Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ginza Sushi

Ginza Sushi has four locations in Toronto - the dealfind voucher that I got for Ginza Sushi a few months back ($60 worth of food and drinks for $29) was only valid at the Yorkville location, which is at Bay and Yorkville. 

You can probably tell that I'm quite the voucher collector by the number of times I mention "vouchers" on my blog posts (only vouchers for food though). I actually have an Excel spreadsheet that has information on all my vouchers; several columns showing information such as coupon number, how much I paid for it, the discount, whether reservations are needed, whether alcohol is included, the expiry date (if any), and any other important information / restrictions etc. I sometimes like to show the spreadsheet  to my friends just to freak them out =D

With all the vouchers I've accumulated (and still going) it's obvious that I need to use them every chance I get to balance out my voucher supply and demand (economics 101). This is precisely the reason why my boyfriend and I went to Ginza Sushi on a Saturday night a few weeks ago, just so we can use one of my vouchers. This is rare for us because unless it's a special occasion, we hardly venture downtown just for dinner (we hang out in uptown usually). 

To my boyfriend: if you're reading this, we may have to venture to downtown more often as my vouchers are piling up fast =P

I was surprised at how small Ginza Sushi was. Not sure what I was expecting but I was expecting it to be bigger. Our table was against the wall - I turned around to take this picture.

Straight ahead of me is the sushi bar. And that's Ginza Sushi for ya!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Zucca Trattoria - View the Vibe Vlog

Last week, Nicki (@ViewtheVibe), founder of View the Vibe, invited me to join her for dinner at Zucca Trattoria, who are celebrating their 15th year anniversary.  To commensurate this event, Zucca Trattoria is currently offering a Festival of Pasta menu; a special, changing 4-course pasta tasting menu featuring unique, hand-crafted pastas from their repertoire, old and new.

I was really excited for this dinner as I've been wanting to meet Nicki for a while now. She is a smart and brilliant entrepreneur (featured as Woman of the Week on Women's Post todaywho founded View the Vibe. I was also excited because part of our dinner was captured on video for View the Vibe's "Eye on the Vibe Blog" - a blog containing short and casual videos (or "Vlog") of various dedicated foodies eating around Toronto. 

I personally love and support the whole concept of View the Vibe. For those that don't know, View the Vibe is Toronto's first video restaurant guide; that, in itself, should catch everyone's attention. I mean, when you are curious about a restaurant, where do you go look? Usually online, right? Well, the information that you will come across will most likely be in writing, with a few pictures here and there. Besides online, another option will be asking a friend about a restaurant but again, he / she will be limited when it comes to describing the decor and ambiance of the place. Basically, these two options are very limited in giving you any idea about the atmosphere, decor, or the vibe of a restaurant. And this, my fellow foodies, is precisely where View the Vibe comes in - they make fantastic videos of restaurants; from behind the scenes footage in the kitchen, to capturing the ambiance and the feel of the restaurant. Take a look at my Café du lac post as I've included a View the Vibe video in it.

If you support in View the Vibe as much as I do, LIKE View the Vibe on Facebook! If you LIKE them on Facebook before April 1st you will automatically be entered into a draw to win a HD Flipcam =) 

So, here is the Vlog guys! Hope you like it and let me know how I did ^_*

Friday, March 25, 2011

DIY McDonald's Quadruple Filet-O-Fish Sandwich + BONUS Burger

This is a Do-It-Yourself ("DIY") step-by-step tutorial on how to assemble your own McDonald's Quadruple Filet-O-Fish Sandwich. This McDonald's Quadruple Filet-O-Fish Sandwich can be acheived by purchasing either 1) Two McDonald's Double Filet-O-Fish Sandwiches or 2) Four Regular McDonald's Filet-O-Fish Sandwiches (note that this tutorial uses two McDonald's Double Filet-O-Fish Sandwiches).

Disclaimer: Eat this McDonald's Quadruple Filet-O-Fish Sandwich at your own risk. I am not responsible or liable for whatever happens to you afterwards. This is an epic burger and it is not for the weak. Although not a prerequisite, I strongly advise that you be a fan of the Regular McDonald's Filet-O-Fish before you attempt to make this McDonald's Quadruple Filet-O-Fish Sandwich. In addition, please be aware of the nutritional information shown below for ONE McDonald's Double Filet-O-Fish Sandwich:

STEP 1 - Buy 2 McDonald's Double Filet-O-Fish Sandwiches. Request fresh hot filets if possible. Do not be embarrassed by your order or your request.

STEP 2 - Open both boxes.

STEP 3 - Check. Your McDonald's Double Filet-O-Fish Sandwich should look similar to this:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Media Dinner at Maléna

Last Wednesday, I was invited to sample Maléna's (@malena120brand new spring menucreated by Maléna's head chef, Doug Neigel. I felt extremely honoured to have been able to dine with some of Toronto's elite food writers and food critics at this event, so before I dive in any further, I want to say a big "THANK YOU" to Rachelle from rock-it promotions and Maléna for the invite.

To be honest, I have never heard of Maléna nor L'Unità (@lunita_enoteca) before the invite so I quickly looked them up. Maléna, the neighbouring sister restaurant to L'Unità, specializes in Ionian Coastal Cuisine with inspiration from Greece and Southern Italy (whereas L'Unità is an Italian osteria and wine bar). The food at Maléna focuses on seafood and is heavily influenced by ingredients drawn from the bodies of water that surrounds Greece and Southern Italy. Whenever possible, Maléna also incorporates local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Maléna was featured as one of the ten restaurant's in James Chatto's top ten restaurants for 2010.

Before dinner at Maléna, everybody met up at L'Unità for cocktails. The first thing I saw was the charcuterie *drools*.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bamboo Garden

#BramBamboo was another Tweetup organized by yours truly =) Two weeks ago, I rounded up a group of tweeps for dinner at Bamboo Garden (@PadThaiSpecial) located in Brampton. Yah, I know, Brampton!

Why Brampton? Well, when I found out that Tina's (@TinaNguyenSays) parents are the owners of Bamboo Garden, I suggested to her that it would be a great idea do a Tweetup there. Besides, I have zero knowledge about restaurants in Brampton so I thought it would be a nice experience. Tina was excited about the idea; she even took the time to pick out a variety of dishes for us (so we didn't have to use our brains yay!). Tina wanted to be our server that night (I insisted that she join us for dinner but she also insisted on serving us O_o). So thanks Tina, for everything!

Bamboo Garden is located in a strip plaza in Brampton. It is very spacious inside with a lot of greenery.

There's the gang (and me trying to be art-sy here).

Avacado milkshake & lychee drink - I had the lychee drink, whereas Chris (@chrisunagi) and Lase (@laisietu) had the avacado milkshakes. I really loved my lychee drink as it was cold and refreshing; there was also of lychees in it (I actually asked Tina if she normally puts that many lychees or whether it was just for me, she said this was standard).

Oh yeah and Lase said her avacado milkshake was "perfect".

Friday, March 18, 2011

Globe Bistro - "Think Global. Eat Local"

Joel (@foodie411) and Jessica (@Jessica_Dexter) organized the first ever Brunch Tweetup last Sunday (#BrunchTO) at Globe Bistro. I haven't had brunch in ages so I was pretty excited about it. Thanks for organizing guys ^_^ And of course a special thanks to Ed Ho (@globeho), owner of Globe Bistro and Executive Chef Kevin McKenna (@ChefMcKenna ) for having us~

The last time I was at the Danforth was a couple of weeks ago when I went to Messini, my favourite place for gyros. I never noticed Globe Bistro before as it is located closer to Bloor and Broadview which I usually just drive by there to get to Messini =D

Initially, I was thinking of parking at a Green P since I hate parallel parking but to my surprise, I found street parking right across from Globe Bistro

Globe Bistro may look small from the outside but it is actually really spacious inside; although it is narrow, it is very long and deep with a very high ceiling. This dining area is where we sat; it's at the back of the restaurant (there is another dining area at the front). I think this space is beautiful.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Messini Authentic Gyros

Okay, I have not tried every restaurant on the Danforth, but I gotta say, so far Messini Authentic Gyros is my favourite place to go for Greek food, especially for gyros. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with gyros, here's some background information about it straight from Messini's website:

"Gyros are a Greek pita sandwich generally made with chicken or pork. The pita is usually stuffed with meat, tomatoes, onions and tzatiki sauce. In Greece, gyros are usually made as a fast food, as hamburgers are in the Western world."

When you walk into Messini, you will see a variety of meats, rotating on a spit. Seeing this makes my mouth water.

A lot of people get their gyros to-go, that's why there is always a crowd waiting by the door. Messini closes at 1am on weeknights, and at 5am on Fridays and Saturdays - perfect for the after-club crowd.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Toronto Life | I ♥ Burgers

I never buy magazines but when I saw this I couldn't resist! 

What it includes - Free Restaurant Guide, Top 10 New Restuarants, 25 Best Dishes of the Year, and 2011's Hottest Food Trends (rustic Italian, boozy cocktails, house-made bread, southern barbecue and burgers).

Price - $5.95

Burger - Any guesses? ^_^

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mickey's Stuffed Steak & Cheese Pizza - Snowstorm Edition

For those of you who follow my blog, you all should know by now that I adore the Stuffed Spinach & Cheese Pizza from Mickey's Pizza (click here to see my post). At the end of that post, I basically swore that I would have to, need to, return to Mickey's Pizza to try their Stuffed Steak & Cheese Pizza.  steak. cheese. pizza. There is no way I can ignore the existence of such a deadly delicious combo all on a pizza pie.
 Of all the days I choose to have the biggest craving for this Stuffed Steak & Cheese Pizza, I choose a snowstorm day. No, it was not that over-rated "Snowmaggedon" in the middle of the week a month or so ago, but rather, on the Saturday after that. It started snowing furiously late afternoon that Saturday, but I wasn't aware of that when I phoned Mickey's Pizza since I was studying the whole afternoon in my room, in the basement, with no windows. So when it was time for me to go get my beloved pizzas, my first reaction when I stepped out of the house was "ohhhhhhhh shiiiiiiiieeet".

For some reason or another, the weather forecast failed to predict this snowstorm. How frustrating. But too late, my order was placed and there was no turning back; Mickey's Pizza was expecting me and I was already anticipating stuffing my face with two stuffed pizzas. I drove through slippery roads, going 20 km/h on the QEW, through white-out conditions, slip-sliding as I do my lane changes - it was a mission, it was an adventure. It was also on that very night that I am so thankful that I have snow tires and drive a manual car as these factors really gave me better control of the car.
The first thing I got when I arrived to Mickey's Pizza 45 minutes later was a big hug from Sandi, the owner of Mickey's Pizza. She said her and the staff were all so worried about me! We chatted for a bit and without further ado, Sandi handed me the two stuffed pizzas and I was off again.
A few minutes before I got to my boyfriend's place, I text him, telling him to heat up the oven. I did not want to waste anymore precious time as it was getting very late and I was extremely starved. But of course I needed to take a picture of these beauties first.

Sam's Congee Delight ("黃三記")

I have the weirdest cravings sometimes, cravings that come from nowhere. 

Sunday morning, my boyfriend and I were thinking of doing some errands in the afternoon and thought it would nice to grab something to eat beforehand. And you know when it comes to "brunch in uptown" I'm always at a total loss; besides Bluestone Bistro, I do not know of any good brunch places in uptown (I have yet to try Fraticelli's and please, please do not tell me to go to Cora's). Besides, that morning I wasn't feeling French toasts, or eggs benedict, or pancakes / waffles - I wanted something Chinese.

Usually when my boyfriend asks me where I want to go for lunch, I draw a blank. This time around, I replied right away: "Let's go to 黃三記". Hmmm I actually said "Let's go to that congee place at Market Village".

Sam's Congee Delight is located inside Market Village, a Chinese mall in Markham (Kennedy & Steeles). It is a small "hole-in-the-wall" type of restaurant where you go in, eat, and then leave (I know technically, it shouldn't be considered a "hole-in-the-wall" as it's located inside a mall LOL but it is trying to give that effect). You won't find anybody lounging around, reading newspapers, sipping tea at this place - it is not dim sum.

There were a lot of people waiting when we went.

Sam's Congee Delight is known for their fried dough sticks ("油炸鬼").

It's great how you can see them up close making everything. Here he is preparing the dough sticks for frying.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Harbord Room

My boyfriend and I went to The Harbord Room back in early December of last year. I remember it was quite difficult to get a reservation; we couldn't go on the Saturday that we had originally planned even though we called more than 2 weeks in advance - the whole Saturday night was booked up. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since it was close to Christmas holidays.

I was no longer surprised as to why the The Harbord Room could be booked up weeks in advance once we arrived there; the restaurant is really small, but it was a very lovely place. It had dim lighting too making the whole place really cozy. The bar is on the right and rows of seats are to the left. It is dark at The Harbord Room so please don't mind the pictures (I do not like to use flash). Speaking of flash, I accidentally used it and noticed that the walls at The Harbord Room are actually pink! I wouldn't have noticed it otherwise.

Our table wasn't ready yet so we sat at the bar and waited a bit. Everybody at the bar were having their meals there. I sat beside the chalkboard.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hip & Urban Girls at Lux Spa

Last Thursday, March 10th, I attended Hip & Urban Girl's Spa Party and Networking Event  at Lux Spa in Yorkville (hashtag #hugLux). This is the second hugTO event I've been to (first one being the Cookies & Champagne Party) and already I'm pretty much hooked on hugTO parties. I can always count on Lisa (@hipurbangirl) & Wendy (@BossLadyWendy) of Hip & Urban Girl's Guide when it comes to throwing cool and fun parties; they never disappoint! Last time the theme was cookies & champagne, and this time, for $30, I get a mini-manicure ($18 value) while networking with other ambitious and talented HUGs. I'm totally in.

I arrived a tad late and this was the scene at Lux Spa already:

The logical thing to do usually, for any girl, is to either grab a drink, start mingling, or start lining up for the the mini-manicure, right? Or maybe a visit to the restroom first? Well not me...all that can wait once I saw these platters:

Complimentary platters, snacks & nibbles from The Healthy Butcher (@healthybutcher).

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cheese School 101

When Jo (@clickflickca) asked me whether or not I would be interested in going to #CheeseSchool at School Bakery & Cafe (@schoolville), a tweetup event where cheeselovers get together to learn about cheese and eat like a king in the process, I was thrilled. Not only do I love cheese, but School happens to be one of my favourite, if not the favourite, brunch places in Toronto (check out my blog post about School brunches). I've also been to School for dinner recently and it was just as fabulous (I haven't posted about the dinner yet because as usual, I'm backlogged). I was probably the first one to to RSVP for #CheeseSchool, being the keener that I am. I also invited my friend Cindy along too.

I had a so much fun at #CheeseSchool - it was great seeing familiar faces and also meeting new tweeps. Thanks again to Reggie (@reggieramone), Sarah from School, and Jo for organizing such a fun and successful event. Also, a special thanks to David from The Village Cheesemonger (@TOcheesemonger) for providing all the delicious cheeses. Oh, and our server was also very nice and attentive so a shout out to her too (I didn't get her name).

School had set up a special section for #CheeseSchool at the back of the restaurant. Here we are waiting for #CheeseSchool to start. What is Jo is taking a picture of?

The cool chandelier made of sheets of paper held by paper clips, of course.

I had to take a picture of this. So true. Don't feed supermodels. Feed me instead!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Krispy Kreme

I'm confident that everybody knows what Krispy Kreme is, right? Doughnuts? =D

Fabfind (@FabfindToronto) recently had a voucher for 1/2 dozen free Original Glazed Doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. Since I'm a queen of deals, I took full advantage of it. It also helps that I live in Mississauga (the voucher is only valid at the Mississauga location on Mavis and the downtown location on Harbord). Anyway, I'm always down for free stuff, especially food.

To be honest, I think I've only had Krispy Kreme doughnuts a couple of times before this time. There was so much hype about it when it first came to Canada from the U.S., and that was probably when I had those couple of doughnuts. Not sure what happened to Krispy Kreme after that but the hype quickly faded; I'm thinking it's probably because everyone is so health-conscious these days.

I have never been inside this Krispy Kreme before. It was a big store with very bright lights; very clean too. Once you walk in, you can see a conveyor belt full of doughnuts.