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Cocktails with a taste of Canada for the long weekend

- August 1st, 2014
BBQ Caesar.

BBQ Caesar.

Enjoy the August long weekend with a Canadian-themed cocktail from Luksusowa Vodka.

Luksusowa is a luxe brand of Polish vodka made with specially-cultivated potatoes and artisanal water.  The company has created two Canadian-inspired cocktails that both put a new twist on the Canada-favourite Caesar and use ingredients sourced from our country, like maple syrup.

Find the recipes for the cocktails below. Have a great long weekend and drink responsibly!

Maple Glaze.

Maple Glaze.

Maple Glaze – Courtesy Luksusowa Vodka

Ingredients:
* 1.5 oz Luksusowa
* 1 tsp. maple syrup
* Orange zest

Method:
Pour all ingredients into a stirring glass and stir with cubed ice until cold and balanced. Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass and finish it off with a zest of orange.

BBQ Caesar – Courtesy Luksusowa Vodka

Ingredients:
* 2-3 oz Luksusowa
* 5 tsp. fresh lemon juice
* 2 tsp. BBQ sauce
* 4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
* 2 pinches of salt
* 2 pinches of pepper
* Tomato juice

Method:
Rim a glass with lemon and dip into seasoning. Pour all ingredients into a mixing container. Using a second container, pour the mix back and forth (3-4 times) between the two. Pour into a glass with 2-3 ice cubes and serve.

Battle for title of Canada’s top washroom returns for fifth year

- July 31st, 2014
Valleyview Shell Super Station

2013 winner: Valleyview Shell Super Station, Alberta.

The battle to name the king of all Canadian washrooms has returned for a fifth year.

The contest, sponsored by Cintas, a Canadian company that sells work uniforms and restroom supplies, sees members of the public go online to vote for their favourite public washroom, in hopes of it being crowned Canada’s top porcelain throne-room.

“This contest is fun but it also conveys a critical message that restroom hygiene matters – for good health and good business,” Leslie Molin, Cintas’ senior marketing manager, said in a statement.

Last year’s winner was Valleyview Shell Super Station in northern Alberta. What restroom will reign as Lord of the Latrine this year? See the top five finalists, chosen by Cintas’ team of editors, below and cast your vote at bestrestroom.com/canada through October 2014.

Patria, Toronto

Patria, Toronto

Patria – Toronto, Ontario

Cintas says: In sharp contrast to Spanish-inspired brown and red hues that string the dining room walls at Patria, the washroom features clean white marble from ceiling to floor, and simple elegant fixtures. Golden faucets and mirror accents give the washroom a regal atmosphere, adding to the overall European experience.

Calgary Zoo

Calgary Zoo

Calgary Zoo – Alberta

Cintas says: Amongst giraffes, hippos, lions and gorillas sit the Destination Africa washrooms at the Calgary Zoo. The park takes visitors across the globe, from Africa to Eurasia, with lavatories to match in each locale. Each circular hut serves as a loo, complete with wall-to-wall tribal décor for a true glimpse into African culture.

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood – Niagara Falls, Ontario

Cintas says: The glamourous décor of the Planet Hollywood restaurant reminds guests of their favourite Hollywood classics, and the experience continues with a visit to their flashy washroom. The ladies’ room mirrors are “framed” with a pair of giant, hot pink, zebra print sunglasses, turning every woman into a star with a glance at her reflection. Meanwhile, in the men’s room, guys are doing a double take when they see what’s staring back at them. Cobalt blue sharks open wide to reveal mirrors between their terrifying teeth.

Shaw Club Hotel

Shaw Club Hotel & Spa

Shaw Club Hotel & Spa – Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Cintas says: Style and radiance come together in this lavish loo. Upon entering the ladies’ room, guests are greeted by a modern glass infinity sink and simple stainless steel fixtures. The stalls feature large glass doors which fog up for privacy when the door is locked! Here’s the science behind it: sandwiched between the two panels of glass is a mixture of polymer and liquid crystals. A constant electrical current keeps the crystals in line and the glass transparent. But when the door handle is locked, the current is stopped, the crystals fall, and the glass looks clouded.

Vancouver Airport

Vancouver Airport

Vancouver Airport – British Columbia

Cintas says: Located in the C-Pier, Domestic Terminal of YVR, travellers find a clean, modern place to freshen up during their journeys. The washroom walls are covered in shades of blue, red, and yellow mosaic tiles and wave-shaped blue flooring winds down the curved corridor leading guests to their choice of bathroom stalls. White tile surrounds the hands-free sinks and towel dispensers, creating a cohesive and modern atmosphere.

Itinerary for 2014 MasterChef Caribbean cruise revealed

- July 25th, 2014
MasterChef U.S.A. (Courtesy Fox)

MasterChef U.S.A. (Courtesy Fox)

The itinerary for the week-long MasterChef cruise of the Caribbean has been revealed, and it includes plenty of opportunities to interact with fan favourite contestants like Christina Ha and Alexander Weiss, as well as MasterChef judge Graham Elliot.

The seven-day voyage will sail from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Nov. 8, 2014 and Elliot, plus past winners Ha and Luca Manfe, as well as MasterChef Junior victor Weiss, will be aboard. The winner of the current season of FOX’s hit cooking competition, to be revealed on Sept. 15, will also take part in the cruise.

Alexander Weiss of MasterChef Junior and Lucas Manfe and Christine Ha of MasterChef. (Courtesy FOX)

Alexander Weiss of MasterChef Junior and Luca Manfe and Christine Ha of MasterChef. (Courtesy FOX)

The luxurious Holland America MS Westerdam will be the vessel for the cruise, which will stop at several ports of call, including Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas. The ship will return to Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 15.

It has now been revealed that guests can look forward to on-board programming that will include Mystery Box challenges, cocktail parties, meet and greets, and demonstrations. Events include:

  • Christine Ha’s Mac-n-Cheese at Sea Competition – Ha will judge the first-ever Mac-n-Cheese at Sea competition where guests will compete to create their best version of the classic dish.
  • Blind Taste Test with Graham Elliot – A few willing audience members will have the opportunity to test their taste buds with a challenge led by Elliot.
  • Tag Team Sushi – Get a front-row seat to the famous Sushi Tag Team Challenge featuring the MasterChef Stars.
  • Master the Macaroon with Alexander – Learn to master Weiss’ signature dessert.
  • Designer Pasta – Learn how to make authentic, homemade pasta with a demonstration from Manfe.
  • Craft Cocktails – Create craft cocktails with the MasterChef season 5 winner.

“MasterChef fans and food lovers alike are in for an incredible journey with hours of original live programming that both entertains and instructs,” said Vivi Zigler, president of MasterChef’s production company, Shine America, in a statement. “Guests will get to live the MasterChef experience with some of the most skilled and beloved talent from the series, while also honing their own culinary skills.”

Fares for the cruise start at $1,442 per person. For more information or to book your ticket on the MasterChef cruise, visit masterchefcruise.com.

Sweet tequila treats from Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort

- July 23rd, 2014
Margarita popsicle. (Courtesy Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort)

Margarita popsicle. (Courtesy Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort)

July 24 is National Tequila Day and Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico is celebrating with a number of tequila-infused cool treats.

From chocolately tequila ice cream to sweet margarita popsicles, these treats would be best enjoyed poolside at Las Ventanas al Paraiso. Luckily for those who can’t make it to Mexico, the resort’s chefs have shared their recipes so you can cool down on these hot summer days with a tequila treat no matter where you are.

Chocolate Coated Tequila Ice Cream. (Courtesy Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort)

Chocolate Coated Tequila Ice Cream. (Courtesy Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort)

Chocolate Coated Tequila Ice Cream

Ingredients:
· Tequila Ice cream
· 1 (12oz) package semisweet chocolate chips
· 1/2 cup vegetable or mild olive oil

Method:
· Shape tequila ice cream into balls using an ice cream scoop. Place balls on a silver foil-lined tray and put back in the freezer.
· Melt the chocolate in microwave or double-boiler. Don’t overheat the chocolate. Let cool without allowing the chocolate to harden.
· Dip the ice cream balls in the melted chocolate and gently turn using a teaspoon. Place chocolate-coated ice cream balls back on silver foil and return to the freezer.

Margarita Popsicles

Ingredients:
· 3/4 cup sugar
· 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
· 1/2 cup water
· 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
· 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
· 2 tablespoons tequila Clase Azul
· 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
· Salt

Method:
· Combine sugar, lime juice, water, lemon juice and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves.
· Remove from heat and allow cooling. Once cool, transfer to a blender with tequila, orange liqueur, and lime wedge and process until smooth.
· Pour into the cups and cover the top of each cup with slice of lime. Place the popsicle stick in center of cup.
· Freeze, preferably overnight. Remove from freezer and run cup under warm water to loosen popsicle. Slightly dip in salt and serve.

Tequila Sunrise Popsicle. (Courtesy Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort)

Tequila Sunrise Popsicle. (Courtesy Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort)

Tequila Sunrise Popsicles

Ingredients:
· 2 tablespoons lime juice
· 2 teaspoons Grenadine
· 1 1/2 cups orange juice
· 1/4 cup tequila Don Julio 70

Method:
· In a measuring cup combine grenadine and lime juice. Using 4 plastic frozen pop molds, pour 4 teaspoons of the juice mixture into the bottom of each. Freeze for 1 hour or until get firm.
· In another cup combine orange juice and tequila. Carefully pour orange juice mixture over grenadine
· Cover paper cups with foil and insert sticks into cups, freeze overnight.

Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince George to spend summer vacation in Scotland

- July 21st, 2014
Prince George. (Reuters)

Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince George. (Reuters)

Prince William, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince George will spend their summer vacation at the Queen’s Scotland estate of Balmoral, US Weekly reports.

The royals will likely head to the Scottish castle soon after Prince George’s first birthday on July 22, which will be spent at the Cambridge’s apartment in Kensington Palace. Queen Elizabeth is even expected to attend the tiny prince’s party at Kensington, though the monarch has made it a summertime tradition to gather the royal family at Balmoral.

Balmoral Castle. (Fotolia)

Balmoral Castle. (Fotolia)

Queen Elizabeth can be seen with a young Princes William and Harry, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Zara Phillips at Balmoral Castle in the below BBC video from the early 1990s.

More Royal Travel:
Prince William and Kate’s top 10 travel destinations
Where the Royals travel as children
Duchess Kate and Prince George on Mustique vacation
Prince William, Duchess Kate on Maldives second honeymoon

US Weekly reports that young royals often spend time at Balmoral learning to ride or shoot, though George is still too young for those activities.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Anne are also expected to vacation at Balmoral this summer. The family often starts the day together with a large breakfast, followed by a picnic lunch, afternoon tea and formal dinner at night.