Monday, February 1, 2016

New Savoury Menu at Sweet O'Clock

On January 22 the Taiwanese dessert shop Sweet O'Clock (Instagram: @sweetoclock.tor, Facebook; Sweet O'clock) expanded their menu to include savoury appetizers, snacks, rice dishes and noodle dishes. To celebrate the launch, from January 22 to February 10 Sweet O'Clock will be giving diners who have liked their Facebook page or followed them on Instagram a 15% off discount on their bill (desserts excluded) when they check in at the location.

(Photo credit: @sweetoclock.tor)

I was invited to the North York eatery a couple of days before the official launch date for a sneak peek tasting. I wrote about Sweet O'Clock last month and commented on what I personally liked and didn't like from their dessert menu (click here for my blog post) so I'll be doing pretty much the same thing this time for their savoury menu :)

My boyfriend and I started off with wintermelon teas. We both loved our drinks. My boyfriend orders wintermelon every time he sees it on a menu because not a lot of places offer wintermelon. Sweet O'Clock's Signature Tea Selections come in regular size ($4.2) and large size ($4.7).

HERBAL JELLY WINTERMELON TEA ($4.2)
QQ WINTERMELON TEA ($4.2)


There are 25 appetizers, 10 rice dishes, and 6 noodle soups on Sweet O'Clock's new food menu. Here is what we tried:

OXTAIL NOODLE SOUP ($12.99)


JELLYFISH SALAD ($8.99)




Friday, January 29, 2016

Recipe For Change 2016

3 Hours
30 Chefs, Brewmasters and Winemakers
1 Cause
Get ready for FoodShare's 7th annual Recipe For Change!


Presented by TangerineRecipe For Change is the tastiest way to promote healthy food and food literacy in schools. The fundraising event raises needed funds to teach thousands of school aged children how to cook, grow food, compost and more.

 This year's "Party for the Future of Food" edition of Recipe For Change (#RFC16 @FoodShareTO) will see over 30 sweet and savoury dishes made with love by some of the city's best chefs, brew masters, winemakers and skilled food artisans.


RECIPE FOR CHANGE
Date: Thurs, Feb 25, 2016
Time: 6-9pm
Location: St. Lawrence Market South Tent (Lower Jarvis St. and The Esplanade)
Ticket: $150 pp, food & beverage inclusive (30 top chefs, 4 VQA wineries, 3 craft breweries, organic teas, and freshly brewed coffees + hand crafted desserts)

This year’s Recipe For Change lineup includes: 
DaiLo
Colette Grand Bistro
Biff’s Bistro
Pork Ninjas BBQ
Carmen Cocina
Espanola
Pizzeria Libretto
Hooked Inc.
The Good Earth Cooking School & Winery
Lamesa Restaurant
Sweet Sammies
SOMA Chocolatemakers
Succulent Sweets
The Tempered Room

For a full listing of this year’s delicious offerings, please visit: http://foodshare.net/recipeforchange/


Grab a plate for one of Toronto’s finest dining events - you won’t want to miss this! Don't believe me? Check out my recaps of this amazing event for the past THREE YEARS:

Recipe For Change 2015
Recipe For Change 2014
Recipe For Change 2013

BUY YOUR TICKET NOW!


A Bit About FoodShare:
FoodShare Toronto (www.foodshare.net) is Canada’s largest community food security organization. Founded in 1985, FoodShare works with communities to improve access to healthy, affordable, sustainably-produced food through community-based programs and policy recommendations, with a vision of Good Healthy Food for All. FoodShare’s programs, which reach over 155,000 children and adults per month in Toronto, include fresh produce sourcing and sales, childhood nutrition, hands-on food education from JK-Grade 12, a healthy school cafeteria model, gardening, composting, cooking, and urban agriculture. See FoodShare’s multifaceted work in schools and childhood nutrition at: http://foodshare.net/program/educator/




Saturday, January 23, 2016

Levetto on College

Have you ever yearned for a hearty bowl of pasta or a slice of pizza yet splurging at a restaurant and spending three hours there just doesn't cut it because it's a Tuesday night and you have an 8 o'clock meeting tomorrow morning that you still gotta prepare for? Yeah, I know you have. The thing is there's a time and place for fancy Italian but even I'm not up for that all the time (surprise, surprise). After a long day at work all I crave sometimes is delicious food quickly. If you ever find yourself feeling this way then I suggest you give Levetto a try.


 Levetto (Twitter: @levettoresto, Facebook: Levetto) is a “fast casual” pizza and pasta joint with good price points and generous portions. There are currently five Levetto locations in Ontario - one in Vaughan, one in Waterloo, one in Baden, and two in Toronto (Liberty Village and College Street). A sixth location is in the works in Chinatown at 392 Spadina Ave.


You walk in, you order at the counter, you pay, you take a seat, and food will be served to you when it's ready. That's all there is to it at Levetto.  And, of course, you can also get your food to go. Visit their website and you'll see that some locations takes orders online for pick up and others even do delivery. For my Levetto experience I checked out their College St. location.


If you want to fancy it up a bit Levetto does alcoholic drinks as well. They have bottled beer for $5, imported beer for $6, wine by the glass for $6-$8.5 and wines by the bottle for $30-$39. Such good prices especially with the wine. This is another reason why Levetto is so appealing.




Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Winners of the Morals Village Hot Pot Giveaway are...

@magscheung
@DianaPowell5
@amandaaaq

Congratulations! You've all just won a complimentary dinner for two to Morals Village Hot Pot ("德莊火鍋"). Get ready to experience all-you-can-eat hotpot with more than 81 options - from handmade noodles to New Zealand lamb shoulder and fresh cuttlefish. Please email me your mailing address at foodjunkiechronicles@gmail.com :)


And a big THANK YOU to the 88 contestants who participated in this contest! 

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #fjcmv 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 must tweet "I want to win a dinner for two at Morals Village Hot Pot from @foodieyu! http://bit.ly/1W1TRPE #fjcmv". 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 222 valid entries:


I used "True Random Number Generator" from random.org to pick three winners:




Back at The Spoke Club

Dinner at The Spoke Club is always a treat, especially when you have Executive Chef Rob Klunder (Instagram: @rkbones) cook for you. I was all set for another visit since the last time I was at the members-only restaurant was more than six months ago (truth be told, I heard through the grapevine that chef Rob had a new menu out so the eager beaver in me wanted to check that out ASAP).

Seeing that my brain is usually fried by the end of the work day I knew doing a tasting would be my best bet because at times, deciding on what to order can be a very strenuous process for me. I'm sure questions like "What should I order?", "Should I have this, that, or both?", "Can't I just order everything?", or "Is this too much food?" have killed plenty of brain cells. Considering that I'm not getting any younger and keeping my brain in top shape is priority, I usually get around this by asking the chef whether he/she can prepare a tasting for me; a smaller, tasting portion of selected dishes from the menu (sometimes the chef may bring out several off-menu dishes too). Some chefs do this, some chefs don't. Either way, if you're ever interested in doing a tasting you can always ask when you're making a reservation. Anyway, having chef Rob tell me "I'll keep on bringing food out until you tell me to stop" was literally music to my ears. Just make all the decisions for me, please and thank you, chef! I'm not sure about you but I always trust that the chef knows best. After all, it's their food and they're in charge of the kitchen. They are in their element so they must know what's good.

So that's essentially what happened at The Spoke Club (Twitter: @TheSpokeClub, Facebook: The Spoke Club). Chef Rob fed me until I couldn't handle another morsel of food. Here's what I had:

TARO CHIPS
Artichoke Dip


CAST IRON BAKED BRIOCHE
Cafe Paris, Parmesan Snow, Shaved Black Truffle


VEGETABLE POT STICKERS
Marinated Tofu & Vegetables, Lime Soya Dipping Sauce, XO Sauce


CRISPY TYPHOON CHICKEN
Tender Chicken, Spicy Soya Ginger Glaze, Ripe Mango, Chilies, Scallions




Sunday, January 17, 2016

National Cupcake Day for SPCAs & Humane Societies

Animals are precious.

I am a proud owner of a cat. My cat’s name is Mr. Cat and he’s a domestic short hair brown tabby. I adopted Mr. Cat when he was just seven weeks old - I remember he was so tiny he could fit in my coat pocket. It’s crazy to think that Mr. Cat will be 14 years old in two months, which will make him 73 years old in human years. Here’s my latest photo of my big kitty. As you can tell he is a very serious cat, hence the name “Mr. Cat”. This is his “Don’t-mess-with-me-I’m-a-tiger!” look:


To be honest, nobody calls him Mr. Cat unless he is at the vet. “Mr. Cat” is actually my cat’s legal name but we all call him “Fay Jai” in Cantonese at home, which means “Fat Boy” in English. It is a really fitting name because Fay Jai has always been a big cat. Currently, he weighs close to 20 lbs and I assure you that none of it is muscle. When Fay Jai walks his big, floppy belly swings from side to side. It’s adorable to watch. This is Fay Jai doing what he does best: doing nothing and being lazy.


Three years ago, Mr. Cat developed diabetes, a pretty common disease with older house cats. Ever since then Mr. Cat needs two insulin shots a day - once in the morning, once at night - along with a very strict, timed meal plan. There have been countless instances where my family and I had to change our plans to accommodate for Mr. Cat’s meals and medication. It is all worth it though because Mr. Cat is family, and we love him to bits.

As a pet owner, I fully support the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (“Ontario SPCA”) and as a food lover, I’m very excited to tell you all about National Cupcake Day happening on Monday, February 29th. 


If you love animals, you can now show your support for your local SPCA by registering as a Cupcake Day Host and hosting your very own cupcake party on February 29th. Let your family, friends and colleagues know why you are baking and invite them to enjoy a cupcake at school, home or work, in exchange for a donation to your participating SPCA or Humane Society of choice. It’s an easy way to “bake a difference”, and it’s certainly the most delicious way to show your support for the SPCA. 

Could you use a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer? Sign-up and raise $50 online before January 30th and be entered into a draw to win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. It’s a great incentive to get started early!

For more information on National Cupcake Day, please visit www.nationalcupcakeday.ca/

*This is a sponsored post*



Monday, January 11, 2016

Morals Village Hot Pot Giveaway - CLOSED

To celebrate the newly opened Morals Village Hot Pot ("德莊火鍋") on 436 Dundas St. W. in Chinatown I'm giving away THREE dinners for TWO to Morals Village. Three lucky winners will receive a complimentary dinner for two at the all-you-can-eat restauranta value worth approximately $70!*

*Based on weekend dinner at $27.99 pp + soup base + plus applicable taxes.

With over 600+ locations in China, Morals Village Hot Pot (Instagram: @moralsvillagehotpotFacebook: 德庄火锅 Morals Village Hot Pot) was recently ranked #1 on blogTO's "The Best Hot Pot Restaurant in Toronto" list. Integrating flavours of Szechuan cuisine in a hot pot, guests can chose from 12 different kinds of soup bases and six dipping sauces to start. As for food, meat lovers can choose from slices of rib eye beef, beef tongue, hand-rolled pork, pork kidney, New Zealand lamb shoulder, marinated beef / pork, and 10 varieties of meat balls (guests can also enjoy AYCE AAA Certified Angus beef for $3 extra). For everything else there's tasty stuff like fresh cuttlefish, shrimps and mussels, 20+ different kinds of vegetables, 7 tofu options, various innards, noodles and more (click here to read my full post on Morals Village Hot Pot in Markham). Enter my contest now and experience this one-of-a-kind hot pot experience for yourself.


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

I want to win a dinner for two at Morals Village Hot Pot from @foodieyu! http://bit.ly/1W1TRPE #fjcmv

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 #fjcmv 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. Dinner can be redeemed at either Markham or downtown Toronto location.
5. Dinner cannot be redeemed on special holidays. 
6. Dinner does not include drinks, certified Angus beef upgrade, chef's recommendations menu or special platters.

CONTEST DURATION
Contest starts on Tuesday, January 12 and ends on Tuesday, January 19 at 12PM. 
Three lucky winners will be chosen randomly from www.random.org and I will announce the winner shortly after.

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^

Morals Village
Locations: 
- 8333 Kennedy Rd. Unit 1073
Markham, ON
905.604.8995
- 436 Dundas St. W., 2nd Floor.
Toronto, ON.
647.352.7588

Hours: Monday - Sunday, 4pm - 12am
Weekdays: Adult $25.99, Children (under 13) $13.95, Senior (over 65) $19.95
Weekends & Holidays: +$2.00
(Drinks, soup bases, Angus beef, chef's recommendation menu and special platters not included)



Sunday, January 10, 2016

Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill [VIDEO]

Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill is an all-you-can-eat restaurant located at 900 Don Mills Road just north of Eglinton in North York.


The buffet-style restaurant, now in its 10th year, is sectioned into two parts: the Buffet and the Mongolian Grill


The Buffet consists of a variety of soups, seafood, meat and vegetable dishes, fried foods and desserts.


The Mongolian Grill is where you build your own bowl by picking your own raw meats, vegetables and seasonings. You then hand your bowl over to one of the cooks and they'll stir-fry your food on a large flat grill. 




Monday, January 4, 2016

Antler Kitchen & Bar

Who's got game? Antler's got game. Literally.

I had dinner at Antler Kitchen & Bar with a couple of friends just before the new year. I had a feeling our meal would be good but not this good; I didn't expect it to knock my socks off or anything but it totally did! Antler is now one of my favourite restaurants in the city.


With the aim to showcase local Canadian cuisine, Antler (Twitter: @antlerkitchen, Facebook: Antlerfocuses on sourcing regional ingredients, Canadian sourced farmed-raised game and foraged foods. Chef Michael Hunter, formerly of Scarpetta and Reds Wine Tavern, broke away from the corporate kitchen earlier this year and alongside Jody Shapiro, a filmmaker/photographer friend of Hunter's, the duo opened Antler in October. 

My friends and I sat at the chef's rail where the great outdoors, specifically deer skull from the first buck Hunter shot, was right above us. The chef's table at Antler fits three people perfectly; it was a bit of a tight squeeze for the four of us but we managed.


Raised on a horse farm in Caledon, Hunter (@thehunterchef) has been passionate about foraging and hunting wild game ever since he was a little kid. "I’m inspired by the seasons and what I find when foraging and hunting. Food simply tastes better when it is freshly harvested because it’s growing in its natural habitat. I am and always have been a strong, vocal advocate for wild game, conservation and hunting. Animals should be free to roam and free from cramped pens. This means they are healthier for us because wild game is therefore free from growth hormones and unnecessary antibiotics." Hunter describing his style of cooking in an interview with Butter PR.


Chef Hunter caught me taking a picture of him. What does he do? He takes his phone out and starts taking pictures of me taking pictures of him. Ha!




Saturday, December 26, 2015

Morals Village Hot Pot ("德莊火鍋") in Markham

What's better than having hot pot at home with friends and family on a cold winter's night? Not much. I can picture it now. My dining table - overflowing with plates of thinly sliced marbled beef, plump shrimp, fish balls, dumplings, cubes of soft and fried tofu, spinach and noodles - all fighting for space amongst strainers, chopsticks, dipping sauces, jugs of prune juice and soya milk. And of course the star of the show - the generous pot of bubbling broth in the middle of the table - cooking all night long. Ah, yes.

Alright, maybe there is one thing better than having hot pot at home with friends and family on a cold winter's night, and that's having hot pot with friends and family on a cold winter's night at Morals Village Hot Pot (Instagram: @moralsvillagehotpot, Facebook: Morals Village Hot Pot). Morals Village, with close to 600 locations in China, is an all-you-can-eat ("AYCE") hot pot restaurant with a lot to offer. Guests can chose from 12 different kinds of soup bases and six dipping sauces to get started. As for food? Oh man, so many options. Meat lovers can choose from slices of rib eye beef, beef tongue, hand-rolled pork, pork kidney, New Zealand lamb shoulder, marinated beef / pork, and 10 varieties of meat balls (you can also pay $3 extra for AYCE certified Angus beef). For everything else there's tasty stuff like fresh cuttlefish, shrimps and mussels, 20+ different kinds of vegetables, 7 tofu options, various innards, noodles...and more.


If all that doesn't impress you maybe Morals Village's space will. Unlike a lot of the dingy hot pot places in the suburbs Morals Village's interior is modern, spacious, and clean. Check out these comfy booths which are great for small groups.


So in a nutshell, you can enjoy Morals Village's AYCE menu thoroughly without ever getting bored, but if you're feeling particularly fancy you can also order from their Chef's Recommendation menu. Paying a little extra gets you premium cuts like Wagyu short rib slices and Kagoshima pork slices, seafood offerings like tiger shrimps, Alaskan snow crab legs, fresh oyster, Japanese scallops and abalone. 


In terms of drinks, aside from cold soy milk, pop, and the usual sour prune drink (a staple beverage for hot pot) Morals Village also serves freshly squeezed kiwi juice, pear juice, wintermelon tea, lemon juice and watermelon juice. I immediately opted for the juices; I've hated that prune juice ever since I was a kid >< The juices were delicious and very refreshing, perfect for hot pot.