Monday, August 8, 2011

A Chef's Tour of Little Italy [VLOG]

Several weeks ago, The Culinary Adventure Company (@culinaryadvco) invited both Nicki from View the Vibe (@ViewTheVibe) and I to their Little Italy Tour. This tour did not consist of menus nor wine lists; everything was planned and set up for us beforehand by Chef Scott Savoie, owner of The Culinary Adventure Company  We basically left our taste buds in the hands of some of Toronto's finest mixologist and chefs, and all we had to do was just show up! It was also exciting because we had no idea where we were going - each stop and venue was a mystery =)

Nicki's vlog below captures our whole adventure in Little Italy~ Hope you enjoy it (you better still read my post afterwards though =P)

By the way, thanks Nicki for putting my sticker from Stickeryou (@StickerYou) on your flipcam

Our first stop was at Toronto Temperance Society ("TTS"), a private, members-only drinking establishment. This venue was pretty cool because if you watch Nicki's vlog above, there is no sign whatever outside TTS; just a black door, that's it. Very hidden and secretive~

Rules of membership at TTS:

Oliver made us several cocktails from the 1920's. I really enjoyed both the Basil Smash (which had gin, basil, lime juice, and simple syrup) and the St. Germain Edler Berry cocktail. Both were extremely refreshing and fruity.

We also got to munch on these appetizers while enjoying our cocktails. I couldn't stop eating the nuts and olives!

Our next stop was L.A.B. Nicki and I were both sooo stoked about this since we both haven't been to L.A.B. before. L.A.B. is very well known in the city for their molecular gastronomy.

Cool decor at L.A.B.

Visiting from Boston, these two lovely ladies signed up for the Little Italy Tour as part of their sight seeing plans in Toronto.

Chef Howard Dubrovsky, Chef & Owner of L.A.B., personally prepared a Smoky Manhattan for us.

This Smoky Manhattan was strong! Great for those who like strong drinks...I will stick to my fruity stuff haha =D

Upscale Tater Tot - To be honest, I totally did not expect much from this tater tot. But after my first bite, I was taken back at how delicious it was - the shell was extremely crispy, and the potato and cheese inside was so creamy and soft.

Tuna Sashimi w/ White Chocolate Ganache & Lemon Foam - Explosion of so many different flavours that actually all works! Because I mean, come on, who would've thought that sashimi and chocolate could ever go together?

Tagliatelle w/ Braised Rabbit & Black Olives - Tagliatelle is one of my favourite pastas and I'm crazy about definitely no complaints here from me. The taste and texture of the braised rabbit kinda reminds me of braised lamb.

Last destination was Woodlot, one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto *YAY*

We sat at the communal table right outside the kitchen.

Let's start with a $165 bottle of Pinot Noir, shall we? 

Bread - I've never had Woodlot bread that I did not enjoy.

Pea, Prosciutto, Mint & Sheep's Milk Ricotta Tagliatelle - Another tagliatelle dish! I must be in heaven =) The sheep's milk ricotta made the dish pretty heavy; not complaining but definitely a very filling pasta dish.

Snails & Bacon Ragout over a Crispy Polenta topped w/ Pumpkin Seeds - I can't stress enough that this is such a unique dish! Everyone must try it...the snails and bacon ragout is extremely impressive.

Sourdough Bread Butter Pudding w/ Pistachio Ice Cream & Apple Compote - A delicious dessert to end the night.

Four hours full of great food, fine wines & cocktails, and I did not even have to waste one brain cell the whole time as everything was planned for us *love that*. This Little Italy Tour completely exceeded my expectations; I enjoyed all three destinations that night tremendously (please keep in mind that the tour constantly changes and the venues are not set in stone).  I recommend this tour not only for people visiting Toronto, but also locals that want to explore the city's unique neighbourhoods and food spots (FYI the couple that was on the tour with us was from Toronto and the Little Italy Tour was the second tour they joined from The Culinary Adventure Company).

The Culinary Adventure Company offers many types of tours and culinary adventures. Make sure you check them out!