Monday, May 30, 2016

Inspired to Taste Canada featuring Derek Dammann & Chris Johns, and their cookbook "True North": A Recap

As promised from my previous post, here is a quick recap of my experience at Inspired to Taste Canada last Thursday, May 26th. The evening - which featured Derek Dammann and Chris Johns, authors of the cookbook, "True North" - was the last of three Inspired to Taste Canada (#HBxTasteCanada) events held at Hudson's Bay Queen Street.

Presented by Taste Canada (Twitter: @TasteCanada, Facebook: Taste Canada - The Food Writing Awards), in partnership with Hudson's Bay Company in Toronto, that night's Inspired to Taste Canada event began promptly at 5:30pm at the Hudson's Bay located at CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Guests were invited to mingle, walk around and enjoy food & drink tastings before chef Dammann's scheduled cooking demo. Since I arrived early, I took the time to visit each booth...

Bellosound spinning beats with a live DJ.

Angels Gate Winery poured their 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay and 2013 Cabernet Merlot. I had a glass of their crisp and refreshing Chardonnay.

Healthy Crunch served samples of their organic local kale chips.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Inspired to Taste Canada featuring Derek Dammann & Chris Johns, and their cookbook, "True North"

I'll be attending the last of three Inspired to Taste Canada events held at Hudson's Bay Queen Street tonight. Presented by Taste Canada (Twitter: @TasteCanada, Facebook: Taste Canada - The Food Writing Awards) in partnership with the Hudson’s Bay Company in Toronto, Inspired to Taste Canada is comprised of three evenings where guests have the opportunity to meet and get cookbooks signed by some of Canada's top cookbook authors, enjoy food demos, tastings and drinks.

This evening's Inspired to Taste Canada (#HBxTasteCanada) event features Derek Dammann & Chris Johns and their cookbook, "True North"

I'm really looking forward to tonight because I've wanted to visit Dammann's Maison Publique (@maisonpublique) in Montreal for quite some time now. I've also read several great reviews of the cookbook, one being from The Globe and Mail, describing True North as "...sprawling and ambitious and unabashedly patriotic, obsessed with the delicious and the strange and the new."

 Unfortunately, it is too late to RSVP to the event but rest assured I'll be writing about it afterwards!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

New Summer Cocktails at The Keg Steakhouse + Bar

Hurray! It's finally summer! Well, not officially yet but close enough. Wasn't the weather on the long weekend just fabulous? It was so sunny and hot out I even went to the beach on Victoria Day and got myself a tan. Yes, you heard right, a tan in May! I seriously can't wait to see what the rest of summer has in store :)

To celebrate the warmer weather, The Keg Steakhouse + Bar (Twitter: @TheKeg, Facebook: The Keg Steakhouse + Bar) invited me to their King West location to try their newly introduced summer cocktails and martinis. Inspired by the beautiful new season, The Keg's range of new cocktails all feature a variety of refreshing herbs such as rosemary and mint, freshly squeezed citrus fruits, and premium liquors such as Boodles Gin, George Clooney’s Casamigos TequilaGosling’s Black Seal Rum and Lot No. 40 Whisky. I love all those things. All of it. If you can't tell already, cocktails are my weakness!

My friend and I tried a number of cocktails that evening, and because we both love boozy drinks, we "Keg Sized" everything (it's really the way to go). Without further ado, below are the cocktails and martinis we tried. Aside from the Keg Caesar, all the cocktails are from The Keg's new cocktail menu. The first price listed in the brackets is 1oz, the second is 2oz (Keg Size).

FAMOUS KEG CAESAR ($7.5 / $11.5)
Polar Ice vodka, Caesar mix, Tabasco and Worcestershire
LONDON BUCK ($7.5 / $11.5)
Boodles gin, fresh lemon and lime juice, simple syrup, muddled mint and raspberries, finished with a float of ginger beer
NEW YORK SOUR ($7.5 / $11.5)
Lot No. 40 whisky, fresh lemon and lime juice, simple syrup finished with a red wine float

Casamigos Blanco tequila, Cassis, fresh lemon and lime juice, ginger syrup finished with a float of ginger ale
PINEAPPLE SPLASH ($7.5 / $11.5)
Gosling’s Black Seal rum, muddled fresh pineapple and mint, brown sugar, lime juice and a splash of ginger beer

DRUNKEN CHERRY ($7.5 / $11.5)
Casamigos Blanco tequila, triple sec, house-made drunken Bing cherry juice, agave syrup and fresh lemon and lime juice
MANGO MOJITO ($7.5 / $11.5)
Havana Club 3 Year Old rum, fresh lemon and lime juice, muddled sugar, mango and mint topped with soda.
NEW YORK SOUR ($7.5 / $11.5)
Lot No. 40 whisky, fresh lemon and lime juice, simple syrup finished with a red wine float

All these cocktails were really tasty in their own unique way, we actually liked them all. If I had to choose, my favourites would be the New York Sour (I tend to like sours), the Mango Mojito (mango is my favourite fruit) and the Pineapple Splash (I'm a sucker for anything ginger beer). My friend's favourites were the New York Sour (because it's the booziest) and the London Buck. Since we both really enjoyed the New York Sour, here's the recipe for it:

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cluck Clucks Fried Chicken & Waffles

Tucked away at the corner of The Esplanade and Princess Street is Cluck Clucks, a restaurant dedicated to fried chicken and waffles. The place is pretty hidden and not easy to find, so you gotta purposely look for it or know where you're going. I only found out about Cluck Clucks from my friend, who has been for dinner before and thought I should try it out.

Serving halal chicken, Cluck Clucks' fried chicken is cooked to order so all customers are informed when ordering that there'll be a wait of about 15 minutes. If you live or work in the area, you'll be happy to know that you can order Cluck Clucks (Instagram: @cluckcluks, Facebook: Cluck Clucksvia Ritual.

My friend and I went to Cluck Clucks twice so this post combines my two experiences there.


WHAT THE CLUCK! (Solo $10.49, Combo $12.99)
2 pc bone-in-chicken, fresh waffle, choice sauce
Cluck Clucks fried chicken is on point. Crispy, golden, seasoned chicken skin with meat that's extremely juicy and tender. Delicious. As for the waffles, if you like them super soft, light and fluffy, this is the place for it. I personally like mine with a crispier exterior (i.e. crispy edges but still soft inside). The fries were seasoned well but a bit soggy. I didn't care for the Cluck Sauce; it had a sweet/tangy flavour and consistency that's similar to Italian salad dressing. Just not my thing. Thinking back I should have picked maple syrup as my "sauce", which is how fried chicken & waffles is traditionally served anyway (along with butter). The succulent union of sweet and salty, soft and crunchy, maple syrup and chicken may sound strange but it's unbelievably good.

CLUCK YEAH! (Solo $12.79, Combo $14.99)
Boneless chicken breast in between a fresh jalapeno and cheddar waffle with coleslaw, chipotle aioli, dill mayo
Other than the fried chicken, this Cluck Yeah! sandwich was my favourite item on Cluck Clucks' menu. The waffle - infused with the jalapeno and cheddar - was in many ways better than the regular waffle, both in flavour and texture (it was crispier for some reason). The chicken breast wasn't dry at all (dry chicken breast is my worst nightmare). Together with the creamy chipotle and tangy coleslaw, this waffle-sandwich was very satisfying to eat.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Winners of The Boil Bar Giveaway are ...


Congratulations! You've all won a $20 voucher to The Boil BarPlease email your name, Twitter handle and mailing address to

A big THANK YOU from me to the 46 contestants who participated in this contest! 

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #fjcseafoodboil 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 a $20 voucher to The Boil Bar from @foodieyu! #fjcseafoodboil". 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 followed me (@foodieyu) on Twitter. Below are the 102 valid entries:

I used "True Random Number Generator" from to pick 10 winners for me. A few individuals were lucky to enough to be picked more than once (I won't say who!) but since I wanted to make sure there are 10 different winners, I made pick again.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Tweak Your Tea: Cocktails with Pure Leaf Teas

Pure Leaf teas, brewed from real tea leaves, has just launched a new line of unsweetened teas in Canada. Pure Leaf's Unsweetened portfolio - Unsweetened Black Tea, Unsweetened Green Tea, and Unsweetened Lemon Tea - contains 0 sugar, 0 artificial sweeteners, and 0 calories.

To celebrate the launch, Pure Leaf (Instagram: @pureleafcanada #pureleafcanada, Facebook: Pure Leaf Iced Tea) invited me to be part of their #TweakYourTea campaign, where I was given the task of creating Pure Leaf tea combinations that show off my individual style.

It didn't take me long to figure out what my style is when it comes to beverages because I LOVE cocktails, especially cocktails with whisky, vodka and rum. So, why not make tea cocktails?

Place honey, bourbon, orange slices and fresh mint in a medium bowl. With the back of a spoon, muddle all the ingredients together. Once the mixture is pressed and flavours are extracted, add Pure Leaf Unsweetened Black Tea and stir. Pour the strained, sweet and boozy tea over ice and you're done.

Muddle lime juice, fresh mint, and sugar (you can use raw or sweetener) together in large glass until the leaves bruise lightly and the flavours release. Add ice until glass is about 3/4 full, then pour in white rum and Pure Leaf Unsweetened Green Tea. Stir well and garnish with mint. Truly refreshing.

In a glass, mix together honey, lemon juice, vodka and Pure Leaf Unsweetened Lemon Tea. Top with a bunch of ice. Enjoy.

Get creative and try using teas in your cocktails. My Pure Leaf Unsweetened Tea cocktails all tasted really cool and fresh. Best part is they were so easy to make! Great for those summer house parties ;)

*This is a sponsored post*

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Boil Bar Giveaway - CLOSED

I'm giving away 10 vouchers, each worth $20, to The Boil Bar!

If you've never had a seafood boil then you should hit up The Boil Bar (Instagram: @boilbar, Facebook: The Boil Bar) in Scarborough. Put a bib around your neck, roll up your sleeves, and prepare to get messy. First, you decide exactly what you want to eat - choose from Crawfish, Dungeness Crab, King Crab Leg, Snow Crab Leg, Lobster, Shrimp, Mussels, and Clams - then, you have to decide what flavouring you want with your seafood choice. You can order Lemon Pepper, Cajun, Garlic, Curry, or what they call House. The House Sauce is a mixture of all the sauces. Last, but not least, you pick your level of spice. You can go A Bit Spicy, Mild Spicy, Medium Spicy or Super Spicy. That's all there is to it at The Boil Bar (click here to read my full post on The Boil Bar).  Enter my contest now and experience this one-of-a-kind experience for yourself!

1) You MUST be following me (@foodieyuon Twitter
2) Tweet the following sentence, exactly as shown, nothing before or after it: 

I want to win a $20 voucher to The Boil Bar from @foodieyu! #fjcseafoodboil

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 #fjcseafoodboil 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. Voucher expires on June 21, 2016.

Contest starts on Thursday, May 12, and ends on Friday May 20 at 12PM. 
10 lucky winners will be chosen randomly from and I will announce the winners shortly after.

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Boil Bar

Put a bib around your neck, roll up your sleeves, and prepare to get messy at The Boil Bar (Instagram: @boilbar, Facebook: The Boil Bar). The concept at this Scarborough restaurant is simple. First, you decide exactly what you want to eat - choose from Crawfish, Dungeness Crab, King Crab Leg, Snow Crab Leg, Lobster, Shrimp, Mussels, and Clams - then, you have to decide what flavouring you want with your seafood choice. You can order Lemon Pepper, Cajun, Garlic, Curry, or what they call House. The House Sauce is a mixture of all the sauces. Last, but not least, you pick your level of spice. You can go A Bit Spicy, Mild Spicy, Medium Spicy or Super Spicy. That's all there is to it at The Boil Bar.

The concept of seafood boils is believed to have originated in the American South, a staple of both Louisiana Cajun cuisine and low-country cuisine. It first began from the crawfish boil, which eventually expanded to include other shellfish seafood. The live seafood is boiled together in a large stockpot until cooked, usually with no set recipe as cooks like to add their own seasonings and ingredients. Families and large parties often host seafood boils where everyone eats from the communal pot(s).

As far as I know, The Boil Bar and The Captain's Boil are the only two places in Toronto serving seafood boils. I've been asked several times now how the two restaurants compare. Sorry, can't help you there, I've never been to The Captain's Boil.

Bibs and paper towel. The essentials at any seafood boil.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Magic Noodle Downtown

I didn't plan to blog about Magic Noodle. Nothing against the place but I don't write about each and every one of my dining experiences. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you'll know; I share photos from more restaurants there than I write about here. There are several reasons why: 

1. I didn't find the food interesting enough to dedicate a blog post on it;
2. I've written about the restaurant before so unless I went back and tried a lot of new dishes, I won't write about it again;
3. The restaurant changed its menu by the time I got around to writing about it;
4. Life got in the way, I got busy, and the restaurant got lost in the my ever-expanding draft folder; or
5. The restaurant belongs to the KINKA FAMILY group of restaurant so I wouldn't feel right writing about it (since I work at KINKA).

So, where does Magic Noodle come in? I would say it's reason #1, at least initially. It's a personal thing but I just don't find a bowl of soup noodles much fun to write about. I might be biased because I'm Chinese, since we all know I can still blog about the flavour of the broth, the texture of the noodles, the different toppings, the restaurant's atmosphere and service, etc, etc. But again, to me, a bowl of noodles is simply a satisfying meal that I can finish in less than 10 minutes. I couldn't care less about the service or the atmosphere either (unless it's really bad). It's the same thing with Vietnamese pho or Korean tofu stew - I enjoy them tremendously but I don't have the desire to blog about them. For me to want to write about those places I would have to find the food or the service to be exceptionally great or exceptionally bad, and sorry to burst your bubble but Magic Noodle belongs to "exceptionally bad" category.

I've been to the noodle house in Richmond Hill before for lunch. I though the food was good, not superb, but good enough that I remember leaving happy and satisfied, which is why I was pretty stoked when I found out Magic Noodle opened a location on Harbord Street. My first thought was "Yay! I no longer have to trek uptown for good Chinese hand-pulled noodles!"

Magic Noodle's menu is separated into cold apps, hot apps, hand-pulled noodles, hand-shaved noodles, stir fried noodles and sauced noodles. We ordered two hot apps to start:

Garlic Chives, Scrambled Eggs, Dried Shrimp, Vermicelli

Chive pockets? More like grease pockets. Check out the pool of oil at the bottom. The tip of the chive pocket was actually submerged in it. To make matters worse, when the paper underneath shifted all the oil seeped through the woven basket and spilled onto the table. We tried wiping it with our napkins but we ended up just spreading oil all over. The napkin was also soaked by the end. Yuck.

PORK JIAMO ($2.99)
Pan Fried Bao, Shredded Pork, Magic Hoisin Sauce

Served hot, these pan fried baos were nicely browned and slightly crispy on the outside. I also really liked the finely shredded pork filling with Magic Hoisin sauce. This was the best dish of the night.

There's no question that the chive pockets were oily but at least I didn't feel deceived by them - they were just poorly made. I felt really deceived, however, by the noodles. Below is a screen shot of the "The Magic" from Magic Noodle's website. A very similar photo, shot top-down, was used on their printed menu at the restaurant. Looks incredibly delicious, right? That sunny side up fried egg, those luscious hand-pulled noodles, the bright red chili oil and the handful of fresh cilantro and scallions...who can resist? I honestly chose "The Magic" because of how enticing this photo looked.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lahore Tikka House

Opened in 1996 with just a few tables and chairs, Lahore Tikka House is a renowned Halal restaurant in Toronto. The iconic eatery in Gerrard India Bazaar offers Pakistani and North Indian food, and serves as a core for the South Asian community in the city. 

I haven't been to Lahore Tikka House (Facebook: Lahore Tikka House) in a really long time, at least not since I started my blog. What I remember about my last visit was that it was during the summer, and I was eating very delicious food with a group of friends. We were seated underneath a pitched tent in a parking lot, eating with plastic utensils and paper plates. I remembered having a lot of fun. Well, the tents and trailers are long gone now, replaced with this large, two-level stucco building. Talk about humble beginnings!

Anyway, back to present time. It was a Saturday night around 7pm when we arrived at Lahore Tikka House and sure enough, the restaurant was completely full. Although it seemed quite busy the wait wasn't too bad; the eight of us were seated upstairs after about a half-hour. I didn't have a chance to check out the the first floor but the second floor is brightly decorated with a very ethnic touch.

Once we were seated we were given a paper menu, and a small white board and marker to write our orders on.