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Category Archives: Adventures around T.O.

The Burger’s Priest

Over the December holidays, I finally had a chance (it took me awhile) to try out the much talked about Burger’s Priest.  The Burger’s Priest lovers are not going to like what I’m about to say but my order of the classic cheeseburger really reminded me of “In-N-Out Burger“.  Everything from the soft bun, fresh toppings of lettuce, tomato, pickle and packaged in a paper bag.  The only difference, and pretty big one, is the better quality meat and the fries – I really did love the fries.  I don’t know what oil they use but they were crisp and so tasty.  The Priest even has a secret menu – I’d go back just to try the blue steel cheeseburger.

The famous Burger's Priest.

The famous Burger’s Priest.

Inside the most recent outpost of the Burger's Priest.

Inside the most recent outpost of the Burger’s Priest.

My order - the classic cheeseburger and fries.

My order – the classic cheeseburger and fries.

A close up view.

A close up view.

The classic cheeseburger.

The classic cheeseburger.

The many layers of the Priest cheeseburger.

The many layers of the Priest cheeseburger.

Cluny

Ever since I went to New York City and dined at Balthazar’s for the first time (dare I say, back in 1998), I hadn’t found a local equivalent until NOW.  Hello, Cluny!  Oh how I have waited a long time for you!  A French bistro through and through, just check out the interior – gorgeous with a view into the kitchen.  And the food, well I can go on and on.  My seared tuna sandwich topped with a sunny-side up egg on a buttery toasted brioche bun was just delicious.  The starters were tasty as well, salted cod donuts and the cauliflower salad were light, the perfect way to start the meal.  But I have to admit, I was really looking forward to dessert.  I mean, when you see souffle and macarons on the menu how can you not.  Well, the souffle was definitely worth another bite – I would order it again and would recommend it to anyone.  But ultimately, I think the reason why both the Balthazar and Cluny experiences stick out so much in my memory is because of the company – I’m very lucky to have so many great friends!

The entrance to Cluny.

The entrance to Cluny.

The beautiful interior of Cluny.

The beautiful interior of Cluny.

Salt cod donuts and smoked potato dipping sauce.

Salt cod donuts and smoked potato dipping sauce.

Roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad with a pomegranate vinaigrette.

Roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad with a pomegranate vinaigrette.

My cocktail for the night - Aviation made with gin.

My cocktail for the night – Aviation made with gin.

Veal meatball tomahawk with braised tomatoes and gnocchi.

Veal meatball tomahawk with braised tomatoes and gnocchi.

Moroccan inspired couscous with vegetable and almond tagine.

Moroccan inspired couscous with vegetable and almond tagine.

My seared tuna steak sandwich with tomato, fried egg on a house-baked brioche bun.

My seared tuna steak sandwich with tomato, fried egg on a house-baked brioche bun.

Breaking the yolk on my tuna steak sandwich.

Breaking the yolk on my tuna steak sandwich.

Kombucha cleansing tea.

Kombucha cleansing tea.

Delicious passion fruit souffle with a pistachio financier and creme anglaise.

Delicious passion fruit souffle with a pistachio financier and creme anglaise.

Look at that height on the passion fruit souffle!

Look at that height on the passion fruit souffle!

Macaron ice cream sandwiches, all made in house.

Macaron ice cream sandwiches, all made in house.

Dumpling King

When it comes to dumplings and China town, my friend M always knows where to go.  This time she took me to Dumpling King, an unassuming joint on Dundas Street a few blocks East of Spadina.  They do a couple of things different here.  Their pan-fried dumplings have a unique shape and the skin is a bit thicker than most dumplings I’ve had.  Rather than the pinched closing that is typical in dumplings, these are just folded over and somehow it holds the filling in.  Although the dumplings were good, and so reasonably priced, I would come back just for the cucumber dish.  This was M’s recommendation and I was definitely skeptic, cold spicy cucumber, how can that be good?  Well, it was delicious!  So refreshing with a bit of spice!  I’ll be going back.

Pork and Chive pan fried dumplings and Cucumber with flavour.

Pork and Chive pan fried dumplings and Cucumber with flavour.

Pork and napa steamed dumplings.

Pork and napa steamed dumplings.

Dipping the dumpling in hot sauce.

Dipping the dumpling in hot sauce.

Shrimp and chicken fried rice.

Shrimp and chicken fried rice.

The view from Dundas street.

The view from Dundas street.

Inside Dumpling King.

Inside Dumpling King.

Dumpling King.

Dumpling King.

Carbon Bar

This past weekend I had dinner at a new restaurant, Carbon Bar, sister restaurant to Nota Bene located seven blocks west on the same street.  The occasion: a long overdue girls night out and somewhat a reminder of our night out to Stanton Social in Lower East Side in NYC two years ago.  Located in an old building with exposed brick/concrete walls, high ceilings and large round booths, it was very much a New York City vibe.  The menu is very much pit-fire inspired with a number of platters and snacking plates to encourage sharing.  A very interesting item to be found – crispy fried chicken skins and of course, I had to try it!  Great in theory, you really can only have a small piece without getting the feeling that you’re eating pure oil and salt.  I ordered the pit fired pork tacos which were chock full of pulled pork so much so that you really don’t need to order sides especially if you’re going to be having dessert :) The cheddar ice cream sandwich with maple syrup was delicious – I loved the tuile cookies, it was just enough cookie to satisfy you.

Carbon - cocktails

Two of Carbon Bar signature cocktails – the Nota Bene (Absolut, Lillet Blanc, ginger beer and spiced cherry) and Carbon Bar Julep (Bourbon, lime, mint and simple syrup).

Carbon - chicken skins

Crisp chicken skins.

Carbon - fritters

Split pea fritters.

Carbon - shishito

Shishito peppers with pit fired eggplant dip.

Carbon - raw salad

Carbon’s raw salad made with bibb lettuce, avocado, pear, shaved coconut, coriander and a lime vinaigrette.

Carbon - brisket

Prime beef brisket.

Carbon - ribs

St. Louis cut pork ribs.

Carbon - grits

Mushroom & grits with hen eggs, kale and quebec fontina cheese.

Carbon - sides

Two of Carbon’s sides – collard greens and delicious shoestring fries.

Carbon - tacos

Pit fired pork tacos with charred salsa, mango crema, coriander, chili and lime.

Carbon - banana pie

Banana toffee cream pie made with a graham cracker pie crust, a dulce de leche-like filling, sliced bananas topped with whip cream and chunks of bittersweet chocolate.

Carbon - chocolate bar

The Carbon chocolate bar – pecan ganache and bourbon caramel sandwiched between two thin bittersweet chocolate wafers.

Carbon - ice cream sandwich

Cheddar ice cream sandwich with shredded coconut sitting in a pool of maple syrup.

Carbon - inside

Inside Carbon Bar.

Carbon

Carbon Bar

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

Posted on

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.

 

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