Thursday, February 28, 2013

$15 Prix Fixe Lunch at Pizzeria Libretto


It seems too good to be true but it IS true! 
A salad + one whole pizza + dessert all for only $15.
It is one hell of a deal and it is only available at Pizzeria Libretto!
This is beginning to sound like a commercial...
But I can't help it...
The cheap frugal Asian in me loves this awesome deal!

From time to time, I would go to Pizzeria Libretto's Ossington location for lunch and pig out:

Caprese Salad
Beet, Ontario Fiore di Latte, Basil Cookstown Seedlings, Olive Oil

Margherita D.O.P
Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella

Espresso-Cinnamon Gelato

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cook Live with Vikram Vij

Attention everyone!
I'm about to make a confession.
It is going to be an earth-shattering one so please be prepared.
Here goes:


I know. It's shocking.

Okay. In all seriousness, I know that YOU know that 99% of my blog posts are about eating out at restaurants. But in all honesty, I actually really enjoy cooking. I know it's really hard to believe but I assure you that I'm telling the truth! Whether you believe me or not, it really doesn't matter 'cause I think what I'm about to tell you is pretty cool...especially if you love me :p

Chef Vikram Vij, who was born in India and grew up in Amritsar and Bombay, is the owner of the restaurant Vij’s (@Vijs_restaurant) in Vancouver, BC, which was recently named the Best Restaurant in Canada by In addition to appearing as a featured guest on Top Chef Canada and on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, Vij has published two award-winning cookbooks and has his own named brand selection of frozen foods.

Cook Live with Vikram Vij

On March 7th, Vikram Vij will host Canada’s first ever live-streamed cooking show, Cook Live with Vikrim Vij, where viewers will get the chance to cook a family meal live with an internationally renowned chef.

How it Works

The ingredients needed will be posted online and will  e available for download from the Vij’s website,, during the week of March 4th, and the actual online cook-along will be shown from Cirillo’s Culinary Academy at 6pm EST, 3pm PST, on March 7th 2013. Families are encouraged to “do-as-he-does”, putting together the ingredients at the same time, as Vij talks people through the process of cooking an Indian family recipe together.


Your cooking experience with Vij will also be interactive! Viewers can log on to the live stream by visiting the Vij’s website at and they can tweet Vij live with questions or comments on how their meals are coming along by using the hashtag #Vijcooklive.

Click here for more information on Cook Live with Vikram Vij

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I've been to Café Boulud (Twitter: @CafeBouludTO, Facebook: Café Boulud Toronto & d | bar) more than a handful of times now so I thought it was time to give dbar some love too! It seriously didn't take much since I am all for cocktails (any time of day) and burgers (I'm a sucker for burgers and have heard lots about dbar's firehouse burger). So after a day of intense window shopping in downtown, I made my way to dbar last Sunday night with my friend Rob for a quick bite.

Located on street-level at the new Four Seasons (@FSToronto), dbar's decor is contemporary, modern, yet sophisticated. It is very comfortable and spacious especially with their floor-to-ceiling windows.

dbar's food menu offers more of a casual fare compared to Café Boulud upstairs. The items on their menu is ideal for sharing and is divided into six sections: To Share, Appetizers, Charcuterie, Sausages, The Grill and Dessert.

Once Rob told me that Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors was sitting at the table beside us, we couldn't help / stop making Primo Pasta & Sauce aka "Primopastasowse" jokes on Facebook and Twitter.  Yes. We are a mature bunch. 

Sorry. I digress.

Albert Kirby (@aKirbyDrinks), manager of dbar, recommended us some cocktails to start. From left to right, we had:

Neo-Negroni: Bombay Sapphire Gin, Campari, Green Chartreuse, Dry Vermouth, Lemon Twist ($18)
Atwood: Havana Club Anejo, Grapefruit Juice, Nepitella Syrup, Crispy Basil Leaf ($13)
Old Fashion: Wisers Rye, Muddled Cherries, Rhubarb Bitters, Simple Syrup ($15)

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Finally! I finally understand why it is so difficult to get a reservation at Campagnolo. Okay, so the fact that the restaurant is closed Monday and Tuesday may have something to do with it. It's not a huge deal, but still, a contributing factor. However, having named as Canada's Best New Restaurant in 2011 by enRoute Magazine and being Mcleans' pick as one of the 50 best restaurants in Canada last year is, by far and foremost, the biggest reason why snagging a table at Campagnolo is such a strenuous exercise. But hey, don't get me wrong, all the effort and patience was totally worth it. After my meal there, I realized that yes, although the accolades from critics and audiences alike is a big reason why getting a reservation at Campagnolo is so difficult, the real reason is because the food at Campagnolo is truly outstanding; it is chef and owner Craig Harding's talent that keeps bringing Torontonians back to his restaurant time and time again.

Located at the corner of Dundas and Euclid, Campagnolo (@Campagnolo_) is warm and cozy. A very romantic atomsophere, a great date night spot in my opinion.

The open kitchen at Campagnolo. Hopefully I'll get to sit at the chef's rail next time.

Friday, February 15, 2013


It is a treat to dine at a white-table cloth restaurant from time to time. After all, almost every girl I know likes to be pampered occasionally (well some more frequent than others) especially when it's not for a special occasion (the best kind in my opinion). For me, dining at Mistura in Yorkville delivers just that. Yes, it has fancy white table clothes, but by no means did Mistura feel pretentious or "stuffy". The ambiance there was fancy, elegant, yet still comfortable and relaxed. Seems almost impossible to have all that happening at the same time but I assure you that's how I felt. Perhaps the best way to describe Mistura would be "casual luxury"?

Misturaco-owned by Paolo Paolini and chef Massimo Capra (@ChefMassimo), opened its doors back in October 1997, almost 16 years ago. Known for his handlebar moustache and big smile, chef Massimo Capra, in my opinion, still delivers some of the best classic (yet refined) Italian cuisine. Although a celebrity chef, with regular appearances on City TV Cityline and as a host on Restaurant Makeover on the Food Network, I still saw chef Capra manning the kitchen on a busy Friday night a few weeks ago. He also took time to greet diners and seemed to be very friendly and approachable. 

Bubbly cocktail to start the night? Sure! 

Wild Boar Agnolotti, port stewed dry cherries, wilted greens, brown butter, roasting jus

Imported fresh Mozzarella, heirloom tomato, roasted eggplant, celery & basil salad 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who is Toronto's Hottest Bartender?

YOU decide. 
The power is in YOUR hands.

Kristina Chau from Not Your Average Party and I are founders of both the Toronto's Hottest Chef charity competition (which happened six months ago), and the Toronto's Hottest Bartender charity competition, which is happening RIGHT NOW.

Last year, the Toronto's Hottest Chef competition raised over $3,000 for the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, which was our Toronto's Hottest Chef winner, Chef Jo Lusted, charity of choice. 

Crossing our fingers, we are hoping that we can raise even more money this time for the winning bartender's charity, so please make it happen by voting who you think is Toronto's Hottest Bartender!

Partnered with Swallow and sponsored by Victoria Gin, the TO's Hottest Bartender competition is all about raising money for charity while having fun. We started out with 12 bartenders in Round 1, where each bartender was asked to choose a charity where proceeds would go to if he / she wins the competition. With Round 1 eliminating three bartenders, we are now left with the following nine bartenders in Round 2:

Alyssa Luckhurst (Keriwa Cafe) - Heart & Stroke Foundation
Caylee Alzner (Spirit House) - Prevention of Animal Cruelty
Chanel Wood (Cold Tea) - Toronto Humane Society
Japhet Bower (La Carnita) - Paws for The Cause
Jeff Carroll (County General) - Sick Kids Foundation
Josh Lindley (Rock Lobster Food) - Toronto People with AIDS Foundation
Michael Boyd (Communist's Daughter) - St. Christopher House
Simon Ho (The Drake) - Musicounts
Brittany Maguire (The Drake) - Toronto Humane Society


Five fan favourites will move on to the final event at The Drake Hotel, which will be hosted by Ivy Knight of Swallow and Dave Mitton, President of the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association. Tickets to the event will be sold at the door for a "pay what you can" fee, with the suggested minimum donation of $10. Victoria Gin, the official sponsor of the competition, will be providing food, and each of the five bartenders will be creating a cocktail using Victoria Ginwhich all guests will get to sample. All guests will then get to vote, by ballot, on who they think should be Toronto's Hottest Bartender. So come for food, come for drinks, meet the finalists and have a grand time! 

The winning bartender's charity of choice will receive the proceeds from both the online votes and donations at the final event. With your support, we'll be able to award a worth charity with a nice sum of money to help them continue their inspiring work.

Twitter Hashtag: #TOHottestBartender

Monday, February 11, 2013

2013 Chinese New Year's Eve Feast

Whether you celebrate Chinese New Year or not, I still wish you all a Happy New Year ("新年快樂") and a prosperous Year of the Snake ("恭喜發財")! Unless you live under a rock (or somehow snowmageddon got you real good), you should all know by now that many of us (a.k.a Chinese peeps) all around the world bid adieu the Year of the Dragon and welcomed the Year of the Snake yesterday.

Chinese astrology considers the Water Snake to be powerful and says those born in the Year of the Snake are considered intuitive, introspective and refined, but can also be manipulative, scheming or even proud. Financially, the year is predicted to be good for Snake people but they are expected to face medical problems. Some other details of 2013 Year of the Snake:

1. Ideal compatibility with: Ox and Rooster.
2. More or less compatible with: Rat, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep.
3. Absolutely incompatible with: Tiger and Pig.
4. Lucky colors for the Snake: Yellow, Red
5. Lucky directions for the Snake: Southwest, Northeast
6. Lucky numbers for the Snake: 2, 4, 7, and 9.
7. Monday is the lucky day of the week for Snakes.

 *By the way, you know you love food when you keep on typing "snack" instead of "snake"*

My family is not superstitious at all. We would never go out of our way to not clean (it is considered unlucky to clean on New Year's Day but I'm pretty sure my Dad vacuumed the house yesterday), nor will we purposely not wash our hair (I have to wash my hair every day or I feel gross). As well, for good luck, people should only wear new clothes, and those new clothes cannot be black or white as those colours symbolize bad luck and death (I actually made an effort and wore a traditional red top but it was not new and I wore it with black pants *MEGA FAIL*) Anyway, my point is, we don't follow traditions to the T but what we WILL do every year is feast on a very, very delicious meal prepared by my Mom :) Check out my posts on them --> 2011 Chinese New Year's Eve Feast and 2012 Chinese New Year's Eve Feast.

Some Instagram pictures I took yesterday:
Top left: Store bought Chinese New Year snack box with candies, crackers, taro fritters, and crunchy fried dumplings ("甜角仔") filled with dried coconut and sugar.
Top right: Me making an effort with the red top (plus red lips! :D)
Bottom left: Several red envelopes ("利事") I got from my parents and my brother (red envelopes with money inside are passed out from married couples / elderly to unmarried people)
Bottom right: Pan frying home-made pudding on New Year's Day.

This year, aside from making her usual New Year's Eve dinner, my Mom decided to make all the New Year puddings herself (she usually makes the water chestnut pudding only and buys the others). Seriously, this was the best decision EVER! In contrast to the store bought turnip pudding (which consists of mostly flour) my Mom's turnip pudding had tons of turnips, dried shrimps, Chinese sausage and Chinese bacon. Her Chinese New Year cake was also excellent; the store-bought ones are usually insanely sweet, very "artificial" tasting, but my Mom's tasted just right. It also had a very smooth texture.

Chinese New Year cake or Nian Gao "年糕"

Turnip cake "蘿蔔糕"

Water chestnut cake ("馬蹄糕")

Friday, February 8, 2013

Origin Liberty

I've said it before and I'll say it again; it is really rare that my friends come by Liberty Village during the week to have lunch with me ('cause they all think Liberty Village is too far) so, before you all start calling me a liar (ha!) I assure you that it is pure coincidence that I have two back to back lunch posts of restaurants in Liberty Village (click here for yesterday's post on Mildred's Temple Kitchen). Yeah, I just want to make that clear. Oh and one more thing, like I said, since it is extremely rare that friends visit me for lunch, to honour them, I purposely included my two friends Chris and George in the picture above :)

Origin Liberty (Facebook: Origin Restaurant, Twitter: @OriginLiberty) is actually one of my favourite restaurants in Liberty Village. Ever since it took over Liberty Noodle's space at the Liberty Market Building a little more than six months ago, I've been to Origin Liberty for lunch and dinner numerous times. I've waited till now to blog about it because of two reasons: 1) other than this particular time, I'm usually at Origin Liberty for work lunches, which basically means no DSLR, and 2) Origin Liberty gets really, really dim during dinner time and you all *should* know by now that I never use flash photography. As a result, there has never been an Origin Liberty post on my blog until this very day. 

Claudio Aprile (@claudioaprile), chef and owner of restaurant group Orderfire (which encompasses Colborne Lane, the Origin empire OriginOrigin Liberty and soon to open Origin North) and design firm Stroudfoot (also located in Liberty Village) attributed the restaurant's design to what the building was during the Second World War: a female-run Bren gun factory. The spray-painted numbers on the concrete pillars and the custom-made red chandelier comprised of resin gun replicas are just a few of the many design elements at Origin Liberty that are inspired by the space's former use as a gun warehouse and factory.

Aside from what you see in these pictures, Origin Liberty also has a semi-private dining area called The Bren Room, which overlooks both the main dining room and the patio, as well as a large 55-seat patio that is open seasonally from April to September.

Origin Liberty's lunch menu is divided into snacks & sides, appetizers, sandwiches, mains and sweets.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mildred's Temple Kitchen (Winterlicious)

Unexpected lunch dates are the best, especially on those mundane days where I fully anticipated working in front of the computer all day for 8 hours straight. Then suddenly, out of the blue, my friend texted me asking me if I'm free for lunch. That in itself is nothing out of the ordinary but get this, my friend was willing to come all the way down (up?) to Liberty Village and have lunch with me here, in Liberty Village. This is amazing because this is rare, guys. RARE. And this is not because I have no friends (man I certainly hope that's not the case) but it's all about location, location, LOCATION.

Despite being a terrific neighbourhood (I often associate Liberty Village to a lovely and serene campus) and a very up-and-coming area with tons of condo development, a lot of people think Liberty Village is "out of the of way" and  "too far". You know, just because it's not the downtown core, nor the financial district, nor Ossington, nor King/Queen & get what I'm saying. Meh, I guess it's kinda true. After all, none of my friends work in Liberty Village! So anyway, deprived of a regular lunch buddy, I jumped at the chance yesterday when my friend offered to drop by for lunch :)

I decided we should hit up Mildred's Temple Kitchen (Twitter: @mildredstemple, Facebook: Mildred's Temple Kitchen) for their Winterlicious lunch (Twitter: @LiciousTO, Facebook: Winter/Summerlicious). I'm gonna admit it right now; what really caught my eye on Mildred's Temple Kitchen's Winterlicious menu was their sticky toffee pudding. I'm a huge sucker for those things.

I was a few minutes early for my reservation so I lounged at the waiting area by the bar. So roomy and comfortable there.

A large and gorgeous space with floor-to-ceiling windows allows a good amount of natural light into the restaurant. The decor at Mildred's Temple Kitchen is contemporary, simple and very modern.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Auberge du Pommier (Winterlicious)

Winterlicious, presented by American Express and produced by the City of Toronto, is currently taking place between January 25 to February 7. This unique culinary celebration is all about highlighting Toronto's diverse collection of restaurants and bringing unique dining experiences to life. There are over 190 restaurants participating in Winterlicious this year with numerous prix fixe menu options to choose from.

As a "Roving Reporter" for Amex, I had the opportunity to dine at Auberge du Pommier last week (@Oliver_Bonancini). I was really excited about dinner given that Auberge du Pommier is the "original jewel" in the Oliver & Bonacini empire, and has been serving modern French cuisine to Toronto diners since 1987.  

Auberge du Pommier boosts an impressive 500 label wine selection.

Aside from feasting on incredibly delicious food that evening, my role as Amex's Roving Reporter involved sharing my experiences via live tweeting as well as posting photos on Instagram

Monday, February 4, 2013

Skin + Bones Tasting Menu

Y'all should know by now how much I like Skin + Bones (if not, click here). According to foursquare I've been to Skin + Bones (Twitter: @skinandbonesto, Facebook: Skin+Bonesa staggering 7 times in the last 60 days. Insane! Given, I didn't have dinner there every single time it's still a remarkable number (especially for someone who doesn't work there haha). Having said that, don't you think Skin + Bones deserve a second post on my blog? I certainly do! This post is a recap of a dinner a couple of weeks ago where I went to Skin + Bones with my friends Nic (@NicCanCook), Alex (@chefwh1te) and Stephanie (@Stephaniemmgh). Knowing that I was coming in *again* chef Matthew Sullivan (@GastroMatthew) prepared a tasting menu especially for us *thank you*.

After a couple of cocktails, it was wine time.

Pork Bone Soup Braised Pork Neck and Fermented Daikon
(chef Sullivan made this PBS especially for me :D)

Raw Sea Bream from Nova Scotia marinated in Fermented Mushroom Juice, Raw B.C. Wild Stripped Shrimp.