Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dim Sum Workshop with Chef Susur Lee at Luckee [VIDEO]

Not many people can say that they've made dim sum with chef Susur Lee before. Like actually making Siu Mai dumplings with chef Lee side-by-side, in his kitchen, and learning the trade (similar to a semi-private lesson if you will). Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, right? So imagine my excitement when I received an invitation to Lee's newest restaurant, Luckee, for a two-hour exclusive dim sum workshop with the Chef! Not only did we get to experience firsthand how to make a few of Chef's key dishes, we also indulged in some dim sum and a delicious Luckee cocktail! But more on that later.


Luckee Restaurant and Bar (Twitter: LuckeeTO, Facebook: Luckee) headed by chef Susur Lee (@susurlee) and situated at SoHo Metropolitan Hotel in Toronto, serves upscale, modernized Chinese cuisine with dim sum service around-the-clock. Luckee's "Nouvelle Chinoise" menu offers classic dishes and refined dim sum from the culinary traditions of Guangzhou, Hunan and Szechuan regions, updated and enhanced by chef Lee. 


Luckee’s interiors subtly blend accents of imperial red and wall-to-wall panels of dynastic architecture, with a nod to 20th century Chinoiserie.




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weslodge for Wagyu

The Cutting Board at Weslodge is a beautiful thing; if you haven't had it yet you should really consider ordering it the next time you're there (read about the Cutting Board here). But if you can't make it on a Sunday or Monday for the elaborate meat board or if all that meat is a bit too daunting to you, the next best thing on Weslodge's menu is their Australian Wagyu Bavette with Chimichurri. Never thought I would like it as much as I did but dayam! It was good!

Bavette, a French-style cut, is another name for "flap" steak. It is a small cut from the bottom part of the sirloin that has a character much like flank or skirt steak.  Although less tender than fillet the Bavette, when given a quick hot sear, is known to pack intense meaty flavour and a surprisingly delicate texture. The cut works especially well with a strong flavoured condiment - such as chimichurri in this case - and the clear, rich pan juices also contains a lot of flavour. 

AUSTRALIAN WAGYU BAVETTE WITH CHIMICHURRI ($34)


Aside from the Australian Wagyu Bavette my friend Shayma, from The Spice Spoon (@SpiceSpoon), and I also shared the following plates:

BEEF TARTAR & FOIE GRAS MOUSSE ($14)
Pickled Mustard Seed + Egg White Pearls + Crispy Capers + Sour Dough 


DUCK BACON & EGG ($12)
Truffle Vinaigrette + Fingerling Potatoes + Duck Egg




Monday, July 28, 2014

Los Colibris

Food trend or not, I'll always have a soft spot for tacos. Whether it's the tacos al pastor from El Trompo, the baja fish taco from Grand Electric or the gobernador from Seven Lives, tacos can be so damn satisfying sometimes, you know? And it's all over if there's good guac 'cause I have no self control whatsoever when it comes to good guac. It's all on cruise control: hand grabs chip, dip chip in guac, place chip in mouth, chew, swallow, and basically repeat until all the chips are gone and I have no more stomach room for anything else. This is what I call #foodieproblems.

Anyway, for a lot of people, that's where it ends when it comes to Mexican cuisine. Guacamole and tacos. After all, Toronto is quite saturated with the fast, quick, grab-and-go taquerias. Nothing wrong with that but it begs the question: Where does one go for Mexican fine dining? A place for authentic, upscale Mexican cuisine where one can dine comfortably, spend a couple of hours over good food an drinks, and make a night out of it? Enter Los Colibris (Twitter: @loscolibris220, Facebook: Los Colibris), Toronto's first upscale Mexican restaurant.



Already home to sister restaurant El Caballito, the Mexican tequila cantina that opened earlier this year, 220 King St. W. is now also the home of Los Colibris, which occupies the second floor of the same building. The 150-seat Polanco-style restaurant distinguishes itself in the city by featuring white linen service alongside authentic Mexican, fine dining cuisine.


The decor in this grand, 3,500 square foot space follows the spirit of authentic eateries in Condesa, Mexico City. The restaurant features two private dining rooms that seat 12 and 50 respectively, allowing for both intimate private dining and private event experiences.




Thursday, July 24, 2014

Canyon Creek - More Than a Steakhouse [VLOG]

Canyon Creek (Twitter: @CanyonCreekEats, Facebook: Canyon Creek Restaurant) may not be the first place you think of when you eat out. Heck, it's not a restaurant that I would normally write about (or one you would expect me to write about anyway) but trust me, there are some radical changes happening there...ones that you should definitely know about.

So what do I mean by "radical changes"? Not sure about you but for the longest time, I thought Canyon Creek only offered steak. Okay, let me rephrase - I know they had other options but none that were too exciting. That all changed once I took a look at their updated menu; what I saw were enticing offerings such as Pakora Chicken, Fish Tacos, Thai Lettuce Wraps, Steak and Kimchi Quesadillas, and Asian Nachos... and these are just a few of their shared plates options. Nope, not boring anymore.

Another noticeable change is the number of non-steak selections. Grouped into Salads, Burgers and Sandwiches, Pastas, and Mains, these four categories combined together offers more than 20 different plates. If you're craving steak, by all means order it, but if you don't feel like having steak you can still walk into any Canyon Creek and be confident that there'll be something delicious waiting for you. 

So again you may ask, just how delicious? Just watch this video! My lovely friend Nicki (@ViewTheVibe) and I were invited to dine at Canyon Creek on Front Street several weeks ago for the launch of their new summer menu. We even had the pleasure of having Canyon Creek's Executive Chef Dorian King make us his Avocado & Bacon Salad at our table.


If, for whatever reason you can't or don't want to watch the video, or you have watched it but still want to look at pictures (yay!) here are some shots I took that evening along with my thoughts on each dish.

Executive Chef Dorian King plating the Avocado & Bacon Salad.


AVOCADO & BACON SALAD ($7.95)
Avocado, Campari tomatoes, bacon, shaved red onion, crumbled blue cheese, with creamy bacon vinaigrette
Pair avocado, an extremely healthy and fleshy fruit, with tasty and fatty bacon and you have the best of both worlds on one plate. Then add sweet Campari tomatoes, blue cheese, red onions and bacon vinaigrette, and you got yourself one very delectable starter salad.


JAIL ISLAND SALMON SALAD ($18.95)
Fresh Jail Island salmon, poached prawns, Japanese furikake, fresh greens, radishes, goat cheese, with lemon caper vinaigrette and dried cranberries
Salmon that's not dry? Can this be true? Yes. Resting on a bed of luscious greens, shrimp, goat cheese and dried cranberries, this piece of moist salmon was cooked to perfection. I also like the light dusting of Japanese furikake on top (furikake is a seasoning usually sprinkled on top of rice in Japan)




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Winner of the #SkittlesSelfie Skittles Giveaway is...

@kennygjr007

Congratulations Kenny! You have just won TWO MONTHS' WORTH OF SKITTLES! Please email me you full name and mailing address at foodjunkiechronicles@gmail.com :)


Thanks to the 4 contestants who participated in my giveaway

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #FJCTasteTheRainbow hashtag from day one of the giveaway (if you don't see your tweet in the hashtag stream, it means there is no entry from you. Sorry. Read this to find out the possible reasons why your tweets are not showing up.) The tracking was done using chronological order, as in, #1 was the first person to enter the contest. To enter, the person had to upload their #SkittlesSelfie and tweet "@foodieyu Here is my #SkittlesSelfie #FJCTasteTheRainbow!". To gain extra entries after you have tweeted me your #SkittlesSelfie you can tweet "Enter @foodieyu #giveaway to #win TWO MONTHS worth of Skittles! http://bit.ly/1nuMegG #FJCTasteTheRainbowEach" once a day for the remaining duration of the giveaway (any duplicates were removed). Once the giveaway was over and everybody's entries were accounted for I checked to see if they follow me (@foodieyuon Twitter. Below is a list of people who qualified for the contest:


I used "True Random Number Generator" from random.org to pick the winner from the 7 entries.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Halton Wing Festival 2014

GOT WINGS?
HELLS YEAH! As a matter of fact it's ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT WINGS!


When: Saturday, August 16th, 2014. Doors open at 5:30 pm 
Where: Central Arena - 519 Drury Lane, Burlington, Ontario.
Why: To support the Halton MS Society. 
What to expectAll-you-can-eat-wings from various vendors across the Halton area, live entertainment, raffles, contests, and an overall fun night! Drink tickets are available for purchase onsite (if you go dressed as a chicken your first drink will be free!)
Tickets: $35.00 for Adults, $20 for Kids from 3 to 8 years old


The Halton Wing Festival (Twitter: @WingFesitval, Facebook: Halton Wing Festivalis an event that brings people together who love wings, love to have fun and love to support a great cause. All proceeds from the Halton Wing Festival will go to support Halton MS client services. Vendors each year donate their wings, sauces, and time to the Festival and the Wing Fest committee donates their time and energy to making this event a huge success. The money raised goes right back into the community to help those fighting MS.

Please do your part and buy a ticket. Unlike most food events these days where you have to pay a fee to GET IN THE VENUE then have to PAY AGAIN FOR FOOD, at Halton Wing Festival your ONE PRICE ENTRY FEE entitles you to AS MUCH FOOD AS YOU CAN HANDLE. And with all proceeds going to Halton MS Society, you really should be there!


Oh, and just like last year I'll be on the judging panel :) I hope to see you there!

Related Post:
Halton Wing Festival 2013



Monday, July 21, 2014

Fresh Canteen - Cooking Made Easy

I'm always out for dinner - well 95% of the time anyway. I used to stay in and cook a lot a few years back (hence the baking and cooking tabs up top) but those days are long gone. I still love to cook and bake but I find myself lacking energy and / or the time to go grocery shopping then prepare an entire meal afterwards. I must be getting old or something...or I'm just plain lazy. Probably the latter.

Whichever the case may be Fresh Canteen (Twitter: @FreshCanteen, Facebook: Fresh Canteen) throws all my excuses out the window. Fresh Canteen is a brilliant food delivery service that delivers fresh ingredients and recipes right to your doorstep. You can cook an entire meal without having to step foot in a grocery store. How's that for convenience? It's perfect for individuals who enjoy cooking and preparing home-cooked meals but lack the time to go get groceries. Fresh Canteen's recipes typically take 35 mins or less and don't need any fancy equipment to prepare. Bonus!


All you have to do is visit Fresh Canteen's Recipe page, check out the week's recipes (they have new recipes posted each week) and choose a dish that you want to make. Each dish includes important information such as the description of the dish, its difficulty level, total time to make the dish, clear step-by-step instructions with photos, the list of ingredients you'll find in your package and the ones you won't but will need (these are pantry items such as butter, oil, and kitchen basics like pots and pans).

Once you've decided simply choose the number of recipes and servings you’d like and Fresh Canteen will deliver you the ingredients. They use a refrigerated box with insulated packaging and gel packs so there’s no need to be home for the delivery. You can also leave special instructions on how you’d like the box delivered (i.e. leave at the concierge if you live in an apartment).


In the box you'll find the recipe card with step-by-step photo instructions on how to prepare your meal and all the ingredients you'll need in exact amountsThe ingredients will stay fresh long enough for you to enjoy in the week you receive them. 


Fresh Canteen sources locally whenever possible and works with reputable suppliers in the city. Their goal is to ensure that their customers are eating only the freshest and best seasonal ingredients possible. 




Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sausage League 2014 - 2nd Round: The Saint Tavern vs. The Harbord Room

The fourth edition of the popular Sausage League competition is happening right now at Marben! Featuring a round robin competition between eight local chefs and restaurants for the best sausage dish, participating diners get to vote during each round to award Toronto's ultimate Sausage King.

For $25 you get to enjoy the entire Sausage League experience (2 unique sausage dishes and a Beau's lager) and cast a vote for the dish you liked the most and at the end of the evening, the restaurant that has garnered the most votes will proceed to the semifinals until one chef is left standing.

Round 1 took place on Tuesday, July 15th, between Rock Lobster and Origin St. James where Deron Engbers of Rock Lobster bested Harrison Hennick of Origin St. James in this year's first ever match. Deron’s Wild Boar and Tarragon Sausage with Fennel Slaw was the winning dish, edging out Harrison's Chicken Sausage with Tempura Cauliflower, Hot Buffalo Sauce & Yuzu plate.


I attended Round 2 the very next day on Wednesday. The battle was between The Saint Tavern (@thesainttavern) and The Harbord Room (@theharbordroom). Just so you know Jesse Vallins from The Saint has been the reigning Sausage King for the last TWO years. Will he take home the title for the third time? We will see :)

The two sausages were brought out with coloured napkins corresponding to the sausage on the voting card. This encourages diners to vote for the tastier dish rather than their favourite chef or restaurant.

"RED SAUSAGE
Bacon sausage, pork & cheddar pierogi, herb sour cream, caramelized onion puree


"BLUE SAUSAGE"
Pork pesto sausage, pine nuts, basil, corn polenta, buttermilk twill




Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Forth in Greektown

Located at 629 Danforth Ave. just south of Pape is The Forth, the newest project from chef Chris Kalisperas (formerly of Brassaii) and his investors, The Signature Group. This ambitious new restaurant is a multi-story, 8,000 square foot space decked out with copious lighting and enormous floor to ceiling windows. With two separate dining areas - one on the main floor and the other on the second floor - the entire restaurant can accommodate up to 160 seats. Suffice to say there's ample seating here.


Despite the fact that chef Kalisperas' background is Greek and The Forth (Twitter: @TheForthTO, Facebook: The Forthis in the heart of Greektown, you won't find anything Greek on the menu. Rather, The Forth offers contemporary Canadian cuisine with Mediterranean influences. Kalisperas also emphasizes on sourcing locally and seasonally (which usually means the menu will change often). 


 A massive wine wall separates the kitchen and the first floor dining room.


Oh, and forget the stairs. Take the elevator to the second floor where you'll find more seating space and a lounge area. There's no doubt about it - you can really feel the grandeur and elegance of the The Forth once you're up here. Take note of the cool duo projection screens showing black and white historical photos of the city (they are also visible from the main floor).




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

#SkittlesSelfie Skittles Giveaway - CLOSED

I'm giving away TWO MONTHS' worth of SKITTLES!

To enter my contest all you have to do is visit www.skittlesselfie.ca,


Upload your Selfie, "Skittles it" and Share it on Twitter by tweeting:

@foodieyu Here is my #SkittlesSelfie #FJCTasteTheRainbow!

In order to qualify make sure you follow me @foodieyu on Twitter and attach your #SkittlesSelfie with the tweet.That's it! You've now entered my contest :D


Want more chances to win? Then tweet the following after you've submitted your #SkittlesSelfie:

Enter @foodieyu #giveaway to #win TWO MONTHS worth of Skittles! http://bit.ly/1nuMegG #FJCTasteTheRainbow

You can tweet the above tweet once a day for the entire duration of the contest as long as you have submitted your #SkittlesSelfie. The more you tweet the higher your chances of winning!

*Contest is valid in Canada only
*Two months worth of Skittles = ~ 60 bags = ~ 2 bags per day
*I'll be tracking all tweets by the #FJCTasteTheRainbow hashtag

CONTEST DURATION
Contest starts on Wednesday, July 16 and ends on Wednesday, July 23 at 12 PM. 
One lucky winner will be chosen randomly from www.random.org and I will announce the winner on Wednesday, July 23.

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^