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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Nov
07

I’ve been wearing the same running shoes since 2011 (here’s the blog post  that was written in Feb 2011 ). I can’t believe I haven’t bought running shoes since 2011. Can’t explain it. At. All.

So last week, I went to Sport Chek  (2529 Yonge St, 416 932 9604) to fix this problem! I was super excited to hear that there’s two hours of complimentary VALET Parking available at this particular location. Sweet.

sports - valet

I was also excited to try out their FREE GAIT ANALYSIS. I’ve never done this before but it involved running (barefoot) on a treadmill for a minute.

sports - gait

Then my gait was analyzed using fancy technology. See the green lines with numbers on it? This is useful information so that I can run more efficiently and determine the best pair of running shoes for my running style. (err..shuffling style)

sports - analyze

After trying on three different brands, I finally decided on these new running shoes. (Asics – in the event you want to know the brand).

sports - new

I also walked away with several exercises so that I can run more better and pointers so that I can run more efficiently.

Sport Chek is definitely worth visiting if you are in the market for a new pair or running shoes. Don’t forget them for your holiday shopping needs too!

For More Information:

Website: www.sportchek.com

Twitter: @sportchekcanada

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

Disclosure: Sport Chek generously provided me with a pair of running shoes however all opinions are my own.

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Nov
05

There’s certainly no shortage of new restaurants in Toronto. This means that my tummy is very happy and very busy too!

Here’s a few that I’ve checked out lately:

a) The Kathi Roll Express: They just opened up their second location at 1753 Avenue Road which is great news as it’s about 2 km’s away from where I live! They offer take out and seating for about 6 people. What did I order? A Kathi Roll,  Chaat Papri, Mango Lassi and More!! ps I’m in love with the Chaat Papri. Please (oh please) order this dish!

radar - kathib) Schmaltz Appetizing: Have you heard of Fat Pasha? Rose & Sons? Well Smaltz Herring is brought to you by the same guy – Anthony Rose. I adored the name and when I heard they had a “GefilteWich” Sandwich – well I HAD to go. (that’s just the way I roll). I also bought the chopped liver to take home and it got the thumbs up. ps not a restaurant – more of a take out counter.

radar - shmaltz c) Loaded Pierogi - once again I love the name and the concept. Talk about COMFORT food at it’s best. This restaurant opens today (Nov 5th) and I have no doubt that they are going to be busy! Bye bye Poutine – Hello Pierogi.

radar - loaded d) St. Andrew Poultry: This business has been around for decades but recently re-branded and now offer catering, a snack bar, take out and more. I’ve already blogged about it but wanted to blog about it again…that’s how much I love this place. As you can see from the photos, they offer more than just chicken!!

radar - st. andrew

For More Information:

Kathi Roll Express …692 Yonge St or 1753 Avenue Road, Toronto – Twitter: @TKREToronto

Shmaltz Herring…414 Dupont, Toronto – Twitter: @ShmaltzHerring

Loaded Pierogi …9 1/2 Church St, Toronto – Twitter: @LoadedPierogi

St. Andrew Poultry…17 St. Andrew, Toronto – Twitter: @StAndrewPoultry

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Nov
04

How to Host A Pickle Party


Here’s the ingredients for hosting a pickle party. I have to admit I’ve never thrown a pickle party before but this party was so successful that I’m thinking of hosting another one!!

a) Select a few brands of pickles. For this particular pickle party, I included: Nathan’s Famous Kosher Pickles, Marty’s, and Putters.

party - pickles

b) Invite some pickle enthusiasts! Of course this meant I included some blogger friends (http://safaffect.wordpress.com/ and http://theyumyumfactor.blogspot.ca/) and some friends who weren’t bloggers! It was a great mix.

party - people

c) Put together a menu. This wasn’t so easy seeing as my kitchen is dairy. However I put together a menu that included….party sandwiches, cheese and crackers, roasted tomatoes on toasted baguette slices, and nachos and salsa! My table included green flowers and green/white napkins. Yes – I’m normal. LOL

party - table

d) Serve Vodka. Naturally we had to compare two brands so we compared Absolut to Skyy Vodka! Pickles and Vodka are a natural combination. LOL

e) Include a new food product to share with your friends! Please welcome www.mexicoboulevard.com! I sincerely want to thank www.brightideascanada.com for introducing me to these products.

party - nachos

Seriously it was a ton of fun to host this party.

PS the full sours were a hit but in all honesty all of the pickles were a hit with my guests. There wasn’t a pickle left!!

Disclosure: Many thanks to Marty’s Pickles and Nathan’s for supplying me with pickles!

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Oct
30

What I Bought in Buffalo


Last week, I woke up on Saturday and decided it would be a great day to head to Buffalo. Just like that. I swear I crossed the border around noon and was home by 6 pm!! You see….I only visit two stores: Target and Wegmans.

Here’s what I bought at Wegmans.

a)  Blue Hill Beet Yogurt! I probably should have bought all three flavours (sweet potato and carrot) but it was kind of pricey so I only bought one.

buffalo - yogurt

When I got home I tried it and decided that it would be great it if I paired it with something. So I took out a piece of salmon and bingo – I had myself a pretty beautiful lookin’ dinner.

buffalo - salmon

b) CHIA POD: Again….I only bought one and now Im kicking myself. I picked up the banana flavour and it is BEYOND DELICIOUS. The banana flavour is INTENSE. I also noticed that ingredients: chia, coconut milk and banana.   Talk about a pure product.

buffalo - chia

c) BOILED PEANUTS: I brought back these peanuts from a trip to Detroit a few years ago and was thrilled to see that Wegmans was carrying them in Buffalo. Sadly I keep serving them to guests and no one else likes it besides me!!

buffalo - peanuts

I bought a few more goodies (naturally) but only wanted to share a few items with you!

On a different note: I want to give a shout out to the store manager, Jim. He approached my friend and I to let us know that there was a “suspicious” person following us in the store. JIm assured us that the security staff were on alert and just wanted to give us a heads up and make sure that our purses were secure etc. When we ready to head to the car in the parking lot, we had TWO escorts with us. Thank you Jim and his amazing security staff for ensuring that my friend and I had a safe shopping experience.

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Oct
26

I’ve been a fan of Aroma Espresso Bar, since they opened their first Canadian location in 2007. They now have 25 locations in Toronto and 150 locations world wide!

I must admit I keep returning to Aroma for these two reasons: I love the mug that my coffee is served in, and I love the piece of chocolate that comes with my coffee. I know it sounds shallow but it’s the truth!

aroma - coffee

I’m also fond of the food that they serve. I probably like this dish the best. It’s called Shakshuka. Described as: Two sunny-side up eggs, on top of a rich warm tomato and pepper sauce. Served with Tahini and your choice of freshly baked bread. Can you say “YUM”? 

aroma - shakTheir sandwiches are ALL  divine. In my humble opinion, their sandwiches are all fabulous due to the BREAD. There is something about their bread that sets it apart from others!

aroma - sandwich

 

When I’m not inhaling shakshuka or a sandwich..I’ve been known to order a salad too. Always fresh and always tasty!

aroma - salad

Now that the cooler temperatures have arrived, I know I will be enjoying Aromas’ satisfying soups as well.

aroma - soup

It’s interesting to note, that everyone time I give a friend an option to meet at Aroma or another coffee shop, they always choose Aroma as they want to eat. I never disagree.

It’s also interesting to note that Aroma was one of the first restaurants who were “twitter” friendly back in 2010. #impressed.

For more information:

Website: www.aroma.ca

Twitter: @aromaespressobar

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

 

 

 

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Oct
24

What’s New in My Kitchen?


I’m a sucker for new product. I don’t know how this happened to me but it’s hard for me to pass new products on the shelf. Take for example..this product: Gaylea Coconut Whipped Cream. Did I need it? NO. Did I buy it? YES. I have to admit that the words “Lactose Free” really appealed to me as well as the three letter word “NEW”. LOL. Please don’t judge me!

kitchen - cream

I was also intrigued by the  new IOGO Moment yogurtThis new product is creamy, creamy, creamy. No need for dessert after a meal. Seriously.

kitchen - iogo

c) This package of lentils  (from Trader Joe’s) which is conveniently PREPARED for you is nothing but brilliant. I chopped up some orange pepper, some onion and then sprinkled some feta on top of it. A perfect side dish with some salmon. Don’t you think? ps huge thanks to my cousin for introducing me to this product.

kitchen - lentil

d) Pringles are also hanging out in my kitchen. They have a clever campaign going on at the moment: To Dip or Not to Dip. Plus the NEW Pringles are now made of hearty corn, instead of potato and the thicker cut tortilla chip makes it easier than ever to dive into a bowl of your favorite dip. Follow the discussion re: To Dip or Not to Dip on facebook or Twitter #PringlesDipBate

pringles

What’s hanging out in your kitchen? Do share…..

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Oct
21

Toronto is pretty lucky to have a Filipino restaurant like Lamesa…right on Queen St. W! Not only do I love the location but I simply adore eating at a restaurant that serves food that I could never (ever) make at home.

lamesa -out

The “Hand to Mouth” dinner was Unique with a capital “U”.  Our meal featured – no cutlery and no tablecloth but PLENTY of food that was beyond flavourful.

The meal consisted of Sauces (4 different types), Salads, Proteins (5 different types) and Sides (4 different types). Here’s a photo that demonstrates how the sauces appeared on our table. For a complete list of what was served, please click here.

lamesa - sauces1

Each dish came out (one by one) till the table was FULL. I patiently waited thru this process as I simply wanted to dig in! It was worth the wait. Can you tell there was no shortage of food?

pretty

This type of meal was definitely a treat and I’m eager to bring friends and family here for several reasons:

-It’s FUN

-It’s a unique experience

-The food is uber flavourful.

The Hand to Mouth Dinner is now being served EVERY Sunday and costs $40 per person. For reservations please email info@lamesafilipinokitchen.com. PS Vegetarian options are available.

For more information:

Lamesa Filipino Kitchen 669 Queen St. W, Toronto 647 346 2377

Facebook: www.lamesafilipinokitchen.com

Twitter: @LamesaTO

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

 

 

 

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Oct
19

Healthy Meals Kids Love!


If you asked me “what is my definition of a healthy meal?”…this is how I would reply.

The meal would consist of fruit, veggies, protein and some carbs.  Now how would I ensure that these meals would appeal to kids?  Let’s see…here’s a few TIPS.

a) Make sure that the meal is colourful.  It’s funny how presentation can go  along way!

meals - fish, potatoes,pea

b) A deconstructed salad (see photo) is a great way for your kids to choose what THEY like. This is perfect for those families where one child doesn’t like tomatoes and the other child does. (you know exactly what I mean..LOL).

healthy - deconstructed

c) Have fun with your food! Again – presentation goes a long way. This is a photo of a homemade healthy pancake with just a touch of Nutella.

healthy - pancakes

d) Invest in a Spiralizer and turn boring vegetables into FUN vegetables. Trust me – this works!!

healhty-spiralizer

To ensure that I stay within my budget, I always shop at No Frills so I can get the best prices and take advantage of using my PC Points.  I signed up for the PC app when I attended the launch of the PC Plus program back in May 2013. I’ve been a faithful user ever since. In fact I’m pretty sure I was downloading the app while Kathy Buckworth was talking about it at the launch. (yup – I’m an eager beaver when it comes to saving $$)

There is no doubt that making healthy meals is important to me and it’s also important to me that I spend my money wisely. No question that the PC Plus program and No Frills helps me obtain my goals.

For more information:

No Frills: www.pcplus.ca

Instagram: #PCPlus

Disclosure: I am blogger participating in a program with No Frills. I have received compensation for this blog post however all opinions are my own.

 

 

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Oct
17

Delicious Food Show 2014


The Delicious Food Show is a  3 day food-lovers event designed to engage the consumer with FOOD and entertainment. There’s over 200 exhibitors and 50 live cooking demonstrations and classes.

I had the chance this morning to listen to these 3 celebrity chefs in an informal question and answer! #lucky me.

Top Left: Chuck Hughes: Top Right: Tyler Florence and Bottom Left: Mario Batali. #squeal

dfs - chefs

Then I wondered thru the show in search of new products to share with you! Here’s a few products that caught my attention.

1. nuPasta: I use to enjoy a pasta that was low in carbs and then stopped buying it as I couldn’t take the smell. This NEW (local) product doesn’t have that same strong odour. YAY. Not to mention it’s Gluten Free, Kosher, Sugar Free, Sodium Free, doesn’t need refrigeration and has no preservatives.  Plus it can be ready in ONE minute.

dfs - nupasta

b) I also adored these custom plates  by Jacqueline Poirier.   Wouldn’t these plates just brighten up a kitchen?

dfs - platesc) Strauss Water:   The perfect multi purpose water system as it’s hooked up to your main water line and delivers an unlimited supply of purified, chilled or BOILING or room temperature water. Bye Bye Kettle, Bye Bye Water Bottles!

dfs - strauss

 

The Delicious Food Show takes place Oct 17 – 17 at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto.

SHOW DATES & HOURS

Friday, October 17th, 2014: 10 AM – 9 PM

Saturday, October 18th, 2014: 10AM – 8PM
Sunday, October 19th, 2014: 10AM – 6PM

For more information about the schedule or to buy online tickets, please click here!

Have a great weekend that is full of delicious-ness!

 

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