Mar
25

I’ve been a huge fan of Mother’s Dumplings since their original location was on Huron. Then they  moved to a much (much) bigger space at 421 Spadina and just recently they opened a second location at 840 Danforth East. I was eager (curious?) to check out this location even though the Spadina location is closer to me. So I grabbed a friend (who had never been to Mother’s Dumplings) and off we went.

The outside of the restaurant (on Danforth) looks like this and looks pretty similar to the Spadina location (except smaller)

mothers - outside

The inside of the restaurant looks very different than the location on Spadina. i.e exposed brick wall and booths and smaller.

mothers - inside

As always, I ordered their wonton soup. I’d like to announce that I like their wonton soup better than ramen or pho. I’d also like to announce that I like their wonton soup better than the dumplings!! There is something special about this wonton soup. It has all sorts of dried things floating around, seaweed and more. Not to mention that it’s CHEAP. A large bowl for 2 costs only $5.70.  I have recently introduced this soup to two friends and both friends loved it.

mothers - soup

We also ordered an order of dozen steamed  shrimp, chive and egg dumplings. (B3). Like their location on Spadina, you can watch the dumplings being made.

mothers - dumplingsThe bill came out to $16.27 for two people. Not bad eh?

I seriously hope that this location will get as much love as their Spadina location.

For More Information:

Mother’s Dumplings, 804 Danforth Ave. Toronto 647 350 8988

Mar
24

Back in November, I was invited to participate on a tour called STRUT that featured 3 workshops. One of  the workshops was called: Think You’ve Got What It Takes to Pitch a Leading Producer or Be A Spokesperson?

The panel included Michelle Crespi – Executive Producer, The Social & Marilyn Denis Show , Lis Travers – Executive Producer, Canada AM. Mary Ann Zoellner - Producer, TODAY Show, Alicia Ybaro - Producer, TODAY Show,Sandra Martin - Editor-in-Chief, Walmart Live Better Magazin

After the presentation, there was an opportunity to go up and talk to any of the producers.

I was on the other side - dong the same thing as this women....Pitching a Story!!

I was on the other side – dong the same thing as this women….Pitching a Story!!

I approached Lis Travers (the Executive Producer for Canada AM) and pitched a story!!  I’ve never done this before but thought I had a story that might be of interest. Basically I told her about something called the COFFICE and that there is a growing trend for people to work out of coffee shops.  I told her about Coffice Tweet Ups, and that I know the guy behind The Coffice!!  She listened to me and told me that she liked the idea and then handed me her card. I followed up with Lis and introduced her via email to the guy behind The Coffice!

Months go by  and I hear no news. Then things change!! I received a direct message on Twitter last week…. from the Coffice, that said: “Did you see this link.  //canadaam.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=308390&playlistId=1.1732239&binId=1.811572&playlistPageNum=1 …It’s your doing. I owe you a coffee!!”.

I then clicked on the link (p.s you should too) and saw that The Coffice had a 6 (yes SIX) minute segment on Canada AM!!

Isn’t that cool? I was jumping up and down that my pitch worked!!

Go figger.

Now I’m hoping to pitch a few a few more story ideas. Wish me luck.

Mar
20

Newsflash: There’s a new appliance in my kitchen. It’s the Philips Airfyer. Take a peek… Isn’t she beautiful?

Philips - photo

Besides being gorgeous, here’s a few other first impressions:

-It’s simple to use: i.e. one dial is the temperature control and the other dial is the timer. This could not get easier.

-The cord is in the back and slides beautifully into the appliance. No more dangling cords that need to be wrapped around an appliance!!

-You don’t need to use any OIL. (or if you do..it’s less than a tablespoon). The technology in this airfyer is genius.

-My kitchen didn’t heat up and I’m anticipating using the Philips Airfyer ALL SUMMER LONG.

So what did I make?

-baked potatoes (in 12 minutes)

-a piece of salmon (in 10 minutes exactly)

Voila…dinner!!

philips - dinner

For more information:

 http://www.philips.ca/c/home-cooking/viva-collection-airfryer-with-rapid-air-technology-hd9220_26/prd/en/ 

Disclosure: The Philips Airfryer was provided to me however all opinions are my own.

Mar
19

I saw this recipe back in February (from Pinterest? Twitter?) and finally got around to making it. Naturally I didn’t follow the recipe exactly so I encourage you to look at this blog post first….click here). 

I adore recipes that take an original recipe and just by baking it in a muffin tin – presto – you have a total new appreciation of lasagna!

LASAGNA CUPCAKES (adapted from www.howtosurvivelifeinthesuburbs.com)

1 package of Olivieri®  lasagna sheets

1 cup of ricotta

2 eggs

1 cup of shredded mozarella

1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce

1 package of frozen spinach, thawed (optional)

1 tablespoon of dried basil

Just a few ingredients needed!!

Just a few ingredients needed!!

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray your Muffin Pan with Pam® (this will allow your lasagna cupcakes to come out with ease and help with clean up afterwards).

2. Cut the lasagna sheet into squares that will fit your muffin pan.(I used scissors for this step).  Place the lasagna “squares” into the muffin tray.

lasagna - tray

3. Whisk the ricotta cheese and eggs together till it’s nice and smooth.

4. Add a generous dollop of pasta sauce into the muffin pan (spread generously). Then add the ricotta cheese mixture. Then sprinkle  the mozzarella cheese on top. Then add another lasagna square. Repeat – dollop of pasta sauce, then ricotta cheese, then mozzarella. Add another lasagna square. Add tomato sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and dried basil.

lasagna - tray before

5. Bake 25 minutes in a pre heated 375 degree oven.

FINAL PRODUCT:

lasagna - final

I served these lasagna cupcakes to guests on a Sunday night along with Asparagus Soup and a Curly Cucumber Salad. Everyone was pretty happy. Naturally the leftovers went into the freezer and will come in handy one day when I’m low on groceries or have no time to make dinner!! (it happens to all of us, right?).

Mar
17

I love entertaining…the menu planning, the cooking and even setting the table. But I won’t include the “cleaning up” part! (we can save that for another blog post.)

Most of the menu I had made before but there were 2 new recipes (*) that I was checking out and guess what? They were a hit.

-A Deconstructed Salad.

-Spinach Pesto Tilapia

-Roasted Brussel Sprouts (recipe: Barefoot Contesssa)*

-Tomato/Bocacini/Roasted Garlic/Basil Skewers

-Quinoa salad with Apples and a Curry Dressing* (recipe: Martha Stewart)

Dessert: Meringue Nests with Fresh Raspberries

These photos might help you visualize the menu!

dinner - 4 photos

-Dessert: Meringue Nests with Whipped Cream and Fresh Raspberries.

The nests came out more like discs. #ohwellstilltasty

The nests came out more like discs. #ohwellstilltasty

As for the table: I thought it would be a great time to buy white tulips, white roses and babies breath. (source: any of the flower stores at Avenue/Davenport)

dinner - decor

Hope this blog post inspires you to host a dinner party one day soon as well!

Note: Stay tuned for another blog post as I had more company over last night and made lasagna cups for my first time!

Mar
13

I noticed on twitter that Yakitori Kintori was having a soft opening and decided last minute to go there for dinner to check out this new restaurant. I have to admit that it was hard for me NOT to go into Kinton Ramen (as I’m a huge fan) and Yakitori Kintori is located just above it.

yakitori - space

Naturally I was greeted with a warm welcome from ALL the staff and then parked myself at the bar  - directly in front of the kitchen so I could watch all the action. The staff were extremely attentive and helped me figure out what to order from the menu as I was very  extremely overwhelmed.

yakitori - menu

I ended up ordering: (top left) Beef and Pork Patty with Sunny Side up Quail Egg (Today’s Special Skewers) (top right) Jalapeno Tsukune.(meatballs)

(bottom left)  3 Tori  Pate Moriawase (assorted kinds of chicken pate) (bottom right) Jalapeno Nikuzume – stuffed Jalapeno with ground chicken.

yakitori - dinner

I also treated myself to grilled hearts (Hatsu) which I haven’t had in about 30 years!!

yakitori - hearts

Every dish I ordered was a winner. Honestly. The meat was cooked to perfection and I wasn’t craving 6 glasses of water after my meal! I would certainly order each dish again but most likely I will go back and order new dishes cause I’m wired that way!!

The meal ended up with this treat: A sample of Beer Sorbet and Sake Ice cream (ps I requested just a sample which is why this photo only has a small quantity in the spoon). I told the Chef that I want an entire mug of Beer Sorbet next time so I can pretend its’a Slurpee!! The beer sorbet rocked my palate.

yakitori - dessert

Congratulations Yakitori Kintori – I have no doubt that customers are going to love the food, atmosphere and service as much as I did.

For more information:

Yakitori Kintori, 2nd Floor, 668 Bloor St. W. Toronto, 416 551 7588

Twitter: @YakitoriKintori

Instagram: YakitoriKintori

Facebook: www.facebook.com/yakitorikintori

Mar
11

I have no clue why I’ve never heard of Habits Gastropub before but I’m delighted that this has now changed!! I love not only discovering new products (see last blog post) but new restaurants that I have never been to before as well!!

You can find Habits Gastropub at 928 College St.  Bonus: I was delighted to find out that street parking is free after 6 pm. The exterior of the restaurant looks like this.

habits - front

As for the food…I tasted Buffalo Sweetbreads (top left) that was served with a wicked blue cheese dip, A Salmon Duo (top right), the Habits Slider (bottom left)  and Bone Marrow on toast (bottom right). There’s no shortage of appetizers here and someone knows what they are doing in the kitchen!! I noticed on their website that the menu changes frequently and may not be current online. They try their best to keep up to date online but encourage you to just come on in if you see something on the website that interests you.

habits - 4 photos

For dessert –  my taste buds were treated to a trio of flavours: a chocolate brownie, lemon crema, and BEET ICE CREAM WITH ROSEMARY HONEY MASCARPONE. I have spelled that last item in CAPS as it was EPIC. Absolutely EPIC. I want  demand, a whole bowl of that ice cream the next time I visit.

habits - dessert

Please take a peek at their website as Habits Gastropub has a variety of events coming up – Jazz Night, A Folk Band,  A Charcoal Sketch Cabaret and More!! Not to mention, Industry Night on the last Monday night of every month with 50% off ALL beverages!! (yes..all of them).

Hope you get a chance to check out Habits Gastropub one day soon. You won’t be disappointed with the food, the Ontario craft beer selection, VQA Wines and the atmosphere.

Many thanks to View the Vibe for inviting me to this special dinner for media and bloggers.

For more information:

Habits Gastropub: 928 College Street, Toronto (416) 533 7272

Twitter: @habitsgastropub

Facebook; www.facebook.com/habitsgastropub

Mar
09

As always, I had a great time searching for new product at the the CRFA (Canadian Restaurant and Food Association) trade show last week. As always….I will share these discoveries with you.

a) GREEN GARBAZONO BEANS – I love this idea, as a green garbazono bean is just so much prettier than a beige one. Call me shallow but that’s the truth. Check out www.naturesclassic.com for more information about this amazing garbazono bean! Bonus: #GlutenFree and #NonGMO and #Vegan. ps on twitter you can find them @greengarbanzo…what a perfect username!!

cfra - garbanzo SMOKED TOFU - Love the fact that I can simply cut up this product and throw it into a salad for additional protein. Congratulations to Soyganic!!

cfra - soya

3. PHO…the next food service trend! This idea is from the folks at www.Shalitfoods.com

cfra - pho

I swear I walked around the show for 3 hours – sampling this and sampling that. However I still came home with a bag of samples! #notcomplaining.

cfra - samples Sometimes, I miss being a food sales rep!!

ps CRFA is now Restaurants Canada and I think this a brilliant move!! Congratulations.

Mar
06

Macaron Day 2014


Macaron Day 2014 is almost here and I’m so excited cause I’m a huge fan of Macarons. There’s something about these round delicate discs that I can’t resist. Here’s what you need to know about Macaron Day 2014.

On March 20, 2014, seventeen Toronto patisseries will be celebrating the most famous French pastry – the macaron. Customers visiting participating patisseries will be offered a FREE macaron in exchange for a voluntary donation to the Red Door Shelter  www.reddoorshelter.ca/  (while quantities last) All participating shops will be donateing 25% of the day’s macaron sales to the charity.

This is the third annual Macaron Day celebration in Toronto. Similar celebrations will be held on the same day in Paris, New York, Melbourne, Vancouver, Montreal and other cities.

You can find me on March 20that La Bamboche (1712 Avenue Road). You will notice me – I’ll be the woman with the white MacBook and a plate of macarons beside her. Come say hi!!

PS feel free to join the conversation on Twitter too: @MacaronTO

MACARON POSTER

Mar
05

I recently discovered a website called “Stay at Blue Mountain”. To sum it up , they rent out chalets that are equipped with luxury appointments and are perfect to accommodate families, large groups, team building retreats or executive getaways.

The chalets are within walking, or skiing distance, of the Blue Mountains activity area. Not to mention, that these large chalets sleep between 16 and 20 guests and are equipped with EVERYTHING YOU need. From indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, fireplaces, barbecues, air conditioning, saunas and WIFI…they have a chalet to suit your needs.

It was a tough choice but we selected the SUMMIT RIDGE chalet which offered 8 bedrooms, 2 “common areas” with flat screen TV’s, 4 bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and an outdoor hot tub (the selling feature for me).

Our super immaculate chalet.

Our super immaculate chalet.

 

Naturally I spent some time in the outdoor hot tub. What a treat. I can seriously see my family having a reunion at this chalet. (are you reading this, my dear cousins?)

collingwood - hot tub When we weren’t hanging out at the chalet, we were walking around the Blue Mountain Village. Sadly we didn’t skate, ski, snowshoe or x cross ski – this trip was about relaxing and eating. (not a bad combo, in my humble opinion.

The only activity we did do was EAT and oh boy – did we ever eat. I did some research (thank you Google) and found THE SMOKE. Oh how I love doing research to find the “right” restaurant. I really did score. We loved the space, which had super high ceilings and had a contemporary feel to it AND we loved the food too. The owner, Cam Dyment, took the time to chat with us and his passion for food was clearly evident.

collingwood - smoke

We inhaled the pulled pork nachos and really thought that this dish stood out. There was something so unique about it. We also enjoyed Smoked Trout,  Smoked  Balls of Meat, The Meatery Platter and the Smoked Turkey Burger too! (which was described as “Thanksgiving in your mouth). Don’t forget to save room for the Smoked Banana Ice Cream!! (will you promise me, that you will try this? Pretty Please).

I posted on my facebook page that I had dinner at The Smoke and was delighted to see that many of my friends are also huge fans of this restaurant!!

We also had lunch at Oliver & Bonacini Cafe and Grill. We wanted something light (seeing as we were still full from dinner) so we selected the soup and salad combo. I was super impressed to see that they are using local suppliers and that the salad used honey from Osler Bluffs in the dressing.

collingwood - salad

To balance the “light” lunch, we also had a half order of Maple Bacon Poutine. (oh how I love half orders). I ate way more than I should have as it was so so tasty.

collingwood -poutine

Disclosure: the accommodations and the meals were graciously comped, however all opinions are my own.

For more information:

Stay at Blue Mountain – click here for their website – 1 855 215 0505

Smoke Restaurant , 498 1 St. Collingwood, ON 705 293 5522

Oliver & Bonacini Cafe and Grill, Blue Mountain, 220 Gord Canning Dr, Westin Trillium House, 705 444 8680