Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Upper Deck by Fran's Giveaway

 I'm giving away a DINNER FOR TWO to Upper Deck by Fran's valued at $100. This is your chance to visit the latest addition to the Downtown Yonge corridor and Toronto’s newest rooftop patio before the summer's over!

Upper Deck by Fran's, which took over the two upper levels of Fran’s flagship College Street location, is a casual eatery with a menu that focuses on Americana and international flavours. Customers can expect generous diner-style breakfasts and home-style comforts with contemporary twists. They even have an extensive seasonal cocktail menu including classics like the Negroni, Old Fashioned and Cosmopolitan, as well as shareable cocktails such as the Muskoka Mule, College Street Tea and Jack Daniels Rhubarb Lemonade.

When you are there, don't forget to order their Boomtown Burger. It's delish! In case you missed it, you can find my full post on Upper Deck by Fran's here.

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

Enter for your chance to win a Dinner for Two at #UpperDeckbyFrans valued at $100 from @foodieyu! #fjcupperdeck

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 #fjcupperdeck 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. Prize expires on September 30, 2016

Contest starts on Wednesday, August 17, and ends on Wednesday, August 24, at 12PM. 
One lucky winners will be chosen randomly from and I will announce the winner shortly after.

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^

Monday, August 15, 2016

Feast of St. Lawrence Festival: Dinner Under the Stars

 The inaugural Feast of St. Lawrence (#feaststlawrence) began on Friday, August 12th, with Dinner Under the Stars, an exclusive dinner where one hundred guests gathered on Front Street (between Scott and Church Street) for a special al fresco dinner. Rain was in the forecast so a tent was set up.

Tickets to Dinner Under the Stars was $200 per person. A portion of ticket sales was donated to FoodShare and a charitable tax receipt was issued for a portion of the cost.

Dinner Under the Stars began at 6:30pm with passed hors d'oeuvres, and a wine and beer reception.

Steam Whistle, Norman Hardie 2015 Riesling, Cave Spring Brut 'Dolomite', Tawse 2014 Limestone Ridge Sparkling Riesling

Oyster station from Pearl Diver.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hello Fresh - A "Cook from Scratch" Meal Delivery Service

With 7.5 million meals per month and 850,000 subscribers globally, HelloFresh made their way to Canada in May 2016. HelloFresh (Instagram: @hellofreshca, Facebook: Hello Fresh CA) is a meal delivery subscription service that delivers locally sourced fresh ingredients and recipes straight to your doorstep. HelloFresh's team of in-house chefs create easy-to-prepare, nutritious recipes, and pre-measured ingredients are delivered right to your door every week. The recipes are quick and easy to follow (they all take 30 mins or less), and don't require any fancy equipment or techniques. All you need to have available at home is salt, pepper, sugar, cooking oil, and butter. 

HelloFresh delivers on Tuesday and Wednesday of each week and delivery typically occurs between 9am-5pm. If you are not home during delivery, their courier will drop the box off at your front door (or wherever you specify in your delivery instructions). HelloFresh's subscription service is very flexible; there's no minimum length for subscriptions and you can deactivate at any time. You can even pause your subscription, just as long as it's done before midnight on Wednesday before the following week's delivery. HelloFresh currently delivers across Southern, Central, and Eastern Ontario (see delivery zones here).

Every week, HelloFresh's Pronto and Family Boxes feature 4 meal choices: 3 with meat options and 1 vegetarian option. You can choose your top 3 favourites each week and also set personal preferences such as Beef Free, Fish Free, Pork Free, Seafood Free, or Shellfish Free as choice defaults. I was sent a 3 Meal Pronto Box for Two to try. 

HelloFresh have specially designed boxes that are lined with thick liners and are 100% recyclable. I love how each recipe and its ingredients are in separate boxes. This keeps everything neat and in-place.

Underneath the boxed ingredients is a separate layer containing protein and ice packs.

Everything in my Meal Pronto Box for Two are shown below. HelloFresh offers three types of boxes (prices include delivery):

3 Meal Pronto Box for Two - $79.99 
3 Meal Pronto Box for Four - $139.99 
3 Meal Family Box for Four - $129.99

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Upper Deck by Fran's

We've been having quite the summer, huh? That heat! You won't hear me complaining about it though because I absolutely despise winter. I hate everything about the season - the frigid temperatures, the snowstorms, the freezing rain, the drive. Ughhhh. So, if you're like me and are scouting around the city, trying to enjoy the last of summer and chilling on patios, then I highly recommend you check out Upper Deck by Fran's (Instagram: @upperdeckbyfrans, Facebook: Upper Deck by Fran's)

Upper Deck by Fran's, which took over the two upper levels of Fran’s flagship College Street location, is less of a classic diner and more of a casual eatery. Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, the restaurant's menu focuses on Americana and international flavours. Customers can expect generous diner-style breakfasts and home-style comforts with contemporary twists.

The first floor of Upper Deck by Fran's is fully indoor and features a large wrap around bar.

Take a look at this cool art installation of the College subway station on the way to the second floor of Upper Deck by Fran's.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Feast of St. Lawrence

Get ready for St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood BIA’s first annual Feast of St. Lawrence Festival (#feaststlawrence), Toronto's newest summer food festival which kicks off this Friday, August 12th. Over three sumptuous days, the Feast of St. Lawrence Festival (Facebook: Feast of St. Lawrence) aims to celebrate the rich, authentic and delicious history of Old Town Toronto as a food destination, bringing people together through a shared love of food and raise awareness for FoodShare, a local Toronto charity that supports healthy eating and creates access to fresh food. 

The three-day festival begins in spectacular fashion with an exclusive, al fresco fine dining event on Friday night. One hundred guests will be seated at a continuous table on Front Street (between Scott and Church Street) and served a sumptuous 5-course dinner prepared by chefs from some of the top restaurants in the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood including Biff's Bistro, Hawthorne Food & Drink, The Hot House Restaurant, Omni King Edward Hotel, Pearl Diver, The Sultan's Tent and Woods. Wine pairings from Niagara's Somewhereness wine consortium will be served with the dinner while the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band provides added ambiance to the already impressive staging. The event begins with an hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer reception at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 11:00 p.m. The tickets are $200 and are now on sale. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to FoodShare and a charitable tax receipt will be issued for a portion of the cost.

On Saturday, August 13th, the celebration moves to the world famous St. Lawrence Market and Market Street with outdoor food stalls and seating areas, farm fresh produce, canning and food preparation demonstration sessions in the Market, licensed patios at the Market Street Restaurants, a pig roast from the Farmer's Market, live entertainment including a special performance by The Beatles cover band The Rattles, and much more. Restaurant partners for Saturday include the St. Lawrence Market, Farmer’s Market, Barsa Taberna, Bindia Indian Bistro, Cresta Restaurant and Evolution Food Co. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

 Sunday, August 14th, is designed for the whole family with fun and healthy activities in St. James Park. Activities during the day include a professional Punch and Judy puppet show, games and activities presented by the Cooper Koo Y, arts and crafts, a photo button booth, face painting, a kid friendly food workshop, an opportunity to learn the basics of swordfighting from trained historical re-enactors, and much more. FoodShare will be onsite with their mobile market, selling fresh healthy snacks. The fun begins at 10 a.m. in St. James Park (King and Jarvis Street) and runs until 4 p.m.

Attendance is free to the Saturday and Sunday portions of the Feast of St. Lawrence!

Will you be there? I'll certainly be at the dinner on Friday, and most likely drop by on Saturday as well. If you see me, make sure to say HI! :)

For more information on the Feast of St. Lawrence, please visit their website or contact them at:

258 Adelaide Street East, Suite 403
Toronto, ON
M5A 1N1
+1 (416) 861-1793

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Gyu-Kaku: Japanese BBQ Dining

Gyu-Kaku is a chain of Japanese yakiniku (barbeque) restaurants. Since their first Japan location 20 years ago in 1996, the chain has grown to a staggering 688 locations in 11 countries. There are now over 600 restaurants in Japan, with worldwide locations in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Taipei, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

Gyu-Kaku's Toronto location opened last month on 81 Church Street. It took them 20 years to get here but I guess better late than never! My boyfriend and I went on a busy Friday night, and thank goodness we made reservations because it was an hour-and-a-half wait otherwise.

A charcoal grill is installed in every table at Gyu-Kaku, and if you're worried about the smoke, don't be. The chain restaurant is known for their smokeless roaster, where with its down draft system, smoke is sucked in to the bottom of the table. The air was never smoky or stuffy when I was there.

Gyu-Kaku (Instagram: @gyukakujbbq, Facebook: Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ) offers a wide range of ready-to-grill beef, poultry, pork, seafood and vegetables. On the menu are also a ready-to-eat appetizers, salads, soups, noodles and rice dishes. 

Although this was my first visit at Gyu-Kaku in Toronto, my first Gyu-Kaku experience was six years ago in Huntington Beach, California. I even dug up the blog post for it!


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Berrylicious. Farm Fresh - An Interactive Culinary Workshop with #CanolaConnect

Last Wednesday, I was invited to Berrylicious. Farm Fresh., one of eight FARM TO FOOD canola oil inspired culinary workshop series presented by Canola Eat Well, a joint partnership between Alberta Canola and Manitoba Canola GrowersThe interactive event, hosted by Joey Salmingo and led by chef Cory Vitiello of The Harbord Room and Flock Restaurants, provided guests with an opportunity to connect to the farm, learn more about canola oil, and get inspired in the kitchen. This #CanolaConnect culinary workshop took place at the Bosch Luxe Studio on 334 King St. E., a beautiful, posh kitchen featuring professional Bosch appliances.

Chef Vitiello (right) uses canola oil everyday in his roast chickens and salads at Flock, as well as in his famous burger served at The Harbord Room (click here for recipe). Chef Vitiello taught us two recipes that evening: romesco sauce and hush puppies.

Romesco is an almond and red pepper-based sauce that originated from Tarragona, Catalonia, in Northeastern Spain. Ingredients include tomatoes, roasted red peppers, shallots, onion, espelette pepper, almonds, garlic, paprika, sherry vinegar, salt and canola oil. Placed in groups of two, we were encouraged to make the sauce without a recipe, so we all just went with it. We used our instincts, experimented with the flavours along the way, and hoped for the best. After chopping up all the ingredients, we placed everything into a pot to simmer away. I was happy to learn that there is apparently no right or wrong romesco sauce because many variations of the sauce exist out there. Whew!

A friendly competition among us naturally occurred since the winner of the best romesco sauce wins a dinner for two at The Harbord Room! Despite learning that there are many variations of romesco, I also learned that an excellent romesco sauce is one that balances the following three flavour components the best: smokiness (paprika), heat (peppers), and acid (sherry vinegar).

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tasting Menu at Canoe

Canoe is so good it's ridiculous.

To be fair, my last couple of visits at Canoe were all tasting menus at the chef's rail, which is, in my opinion, a very different experience than ordering a la carte from their dining room. The thing is, if I'm at Canoe, I'm gonna go all out since I'm most likely there to celebrate a special occasion anyway. Needless to say, I do hope that I can call Canoe a "regular spot" one day. I'm definitely not there *yet* but one day :) #Lifegoals, am I right?

 Canoe's tasting menu blows me away every single time, and I feel like the Canadiana-focused restaurant just keeps getting better and better. Sounds almost impossible given that Canoe (Twitter: @CanoeRestaurant, Facebook: CanoeToronto) has been around since September 1995, which is more than 20 years ago! But I truly believe that one can never get bored of eating at CanoeThe restaurant is so innovative, and constantly strives to create new and ambitious plates. It's contemporary Canadian cuisine at its finest.

 This post is, regrettably, two months late. I contemplated just not blogging about it but I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I didn't since the food was so good. The one reason why I thought of not writing about the dinner is because Canoe changed their tasting menu like two days after my visit, which means most of the dishes you see on this post is not even served at the restaurant anymore :( Oh well, bad timing. I still hope you guys will enjoy this post, though!

 My boyfriend took me here for my birthday and we reserved two seats at the chef's rail. Seriously, why would anyone want to sit in the dining room when you can get front row seats to the kitchen? The only "bad" thing I can think of was my constant urge to reach over the counter for oysters the entire night.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


Pronounced "pounds" - also an acronym for "Lobster, Burger, Salad" - Lbs. opened its doors last month on 100 Yonge Street at the ground floor of Scotia Plaza

There are two entrances to the restaurant; one is from Yonge St., and the other from the Scotia Plaza's atrium, where there's also an indoor patio.

Lbs.' 3,700 square-foot space seats 140 guests. This is the main dining room. It's casual yet sophisticated.

Lbs.other dining area, this one facing Yonge street.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Azure Restaurant & Bar (2016 Summerlicious)

There are two more days left of Summerlicious! This year, the citywide restaurant event began on July 8th and will end on July 24th, so you still have this weekend to check it out. With over 220 restaurants participating, including 24 new participants, I'm confident that you'll find a 3-course menu to whet your appetite. Summerlicious (Twitter: @LiciousTO, Facebook: LiciousTO) prices range from $18 to $28 for lunch, and $28 to $48 for dinner.

Lunch:  $18  |  $23  |  $28
Dinner:  $28  |  $38  |  $48

Thanks to Azure Restaurant & Bar, I was invited back to the restaurant once again to try their Summerlicious menu (this visit marks my fourth time at the restaurant!). Located in the open lobby of the InterContinental Toronto Centre (Twitter: @ICTorontoCentre, Facebook: InterContinental Toronto Centre). Azure's floor-to-ceiling windows never fail to 'wow' me. I love how their open space and glass canopy can give the ambiance of outdoor dining all year long.

Drinks are not included in Summerlicious but they are a requirement for me :) Azure serves VERY boozy drinks (note the bold, italics and caps for "very")!

Knob Creek bourbon, maple syrup, sweet vermouth, Dillon's DSB bitters
Canadian Club Rye, cane sugar syrup, angostura bitters, water

For SummerliciousAzure is featuring a $28 lunch and a $48 dinner (both with vegetarian option available). My boyfriend and I dropped by for dinner last night, and before I talk about what we had, I want to let you know that I'm quite sad that Azure got rid of their bread basket. If you take a look at all my previous Azure write-ups (links at the end of this post) I always made it a point to mention how great their bread basket was. However, during this visit, we were given two pieces of bread each. It's better than nothing, of course, but I do miss that bread basket very much. When I asked my server, Coco, she told us that it was more economical and less wasteful this way because the restaurant always end up throwing out a lot of bread (since most diners do not consume all the bread in the basket). Totally makes sense but I can still be sad :(

Focaccia, mascarpone, balsamic & baby watercress
Azure substituted figs with blackberries because they ran out of figs. Boo. I was disappointed because I love figs, and the entire time I couldn't stop thinking about how perfect truffle honey figs would go with the savoury prosciutto and the sweet-tartness of the balsamic. Thankfully, the blackberries worked well too. The baby watercress added a very welcoming "lightness" to the appetizer. I also thought the presentation was very pretty.

Pea shoots, shaved fennel & rémoulade
These fritters tasted much better than I expected, not that I thought they would be bad but they certainly exceeded my expectations. I couldn't taste much of the crab itself but the sweet corn flavour really came through. Fried to golden brown, the crispy fritters were delicious with the cool and creamy rémoulade underneath.