Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Table 17 - Table d'Hote

This is my third Table 17 post. My first post was several months ago when I went for their regular dinner menu; my second post was around several weeks ago when I went for their Sunday brunch; and this post is about my dinner with four friends this past Sunday where we tried Table 17's Table d'Hote menu.


Table 17 offers a Table d'Hote menu every Sunday and Monday which features three courses for $32. Pretty awesome, right? Well there's more - what's even better is that there's also no corkage fee for Table d'Hote!


If you want to see more pictures of the decor at Table 17's please click here. I only took this one picture on Sunday because for the previous two visits I always sat at those two-person tables against the wall; I had a different view this time =)



My friend ordered a Caesar and I ordered the Pomegranate Sour (Stoli vodka, grapefruit juice, pomegranate juice, fresh citrus juices). I love Caesars but I wanted to try something new (also because I tried their Caesar last time at brunch already). The Pomegranate Sour tasted alright, no complaints, but for $12, I expected some kinda garnish...a lemon wedge, a lemon curl, a tacky umbrella even... just something so the drink would look more appealing than just three pomegranate seeds at the bottom.


*Sigh* we did not take advantage of the BYOW / no corkage fee deal as we did not get to LCBO in time to buy wine =( O well, next time.


Moving on to the food~ Before our first course came, we all shared a plate of Hot Balls, pictured at the top of the post. Three out of the five of us never had them before but because of Twitter, they have heard so much about them so it was a "must-order" anyway. As I expected, everybody loved them. Those Hot Balls with the accompanied sauces are simply irresistable. You can read more about Table 17's Hot Balls here

APPETIZERS

Shaved Ontario Asparagus - Pea shoots, heirloom radish, ricotta salata, mint & hazelnut vinaigrette.


My friend, Cindy, loved the pairing of asparagus and pea shoots. She thought it was a great salad over all - everything was very fresh and the hazelnut vinaigrette was very flavourful (maybe a tad bit too flavorful as she sometimes found bites that were too salty). Cindy liked the salad as it was different, delicious, and very well portioned.  It was her favourite course of the night.




Monday, June 27, 2011

Japango

My friend and I went to Japango a few weeks ago for my birthday. I've always wanted to try Japango because 1) I've heard only good things about the place, and 2) the owners of Japango also owns Yuzu, which is currently my favourite Japanese restaurant in Toronto (check out out my two Yuzu posts here and here).


We went for the omakase menu at Japango; figured we would go "all out" since it was my birthday afterall ($75 pp). For those of you who do not know what omakase is, it is basically the "chef's menu" where you leave everything up to the chef.  He/she will generally present a series of plates, beginning with the lightest dishes and proceeding to the heaviest, richest dishes. If you want the omakase at Japango, you must let them know when you make your reservations over the phone.


When I stepped into Japango, I was surprised at how small the restaurant was. I knew it was small as everybody has warned me about it already but I was still taken back - I just didn't expect it to be a row of tables on one side and...that's it. My friend and I sat beside each other and this was our view during the whole dinner; there were no more tables behind us or to the right of us.  With such a small place no wonder they only need one waiter lol =)



I ordered my favourite kind of sake to start.


Unagi with Sunomono Sauce - Eel was fresh, sweet, and had a lot meat. The broth was light but packed with flavour.




Friday, June 24, 2011

2011 Mott's Clamato Caesar Toast

Photo credit: The Caesar: Canada's National Cocktail  (Facebook)
I Caesars. I really, really do. When I got the invite for this 2011 Mott's Clamato Coast to Coast Caesar Toast event at The Spoke Club, I actually went on my blog and searched for "Caesar" for fun, just to see how many times I've mentioned "Caesar" on my blog; the search came up with 7 posts. Yeah, I know 7 sounds really puny but really, I assure you, the Caesar is my favourite drink! People that know me can vouch for me! Hmmm I have no idea why I feel the need to defend myself.


A brief history about the Caesar:



"A Canadian creation, the Caesar was invented in 1969 to celebrate the opening of Marco’s Italian Restaurant at the Calgary Inn (now Westin Calgary). Resident mixologist and food and beverage manager Walter Chell was commissioned to develop the new cocktail. Inspired by the flavours of Spaghetti Vongole, Walter combined sweet (tomato juice), salty (clam nectar), sour (lime), spicy (Worcestershire sauce) and bitter (celery salt) in his new concoction. After naming his drink for the Roman Emperor, legend has it that Chell served one to an Englishman who exclaimed: 'that’s a good bloody Caesar!'" 



Ever since then, Mott's Clamato has been the essential ingredient in any Caesar. Did you know that the Caesar is the most popular cocktail in Canada? More than 350 million Caesars are made with Mott's Clamato every year.


We were all given a recipe booklet and a piece of paper for tasting notes (I made mental notes instead).



We all had The Social Caesar to start.





Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sausage League 2011

Sausage seems to be gaining popularity lately in Toronto with Wvrst Beer Hall that just opened recently and Marben's Sausage League (I like to call it "Sausage Fest" hehe). Sausage League takes place at Marben Restaurant where chefs from some of Toronto's hottest restaurants compete for the title of "Sausage Champion"


How Sausage League works is that on various Wednesdays through out May to September, two chefs compete to determine whose hand-made sausages reigns supreme that night. Guests dining at Marben can order from the $25 Sausage League menu which includes the sausages from that night's competitors as well as a bottle of Steam Whistle (they have the option to order from Marben's regular menu as well). When the guests are done, they each cast a vote on which sausage they like better and the winner will advance to the next round. The final 3 chefs remaining will battle it out during the championship match on September 28. I went on May 25 when the competition was between Marron Bistro and c5


We knew we were all gonna order from the Sausage League menu. However, I was thinking about ordering Marben's burger too but was advised by my friends that maybe it was better to wait and see if we would be too full from the sausages. FINE.

We sat at the Chef's table with a clear view of the action in the kitchen.




Monday, June 20, 2011

Dinner at the Four Seasons with Iron Chef Champion Chef Rob Feenie

I felt extremely, extremely lucky to have been invited to Salut Food + Wine Festivals' Grand Finale dinner, hosted by Visa Infinite, at the Four Seasons Hotel last month. This was a rare chance to experience and taste an exquisite multi-course menu prepared by Chef Rob Feenie, Canada's first Iron Chef Champion. That night, he who worked alongside with Four Seasons Toronto's Executive Chef, Thomas Bellec. Hmmm I guess the title of this post is a bit misleading - I didn't have dinner with Chef Rob Feenie...I had dinner prepared by him ^_^




For those who do not know Chef Feenie, here's a short description about him from Salut's Event page:


"From France to North America, Chef Feenie is revered for his mastery of French cuisine. Throughout his career, he has worked along side various world renowned Chefs including Emile Jung, Charlie Trotter and Jean-Georges Vongerichten to name a few. Chef Feenie has received the Relais Gourmand Designation, and was awarded the Traditions et Qualite & AAA Five Diamond Award.

In addition to publishing three cookbooks and starring in New Classics with Chef Rob Feenie on Food Network Canada for five seasons, he is most noted for claiming the Iron Chef title after defeating Chef Masaharu Morimoto on the Food Network's Iron Chef America."




By the way I thought I would share Wikipedia's photo of Chef Marimoto lol (^_^)V






Friday, June 17, 2011

Popchips from Klout


As per Klout, they are the "Standard for Influence". And how exactly does Klout measure online influence? By a "Klout Score" which "range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score". 

This is my Klout Score currently:



Measuring online influence is no easy task and Klout has come a long way since when it started back in 2009 (?). However, it still has its short comings. For example, Klout is showing that I'm influential about the topic "War" right now, which I know stems from me talking about my "Burger Wars" blog post (as far as I know I've never talked about "War" online before).



I personally like Klout. Why? Purely on the basis that I get free stuff. I'm just being honest so don't be hating =D I mean, come on, because of Klout I got a free round-trip flight to Los Angeles last year when Virgin America partnered with Klout to extend flights in and out of Toronto. I also attended Virgin America's Toronto launch party.


Yup. I flew to L.A last August, went on a road trip to San Francisco, visited Napa Valley and here's me, at Yosemite National Park. It was so beautiful there....so sunny....so warm....


Anyway, I'm not here to discuss the validity of Klout so please do not message me about how you don't believe in Klout or whatever because I honestly do not care. I'm not here to discuss Klout as this is a food blog but I just want you to understand how I got a big box of Popchips for free. Similar to Virgin AmericaPopchips collaborated with Klout as part of their their marketing campaign in bringing the chips to Canada. 


I received this big box of Popchips in the mail several weeks ago. 






Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Being a Roving Twitter Reporter for Toronto Taste

I have heard from a lot of people that Second Harvest's Toronto Taste (#TorontoTaste) is, by far, the best fundraising event in Toronto. Toronto Taste is held every year since 21 years ago, and since then, the event has netted over $4 million, enabling Second Harvest to deliver enough fresh food to provide over 8 million meals to those living with hunger in Toronto. Hosted by Food Network Canada’s Bob Blumer, this year's Toronto Taste showcased 60 of Toronto's top chefs and 30 premium beverage purveyors - they all came together last Sunday, June 12th, and celebrated their love of food and support for Second Harvest


So can you imagine how ecstatic I was when I found out I was the winner of the "So You Think You Can Tweat" contest? Where I got to be part of the Toronto Taste Social Media Team as a "Roving Twitter Reporter"? =D


I want to say a quick thanks to Alexa (@alexaclark) and Anna (@flozer) for including me in their team! And also a shout out to Kevin (@kevrichard), Mark and Stacey (@TastingToronto) and Andrea (@TOfoodie) because I had so much fun working with you guys.


Toronto Taste was held both inside and outside the Royal Ontario Museum. As part of the Social Media Team, I got there early and watched part of Avenue Road transform to a pedestrian-only road. Chefs were setting up their stations under these huge giant tents.


As the guests started pouring in, it was time for me to get to work and assume my role as a Roving Twitter Reporter =) I think I tweeted a lot during the event and most of my tweets would have included the pictures on this post (if you have been following me or #TorontoTaste on Twitter during the event then you probably would've seen these pictures already). I wasn't able to take any pictures with my SLR as it was just too difficult to take pictures with my SLR and my phone, and tweet, and eat, and drink ... all at the same time.

Anyway, this post is really more of a picture post because although I really wanted to sample every single item at Toronto Taste, I soon realize after I got there that my goal was impossible to achieve. I did not taste every single item on this post, unfortunately, but I did include some comments through out the post. 

Without further adieu, I will let you live vicariously through my pictures. Enjoy!



Monday, June 13, 2011

Foxley

Foxley is a restaurant that my boss frequents and highly recommends; he talks about it all the time, which is really the reason why the place made it to "On My Radar". 


My "On My Radar" list, which you can find further down on the right hand side of my blog, consists of a list of restaurants that I want to try (it is arranged alphabetically) and Foxley, poor Foxley, has been on the list f-o-r-e-v-e-r, well since day 1 when this list was created.  But I can finally take it off now as I had dinner there last Thursday. And you know what? I really regret not going there earlier. The food was fantastic.


I went with my friends Richard (@mrsharpphoto), Robin (@sharp_photoand Jason (@LO_TEK). Richard and Robin are both major food lovers (check out Robin's food blog If Looks Could Fill) and I gotta say, it was really the two of them that motivated me to go to Foxley finally as Foxley is also one of their favourite restaurants in the city. So many Foxley fans!


It was raining earlier in the day but cleared up by the afternoon; still a bit overcast and breezy when we were there but we gave the patio a shot. Foxley's patio is at the back of the restaurant; it is small but sufficient.



I've said this before and I will say it again: I've always been skeptical and nervous about Asian fusion cuisine and much prefer just authentic Asian food. And no, that is not the reason I have been putting off Foxley because I actually did not know Foxley serves Asian fusion tapas until the day of the dinner! Haha I think this is probably the only time I'm glad a restaurant does not have a website as if it had, I may have written Foxley off (despite the praises) after my not-so-good experience at Kultura.

Foxley's menu. 




Friday, June 10, 2011

Feast Your Eyes on Grilled Cheese!

Dark and Stormy Grilled Cheese - Chef Michael Howell 
of The Tempest in Wolfville
It's Friday and the weather is fantastic. It's the perfect day to indulge in some food porn. And why not? It's almost the weekend and after a week of hard work, you deserve to treat yourself to many, many delicious things. But since most of us are still at work at this time (or not), lets just feast our eyes for now.


The term "food porn" is defined in Wikipedia as:


"A provocative term variously applied to a spectacular visual presentation of cooking or eating in advertisements, infomercials, cooking shows or other visual media, foods boasting a high fat and calorie content, exotic dishes that arouse a desire to eat or the glorification of food as a substitute for sex. Food porn' specifically refers to food photography and styling that presents food glamorously or provocatively, as in glamour photography..."


Can I just put it in simple terms? For me "food porn" = pictures of food that are extremely drool-worthy, so much so that they can immediately make your stomach growl...kinda like these pictures.

French Toast Grilled Cheese - Chef Melissa Craig of Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler

Ham Grilled Cheese - Chef Melissa Craig of Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler

How did I even come across all this? Well it started off with me meeting the lovely Beatrice from Trillium Corporate Communications a few months ago at Zucca Trattoria and then had the pleasure to see her again at the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. While at the Grand Prix, Beatrice and I were chatting about cheese (obviously) and she told me about this grilled cheese competition that happened last year, an event that was organized by Dairy Farmers of Canada where top chefs from across Canada put their spin on this classic Canadian favourite.



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Steak Tasting at St. Jamestown Steaks & Chops

I was invited by Joel (@foodie411) from Community Foodist to a steak tasting this past Sunday at St. Jamestown Steak & Chops. I know you are all jealous, how could you not be? Well, unless you're a vegetarian but otherwise, a "steak tasting"?! No way was I missing this. My close friends all know me; I can easily devour a 16oz steak, preferably blue rare, without hesitation. However, whether or not I can function afterwards is an entirely different story.


Let's start this post off with a teaser pic.




Drooling yet? Vegetarians are going to hate me. Yup.



Monday, June 6, 2011

My Burger Birthday Cake!

Happy Birthday to meeeeeeee! ^_^ I'm actually not that thrilled about being one year older *sigh* but what makes this birthday really, really cool is this AWESOME, AWESOME BURGER CAKE that I got on the weekend from my boyfriend! Not only is it a birthday cake in a shape of a giant burger (with two patties, obviously) it has a HELLO KITTY on the SIDE! Hahahhaa! =D How perfect is this cake? Really??


My talented friend Eunmi (@LoveAndBearTrap) made this cake for me. It is huge yet sooo cute, and every single thing is edible! I haven't tried it yet as today is my actual birthday so I'm saving it for tonight =) Anyway, you guys need to check out Eunmi's blog, Love & Bear Trap; she recently made a beautiful and elegant wedding cake and she also participated in the 2011 Cake Show a month or so ago where she submitted her cake for the show's Design Challenge. 


I simply could not leave this cake alone once I laid my eyes on it and I kept on taking more and more pictures. It was simply too cute. It deserves a *kiss* from me.



And..er...yeah =)





Friday, June 3, 2011

Media Dinner at Bloom Restaurant - View the Vibe Vlog

I was invited by Mary Luz Mejia and Mario Stojanac from Sizzling Communications to attend "a special degustation" of Bloom Restaurant's (@BloomRestaurant) new menu items.  I'm now loving the word "degustation" (it was used in the email invite) because according to Wikipedia, degustation is "a culinary term meaning 'a careful, appreciative tasting of various foods' and focusing on the gustatory system, the senses, high culinary art and good company" and that's exactly how the dinner at Bloom went =) Thanks again Sizzling Communications for the invite! 


Bloom is located in the Bloor West area (for all you TTC riders, it is between Runnymede and Jane station). The restaurant opened back in November 2004 and has recently refreshed their look and menu. It is very modern, outside and in. Orange and green are used throughout Bloom and the colours definitely add a spring/summer-y feel to the whole venue. 


Nicki from View the Vibe, my foodie date, did a vlog at the tasting too~ Check it out! =) 


OK back to my boring blog ^_^

That's Nick Keukenmeester from Lifford Wine. Nick did an awesome job that introducing all the wines that night. He looked like he was in deep thought there.



I'm also loving the clean lines, the white walls and chairs... the effect of everything combined is ultra contemporary and fun. 




Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Afternoon tea at Fairmont Royal York

I brought my Mom to the Fairmont Royal York for afternoon tea for Mother's Day this year. Last year, I also took her to afternoon tea, but at Windsor Arms, a place that I've been to a handful of times (last time I had tea there was in their Russian Room).


I've only been to Windsor Arms for afternoon tea and have always wanted to try other places so when a WagJag coupon came up for Royal York, I bought two coupons right away; it was tea for two, valued at $79, for the price of $38. Let's just say I regret getting two coupons because after this experiece at Royal York, I now appreciate my afternoon tea experience at Windsor Arms so much more. I have no desire whatsoever to go back to the Royal York. My Mom and I were really disappointed at the service and the food at the Royal York.

Royal York's afternoon tea is only served on weekeends. We went several Sundays before Mother's Day for a 3PM sitting (their only available time that day). The room was packed full and was extremely noisy. My Mom was sitting across from me and we both had to lean forward to hear each other - the sound level was similar to a Chinese dim sum place, no joke. There was also a guitarist, which was nice if the room was actually quieter as I couldn't even hear the music much and because of that, the music merely added to the noise in the room. 



Aside from the noise level, I do like the decor at the Library Bar. It was very cozy and warm with the dark wood, carpet, and the beautiful drapes. I also liked the variety of seating there.