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karen lloyd
Works at K-media
Attended Loyalist College
Lives in Toronto, ON
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Garlic Scape and Pillage

When Edward Levesque told me about his scapes, I said, "Capers?"

"No. Garlic scapes," he said more clearly, explaining the condiment is a pickled alternative to your caesar's stale celery stick. Edward has a wall of these snake-like veggies in jars at his Leslieville restaurant. You can take one home for $8.

I'd never heard of garlic scapes before, the flower of a garlic plant. They sounded so pretty, so powerful, so pungent.

The owner of Edward's 1290 is known for his elaborate use of farm fresh herbs and spices, so when I asked him to tell me about some special seasonings and sauces made in-house, I expected to hear about blueberry chutney or basil mayo, not this bright green thing he dangled in front of my face and dared me to eat.

We were talking about about food without seasoning and he had an expression of horror on his face.

"Don't feed it to me," he says.

Every dish at Edward's 1290 comes with a dash of remarkable flavour, but garlic scapes are probably the most distinctive.

Edward has friends in green places where fresh ingredients come in abundance.

"The other advantage I have over the housewives is that I have a full kitchen," he says, explaining his knack for pickling so many veggies, including beets and green tomatoes. "If you're going to make four liters you might as well make 400."

At home, he says, you can grill scapes, make scape soup, stir fry with scapes or make scape pesto. Here is a recipe for garlic scape hummus.

Savoury Scape Hummus

2 cans of chick peas, drained
1 cup tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh chopped garlic scapes

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix on high until it becomes a thick paste. Salt to taste. Serve with pita breads, crackers, or broccoli.

Edwards 1290 is located at 1290 Queen Street East, Toronto.

Enjoy!
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Leslieville's authentic Irish Pub, Ceili Cottage.
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Bikes are for Bums
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Breakfast at Mars

I'm not a morning person, so I'm often not into early brunches, especially in the beaches, far far from my home in Riverside. But it seems lately a few of my pals are diggin Sunday brunches (all over Toronto’s east end!), and by Thursday they are pushing for another get together - Eggs Benny style. They're exhausted after a long shift slinging drinks and cooking until 2AM or longer. I'm just tired. It's January, and I don't tend to start getting dressed until 3PM. But we somehow manage to pull ourselves together before noon and into Mars (by the Queen Street facing window)! I was beginning to question whether this was worth it anymore. SO tirrrrred. Messy everything. Hair, clothing, vocabulary. Turns out brunch at Mars welcomes the fatigued with a laize fair attitude themselves. The long menu is far from pretentious and the vibe is fun, kind of like an upscale Denny's (with a Jetson's twist and no dress code). Our brunch was a mix up of toasted peanut butter and bacon sandwiches (me), fruit salads and dishes filled with variations of meat and potatoes and eggs for everyone else. Overall we had a great time, and I personally think it’s a breakfast best enjoyed with bedhead. 
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The best fish and chips in Toronto. 
 
No fuss fish and chips in Leslieville 

By Karen Lloyd

Reliable Halibut and Chips on Queen Street East in Toronto has been a staple fish dish and diner in Leslieville since the 1940s.  

Known by local folk for its delicious super-sized portions and the smell of malt vinegar that permeates through its walls onto the street, this hidden gem is the go-to restaurant when you’re starving and don’t have a whole lot of money to spend. But don’t expect a greasy spoon here. Reliable Halibut and Chips is clean, quaint and friendly and the poutine is also to die for. 

An order of halibut (more fish than batter, deep fried in canola oil) and fresh-cut fries is just $12.99. 

Reliable Halibut and Chips is located at 954 Queen Street East, Toronto. 
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What is SEO? 

As a digital marketing specialist in Toronto (former newspaper reporter in Port Hope) I often find myself reading about or discussing Search Engine Optimization. I tend forget that small business owners who need SEO services the most usually have no idea what I’m saying when I mention the acronym in convo. And since I’m rarely a salesperson, when they ask me what I do, I just tell them I’m a writer and stuff and SEO and whatever.

Here’s your simplified guide to understanding SEO:

At some point you’ve more than likely searched the Internet for a particular product or service in your neighbourhood. Say you live in Port Hope (and you’re not a regular restaurant-goer), but you’d like to enjoy a nice dinner out for a change. Let’s also pretend you’re not on Facebook. So you search “Restaurants Port Hope” et voila! First you’ll see The Railside, Jim’s Pizzeria and Trattoria Gusto located in maps at the top of the page. These businesses have worked Google Plus to their advantage, which is a smart idea. And you may or may not see Google Adwords which is also a great advertising tool. Moving along down the page to websites (where SEO comes into play), Trip Advisor takes the lead, followed by Yellow Pages and then YAY, The Carlyle Inn and Bistro, a very nice inn and restaurant on John Street downtown. You’ll also find Visit Port Hope, Yelp, Zomato, Workopolis, Goldbook, and a couple more restaurants on page two: Cravingz, The Beamish House, Wimpy’s Diner.

But let’s get real, you’re too hungry to keep searching, you’re dying for a glass of wine so you decide The Carlyle it is! Since I lived in Port Hope for over a decade, until recently, I know there are loads of restaurants and pubs and great places to eat downtown. There are more restaurants per capita in Port Hope than anywhere else in Ontario. So why are they buried on the pages people rarely visit?

Google and other search engines like Yahoo! and Bing want users to have a good experience, and they do this showing you websites with highly relevant, fresh content. They also consider the volume, relevance, and quality of other sites that link to, say, The Carlye, to ensure that it is truly an authority in Port Hope cuisine.

SEO, simply put, is optimizing a website to obtain a high-ranking placement in search. The Capitol Theatre should be on page one this search, enticing Port Hopers to dinner and show. 

In order to move your website/business/restaurant up the ranks, here are some things you need to do:

Make sure your website has keyword phrases used in the proper areas:

Make sure your website has keyword phrases used in the proper areas: Delicious meal, Casual Dining, Port Hope. Your website should also load quickly, and be coded so search engines, like Google, can easily find what they’re looking for.

Create a link building strategy that includes guest blogging (maybe something food related), social media, and even asking customers with some online influence to link back to your website. It never hurts!

Figure out what keyword phrases your competitors are competing for and what you can do to improve your rank. An easy way to do this is through Google Adwords where you can input your competitor’s website address and find the key words they’re using. For Port Hope restaurants, keyword phrases might include “Sunday dinner ideas” or even “Port Hope homes for sale.”

Ensure your content stays fresh and is well-written. Believe it or not, there are readers out there who still have an appetite for good writing, and search engines definitely take this into consideration.

K-media works with small and medium-sized businesses to improve their Google search rankings. We specialize in SEO, writing, photography, social media, design and branding. Our boutique digital marketing agency is located in Toronto’s east end.
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karen lloyd

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I have long had an unsavoury relationship with food.

Mild anorexia defined my skeletal senior year in high school and, after counting healthy calories for most of my 20s with Weight Watchers, GI and South Beach, I tried bulimia for a few months. And then there was the year of chocolate. All I knew about food was that it could either be your best friend or your worst enemy. Eventually, it became a means to an end. Simply energy.

Carrots, cucumbers, brown rice, broccoli, bacon and tomato sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, beans from a can, my menu has been extremely plain. No salt, no pepper, no special dressings, no worries! Not only have I been OCD with food and nutrition for years, but I've also been scared to taste its true potential from my own hand. Cooking is for cooks.

Now, 38 and a food photographer for nearly a decade, I am ready to spice up my lunches and dinners (and picnics) with all the flavours and seasonings I find so aesthetically pleasing in a shot, but never think to sprinkle or stir into my own dishes. I hope to learn (and write about) a few secrets from local chefs and try all the best made-in-Toronto mustards, hot sauces and chutneys that apparently make food in the city so fun to eat. Stay tuned!
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Away from the crowds and full of sunshine, Toronto's east end diners are growing on me. 
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Get Hitched in Leslieville. Or, not. 

Ever since my part-time roommate/ex-bf told me Hitch was one of his favourite bars in Leslieville, I've wanted to go there. I romanticized the tiny tavern for over a year, where I imagined people like Jack Kerouac and other beatnic types waxed philosophy and read poetry by candlelight. So I was pretty excited last night to tell him I had a date there at 9:12. In 20 minutes! With a 44-year-old David Duchovny look a-like that I just met at the dog park! After totally messing up my eyebrows with black eyeliner (not the pencil I meant to use), I pulled my bangs over over my face, and asked, "How do I look?" He laughed a nervous laugh and I left for Queen Street East, taking pictures along the way. My first impression of this bar is, wow. Mark totally stood me up. My second impression was, wow. It's totally ok to stare at a wall and daydream. It depends on where you are, I guess, but in most places you'd probably seem weird if you did this for nearly an hour. Ok, I texted Maria and Rob about my sitch at Hitch, but otherwise, I was quite content to imagine myself on a warm beach in Hawaii, thanks to their projector featuring sunsets all night long. There were only a few people in the teeny tiny tavern. Another single woman across the candlelit bar (probably also waiting for Mark), a couple of bearded hipsters and before I left, a man and woman in their late 40s or early 50s sat down. As they talked openly about their online dating profiles, I gathered Hitch is a place for everyone, perhaps especially for us singles. Kerouac or no Kerouac, it was still kind of like I imagined.
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Kids eat free all September at Braised Restaurant and Bar in Leslieville. I wish I was 12. 
 
Celebrate “back to school” in style at Braised Restaurant and Bar.

If you live in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood and have never been to Braised, now’s the time to make it a family affair.

For the entire month of September, kids 12 and under can feast for free while their parents (you) can choose from a wide range of slow roasted style dishes available at this new Queen Street East restaurant. Braised, which celebrated its first anniversary on July 1, specializes in modern comfort food, using local and seasonal products.

The free kids dinner menu is available seven nights a week and features a grilled cheese baguette or BLT with fries and penne pasta with butter or tomato sauce (one child per adult entree).

Braised is located at 896 Queen East, Toronto. 
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In Bulgaria you can live like a queen on your measly Canadian income. 
 
Maximize your Canadian dollar with a trip to Bulgaria.

It’s impossible to read instructions, understand directions, or say no and mean it in Sofia, but it’s so cheap the confusion is worth it.

Being a bit of a free spirit, my decision to travel to Bulgaria was made more or less made on a whim. It was the country my finger landed on during a game of spin the globe several months before.

That was in 2008 and falling alseep on the Black Sea feels like a dream. I loved strolling around Sofia with a box of raspberries in my hand and a camera over my shoulder, exploring like a child. With impressive green parks, an infinite number of outdoor cafes, and so much architectural beauty, it’s hard to believe Bulgaria is considered one of the poorest countries Eastern Europe. And that’s precisely why it’s so great to visit. You can literally live like a queen on your measly Canadian income.

Here is what your basic items will cost in Sofia (2015)

Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre $318.03
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant $6.25
Loaf of Fresh White Bread $0.68
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) $5.30
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) $3.82
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) $0.76
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) $1.89
Cappuccino (regular) $1.42
Massage (1 hour) $33.33
Water (0.33 liter bottle) $0.72
Milk (1 liter) $1.41

If you are a travel writer, or work from home, or if you are retired and on a fixed income, I highly suggest you  live in Bulgaria for half the year. Seriously! Current flights out of Toronto to Sofia are $,1,000 return.
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Google Plus for Business. It's, like, free advertising! 

Hey Leslieville! Is anybody out there?? After creating and filling out many a Google Plus business page (what a mouthful) for other businesses over the past few years, I finally got around to setting up my own for K-media digital marketing in Toronto. I feel so official! It's basically the same stuff I post here, but it works much more to my advantage there.

If you operate a local business, say, "SEO services in Toronto" or "Fresh Produce in Port Hope," a business page is awesome, mainly because it puts your business in maps at the top of Google search. Secondly, go ahead and Google your business name and see what happens. Let's look at Ascari Enoteca on Queen Street East in Toronto. (in my images below). The first image is what comes up when I search Google for Italian food in Leslieville. The second is what shows when I search the business' name. You can be there, too. All you have to do is get some great reviews and keep adding fresh content. Every 72 hours. (No, seriously). So, I hope you follow me over on my K-media page which I'm still tweaking: http://bit.ly/1MHASXn. If you have any questions about Google's business pages, I basically live here, so feel free to knock on my door anytime! 
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People
In her circles
235 people
Have her in circles
132 people
Paul Harrington's profile photo
Nate Hendley's profile photo
Mercury Chocolates's profile photo
Jeanne Henderson's profile photo
Susan McDonald's profile photo
Peter Dounoukos's profile photo
Stephen Hodge's profile photo
Joseph Hoare's profile photo
Yukon Fur's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Digital Marketing
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SEO, writing, photography, social media, digital marketing, design and branding.
Employment
  • K-media
    Creative Director, 2011 - present
    I work with small businesses to improve Google search rankings with creative content that drives your brand messaging offline and into the minds of your consumers. I specialize in SEO, writing, photography, social media, design and branding.
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
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Toronto, ON
Previously
Port Hope, ON - L'anse au Loup, NL - Sofia, BG
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Education
  • Loyalist College
    Journalism, 1996 - 1999
    Major: journalism Minor: marketing and advertising
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karen lloyd's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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I was starting to have serious breathing problems, worse than ever before...Every morning I would wake up and feel like an elephant was sitting on my chest. My doctor gave me an inhaler for asthma, but I also heard that dirty ducts could cause dirty air for breathing and so I called Phil at Ductwise in Port Hope. It was instantaneous. The quality of my indoor air means I no longer need to use an inhaler. There is no longer an elephant on my chest in the morning. The amount of dirt sucked out of my ducts was startling, and they even discovered an emerald earring I thought I'd never see again. I'm definitely going to make Ductwise a part of my annual winter cleaning routine. It's totally worth and Phil and his team are very professional. If you live in Port Hope, Cobourg, Peterborough or the surrounding area, give them a call!
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