I’m taking a one post break from my travels to write about my evening at the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo this past weekend. If you’re a lover of wine and live in the Toronto, this is a fantastic way to discover lesser known wines and try some without having to buy an entire bottle! The concept is great, you purchase a general admission ticket and then purchase ticket stubs that represent a dollar per stub and basically represent your currency to purchase samples. Most wines/spirits cost 1-3 tickets, beers are usually 1-2 tickets and food was around 4-5 tickets. This year, the expo seemed to focus more on food choices with some of the best food vendors I’ve remembered in recent past. There were many local restaurants with booths like Brassaii, Ki, Guu, Big Daddy’s and Franks to name a few. My favourite, the Frankie Goes To Buffalo hot dog from Franks. Panko crusted and deep fried with buffalo wing sauce – it was delish (although the dogs from Iceland still top my list!). Best drink of the night, the Tag Royale….perfectly balanced between sweet and tart, a really easy cocktail to drink! Already looking forward to next year’s expo!
Category Archives: Adventures around T.O.
So by now I know you all know how long my restaurant list is and frankly, more restaurants get added to list than crossed off – not enough time and money, lol. Well, I can now cross one off the list! I discovered Gusto 101 passing by on one of my walks – it was boarded up with an opening soon sign. Located smack dab in the middle of the King West “club scene”, it has a fantastic rooftop patio and a very industrial interior with a casual hip vibe. The food is just as good! You can guess by the name, the cuisine is Italian. Our server, which by the way looked just like Bob Harper (yes, the good looking trainer from the Biggest Loser!), suggested the Fettuccine ai Funghi and it did not disappoint! By far, the best dish of the night, must be the truffle paste in the dish. I ordered the Polpette pizza – I’m such a sucker for pizza! It hit the spot but I must admit, the pasta was much better. All in all, I would definitely come back – the atmosphere was great, it was lively with groups of diners catching up, chatting away and enjoying the night……just like I was, it can’t get better than that!
I love Indian Weddings! The dancing, the music, the joyous celebration and best of all – the food! To be honest, I’m not a big fan of buffets but when it comes to Las Vegas or Indian weddings, I’m all about buffets! When you first arrive at reception, you’re greeted right away with an appetizer buffet. The one staple at all Indian appetizer buffets – pakoras!!! My favourite! Its like an indian fritter made of fish or vegetables. On this night for R & S’s reception, it happened to be fish. Then later in the night (around 10pm), dinner is served! My second favourite dish – butter chicken…..but there was no butter chicken tonight, instead there was chili chicken. It was “hakka” style. Pretty delish And it could not be dinner without some sort of paneer dish – cheese used in indian cuisine. Yum – indian weddings rarely disappoint! Waiting for my next invitation
This past week I turned another year older and although I don’t like to draw attention to my birthday, my family and friends made sure it was remembered Here’s a snippet of my celebratory week!
I may have mentioned it a few times already but I love Top Chef! Yes, the television show – Top Chef, Top Chef Masters and Top Chef Canada! So you can imagine how excited I was to have finally dined at Richmond Station, Carl Heinrich’s restaurant (winner of Top Chef Canada Season 2)! We were seated on the upper level by the open kitchen window with sightlines right into the kitchen and the Chef! We started the meal with a cocktail and a couple of appetizers. The corn and scallop pakoras were delish! But the killer dish of the night was the Richmond Burger! This burger was one of the best ones I’ve had – stuffed with braised short-rib, grilled to a medium rare (nice and pink!) served with the usual veggies and topped with a milk bun, like a brioche. It was so moist and satisfying, my mouth is drooling right now! The desserts were great as well….we all ordered a different dessert and because the server made an error on one of our desserts, we got another one on the house, so we were able to try all of them! The desserts were light but still just as sweet – they all had common components: ice cream, crumble, some sort of sponge and mousse/foam. Just yummy! I’ll definitely be going back for round 2!
Ok, I know I’ve been a delinquent lately with my posts so I need to catch up. Last weekend’s weather was perfect for fruit picking and my friend I was really itching to get out there to the farms and taste the freshness of Ontario grown fruit. We headed to Andrew’s Scenic Acres, about a 40 minute drive (without traffic) west of Toronto. Since it was the end of July and way past strawberry season, we went blueberry and raspberry picking! This was my first experience picking blueberries and raspberries and I’m going to say, I much rather pick blueberries! The fruit grows in clusters and is much better on the back Although raspberries grow on larger bushes, they grow underneath large leaves and grow much more sparse so you’re having to bend and search underneath for the delicate red treasures. At the end of the day, it was all worth it! Nothing tastes better than fresh produce from local farms! Can’t wait for apple season!!!
Brunch is one of my favourite meals – what’s not to love, breakfast (my favourite meal) but just later in the day! And it isn’t taboo to have a drink with the meal that early in the day So, when my friend M suggested brunch on the weekend, I couldn’t resist. After doing some research, I recommended Farmhouse Tavern – it was on all the latest “Best Brunch Places in Toronto” lists. Located in an up and coming neighborhood called the Junction, the restaurant sits on a busy corner with lots of vehicle traffic. It was gorgeous outside so we decided to sit on the patio. With the menu listed on a chalkboard, I chose a dish called Mother and Child Reunion. It takes a minute but I eventually got the pun – duck prosciutto (the mother) paired with deep fried, panko crusted poached duck eggs (the child)! The best part was scooping up the runny yolks from the poached eggs with crusty bread – delish! Just as the name suggests, expect a rustic vibe, country dishes and very simple plates – but the food speaks for itself!
A coffee house is the perfect place to meet with friends to plan a vacation trip to Europe! There’s a number of them around the city and the popularity of independent coffee houses has completely fuelled my coffee addiction! On a Sunday morning I, S and myself decided to meet at Lit Espresso Bar – an espresso house located in the Roncesvalles area of Toronto. A neighborhood joint, the espresso bar was busy with locals enjoying their morning coffee and a line-up 6 people deep that never let up. Although the espresso and coffee should be the star of any coffee house (Pig Iron Coffee supplies Lit), the pastries need to be up to par and offer something a bit different than the regular Tim Horton’s. Only problem is, you need to go early to get the best selection – they had the most scone selection I’ve seen in awhile! So I ordered the double dark chocolate scone, a chocolate scone with large chunks of bittersweet chocolate topped with crunchy sugar crystals, it was decadent and delicious standing up to the strong iced latte! I would definitely come back!
My good friend H just came back from a two week holiday in Belgium and France. While in Europe, she posted all of her food adventures – her dinner at a 3 Michelin star restaurant, visiting chocolate shops, eating pastries and mounds of nougat! So when she came back home, she hosted a dinner party to share all the goodies she brought back from her trip! Check them out – I can’t wait for my trip in September!
Since David Chang rolled into town and opened up his first Momofuku restaurant in Toronto, you know I’ve been wanting to experience his food. Back in December 2012, I was able to visit Momofuku Milkbar in NYC and a couple of months ago, Momofuku participated in the Festival of Chefs at the Cheese Boutique so I’m not a complete stranger to the world of Momofuku. However, when a good friend of mine, J, decided to celebrate her birthday at Momofuku’s Nikai restaurant well, I couldn’t help but get excited – another resto gets checked off my bucket list Walking into a busy first floor noodle house, I walked up the stairs (Nikai means 2nd floor in Japanese) towards the bar. A high long table was set and while mingling, I ordered my first drink – a gin based cocktail called French Open (I’m told the cocktails are amazing here) – and they delivered! After catching up with friends, the 8 course meal started. They came out family style, one right after the other, placed across the table for all of us to share. Each dish was delicious and flavourful but if you ask me what the best dish was: the corn salad with nori and scallions was my absolute favourite! Something about the roasted shredded nori stacked on top of the corn gave it such a unique flavour – it was so refreshing and the perfect dish for summer! I need to go back and try the noodles next time! Enjoy the course progression!