• [Food Post] Tsujiri Toronto

    Tsujiri Toronto's first North American outpost opened earlier this week near Bay and Dundas amid much fanfare. This is their first foray into a market outside Asia, but they are planning on expanding to other cities in North America in the future. I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek of some of the products that Tsujiri Toronto has to offer a day before its soft opening, and got the chance to chat with one of the managers, Tylor Shek.

  • [Food Post] Francobollo Posto Italiano

    Located on Avenue Road between Lawrence and Wilson is a relatively new restaurant, Francobollo Posto Italiano. It is one of the many restaurants from the Substance Food Group; the team behind Terra, Rusty's At Blue, and Sarpa restaurants. I had the pleasure of attending a menu tasting at Francobollo Posto Italiano about two weeks ago, and had a delightful dinner.

  • [Food Post] Maman Toronto

    Maman Toronto is a lovely bakery/cafe located on the mezzanine of First Canadian Place offering a taste of Southern France. It was a little tucked away in First Canadian Place (where the food court is), but it has a very rustic yet inviting ambiance. The entire cafe was adorned with cute bunny ceramics with flowers, wooden communal tables, and mosaic tile flooring, so it was very Instagram-friendly.

  • [Food Post] The Chef’s Table Blogger Event at Canyon Creek

    Grabb is a free Toronto-based mobile app that allows users to pre-order and pre-pay for food. The app is easy to use with its user-friendly interface that allows users to browse through the list of restaurants and their menus, select their order, and then securely pay for their order with just a few clicks. Additionally, the app also features a virtual queue, where you are able to see how many other people using the Grabb app are ahead of you.

  • [Food Post] Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill

    Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill is a Mongolian-inspired DIY stir-fry and Northern Chinese buffet on Don Mills Road in North York, ON. The restaurant is separated into two sections - the Mongolian grill and the buffet area that serves Chinese hot foods. It should be noted that they do not serve Mongolian food here at Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill.

  • [Food Post] Jacobs and Co.

    Jacobs and Co. Steakhouse has a very sizable steak selection which are visibly displayed in a glass container at the front. The glass contains dry-aged beef with information tags on them (name, date, etc ...) for customers to choose from.

  • [Food Post] Montecito

    Every Sunday, Montecito offers a brunch buffet starting at 11 am to 3 pm. Brunch isn't new at Montecito, but they recently revamped their brunch buffet, and added several new items to the menu. The 12,000-square-foot Montecito opened up its doors late 2014, and is a partnership between Hollywood director Ivan Reitman and Chef Jonathan Waxman.

  • [Travel] Satsuki and Mei's House from Totoro

    My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 animated production written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It's a childhood favorite of many people and I have seen many shops dedicated to selling Totoro merchandise while in Japan.

  • [Food Post] Canoe Restaurant + Bar

    Canoe is one of Toronto's critically acclaimed restaurants offering upscale Canadian cuisine. It is located on the 54th floor of Toronto Dominion Bank Towers in the financial district. As it is relatively high up; its beautifully designed dining room offers a spectacular view of the city's skyline.

  • [Travel] Day #15 in Japan [Koyasan]

    A shukubo is an accommodation that allows you to stay in a Japanese temple or shrine for the night, and enables you to experience the culture. You are given your own personal room, and there are multiple washroom facilities throughout the temple.

Life Experiences (LifeExperiences.ca) || Tilde Taco

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 Mother's Day is quickly approaching, so why not give your mother a gift certificate from LifeExperiences.ca. The company launched in 2003, and is a "one-stop shop for your unique gift-giving needs." LifeExperiences.ca offers gift packages that are ideal for any occasion including Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and more. The LifeExperiences.ca e-certificate provides access to over 500 experiences across Canada including spa treatments from Nova Spa, Tandem Skydive from Niagara Skydive Centre, wine tours with South Coast Farm Tour from Blueberry Hill Estates, or a romantic getaway at the Clearview Resort or Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. Life Experiences gift packages are available online at LifeExperiences.ca, in-store at Shoppers Drug Mart, Longo's, or Costco.

Last week, I had the opportunity to enjoy a custom curated taco experience for two at Tilde Taco. Tilde is a modern Mexican restaurant offering contemporary tacos and craft beer in the Danforth neighborhood. The experience was a 5-course meal specially curated by Chef Shah. The curated tacos are not available on their regular menu, so it was nice to try these crafted tacos. The package ($63.70) includes a shareable appetizer, 3 full-size tacos (each person) that are specially curated, and a shareable dessert (restaurant review is coming soon). This experience is great if your mother loves Mexican food or enjoy trying new restaurants out. Additionally, there are plenty of different dining (food/drink) experiences available as well.


 1st course - Appetizer (chips with dip)


2nd course - Chorizo and potato taco (Mexican spicy sausage crumble, citrus slaw)

 
 

3rd course - Ginger Tofu Taco (citrus slaw, sesame seed, avocado aioli)


 

4th course - Pork Belly Taco - (pineapple salsa, spiced aioli sunflower shoot)



 5th course - Churros (4 traditional Mexican fried dough-sticks coated in cinnamon sugar and served with the dipping sauce of the day. made fresh to order)

 

After purchasing your LifeExperiences.ca e-certificate, all you need to do is call Tilde to book your reservation (72 hour notice), and quote the number on the certificate. Don't forget to bring your certificate in when you dine, as it is your method of payment.



Buying an experience from Life Experiences is simple, as the site is user-friendly. Experiences are categorized (spa, adventure, food/drink, family fun, etc....), and there's also a search option available. This Mother's Day, instead of the usual gifts like jewelries, flowers, books ... you can give her an unforgettable experience from LifeExperiences.ca. Once you have selected your Experience, you will also have the option to personalize your gift with a personal message before sending it to your mother.

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lifeexperiences
Website: http://www.lifeexperiences.ca/index.php

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

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Tito Ron's Filipino-Caribbean

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Tito Ron’s has been operating since May 2015, and in a short period, they became an established food vendor at several summer food festivals. My first encounter with their lumpia dessert was at the inaugural Sweetery Toronto last summer. At that event, I got to enjoy their deep-fried coconut bae lumpia. Tito Ron’s has now expanded their business into an actual storefront where people can enjoy a well crafted menu of Filipino-Caribbean dishes. They recently acquired a space in the food court at 214 Augusta Avenue in Kensington Market through a successful Kickstarter campaign. The restaurant opened earlier this March with great fanfare, and they have been selling out of lumpias on several occasions since their opening.



The restaurant is run by Chef Tristen Petate and her fiancé, Mike McFarlane. Their business and love story can be read on their KickStarter page here. So, who is Tito Ron? The name derives as an homage to Tristen Petate's father, Ronald Petate, who was a strong inspiration to the self-taught chef. Additionally, Tito is the tagalog word for “Uncle”, and is used as a respective term for elders, so that's how the Tito Ron's name came to be.

Tito Ron’s offers Filipino cuisine with Caribbean influences to their food. There are several ingredients and methods of cooking that are relatively common between the two cuisine, so they incorporate well together. Some commonly used ingredients that both cuisine use include pineapples, coconuts, cassava, tamarind and plantains. Many of the these ingredients are prominently used at Tito Ron’s. Their menu offers a great number of sweet and savory options of Filipino-Caribbean fusion dishes at affordable prices. 

 A couple of weeks ago, a couple of bloggers were invited to attend an intimate media preview, and were treated to several items from their menu.  

 The first dish that we sampled was the Jerk Chicken Adobo Lumpia - fresh chicken thighs are marinated in Jerk Seasoning and then cooked in Filipino Adobo sauce, wrapped in a spring roll pastry and deep fried until golden brown. Served topped with our tropical hot sauce (pickled papaya, pineapple, scotch bonnet) and achara (pickled pineapple slaw). Philippine adobo is a popular dish in Philippine cuisine, and is often associated as the "unofficial national dish". So, it was only natural to create a lumpia using the adobo method of cooking. The saltiness of the adobo sauce complements the spice of the jerk chicken well making it a formidable combination.


Another fusion lumpia roll is the Channa Lumpia - Channa, a chickpea mixture cooked in Caribbean curry, is rolled into a lumpia and deep fried until golden brown. Served topped with our sweet tamarind bbq sauce and achara. This particular lumpia roll is both veterinarian and vegan-friendly.


One of the rice dishes offered at Tito Ron's is the Lechon Kawali - Filipino fried pork belly. Fresh pork belly with skin, salt cured in house and fried crispy to order. Served with salted tomatoes and white rice and topped with extra crispy fried pig skin. The portion that we received was sample size, as the full dish contained a lot more fried pork belly. Personally, I enjoyed the crispiness of the cured pork, as they double fry the skin to ensure that the texture is extra crispy.


 The Tocino - Filipino sweet cured pork. Ours is made from fresh pork shoulder sliced thin and marinated for days in a mixture of sweet, salty and savoury elements before being fried hot to order. Served on rice or on sliders (on a Caribbean Tennis Roll) with salted tomatoes and our Pinoy Max Sauce (Garlic Aioli, Banana Ketchup, Achara Relish) was a favorite among the bloggers. The cured pork had a sweet hint of pineapple, which greatly added to the flavor profile.


I am a huge fan of Tito Ron’s dessert spring rolls (lumpia), as they're not overly sweet. The first dessert that we tried was the Purple Plantain Lumpia - Ube Halaya filled dessert lumpia. Topped with Mango Condensed milk drizzle and plantain chip butter crumble. Traditionally, this is a popular snack food among Filipinos, and is often filled with different fruit filling. However, Tito Ron's has provided a more creative take on it by topping it with plantain chip butter crumble.


We also tried the Sweet Potato Pudding Lumpia - Sweet potato filled dessert lumpia. Topped with Spiced Coconut Caramel drizzle and plantain chip butter crumble, which contained a nice helping of sweet potato filing. This is a mash of two cultures, as sweet potato pudding is a popular dessert in the Philippines and Caribbean.


Tito Ron’s hours are from 12 pm to 8 pm every Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Monday). Many thanks to Alice, Tristen Petate and Mike McFarlane for having me!

 Address: 214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2L8

Instagram: http://instagram.com/titorons
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/titorons
Website: http://www.titorons.com/

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Tito Ron's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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[Charity] Carbon Bar x Sick Kids (Hero Ribs)

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The Carbon Bar will host Hero Ribs, an event aimed to help improve the lives of thousands of children SickKids cares for on Sunday, April 17th at noon. Guests will enjoy St. Louis cut pork ribs and delicious sides accompanied with a cold pint with friends and family for $25.


All proceeds from Hero Ribs will go to Sick Kids Hospital in support of the Pfaff Porsche Hero Ride presented by RBC; a 250 km round trip bike ride to Collingwood June 4th and 5th.

Visit http://thecarbonbar.ca for more details.








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Stratosphere Gastrolounge & Winebar

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The Kingsway neighborhood is home to several restaurants that has operated for many years. Stratosphere Gastrolounge & Winebar is one of the newer additions to the area having been opened for less than a year. They opened in the summer of 2015, and recently re-branded themselves as a "gastrolounge". The restaurant offers global cuisine in a rather spacious family dining setting with a monochromatic interior. I was told that the menu was also recently revamped to center on offering familiar gastropub fare with a more elevated flair. Stratosphere is open Monday to Sunday, and is located in the Etobicoke area of West Toronto with plenty of street parking available. I had the pleasure of attending a menu tasting at Stratosphere Gastrolounge & Winebar a couple of weeks back, where I got to try a few things from their menu.


The cocktail menu at Stratosphere Gastrolounge & Winebar features a great selection of infused-cocktails, where they combine liquors with fresh, seasonal ingredients. They're the only place in the surrounding area serving infused-cocktails, so I thought that it was an interesting concept. We opted to try the Strawberry Infused Rum Daiquiri (1.5 oz) - lime juice, simple syrup, sugar rim.


We started off with the mussels ($12) - served in a garlic white wine sauce, and they were quickly devoured. The generous portion of mussels was marinated in a flavorful white wine sauce, which was rather fragrant. The mussels themselves were plump, and tasted great!


I love chicken wings, so the Stratosphere "Twice Cooked" Wings ($14 - 1 lbs) - your choice of jerk, cajun, lemon pepper, mild, medium, hot, BBQ, was a must-order for me. The chef was nice enough to allow me to try two different flavors; lemon pepper, and jerk. Personally, I enjoyed the jerk wings more as it contained a lot more flavors compared to the lemon pepper wings.


The STRATOSPHERE Beef Burger ($17) - 9 oz. AAA ground sirloin with all the trimmings, served with hand cut fries, is their house specialty. All of the burgers on the menu are made in-house featuring ingredients that are sourced locally. However, I do find the burger to be priced a little too high.



For my entree, I opted for the Spaghetti di Mare ($19) - prawns, mussels, calamari, in a spicy tomato sauce. The spaghetti dish was simply presented on a white plate giving it a clean presentation look. The flavorful seafood spaghetti contained a healthy helping of seafood; prawns, mussels, and calamari mixed with a spicy tomato sauce. Overall, the spaghetti was executed nicely as the noodles weren't overcooked and the sauce helped to enhance the flavor of the seafood.

 

To end off the meal,  I got the crème brûlée as my dessert. The dessert consisted of a rich custard base topped off with caramelized sugar making it a satisfying end to the night!


Address: 2956 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M8X 1B7

Social Media:


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stratosphereresto/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dineatstratos/
Website: http://www.stratosphereresto.com/

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


Stratosphere Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Little Fin

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Opened in 2014, Little Fin is a casual seafood-centric eatery under the The Chase Hospitality Group umbrella. Earlier last month, they started serving breakfast with the addition of four new menu items. The new menu highlights the flavorful cuisine that Little Fin has to offer, and pairs perfectly with their freshly brewed coffee.



Their offerings include the following four items:

1) Peameal bacon sandwich "The Ultimate Brek-Fin Sandwich" ($7)
2) Smoked Salmon Bagel ($6)
3) Egg white, kale and goal cheese wrap "The (Egg) White Wrapper" ($5.50)
4) Crispy Chicken and Waffles Sandwich ($6.50)


The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Dineen Building, and lies within the Financial District. Little Fin's new breakfast menu mainly caters to the fast lifestyle of the young professionals who work or reside in the area. The breakfast items are available for both eat-in, or take-out, and it's fairly priced. Breakfast is available every Monday to Friday from 8 am to 11 am.

Out of the four choices, I went for the Chicken & Waffles Sandwich ($6.50) - fried chicken, sweet waffles, maple-fancy sauce. It's a classic concoction with a slight twist. Instead of making the waffles crispy, Little Fin opted for soft waffles. This added a nice textural contrast between the crispy fried chicken and soft waffles. The well-spiced fried chicken is sandwiched between two waffles making it one of the best combinations for breakfast. I would definitely order this again for breakfast!

 

To celebrate the launch, Little Fin is currently holding an Instagram contest where one winner will win free breakfast every Monday for a month. The winner will be selected on April 8, 2016. All you have to do is post a photo with you and your breakfast, and use the hashtags #finfanbreakfast and #anyfinispossible. Check out the post on their Instagram here.


 Address: 4 Temperance St, Toronto, ON M5H 1Y4

Social Media:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/little.fin/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Little_Fin
Website: http://littlefin.ca/

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Little Fin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Cresta Toronto

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Over the past years, the St. Lawrence Market area has seen the addition of many new restaurants. One of  them was Pastizza; a fast casual Italian eatery that opened in 2014. However, they re-branded themselves as Cresta Toronto earlier last month, and relaunched their menu to provide more of an upscale dining experience. Cresta Toronto is housed in a historical building adjacent to the St. Lawrence Market, and is beautiful with its floor to ceiling windows that allow natural light in, and 35-foot wine chandelier. There are two levels; the lower level seats up to 75 guests while the mezzanine can accommodate an intimate seating for up to 60 seated guests. Great for all occasions!


Cresta Toronto is a California-inspired restaurant offering an "Italian inspired, Californian cultivated experience" with its extensive collection of world-class Californian wines and menu. Its name is inspired by a popular vineyard in California, the Cresta ridge vineyard of Thomas George Estates in the Russian River Valley. It's headed by Executive Chef Tri Tran who has brought forth a menu with both traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine like duck & liver, beet risotto, and ricotta & chestnut ravioli. Additionally, the food is heavily focused on using fresh seasonal ingredients infused with rich wines, which is influenced by its California-inspired roots. 

** Images are courtesy of Cresta Toronto **


I had the pleasure of attending their media event about two weeks ago where I sampled an array of dishes that are available on Cresta Toronto's menu. From what I've tasted at the event, many of the menu items offer a seamless balance of flavor, color, and presentation. So, I look forward to returning to Cresta Toronto to check out their full menu, as the event piqued my interest. Cresta is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm (closed Monday) offering brunch, lunch, and dinner.


As previously mentioned, the restaurant shifted towards being more upscale than their previous endeavor. So, the new menu reflects the new change, and was designed to perfectly complement the wines that they offer. Below are some of the menu items that guests got to try.

The Cresta Negroni with Bombay Sapphire Gin - campari, dolin dry vermouth, sparkling brut, grapefruit




Amaro Express - amaro averna, frangelico, espresso, aztec chocolate bitters


Beets - roasted, lemon thyme marinade, sautéed beet greens



Black Tiger Shrimp - empty ravioli, red onion, tomato salsa



Brussels Sprouts - crispy in a balsamic glaze


Heirloom Tomato Pizza - tomato reduction, red onion, shaved parmasean, basil

Mushroom Risotto - truffle oil, shaved parmesan


Octopus - grilled, fingerling potatoes, braised cipollini onions, harissa


Scallop Crudo - coriander, garlic chips, citrus



Steak Tenderloin - roasted potatoes, cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic, beef jus

Guests were given freshly-baked muffins to take-home (caramel or blueberry)


Address: 118 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON M5E 1A9

Social Media:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/cresta_to/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/cresta_TO
Website: http://www.crestato.ca/

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.
 
Cresta Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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