Tuesday, September 16, 2014

DaiLo: Restaurant & Dim Sum Bar in Little Italy

After what seemed like an eternity awfully long time, chef Nick Liu, formerly of The Niagara Street Café, finally opened DaiLo last month. Located on 502 College Street beside Mexican taco spot La Carnita, the Asian Brasserie - which was to be called "GwaiLo" initially - encountered some tough times when it was supposed to open two years ago. With potential locations falling through, investors pulling out and business partner Christina Kuypers departing the business venture, Liu's aspiration to open his own place seemed increasingly uncertain. Regardless, even without a kitchen, Liu still generated a ton of buzz for GwaiLo with his creative pop-ups and dinners (write-ups on those dinners can be found at the end of this post). He successfully captivated local foodies' palettes with his modern twists on traditional Asian cuisine. The dish that made a lasting impression on me two years ago was undoubtedly Liu's Whole Fried Trout and I'm thrilled that this stunning dish has finally found a permanent home on DaiLo's menu...but more on that later.


It has been quite a journey for Liu and thankfully, all that is now in the past. With co-owners Anton Potvin (who owned The Niagara Street Café), Jen Grant and David Dattel, Liu's much anticipated Asian fine dining restaurant is once and for all, a reality.


DaiLo (Twitter: @DaiLoTO, Facebook: DaiLo) is open for dinner from Tuesday to Sunday, 5:30 PM to 2:00 AM. DaiLo is the 80-seat, main floor restaurant while LoPan is the casual, 55-seat cocktail and dim-sum snack bar on the second floor (and it's certainly not your everyday dim sum like har gow and siu mai...think Big Mac Bao). My four friends and I had dinner at DaiLo a few Fridays ago so all the photos here are of DaiLo, not LoPan.


The room is distinctively Chinoiserie with a mixture of European and Chinese artistic styles and design.




Monday, September 15, 2014

The Winner of the 2014 Delicious Food Show Tickets Giveaway is...

@nicoleroannef

Congratulations Nicole! You have just won a pair of tickets to this year's Delicious Food Show! Please email me at foodjunkiechronicles@gmail.com with your first and last name and your address so I can mail you the tickets :)


I also want to say a big THANKS to the 72 contestants who participated in the contest

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #fjcdfs hashtag from day one of the contest (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 tweet "Hey @foodieyu I want to win a pair of tickets to the @deliciousshow! http://bit.ly/1ruZCnE #fjcdfs #dfs14". 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 is a list of people who qualified for the contest:
.

I used "True Random Number Generator" from random.org to pick the a winner for me.




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Langdon Hall - Tranquil Grounds & Luxurious Amenities

It has been three months since my birthday weekend at Langdon Hall (Twitter: @Langdon_Hall, Facebook: Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa). I've already posted about my fabulous meals there (chef's tasting menu and Sunday brunch) so under normal circumstances that would be it from me. However, I felt it would be wrong to not share these photos with you. Even though this post is not food-related I guarantee it is worth your time. I also believe that everybody deserves to know how beautiful Langdon Hall is.


For three years in a row, Langdon Hall - a Relais & Châteaux (Twitter: @RelaisChateaux, Facebook: Relais & Chateaux) property - has been voted best hotel in Canada 3rd year in a row by the Condé Nast Traveller Readers Choice Awards for 2013. The property was also placed 63rd on its World Top 100 List in a 7-way tie with luxury properties from St. Lucia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Turkey, and Georgia.


There are four walking trails throughout the Hotel's property. Trail maps can be found in each of the guest rooms or at the reception desk.


Open from May until late September, the pool is great for swimming and lounging. The property also has a tennis court and croquet lawn.




Monday, September 8, 2014

The 2014 Delicious Food Show Tickets Giveaway - CLOSED

I'm giving away a PAIR of tickets worth $40 to this year's Delicious Food Show!


Brought to you from the creators of One of a Kind Show, Interior Design Show and Art Toronto, "The Delicious Food Show is a 3 day food-lovers event designed to engage the consumer in a delicious, all food, lifestyle and entertaining experience featuring hundreds of exhibitors, cooking demos, tastings, hands-on workshops, book signings, and appearances by Food Network and international celebrity chefs."

 DELICIOUS FOOD SHOW 2014 HIGHLIGHTS
- Chefs Mario Batali, Tyler Florence, Chuck Hughes, Roger Mooking, Nadia G, and Cronut inventor Dominique Ansel will be taking to the stages for demos, talks, book signings and workshops throughout the three-day event
- Over 100 purveyors of premium products and fine foods will be on display, showcasing their absurdly delicious eats and treats
- Taste Canada Cooks the Books will pair one famed Canadian cookbook author with groups of students who will have to prepare one recipe from the author's book to vie for the title of Canada's Best New Student Chef
Naturally Delicious will see a host of vendors with foods and products that are all-natural, organic, raw, gluten-free, free of additives and preservatives, and overall promote a healthy lifestyle
- A very special edition of Abbey's Kitchen Stadium will pit eight of Toronto's top chefs against each other in an all-out maniacal melee
- #DeliciousHotspot will highlight some of Toronto's top restaurants and pop-ups, with show attendees able to purchase samples to taste their edible excellence


The Delicious Food Show will be held at the Direct Energy Centre, Hall A:
Friday, October 17, 2014 (10AM – 9PM)
Saturday, October 18, 2014 (10AM – 8PM)
Sunday, October 19, 2014 (10AM – 6PM)

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

Hey @foodieyu I want to win a pair of tickets to the @deliciousshow! http://bit.ly/1ruZCnE #fjcdfs #dfs14

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 #fjcdfs 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. Winning tickets can be used on either one of the 3-day event.

CONTEST DURATION
Contest starts on Monday, September 8 and ends on Monday, September 15 at 12PM. One lucky winner will be chosen randomly from www.random.org and I will announce the winner on Monday, September 15. 

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^




Friday, September 5, 2014

Raw Bar Mondays at Buonanotte

Got a case of the Mondays? You're not alone. Unless it's a long weekend I start dreading about Monday the moment I wake up on Sunday (I'm not even kidding.) Nevertheless, instead of getting all depressed about the damn day we can start by thinking positive thoughts, more specifically thoughts about tasty food like oysters, ceviches, tartares, and drinks like wine, cocktails and beer. Thanks to Raw Bar Mondays at Buonanotte, Mondays will never be the same again.


Every Monday starting at 5pm till close, Buonanotte (Twitter: @BuonanotteTO, Facebook: Ristorante Buonanotte Torontowill make your Mondays exponentially better. What you can expect are the following: $1 oysters, half price wine, $5 Negroni, $5 Aperol Spritz, $5 Peroni and Moretti, and a special raw bar menu featuring tartares and ceviches by executive chef Davide Iannaci. See what I mean? You're stomach will thank you.

I visited Buonanotte specifically for their Raw Bar Mondays promotion three weeks ago, and because I'm such a keener I arrived right at 5pm (this explains why the place is empty). Who goes to a restaurant at 5pm? This girl. But meh it's how I get awesome room shots like these.


After 21 years in Montreal, Buonanotte finally opened its second location in January of 2013, taking over the former AME space on 19 Mercer Street. The supper club serves contemporary Italian cuisine with modern twists and seats an impressive 160. The decor features a stunning copper lattice ceiling installation along with wood paneling, white leather banquettes, and a massive black and white vintage photo of an Italian street that spans the entire wall. 


Hmmm I see a wood fired oven tucked away in the corner of the pizza station...but more on that later.




Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Poutineville

"Wait. Lemme get this straight. You are telling me that I can now sit comfortably at a table with my friends while being served poutine? And my poutine can be paired with wine, beer or cocktail? Just like if I was at a ... *gasp* ... restaurant?!"

Yep, it's time you pay Poutineville (Twitter: @PoutineVille, Facebook: Poutineville) a visit. Unlike most (if not all) poutine places in Toronto, Poutineville is a fully licensed restaurant. The option of having poutine with alcohol in a restaurant setting really elevates this Canadian dish from a casual snack or a fast food item to something much more: 

Poutineville offers poutine as a main, as part of an entire meal

Poutineville's selection of appetizers (i.e. Goat cheese bruchetta, chicken tenders, chicken wings) and salads (i.e. House salad, Poutineville salad, tossed Greek salad) reinforces the notion that customers can now have a starter before their poutine entrée. If diners want just a few bites of poutine, Poutineville has got that covered too. With four burgers and four sandwiches on the menu all served with a side of fries / salad, you can easily substitute your side with a classic poutine for $2. Don't get me wrong, there's always a time for grab-and-go, standing room only and cash only poutine joints*ahem* *cough* *Poutini's* *cough* but c'mon, you can't deny that Poutineville is pretty awesome, and I haven't even talked about their poutines yet! Oh and another reason why I'm so drawn to Poutineville is that they take reservations. As an individual who likes to plan everything (and I mean everything) and detests waiting or lining up for food, this is a huge plus for me. HUGE.

Contrary to what you may think, Poutineville is not new to the poutine scene. The first Poutineville opened in April 2011 on Beaubien Street in Montreal. After only 10 months, Poutineville opened their second location in downtown Montreal. Since then, the restaurant expanded in Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto. I visited their first Toronto location at 296 Brunswick Ave. a few weeks ago. Thcan seat over 100 guests and is equipped with a full-service bar, a lounge area, banquettes and a cozy patio. “With the popularity of our three Montreal locations, we wanted to bring the Poutineville experience to Toronto” say co-owners Kosta Kariotakis and Camillo Fresco. 


Poutineville offers a wine list that features local wines and beers. Their cocktail menuis curated by mixologist Nishan Nepulangoda (Nishan is the gentleman at the back).


If you're still not impressed then check this out: You can create your own poutine at PoutinevilleYou can choose from a list of over 27 ingredients, 10 different cheeses, a choice of four kinds of potatoes and five kinds of sauces!




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Albion Rooms, Ottawa

Thanks to my friend Don's recommendation, I stopped by The Albion Rooms for lunch when I was in Ottawa last month. I was only in town for four days so I had to make the best of my road trip. If you're ever heading to the O dot and looking for dining options, do what I did - check out Don's food blog foodiePrints or hit them up on Twitter at @foodiePrints - you'll soon realize that Don and Jenn knows everything food related in Ottawa! When I told Don where I was staying and that I wanted some lunch options in the area, he quickly suggested The Albion Rooms.

Opened at Novotel Ottawa Hotel in April 2013, The Albion Rooms serves up rustic yet contemporary, farm-to-table Canadian cuisine. According to the restaurant's website, chef Stephen La Salle (@TheSKLaSalle) of The Albion Rooms calls his food “Contemporary Country Canadian”:

"...he pulls in different contemporary elements of Canadian cuisine with a country rustic style to produce plates that are modern but familiar. In paying homage to “Albion” (our British settlers) Chef Stephen plays with subtle British undertones in the food that will definitely stand alone."

 When I walked into the restaurant, I quickly learned that La Salle will be one of ten chefs participating in Ottawa’s regional Gold Medal Plates on November 17th! Founded in 2003, Gold Medal Plates is a prestigious, national culinary competition where chefs from 11 cities across Canada compete to win gold, silver and bronze medals.




The beautiful bar is most definitely the focal point at The Albion Rooms. However, the restaurant also houses a cozy lounge area, a large outdoor patio and a modest dining room.




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sausage League 2014 - Final - The Saint vs. The Drake

It was yet again a battle between The Saint Tavern (@thesainttavern) and The Drake Hotel (@thedrakehotel) in this year's Sausage League finals on August 6th. Just in case you're not aware the annual Sausage League, now in its 4th year, brings together chefs from some of Toronto's hottest restaurants to compete for the title of "Sausage Champion". The competition takes place at Marben (@MarbenResto) every year and for $25 per person, you get to enjoy two sausages (one from each competitor) paired with a craft beer. When the diners are done they each cast a vote for their favourite sausage to help crown the winner of that round. The restaurant with the most votes that evening gets to proceed to the next round of the tournament.

In this year's finals, a lot was at stake for Jesse Vallins (@jessevallins) of The Saint; the two-time reigning Sausage League champion surely had a reputation to uphold. However, the pressure was looming for John Koplimae (@J_Koplimae) of The Drake as well since he was so close to taking home the Fromer's cup last year.


Who will it be? Jesse or John? Read on to find out!

Photo Credit: Marben

I snagged a seat at Marben's chef's table for the event. Given my view, I knew exactly whose sausage dish belonged to which chef. This didn't sway nor influence my decision though - I still voted for the sausage which I thought was superior.


"RED SAUSAGE
Smoked BBQ brisket, buttermilk bun, coleslaw, BBQ sauce, morney 5 cheese, crispy onions




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Winners of the Elephant & Castle Gift Cards are...

@sleepydex
@EldoLai

Congratulations Dexter and Eldon! You have each won a $50 Gift Card to Elephant & Castle! Please email me at foodjunkiechronicles@gmail.com with your first and last name and your address so I can mail you the gift card :) I hope you will enjoy your time at Elephant & Castle! Remember you can use your gift card at both 212 King St. W. and 378 Yonge St. locations.


I also want to say a big THANKS to the 70 contestants who participated in the contest

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #fjccastle hashtag from day one of the contest (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 tweet "Hey @foodieyu I want to win one of two $50 gift cards to @elephantcastle! http://bit.ly/1tmpMLT #fjccastle". 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 is a list of people who qualified for the contest:
.


I used "True Random Number Generator" from random.org to pick the two winners for me.




Friday, August 22, 2014

Canadian Club® Whisky Tour

For two days straight, and most of the time with a drink in my hand, I immersed myself in the world of Canadian whisky at the Canadian Club® Brand Centre in Windsor, Ontario. I had the opportunity to explore the historic heart of the prohibition - including the the speakeasy that once hosted Al Capone - take part in a mixology session, a whisky tasting, and even sign a barrel at Canadian Club®'s barrel aging warehouse. I'm so happy I took part in this exclusive media trip. I had a lot of fun while learning all about Canadian whiskies.


Once I arrived, the first thing I noticed was the Brand Centre's elegant and classical architecture. Constructed in 1894, it reflects the grand and stately 16th century Italian renaissance style. Not only was it the world headquarters for the Company distillery, it also housed the many interests of the company, including farming, real estate, the Lake Erie and Detroit River Railroad, the Mettawas Hotel in Kingsville and other small enterprises. Today, the building is a testimony to the perseverance and commitment of a company that, for over 150 years, has dedicated itself to the craft of producing Canadian whisky. 

Tish Harcus, Canadian Club® Brand Ambassador, greeted us with, you know it, Canadian Club® whisky (Twitter: @Canadian_Club, Facebook: Canadian Club). Tish insisted that everyone should have a drink in their hand at all times inside the Brand Centre.



Yep, I like Tish :)