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Category Archives: Adventures around T.O.

Birthday Lunch at Momofuku Noodle Bar

For my birthday, one of my closest friends J took me to Momofuku Noodle Bar Toronto!  I was so excited because it has been on my list of restaurants since it opened….and I have to admit, I have huge crush on David Chang!!!  Although I’ve eaten at Nikai, which is located on the 2nd floor above the noodle bar, the menu is completely different.  The noodle bar has a simple menu of 5 to 6 appetizers, noodle dishes and snacks.  Famous for his steamed buns, we order the crispy chicken buns which was delicious!  So crunchy but light.  Then it was time for the classic Momofuku ramen.  And to be honest, I’ve had better.  Don’t get me wrong, it was good…..but it wasn’t the best I’ve had and I know what you’re going to say, “of course it isn’t, you’ve been to Japan”.  However, I’ve had better in Toronto, yes Toronto!  At Kinton – the broth just had so much more flavour.  But the most unique part of the meal had to be the soft serve!  And after months of drooling over instagram pics posted by Momofuku, I was finally able to try their soft serve.  Both the cereal milk and coffee flavour soft serves were good but what made it unique was the cornflake crunch – it was salty not sweet.  And combined with the a “not so sweet” soft serve, the meal didn’t have that typical sweet ending.  Nevertheless, had a great time catching up with J!

Noodle bar - dan dan mein

Dan Dan Mein – drier noodle dish with pork, dried scallop and peanut.

Noodle bar - chicken buns

Crispy Chicken Buns – with pickled pineapple, lettuce, bacon and chilli.

Noodle bar - ramen

Momofuku ramen – with pork belly, pork shoulder, fish cake, egg and seaweed.

Noodle bar - close up

A closer look at the classic Momofuku ramen bowl.

Noodle bar - soft serve

Soft serve – combination twist of cereal milk and coffee soft serve with cornflake crunch.

Birthday Celebrations at the CNE

I’m not one to really celebrate my own birthday – don’t get me wrong, I love celebrating birthdays just someone else’s. So its a good thing I have friends that share the same birth month. And having a birthday within the last 2 weeks of August means that I inevitably end up at the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition). I’m not into the carnival rides nor the games but I go for the food! And every year, the Ex comes up with some wacky food they decide to serve up. This year its the Thanksgiving waffle, Crowbar and Chocolate fried chicken along with all the other classic carnival food! I, unfortunately couldn’t eat everything so I had to abandon the chocolate fried chicken. However, when we arrived I made a beeline to Fran’s who was serving up the Thanksgiving waffle! After Christmas, Thanksgiving day is my 2nd favourite holiday and frankly, its because we get to have TURKEY! The waffle itself was made from stuffing and used as the bread portion of the sandwich. In between the waffle was a shredded turkey and cranberry sauce with gravy pored over the top. It tasted just like the holidays – ingenious and delicious!  Check out the rest of great eats I discovered!

CNE - Frans

Fran’s booth in the Food Building at the CNE serving up the Thanksgiving waffle!

CNE - Thanksgiving waffle

Fran’s Thanksgiving waffle!

CNE - close up of waffle

Close up of the waffle and yes, that’s broccoli you see seared right into the waffle.

CNE - crowbar

The Crowbar.

IMG_5522

The Crowbar was being served up by Hula Girl Espresso Boutique and came in a variety of chocolate bars: Mars bar, Kit Kat, Caramilk and Reese peanut butter cup.

IMG_5526

Can you guess which one I got? You can see the Kit Kat baked right in there. Reminds me of a pain au chocolat!

CNE - grounds

CNE grounds.

CNE - fireworks

Fireworks at the CNE.

CNE - Tiny Tom

Tiny Tom Donuts.

CNE - tiny tom truck

Watching the tiny donuts go down the conveyor belt.

CNE - donut

Tiny Tom donuts – two of my favourite flavours: classic powder sugar and cinnamon. A must-eat at the CNE.

 

   

Afternoon Tea: Langdon Hall

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As you can tell by the bare trees, this post has been a long time coming.  This past Easter, my friends (I, S and W) and I did a little road trip out to Cambridge, Ontario for afternoon tea at the historic Langdon Hall –  about an hour or so west of Toronto.  It was my first visit out to the the hotel and spa and what a beautiful property!  Afternoon tea was served is a small all-white room overlooking the back property.  There was at most 10 tables.  The selection of teas were limited (I order the Imperial Earl Grey) however, the savoury and sweet selections were delicious!  My favourite will always be the scones and devon cream but the strawberry macaroon and the charred asparagus and sweet tomato tart were both so tasty!  I also loved the fact that we each got our own three tier stand, no sharing involved – bonus!

Beautiful Langdon Hall.

Beautiful Langdon Hall.

Inside the tea room at Langdon Hall.

Inside the tea room at Langdon Hall.

White tea set at Langdon.

White tea set at Langdon.

Devon cream, honey butter and housemade preserves.

Devon cream, honey butter and housemade preserves.

Three-tiered stand full of yummy savoury and sweet things.

Three-tiered stand full of yummy savoury and sweet things.

Charred asparagus and sweet tomato tart on the left and quail egg, mustard aioli on smoked paprika crouton.

Charred asparagus and sweet tomato tart on the left and quail egg, mustard aioli on smoked paprika crouton.

Beautiful strawberry macaroon, butter tart, rhubarb opera cake and lavender sugar cookie.

Beautiful strawberry macaroon, butter tart, rhubarb opera cake and lavender sugar cookie.

Deliciou savoury plate: asparagus and tomato tart, quail egg on a crouton, chicken and apple gougier, and cucumber on pumpernickel.

Deliciou savoury plate: asparagus and tomato tart, quail egg on a crouton, chicken and apple gougier, and cucumber on pumpernickel.

 

Restaurant of the Month: El Catrin

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It has been quite some time since I’ve posted a restaurant worthy of the “Resto of the Month” title.    But El Catrin absolutely deserves this honour.  The usual “Finer Things in Life” Supper club members (me included) hit the relatively new restaurant for dinner one night – located in the hip and historical distillery district of Toronto.  Specializing in Mexican cuisine, it was a menu of small dishes that can be shares – with a variety of botanos (mini burritos), ceviches and tacos.  The guacamole was fantastic with lots of avocado chunks.  I usually rate a mexican restaurant by how good the guacamole is however, what made this meal was the restaurant’s signature dish “Gobernador”.  A delicious taco made with a flour tortilla filled with sauteed shrimp and lobster in chipotle mayo and black bean puree.  I can confidently say that it was probably the best taco I have eaten to date!!!  This is a must order!  (Don’t forget the margaritas!) In addition, the dessert was unique in that they offered, as part of their regular menu is an option to select 3 desserts on a single place served with salted caramel popcorn.  The churros and the hazelnut chocolate bar were to die for!  So decadent!  I will be back!

Freshly made guacamole.

Freshly made guacamole.

Pitcher of mango margarita - absolutely refreshing and delicious!

Pitcher of mango margarita – absolutely refreshing and delicious!

Gobernador - signature tacos with sauteed shrimp and lobster.

Gobernador – signature tacos with sauteed shrimp and lobster.

El matamoros - mahi mahi ceviche.

El matamoros – mahi mahi ceviche.

Fish tacos made with crispy fried haddock.

Fish tacos made with crispy fried haddock.

Gringa - flour quesadilla with grilled pork.

Gringa – flour quesadilla with grilled pork.

Carnitas - pulled pork and black bean.

Carnitas – pulled pork and black bean.

A close up of the Gringa.

A close up of the Gringa.

El Catrin - dessert

Barra de Chocolate Ahumado – double smoked spiced hazelnut chocolate bar.

ElCatrin - dessert 2

Churros and Tres Leches cake – delicious!

Inside El Catrin.

Inside El Catrin.

Patio and pathway leading up to El Catrin.

Patio and pathway leading up to El Catrin.

 

Field Trip: Strawberry Picking

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For the past 18 days now I’ve been on a “no dairy, no sugar (natural or artificial), no grain” challenge with my dragon boat team. So I thought to take advantage of the summer season, I wanted to go strawberry picking. I remember fondly, strawberry picking as a child with my mom – bringing home baskets of fresh berries for her homemade jams! Last weekend, along with my colleague S and her family we went to Forsythe Family Farms located north-east of Toronto. It was my first time at this farm and the strawberry field looked small but boy, was it full of ripe, juicy strawberries right for the picking. We then stopped by a local farmer’s market shop, Hy-Hope Farms, on the way back home that specialized in homemade pickles, salsas, jellies and preserves. I picked up a jar of Green Tomato Chow (like a relish) and a jar of Red Pepper Jelly (perfect on top of cheese and crackers)! With my fresh produce in hand (including fresh cut rhubarb from S’s garden), I decided to bake from scratch, a strawberry rhubarb crumble pie to take to a Canada Day BBQ! Everything just tastes so much better straight from the farm!

Forsythe Family Farms

Forsythe Family Farms

My pickings for the morning - 2 whole buckets of ripe strawberries.

My pickings for the morning – 2 whole buckets of ripe strawberries.

Hy-Hope Farms.

Hy-Hope Farms.

Pick your own lettuce and kale at Hy-Hope Farms!  Fill a bag as much as you can for only $3!

Pick your own lettuce and kale at Hy-Hope Farms! Fill a bag as much as you can for only $3!

Homemade jars of relishes and jellies by Hy-Hope Farms!

Homemade jars of relishes and jellies by Hy-Hope Farms!

My crimped homemade pie shell ready to be filled.

My crimped homemade pie shell ready to be filled.

Fresh cut rhubarb from my colleague S's backyard garden.

Fresh cut rhubarb from my colleague S’s backyard garden.

Strawberry rhubarb pie filled and then topped with a sweet crumble topping before going into the oven.

Strawberry rhubarb pie filled and then topped with a sweet crumble topping before going into the oven.

Fresh out of the oven, my strawberry rhubarb crumble pie!

Fresh out of the oven, my strawberry rhubarb crumble pie!

A close up look at my strawberry rhubarb crumble pie!

A close up look at my strawberry rhubarb crumble pie!

 

I’ve got a NEW FAVOURITE afternoon tea in Toronto!!!  And you can find it at Shangri-La!  Finally, an afternoon tea service that checks off everything that a good service should be……its a hotel – check! Great atmosphere, they have a pianist playing while you enjoy the afternoon – check! A full selection of teas – check! Good scones – check! Clotted cream – check!  The number item I look forward to with an afternoon tea service is the scones and clotted cream.  I’ve tasted better scones but these were good and made even better with the cream!  However, my favourite item of the afternoon, the lobster salad in a mini brioche bun.  So delicious!  But what really makes it great, the company!  Thanks B, J, M and P for a great afternoon of catching up and making sure we “ALL” had enough to eat :)

Shangri-la - tiered stand

Three tiered tea stand full of sandwiches, scones and pastries!

Shangri-la - close up of sandwiches

Close up look of the sandwiches – the lobster salad sandwiches at the front were delightful!

Shangri-la - scones

Berry compote and clotted cream.

Shangri-la - passionfruit custard

Passionfruit custard with some fresh cubed fruit.

Shangri-la - coconut cake

Coconut bombe with a cake bottom and mousse dome covered in white chocolate shavings.

Shangri-la - single scone

Yummy scone with clotted cream topped with a dollop of fruit preserves.

Shangri-la - teapot

A tray full of teapots.

Shangri-la - tea

A cup of beautiful earl grey tea.

Shangri-la - lobby

Beautiful and grand lobby.

High Tea at Casa Loma

So I know I spoke too soon when I said that I won’t be attending any Winterlicious events but when my colleague S came to me with an invitation to High Tea at Casa Loma, I couldn’t resist.  Casa Loma is a castle located slightly north of downtown Toronto and to my knowledge, the first time high tea was made available to the public.  For $37, you received entry to the castle, free audio guide, afternoon tea and a small gift bag.  The tea was provided by David’s Tea and the entire event was hosted by Liberty Entertainment Group – known in the city for great event planning.  I must admit, just the atmosphere made it a great afternoon.

Casa loma - tallest tea cake stand

The tallest tea cake stand!

Casa loma - grand hallway

The grand hallway where we sat down and had our tea.

Casa loma - conservatory

The Conservatory – how fabulous!

Casa loma -ballroom

The ballroom was also set up to host tea.

Casa loma - savoury pastries

Savoury plate with some sandwiches, quiches and a croissant.

Casa loma - egg sandwich

Egg croissant sandwich.

Casa loma - sweet pastries

Sweet pastries – green tea macaron and canoli.

Casa loma - east front

North east front view of Casa Loma.

Casa loma - west

West view of Casa Loma.

Casa Loma - south view

Southern view of Toronto from second floor of Casa Loma.

 

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