Thursday, May 31, 2012

Splendido: à la carte

After Tasting I, Mother's Day brunch and Tasting II, I was back at Splendido for à la carte exactly a week later. I know it's crazy but I have a hear me out :) 

A friend of mine, Genevieve (@GenevieveNgu), has never been to Splendido and she really wanted to go before chef Patrick Kriss (@Patrickkriss) leaves for the position of Chef de Cuisine at Acadia (@AcadiaToronto), replacing chef Matt Blondin (@chefmattblondin) who has taken the position of executive sous chef at Momofuku Daisho (to open in August). Seeing that it was the last weekend before Kriss leaves, Genevieve and I had to go last Saturday. No choice. Given, I'm sure Genevieve didn't necessarily need my company (LOL) I thought it was a good opportunity to try out Splendido's à la carte menu. So no, nobody pointed a gun to my head and forced me to go to Splendido for the fourth time in the last two months. I wanted to go can I say this.. I think Splendido is awesome? =D

 Another phenomenal dinner. Genevieve, Agatha (@agapod) and I had nothing but praises the entire night. This is what we had:

Beet Juice Champagne and Horseradish

Magdalene Island Scallop - Ramp, Rhubarb and Maple Syrup

Victor's Foie Gras Parfait - Ontario Strawberries, Black Truffle Coulis, Walnut Crumble ($22)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hawker Bar

No doubt in my mind that the hearts of most Asians in Toronto skipped a beat when news of a Singaporean restaurant was set to open in downtown. Heck, I was pretty ecstatic myself given that when it comes to legit Singaporean or Malaysian food, the place I fall back on is always Restoran Malaysia in Richmond Hill. Meh, the thought of not having to drive uptown for a nice, heart-warming bowl of laksa was enticing enough to make me lose sleep. OK. Not really. But close enough. 

Hawker Bar (@HawkerBar), its name stemming from hawkers or hawker centres (i.e. open-air complexes in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia housing stalls that sell a variety of inexpensive food), is tiny. I went early at 6pm to grab a table for four as Hawker Bar doesn't take reservations. Evidently nobody was there yet but hey, better safe than sorry (FYI it was slammed by the time we left).

A nod to street grub, the vibe at Hawker Bar is casual and simple (nothing says casual more than tree stump stools!)

Hawker Bar's menu written on cardboard.


The four of us did not order the whole menu, but close enough :)

Son In Law Eggs - Soft boiled then fried, chili jam, Prik Nam Pla ($6)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Splendido Tasting II

My Splendido Tasting I in April wasn't complete; I missed several courses at the beginning =( In all seriousness, I have been itching to go back to Splendido ever since that night. I needed to go back for a full, complete tasting 'cause not only is it not right doing things half-ass, I also don't believe in experiencing anything half-ass. Am I anal? Maybe. Maybe not.

I was actually at Splendido for Mother's Day brunch before this tasting. It was fantastic and both my parents and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't take any pictures of the brunch because I really just wanted to relax and spend some quality time with my parents (without any interruptions).

A week later I was back to Splendido for Tasting II which comprised of 17 courses. Hope you will enjoy the food porn =D

Georgetown Storm

Beet Juice Champagne and Horseradish

Australian Blue Fin O-Toro

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Splendido Tasting I

I'm not sure what happened? 

The thing is, I've always wanted to go to Splendido (@Splendido_TO) since hm....I don't know, a long, long time ago. Years ago. But I never got a chance to until last month, and since then, I've been to Splendido three times. THREE TIMES! And I am going again this Saturday for the FOURTH time. Crazy, right? Yup, I would say so.

1st time - April 4 - Tasting I
2nd time - May 13 - Mother's Day brunch
3rd time - May 19 - Tasting II
4th time - May 26 - à la carte


Photo credit:

I guess I always found it hard to find someone to go to Splendido with me. Unlike going for a casual sit-down dinner, I understand that my friends would probably want to save Splendido for a special occasion with their family or significant other (rather than just going with me because I want  their company!) Honestly, it is hard enough for me to find friends that can keep up with my "normal" eating out habits as it is, let alone dine with me at one of Toronto's most prestigious restaurants just for the heck of it.

Luckily, Paul & Marsha, a lovely couple whom I've met on Twitter (and also long time loyal customers of Splendido) were kind enough to let me crash their 41st wedding anniversary dinner. No seriously, 41st wedding anniversary! Isn't that amazing? And believe me, when I found out that it was their 41st wedding anniversary dinner I was like "No way. Let's do dinner another time" as I did not want be a third wheel at such a special occasion. However, Paul and Marsha still insisted that they would love for me to join them for dinner, that it is perfectly fine and I don't have to feel bad about it. I still couldn't say yes though as I really didn't want to intrude. This back and forth between us went on for awhile and obviously, I gave in at the end! Thanks Paul & Marsha for letting me intrude! =D

Photo credit:

Paul & Marsha brought along two bottles of wine. I felt extremely lucky to be able to taste such fabulous wines:

1988 Chateau Lynch Bages (left)
1985 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (right)

I had to attend an event earlier in the evening so I arrived to Splendido a bit late and missed these courses:

Chickpea, Cauliflower and Yoghurt
Razor Clam Salad
Australian Blue Fin Toro
Smoked Rocky Point Oyster
Cured B.C. Steelhead Trout

Pictures of the above courses can be found on Paul's website: Foodie Images from Taylor Fladgate

Victor's Foie Gras Parfait - Lennox Farms Rhubarb Confit, Black Truffle Coulis, Walnut Crumble

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Toronto Taste 2012

It is that time of year again! 

Toronto Taste is Sunday, May 27, 2012, at the Royal Ontario Museum. 

Like last year, I feel extremely lucky to be part of Toronto Taste's Social Media Team as a "Roving Twitter Reporter" (you can read about my experience at Toronto Taste here last year. Warning: may not be a good idea if you're hungry!). You think I tweet a lot of food pictures normally? HAHA wait till you see me in action on Sunday! =P Make sure you follow the hashtag #TorontoTaste too for all the live updates at the event.

Indulge your senses in a gastronomic adventure showcasing over 60 of Toronto's top chefs and 30 beverage purveyors, all coming together to celebrate the love of food and support Second Harvest's (@2ndHarvestTO) 22nd annual Toronto TasteToronto Taste was one of the very first culinary fundraisers in the city. Since the start of Toronto Taste it has raised more than $4 million to support Second Harvest’s food rescue program.  One ticket to Toronto Taste will provide 250 meals to Torontonians in need and this year the event aims to raise enough funds to provide 700,000 meals for Toronto's hungry. Toronto Taste is presented by The Daniels Corporation.

*~Watch the video and see what Toronto Taste is all about~*

*~The event will be hosted by Food Network's Bob Blumer and Food Network Chef and recording artist Roger Mooking ~*

Toronto Taste is a premier culinary event that brings together the highest calibre chefs; no other event in Toronto gives guests personal access to the city's top culinary talent including Mark McEwan, Michael Smith, Lynn Crawford and many more. The list below is the outstanding culinary line-up for this year:

Click here for the list of beverage purveyors and entertainment.

Besides all of the good stuff I just mentioned, there are also auctions where you can bid on unique and exciting prizes. They include live auction, fine wine auction, silent auction, online auction and contests

BUY YOUR TICKET HERE (they are already 94% sold) or call 416.408.2594. Only FOUR DAYS LEFT!

Interested in being a volunteer at Toronto Taste? Find out more information here

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Winner of Ten Restaurant's 10-Course Tasting is...


Congratulations Nancy! =D Chef Nic Prong (@NicCanCook) of Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar (@tenrestaurant) will be in contact with you soon via Twitter with details on how to redeem you dinner. Congrats again and I hope you will enjoy your tasting at Ten Restaurant!

I also want to say a big THANKS to the 115 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 #10courseatTEN stream from day one of the contest. The tracking was done using chronological order, as in, #1 was the first person who entered right the contest. To enter, the person has to tweet "I want to win a 10-COURSE TASTING MENU FOR TWO at @tenrestaurant! #10courseatTEN". Once the contest was over and everybody's entries were accounted for in my spreadsheet, I went to check if they actually followed me on Twitter (I also sent the below list of contestants to chef Nic Prong at Ten Restaurant to look over).

After weeding out the people that did not follow Ten Restaurant, Chef Nic Prong and I on Twitter, I was left with 101 contestants. I went to "True Random Number Generator" from to randomly pick a winner for me from 1 to 101.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Banana Mafia Presents "Asian Street Market"

The Banana Mafia (haha love the name!) consists of five very talented Asian chefs in the city: Nick Liu of GwaiLo, Robert Hojilla of Ursa, Leemo Han of Swish by Han & ODDSEOUL, Jeff Claudio of Yours Truly and Jonathan Poon of Chantecler. The five chefs got together with one goal in mind: promote modern Asian cuisine. In a Singapore hawker-style setting and with the use of top quality local ingredients, the inaugural Asian Street Market event took place this past Monday at Amsterdam Brewery. Before I go on, I must say this:


There was no question whatsoever that I was going to attend Asian Street Market. After all,  five dishes put together by some of Toronto's top Asian chefs? I'm so in. Another very important reason: my girl, Kristina Chau of Not Your Average Party (@notyouravgparty) was in charge of coordinating the entire event (a sold-out event, I must add). You did a fantastic job Kris! Much love! *XOXO*

When we walked into Amsterdam Brewery, we were promptly given a small paper bag filled with cute Asian snacks, candies, 6 tasting tickets (five tickets for each hawker stand and one ticket for an Amsterdam Natural Blond Lager) and a pair of chopsticks.

The second floor of Amsterdam Brewery was transformed into what resembles a traditional Singapore hawker centre (i.e. an organized outdoor food court housing stalls that sells inexpensive food).

Pics of random Asian things:

At Chef Liu's station: fried chili, almond crumble, wild leek sambal chili sauce, trout lilly.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ten Restaurant's 10-Course Tasting Menu Giveaway - CLOSED


I'm giving away a 10-COURSE TASTING MENU WITH WINE FOR TWO prepared by Chef Nic Prong (@NicCanCook) at Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar (@tenrestaurant).

Did you read about my dinner at Ten Restaurant last week? If not, check it out =)


1) You MUST be following me (@foodieyu), Chef Nic Prong (@NicCanCook) and Ten Restaurant (@tenrestauranton Twitter;


2) Tweet the following sentence, exactly as shown, nothing before or after it

I want to win a 10-COURSE TASTING MENU FOR TWO at @tenrestaurant! #10courseatTEN

Please note the following:
*Limit one entry per person*
*I'll be keeping track of the #10courseatTEN hashtag throughout the contest so don't worry =)*
*Prize is valid until May 18, 2013*
*Cannot be used on Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or New Year's Eve* 
*Must make reservation ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE*


Contest starts on Monday, May 14 and ends on Friday, May 18 at 12PM.

The lucky winner will be chosen randomly from and I will announce the winner on Monday, May 21.

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^

Friday, May 11, 2012

"The Go Chuck Yourself" Burger at Holy Chuck

I'm not sure how I get sucked into these crazy ordeals. First, the burger crawl, now this. THIS. This stuffing-my-face-with-The-Go-Chuck-Yourself-burger-at-Holy-Chuck-Burgers ordeal. I know, I know, the option to say "thanks, but no thanks" is always there but it is hard for me; I'm a nice person and I just can't say no (OK maybe only for food-related things hehe). And I really can't say no to this especially when I know for a fact that The Go Chuck Yourself burger is just so damn EPIC!

It was actually Richard (@mrsharpphoto) from If Looks Could Fill who suggested trying The Go Chuck Yourself burger. He suggested having the burger but NOT doing the challenge (yes you can do a challenge!). We really just wanted to leisurely enjoy the burger without being rushed. I agreed and was down with that. So on Tuesday, Richard, his wife Robin (@sharp_photo) and I went to Holy Chuck Burgers (@HOLYCHUCKBURGER) at Yonge & St. Clair (by the way, Holy Chuck was one of my top picks from my burger crawl).

Holy Chuck's Menu (can be found online here)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar

I never eat in Mississauga because I'm hardly in Mississauga. Like I tell everybody, I literally just sleep there. I work, eat and hang out in downtown. In short, most of my waking hours are spent in downtown. And if I'm ever craving Chinese food I would drive up to Markham or Richmond Hill (I'm not a Chinatown gal). In all honesty, except for pho, I have zero urge to eat out in Mississauga (especially when my Mom is such an amazing cook!). There is just nothing good there. So many boring corporate, big chains in Mississauga. Seriously, I don't even bother. In any event, after visiting Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar last week, I realize there is hope! YES!

Actually, by being on Twitter, Ten has already made a good impression on me. Although it seems like the norm for many restaurants and chefs in downtown Toronto to have Twitter accounts, the same cannot be said for restaurants in the 'burbs; most are not social media savvy, to say the least. So it was extremely refreshing to see that both Chef Nic Prong of Ten (@NicCanCook) and Ten itself (Twitter: @tenrestaurant, Facebook: Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar) actively engage on Twitter. 

Chef Nic Prong

Anyway, after reading my blog posts and seeing that I wasn't giving much love to restaurants in the west end, Chef Prong was determined to show me that Ten is different and not like the other cookie-cutter chain restaurants in Mississauga. And after exchanging a few tweets, Chef Prong invited me to his restaurant in Port Credit last week. Over fine wine and an elaborate tasting menu prepared by Sous Chef Jackie and Chef De Partie Ryan (@hamillofficial), Chef Prong, his brother Brendan Prong (@chef_prong), Chef De Cuisine at West50 Pourhouseand I had a very delightful evening chatting (only natural with two chefs and a food blogger, no? =P). And boy, let me say this: plate after plate, I was thoroughly impressed at the level of creativity that Chef Prong is bringing to the table (literally) at Ten Restaurant & Wine Bar .

Spacious and roomy with deep red booths and floor-to-ceiling windows, Ten is a very modern and chic looking restaurant.

We started off with a bottle of Tawse 2009 Cabernet Franc.


East Coast oysters, pickled vegetables, cucumber wine

Monday, May 7, 2012

Burger Tasting [VLOG]

Nicki from View The Vibe (@ViewTheVibe) told me about her insane idea the other day. It went something like this: 

We should pick some of the top burger spots in Toronto and go on a burger tasting! And lets do it ALL IN ONE DAY!

Crazy woman. 

As crazy as that may sound, I obviously went along with it. I love burgers. Really, I do. After all, there's a reason why I was recruited as judge on Burger Wars last year :D I also have mad love for McDonald's (I'm not ashamed of this) because I made AND ate a McDonald's Quadruple Filet-O-Fish before. And if you're still not convinced...please... the cartoon version of me is holding a friggin' burger!!!

I guess Nicki and I weren't the only crazy ones; Val (@ValTorontoGal) from I'm Charming You, Sam (@SamMillarTO) from View The Vibe, and Scott (@scottyhons) also came along for the burger crawl.

Watch our journey here...

And if you're still here (thanks!) read on and see what I thought about each burger...

FIRST STOP: Holy Chuck Burgers

The Holy Chuck: Double cheeseburger with bacon & caramelized onions ($9.99)
An extremely juicy burger done to a perfect medium-rare, I couldn't ask for a better start to our burger tasting than this Holy Chuck Signature Burger. The sweet caramelized onion, crispy strips of bacon and melted cheese all between a fluffy soft bun was just excellent.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Savour Verano

Some of you may know from my tweets that the kind people at Buick (@gmcanada) offered me an opportunity to get behind the wheel of a 2012 Buick Verano for a week last month. And as if that wasn't cool enough, I was also invited to an exclusive #SavourVerano dinner on Tuesday, May 1, where celebrity chef Anthony Sedlak (@anthonysedlak) created a three-course meal inspired by "the vibrant colours, smooth curves and unexpected luxury of the new 2012 Buick Verano".

Obviously the foodie in me was excited for the dinner. But I don't think many of you know that I'm also a huge car fan. When I was younger (and had more time) I attended the Auto Show every year, as well as import car shows, friends' car meets (like the ones held at the infamous woodbine & 16 parking lot LOL), car events at Shannonville, Mosport, Cayuga etc., watch shows like Top Gear and Initial D. I even made a few Tamiya car models! Haha the good ol' days. Anyway, although I've scaled back a lot since then, a car + food event cannot be more perfect for me.

To be honest, I've never been keen on Buicks since they generally appeal to more of an older crowd. But I gotta admit, this Verano in a deep, rich red which I drove for a week was actually quite sexy! Smooth curves and not too big, I think Buick has really come a long way in terms of designing the Verano (FYI the Verano is Buick's first vehicle in the small luxury-compact market). 

On my driveway: the Verano beside my tiny little Honda Civic Si-R (a.k.a "Rice Rocket" to some of my friends). 

My friends can attest to this: I seriously did not want to give the Verano back. Other than the fact that the Verano is automatic instead of manual (a nice break from the norm), driving the Verano was a whole different experience for me. With its plush leather seats and soft ambient lighting, the Verano is such a luxurious and comfortable ride. There is also no doubt in my mind that the Verano is the quietest vehicle I've ever been in (their QuietTuning® technology is amazing... triple-sealed doors, dual-density carpets and acoustic laminated glass). Now that I'm back to my bare bones Civic, I realized how much I miss their BOSE sound system, satellite radio, 7-inch LED colour touchscreen display and heated steering wheel! What a fun experience =)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Burns and Carter Dinner

Both currently in between jobs, chef Jay Carter (@Notjcarter) and chef Daniel Burns (@chefdburns) teamed up this past weekend for a much anticipated three-night-only dinner party (April 27, 28 and 29). For $100 and 30 guests each night, I was told there was over 1,200 names on the waiting list for the event. Not surprising given the chefs' impressive pedigree.

Carter and Burns met and became friends at Susur restaurant over 10 years ago. Carter left Susur to run the kitchen at Lee and has recently left his position as executive chef at Centro. From Susur, Burns went to St. John and The Fat Duck in England where he was a senior chef de partie (it was also during Burns' 18 months there that The Fat Duck earned its third Michelin star). He has also headed the pastry department at Noma in Cophenhagen and ran Momofuku's food lab in New York as the company's research and development chef (he left the position earlier this year).  A remarkable duo, to say the least. 

I was one of the lucky 90 guests to experience the #burnsandcarter dinner on Sunday night. It was held at Mitzi's on College (which closed in February of this year). Two long tables with candles and potted herbs transformed the simple space into an intimate setting. The night's menu was written on the brown banner on the wall surrounding the room. 

 Brooklyn Gin Negroni served at the bar.

The evening featured snacks (potato crisps and crudités), three savoury courses, two desserts with wine pairings.