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Category Archives: Adventures around T.O.

Cluny Boulangerie

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I know that not too long ago, I dined at my February’s Restaurant of the Month, Cluny Bistro.  The decor, atmosphere and food were fabulous completely reminding me of my trips to Paris.  But with each visit I had every intention of stopping by the boulangerie located right when you walk into the restaurant and every time, it had closed by the time my meal was finished.  So when my good friend G came into town for a visit, we headed over to our friend H’s place for a reunion dinner and my job was to bring dessert so this was my chance to finally hit up Cluny Boulangerie – to be honest, I volunteered to bring dessert as an excuse for me to try the pastry shop :)  And I will definitely be going back to try some more.  The individual desserts were delicious and really unique.  The pistachio dessert especially, stood out.  The folks at Cluny recommended it and I’m glad I listened.  There were different textures and tastes, it was just yummy!  And a special nod has to go to their croissants.  With so many thin, crispy layers of pastry and classic flavours with a twist like chocolate and rum or rosewater and almond….they were both sweet and buttery.  Perfect for the morning or an afternoon pick me up!

Beautiful packaging of Cluny's pastries.

Beautiful packaging of Cluny’s pastries.

Fig with berry shot cake.

Fig with berry shot cake.

Cluny's decadent chocolate dessert.

Cluny’s decadent chocolate dessert.

Passionfruit tart.

Passionfruit tart.

Pistachio chocolate dessert.

Pistachio chocolate dessert.

Rum, chocolate almond croissant.

Rum, chocolate almond croissant.

The many layers inside Cluny's rum and chocolate almond croissant.

The many layers inside Cluny’s rum and chocolate almond croissant.

Rosewater, almond croissant.

Rosewater, almond croissant.

Inside the rosewater, almond croissant.

Inside the rosewater, almond croissant.

Casa Imperial Fine Chinese Cuisine

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On the outside, it looks like a large two storey home but when you walk in, the interior is grand.  The rooms have been kept intact with dark wood trim and chandeliers hanging from the ceilings – I almost felt like I should have been here having afternoon tea instead of dim sum.  We were seated in the downstairs dining room and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from Casa Imperial but to my surprise the dim sum was pretty delicious.  Below are some of the dishes we ordered, most are common in dim sum but my favourites are the siu mai, sticky rice in lotus leaf and beef steamed rice roll.  You’ll notice that they do siu mai a bit differently here, made with the typical shrimp and pork except here they’ve topped it with conpoy – dried scallops.  Definitely worth the drive up!

Casa Imperial Fine Chinese Cuisine.

Casa Imperial Fine Chinese Cuisine.

The plaque hanging in the entrance to the restaurant claiming it a Scarborough Historic Site.

The plaque hanging in the entrance to the restaurant claiming it a Scarborough Historic Site.

Inside Casa Imperial.

Inside Casa Imperial.

Pan fried turnip patties.

Pan fried turnip patties.

Spare ribs.

Spare ribs.

Hong Kong style crispy noodles with seafood and vegetables.

Hong Kong style crispy noodles with seafood and vegetables.

Chicken feet with gluten in Chu-Hou sauce.

Chicken feet with gluten in Chu-Hou sauce.

Pan fried seafood pancake with green onion.

Pan fried seafood pancake with green onion.

Crispy taro dumpling.

Crispy taro dumpling.

Siu Mai - shrimp and pork dumpling with Conpoy.

Siu Mai – shrimp and pork dumpling with Conpoy.

Har gow jumbo shrimp dumplings.

Har gow jumbo shrimp dumplings.

Sticky rice with conpoy and chicken in lotus leaf parcel.

Sticky rice with conpoy and chicken in lotus leaf parcel.

Minced beef with coriander steamed rice noodle roll.

Minced beef with coriander steamed rice noodle roll.

Pizzeria Libretto

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If you’ve been reading my posts lately, you know that I’ve finally been tackling my restaurant list.  Pizzeria Libretto is another restaurant that I was able to cross off.  Now that they have opened an outpost in the financial district (literally 2 blocks away from my office), there was just no excuse to hold off any longer.  A few of my colleagues decided to go for dinner one night and it was busy, for the first and second seating.  I started the meal with a cocktail (can’t remember the name but I remember the sweet limoncello taste!) and burrata served atop lentils and pea shoots.  The it was time for the pizzas.  Classically made in the neopolitan way, my favourite was the white pizza of cremini mushroom, roasted garlic, buffalo mozzarella, gorgonzola, rosemary, thyme and pecorino.  It was delicious, with almost truffle-like flavour!  And if you eat your way through the entire pizza, they are sizeable pies, definitely order the panna cotta.  Now I know what you’re thinking, tiramisu right? But no, the panna cotta was surprisingly tasty – everyone knows tiramisu which is why I recommend the panna cotta.  I believe the accompaniment changes season to season and at this time, it was served with maple syrup and granola crumble.   Yum!

The most recent outpost of Pizzeria Libretto in the financial district.

The most recent outpost of Pizzeria Libretto in the financial district.

Inside Libretto.

Inside Libretto.

A burrata appetizer with lentils, pea shoots, croutons and vin cotto.

A burrata appetizer with lentils, pea shoots, croutons and vin cotto.

Starting the meal with cocktails.

Starting the meal with cocktails.

Cremini mushroom pizza with roasted garlic, buffalo mozzarella, gorgonzola, rosemary, thyme and pecorino.

Cremini mushroom pizza with roasted garlic, buffalo mozzarella, gorgonzola, rosemary, thyme and pecorino.

Grilled eggplant pizza with tomato, basil, chilli flakes and ricotta.

Grilled eggplant pizza with tomato, basil, chilli flakes and ricotta.

Special for the night, sausage pizza.

Special for the night, sausage pizza.

The Libretto tiramisu.

The Libretto tiramisu.

Maple panna cotta.

Maple panna cotta.

Chocolate amaretto budino.

Chocolate amaretto budino.

Pai

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Lately I’ve been craving Thai food like crazy, so much so that I’ve even gone as far as trying to make pad thai at home and frankly, it never does taste as good as it does when someone else makes it.  And Pai is my current spot to get awesome pad thai.  The interior is uniquely decorated, a cross between kitsch and tiki.  I’m going to be honest, I’ve gone to Pai three times in the past six weeks and each time I go, I start with the Thai iced tea.  If you love condensed milk, you’re gonna love the iced tea.  I have yet to try the thai bucket but its next.  Now that you know the pad thai is amazing, the squash fritters are delicious dipped in the tamarind sauce.  However, the surprise dish of the night was the pad gra prow which we were told is authentic thai street food.  Stir fried ground beef with basil and oyster sauce, served on jasmine rice, topped with a fried egg and nam plik nam pla sauce (fish sauce, garlic, chili and lime) – delicious!  If you love thai food, you need to come to Pai.

The entrance to Pai located on Duncan St. in Toronto.

The entrance to Pai located on Duncan St. in Toronto.

Inside Pai.

Inside Pai.

Famous thai iced tea.

Famous thai iced tea.

Grabong - deep fried battered squash fritters with garlic tamarind sauce.

Grabong – deep fried battered squash fritters with garlic tamarind sauce.

Thailand's specialty Pad Gra Prow.

Thailand’s specialty Pad Gra Prow.

Gaeng Masaman with braised beef and jasmine rice.

Gaeng Masaman with braised beef and jasmine rice.

Chef Nuit Pad Thai.

Chef Nuit Pad Thai.

Ruby Watchco

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My restaurant list keeps getting larger and larger but I’ve finally knocked one of my oldest entries off the list recently, Ruby Watchco.  I’ve been a fan of Lynn Crawford ever since my meal at Truffles at the Four Seasons Toronto so you can just imagine how excited I was for my dinner.  Having reservations on a Tuesday night, there were plenty of tables available.  The menu changes daily and is served family style which means there is only one four-course meal prepared and served – no options.  That night, the meal started with a charred romaine salad and a plate of cheddar and chive biscuits with homemade butter.  The main dish and sides quickly came after: porchetta, BBQ ribs, heirloom carrots, sweet potatoes and charred broccoli.  The porchetta and ribs were both tender and amazingly delicious, especially the ribs – it was fall of the bone tender.  But the side dish of heirloom carrots with herb dressing and pecans was the best of the night.  The herb dressing was creamy and perfect with the crunch of the pecans and sweetness of the carrots.  Next came the cheese course and was finished with an apple rhubarb crumble (although they called it a pudding).  It was a fantastic tasting dinner, no disappointments here.  And if you’re curious about the name (I was so I asked), its named after an old watch company in India and somehow the signage made it to Canada, they found the sign and liked the name.

The restaurant front of Ruby Watchco.

The restaurant front of Ruby Watchco.

The Ruby Watch Co sign.

The Ruby Watch Co sign.

Inside Ruby Watchco.

Inside Ruby Watchco.

A cocktail to start the night, the Ruby Sour.

A cocktail to start the night, the Ruby Sour.

A biscuit and butter to start.

A biscuit and homemade butter to start.

Charred romaine salad with frisee, radishes, marinated olives, fennel, dill, cucumber and pickled lemon dressing.

Charred romaine salad with frisee, radishes, marinated olives, fennel, dill, cucumber and pickled lemon dressing.

Pork ribs with maple BBQ sauce.

Pork ribs with maple BBQ sauce.

Slow roasted porchetta with orange fennel sauce.

Slow roasted porchetta with orange fennel sauce.

Charred broccoli with smokey mustard dressing.

Charred broccoli with smokey mustard dressing.

Grilled heirloom carrots with herb dressing and pecans.

Grilled heirloom carrots with herb dressing and pecans.

Sweet potatoes with feta and harissa.

Sweet potatoes with feta and harissa.

Lankaaster by Glengarry fine cheese with red beets, spicy honey and pea shoots.

Lankaaster by Glengarry fine cheese with red beets, spicy honey and pea shoots.

Warner's Farms apply & rhubarb pudding with almond oat crust.

Warner’s Farms apply & rhubarb pudding with almond oat crust.

&Co

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This past Friday, I was invited (this is a sponsored post) to come and try the new recently launched menu at &Co, a resto bar located in Mississauga an area 30 minutes west of Toronto.  I’m going to be honest, when I was first asked to attend I had never heard of &Co so I did a bit of online research and although the comments I’ve read were good, I haven’t been a fan of these types of establishments that bring food and nightlife together (think Brant House).  To my surprise, the food and even better, the service exceeded my expectations!  Y, our server, was great at recommending cocktails and dishes.  My favourite dish of the night was the Ontario Vegetable Curry.  Typically curries are made with cut veggies and served with rice, what I loved about this was the vegetables were kept whole, like they weren’t cooked with the curry.  It was sitting atop a bed of israeli couscous with thai green curry poured over – it was delicious!  The idea or theme for the menu is “fine familiar”, taking familiar dishes and elevating it with flavours that aren’t expected.  This is definitely evident in the crispy thai calamari, the usual breaded and deep fried squid but then served sitting in a pool of green thai curry; or the salmon wellington, instead of beef and beef jus its made with salmon served with a “teriyaki” jus.  We finished the meal with a plate of beignets to be dipped into a chocolate espresso sauce.  All in all, it was a successful revamp of the menu and a great night, and I found out that they are renovating their rooftop patio so I’ll definitely be back in the summer.

The entrance to &Company.

The entrance to &Company Resto Bar.

Inside &Co - view of the restaurant and bottle service area.

Inside &Co – view of the restaurant and bottle service area.

Starting the night with cocktails - the &Co Lychee Martini and Manhattan.

Starting the night with cocktails – the &Co Lychee Martini and Manhattan.

Appetizer 2 - Smoked Pork Nachos.

Appetizer 2 – Smoked Pork Nachos.

Appetizer 1 - Crispy Thai Calamari.

Appetizer 1 – Crispy Thai Calamari.

Main course 2 - Salmon Wellington.

Main course 2 – Salmon Wellington.

Main course 1 - Ontario Vegetable Curry.

Main course 1 – Ontario Vegetable Curry.

A closer look at the salmon baked inside the puffed pastry.

A closer look at the salmon baked inside the puffed pastry.

Dessert - Espresso Vanilla Beignets.

Dessert – Espresso Vanilla Beignets.

A closer look at the sizeable and fluffy beignets.

A closer look at the sizeable and fluffy beignets.

Wine Club: Pinot Noirs From France

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In December my friend H started a wine club.  We all sat together at one of her many dinner parties she loves to throw and brainstormed themes for each “club meeting” (aka an excuse for us to eat and drink wine).  Last weekend was our second wine club dinner and the theme was Pinot Noirs from France so we decided to do a wine & cheese.  I’m not a huge wine connoisseur and in fact, when I find a wine that I like, I typically stick to that wine and rarely try something else.  So this is a perfect way to challenge my taste buds.  I’m into Beaujolais which is a lighter red wine so you would think that I would love Pinots as well but I wasn’t crazy about these.  Of the four wines we tried, the Louis Jadot 2012 was the best.  It could be that we didn’t have food that accompanied well with pinot noirs, perhaps the cheese were too strong – I don’t know.  All I can say is these weren’t at all overwhelming but always great to catch up with great friends and company.  I can’t wait for our next wine club dinner party – sparkling wine & brunch, the perfect combination!

Wine #1 - Morey Saint-Denis 2012.

Wine #1 – Morey Saint-Denis 2012.

Wine #2 - Domaine de Hermitage de Nantoux 2011.

Wine #2 – Domaine de Hermitage de Nantoux 2011.

Wine #3 - Domaine Faiveley.

Wine #3 – Domaine Faiveley.

Wine #4 - Louis Jadot Bourgogne 2012.

Wine #4 – Louis Jadot Bourgogne 2012.

A platter of cheese from France to accompany our wines.

A platter of cheese from France to accompany our wines – including Port Salut, French Gouda and French Blue.

Super soft cheese made with truffle.

Super soft cheese made with truffle.

Warmed brie with sundried tomatoes, olive oil and garlic.

Warmed brie with sundried tomatoes, olive oil and garlic.

My full plate of cheese, baguette, crackers and fig preserves.

My full plate of cheese, baguette, crackers and fig preserves.

A classic French dessert of creme brulee to have on our France-themed dinner.

A classic French dessert of creme brulee to have on our France-themed dinner.

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