Posts Tagged ‘menu’


I know..I know….I’ve posted three restaurant reviews in a row. I promise next week there will be NO restaurant reviews K? However bear with me for my last restaurant review K? I attended a media event for Portland Variety and they really nailed it with some spectacular presentation and flavours. Not to mention…they serve coffee that is WICKED.

Ok let’s start from the beginning.

The front of the restaurant serves breakfast (coffee and pastries etc) …take out lunches (sandwiches etc) and after work there is this INCREDIBLE spread of  tapas.  I mean INCREDIBLE…with incredible prices too. There’s also dinner!!

portland - spread

Now let’s talk about the food that is served during dinner. Top Left:  Chickpeas in a creamy sauce, Top Right: Smoked Octopus, Iberico Chorizo, Smoked Tomato, Olive Oil, Lemon. Bottom Left: Crispy Pork Rinds that I wrapped up and put in my purse (no joke).  Bottom RIght: House Made Ricotta with Honey, Hazelnuts and Pear

I’m in love with all the sauces. I could marry them!

portland - food

I didn’t taste any of these cocktails but I sure did want to take a photo of them. One drink was prettier than the next drink!

portland - drinks

Naturally I didn’t have any battery left to take photos of the desserts but I beg of you to try to beignets. (I haven’t begged before but seriously – Im begging you this time).

As for the coffee. It’s not to be missed. Milton (one of the co-owners) made me a spectacular Americano. It was so good that I had one at the beginning of my meal and one at the end of my meal. This is NOT something I do on a usual basis – especially at night.

portland - coffee

ps..Notice how gorgeous the machine is? Well, there’s only 2 in Toronto and he spent a week in Delaware learning how use it!

Congratulations to Portland Variety. I can’t wait to return.

For more information:

Porland Variety  587 King St. W, Toronto (416) 368 5151

Twitter: @PortlandVariety

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I swear it’s been 15 years since I’ve visited a Mandarin Restaurant. So when I received an invitation to check out their “Celebrate Canada Menu” …I quickly replied that indeed I was interested.  Not only did I want to visit their buffet again but I was also interested  in helping them celebrate their 35th Anniversary!

mandarin - canada

I chose a location that’s close to where I live and decided that it would be IDEAL to bike over there to help eliminate some of the calories I was about to consume. What a smart move!!

mandarin - bike

The buffet is much larger than I remember and there truly is something for EVERYONE. I can see why this is a popular restaurant for families with kids and for large group celebrations. I bet it would be hard to find a 10 year old that DIDN’T like going to celebrate their birthday at the Mandarin!

The service was efficient and we both noticed how polite our waiters were (shout out to Richard and Tom).

mandarin - 1

Round #2 to the buffet look liked this.

mandarin 2

Round #3 to the buffet looked like this.

mandarin 3

I swear I ate everything except for one vegetable side dish that didn’t agree with my palate.

Believe it or not I made room for dessert. I could not resist my favorite desserts…a nanaimo bar, creme brulee and a rocky road square.

mandarin - dessert

Needless to say we left the Mandarin and happily got on our bikes in an effort to burn some of the calories we consumed.!!

For more information:

Mandarin Restaurant – to find a location near you please click here.

Twitter: @ Eatmandarin



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The Good Press opened this week in the heart of Yorkville. I will tell you about their concept in a sec,  but first I want to tell you a GOOD story.

I was chatting with the owner  (Andew) about the different types of “cold press” machines and as he was talking…I was thinking “I know this guy”. When he mentioned the words ” my other location” – I asked him “what other location?” and he said “Sunshine Wholesome Market”. I then said “OMG – I met you 7 years ago when I was a food sales rep with Big Ups”.

good - andrew

What a small world!!

OK now back to the opening of the Good Press!! Here’s more info….

The Good Press offers a range of healthy options featuring: • Antioxidant-rich açai bowls • 8 oz. and 16 oz. selection of cold press juices • House-made nut milks

• Smoothies • Energy-boosting shots • Wraps and salads • Entry-level cleanses.

When I snapped a photo of these vegetables, I discovered from their friendly staff that these veggies are ORGANIC.

good - vegetable

They also sell juice (in glass bottles) that have the cutest names with interesting flavour combinations. Ya gotta love it …i.e Pear Me the Details.

good - lineup

The menu is quite extensive – and takes up a good chunk of their wall. There is truly something for everyone!

good - menu

Hope you get a chance to visit them one day soon!

For more information:

The Good Press 87 Yorkville Avenue Toronto

Hours: Monday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Twitter and Instagram: @goodpressjuice


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After reading a review of Bar Buca by Amy Pataki in the Toronto Star, I knew that I wanted to visit this restaurant STAT. She gave it 3.5 stars out of 4, so I put Bar Buca on my radar and off I went for lunch. I was a bit nervous that it  was going to be busy so I was cautious and arrived at 11:30 am. It was a good move.

The space has a few shared tables and a bar as well.(capacity 38).  I like watching the ‘action” so I plunked myself onto one of those high backed chairs!

barbuca - bar

The menu is divided into small bites, cold plates, hot plates, fried, stuffed focaccia and skewers. Love it. It’s perfect for sharing ….and priced between $3 and $14.


So what did I order? Let’s put it to you this way – TASTY STUFF.

Specifically: POLIPO – baby octopus, soppressata, crema de palate. What you really need to know is that it was perfectly prepared.

carbon - octopus

We also ordered: CARCIOFI CRUDI – raw artichokes, buffalo yogurt, bottarga, senape. In other words: More Perfection

carbon - artichokes

Based on a few reviews, I knew I would be ordering the PORCHETTA SANDWICH (roast tuscan pork, mascarapone, apple mostarda, agliata). What you really need to know about this sandwich is that it is MASSIVE. So glad we split it!

carbon - sandwich

Last but not least – we ordered the BRUSCHETTA which is described as: duck yolk, beech mushroom and truffle. Again – DELICIOUS.

carbon - appetizerConclusion: This restaurant offers some well executed dishes in a cool atmosphere with some decent service. Not to mention that the menu appeals to me as it’s certainly not an ordinary menu. Not even close.  I know I will be returning one morning with my macbook… to try their coffee and pastries. I have no doubt that I’m going to be impressed. Most likely I will be making it for dinner one day too. Clearly I’ve become a quick fan of Rob Gentiles’ style. (who is the Executive Chef).

For more information:

Bar Buca 75 Portland St. Toronto 416 599 2822

Hours: Monday to Friday 7 am to 1 am, Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 2 am.

Twitter; @barbucatoronto

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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!

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Many years ago, I was a special events coordinator and part of my job description was hiring caterers and working with them to develop menus for cocktail parties, dinners and events. I truly loved this part of my job. I’m no longer in that industry but I still enjoy checking out new caterers, learning about food trends etc. Therefore, I was pretty excited to attend the launch of O&B Caters. 
Yes – that’s right – O&B – as in Oliver & Bonacini. After 25 years in the restaurant business, they have finally decided to launch a catering division!

The dishes that I sampled at the launch were superb and I have no doubt that guests at any function would also be impressed.

Seriously – how gorgeous is this presentation?.  This dish had it all – delicate flavours, presentation and textures. See the three “brown/white” chunks – well that’s QUINOA BRITTLE! I don’t know about you but that’s certainly not something that I usually see  in a salad, when I go to a catered event. O&B Caters certainly take things an extra step!!

o&B - dish 2

And there’s more gorgeous presentation…

O&b - Dish3I simply adore presentation. Sorry – if I’m repeating myself. But it’s so true.

o&b- dish1But there’s more to catering than just a good menu and amazing presentation. There’s a whole team behind a caterer that also adds to the success to an event – i.e professional staff, decor, and a creative team. No doubt about it – O&B Caters delivers on every level.

For more information:

O&B Caters: 416.364.1211

Twitter: O&B_Caterers


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I received an invite to attend a media dinner at Frida Restaurant that would feature Mexican Avocados  I replied “count me in”….right away!! I’ve always had a fondness for Avocados seeing as they are SO SO good for you. Not to mention I love the colour of an avocado once you slice it open.  (I’m being honest!!). Am I shallow? Don’t answer that!!

The night started off with a photo of @missavacado and I. Not the best picture of me, but @missavacado is looking just fine!! If you don’t follow her on twitter…well you should!!

avocado - photo

Then I sat down to find out that Frida Restaurant did a special tasting menu for this event. Impressive.

avocado -menu

Here’s a lovely collage of some of the items I devoured from this menu. My favorite dish was the Ceviche. It was just outstanding.

avocado - collage

If you are looking for recipes that use Mexican Avocados…..please visit I have no doubt that you will find a recipe that will appeal to you.   Not to mention if you are looking for an authentic Mexican restaurant in Toronto then you should head to Frida Restaurant at 999 Eglinton Ave. West.!!

Cheers to Mexican Avocados!!



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For 20 years, I lived at Bathurst/Sheppard. Therefore, the Milestones at Empress Walk was my “go-to” restaurant for a drink. Never ate there though….till last week when I was
invited to a six course tasting menu.

This menu featured culinary creations showcasing twists off Milestones’ upcoming Summer Chef’s Menu, paired with a selection of Constellation Brands finest wines. I have to say, I felt pretty honoured to be invited to this event. It was not only a “tasty” event but educational too as Executive Chef Jason Rosso and the Milestones Management Team were also present and spoke to us about the new initiatives at Milestones.

I have no doubt that these items will be a hit with customers this summer!

1. Crispy Quinoa Shrimp in a chimmi churri ailoi served with a vegetable slaw: This dish was my favorite. It had everything going for it and I KNOW I will be ordering this on my next visit

milestones - quinoa

2. Panko Blue Crab Cakes with Fennel and Arugula Slaw and Chipotle Aiola. Again, another great dish!

milestones - crab3. Spicy Thai Basil Stir Fry – rice noodles, shrimp and coconut milk. Something tells me that this is going to be a popular dish.

milestones - pad thai4. Surf and Turf: A duo of grilled flat iron steak and lobster fricasseemilestones - surf

When coffee was served at the end of the meal, I turned to the Director of Operations for Eastern Canada, Todd  Attridge, who was sitting next to me and said: “Wow – this is really good coffee” and he replied “We just partnered with Starbucks!”. I think this is great fit for both brands and delighted to have  my coffee of choice (Starbucks)  after a fantastic meal.

Milestones has it all – cocktails, wine, great food, and great coffee too!

Congratulations to the whole team at Milestones for such an amazing evening.

PS Loved the fact that the COO @FindlayMark was tweeting throughout the meal. #impressed.

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I received an invitation to an event called “Taste of Iceland” that was going to be held at the Drake Hotel, from March 21-24, 2013. I have to admit, that it was the cocktail listed on the invitation that really caught my attention. Specifically, I am talking about the “Sons and Daughters” cocktail that was going to be served that night!

iceland - drink

What’s in the drink? Let’s see …some pretty interesting ingredients! Reyka vodka, aquavit, lemon juice and caraway seeds, muddled thyme, and sea butckthorn syrup.

Not your average cocktail. I RSVP’ed very quickly – “Please add my name to your guest list”.

Not only did I enjoy my cocktail (or two), but I enjoyed multiple servings of EVERYTHING.

The evening started off with:

-Hardifskur  w/Icelandic butter (I would travel to Iceland just for this butter!!)

-Grilled Icelandic Langoustine, with garlic, butter and herbs

-Atlantic Shrimp and Lumpfish Caviar, with pickled vegetables and citrus vinaigrette

-Deep Fried Crispy Balls of Cod Potatoes with “Sol” mayonaisse

-Pickled Herring on sweet rye bread, curry dressing, green apples and spring onions (I had 3 of these).

iceland - 2

icleand - photo 1

The main courses included:

-Naturally Raised Icelandic Salmon – cold smoked salmon with grainy mustard dressing, sour cream dill oil, and Icelandic rye bread

-Free Range Iclelandic Lamb – seared Icelandic lamb filet with glazed root vegetables, juniper berry infused lamb jus and wild Icelandic blueberry herb dust.

iceland - salmon

I inhaled EVERYTHING. My table mate, Adam Mazerall from View the Vibe actually said ” he never saw someone devour something so quickly.

Needless to say, I barely had breakfast or lunch the following day!!

For those who can’t hop on a plane tomorrow and head to Iceland – please head to the Drake Hotel from March 21-24 to experience the food and the culture of Iceland. In the meantime, I think I’m going to add Iceland to my bucket list of places I want to visit!!

Drake Hotel 1150 Queen St. West Toronto 416 531 5042

Taste of Iceland: on Twitter: @IcelandNaturally

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The first nite of Chanuka was Saturday Dec 8. and just like every year…..I would be making Potato Latkes. However  this year I decided to make potato latkes using a different recipe (it was time to change things up a bit).

I also decided to throw a Chanuka party for a few friends for the first time in many many years.

This is what was on the table:

Chanuka Party!!

  • cinnamon walnuts (from Ottawa that my mom brought in for me)
  • lemon almonds (see above)
  • smoked almonds (see above)
  • phyllo cups stuffed with goat cheese and roasted garlic and olive
  • roasted chestnuts
  • chips
  • blackberries/raspberries
  • mandarin oranges (the pretty ones with the leaves)
  • and booze of course: Luksusowa vodka! Perfect with potato latkes seeing as it’s a potato based vodka!!
  • homemade apple sauce and sour cream
  • Chex (from Buffalo – of course)

As for the latkes, here’s my not so perfect recipe: I say this as I went to a friends chanuka party and tasted her latkes and there was a world of difference. Hers were so much lighter! I asked her what recipe she used as she said “potatoes, eggs, a bit of flour and a LOT of oil”.


10 cups of grated potatoes (oh how I love my Cuisinart)

4 eggs

1/2 cup matza meal

salt and pepper


1. Grate the potatoes (I didn’t bother peeling them)

10 cups took 2 minutes to grate!! Love it.


an important step

3. Wrap the grated potatoes in a dish towel and squeeze, squeeze and squeeze some more!!

4. Add eggs, and matza meal. Stir.

5. Heat oil in a frying pan. Form latkes in your hand and then place carefully into the frying pan. Fry till golden on both sides


10 cups made 33 nice sized latkes

Plus I made my own applesauce. This is a no brainer – 3 fuji apples (not peeled, chopped), cinnamon, a bit of water. Place all ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat and bingo you have applesauce. I threw it into the Cuisinart to get it to the right consistency.



Happy Chanuka!!



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