Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lucky Red - Asian Bar Snacks in Chinatown

Brought to you by David, Phil and Peter Chau, the brothers behind Banh Mi Boys re-launched Lucky Red six months ago in April. I went to check out the place recently and I'm happy to report that I absolutely love it there. I loved the space, the food, the cocktails, and the prices.


A bit of background for you guys. When Lucky Red (Twitter: @LuckyRedShop, Facebook: Lucky Red) first opened its doors in the summer of 2014 its set-up was similar to Banh Mi Boys - think an order-at-the-counter, street food-focused eatery that served steamed baos and noodle soup. Due to unforeseen execution issues the concept didn't work out as planned and after just a few months the Chau brothers decided to shut down Lucky Red in September. I never had an opportunity to visit Lucky Red Ver. I before it closed - so no thoughts on the place - but after hearing good things about Lucky Red Ver. II I knew I was due for a visit.


In one sentence, I would say Lucky Red Ver. II is a fully-licensed, sit-down restaurant that serves affordable and delicious Asian bar snacks and drinks :)


Lucky Red's menu is divided into six categories: Steamed Baos, Small Plates, Snacks, Veggies, Fried Chicken, and Sweets. All are meant to be shared. Other than the the 4pc and 6pc fried chicken everything is priced under $10 (click here for online menu).




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Real Sports Bar & Grill: New Menu Tasting II

The Toronto Blue Jays' World Series dream is over for this year but wow, what an incredible season. I've never been a fan of baseball but it was tough not to join in on the craze and jump on the bandwagon. In fact, I was so "bandwagoned" I actually went to two Jays games at the Rogers Centre last month. Ah, how I surprise myself sometimes! But then again this was the Jays' first trip to the playoffs since 1993, a whopping 22 years ago...so yeah how can anyone not cheer them on?! Anyway, what's done is done and all we can do now is wait for spring training. So, shall we now switch our attention to basketball? ;) The Toronto Raptors open the regular season tomorrow night at the Air Canada Centre ("ACC") against the Indiana Pacers and I have to admit I'm pretty stoked that the NBA season is starting. I've always loved watching the fast-paced high-scoring game and every year I look forward to catching some of the action at the ACC - that is, if I can score some cheap seats. But if that doesn't work out I know the next best thing would be catching the games at Real Sports Bar & Grill! Oh and if you're a Leafs and/or a Toronto FC fan then all this applies to you as well obviously (sorry for my lack of enthusiasm there but I'm just not a really into hockey or soccer).

Voted as the #1 sports bar in North America by ESPN, Real Sports (Twitter: @RealSports, Facebook: Real Sportslocated beside the ACC broadcasts every sport played on the pitch, court or ice on 39-foot HD big screens and 199 HD TVs (you may think having all those screens is ridiculous but when two or more games are happening at the exact same time you're gonna think otherwise!) The 25,000 square foot space also offers five private dining rooms for business meetings and private events.


Executive Chef Matthew Sullivan of Real Sports recently launched a new menu which offers a twist on traditional sports bar classics by incorporating fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients where possible. Sullivan, who joined Real Sports a little more than a year ago, has since reduced the menu from 121 items down to 85, and only four of those 85 dishes remained the same from day one (click here for last year's new menu tasting at Real Sports). This is a positive change in that a smaller menu enables the kitchen to focus more on quality and consistency.

Photo Credit: Devon Little

 I was invited by Real Sports to a lunch tasting last month that featured several of Sullivan's signature dishes from the new menu. We started off with a delicious Lemon Pepper Caesar, the most popular cocktail at Real Sports (they sold 300,000+ Caesars last year). The lemon pepper rim gives a unique acidic and spicy tang to the classic cocktail. I like it!

Photo Credit: Real Sports

Not into Caesars or cocktails? Sports fans at Real Sports can also choose from a selection of 36 beers from over 126 draught taps and an extensive wine list with over 14 wines by the glass.

Below is a look at some of the dishes I tried from Real Sports' new menu (#RSBGUnrealfood):

SPINACH RICOTTA DIP ($13)
Served cold with roasted tomato & toasted focaccia
 The cheese blend, sourced from cheese boutique, contains equal parts fresh sheep's milk ricotta, mascarpone and stracciatella. The cheeses are mixed with a cold pressed olive oil and topped with a spinach and herb pesto, blistered tomatoes and onions cooked in Tabasco sauce. Served with hot toasted focaccia, this spinach ricotta dip was one of my favourite dishes on the new menu.




The Winners of the KAKA All You Can Eat Gift Card Giveaway are

@y37yu
@c_snapper

Congratulations! You've both just won a complimentary dinner for two at KAKA All You Can Eat! Please email me your mailing address at foodjunkiechronicles@gmail.com :)


And a big THANK YOU the 108 contestants who participated in this contest! 

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #fjckakaayce hashtag 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 had to tweet "I want to win dinner for two at @KaKaAYCE from @foodieyu! http://bit.ly/1jy3M27 #fjckakaayce ". Each person could tweet once a day for the duration of the contest. Once the contest was over and everybody's entries were accounted for, I checked to see if they follow me (@foodieyu) and KAKA (@KaKaAYCE) on Twitter. Below are the 288 valid entries:


.I used "True Random Number Generator" from random.org to pick two winners for me:




Tuesday, October 20, 2015

KAKA All You Can Eat Gift Card Giveaway - CLOSED

I'm giving away TWO gift cards to KAKA All You Can Eat. Two lucky winners will receive a complimentary dinner for two at KAKA, a value worth up to $70!*.

*Based on weekend dinner at $30.99 pp plus applicable taxes

Branded as a "premium" all-you-can-eat Japanese spot, KAKA (Twitter: @KaKaAYCE, Facebook: KAKA All You Can Eat) located at First Markham Place serves dishes that you won't normally find at AYCE restaurants - think aburi sushi (blow-torched sushi), oshizushi (pressed sushi), baked oysters, baked clams, lobster bisque, and a variety of innovative desserts (click here to read my full post on KAKA). Enter my contest now and experience this one-of-a-kind experience AYCE for yourself!


HOW TO ENTER
1) You MUST be following me (@foodieyu) and KAKA (@KaKaAYCE) on Twitter
AND
2) Tweet the following sentence, exactly as shown, nothing before or after it: 

I want to win dinner for two at @KaKaAYCE from @foodieyu! http://bit.ly/1jy3M27 #fjckakaayce 

1. For your entry to be valid, you need to tweet the above sentence exactly as shown
2. You may tweet once a day for the duration of the contest. Re-tweeting others do NOT count as a valid entry
3. Contest is tracked by the #fjckakaayce hashtag. If you don't see your tweet in the hashtag stream it means there is no entry from you. Read this to find out the possible reasons why your tweets are not showing up
4. Gift card cannot be used on special holidays. Gift card expires on December 31, 2015.

CONTEST DURATION
Contest starts on Tuesday, October 20 and ends on Tuesday, October 27 at 12PM. 
Two lucky winners will be chosen randomly from www.random.org and I will announce the winner shortly after.

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^


KAKA All You Can Eat
Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday, 12PM to 11PM. Dinner starts at 4PM.
Prices: $26.99 pp - Weekday AYCE Dinner, Saturday and Sunday Lunch (Monday to Friday a la carte menu can be found on KAKA's Facebook page)
$30.99 pp - Weekend Dinner
$9.99 pp - Children (4-9)
Reservations: 905-604-5023


Friday, October 16, 2015

The Winners of the BURNT Advance Screening Tickets Giveaway are ...

@LindaMatarasso
@Mushdogwalker
@jphalange
@Archie556
@moi1975
@msvivianso

Congratulations! You've all just won a pair of tickets to the advance screening of BURNT happening on Thursday, October 22 at 7PM at the Cineplex Yonge & Dundas! Please email me at foodjunkiechronicles@gmail.com to redeem your tickets.


And a big THANK YOU the 41 contestants who participated in this contest! 

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #FJCBURNT hashtag 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 had to tweet "Hey @foodieyu I want to win a pair of passes to the advanced screening of @BurntMovie! http://bit.ly/1FYiIQN #FJCBURNT #BurntMovie". Each person could tweet once a day for the duration of the contest. Once the contest was over and everybody's entries were accounted for, I checked to see if they follow me (@foodieyu) on Twitter. Below are the 80 valid entries:


.I used "True Random Number Generator" from random.org to pick six winners for me:




Wednesday, October 7, 2015

BURNT Advance Screening Tickets Giveaway - CLOSED

I'm giving away SIX PAIRS of tickets to the advance screening of BURNT happening on Thursday, October 22 at 7PM at the Cineplex Yonge & Dundas.

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Omar Sy, Daniel Bruhl, Matthew Rhys, Uma Thurman and Emma Thompson.

Release Date: Friday, October 23

Synopsis: Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) had it all — and lost it. A two-star Michelin rockstar with the bad habits to match, the former enfant terrible of the Paris restaurant scene did everything different, and only ever cared about the thrill of creating explosions of taste. To land his own kitchen and that elusive third Michelin star, he'll need the best of the best by his side, including the beautiful Helene (Sienna Miller). Burnt is a remarkably funny and emotional story about the love of food, the love between two people, and the power of second chances.

Social MediaTwitter - @BurntMovieInstagram - @burnt_movieFacebook - eOne FilmsHashtag - #BurntMovie

The Official Trailer:


That's one good lookin' chef *faints*

Photo Credit: Burnt Movie

Before you enter my contest please make sure you can actually make it the screening! I've included the details again below:

Date: Thursday, October 22, 2015
Show Time: 7:00 PM
Where: Cineplex Odeon Yonge & Dundas Cinemas
10 Dundas Street East
Toronto, ON M5B 2G9

HOW TO ENTER
1) You MUST be following me (@foodieyu) on Twitter
AND
2) Tweet the following sentence, exactly as shown, nothing before or after it: 

Hey @foodieyu I want to win a pair of passes to the advanced screening of @BurntMovie! http://bit.ly/1FYiIQN #FJCBURNT #BurntMovie

1. For your entry to be valid, you need to tweet the above sentence exactly as shown
2. You may tweet once a day for the duration of the contest. Re-tweeting others do NOT count as a valid entry
3. Contest is tracked by the #FJCBURNT hashtag. If you don't see your tweet in the hashtag stream it means there is no entry from you. Read this to find out the possible reasons why your tweets are not showing up

CONTEST DURATION
Contest starts on Thursday, October 8 and ends on Thursday, October 15 at 12PM. 
Six lucky winners will be chosen randomly from www.random.org and I will announce the winner shortly after.

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^



Monday, October 5, 2015

Accord-Ing to Stella: A Weekend in Montreal

Squeezing in a road trip before winter was the best idea ever! Two weeks ago, Jon and I took a road trip to Montreal for three days - Friday to Sunday - where we filled our tummies with food and drinks...a lot of food and drinks. I gained almost five pounds! No regrets though because every calorie we consumed was worth it; we didn't have a single bad meal there.

Thanks to Honda Canada (Twitter: @HondaCanada, Facebook: Honda Canada) we took the 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring to Montreal. This was my first time driving a hybrid and I hope it's not my last. Truth be told I really didn't want to give it back, not only because it was such a nice ride but it was so good on gas.


I'm not sure if you know but aside from being into food I'm also really into cars. I've loved cars ever since I was little. From gawking at cars on the street, spending hours building Tamiya models and watching Initial-D at home, to learning how to drive manual, attending car shows and making the trek up to Shannonville and Mosport with friends, cars have always been a big part of my life. As corny as it sounds I have a special place in my heart for Hondas too. I think it runs in the family! Right now my dad drives an Accord (his third one), my mom an Acura RSX, my brother a CR-V (he drove a Civic and a Prelude before too). As for me, I have a 2003 Civic Si-R. It's an oldie but a goodie.


So, was I stoked that Honda lent me an Accord Hybrid Touring (#AccordHybrid) for my road trip? Hell, yeah! Especially because I know the Hybrid will be amazing on gas The car achieves its excellent fuel economy by basically using three drive modes: EV, Hybrid and Engine. EV drive draws solely from the power of the lithium-ion battery  Engine drive utilizes the 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC® Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine, sending power directly to the front wheels for medium to high speed cruising. Hybrid drive blends the two for powerful acceleration and more efficient driving in stop and go traffic than Engine drive.*

*from Honda.ca

With our bags packed and the navi all set up we were ready to hit the road. But first, McDonald's! Every road trip should start with breakfast at McDonald's :) Mad love for their hash browns.