Friday, July 29, 2011

Vegas Bound!

I'm gonna be going to Vegas on Sunday! A few friends and I will be staying at Encore.


The plan? Gamble...


and win money to fund the following activities:

Party at Tao...


Visit the Grand Canyon...




Pangaea (Summerlicious)

Pangaea was my second and also my last Summerlicious dinner this year. I've been to Pangaea several years ago, both for their regular menu and Summerlicious, and I remember that both times my meals were fantastic. Although I don't recall exactly what I had back then, I remember I walked out happy and satisfied. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same this time around. 


I went with my boyfriend and two other couples and all of us came out really disappointed, except for one person. My friend Nancy, a fellow foodie, and I both had high hopes for Pangaea (Nancy also had great experiences at Pangaea before). We mutually decided on Pangaea for our group dinner that night. Let's just say that we felt bad we picked it  =( Nancy and I were both shocked at the food and the service throughout the night. My dinner at Pangaea was certainly polar opposite to the great meal I had at Luma the night before.


Our reservation was at 7:30pm last Wednesday. Almost all the tables were filled.


Some of the guys wanted beer. There was a beer Pangaea had on tap that the guys never had before, and our server was nice in that she gave them each a sample of that particular beer to try =)

The bread was probably the second best thing that night. It had a nice crust with a pillowy-y soft middle.


It came with regular butter and also beet butter, which I quite liked as it gave a hint of sweetness to the bread. A few others in the group liked it as well so we asked for more beet butter~


APPETIZERS

Lamb Sausages - Grilled, on pearl barley with Stilton, grape tomato and wilted mustard greens.

My boyfriend ordered this. I had one bite of it and wow, it had a really strong lamb flavour; it was very, very gamey. I would only recommend this to people who absolutely adore lamb and gamey because even for me it was still a bit too gamey....and I love lamb. And believe me, I can do gamey too.




Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Luma (Summerlicious)

I wasn't too keen on going to any Summerlicious dinners this year because I think I had more disappointing / mediocre dinners than good / memorable ones during the last several Winterlicious + Summerlicious. Also, when I go through the list of restaurants and their prix-fixe menus nowadays, nothing really jumps out at me like they used to (I know this is only natural as time goes by). However, every year, I still end up going, like some kinda ritual. The only difference is that the number of restaurants that I visit decrease as time goes by.


Luma was one of the two restaurants I went to this year for Summerlicious. I've never been to Luma before and initially thought it could be a potential Summerlicious pick. My choice was confirmed when I checked out their menu; a pretty decent 3-course dinner for $35. Not bad at all, considering a lot of high end restaurants these days are charging $45 for their 'licious menu.  


It was blazing hot during the day! Thankfully it cooled down a bit during the late afternoon so we asked for a table on their rooftop patio. 



Personally, one of my criteria for choosing a restaurant for 'licious is that their menu must offer a fish and a red meat as mains (because those are the two things I like the most). I do not care for chicken or vegetarian dishes! This is precisely why I like Luma's Summerlicious menu this year =D


Bread to start. 


APPETIZERS

Saigon Salad - Iceberg lettuce, braised pork, crispy noodles and chili dressing. 

My friends thought the dressing was nice as it wasn't too salty. The lettuce was crunchy and fresh. They said it was a nice refreshing salad. 




Monday, July 25, 2011

The Mott's Clamato Caesar Kit Giveaway Winner Is...

@mekewpieis 

Congratulations! =D Please email me at foodjunkiechronicles@gmail.com with your shipping information. I will then forward your info to Mott's Clamato (they will be sending you the kit). Congrats again and I hope you will enjoy this awesome kit ^_^


I also want to say a big THANKS to the 35 contestants who participated in the contest! Many of you may not know this but this Mott's Clamato Caesar Kit Giveaway is actually my first ever giveaway / contest on my blog~ It is certainly not my last (there will be another one coming in a few weeks time, so look out for it =D).

Having said that, with more giveaway / contests coming up, I want to ensure my followers that I am 100% honest when I say the winner is picked RANDOMLY. To back that statement up, I want to quickly show you guys how I went about tracking this particular 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 and due diligence ^_^

After the contest was over, I copy and pasted the #foodieyucaesar Twitter stream onto a Word document. This was 10/19 pages shown as an example.


Using Excel, I entered all the the valid entries. The tracking was done using chronological order, as in, #1 was the first ballot entered right after the contest went live and #138 was the last ballot entered right before the contest ended. The Entry ballot was given for each contestant that tweeted "I want to win the #foodieyucaesar kit! http://bit.ly/ohu7Qj" [entry rule]. Each subsequent tweet or retweet by that contestant (with the #foodieyucaesar hashtag) was given an additional ballot (people tweeting or retweeting tweets but did not submit an entry ballot was not entered into the contest). Once all 138 ballots were accounted for in my spreadsheet, I went to check if the 35 contestants actually followed me on Twitter [entry rule].


I used the "True Random Number Generator" from random.org to randomly pick a winner for me from 1 to 138.


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







Friday, July 22, 2011

Food Junkie Chronicle's 1-Year Anniversary Cake

So, why? Why did we not order dessert at The Big Ragu (see my dinner post here)? Especially when they have tiramisu (yum!), white chocolate mousse cake (yum x 2!), and chocolate cake with real Nutella cream (yum x 3!) on their dessert menu? Well, little did I know, my friend Tracy totally took me by surprise that night when she brought in a cake for me! A cake that she made for Food Junkie Chronicle's 1 Year Anniversary!!!


Tracy, an Apprentice Cake Decorator for Cakestar and also owner of Chibicakes, made me this beautiful pink cake~ It had a criss-cross pattern all around (which totally reminds me of Chanel bags lol) and was adorned with silver  and pink beads. On the top was me, with pink hair *of course* with one hand doing the peace sign (V^_^) sitting behind a few of my favourite foods including a burger, a piece of cake, and a pizza. How fitting! How cuuuuuuuuuuuuuute?! 


When I first saw the cake, I couldn't help smiling like a little girl (my friends can vouch for this). I just couldn't take my eyes of it! It was just too adorable and so...ME ^_*



A dilemma soon occurred when I realized it was time to eat the cake. I didn't want to eat it, nor anybody else to eat it for that matter. It was too beautiful! I secretly wanted to keep this forever in some vacuum and just look at it once in awhile. I really didn't want to make the first cut but I had to, it was my cake. Anyway, after taking a gazillion pictures of it I knew it had to be done. I didn't feel as bad about it after my first bite because it was DELICIOUS! It was a caramel rum cake;  it was soft, moist and just perfect because it wasn't too sweet and I could definitely taste rum *yum*

My arm with the peace sign was strong and prevailed the cut LOL


There's me lying down with my food heh~!


Showcasing some of Tracy's cakes. Aren't they incredible?!



Thank you, Tracy, for being so incredibly thoughtful and making me this cake for my blog's anniversary! I will never forget it ^_^ *xoxo*

Contact
Twitter: @chibikuma
For cake orders: traceofcakes@yahoo.ca




Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Social Party: 100% Waterfront at il Fornello Queens Quay [VLOG]

I love the Harbourfront. I love the breeze. I love the water. I love patios. I love cocktails. And of course, I love food. 


I was invited to the 100% Waterfront party at il Fornello Queens Quay on Thursday, July 7th. 


PERFECT


With the red carpet rolled out and the white canopy at il Fornello, I felt like I was in Miami; not that  I have ever been to Miami but having watched CSI Miami it gave me some idea lol~ Food lovers and fashionistas mingled while sipping on Italian cocktails; some skipped the mingling and went right to Hooked Inc's oyster bar. Endless hor d'oeuvres were served to us~ With DJ Sokes providing beats, it was an awesome party!


After hor d'oeuvres on the patio, there was a whole buffet waiting for us inside. SO.MUCH.FOOD.


I've got to say though...I have never been impressed with the food at il Fornello before, but with new Executive Chef Ryan Kowalyk at this Queens Quay location, that night's food totally exceeded my expectations. My favs were the beef carpaccio with truffle mayonnaise on parsnip chip, fried zucchini flowers, and the grilled portobello mushrooms. 


Here's View the Vibe's Eye On The Vibe Blog capturing that night's...well...VIBE! =D Check out my little dance after having the fried zucchini flower ^_*



Andrew, a fellow foodie from www.dobbernationloves.com, also wrote a post on the party - check it out here.








Monday, July 18, 2011

Mott's Clamato Caesar Kit Giveaway - CLOSED

Mott's Clamato has kindly offered me a Mott's Clamato Caesar Kit in which I am able to giveaway to one of my lucky followers ^_*


A huge box full of everything that you will need to make your very own Caesar, including:


1 - 945 ml Mott's Clamato Cocktail
1 - 142 mL Worcestershire sauce
1 - 148 mL hot sauce
1 - 75g sea salt
1 - 75g seasoning salt
1 - 48g black peppercorn
1 - Recipe booklet
2 - Drinking glasses




HOW TO ENTER?


1) You must be following me on Twitter, @foodieyu; AND
2) Tweet the following "I want to win the #foodieyucaesar kit! http://bit.ly/ohu7Qj" (You can only tweet this once)


THIS EARNS YOU ONE BALLOT


3) To increase your chances of winning, you can include "#foodieyucaesar" in any tweet or retweet any tweet that you see with "#foodieyucaesar". Each tweet or retweet earns you ONE ballot and you can tweet and retweet as many times as you wish. You MUST have done 1) and 2) for any of your retweets to count. A random winner will be chosen.


WHEN DOES THE CONTEST END?
Thursday, July 21st at 12:00pm. I will announce who the winner is on Monday, July 25th.


GOOD LUCK! ^_^



Friday, July 15, 2011

The Big Ragu

The Big Ragu (@TheRealBigRagu) was introduced to me by my friend Tracy (@chibikuma). Tracy told me  that The Big Ragu is one of her favourite restaurants in Toronto, a family-run restaurant with an intimate and cozy atmosphere. She said it simply serves really good Italian food. Sure, I'll go, why the heck not? And to be honest, I was already sold after "one of her favourite restaurants in Toronto". So Tracy and I invited a few friends to come along with us for dinner at The Big Ragu on a weeknight after work.


The Big Ragu is located at the corner Lansdowne and St. Clair. The restaurant may not look like much on the outside but I love the inside. The restaurant really has the look of an Italian trattoria with its textured paint and the numerous photographs, paintings, and bottles of wines against the wall.



The owners of The Big Ragu, Barb & Carm Accogli, are friendly and welcoming. Barb (@CakeStarGirlz) is also the co-owner of CakeStar where she creates cakes that are unreal! Don't believe me? Check out some of CakeStar's masterpieces here.


A Very Bloody Caesar - Vodka, Clamato juice, celery salt, tobasco, horseradish & lemon juice.


Seeing all that horseradish makes me smile. I Caesars with horseradish - personally, I think horseradish should be mandatory in all Caesars =D





Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bigabaldi's Pizzeria

Judging by the number of blog posts I churn out each week, it should be apparent to you that I go out for dinner quite a bit. Even though not all my dinners are fine dining (actually most are not) I sometimes still crave for simple comfort food. Thanks to Neil's (@neilfaba) invite last week, I got to experience true Italian comfort food at Bigabaldi's (@Bigabaldis). Bigabaldi's serves true, traditional, family style Italian food - nothing fancy, nothing pretentious.


Bigabaldi's opened approximately 6 months ago and is located near Glencairn and Dufferin (close to Glencairn TTC station). Rob, Sandro and Brad are co-owners of the Bigabaldi's. Rob, who grew up in the neighbourhood, has been in the food business all his life; he was at Grazie for 18 years (12 years as a partner) and is now the owner of Cocquine Restaurant at Yonge and Eglinton (Sandro is also the executive chef there).



The three owners of Bigabaldi's all wanted one thing: to "recreate the warmth and comfort of Sunday dinners for everyday appetites". They strongly stand by serving quality food at the best value for their customers.  Bigabaldi's makes everything from scratch including their pizza dough and sauce (the tomatoes they use are from Naples). All the meats are naturally raised and sourced from a local farmer.



It was extremely hot and humid that day. I initially grabbed a bottle of water but couldn't resist and got myself a Brio Chinotta Soda afterwards.



Baldi's Bombas - Meatball wrapped in deep fried pizza dough with cheese and covered in homemade sauce. The meatball consists of both beef and pork, parmigiano, parsley, sea salt, and extra virgin oil. 

The huge meat ball was tender and juicy; slather some of that tomato sauce with it and you're good to go. Simple yet so delicious~ 





Monday, July 11, 2011

WVRST [VLOG]

I visited WVRST (@WVRSTbeerhall) for the first time back in early June with a bunch of friends. We went a bit crazy, or as I like to say, "all-out", and ordered every single sausage on the menu (except the vegetarian sausages). That dinner was pure bliss - just seeing all the different kinds of sausages fill up our entire table induced a sense of euphoria in us. Meat lovers unite! =D


I was pretty much "sausaged-out" after that dinner but when Lisa, from The Hip & Urban Girl's Guide, asked me to go to WVRST a couple of weeks later I just couldn't resist and said "sure, why not" (I obviously have no self control when it comes to dinner dates). 


Our dinner was fabulous; Lisa and I chatted over apple ciders, sausages, and double-dipped duck fat fries. The large space, which seats around 140, is comfortable and inviting. 


Here we are waiting for our sausages =D


I hope you will enjoy the video~ Make sure you watch till the end when we got a chance to speak with chef and owner Aldo Lanzillotta after our dinner ^_*


Check out Lisa's post on our dinner at WVRST here


I'm going to be doing more and more vlogs in the future, if you like my vlogs so far please click below and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thanks for your support ^_*


Wvrst on Urbanspoon





Friday, July 8, 2011

Brockton General

My two friends Cindy and Adrienne took me to Brockton General for my birthday last month. Cindy and I have been wanting to try Brockton General for a while now. Why? Well, there are a number of things that make this restaurant quite interesting:


1) There are only three "employees" at Brockton General - two of them are owners Brie Read and Pam Thompson, the third one is Chef Alexandra Feswick, 2) Brie and Pam are both first time restaurateurs, 3) their menu changes nightly (except for its bar menu which consists of cheeses, olives, and bread); and 4) Brockton General was listed as one of James Chatto's Top 10 New Restaurants of 2010.


Brockton General has been opened for almost a year now. It is located in the Dundas West area (1321 Dundas St. W. at Lisgar St.). It's a very small place, with 8-10 tables at most. It is a quaint little restaurant with a three-person bar, very casual and non- pretentious.



A list of cheeses is written on the chalkboard on one wall (I think the chalkboard used to be a door) and on the opposite wall is the night's menu written on butcher paper consisting of 3 appetizers, 4 mains, and 1 dessert.




Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cupcake Decorating at Le Dolci

Lisa Sanguedolci, owner of Le Dolci, invited me to one of her cupcake docorating classes a couple of weekends ago. To be honest I was a bit nervous going in; I mean, I can eat cupcakes no problem, but to decorate them?! I have zero creativity, I'm not kidding...I cannot draw or design anything to save my LIFE. And to think I gotta decorate cupcakes?  Seemed like a pretty daunting task to me...hmmm can I just eat the cupcakes instead? 


Not knowing what to expect, I dragged my friend Cindy with me (well I didn't really have to *drag* her as she jumped at my offer lol). Although I was a teeny bit worried at first, I managed to decorate a dozen cupcakes as shown on the left! Incredible! I must say I was quite proud of myself because as I said before, I thought I didn't one creative gene in me. So now, I think I do have one...just one.


Le Dolci is located in at King & Bathurst and is currently the only cupcake decorating studio in downtown Toronto. Le Dolci was first launched in the UK in 2009 and have since then moved from London, UK, where they ran some fabulous cupcake decorating classes to Toronto~



The 2-hour cupcake decorating classes are suitable for anyone at any age. Here's Lisa giving us a brief overview about what we would be doing. We were to decorate 6 cupcakes with fondant and 6 cupcakes with buttercream. Got it. Check. Let's DO this.


By the way, notice the Pride flags? This is because each month, Le Dolci has a different theme that usually relates to events happening in Toronto or around the world. Neat, huh?