Christmas + Ren

This Christmas is unequivocally memorable. It was the first time I could spend it with my best friend, who I have known since high school. We do not see each other often, so we were ecstatic to celebrate—we both know that every time we spend time together, it will always be brimming with culinary adventures. 

We began our Christmas day sharing hot cocoa with homemade cloud marshmallows and a touch of peppermint while exchanging gifts. Ren utterly surprised me by bestowing the handsome Kickstarter limited edition Lomo'Instant camera. It is described as "the world's most creative instant camera system" and since I am an avid camera collector, I was beyond rhapsodic.

Bluestone Lane Coffee - This café is absolutely charming. It serves artisanal coffee and fresh Australian-influenced wholesome fare—truly delectable. The granola with yogurt and fruit, smashed avocado on toast, pumpkin fritter with smoked salmon, pickled beet root and arugula were delightful. The friendly service, in particular, is what won us over—the servers and baristas were so amiable, one of them was practically dancing around our table. This place definitely took us by surprise.

Breather - We escaped the cold for a bit and took a "breather" in this quiet and lovely space admist the chaos of the city. We enjoyed the minimalistic décor and their quirky books. I will surely return to explore more of their spaces.

Totto Ramen - I wanted to take Ren to an authentic ramen shop because he has never had authentic ramen before and I knew Totto would be open on Christmas. Sure enough, there was a seemingly never-ending line when we arrived; our wait was approximately an hour (in the cold), but it was worth it—so savory. Ramen shops are my favourite places to eat, especially in the heart of winter. Ren had a blast and noted that it was the best Christmas he ever had which was incredibly heartwarming and made me smile. I did not bring a camera, so I hope this iPhone shot will suffice.

Wollman Rink - It was so wonderful ice skating in Central Park with all the city lights at night. I have been skating for a while, however this is the second official time Ren went ice skating so it definitely was a fun experience. He was even sneaking a "how to ice skate" search on his phone, which he tried to hide from me. We sure had a good laugh.

The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory - For some late-night dessert, we chose the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory for their award-winning green tea ice cream on sugar cones. It is a popular tourist attraction so we just wanted to try it out. We had ample green tea ice cream in the past, but their green tea flavor is certainly unique; we loved it. I did not bring a camera so here is a quick iPhone snap.

Sometimes it is best to immerse yourself in the moment and cherish it with your heart instead of a camera.