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 :)




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Elephant & Castle Gift Cards Giveaway - CLOSED

I'm giving away TWO $50 gift cards to Elephant & Castle!


The newly renovated Elephant & Castle (Twitter: @elephantcastle, Facebook: Elephant & Castle) on King Street is back open for business with a new look and new menu items to tantalize those taste buds.

(Photo credit: Shane Yuhas)

The new menu includes items like Truffle Parm Potato Crisps and Fried Pickles, along with classics like Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding and Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf. 

(Photo credit: Shane Yuhas)

Elephant & Castle is also offering the Summer Fresh Menu, with warm weather-inspired creations like Thai Coconut Mussels, Summer Salad and the Satay Chicken Sub, available for a limited time. 

(Photo credit: Elephant & Castle)

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 one of two $50 gift cards to @elephantcastle! http://bit.ly/1tmpMLT #fjccastle

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 #fjccastle 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 both Elephant & Castle locations: 212 King St. W. and 378 Yonge St.

CONTEST DURATION
Contest starts on Tuesday, August 19 and ends on Tuesday, August 26 at 12PM. 
Two lucky winners will be chosen randomly from www.random.org and I will announce the winner on Thursday, August 26. 

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Atelier, Ottawa

12-course tasting menu at Atelier ($110)
Optional wine pairing ($75)

Executive Chef, Marc Lepine (bio from Atelier's website):

"After 3 years of culinary school, Marc Lepine spent time working in Toronto, France, and Italy, before accepting his first executive chef position with Bartlett Lodge in Algonquin Park in 1998. Marc decided to move to Ottawa in 2001 with the intent to eventually open a restaurant. He received his sommelier certification from Algonquin College and spent 6 years working as executive chef for the Courtyard Restaurant, where he was twice named 'Ottawa Chef of the Year' by the Canadian Culinary Federation. Marc decided it was time to open Atelier in 2008, and while the restaurant was preparing to launch, Marc went to work with Grant Achatz at Alinea Restaurant in Chicago. In February 2012, Marc was named the Canadian Culinary Champion after winning gold at the finals in Kelowna, BC."


CONFIT RABBIT LEG TERRINE (amuse)


SRIRACHA FOCACCIA (amuse)


"SPLAT!"
Roasted red beet puree, thinly sliced beets compressed in yuzu, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, shallots, purple cauliflower, baby radish, edible flowers, wood sorrel, carrot sprout




The Halton Wing Festival Giveaway Winner is...

@BttbBoosterRon

Congratulations, Ron! You have won a pair of tickets to Halton Wing Festival taking place this Saturday, August 16th at 5:30 pm! Please email me at foodjunkiechronicles@gmail.com to confirm your attendance :)


Thanks to the 11 contestants who participated in my giveaway

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #fjchaltonwing 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 tweet "Hey @foodieyu I want to win a pair of tickets to all-you-can-eat Halton Wing Festival! http://bit.ly/1uj6rPw #fjchaltonwing". Each person can tweet once a day for the duration of the giveaway. 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 a winner from the 18 entries.




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Halton Wing Festival Giveaway - CLOSED

I'm giving away a PAIR of tickets to HALTON WING FESTIVAL worth $70!


What: Halton Wing Festival
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's included: You and a guest will be able to indulge in all-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.)


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 all-you-can-eat Halton Wing Festival! http://bit.ly/1uj6rPw #fjchaltonwing

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 #fjchaltonwing hashtag stream. 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

CONTEST DURATION
Contest starts on Monday, August 11 and ends on Thursday, August 14 at 12PM. 
One lucky winner will be chosen randomly from www.random.org and I will announce the winner on Thursday, August 14. 

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^





Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Taste of Toronto 2014

From just one show in London, England in 2004, Taste Festivals have rapidly grown over the last ten years and is now held in 20 cities around the world including London, Sydney, Cape 
Town, Milan, Dubai and Moscow. On July 24 - 27, the global outdoor restaurant festival made its first ever North American debut in Toronto. Sponsored by American Express Canada, Taste of Toronto brought together a selection of the city’s greatest and hottest restaurants and top local and international chefs, as well as local artisan exhibitors, live food demonstrations, chef Q&As, interactive cooking classes, expert wine tastings, live music and other entertainment.

Held at Fort York, the inaugural four-day festival was comprised of six half-day sessions to give guests time to enjoy their pick of restaurant dishes, browse the artisan stalls and enjoy some of the many attractions. Crowns were the official dining currency at Taste of Toronto (i.e. if you wish to purchase a dish from the restaurants or drinks from the bars, a pre-loaded Crown Card was the only accepted method of payment, and 1 Crown = $1). I thought this was a brilliant idea - all the transactions were quick and efficient, and there was no need to fumble for cash or change.


As a result of Amex Canada's sponsorship, there were numerous access perks for Amex Cardmembers and their guests at Taste of Toronto (@tasteoftoronto, #tasteoftoronto). The two perks that I enjoyed the most were:

1) The Priority Line Entrance - This was great because I'm way too impatient to deal with lineups; and
2) The American Express Lounge - I took full advantage of the comfy chairs at the Lounge because I'm not sure if you realize but digesting all that food can be quite exhausting. Besides the comfy chairs the Amex Lounge also offers complimentary water bottles, table snacks, beverage for purchase, as well as special tasting sessions throughout the festival.

I spent all my time going from one restaurant to another but for individuals interested at feature events held at the Electrolux Taste TheatreThe Tasting Room and Metro Master Classes, know that Amex Cardmembers have access to Reserved Seats at all the above venues.


I ate a lot at Taste of Toronto, but how can anyone resist when you have chefs continuously shoving delicious looking food in front of your face? I can't say no.

Chef Ippei Iwata (Guu Sakabar), Chef Elia Herrara (Los Colibris)