Dec
15

3 Restaurants in 4 Nights


Last week, I went to 3 new restaurants in 4 nights. Im paying for it this week and will be eating a lot of Kale Salad this week!! However my week is nothing compared to a food writer I know that often goes to 3 or 4 media events each night!!

Here’s what kept me busy last week:

a) CC Lounge: This is a prohibition era-inspired cocktail bar and supper club that is in a stunning Ontario Heritage Building. CC Lounge is a 4,000-square foot lounge which is draped in crystals, velvet and gold and features private booths made of hundred-year-old whisky barrels, a custom 10-foot-tall birdcage for showcasing dancers and North America’s first whisky tasting tunnel housing over 100 varieties of whisky.

This is how I was greeted!! Talk about making a statement.

restaurants - cage

The cocktails and the whiskey tunnel, were impressive but for some reason that night I focussed on the food!!

restaurants - cc

b) Borealia: This restaurant has a menu that draws inspiration from historic foods of the natives, early settlers and subsequent immigrant groups who arrived in the 18th and 19th century. The media dinner was nothing short of outstanding. I would run back for the pine scented smoked mussels in a heart beat. Not to mention the whelk was another one of my favourite dishes. They are opened Tuesday to Sunday from 530 pm. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

restaurants - borealia

c) BarFish: This is a swanky bar at Blowfish King Street West which features cocktails, sake, and some pretty fabulous sushi. Sadly I didn’t capture the space as it was kind of dark but I did manage to get a few photos of the specatacular sushi thanks to @foodsisterhood that provided me some light with her iPhone!

restaurants - barfish

For more information:

CC Lounge: Front St E, Facebook: www.facebook.com/CCLounge Twitter: CC_Lounge

Borealia: 59 Ossington,  Facebook:  www.facebook.com/BorealiaTO  Twitter: @BorealiaTO

BarFish: 668 King St. West Facebook: www.facebook.com/BlowfishRestaurant Twitter: #BarFish

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Dec
11

Well I’ve been to Ottawa a few times since the Fall and of course with each visit there’s some new discoveries! Here we go…

a) Equator Coffee (412 Churchill)  just opened last week so it was the ideal place to meet my Ottawa Food Blogger friend.   I have no doubt that the neighborhood is going to embrace this coffee shop even though there’s no shortage of coffee shops in the area! (which I found out from my other Ottawa Food Blogger Friend). In my opinion..the more the merrier.

ottawa - equator (right)b) The Bacon Factory Burger Emporium: (154 O’Connor) Well any restaurant that has the word “bacon” in it – has my full attention. My mom and I happily split the burger that had the most amount of bacon in it. Hee Hee. PS this restaurant could have been a bar as it was full of guys. (see photo on far right)

ottawa- burger

c) Red Door Provisions: (117 Beechwood) Oh what a quaint place. My mom ordered the scones which were light and fluffy and I HAD to order the pickled sriracha egg. I’m a total sucker for something different.

ottawa - equator

d) Ace Mercado: (121 Clarence) This new tequila bar that recently opened in the Byward Market is super cool.  The branding of this restaurant/bar is genius. You can tell that a lot of thought went into opening this restaurant.  If you are looking for a cool space to have a drink or for dinner, then this is your place.

ottawa - ace

d) Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse:  (100 Gloucester) Discovered them on Twitter (big surprise) and was happy to receive my first coffee on the house because I followed them on Twitter. I love when a restaurant “gets” social media.

ottawa - grounded

e) Holland’s Cakes and Shakes:  (100 Armstrong) Can you say “Red Licorice Milkshake?”. OMG.  Their sandwiches and pastries looked delicious but as always there’s only so much I can eat!! Will have to return one day soon.

ottawa - holland's

As always I love visiting Ottawa. I can’t wait to visit again and find out what else has opened up!

 

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Dec
09

I’ve been patiently waiting for the Istanbul Cafe and Espresso Bar to open for almost a year. This new coffee shop is located at 175 Eglinton Ave East between Mount Pleasant and Yonge St.

instanbul - store

Recently I noticed via Twitter that it opened and I quickly grabbed a friend to check it out. Yes..that’s the way I roll.

Upon entering we were ooohing and ahhing over the attention to detail. Everything from the lights to the fireplace is STUNNING.

instanbul - light

Take a peek at how they serve Turkish coffee. I’m a sucker for presentation so I ordered it!!

instanbul - turkish

This new coffee shop has already had a warm welcome from the neighbourhood and I’m sure it will get even more popular when their liquor licence kicks in.

On a side note: they do serve sandwiches, mediterranean treats and muffins that you would see in typical coffee shops.  However, I really hope that they serve more mediterranean food in the future.

For more information:

Istanbul Cafe and Espresso Bar: 174 Eglinton Ave East, Toronto 416 480 0303

Hours: Weekdays 7 am to 10 pm, Saturday 8 am to 10 pm, Sunday 9 am to 10 pm

PS Liquor licence  is pending….stay tuned for (much) longer hours

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Dec
04

The One of A Kind Show is celebrating their 40th Anniversary and there’s a good reason for their success. This years’ show features over 800 vendors and I guarantee that you won’t walk away empty handed.

Last week I attended the media preview and decided to take a quick walk and within 5 minutes I had purchased this bracelet. I just couldn’t resist. Don’t forget – I’m a foodie so for me to buy a piece of jewellery is a big deal!!

OOAK - bracelet

These items caught my attention as well.

These wooden bows called BO. Kind of neat, non?

OOAK - Ties

Loved these pillow cases too! I think the pillow that says ” Get Up” has my name written all over it!

OOAK - Pillows

There’s something for everyone at this show. I still proudly display a unique wall hanging that i purchased in the early 1990’s. (here’s the blog post).

Please note; Tonight (Thursday Dec 4th) there’s FREE PARKING and LATE NIGHT SHOPPING till 11 pm. I took advantage of this last year and loved it. It wasn’t as crowded and I’m always happy to save $$ on parking.

For more information:

Website: www.oneofakindshow.com

Hours: Monday to Saturday 10AM – 9PM, Sunday 10AM – 6PM

Location: Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place

Tickets: Buy your tickets online! Click here

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Dec
01

I seriously don’t know why it took me so long to have a cheese fondue party! I guess it’s because I didn’t own a fondue pot till recently. I actually picked it up at Real Canadian Superstore for $5. What a score!!

fondue - pot

Then I discovered this product (PC Swiss Fondue) which makes throwing a Cheese Fondue Party even easier. Oh how I love PC Products!

fondue - cheese

Other items I served included:

-fresh fruit (raspberries, blackberries, and grapes)

-fresh vegetables (cauliflower and carrots)

-phyllo cups with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and roasted garlic…drizzled with a balsamic reduction

-a variety of olives

-nuts that I picked up  on my last trip to Ottawa (lemon almonds, smoked almonds and cinnamon walnuts)

-a cheese tray with Beemster and Empire Cheddar with Mustard Seeds that I picked up at the Delicious Show).

-PC Holiday Treats such as The Decadent Chocolate Cake and Candy Cane Chocolate Squares.

fondue - PC

-Smoked Parmesan Inferno Dip Mix. #YUM

-wine (white and red) and of course I showed off my new Soda Stream too!

The table looked like this!

fondue - table

I can guarantee you that I will be hosting another Cheese Fondue Party over the holidays. It’s a great way to entertain!

Disclosure: Several items that I served were provided to me, however all my opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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Nov
20

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo


According to my blog, I haven’t attended the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo since 2010. Here’s the blog post! So I’ve decided it’s about time I return. I’m really looking forward to eating and drinking (my fav combo) and helping them celebrate their 20th Anniversary. This year’s expo offers more than 1500 wines, beers, sprits and gourmet foods to choose from. I took a peek at the exhibitor list and quickly came to the realization that I won’t be leaving the expo hungry or thirsty!

gfwe_logo_black_20thHere’s the details about the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo:

Website: http://www.foodandwineexpo.ca/ ( a great place to buy tickets in advance – HINT)

Hours: 

Friday, November 21, 2014,       2pm-10pm
Saturday, November 22, 2014,  12pm-10pm
Sunday, November 23, 2014,    12pm-6pm

Location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building

Hope to see you there. Cheers!!

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Nov
18

I finally went to the William Ashley Warehouse Sale. Hip Hip Hooray!! Many of my friends have gone to this sale and now I know why!

This year they’ve moved to a bigger space that features 30,000 square feet of shopping, with over one million items up for sale. There’s more to the sale than William Ashley’s signature china and dishware – there’s home décor, fashion items, candles, bath toiletries, even gourmet food.

See what I mean? Take a peek at the layout….

ashley - layout

This new location has another bonus!  Shoppers get to wait inside – and not in a heated tent!

ashley -lineup

I walked thru the aisles and saw SO many different items that I wanted to purchase but all I kept thinking was “where am I going to put it”.

 

ashley - decisionspots It wasn’t easy to decide what to buy. But I did it!!

ashley - final

-some colourful plates (for my blog of course)

-a candle that is going to crackle when lit (I’m a sucker for things like that),

-a few red small bowls that I’m going to use for an upcoming cheese fondue party

-some place mats that I really don’t need but I LOVE

-a brie maker (again for the cheese fondue party).

-candle holders that I know Im going to enjoy. One can’t have enough candle holders, right?

So here’s what you need to know:

William Ashley Warehouse Sale 111 Creditview Rd, Vaughan ON

Website: http://www.williamashley.com/warehousesale/

Hours: Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri. 10 am to 9 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm.

THIS IS THE FINAL WEEK! #Justsayin….

Happy Shopping!

Disclosure: I was provided a gift card to shop at this sale however all opinions are my own

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Nov
16

Let’s Talk About Brunch


For some reason I don’t go out for brunch a lot, however lately I’m been working on that!! Here’s a few restaurants that I’ve visited for brunch over the last few months.

DIM SUM KING

I was introduced to this restaurant when I attended a book launch for Corey Mintz. So last week when I went to the AGO to see the Alex Corville Exhibit, I knew that this would be the perfect place to satisfy my dim sum craving! The restaurant is huge, there’s linens on the tables and they have carts too! As for my dim sum – thumbs up!

Take a peek at their menu (and their awesome prices too). Click here!

Dim Sum King 421 Dundas St W, Toronto, 416 551 3366

brunch - dimsum

LINDA MODERN THAI

This stunning restaurant has recently introduced a brunch menu and I was lucky enough to get invited to try it out. Items such as Thai Banana Egg Pancakes and Eggs Benedict Thai Style are popular items so that’s what we ordered. This restaurant should be on your radar if you are looking for a unique brunch in a beautiful setting with attentive service!  For a complete brunch menu please click here.

Linda Modern Thai: 11 Karl Fraser Rd (Shops at Don Mills) Toronto,  416 642 3866

brunch - thai

BOOM BREAKFAST

This popular restaurant has 5 locations and has an item on the menu called the Threesome (pancakes, sausage and eggs). Apparently it’s the most popular item on the menu!!  Their acronym TGIM (Thank God It’s Morning) always puts a smile on my face too. Oh how I love creative marketing.

brunch - boom

Hopefully I will continue to explore brunch options more regularly on the weekends. Do you have a favourite place I should check out? do share….

 

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Nov
13

I’ve been eating Pasta with Burnt Butter and Mizithra Cheese at the Old Spaghetti Factory for almost four decades (see blog post here). I’ve never made it before it as Mizithra cheese is an ingredient that I don’t often come across. But when I saw it at the Global Cheese Shop in Kensington Market (78 Augusta), I knew I had to buy it so I could make this recipe:

pasta - cheese

RECIPE FOR PASTA WITH BURNT BUTTER AND MIZITHRA CHEESE …adapted from www.cdkitchen.com

Ingredients:

Pasta

Butter

Mizithra Cheese

Instructions: 

To make the brown butter: Cut the butter into tablespoon sized pieces and place in a 2 quart sauce pan and put on a medium heat. Bring butter to a slow boil (about 5 minutes)/

Once the butter begins to boil, stir constantly to prevent residue from sticking to the bottom of the pan. As the butter cooks, it will start to foam and rise. Continue stirring..otherwise the butter foam could overflow and catch fire!

Turn off the heat and remove pan from the burner. Let the sediment settle to the bottom of the pan for a few minutes. Then pour the brown butter thru a strainer and into a small bowl. (this is an important step)

The butter will look like this!

pasta - butter

Boil the pasta of your choice.

Spread the cheese over the pasta and top with hot brown butter.

CAN YOU SAY – “COMFORT FOOD”?

pasta - final

Happy Cooking!

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Nov
10

Restaurant Review: Essen


I grew up on something called Gribenes.  Here’s the definition of Gribenes according to Wikipedia:

Gribenes or grieven (Yiddish: גריבענעס, [ˈɡrɪbənəs], “scraps”) are crisp chicken or goose skin cracklings with fried onions, a kosher food somewhat similar to pork rinds. Gribenes are a byproduct of schmaltz preparation.

I remember my grandmother serving it on Friday nights and holidays but haven’t had it in decades. (I’m not joking). Needless to say I knew when I saw it on the the menu at Essen that I would be ordering their gribenes.

What I didn’t know is that I could order buckets of the stuff! Essen makes a gribenes that is PERFECT. I’m still talking about it even a week after visiting their restaurant!!

essen - gribenes

Now Essen serves up other dishes that resonate with me seeing as I grew up with this type of food. For example: Their chopped liver is also outstanding.

essen - liver

I also enjoyed their Jewish Ramen which is described as egg noodles, matza balls, soft egg, brisket kreplach and veggies. I would order this dish again in a nano second.

essen - soup

My tummy was also introduced to their braised brisket, duck fat fries, roasted cauliflower and their unique caesar salad.

essen - brisket

I should also mention that Essen serves some wicked cocktails that are beyond creative!

Hope you get a chance to visit this restaurant soon. You won’t be disappointed and I promise you will leave FULL Very. Full. I know that I will be taking my mom here on her next visit to Toronto.

For more information:

Essen, 1282 Dundas St. W, phone:  (416) 534 0407

Twitter: @essen_toronto

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/essentoronto

Disclosure: My meal was complimentary however all opinions are my own.

 

 

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