Friday, October 29, 2010

Motto Launch Party

I was invited to Motto Gift Registry's launch party last week Tuesday at Marben Restaurant. I thought that I wouldn't be able to make it since it has been soooo hectic at work lately. Luckily Marben is not too far from my work so I quickly dropped by after work that day, while promising my mom that I would be home for dinner afterwards. Big mistake. I realized how full I was only when I was subwaying back home!

Let me start off by letting you know a bit about Motto. I met Motto's founder, Priscilla, at a Tweetup at Biff's Bistro two months ago. Motto Gift Registry is an online gift registry that makes gift giving easy. If you're running out of ideas on what to give your friends or family, check out their website -  Motto offers unique gift ideas that you may have never thought of before.

As per Motto's site:

"Motto is the first, online gift registry that networks specialty retailers in and around the GTA to create a collective catalogue of gift ideas that are unique, practical, and completely unforgettable. Whether the special event is a housewarming, birthday, engagement, wedding, anniversary, special holiday, or any other party, Motto Gift Registry provides simple solutions that make it easy to select and to give the gifts that people really want, need, and love." 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Emperor Fine Chinese Cuisine

Emperor (君臨天下) is a Chinese restaurant owned by the father of one of my boyfriend's friends. The restaurant is located in Richmond Hill on 9019 Bayview Ave. at a strip plaza. 

Due to obvious "connections", my boyfriend and his friends (and me of course) have been to Emperor several times for birthday celebrations and other special occasions. We usually get a private room or section for our mini parties. Everytime we eat at Emperor we come out so stuffed! Similar to wedding receptions, we would have the extravagant 10 course meals (or sometimes more). But unlike the crappy food quality that you sometimes get at other restaurants, Emperor consistently serves really delicious food. They are also very creative - I've had dishes there that I've never had anywhere else before (this goes for dim sum too).

Emperor is pretty big and spacious.

You won't find a Chinese restaurant without the following two essentials: Maneki Neko cats...

and bamboo plants.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gimme that KFC Double Down!

You've all probably heard way too much about the KFC Double Down this week already (Monday, Oct 18th being the first day it was out in Canada). But heck, I don't care, I feel the need to blog about it. I want to be part of this hype while it is still happening haha!  I remember when this sandwich came out in the States on April 12th, I updated my Facebook status right away, with a link to an article about it, and changed my status to the following: "I want to try to Double Down too :( Road trip to the States? haha~". 

Because I’m a woman of my words, I must try it now that it is here in Canada.

And to make it loud and clear...

I do not care that it has 540 calories, nor that it has 32 grams of fat, nor that it has 1,380 milligrams of sodium, nor that the sandwich wrapper is covered in grease. I DO NOT CARE. Why? Because I know I'm not going to eat this day-in and day-out, as simple as that. I honestly have no idea why people make such a big fuss about its nutritional content, everyone is suddenly soooo health conscious! Really, there are MANY things out there that is just as, or if not more, unhealthy than the Double Down, you just don't know it (for example, this article shows that chicken shawarma packs more calories than a Big Mac with large fries). The Double Down is also similar to many burgers at fast food joints in terms of nutritional (or lack there of) content. When you get down to it, everything is about balance. Just eat healthier for your other meals that day if you know you're going to try this sandwich - It is YOUR responsibility to control YOUR weight and what YOU eat. There. End of rant =D

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fantasy Eatery

Fantasy Eatery (銀星小廚) has been around for many many years. I remember going with my family to its original Scarborough location at Midland and Finch when I was still in elementary school. To this day I still remember how we had to wait so long for a table! Fantasy Eatery was a very popular place back then because of the lack of competition for good and cheap Cantonese style food.

I haven't been to Fantasy Eatery in recent years, but an opportunity came up this summer when a friend from Calgary was visiting. Due to the mediocre-at-best Cantonese style food in Calgary, he really wanted to go for some delicious Cantonese food in Toronto, and that's when Fantasy Eatery came to my mind (another option was Big Mouth Kee). Essentially, I was looking for places that:

1) Provided decent portions, preferably not too big so can try more dishes;
2) Appropriately priced dishes (i.e. a good bang for the buck); and most importantly,
3) Served dishes with good "wok hay" (鑊氣). 

For those who don't know what "wok hay" means, here's a picture that may help:

"Wok hay", literally translated as "breath of the wok", is essentially that elusive flavor that comes from cooking on a properly hot, seasoned wok. This is a wok so hot that flames erupt from it the moment the first morsel is introduced to the steel. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yuzu Sushi & Sake Bar

I'm honored to have this post be featured as a guest post at Eat My CityEat My City is an online food magazine featuring restaurant reviews, cooking tips, and recipes by and for amateur food enthusiasts in Toronto.  

It is here that I will declare Yuzu as my absolute favorite Japanese restaurant that I've been to so far in Toronto. The first time I heard about Yuzu was from my friend Cindy, who raved about their chirashi (chirashi is a style of sushi where sashimi is placed in a bowl over a bed of rice). The next time I heard about Yuzu was from my other friend, Quyen, whose boyfriend took her there for her birthday; she came back afterwards to tell me that Yuzu is now her favorite Japanese restaurant in Toronto. By that time, I was dying to go but somehow never got the chance to. Then, lo and behold, an old colleague of mine, May, wanted to meet up for dinner and what do you know, she suggested to go to Yuzu because she has also heard great things about the restaurant! Perfect.

We went on a weeknight right after work, around 5:30pm. I was the first one to arrive, and also the only one at the restaurant. It was the best time to snap some pictures in peace.

I got a table beside the window and this is the view to my right. Yuzu's decor is nothing fancy nor extravagant, but more so on the contemporary side - simple, clean lines through out the restaurant. Very modern.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wedding Feast - Last of Six for 2010

Last wedding to attend for me this year was for Nick and Eunmi. This lovely couple have been my boyfriend's good friends for many years (my boyfriend was one of the groomsmen). Their wedding ceremony and reception was held at Caledon Inn around a month ago in September. It is a beautiful, rustic little place, and was actually a farmhouse back in the 1830's. Far from a farmhouse now, Caledon Inn accommodates for not only weddings, but also private functions and catering. Their dining room is opened to the public as well in the summer. Caledon Inn is a great venue for those looking for a cozy and intimate wedding. 

The wedding was such a blast! What a way to end my last wedding reception for 2010. I got extremely hammered (so glad hotel rooms were booked in advance). I was sooooo gone that I stopped taking pictures after dinner and was totally oblivious to the fact that there was a dessert table (I had to steal the dessert table picture from a friend on Facebook).  So yes, that's how fun the wedding was =P

These paper cranes were hand folded by the wedding party - they made over 2,000.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How I Gained 7 lbs in 7 Days...

So how did I gain so much weight in such a short period of time? In an all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink, lie-around-on-the-beach-all-day, all-inclusive resort of course! How else? In all honesty, no other kind of vacation will actually encourage you to become a lazy ass quite like staying at at an all-inclusive resort at the Caribbean. Nobody will judge you for being a lazy fat pig at an all-inclusive resort - it's part of the deal. They know it. You know it.

Having said that, you can still do tons of activities if you wanted to - there are numerous types of water sports like swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, ski doo-ing, and also many off-resort excursions available (we did a full day excursion where we visited the ruins / pyramids). However, because I am not a good swimmer, to say the least, water sports do not appeal to me whatsoever. What appeals to me is the unlimited food and drinks, the sun and the beach, and the thought of absolutely doing NOTHING for 7 days (bye-bye alarm clock)!  I have personally been to 3 all-inclusive trips now. I wonder if that says something about me? 

We stayed at Barcelo Maya Colonial, which is situated on the best beach of Riviera Maya on Mexico's Caribbean coast. A few shots of the beautiful and stunning resort:

This is only a part of the pool. 

Main walkway to the pool / beach. Can you say PARADISE?