Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Tempered Beast

Winterlicious 2013 (#LiciousTO) is upon us again! From January 25 to February 7, 191 restaurants across the city of Toronto will be offering exclusive prix fixe menus; some restaurants participate for dinner only while others participate in both lunch and dinner (see the full list of participating restaurants here). For a variety of reasons, many people take this opportunity to dine out every year; most do so because they want to take advantage of the incredible value offered during the event (especially at high-end restaurants), while others may want to take the chance to explore new restaurants that they have always wanted to try, but never had the opportunity to go. Whatever the case may be, Summerlicious and Winterlicious ("'Licious") always generate a lot of buzz - it attracts huge crowds of diners which ultimately supports our city's local restaurants.

In addition to the prix fixe menus, 'Licious also offers Culinary Events. These exclusive culinary events are created for those who want a different experience than the normal prix fixe; for those who want to explore and partake in a "culinary adventure".

On Tuesday, January 29, my friend Carmen (@carmenhunngry from CARMENHUNGRY) and I attended "The Tempered Beast" at Beast Restaurant, a Winterlicious Culinary Event where Chef Scott Vivian of Beast Restaurant (Twitter: @BeastRestaurant, Facebook: Beast) and Chef Bertrand Alepee (Twitter: @TheTemperedChef) joined forces and created a unique, 4-course tasting dinner which showcased a variety of their favourite dishes. "The Tempered Beast" was held for two consecutive nights and was a sold-out event.

 I started the night off with a...

Mon Cheri Manhattan
Grants blend whiskey, Rosewood Estates cherry honey wine, syrup ($5)

Bread to start.

The Winner of the Cookies & Champagne Tickets is...


Congratulations @ms_alize! =D You have just won a pair of tickets to The Third Annual Cookies & Champagne Party brought to you by Hip + Urban Girl and American Express Canada! Please email me at so I can email you your tickets! 

Congrats again and I hope you and your guest will enjoy the Cookies & Champagne Party :)

I also want to say a big THANKS to the 48 contestants who participated in the contest

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #cookiescampagne stream from day one of the contest. The tracking was done using chronological order, as in, #1 was the first person to enter the contest. To enter, the person has to tweet "I want to win a pair of tickets to Hip + Urban Girl's Cookies & Champagne Party #cookieschampagne". Once the contest was over and everybody's entry was accounted for in my spreadsheet, I went to check if they follow me on Twitter

Out of the 48 people who entered my contest, one person did not follow me on twitter.
I used "True Random Number Generator" from to pick the winner for me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Bristol Yard

With no real signage other than a Union Jack and a small sign on the door, you may miss this tiny British-style cafe called The Bristol Yard. Located at the corner of Christie and Pendrith The Bristol Yard opened late April of last year and aims to serve classic, no-frills British cuisine. I've actually been to The Bristol Yard when they first opened but only for dessert, specifically their Banoffee Pie, which was absolutely decadent and so luscious (for those of you who may not know, Banoffee Pie is an English dessert pie made of layers of bananas, cream, chocolate and toffee all on top of a pastry base). Anyway, after that short but lovely visit to The Bristol Yard (Twitter: @BristolYardie, Facebook: The Bristol Yard), I was determined to go back and try their brunch and/or their Sunday roast dinner. Well, I finally made it back last Sunday! Yeah, I know it took several months but definitely better late than never.

This small and quaint restaurant is adorned with black and white portraits of famous British and Scottish actors, chefs, musicians, authors and artists. The wooden ceiling and and floor give The Bristol Yard a warm and intimate ambience.

Even when all the tables were occupied later that night, I never once felt crammed or uncomfortable at The Bristol YardGreat use of space.

Here's the low down on The Bristol Yard's 3-course Sunday Roast.

For $25, your roast dinner includes
Fresh baked bread, soup, prime rib of beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast seasonal vegetables, garlic mash, gravy, and dessert.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Edulis Restaurant

After taking over Niagara Street Cafe's space in the spring of 2012, husband and wife team Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth opened Edulis (Twitter: @EdulisToronto, Facebook: Edulis Restaurant). The name Edulis, which means edible and also porcini mushrooms in Latin ("boletus edulis"), pays tribute to chef / owner Michael Caballo's passion for wild foods, mushroom foraging, and influences from his Spanish heritage. With years of experience under his belt in kitchens all over Canada and Europe, him and his wife Tobey Nemeth's (formerly the chef de cuisine at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar) goal for Edulis, according to their website, is to "combine the warmth and approachability of a classic European bistro with our passion for the forests and farms of southern Ontario" while providing guests "the pleasure of enjoying a gathering around the table to share authentic dishes and to be greeted like a friend; conviviality, feasting, celebrating the craft and tradition of cooking, honesty, and spectacular ingredients".

Within a year's time, chef Caballo's French and Spanish influenced cookingcombined with the restaurant's vision and philosophy, has won the hearts of many; Edulis was named the #1 Best New Restaurant in Canada for 2012 from EnRoute Magazine, as well as being listed as one of Canada's 50 Best Restaurants from Macleans Magazine

My friends and I went to Edulis two Fridays ago. We opted for the $50 Carte Blanche menu. We also added a couple of truffle dishes along the way as well as a cheese board at the end.



Served with dijon potatoes

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Warm Bodies Prize Pack Giveaway Winner is...

Stella C

Congratulations Stella! =D Please email me at with your mailing address. I will forward your info to rock-it promotions (they will be mailing you the prize). Please email me before Friday, February 1st to claim your prize (if you miss this deadline I will give the prize to someone else). Congrats again and I hope you will enjoy your Warm Bodies Prize Pack (just in time for the cold weather!) 

Below is Stella C's entry for the Warm Bodies Prize Pack Giveaway:

"When I went on a trip to China 3 summers ago, I had the silly impression that all of China is warm and humid. So when my mom took us to her hometown, where it happens to have weather similar to the Canadian Fall that I am so accustomed to, I became a shivering duckling. Everything I had packed were short sleeves and skirts since I was so ready to face the rain forest weather of the South, I had to borrow some of my aunts' outfits. So every night, I went to bed dressed like the Michelin Man and it became a joke every single day to my family. We had a great laugh about it.

One day, my grandma came over and she brought her old-school hot water bag. Coming from Canada, I had no idea what is was for. It looked like a water flask used by the Dothraki people used on Game of Thrones. Apparently, you fill it up with hot water and you bring it with you to bed and it's suppose to keep you warm. Now, whenever someone asks me why I love travelling so much, I tell them it's the ability to travel back in time that draws me to it. The fact that some places aren't as developed as ours (granted, there are places in China where there are indeed a crazy amount of technology and advancement, but that's not my point), makes the world an always changing time capsule. It is during one of those trips, thrifting through that time capsule that I discovered my favourite Warm Bodies: a family who lives an ocean away from you but still loves you...oh and of course that hot water bag."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cuban Lunch at Delux

In comparison to the numerous new restaurants on the Ossington strip, Delux (Twitter: @DeluxRestaurant, Facebook: Delux Restaurant) can certainly be considered an established staple. For five years now, Delux has been offering diners a French dinner menu and a Cuban lunch / brunch menu. No, Delux is not fusion of Cuban and French; think of Delux as being a Cuban restaurant during the day and a French restaurant at night. This particular mix of cuisine actually stems from chef Corinna Mozo's background - chef Mozo wanted to open a restaurant which pays homage to her Cuban heritage, as well as her schooling at the Stratford Chefs School where she acquired her classical French techniques (she also grew up in Montreal). This peculiar combination of cuisines may seem odd to some people, but seriously, who cares? What matters is this: after five years, Delux is still going strong, which means they are doing something right! To celebrate their five-year milestone, Delux is offering a special dinner menu of their most popular dishes at reduced prices; appetizers are $10, mains are $20, and desserts are $5. This anniversary menu ends at the end of the month so I suggest you hurry your a$$ up and check it out.

As you may (or may not) know, I hardly eat out for lunch but I was pretty stoked about lunch at Deluxsimply because I've heard so much about it (especially their Cubano sandwich!) 

We wanted mojitos but they didn't have any (ran out?) so we ordered mimosas instead. My friends had coffee as well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cookies & Champagne Tickets Giveaway - CLOSED

I'm really looking forward to this because Lisa (@HipUrbanGirl) and Wendy (@wendykammarcy) throw the best parties :)

The Cookies & Champagne Party is a great networking event for both guys and girls, and guests will be getting some amazing swag too! Each Cookies & Champagne Party ticket includes:

1. A complimentary glass of sparking wine + snacks throughout the night;
2. Access to the cookie exchange, networking party and mini market; and
3. A swag bag which includes:

~*Lux Spa in Yorkville will be hooking up the first 200 guests with a $20 gift card. And they will be offering complimentary 'Mini Buff + Polish Bar' at the event~*
~*Fuzz Wax Bar are throwing a pair of tweezers and a 25% off coupon~*
~*MOON Apparel will be giving each guest a $20 gift card (off $100 for online shopping)~*

I'm giving away ONE PAIR of tickets to the Cookies & Champagne Party!


1) You must follow me (@foodieyu) on Twitter,


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

I want to win a pair of tickets to Hip + Urban Girl's Cookies & Champagne Party #cookieschampagne

*Limit one entry per person*
*Contest is tracked by the #cookieschampagne hashtag stream*


Contest starts on Wednesday, January 23 and ends on Wednesday, January 30 at 12PM.

The winner will be picked randomly from and I will be announcing who the lucky winner is on Thursday, January 31.


For more details on the Cookies & Champagne Party, click here.
To buy tickets to the Cookies & Champagne Party, click here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Menu at The Curzon

The Curzon in Leslieville (Twitter: @TheCurzon, Facebook: The Curzon), known to the locals as mostly a weekend joint with fun bartenders serving cheap drinks, has recently been overhauled by The Food Network's Restaurant Takeover. J.J. Hope, manager of The Curzon, said the goal of the renovation was to have the Leslieville landmark be known not only as a neighbourhood-friendly bar on Fridays and Saturdays, but also an actual restaurant serving great food during the week.

The Curzon brought on consulting chef Deron Engbers (@TheDeron) to launch its new menu. 

I was invited to The Curzon for a tasting last week. Here's what I had:

Vanilla Cured Rainbow Trout / Butter Lettuce / Orange / Lentils

Friday, January 18, 2013

Warm Bodies Prize Pack Giveaway - CLOSED

 Hitting theatres February 1, Warm Bodies (Twitter: @WarmBodies, Facebook: Warm Bodiesis a funny twist on a classic love story, a tale about the power of human connection. After a zombie epidemic, R (a highly unusual zombie) encounters Julie (a human survivor), and rescues her from a zombie attack. Julie sees that R is different from the other zombies, and as the two form a special relationship in their struggle for survival, R becomes increasingly more human - setting off an exciting, romantic, and often comical chain of events that begins to transform the other zombies and maybe even the whole lifeless world. Check out the trailer:

Here's the first few minutes of the film:


Yogurty's (@yogurtys) and Jamba Juice (@JambaJuice) have partnered up with eOne Films to bring you this cool contest where you can win a trip for two to Canun, Mexico! You can enter their contest at

So what am I giving away? Sorry to disappointment but my prize is nothing crazy like a trip :P But HEY, if you want some "cool" apparel to keep you "warm" then enter away! Courtesy of rock-it promotions (@rockitpromo), I'm giving away ONE Warm Bodies prize pack valued at $105 which includes:

 *A Warm Bodies hoodie;

*A Warm Bodies T-shirt;
*A pair of Warm Bodies mittens; plus
*Buttons and a chap stick.


All you have to do is comment below on who YOUR favourite Warm Body is! The winner with the most creative answer will win the prize pack.


Contest starts on Friday, January 18 and ends on Friday, January 25 at 12PM. I will announce the winner shortly after the contest is over :)

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Poutini's House of Poutine

Poutini's House of Poutine is, hands down, the place to go for poutine in the city. Poutini’s does it best by keeping their poutine simple. No fuss. No frills. Unlike their rival Smoke’s Poutinerie which offers over 20 different varieties of this Quebec dish, piling and piling on those toppings like there's no tomorrow (i.e. can I have some fries with that shaved roast beef, cheese sauce, roasted red peppers, sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions?), I personally prefer the short, focused, and straightforward menu at Poutini’s. I mean, Poutini’s does offer several "fancy" poutines so whenever I crave extravagant toppings, I get one of those. But you know what's nice? It just feels so good, so comforting, to know that I can always rely on Poutini’s Traditional Poutine to knock my socks off every, single time.

There are several things that make Poutini’s awesome. First of all, their fries are hand-cut daily (with the skin on) and fried twice in trans-fat-free vegetable oil for extra crispiness. Second, their cheese curds come in fresh every other day from Maple Dale, a cheese maker that has been around for over 100 years. Last, but not least, their perfectly seasoned gravy is made in-house daily by roasting bones and fresh vegetables, and simmered for at least 8 hours until it's nice and thick. Poutini’s dipping sauces are also made in-house with real mayonnaise.

Having said all that, it is no surprise that even Anthony Bourdain paid Poutini’s a visit in his recent episode of The Layover. Check out Poutini’s at around the 32:30 min mark:

I usually go to Poutini’s for lunch since it's close to my work. It's a cash-only joint and probably the only flaw about this place.

Aside from the Traditional Poutine and the three other variations, Poutini’s (Facebook: Poutini's House of Poutine, Twitter: @Poutini) has a vegan poutine where they use Daiya vegan cheese (it does not contain dairy, soy, gluten or any nut product) with a homemade vegetarian stock that is thickened with cornstarch and nutritional yeast flake.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament [VIDEO]

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament (Facebook: Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, Twitter: @MedievalTimes), North America's longest running dinner attraction since 1983, is offering Toronto its first new show in more than four years. Continuing with its long-standing tradition, Medieval Times' new show invites guests to travel back to the 11th Century, but this time around with a new story, complete with new costumes, lighting, choreography, battle scenes and a new musical score custom created and recorded in Ukraine. 

The kind people at Medieval Times invited me and three friends to premiere their new show. We were all pretty stoked about it since none of us have been to Medieval Times before. Truthfully, I've heard about Medieval Times ever since I was a little kid but I just never got the chance to go.

I was invited back stage to see the majestic horses before the show. Such beautiful creatures.

I also got to see The Royal Falcon, which would do a live flight during the tournament.

Friday, January 11, 2013

El Trompo

If memory serves me correctly, it was a lovely Friday afternoon after work. Under sunny skies, my friend and I were chilling on El Trompo's patio, sipping on our cold, refreshing margaritas and nibbling on freshly made corn chips & guacamole. We would take occasional breaks every now and then to speak to one another, that is, to catch up on what's new or what's exciting in our lives (usually not much going on in my life) while watching people going about their business in the buzzing Kensington Market. What a great memory, my very first visit to El Trompo last summer. This post though details my second visit to El Trompo one dark and cold Wednesday night before the Christmas holidays. My friend and I sat inside, no patio this time around. Yah, I miss summer. I miss patios! However, despite my bitterness, the food at this tiny taco bar still remains pretty darn good regardless of the changing seasons.

One great thing about eating inside El Trompo is being able to soak in all its cheery and festive furnishings while eating tacos and fajitas. Its brightly coloured chairs, table runners and wall decor will bound to cheer you up, even in the midst of winter.

Red and green salsa at the table.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

Plenty of ramen action in Toronto right much so that I can't seem to keep up. Then again, this is probably due to the fact that ramen just doesn't entice me all that much. Yeah I know. I'm Asian. By default I should be deliriously happy and going completely gaga over the opening of all these Japanese noodle shops. But nope, it's just not happening for me. I don't feel the rush, nor the urge, to hit up every single ramen spot in the city. Hey. Kudos to people that do. It's actually more of a personal issue; I simply detest lining up for anything, especially for food, in the bitter cold (all these ramen joints are so damn small!) It is this point alone that really deters me from trying them out.

Having said that, I do very much enjoy a nice, hot, tasty bowl of ramen. And because I've been hearing really fantastic things about Santouka (with the latest praise coming from a Japanese couple), I decided to suck it up and go. My friend Gizelle and I went one Friday night. We had a plan: in order to avoid massive line-ups, we decided to go around 10pm. This was actually quite a mission given that both our work day ends at 5pm. With so many hours to spare in between, what did we do? What we do best, of course! Eat and drink, and eat, and drink..until it was 10pm :)

Well, well. Lookie here. The scene at Santouka at 10:15pm. No line-up! Oh wait....a mini line up inside (keyword being "inside").

After about a 15 minute wait, we got a table. This is a shot of the bar which overlooks the kitchen.

It took us awhile to decide what to order. Santouka's menu was larger than I expected. One part due to selection, the other part being the sheer number of different combos they offer.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Skin + Bones

After a month-long hiatus, I'm back! No, I didn't go on vacation, I was in town the entire time. Laziness? Perhaps, it was the holidays after all. But nah, the biggest reason for the lack of posts is due to the fact that I've been pretty much going to the same two restaurants during the entire month of December; namely JaBistro (been there four times) and Skin + Bones (been there six times and have been waiting until I've had almost the entire menu to blog about it). Mind you, I didn't have dinner at Skin + Bones on all six occasions, several times were for drinks, but nonetheless I became somewhat of a "regular" there (confirmed by my foursquare mayorship, of course). This really points to one conclusion, right? Both JaBistro and Skin + Bones, in my opinion, are simply excellent places to eat and I was more than happy to accompany friends who haven't been just so they can experience some tasty food. As for Skin + Bones, it surely has nothing to do with their amazing chicken tails, nor its fluffy gnocchi, nor its decadent sticky toffee pudding that entices me to go back time and time again. No. I'm just an awesome friend. That's all.

It was close to six months ago when I attended one of chef Matthew Sullivan's Boxed dinners. Because I've never had the opportunity to visit Maléna and L’Unità during his time there as executive chef, I didn't know what what to expect. Going in "blind", lets just say the dinner completely exceeded my expectation. It was exceptional and I loved it. It left me very excited to try more of chef Sullivan's food at the next Boxed pop-up, whenever that may be. Little did I know, he had bigger plans in mind with Skin + Bones

Located at the corner of Queen and Carlaw, Skin + Bones is a wine bar that boosts a very vast wine list; it offers approximately 40 wines by-the-glass with a modest selection of cocktails and beer. 

A long and spacious bar separates the high-tops by the front window and the back dining room. The dining room is quite extensive with ample room between tables (you will never feel cramped or crowded). Diners get a view of Skin + Bones(Twitter: @skinandbonesTO, Facebook: Skin + Bonesopen kitchen.

Bread. Made in-house and served warm and fluffy.