffee Corp., direct trade specialty coffee roasters from shade-grown Cup of Excellence winning farms.

They seem like cool guys too, check them out here: firebatcoffee.com

Firebat Coffee Espresso Blend
Bats are the gardeners of rainforests. In harmony with nature’s perfection, they disperse the seeds away from the parent plant, playing a key role in the preservation of forest life.

Mexico Trip Report Part 12: The Beach Towns of San Augustinillio & Zipolite

Beach Drinks in Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Well, it had to come to an end eventually, and it would be hard to argue that we didn’t have a good run while trekking across Oaxaca, Mexico. So, what better way to forget that we had a flight to catch in the morning than to spend the day walking aimlessly through beach towns, eating the best seafood (probably in the world!) and drinking plenty of mezcal all day long.

After wandering through the now familiar Mazunte, we kept going a little further and over the hill until we stumbled upon the small fishing town of San Augustinillio.

Walking to San Augustinillio, Oaxaca, Mexico.

San Augustinillio, Oaxaca, Mexico.

We walked the beach as far as it would allow us, then found a path that took us back to the road.

Sun beaten and starting to get a little worn out, while hiking between towns we found this grocery store. Perhaps she was a bit delirious, because for some reason, Jessica felt the Corona’s were calling her name…

Corona Beer. Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico.

And then we made it to Zipolite. Which meant it was finally time to find something to eat! We walked along the beach and stopped at San Cristobal Restaurant to get some seafood, the one thing we had surprisingly not done yet during this trip. We were both really excited to try the seafood while in this part of Mexico, especially after seeing the fishing boats coming in every day with the fresh catches.

Zipolite Sign. Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Seafood on the beach in Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico.

San Cristobal Sign. Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico.

After re-energizing with delicious fishes, we were off to wander again. We saw plenty of naked people on the beach in Zipolite, which made sense, being that it is a nude beach. We didn’t get naked, but there wasn’t anything uncomfortable about visiting either. Before heading back to Mazunte to watch the sunset, we left the beach sand to go see some of the town in Zipolite as well.

Mural Street Art in Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Streets of Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Mexico Trip Report Part 11: Laguna de Ventanilla

Sign for Ventanilla. Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico.

We had seen plenty of dolphins the day before, as they demonstrated their sheer force of power by majestically flying through the ocean waves requiring seemingly no effort at all. Logically, it was now time to visit their opponents, the slow crushing and deadly crocodiles of the local wetlands. Two creatures of the water, fighting it out on the beaches of Mexico, and only one would leave victorious… or at least if I were in some sort of weird Mad Max dystopian future, they’d probably make them fight it out to the death with some sort of robot laser armour…

However, in actuality, we would be partaking in the opposite of all that rambling for this trip. We were going to visit Laguna de Ventanilla, a wetlands area and conservation site dedicated to the care of all the plants and creatures of the local ecosystem, an all around nice place and still a pretty darn exciting thing to do!

Just a short walk, in the morning sun, down the road from where we were staying. We spent about thirty minutes on the cracked and dusty pavement outside of Mazunte as we got chased by dogs, dodged local traffic and enjoyed the Mexican scenery.

Road to Ventanilla. Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico.

We eventually came back around to safer paths on the road, away from the fast cars and back to the beach. Overall, a nice walk, but we were the only people we saw trekking by foot the whole way and would recommend the colectivo to save the time and to be more safe. Besides, it’s only ten pesos, when we got back, we weren’t really sure why we didn’t take it either…

Path to Ventanilla. Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Beach at Ventanilla. Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico.

No Swimming. Ventanilla Marsh, Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico.

When we arrived, we booked a guide and hopped in a row boat to be given a tour of the lagoon, the plants and creatures that dwell within. It was surprisingly long as we were taken pretty deep into the wetlands. We had seen other boats turn around after much shorter distances than we covered on our tour. However, despite there being the odd other boat out in the lagoon, we were still lucky enough to be isolated with nature for the majority of the time.

Some of the things we saw were birds, turtles, iguanas and crocodiles. Our guide talked to us about the different seasons and water levels of the marsh and spoke about the mangrove restoration efforts. Everything was very up close and personal and would be very easy to touch or grab at, if we were stupid.

Exploring Ventanilla Marsh. Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico.Ventanilla. Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico.Ventanilla Marsh. Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico.Ventanilla. Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico.

We took the tour with Lagarto Real (aka the “red shirts” group) Visit the link for more information of Laguna de Ventanilla and the conservation efforts being made to help restore the areas damaged by hurricanes.