• [Fitness] ClassPass Toronto

    ClassPass is a fitness subscription service that gets you "unlimited monthly classes at the best fitness studios and gyms in Toronto. With just one monthly subscription you can work out at Studio Lagree, Track Fitness, Barreworks, Quad Spinning, Hard Candy Fitness, IAM Yoga, Body Harmonics, Barre3, Yoga Tree, Spynga, Core Studio, and over 80 others all over the city!" for a low price of $99 per month."

  • [Food Post] Bar Isabel

    Bar Isabel is a popular restaurant known for their Spanish-influenced tapas dishes. Its location on College and Ossington is easily accessible, and there's a paid parking lot nearby.

  • [Food Post] Trattoria Mercatto

    Trattoria Mercatto is a casual-fare Italian restaurant located inside of the Eaton's Center on the second floor of the mall. I was invited to attend the "Antipasti With Us" event in late August along with several local food bloggers.

  • [Food Post] Han Ba Tang

    Han Ba Tang opened up earlier this summer, and is one of the latest additions to the Yonge and Sheppard area. The name translates to meaning "one full round" in Korean and is like a Korean-styled izakaya (or pojangmacha). I was invited to their bloggers' media tasting to preview some of their menu items.

  • [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] Sake Bar Kushi

    We were provided with a few items from their regular menu and June specials menu. Not only do they serve kushi (skewered poultry and non-poultry), but they also offer a great variety of tapas styled dishes that are meant to be shared

  • [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.

  • [Food Post] Au Pied de Cochon

    One of the great appeals of the restaurant is their extensive menu. The menu at Au Pied de Cochon offers concoction of dishes that entails the uses of animal parts that are not always found in other restaurants.

  • [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.

&Company Resto Bar

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&Company Resto Bar is a unique venue located in Mississauga; just steps away from Square One Shopping Centre. The restaurant was established in 2011, and has since become a local hot spot. &Company Resto Bar offers contemporary dinner service in the evening, and then slowly transitions into an entertainment venue at night. Their slogan is "Life's better when you're in good company". Coincidentally, I was invited to dine at &Company Resto Bar for both a Zomato Meetup, and to check out their revamped menu headed by a new Executive Chef in the same week. This blog reflects both of my visits to &Company Resto Bar.


First off, I am going to start with their revamped menu headed by their new Executive Chef Ron Stratton. He was hired in November 2014, and came with over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, as he has worked in several fine dining establishments all over Canada. He has revamped the menu to center on "fine familiar" cuisine. Basically, Executive Chef Ron Stratton is taking familiar and conventional dishes, and providing a more creative take on them using high quality ingredients.


J got the Caesar Medley ($13) - candied bacon, crisp egg, and grana padano tuile on a bed of romaine hearts with red wine vinegar dressing. The chef's take on the uncut bed of romaine lettuce was a refreshing take indeed, as I have never seen a Caesar salad served this way before. Although J was not too fond of having to cut his own lettuce, he did thoroughly enjoy the crisp egg, and the tangy red wine vinegar dressing.


For my appetizer, I went with the Crispy Thai Calamari ($15) - flash-fried calamari with pickled vegetable salad and green curry coconut veloute. Out of all the appetizers that I have tried at &Company Resto Bar, this was by far my favorite. I loved how light the green curry coconut veloute sauce was, as it wasn't overwhelming at all. Additionally, the calamari themselves were crispy without being overly oily or heavily fried.



 For my main, I opted for the Hickory Smoked Burger ($27) - 8 oz. AAA beef patty stuffed with hickory smoked mozzarella, topped with crisp bacon, sunny side egg, rustic tomato ketchup, and lemon aioli, "Fred's" brioche bun with a side of root chips and signature dip. The burger was priced higher than average, but it was a large and generously packed burger. I thought that the hickory smoked mozzarella, and lemon aioli, added great flavor to the burger. Overall, I was impressed with both the presentation and taste, as the 8 oz. AAA beef patty was thick, and juicy. As for the fries, I was expecting thinner cut ones, but the side of root chips had an interesting crunchy texture to it.


 

For J's main, he chose the USDA ($36) - in-house dry aged 10 oz. steak with Ontario goat cheese scalloped potatoes, ratatouille vegetables and veal jus.


We shared the dessert, Brownie Banana Split ($12) - dark chocolate brownie with a banana spring roll, seasonal berry compote, ice cream and sorbet. The first thought that came to mind was that it was beautifully presented. I liked that the chocolate brownie topped with seasonal berry compote wasn't overly sweet. Additionally, the well-wrapped banana spring roll was a nice touch to what is normally a standard dessert. Perfect treat for chocolate lovers.


A couple days prior to the revamped meal tasting (reviewed above), I was invited to a 7-course meal tasting for a Zomato Meetup. Please note that the meal was a tasting menu so the portions served were not full-sized items.


A small team of bloggers started off with the amuse bouche - in-house smoked Ontario pork, oven roasted tomato salsa, crisp lettuce, cilantro crema, and corn tortilla. The smoked pork was served on a crunchy corn tortilla, and complemented the flavors of the toppings well.


The next item that we tried was two pieces of Cheese Sticks - in-house smoked mozzarella, Challah crusted, Arrabbiata sauce, which is on their late night menu. This was the chef's take on a traditional snack, as they were lightly seasoned and breaded. Overall, the cheese sticks were nice and crunchy, and the perfect complement to the thick spicy sauce.


Our second course was a Slider - AAA beef patty topped with marinated bocconcini, "Fred's" brioche bun, rustic tomato ketchup, and lemon aioli; another item on their late night menu. I liked the slider a lot, so I was pleasantly pleased when I realized that their Hickory Smoked Burger was the large burger version of it. The beef patty was extremely tender, and the marinated bocconcini was a wonderful addition.


The third course was the Duck Confit Poutine - hand cut Russet chips topped with Brome Lake duck leg confit, marinated curds, Tarragon gravy and crisp onions. Since this was a tasting menu, this was not the full portion of the dish. Some of the people at the table were not too fond of the idea of ducks (images of dead ducks hanging from the windows in Chinatown resonates in their minds). However, I grew up eating a lot of duck meat, so I was very familiar with this type of meat. The poutine dressed with duck confit did not disappoint. The Tarragon gravy added great flavor to the dish without overpowering the curds or duck.


Our fourth course can be found on their starters menu. We tried a piece of their Jumbo Tempura Shrimp - lime tempura with seasonal vegetables, and rice wine vinegar. The tempura shrimp was pretty standard, but I did like that the shrimp that they used was indeed jumbo size.


We had a quick intermezzo, where we were served raspberry sorbet with candied lemon, as a palate cleanser.


Next up was the sixth course, where we were served Salmon Wellington - Chinook salmon filet with light puff pastry, sweet corn puree, and red wine jus. I cannot recall any recent restaurants that serve salmon en croûte on their menu, so this was a nice surprise. Furthermore, the lightly seasoned salmon was stuffed with spinach, and the puff pastry was perfectly browned.


Lastly, we ended the night off with Espresso Vanilla Beignets - nutmeg sugar dusted vanilla doughnuts with espresso creme anglaise. The deep-fried yet airy beignets were lightly dusted with nutmeg sugar making it a sweet treat. This was a great way to finish off a meal.




The full-service (with a bar) establishment is fully equipped to accommodate large parties as they also have a second floor. 


I was pleased with the attentive and friendly service that we got on both occasions. Our glasses of water were never empty, and dirty plates and utensils were quickly replaced. &Company Resto Bar is a great place to go for dinner with friends, and then dancing afterwards.

Thank you to Basel and &Company Resto Bar for the invitation, and warm hospitality. I had a wonderful evening as I enjoyed both the ambiance and food here at &Company Resto Bar.

Address:  295 Enfield Pl, Mississauga, ON, L5B 3E2

Twitter: https://twitter.com/andcorestobar

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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Reds Midtown Tavern [Steak & Wine by the Ounce]

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Reds Midtown Tavern offers casual eats in a modern yet upscale tavern setting. This is the second location to the popular Reds Wine Tavern on Adelaide St W, and has since become a hot spot in the Yonge and Gerrard area. The location is conveniently a few minute walk away from both the Eaton's Center, and Yonge/Dundas Cineplex. Thus, it serves as a great spot for casual lunches or dinners with friends, co-workers, or loved ones. Additionally, the menu at Reds Midtown Tavern is large, and has plenty of options from sharable plates, mains, salads, drinks, and much more.


I have been to Reds Midtown Tavern a couple of times before with friends, and have always liked the ambiance. The space provides a warm atmosphere with its exposed brick walls, mixture of communal and private tables, wooden floor, and hanging chandeliers. The restaurant itself is large; occupying a 6,800-square-foot space with a large dining area, private area (for small parties), and a patio. 


I had the pleasure of attending a private dinner at Reds Midtown Tavern to try their new Steak and Wine by the Ounce program over the weekend. The newly introduced program launched last month, and focuses on their selection of California Chardonnay and California Cabernet Sauvignon, that you can order by the ounce. This is a great way to taste test the wine to see which one goes well with the steak.

My last visit to Reds Midtown Tavern was a couple of months ago, and they only had one cut on their menu. They have since removed the steak frites option, and added a lot of choices in steak cuts. I was definitely pleased that they expanded on their steak menu, and was excited to try it out that Sunday. Reds Midtown Tavern now serves high quality steak for reasonable prices, as no cut is over $25. The steaks that they now offer are perfect complement to their new wine by the ounce program.

As I previously mentioned, the steak and wine by the ounce program places a great emphasis on their wine selection. Customers are able to customize their drink order, and may order as little or as much as they want of a particular wine. They have created a list of wines that would go wonderfully with any of the steaks on the menu, so there's something for anyone who drinks wine. There are often specific wines that are perfect pairing for steaks, so this program encourages customers to customize the wine to their liking.


I opted for the Santa Barbara Winery, Santa Barbara 2013 ($2 per ounce wine) - passion fruit, buttery, and vanilla finish, to go with my steak dinner. The chardonnay was refreshing with a great hint of a fruity flavor to it. I thought that the blend was the perfect companion to my tender steak, as it washes it down just perfectly. One of the benefits of the program was that I was able to customize how much wine I wanted, as I got 3 ounce of the California Chardonnay. Additionally, you don't have to stick with just one wine choice, and can try and experience other ones by the ounce as well.



The crab & corn chowder ($8.25) - made with fresh corn, applewood smoked bacon, fresh leeks and tender crabmeat.


J got the Oysters 3 Ways ($17.95) - which was topped off with spicy mignonette, aguachile sauce, ikura ponzu. The freshly shucked oysters arrived with the sauces already on top of the oysters, so this was quite interesting to me.


I started off with the sticky ribs ($13.25) - caramelized in a spicy hoisin/sriracha glaze with crispy wonton chips, as our server recommended it. The ribs were good and the glaze adds a distinctive Asian flavor.



 I love the combination of seafood with my steak, so I opted for the lobster sirloin ($23.35) - topped with garlic chive poached lobster and hollandaise. I was thoroughly impressed with the steak as it was cooked perfectly to my liking - medium, and flavorful. Considering that Reds Midtown Tavern is not a steakhouse, the steaks was definitely of great value for its quality and price as none are priced over $24. I have been to a couple of steakhouse chains that are priced similarly to Reds Midtown Tavern's steaks, but theirs wasn't remotely as good. Lastly, the tasty garlic chive poached lobster portion was pretty generous, as there was a good amount of lobster.

All steaks come with one side dish to accompany the meal, and you can choose one of the following:

fully loaded baked potato
French fries
mashed potatoes
heirloom carrots
knife and fork Caesar salad
garden salad

You can freely browse their full menu here.

My steak dinner was executed well, and the portion of the side dish (knife & fork Caesar) was generous. Personally, I had a great dining experience, and would definitely come back for their steaks as it's at a very reasonable price.


J decided to go with one of the feature cuts; 14 oz rib eye ($19.95), which also came with one side dish (he chose fully loaded baked potato).




The dessert menu was limited with only four options. I ended up getting the flourless chocolate cake ($7.95) - milk chocolate mouse, cashew, and caramelized banana. I have never tried a flourless cake before, so this peaked my curiosity when I saw it on the menu. The dessert arrived, and it was a dense yet very chocolatey cake. The contrasting flavors were intense with a hint of saltiness beneath the chocolate layer, and the sweetness of the caramelized banana. It was an enjoyable dessert, as I do have a major sweet tooth.


Another dessert was the sticky toffee pudding ($7.95) - warm medjool date pudding with apple bourbon, caramel sauce and vanilla ice-cream. Unfortunately, J liked it so much, that I never got to try a taste of it.


As you enter Reds Midtown Tavern, you are greeted by their impressive wine collection.


Overall, I found the service to be really good, the atmosphere was fantastic with great choices of music, and great value as the food was delicious. I left Reds Midtown Tavern completely full, and satisfied. Lastly, I'd like to thank SIR Corp for the warm and welcoming hospitality (our server and service manager from Sunday were great). I have been to their other chains, Canyon Creek, several times over the years. So it's great to know that they hold the same high standards for all restaurants under their umbrella. 


Address: 382 Yonge St, Unit #6, Toronto, ON, M5B (Yonge/Gerrard)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/REDSRestaurants

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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Pho Dau Bo

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The thing about Mississauga is that there is a plethora of well-known chains, so dinner options are kind of limited in my opinion. Even Vietnamese restaurants up here are chains with multiple locations throughout the GTA. Out of all the choices that we had, we chose Pho Dau Bo, cause it was a short drive away. Pho Dau Bo serves traditional Vietnamese food at reasonable prices. They're located in a nondescript plaza, and offers minimum decor. However, they are always bustling with customers on both weekdays and weekends.

I have been to this Pho Dau Bo at least three times in the past two months. They make pretty solid rice dishes, so I have always ordered the same rice dish. My regular order is always (#469) grilled chicken, grilled pork chop, shredded pork, steamed egg, and fried egg with steamed rice ($8.25). This dish was generously portioned, and came with a bit of everything that I like. Both the grilled chicken and grilled pork chop were flavorful, and fairly moist. Additionally, the overall presentation of the rice dish was pretty decent.


The brisk and non-conversational service is exactly what you come to expect from any Vietnamese establishments in the city. So for me, the service isn't really a factor when it comes to choosing a Vietnamese restaurant to eat at as the food quality is much more important to me. I find the food at Pho Dau Bo to be pretty consistent, and I have never had any issues with them. The portions are generous, and you can easily feed two people for under $25 (including tax/tip).

Address: 1125 Dundas St E, Mississauga, ON, L4Y 2C3

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Lim Ga Ne

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Lim Ga Ne is an unsuspecting Korean restaurant on the Bloor/Christie strip. The restaurant isn't open 24/7 but it does stay open pretty late, which is good for late night eaters. J and I walked into the restaurant randomly as the Owl a few doors down was pretty busy that night. During our first few visits, the 13% tax was included in all of the listed menu prices. However, we recently returned about 2 weeks ago, and that's no longer the case. They now add tax on top of the (previous) already taxed menu prices.


The menu was pretty standard offering various Korean dishes including do it yourself BBQ with your choice of meat(s).


In addition to the bachan dishes, they also provided complimentary Korean pancakes.


They have a wide selection of banchan (bean sprouts, mushrooms, potatoes, japchae, kimchi, and fish cakes), which were refillable on request.


I opted for the pork bone soup ($10) on my first visit. I have to say that the food portions here are pretty generous,and contained chunks of fall of the bone pork. However, I was slightly disappointed with the broth flavor as it wasn't very spicy. One thing that I did like that came with the meal was the bowl of purple rice, which is a slightly healthier alternative to white rice. 


The rice cakes with fish cakes ($10).


The bulgogi jungsik ($13.50) - sliced tender beef marinated in special sauce served with rice


The soon tofu soup ($10) - beef, pork or seafood, is J's favorite dish from Lim Ga Ne. He orders it everytime we eat here, so it's really up to me to taste-test other dishes.


On my last visit, I got the LA galbi jungsik ($15) - beef short ribs served with rice. I absolutely love kalbi, so I was excited to try this dish here. It was good with a slight sweet marinade flavor. 

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[Food News] Restaurants Open, Closed, Coming Soon

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Coming Soon: The One Eighty

The now defunct Panorama Lounge is being reinvented into a fantastic new restaurant, The One Eighty. It's set to open up sometime this upcoming spring. I have been to Panorama Lounge a couple of times in the past, and the skyline view of Toronto from the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre was really beautiful. The One Eighty is owned and operated by Canada’s award-winning restaurant, event management, and catering brand, Eatertainment. It is going to be both a restaurant and cocktail lounge located in downtown Yorkville.



The location boasts a "spectacular 180-degree-view of the city’s skyline making it the city’s premiere celebratory destination." The name of the upcoming establishment is a reference to the 180-degree-view of the city, and reflects the approach to the new food menu that they will be offering. Additionally, the restaurant is 3,000 sq. ft, and can accommodate over "90 guests for sit-down dining and up to 250 guests for cocktail receptions and events." (source: rockit promo)

“We are introducing a unique approach to dining unlike any other in Canada, and bringing the culinary experience to a whole new level, with The One Eighty,” said Sebastien Centner, President and CEO of Eatertainment. “Guests will love The One Eighty’s new contemporary and luxurious décor, highlighting the incredible views of the city, but our real focus is on creating an outstanding menu that pushes the boundaries of innovation while remaining highly accessible.” 


If you would like more information on the upcoming The One Eighty, then please visit their website

Website: www.the51stfloor.com 
Twitter: @the51stfloor    
Instagram: @the51stfloor      
Facebook: www.facebook.com/the51stfloor

Coming Soon: Guu Izakaya

Guu Izakaya is expanding, and will be opening up their third location uptown. This location will be located at Yonge and Sheppard. According to Post City, the new location will have about 80 seats inside and an additional 70 on the patio. This is great news as the warm weather is quickly approaching Toronto. 

Coming Soon: Lucky Red

Lucky Red didn't really have much luck when it first launched in 2015 due to the influx of Chinese restaurants in Chinatown. However, they're planning on re-launching as a dine in restaurant, and the grand re-opening is set to be this Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

 Coming Soon: Miku

Miku is a very popular high end sushi bar from Vancouver, and they're coming to Toronto this summer (date is TBA). 

Coming Soon: Carl’s Jr

Carl’s Jr is making their Toronto debut with two locations in Toronto (date is TBA). .

Open Now: Dirty Bird

Dirty Bird is the latest restaurant to open up in Kensington Market. The restaurant offers fried chicken and waffles for decent prices.

Open Now: Nadège Patisserie

Nadège Patisserie recently opened their newest location in the downtown PATH.  Not only are they serving up the beautifully and tasty pastries, but are also offering breakfast and lunch takeaways (sandwiches, salads, etc...).

Open Now: H Bar Toronto

H Bar Toronto is a brand new restaurant on Queen Street West, offering dishes made with the most locally sourced ingredients.

Closing: This Ends Up

This Ends Up will be closing its door on Monday, March 16, 2015. They posted a goodbye note to all of their patrons on both their official website and Facebook.

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