Thursday, May 21, 2015

The One Eighty (formerly Panorama)

Renowned for its spectacular panoramic north and south views of the city, what used to be Panorama on the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre has now been re-launched as The One Eighty, a sophisticated restaurant and cocktail lounge offering specialty cocktails and an innovative food menu. I remember back in the day when I was still in school Panorama was the place for a guy to take a girl on the first date. I remember the last time I was there I was on a date 10+ years ago. I wasn't really into food nor cocktails back then but man, I remember feeling so "grown-up" just being there. The place was so chic and fancy, you know? Downtown Yorkville, Bay & Bloor, 51st floor, pretty desserts and drinks. Yep, 'Sauga girl in the big city! Oh, how times have changed...

Anyhoo, let's not get off track. The decor at The One Eighty (Twitter: @the51stfloor, Facebook: The One Eighty) is a mix of classic and contemporary. Modern lines with shades of grey, touches of wood, and gold/bronze accents all evoke a sense of luxury in the revamped 2,500 sq. ft. space. Actually, I'm really loving those glossy white arched ceilings.

The restaurant accommodates over 90 guests for sit-down dining and up to 250 guests for cocktail receptions and events. The One Eighty also has a 1,500 sq. ft patio offering breathtaking views of the city.

A nice semi-private nook for a small group of friends

Friday, May 15, 2015

Mother's Day Lunch at Langdon Hall

I haven't been able to stop thinking about Langdon Hall since my last visit there almost a year ago (scroll to the bottom for last year's posts). The place is honestly too beautiful and gorgeous to forget and - dare I say - visit only once. Maybe this is some sort of addiction on my part? If that's the case then I'm not ashamed to admit that I brought my parents to Langdon Hall for Mother's Day this year not for them but for me, to get my "Langdon Hall fix". The first step in curing an addiction is accepting that I have a problem, right? *Sorry Mom*

Okay, maybe a teeny tiny bit of me also wanted to show my folks this elegant hotel & spa in Cambridge and have them dine at the 5-diamond award winning restaurant. After all they do deserve the best :) Anyway, we arrived at Langdon Hall (Twitter: @Langdon_Hall, Facebook: Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa) about half an hour before our lunch reservation to walk the gardens' it looked like it may rain so we made sure we did that before lunch.

I wasn't able to get a reservation for Sunday (Langdon Hall had a special Sunday Brunch for Mother's Day) so we opted for lunch on Saturday instead, which is the standard lunch served from Monday to Saturday 12:00 PM to 2:30 PM in the restaurant's main dining room.



Saturday, May 9, 2015

Hot Stove Club at the Air Canada Centre

I'm willing to bet that not many of you have been to (or have heard of) the Hot Stove Club. I don't blame you because up until last year I haven't heard of it either. The fact that the restaurant is located inside the Air Canada Centre ("ACC") is probably the number one reason why (I don't frequent sports games or concerts so I'm really never there). Another reason is because for the longest time the Hot Stove Club was a members-only establishment (this is no longer the case). So armed with this new found knowledge, you should really consider grabbing a bite at the Hot Stove Club before a game or a show. Let's face it - whether it be a Raptors game next season (sorry I had to!) or the U2 concert in July, there is only so much concession food that one can tolerate. I mean, you already splurged on those tickets, right? So might as well treat yourself to some good food. Your tummy deserves much more than overpriced popcorn, nachos and hot dogs!

Established in 1963, the Hot Stove Club is a place where guests can enjoy modern steakhouse cuisine. The restaurant has three bars, a lounge area, and a decor that's warm with earth-tone leathers, dark wood, and cozy plush seating.

A fireplace warms the communal dining area that comfortably seats parties of eight. The middle of those tables can convert into a raw bar.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Fran's 75th Anniversary Giveaway Winners are...

Congratulations @MUSHYSPAPPY and @ericinmarkham! Both of you have just won a $50 gift card to Fran's! Please email me your first and last name along with your mailing address to I hope you will enjoy your time at Fran's :) Remember you can use your gift card at the following Toronto locations: 20 College St. (Yonge/College), 200 Victoria St. (Victoria/Shuter), 33 Yonge St. (Yonge/Front).

I also want to say a big THANK YOU to the 77 contestants who participated in the contest

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #fjcfrans hashtag from day one of the contest. The tracking was done using chronological order, as in, #1 was the first person to enter the contest. To enter, the person had to tweet "Hey @foodieyu I want to celebrate #frans75 with a $50 gift card to @fransrestaurant! #fjcfrans". Each person could tweet once a day for the duration of the contest. Once the contest was over and everybody's entries were accounted for I checked to see if they follow me (@foodieyu) on Twitter. Below are the 213 valid entries:

.I used "True Random Number Generator" from to pick two winners for me:

Friday, May 1, 2015

Fran's 75th Anniversary Giveaway

In celebration of Fran's Restaurant & Bar's upcoming 75th birthday on Friday, May 8th, I'm giving away TWO $50 GIFT CARDS to Fran's!

Take a trip down memory lane on Friday, May 8th, as Fran's Restaurant & Bar (Twitter: @fransrestaurant, Facebook: Fran's Restaurant) celebrates its 75th anniversary. From 11AM to 3PM, Fran's Front Street location (33 Yonge Street) will offer a special 1940's menu, complete with 1940's pricing! Select items, including a .25¢ Banquet Burger and a .15¢ slice of Homemade Apple Pie, will be on offer.

Fun Fact: Created in 1940 and originally named the "Forest Hill", Fran's “Banquet Burger” is now known worldwide by its common name: the bacon cheeseburger.

Fran's has grown significantly in its 75-year history. Recognized for its all-day breakfast and something-for-everyone menu, the diner's menu features fresh, house-made fare alongside the staples that popularized its reputation as a family-friendly restaurant, including waffles, burgers and milkshakes. Fran's has introduced new food items as well - such as Chicken & Waffles and a Portobello Mushroom Benedict - which expands on current comfort food offerings. The restaurant also features healthy options, including fruit smoothies, and an extensive cocktail menu that includes classic and contemporary drinks.

 Social media users will enjoy this too: Starting in June, Fran's will offer an Ultimate Milkshake menu that features milkshakes chosen by customers during “#MilkshakeGames”, a social media initiative happening this month that calls for customer input. This is right up my alley!

Whatcha waiting for? Enter my contest now for your chance to win one of two $50 gift cards to Fran's Restaurant & Bar!

1) You MUST be following me (@foodieyu) on Twitter
2) Tweet the following sentence, exactly as shown, nothing before or after it: 

Hey @foodieyu I want to celebrate #frans75 with a $50 gift card to @fransrestaurant! #fjcfrans

1. For your entry to be valid, you need to tweet the above sentence exactly as shown
2. You may tweet once a day for the duration of the contest. Re-tweeting others do NOT count as a valid entry
3. Contest is tracked by the #fjcfrans hashtag. If you don't see your tweet in the hashtag stream it means there is no entry from you. Read this to find out the possible reasons why your tweets are not showing up
4. Gift cards have no expiry date.
5. Gift cards can be used at the following Toronto locations: 20 College St. (Yonge/College), 200 Victoria St. (Victoria/Shuter), 33 Yonge St. (Yonge/Front).

Contest starts on Friday, May 1 and ends on Friday, May 8 at noon. 
Two lucky winners will be chosen randomly from and I will announce the winner shortly after.

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The 2015 Almanac Dinner

On Monday, April 20th, six of Toronto’s top chefs – Kevin Castonguay (Provisions), Steve Gonzalez (Valdez), Robbie Hojilla (The Harbord Room), Basilio Pesce (Porzia), Scott Vivian (Beastand Nate Middleton (Home of the Brave) – collaborated with Ontario farmers and beverage producers for The 2015 Almanac Dinner in support of The Stop Community Food Centre.

Hosted by Provisions and Pass The TableThe 2015 Almanac Dinner (#2015AlmanacDinner) took place at The Burroughes BuildingThe evening began with a cocktail reception at the beautiful loft space.

Photo Credit: Brooke Wedlock (IG:@brookewedlock)

Delicious cocktails + Canapes = No more Monday blues!

Photo Credit: Brooke Wedlock (IG:@brookewedlock)

I enjoyed the following tasty snacks prepared by the chefs:

Squid ink rice chip, lemon grass, ginger and Acadian Sturgeon caviar

Crispy salmon skin, avocado, anaheim chili and raw cucumber

Multigrain raw cracker, kozliks mustard, parmesan cheese and chives

Walnut and goats yogurt espuma, anjou pear and earl grey raisin puree

Photo Credit: Brooke Wedlock (IG:@brookewedlock)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

&Company Resto Bar

Looking for a place to wine and dine with your friends then party late into the night? If your answer is a resounding "Yes!" then you should check out &Company Resto Bar (Twitter: @AndCoRestoBar, Facebook: &Company Resto Bar). Located across from Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, &Company Resto Bar is a bar, a restaurant, and a club all in one. 

The supper club was opened in December 2011 and has now become a popular local hotspot.

As &Company Resto puts it: "Go for dinner and stay for the party!" The full experience at this Mississauga hangout begins with dinner with friends and transitions into bustling nightlife at 10pm.

A few shots I took of &Company Resto Bar before dinner. The venue can host up to 300 guests for dinner and 800 guests for cocktails comfortably and seamlessly (great for corporate events and private parties).

Friday, April 17, 2015

Boralia (formerly "Borealia")

People ask me this a lot: "So where have you been lately that's good?" and of course by "where" what they really mean is "what new restaurants". Normally I would need at least a good 20 seconds to recap in my head all the places I've been to in the past couple of months (which is usually a lot) and at times, to his / her disappointment, my answer would just be "Nowhere really". Sure I may have had a few good / decent meals but to specifically name a place knowing that the person may end up going because of my recommendation? That's pressure, guys. Major pressure. In my head their question actually becomes "So where have you been lately that's spectacular? Somewhere you would go back to again and again" Well, these days my answer would be "Boralia". No hesitation whatsoever. Boralia (Twitter: @Boralia_To, Facebook: Boralia Restaurant) is certainly one of the tastiest, and one of the most interesting dinners I've had in a very long time.

Unlike the other two memorable dinners I had earlier this year at Buca Yorkville and SplendidoBoralia doesn't offer a tasting menu. Instead, a group of us (five to be exact) ordered Boralia's entire menu minus three dishes (that would be a total of nine "To Share" dishes, three "Snacks" and three "Desserts"). The actually worked out quite well for us; we didn't leave feeling gross or overly stuffed. Just right.

So, what makes this cozy little restaurant on Ossington so unique? Well, it's the fact that there's no other establishment in Toronto that serves their kind of food. Boralia's menu showcases Canada's indigenous cuisine; think dishes inspired from historic recipes of Canada’s early settlers and First Nations, with some plates dating back as far as the 1600's. As Boralia puts it, their dishes are

"...created through the inspiration provided by the wealth of tradition and history in old recipes melded with the simplicity of Chef’s preparation and modern techniques and a lighter, more sophisticated touch.

Chef and owners Evelyn Wu and Wayne Morris' distinctive dishes celebrates the rich bounty of Ontario farms, and feature game and sustainably sourced seafood. Long story short, prepare yourself for one-of-a-kind dishes like braised whelk, bison bresaola, mussels smoked in pine needles and pigeon pie. To me, Boralia's menu is a breath of fresh air in a city saturated with fried chicken, bone marrow, and Mexican food (there's a time and place for all of those things but it's getting extremely redundant).

Boralia’s space is modern and polished, with a definite European feel to it. I really like all the wood accents especially the arched thick wood beams wrapping the ceiling. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

7 Enoteca

If you're ever looking for exceptional Italian food, try venturing outside the downtown core to Oakville's 7 Enoteca (Twitter: @7Risto, Facebook: 7 Risto). Yes, I said Oakville! I know it's a bit out of the way for some of you urban dwellers living in downtown Toronto but if you own a car and don't mind driving a bit further for good food, then I highly suggest you check out 7 Enoteca (and if you're already in the Mississauga / Hamilton / Oakville then you have no excuse).

Serving authentic and inspired dishes from Italy, this upscale pizzeria in Oakville's Town Square strives to bring to their diners the authentic Italian dining experience. With many of their products flown in from Italy - from the wheat flour for their Neapolitan pizzas and cheeses, to truffles and wines - 7 Enoteca is fully dedicated in having the most authentic Italian ingredients and flavours on their menu. Having said that, the restaurant still sources fresh seasonal ingredients from local vendors whenever possible.

7 Enoteca reminds me of the restaurants in the King West neighbourhood; the crowd is bustling and lively, and the decor is modern with a touch of rustic. Those uber cool Edison light fixtures immediately caught my eye when I walked in. I want one in my house.

Notice the cowhide-lined marble bar. And FYI, those bar stools are upholstered in Lamborghini leather.

This is my first time seeing arched ceilings at a restaurant. So pretty.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dinner with Master Charcutier Gilles Verot

On March 23rd & 24th, Master Charcutier Gilles Verot visited Café Boulud (@CafeBouludTOat the Four Seasons in Toronto for a special dinner and charcuterie night. Gilles Verot - originally from the Loire Valley in France and a third-generation Gallic charcutier - is the legend behind the charcuterie programs in many of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants, including Café Boulud and dbar. Ever since a chance encounter ten years ago with Daniel Boulud, Verot (@GillesVerot) has been working with the Chef in bringing his artisanal approach to French charcuterie across North America.

I was one of ten lucky guests to be invited and savour a special three-course dinner at the Yorkville restaurant designed exclusively by Gilles Verot with wine pairings by Wine Director Drew Walker. 

Master Charcutier Gilles Verot (middle) explaining his specialties to us.

Here's a look at what we had:

Provence style marinated poultry, salad of olives, tomato, zucchini & eggplant

Nantua sauce

Meat pie, reduction jus, pommes anna