Travel Diaries | Toronto & Chicago, USA & Canada

Hi guys, I’m back! I apologize for being so MIA the past few months — with Ramadan, summer classes, one of my good friend’s wedding coming up, and also fitting in family time, it’s been hard to keep up with the blog, but give me a follow over on Instagram (@deenafarr), I’m constantly updating it! I thought it would be fitting to have my comeback post be about my summer travel endeavors. For the most part, I stayed close to home this summer, which is really how I like it. No place like home, am I right?

I’m obviously going to start with the most mouthwatering destination out of the two: Toronto, Canada! This trip was very impromptu and spontaneous. Our old family friends who moved away a couple years ago hit us up, notifying us that they’d be in the Toronto area and they’d love for us to drive up for a weekend. So we chose a weekend and headed up! We stayed at the Holiday Inn right next to the airport since it was in the middle of the city and where our friends were staying. Toronto is very well known for their crazy delicious food carts, dessert spots & restaurants, so you know I was already raving and planning about all the places I wanted to try in our group chat, hehe. With dessert being my top priority, let’s start off with that. We were only there for two nights so we couldn’t hit everything that I wanted to, but the first night we grabbed dinner from Affy’s Premium Grill and then headed to Caffe Demetre. From cakes to crepes to waffles to ice cream sundaes — you name a dessert type, they have it for you. I obviously went straight to their waffle menu and got the Pomme Pilot, which was included a fluffy waffle, topped with a warm apple crisp & white chocolate silk ice cream. If you’re in the area and need a speedy, top notch dessert stop, Demetre’s is the way to go.

The next day is when the real food chronicles began. We spent the day in downtown Toronto, starting off with an early lunch at the all-time famous Burgenator. This place is hyped by anyone that’s visited Toronto, so I had to check it out. I obviously went for the Drop Down & Give Me Spicy burger. Honestly, one bite of a burger here, you forget about how messy your hands and plates look. Located in the Kensington Market, I highly recommend this burger joint. While exploring Kensington Market after our heavenly lunch, we came across the cutest waffle parlor called Wafels & More, and you all know I couldn’t turn it down. Let’s just say this place knows how to do waffles. Although their drink selection could use some broadening. We headed deeper into downtown, drank pineapple cocktails under the CN Tower, and enjoyed the pleasant weather along the boardwalk. We tackled dinner at Chang & Huang Thai Restaurant where I also discovered a cute and affordable hijab store: iLoveModesty. I highly recommend my fellow hijabi sisters to check this place out. I’d have to say this short trip turned out to be a successful one.

Now onto my second trip: Chicago! Chicago holds a special place in my heart, not only for its night life & delicious hole-in-the-wall restaurants, but I was born there! Another plus is many of my good friends have moved out there, so I always have a reason to visit. I can never say no when we make a plan to head to Chicago for a couple nights. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see how I just came back from there. Just like Toronto, we were only there for two nights, but man, were they fun. We arrived Thursday night and checked in to the Hampton Inn, with Michigan Avenue on our right and Lake Shore Drive on our left — the perfect location, I might add. Of course, we had to kick off our trip with a drive down Devon. Instead of choosing the basic options (Usmania, Sabri Nehari, etc.), my family and I went for Anmol Barbeque Restaurant. Don’t get me wrong! Usmania and Sabri are delicious, and we did end up at Usmania for our last meal there, but I wanted to expand my opinions of Devon a bit more. I’m going to use three words to describe Anmol: mango. habanero. chicken. Trust me on this one.

We kicked the next morning off with brunch at Yolk in downtown, and then of course, jetted to Michigan Avenue for some well-deserved retail therapy. Another plus (for me) about our hotel location was that it was literally 20 steps away from Zara, a store that I adore and also don’t have in Michigan (yet). My mom wanted to check out the high-end stores as well, so while she and my dad were busy with that, I took that time to snap some outfit photos and also take senior pictures for my sister! It’s awesome knowing that I can expand my love for photography beyond just food, outfits & landscapes – but actually use them on others. I made reservations for us at Yuzu, an adorable sushi bar in West Chicago. You’ll see what I mean when you scroll down to the pictures. We spent the rest of the night walking along Lake Michigan and down to Chicago’s Riverwalk. The next morning we brunched at Bombobar, every Chicago visitor’s must on their to-do list.

And that concludes my summer travel diary, hope you enjoyed, and a special good luck shout out to all of you who are starting school within the next couple of weeks!

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