Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Knob Creek Prize Pack Giveaway Winner is...


Congratulations Krista! You've just won a $100 Knob Creek® prize pack which includes a bottle of Knob Creek® Straight Bourbon (9 Year Old) and a 10-piece Oggi Pro Cocktail Shaker & Bar Tool set. Please email me your first and last name, your mailing address, and a photo / scan of a valid photo ID at :)

I also want to say a big THANK YOU to the 100 contestants who participated in the contest

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #fjcknobcreek 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 "I want to win a $100 @knobcreek prize pack from @foodieyu this Christmas! #fjcknobcreek". 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 207 valid entries:

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

Friday, December 12, 2014

Bar Fancy

Bar Fancy (@BarFancyTO) is not fancy. It never was and it never will be. The one-month old snack bar on 1070 Queen St. W. may have a lavish gold facade but I beg you, don't let that metallic glow or its name fool you. Am I being too harsh? Not one bit. Actually, owners and chefs Jonathan Poon (@J6poonToand Jesse Fader want Bar Fancy to be anything but fancy. They serve fun and tasty snacks with cheap drinks at the new neighbourhood bar.

Forget trying to find a door at the front. Instead, walk through the left alleyway (you can't miss the bright neon tiger sign) and the second door on your right is where you're supposed to be. 

Continuing with the ironically "not-at-all-fancy" theme, the interior of Bar Fancy is pretty cozy with warm woods, candlelight and splashes of stainless steel. There's no gold in here! It's a laid-back place with mellow vibe. Take a look at that teeny tiny kitchen.

There are a few reds and whites by the glass, each priced at $11 for a 5-oz pour, and several beers. No cocktail menu though - if you want something just ask. The first time there I had a glass of white and an Old Fashioned, the second time I opted for beer.

Dieu du Ciel! Rosée D'hibiscus

With Poon still in the Chantecler kitchen (he is the chef and co-owner of the successful Parkdale restaurant) Fader runs a one-man show at Bar Fancy (Fader was sous chef at Chantecler). The short snack menu at Bar Fancy is comprised of classic bar snacks as well as several new creations (we were told that more plates will be added as things settle in). Except for the ribeye, I've tried everything on the menu during my two visits: 


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Buca Osteria & Bar (Buca Yorkville)

Buca Osteria & Bar at 53 Scollard Street (or the Four Seasons condo tower) is the newest addition to the King Street Food Company's group of restaurants. With an already impressive list of successful restaurants in its portfolio such as Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse (2007), Buca Osteria & Enoteca (2009), The Saint Tavern (2012) and Bar Buca (2014), owners Gus Giazitzidis, Peter Tsebelis and chef Rob Gentile are certainly doing everything right. After all, world renowned chef Jamie Oliver doesn't just partner up with anybody to open a restaurant (in case you've been living under a rock Mr. Oliver will be collaborating with King Street Food Company to open North America's first Jamie's Italian at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Spring 2015). According to the press release, the establishment "will feature pasta and pizza made fresh daily on-site, an antipasti station with cured meats and an open kitchen, bringing the Italian family-style of dining to life." I'm excited, how 'bout you?

Sorry, I digress. My three friends and I visited Buca Osteria & Bar, or Buca Yorkville (@bucayorkville), last month for dinner. Similar to Bar Buca, this new location is open during the day from 8AM to 5PM serving specialty coffees and pastries, as well as lunch on weekdays and weekends.

I like the room here. It's spacious like Buca on King yet I appreciate the brighter lighting at this Yorkville location (it can get a tad dark at the King West spot sometimes). Modern and contemporary elements from Bar Buca, such as marble accents and concrete walls, can also be found but they are balanced with warm lighting and wooden floors here.

The 85-seat restaurant has a seafood-centric menu inspired by the coastal cuisine of Italy. You'll find a wide selection of house-made smoked and cured fish (think charcuterie but with fish), market oysters, crudo of whole branzino carved table side, whole salt-baked fish (also served table side), crudo misto platter serving a daily selection of raw sea food, fried apps such as crisp Altlantic cod tongues and crisp eel, plus Buca's signature pastas and pizzas that we have grown to love. If you love tasting menus, Buca Yorkville do those too. Limited to one seating a night, six diners get to experience a three-hour gastronomic feast at the chef's rail for $180 per person (additional $100 for wine pairings). 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Knob Creek Prize Pack Giveaway - CLOSED

Satisfy the bourbon and cocktail drinker in you by entering this contest for your chance to WIN a bottle of Knob Creek® Straight Bourbon (9 Year Old) and a 10-piece Oggi Pro Cocktail Shaker & Bar Tool set! Total value of prize pack is approx $100.

Even if you're not a bourbon or cocktail drinker (or someone who drinks absolutely no alcohol whatsoeveryou gotta admit this is one fantastic gift for a family member or a friend who does. You know what they say, right? "Everybody knows somebody who loves whiskey."*

*Nobody actually says that but you know it's true.

Aged 9 years in deeply charred American oak barrels to fully draw out the natural sugars, the award winning Knob Creek® is handcrafted in limited quantities using time-honoured recipes. It is then bottled bottle at an honest 100 proof to reflect the flavour, strength and patience that defined pre-prohibition whiskey. The result is a remarkably rich, sweet and full-bodied bourbon (this bourbon was also my favourite at the bourbon tasting I attended a while back).

Sip it neat. Open it up with a drop of water or filtered ice cubes and you're good to go. Or... how about making a cocktail?

This sleek, stylish bar tool set comes with everything you need to make your favourite cocktails. Each piece is made out of durable stainless steel with contemporary black accents and a brushed finish. The set includes:

- A double jigger and a 2-piece glass and stainless steel shaker set for mixing drinks;
- A lemon/lime slicing knife, bottle opener, cocktail strainer, stirrer, and tongs; and
- A cutting board and black stand for storage

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

I want to win a $100 @knobcreek prize pack from @foodieyu this Christmas! #fjcknobcreek

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 #fjcknobcreek 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. Contest is valid for Ontario residents only.
5. Contestants must be of legal drinking age. Winner will be asked to provide a photo/scan of his/her valid photo ID.

Contest starts on Tuesday, December 9th, and ends on Tuesday, December 16th at 12PM. 
One lucky winner will be chosen randomly from and I will announce the winner on Wednesday, December 17th. 

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^

Saturday, December 6, 2014

St. Andrew Poultry: A Gourmet Food & Butcher Shop in Kensington Market

Founded in 1962 by Jewish European immigrant Issac Jesin, St. Andrew Poultry (Twitter: @standrewpoultry, Facebook: St. Andrew Poultry) has long been a staple of providing quality raw meats and packaged goods in Kensington Market. After 51 years in the business, Issac handed down his wholesale and retail business to his son, Jerry. Dr. Jerry Jesin, a dentist and a passionate foodie, has been working hard to revitalize the retail business while still keeping St. Andrew Poultry true to its ‘old world charm’. As of September 1, St. Andrew Poultry, Jerry and his team re-opened with a complete 180° makeover.

One of Jerry’s goals is to reinvent the retail business by offering the best quality raw meats as well as expanding their packaged goods lineLet's take a look at St. Andrew Poultry poultry products, where it all started.

St. Andrew Poultry is more than just chicken. At the Butcher Counter you'll find a selection of raw poultry products such as chicken, cornish hen, turkey, duck and quail, and meat products such as AAA prime rib, steaks, lamb, pork loin, rabbit, goat and oxtail. St. Andrew Poultry also does their own Dry Aged beef in different cuts.

At the Prepared Food counter there's a wide selection of ready-to-eat seasonal soups, salads, side dishes, whole BBQ chickens, baby-back ribs, traditional and BBQ brisket sliced by the pound, and vegetarian specialties. Also available are fresh frozen, easy last minute meals to take home such as meat pies, lasagnas and hamburgers. All of their food is made fresh from locally sourced ingredients without the use of any additives, preservatives or fillers. 

To give something back to loyal customers who have been returning for years, customers who sign up for St. Andrew Poultry's "Supper Club" get 20% off a selection of prepared food between 5PM and 6:30PM daily (membership fee is $10).

The refrigerated area shelves assorted beverages, cheeses, and a variety of eggs, including extra large eggs, white/brown tray, organic, omega, free run, duck eggs and quail eggs.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jim Beam & Knob Creek Bourbon Tasting at Aft Kitchen & Bar

What do you do when you receive an email invitation to a Jim Beam® & Knob Creek® bourbon tasting? You immediately hit "Reply" and write back "Yes! I'll be there! Count me in!" Sounds too desperate? Maybe. But when it comes to bourbon tastings I'm more than willing to reschedule or cancel whatever is in the way. It's worth it. It's no trip to Kentucky but it's close enough in my book.

Bourbon is one of my favourite types of American whiskies. It is, and always will be, America's Native Spirit - a spirit that the Beam family had a tremendous hand in helping create, foster and grow, both in the U.S. and globally, since 1795. After seven generations, Fred Noe, the great-grandson of Jim Beam and the company's Master Distiller, keeps the family tradition going and continues to perfect the world's number one selling premium bourbon portfolio. 

(Photo Credit: Best of Toronto)

I was invited to an intimate Jim Beam® (@JimBeam) and Knob Creek® (@knobcreek) bourbon tasting and BBQ dinner at Aft Kitchen & Bar (Twitter: @aft_bar, Facebook: Aft Kitchen & Bar) several weeks ago. Being the keener that I am I was the first person to arrive (argh this always happens!)

But it's all good 'cause once I sat down I was offered this delicious cocktail: smoked peach bourbon sweet tea with Knob Creek® bourbon. Think sweetened iced tea spiked with a smokey bourbon. Yep, how I wish all iced tea came this way.

By the time I was halfway done my delicious "tea" the room was full! Guess it's time for some food.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Winner of the Zomato $100 Gift Card Giveaway is...


Congratulations Steph C! You've just won a $100 gift card to a restaurant of your choice from your friends at Zomato! Please email me your first and last name and your restaurant of choice at :)

I also want to say a big THANK YOU to the 30 contestants who participated in the contest

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked who 1) followed me (@foodieyu) on Twitter, 2) signed up for a Zomato account, 3) followed me on Zomato (foodieyu) and 4) left a comment on my contest blog post stating their Zomato and Twitter name. Thirty (#1 to #30) people entered the contest by performing steps 1 to 4. Next, I tracked the #fjczomato hashtag to see who tweeted for extra chances to win (these tweets were only valid if the person performed steps 1 to 4). The tracking was done using chronological order, as in, #31 was the first person to enter on the first day of the contest. To enter, the person had to tweet "Win a $100 gift card to a restaurant of your choice from @foodieyu & @Zomato! #Zomato #fjczomato". Each person could tweet up to three times a day for the duration of the contest. Below are the total 99 entries:

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

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hand to Mouth - A Kamayan Dinner at Lamesa Filipino Kitchen [VIDEO]

Ditch the knife, fork, spoon, chopsticks or whatever cutlery you use to eat. Free yourself from all that nonsense and just eat with your hands, folks. That's how it's going down at the kamayan dinners at Lamesa Filipino Kitchen, where food is presented on lush, green banana leaves and eaten by hand. Available every Sunday for $40 per person you can now experience an interactive, one-of-a-kind hands-on eating celebration.

The kamayan tradition is something that the owners and chefs at Lamesa (Twitter: @LamesaTO, Facebook: Lamesa) grew up with. Their parents would eat with their hands at home; it was a way for them to connect with their culture in a new country like Canada. At Lamesa, co-owner Les Sabilano and chefs Rudy Boquila and Joash Dy hope to bring people closer to Filipino culture with their kamayan style dining. So, what can you expect?

“Instead of the food simply being piled in the middle of the table, our chefs attempt to create beautiful presentations live, in front of guests. It all starts with an empty banana leaf covered table. Our chefs then begin to add one item at a time while explaining to guests how each component is made and how to eat it..." explains Sabilano.

Still confused? No sweat, I got it all on tape my phone when I visited Lamesa for a media dinner. Even if you're not confused just watch the video, okay? I spent a lot of time editing the thing :)

Don't hesitate nor think twice about this - just make a reservation now. It's that good and I'm that confident that you'll enjoy it. Most of the time I only post pictures but because I knew photos won't do this dinner justice, I had to take a video. Visually, I should have already sold you on this but I'm sure you're wondering "How about the food?" Let's just say it was extremely easy - almost too easy - to stuff my face nonstop with food (so un-lady like of me!) even with five other people at the table whom I've never met before in my life. Without utensils I felt completely ravenous; like a cave woman I was already ripping apart those adobe chicken wings even before I finished swallowing all that delicious garlic fried rice. I probably looked like I haven't had a morsel of food in days. I admit it was difficult to dig in at first, as in, I didn't want to ruin the beautiful masterpiece in front of me. Also I didn't want to be that person who couldn't wait two more seconds until everybody at the table was ready to eat. All that went out the window once I noticed someone reach out for a sisig lettuce cup, and the rest is history. Some time later (I apparently lost all track of time) what was left on the table in front of me were chicken bones, oxtail bones, and empty clam and mussel shells. I felt slightly embarrassed but I didn't care. I was full and happy. The end.

Click here for more information on the kamayan dinner at Lamesa. For reservations please email

*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*

Lamesa Filipino Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Seafood Feast at Catch

Please people. Do yourself a favour and venture north of Bloor to 744 St. Clair Ave. where you'll find Catch, one of my favourite seafood restaurants in the city right now.

Open Tuesdays to Sundays at 5 PM for dinner and Sundays from 11 AM to 3 PM for brunch, Catch (Twitter: @catch_toronto, Facebook: Catch) is a friendly neighbourhood restaurant serving high-quality, refined seafood dishes at affordable prices. Head chef Matty Cowan (formerly of Simple Bistro) is incredibly original with his menu and brings creative combinations of ingredients, flavours and textures together, showcasing seafood in new and interesting ways. Have you ever had octopus meatballs? Or an octopus-based bolognese? How about a "Fishermans Pie" - a twist on the "Shepherd's Pie" - that's made with lobster, scallops and shrimp? I certainly have not.

Ian Moores is currently making some very tasty craft cocktails at Catch.

The view from my seat at the bar. I love the space here; it's intimate, warm and cozy, and I love the modest open kitchen at the back. I'm also obsessed with that wooden ceiling.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Win a $100 Gift Card to a Restaurant of Your Choice with Zomato - CLOSED

Are you using Zomato yet?

Zomato (Twitter: @Zomato, Facebook: Zomato), the popular online and mobile restaurant search and discovery service, has finally made its first push into North America last month in - you guessed it - Toronto! Currently present in over 100 cities serving over 30 million monthly visitors globally, users of Zomato can access the website and mobile app to search for places to go out for a meal, get home delivery, catch up at a cafe, or enjoy the local nightlife. Zomato's core content features include menus, photos, and geocoded coordinates for restaurants; users can rate and review restaurants, as well as create their own network of foodies.

Providing in-depth information for over 11,000 restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area, one can browse through restaurant information, read and write restaurant reviews, share pictures, and build a personal network of people whose opinions they trust. Zomato’s award-winning mobile app allows users to discover restaurants around them based on their physical location, in addition to providing information for all restaurants in the city. 

To celebrate the launch of Zomato in Toronto, I'm giving away a $100 gift card, courtesy of Zomato, to one lucky winner of this contest. The $100 gift card can go towards a restaurant of YOUR CHOICE. Have a restaurant that you've always wanted to try but is out of your price range? Or having trouble figuring out where to take your foodie friend for his/her birthday? Or you simply want to splurge on yourself because you're just that amazing? Whatever the case may be, here's your chance!


1) Follow me (@foodieyu) on Twitter;
2) Sign up for a Zomato account at or via its mobile app;
3) Follow me (@foodieyu) on Zomato; and
4) Let me know in the comments section of this blog post your Twitter name and your Zomato name.

That's it, you've now entered the contest!

To increase your entries and your chances of winning, tweet the following sentence exactly as shown:

Win a $100 gift card to a restaurant of your choice from @foodieyu & @Zomato! #Zomato #fjczomato

1. Your tweet (i.e. extra entry to the contest) is valid only if you have completed steps 1 to 4.
2. You may tweet the above up to three times a day for the duration of the contest. Each tweet counts as one extra entry. Re-tweeting others do not count as an entry. 
3. The tweets are tracked by the #fjczomato 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. Restaurant of choice has to be located the Greater Toronto Area.

Contest starts on Monday, November 24th and ends on Monday, December 1st at 12PM. 
One lucky winner will be chosen randomly from and I will announce the winner on Wednesday, December 3rd. 

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^