Friday, September 30, 2011

The Winner of Beck's T.O.ktoberfest Tickets Giveaway is...


Congratulations! =D You just won a pair of tickets to Beck's T.O.ktoberfest at Liberty Village taking place on October 1st & 2nd! I will be sending you a DM soon letting you know the details regarding tickets pickup. Congrats again and I hope you and your +1 will enjoy all the festivities, entertainment and food :) 

 Thank you to the 19 contestants who participated in the giveaway! 

Chef Jason Bangerter Pays Homage to Chef Paul Liebrandt [VIDEO]

I was really disappointed when I found out that Chef Paul Liebrandt and Director Sally Rowe would not be present at TIFF Bell Lightbox for the opening night of A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt as all flights out of LaGuardia, NYC were cancelled due to weather earlier  yesterday. I was excited about meeting them and I had a list of questions prepared too =(

What lifted my spirit was the fact that I still had a chance to try the dish that Executive Chef Jason Bangerter of Luma recreated specifically for opening night of the film - a signature Paul Liebrandt dishSo instead of going home after work, I dropped by Luma and chatted with Chef Bangerter.  Watch as Chef Bangerter describes all the elements of this exquisite dish.

What strikes me immediately was the texture and flavour of the Kona Kampachi, a game fish farmed in Hawaii as a domesticated alternative to wild tuna. This was my first time having Kampachi and its texture reminded me of tuna, but even more thick and dense. The piece of Kampachi was actually very meaty and substantial =) Flavour wise, because the fish was cured and lightly dusted with Vandouvan, it was savoury and had a really slight hint of curry. Everything about the Kona Kampachi, from the way it was prepared to how it taste, was unlike anything I've ever had before...and I loved it! Paired with the foie gras chantilly, the sweet verjus jelly, and the slight tartness of the kiwi, this appetizer was incredibly outstanding and very unique. I'm so happy that I got to try it ^_^

Cured Kona Kampachi with Foie Gras Chantilly, Sorrel, Verjus Jelly & Ontario Kiwi

Although this dish was created specifically for the opening night screening, Chef Bangerter would be happy to recreate it for anyone who is interested in trying it. All you have to do is tweet him at @chefbangerter with your request (with a few days notice).

330 King St. W, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto, ON M5V 3X2
O&B Canteen: 647.288.4710   Luma: 647.288.4715 

Disclaimer: The dish in this video was complimentary. Opinions are my own and I was not paid to produce this video. 

If you like what you see, please subscribe to my YouTube channel! Thanks so much ^_*

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Winner of the #AMOT Opening Night TIFF Tickets Giveaway is...


Congratulations! =D You just won a pair of tickets to A Matter of Taste's opening night screening tomorrow @ 7:30PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox! I will be sending you a DM soon letting you know the details regarding tickets pickup. Congrats again and I hope you and your +1 will enjoy A Matter of Taste.

I also want to say a big THANKS to the 25 contestants who participated in the giveaway! 

To ensure my followers that I am 100% honest when I say the winner is picked RANDOMLY, I will always show you guys how I went about tracking each contest. 

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #AMOT stream from day one of the contest. The tracking was done using chronological order, as in, #1 was the first ballot entered right after the contest went live. An entry ballot was given for each contestant that tweeted "I want to win a pair of tickets to A Matter of Taste at TIFF BLB  #AMOT". I then checked to see whether or not each contestant follow me on Twitter (see contest rules here). I used the "True Random Number Generator" from to pick a winner for me.

And that was how I tracked and determined the winner for this giveaway. The End =)

Beck's T.O.ktoberfest at Liberty Village [GIVEAWAY] - CLOSED



WHAT: For the first time ever an authentic Oktoberfest experience is coming to Liberty Village with traditional German music, food and Schuhplattler dancers (the German consulate will be attending as well). Original Oktoberfest beer brands Spaten and Lowenbrau join Beck’s to headline the experience.

WHEN: Saturday October 1st 11:00 AM - 1:00 AM 
              Sunday October 2nd 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM 

WHERE: SCHOOL Restaurant, 70 Fraser Avenue, back parking lots 

PRIZES: A round trip flight to Germany will headline the daily prizing along with Bavarian hats, steins and a signed Torsten Frings TFC jersey (current Toronto FC and former German national team player).

HOW MUCH? : Tickets are $10 and available at A portion of the entry charge will go to support the German International School and Hopewell Children's Home. All online ticket purchases will receive a commemorative T.O.ktoberfest stein. Toronto FC fans will receive half price entry with presentation of October 1st game ticket vs. New York Red Bulls.


I'm giving away a pair tickets to Beck's T.O.ktoberfest! All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me what your favourite beer is along with your twitter handle. I will be picking a random winner from

Contest ends Friday, September 30th @ 12PM and the winner will be announced shortly after on Twitter.


Monday, September 26, 2011

A Matter of Taste - Serving Up Paul Liebrandt [GIVEAWAY] - CLOSED

UPDATE: In honour of the debut screening, Executive Chef Jason Bangerter of Luma will present an appetizer from A Matter of Taste - Cured Kona Kampachi with Foie Gras Chantilly and Wild Sorrel Leaves. The dish will be available in the Luma dining room and the BlackBerry Lounge.

I was asked to preview the screener for A Matter of Taste - Serving up Paul Liebrandt


A Matter of Taste takes an intimate look inside the world of an immednsely talented and driven young British chef, Paul Liebrandt. At 24, he was the youngest chef to have received 3 stars from the New York Times for unforgettable and hyper modern dishes such as "eel, violets and chocolate", "espuma of calf brains and foie gras," and "beer and truffle soup." 

Critic William Grimes likened Paul to "a pianist who seems to have found a couple of dozen extra keys." Conversely, Gourmet critic Johnathan Gold called Paul's food "the result of a failed science experiment." He soon became a chef critics loved or loved to hate

The film is a straightforward behind-the-scenes portrait of Paul and reveals the creative process, the extreme hard work, long hours, and dedication it takes to be a culinary artist and have success in the cutthroat world of haute cuisine in New York City. Exploring the complicated relationships between food critics, chefs and restaurant owners, the film delves into the life of an uncompromising, thought provoking, young chef ahead of his time.

A Matter of Taste was selected as one of the eight films for SXSW 2011 Documentary Competition (from a total of 808 submissions). Each film is a World Premiere. Watch the short trailer below:


I really enjoyed A Matter of Taste, a 70-min film about Paul Liebrandt, who is truly an amazing figure - both a chef and a food artist. His sophisticated dishes are out-of-this-world (!!!) and it was really fascinating watching him in the kitchen. Liebrandt is also a very funny guy - he is bold, quirky, and inventive, but he is also very shy and socially reserved. One of my favourite things in the film were the interactions between him and his girlfriend...they are so cute together! The film basically follows Liebrandt's up and down career in NYC's treacherous restaurant business, and I really felt for him at the beginning when he was working at normal bistros and restaurants that did not allow him to showcase his incredible talent. My favourite part of A Matter of Taste was definitely towards the end, when Corton opened and all the staff's, owner's and Liebrandt's anxiety over when exactly Frank Bruni (New York Times food critic at the time) would come and visit (as his reservations are made under a false name). The question "How many stars would Frank Bruni give? Two? Three?" was all they cared about and lived for. I thoroughly enjoyed A Matter of Taste and I would recommend it to anyone who loves and appreciates food.

**Liebrandt now co-owns the Tribeca restaurant Corton with owner of Nobu, Drew Neiporent. New York Time's food critic Frank Bruni gave Corton three stars. Corton is one of only six New York restaurants to have two Michelin stars.**

I will be attending A Matter of Taste's opening night at TIFF Bell Lightbox. I will also be interviewing Paul Liebrandt and director, Sally Rowe. 


I'm giving away a PAIR of tickets to A Matter of Taste's opening night screening on Thursday, September 29th @ 7:30PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox. All you need to do is follow me (@foodieyu) on Twitter and tweet the following exactly as shown:

I want to win a pair of tickets to A Matter of Taste at TIFF BLB  #AMOT

The contest ends on Wednesday, September 28th @ 12:00PM. The winner will be decided randomly by from random.orgI will be announcing the winner on Twitter shortly after the contest ends.


If you're interested in watching A Matter of Taste, click here for TIFF show times.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Grazie Vaughan

I haven't been to Grazie in maybe, 5-7 years? I'm, of course, talking about the original Grazie location at Yonge & Eglinton. I remember that location was always so packed and crowded. I also remember I needed to yell just so that the person sitting across from me could hear me.  I guess I haven't been back because I hardly hang out in that neighbourhood anymore (I used to work close by) and it's also not the easiest to find street parking there (I know there's a Green P beside it but still). Basically, visiting Grazie again was never a priority for me especially now that I work in downtown.

I was happy when I found out Grazie opened another location at Vaughan Mills awhile back. Although I wanted to go try it out I never got around to it. Long story short, I finally went to Grazie Vaughan on Tuesday because my friend Dan (@deguzzi) organized a dinner there.

Dan really likes Grazie Vaughan (he is currently the mayor on foursquare) and I think it's safe to say that all 9 of us who were there on Tuesday really liked the food too.

The long table there was reserved for us.

I was overwhelmed by their huge menu. So many choices...

Zenato Ripassa - Full bodied dry with rich & velvety fruit flavour ($55)

Several people had wine while I had my extra spicy Caesar.

A basket full of bread for our 10 hungry stomachs.

Chili oil for dipping.

As usual, I can only comment on what I had and show you pictures of what other people had.


Bruschetta Pizza - Olive oil, fresh garlic, mozzarella, parmigiano cheese, fresh tomato, garlic & fine herbs ($10.75)

We all shared this appetizer. I've never bruschetta pizza before but I thought this tasted just okay; I would've liked a bit more herbs and cheese. I also prefer the traditional bruschetta on open slices of grilled bread because the toppings-to-bread ratio is better this toppings-to-pizza ratio (i.e. too much pizza for the amount of toppings).

Baked Goat Cheese Salad - Goat cheese, roasted peppers & grilled eggplant wrapped in phyllo pastry served with an arugula salad in a sherry vinaigrette ($12)

Graham (@beachrockinc) had this salad all by himself. He really liked it and polished it off within within minutes. The presentation was beautiful; each slice of tomato was cut exactly the same and lined up perfectly.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yelp Eats! Week [VLOG]

Nicki from View The Vibe (@ViewTheVibe) and I were invited to Yelp Eat's launch party on Tuesday at Boehmer. Yelp Eats! is a week long event from September 19-25, where every $30 you spend at a participating restaurant the restaurant will in turn donate $10 (with a maxiumum of $60 per table) to the Daily Bread Food Bank (@DailyBreadTO)

Reserve now at one of these 5 participating restaurants as this is a perfect way for foodies to enjoy our city's best restaurants while supporting an amazing local hunger relief organization.

Nota Bene:
The Corner House:
Volos Estiatoria:

Note: Reservations are not required but highly recommended. 

As for the launch party at Boehmer, I honestly can't say much about the food as Nicki and I arrived late =( However,  what I can say is that I love the decor at BoehmerThe two enormous chandeliers, the never-ending bar, the paintings and artworks on the walls and the huge open space was all very inviting. I feel very modern and cool just being there lol~

Here is Nicki's Eye on the Vibe blog, a short and sweet video where we got to speak with the Community Manager at, Vivek Srivastrava (@yelptoronto), and Boehmer's Manager, Derrick Grand Pri.

Omakase Box Giveaway [VIDEO] - CLOSED

Omakase box and Food Junkie Chronicles have joined forces for this awesome giveaway!

For those not in the know, the Omakase box ninjas, with their foam swords and candy wrappers stars, hand picks a selection of 5-6 unique snacks each month and it is their life's mission to deliver them right to your door!

Omakase box has been featured in Toronto Star and their treats are in such high demand that people are placed on a waiting list. The good news is that if you follow @omakase_ninja on Twitter and LIKE their Facebook page they will from time to time, give out secret codes so that their loyal followers can skip the the waiting list =D

I'm giving away ONE September Omakase box to the lucky winner of my contest. Watch the video to find out exactly what yummy treats are inside ^_^


1) You must be following both me (@foodieyu) and Omakase box (@omakase_ninja) on Twitter


2) Tweet the following sentence, exactly as shown: 

"I want to win a FREE Omakase box from @omakase_ninja #OBOX10
(You can only tweet this once)


3) To increase your chances of winning, include the hashtag "OBOX10" in any of your snacks or treats-related tweets (i.e. "I love snacking on chips #OBOX10" or "Craving ice cream right now #OBOX10"). You can also retweet other people's tweets that are snacks or treats-related (make sure the "OBOX10" hashtag is included). Each tweet / retweet earns you ONE extra ballot and you can tweet / retweet as many times as you wish. Again, you MUST have completed steps 1) & 2) for any of your tweets or retweets to count.



Contest starts on Wednesday, September 21st and ends on Wednesday, September 28th at 12PM.

I will announce the lucky winner on Monday, October 3rd.


Please remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel to stay up to date with all my contests!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Bellevue

My friend Cindy and I went to The Bellevue one Sunday for brunch. The Bellevue is located in Kensington Market at the corner of Bellevue and Nassau. During the week, we were brainstorming different brunch places; we wanted to go somewhere that 1) we both haven't been to, 2) was known for good brunches and 3) a place that did not have massive lineups. 

I remember when Cindy suggested The Bellevue to me she asked me if I was okay with it as it is not your typical brunch place. I didn't understand what she meant so she sent me a menu that she found online. After taking a look I was very intrigued because some stuff on their brunch menu was very...different. I told Cindy I was up for trying this place out.

When we arrived at The Bellevue the tables outside were already full. We reluctantly sat inside at a long table that faces out (we were sitting where the girl with the short blonde hair was in the picture above). Behind me was the bar and the specials were listed out on the small chalkboard. There was more seating in the room beside ours but in general The Bellevue is still very small but cute place.

After we ordered, we noticed an empty table outside so we quickly went for it =)

The Unusual - 2 eggs sunny side up, sanagan's summer sausage, kimchi, daily cheese, oven roasted beets, fruit. Woodlot multigrain ($12). This is what Cindy said about it: 

"It was certainly Unusual, kinda reminded of  me what I do when I'm at home by myself, just open up the fridge and eat whatever is in there lol.  I liked it though and would get it again.  It's a strange combination of food but it all went together oddly well.  I really liked the kimchi…dunno why, but kimchi makes everything tastier.  All of the things on the plate was of decent quality, no complaints.  It was fun and weird, I liked it." 

She also said that the sausages were on the leaner side.

Friday, September 16, 2011


A few months ago, my friend and I went to Brassaii (@brassaii) for dinner to celebrate my birthday. I've never been to Brassaii before and to tell you the truth I never knew exactly where it was, as in, I knew it was on King West but I couldn't for the life of me remember seeing their sign, ever. Finally found out why when we went; Brassaii is tucked really far into an alley way - we actually walked into a pub beside Brassaii, thinking it was well, Brassaii.

I always hear about Brassaii's patio and sure enough, it was the first thing I noticed, you can't miss it. With all that space, I understand why they can afford to have a nice patio out front. The area is huge!

Although I wanted to sit on the patio it was getting chilly so we went inside. I guess that's one bad thing about patios being in an alley; there's only so many hours in a day when the sun actually shines through. Another bad thing is just the fact that I always feel cold =( 

Brassaii is very spacious with an open kitchen and three long rows of seating. I liked how the windows on the other side lets in all the sunlight. There was a lot of different textures in the room: brick walls, concrete pillars, wooden floors, fabric drapes, exposed metal ducts, leather seats, shiny smooth tables, etc. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing...just an observation.

The view from my friend's seat.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Killer King from Mickey's Pizza [VLOG]

I'm a huge fan of the stuffed pizzas from Mickey's Pizza. Their Stuffed Spinach & Cheese Pizzas are so friggin' awesome! And as as for their Stuffed Steak & Cheese Pizza? Well let's just say I drove through a snowstorm just to get it.

So imagine my excitement when I heard that Mickey's had a new Chicago style stuffed pizza called the "Killer King"!I knew I had to go try it and see what it was all about. Turns out Mickey's "Killer King" pizza was even more epic than their previous stuffed pizzas; it was thicker, loaded up with even more cheese and more toppings! Can you imagine? Watch the video below as I make my own Killer King pizza at Mickey's ^_^

Thanks for watching! Please click below and subscribe to my YouTube channel ^_*

Monday, September 12, 2011

Briscola Trattoria [VLOG]

Ahhhh another dinner date with Nicki from View the Vibe (@ViewTheVibe) and Andrew from Dobbernationloves (@dobbernation) - always a fun time with these two, guaranteed! The last time we met up was at La Société (@La_Societe) where we went a bit appetizer crazy. This time at Briscola's just say we went "all-around" crazy =D I want to begin by saying just how floored I was with our dinner that night at Briscola, so much so that I hope more people will know about Briscola (@BriscolaToronto) after my post because it is truly fantastic; I haven't been this happy and impressed with a meal in a long time - not just with a few dishes, but with all dishes, the whole meal, the entire dinner experience was phenomenal~

To truly understand our gastronomic adventure that night and how we endulged in an multi-course dinner at Briscola, you need to watch Nicki's Eye on The Vibe Blog

Read on to see what I thought of each dish ^_*

I have never heard of Briscola before our dinner. It is located on College, near Bathurst in the neighbourhood of Little Italy.

Even though I take a lot of pictures every time I am at a restaurant, I usually just pick a few to post. But at Briscola, it was really hard for me to just pick a few because the decor there is just so beautiful and exquisite that I want to post them all. So I figured the only way was to put them in a collage (to minimize the scrolling for you guys).

Like a lot of the restaurants in Little Italy, Briscola's space is really long and narrow. There are basically three sections in the restaurant. When you walk in, you will immediately see the first section with the cool car on the wall. This section has the bar on the left and seating on the right (red chairs, black wall, and chandeliers). The middle section has the white brick walls with black cushioned chairs on the right and white tiled walls.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Table17 Giveaway Contest Winner Is...


Congratulations! =D Please email me at with your mailing address. I will then forward your info to Table17 (they will be mailing you the gift certificate). Congrats again and I hope you will enjoy your gift card at Table17!

I also want to say a big THANKS to the 107 contestants who participated in the giveaway! There were a total of 602 legit tweets in the contest~

To ensure my followers that I am 100% honest when I say the winner is picked RANDOMLY, I will always show you guys how I went about tracking each contest. Even though my contests in the future may not be exactly the same as this one, be rest assured that I will go through the same process with due diligence ^_^

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #T17GC stream from day one of the contest. The tracking was done using chronological order, as in, #1 was the first ballot entered right after the contest went live. An entry ballot was given for each contestant that tweeted "I want to win a $50 gift certificate to @table17! #T17GC". Each subsequent tweet or retweet by that contestant (with the #T17GC hashtag) was given an additional ballot. Once all the ballots were accounted for in my spreadsheet, I went to check if the contestants actually followed me on Twitter (I also sent the list of contestants to Table17).

After weeding out the people that did not follow all the contest rules, I was left with 602 tweets in the #T17GC stream. I went to "True Random Number Generator" from to randomly pick a winner for me from 1 to 602.

Well, that was fun =) More fun to come as I will be doing another giveaway verrrry verrrry soon so stay tuned!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Off to the Windy City!

I swear, I don't travel much. It may seem that way because I just came back from Las Vegas only a month ago (argh which reminds me I haven't blogged about the Las Vegas restaurants yet *sigh* backlog is me). But really, I usually don't go on vacation that often. Road trips maybe, but not in a plane kinda thing.

Anyhoo, I will be in Chicago with my boyfriend for the long weekend! Leaving Friday morning and coming back Tuesday night. Actually, by the time you read this post I may be walking around Chicago already, or maybe still on the plane, or maybe still waiting to board at YYZ? Not sure.

I Chicago! I've been there many times for work but never for leisure so I'm still very excited. My boyfriend has not been before (or maybe he did but when he was really young) so I'm eager to show him the Chicago, a city which I think is a hybrid of Toronto and New York; not as crowded as New York and with cleaner streets, but definitely a more beautiful version of Toronto. I can't get enough of all the incredible architecture and stunning lakeshore in Chicago, as well as the museums / aquarium / art institute / planetarium, The Magnificent Mile for shopping, and last but not least, the FOOD!

Not sure if you have seen my extreme planning in action before but many of you may know that I'm a big planner who loves using Microsoft Excel and Google Maps. Don't believe me? Check out my Montreal Bound post and my Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives Road Trip post (or simply just scroll down). 

So here goes for Chicago! First we have the Excel spreadsheet (I did not purposely use colours that match my blog but I really do love pink and purple ^_^). Blues are shopping / sight seeing, pinks are CityPASS attractions, and purples are restaurants.

Google Map. Planning for Chicago was a lot harder than the Montreal road trip and my Diners, Drive-ins and Dives road trip combined because we had a car for those, whereas for Chicago, we are relying purely on public transit, which means I had to make sure that the restaurants are on the way and what made the most sense.

This of course also means that I had to forego many restaurants listed in Eater's 38 Essential Chicago Restaurants and restaurants listed in The Eater Chicago Heat Map. Ah well, life goes on.

Nevertheless, here is a list of places that I'm planning to hit up in Chicago. It would be nice if we end up going to all of them but things change, circumstances change, so we may not end up going to ALL but I am going to keep my fingers crossed.

1. XOCO - A quick-service cafe from Rick Bayless that serves Mexican street food and snacks like churros and empanadas, Mexican hot chocolate (ground from Mexican cacao beans right in our front window), warm, crusty tortas (Mexican submarine sandwiches), and made-to-order caldos (meal-in-a-bowl soups) that feature everything from roasted vegetables to seafood to pork belly.

Photo credit: Mind Body Green

2. Lou Malnati's - Chicago-style deep dish pizza is a must! There are several places well known for deep dish pizza in Chicago but I picked Lou Malnati's.

Photo credit : Passionate Eater