Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Paese Ristorante

"Inspired in Italy, Made in Canada"

Paese Ristorante has been serving Italian inspired food for over 25 years in North York. Owner and operator Tony Loschiavo was three years old when he moved to Canada from Southern Italy in 1965. Growing up with a passion for food and its preparation, Loschiavo’s early start in the restaurant industry was with two acclaimed Toronto restaurants of the time: Fenton’s and Noodles. In 1983, he founded L-eat Catering and in 1989 opened Paese Ristorante (Instagram: @paeseristorante, Facebook: Paese Ristorante). The L-eat Group cultivates a 3,000 square feet urban garden in midtown, producing fruits and vegetables used for their catering events, and everything from tomatoes and chili peppers for the chefs, to mint and lavender for the bartenders at Paese.

I visited Paese for some Italian cooking on a Saturday night. As usual, we started with cocktails.

Beefeater gin, lemon, thyme-infused syrup
Campari, Maker's Mark bourbon, sugar cube, orange

Tapenade made of tomato, roasted eggplant and red pepper. 

Paese's dinner menu features a selection of salads, antipasti, pastas, pizza, fish and meats, and sides.

Potato, grilled escarole, mint, lemon and chill
This was a marvelous appetizer, and it's no wonder that this dish is so popular at Paese. Coupled with an impressive presentation, the grilled octopus here is soft and tender yet still had good texture and chew. The creamy sauce and the hearty potatoes were perfect accompaniments to the octopus.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Revisiting KAKA All You Can Eat Japanese

It's been almost a year since my last visit to KAKA, an all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant located at First Markham Place (read about my experience at KAKA here). Since then, KAKA All You Can Eat (Instagram: @kakaallyoucaneat, Facebook: KAKA All You Can Eathas introduced several new items on their already sizable menu, and I was invited back to the popular AYCE spot to have a taste.

I started the meal with Mio Sparkling Sake, a very light and bubbly sake.

The newly introduced items include three varieties of poke salad bowls and two types of tacos. I applaud KAKA's effort in offering the trendy poke to their menu but I was not crazy about them. In general, the poke bowls were under-seasoned and had too many competing ingredients. In my opinion, the best poke bowls are often the simplest ones with cubed fish seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and sweet onions, then finished with a sprinkle of sesame seeds or scallions. That's it. I thought KAKA was overly ambitious with the number of ingredients. The tacos, on the other hand, were quite delicious. I would order them again.

Salmon, avocado, jalapeno, tomato, onion, garlic chips
Salmon, nori, sesame, avocado, cilantro, green onions, tempura bits
Butterfish, cucumber, avocado, sweet egg, green onion, melon, yuzu sauce

Asian slaw, avocado puree, chipotle mayo
Pico de gallo, avocado puree, wasabi mayo

After the poke and tacos, we continued to make our way through the KAKA menu. Highlights for me were the Ox Tongue Skewer, Chicken Meatball Skewer, the very creamy Bacon and Mushroom Carbonara and the Grilled Okra.

Ox Tongue Skewer
Butternut Squash Soup (new)
Chicken Meatball Skewer (new)
Bacon and Mushroom Carbonara Udon (new)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cottage Country with the 2016 Honda Pilot [VIDEO]

That cottage life. I can't get enough of it.

I had a blast in Muskoka a few weeks ago, and thanks to Honda Canada, I was able to give my six friends a ride up to cottage country in the very luxurious and very comfortable, 2016 Honda Pilot Touring.

The nine of us stayed at a cute roomy cottage in Bracebridge, a town about two hours away from Toronto. It was so nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city - even for a few days - and just relax and hang out with friends. This video is a condensed version of everything we did at the cottage!

I miss this view soooo much. Till next year.

Thanks again, Honda Canada, for lending me the 2016 Honda Pilot. It was the perfect ride for the cottage; it held all seven of us plus all this stuff to Muskoka! We were all very impressed :)

Video shot by Jon Lim (
Video shot with the DJI Osmo.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Winner of the Upper Deck by Fran's Giveaway is...


Congratulations, k baker! You've just won DINNER FOR TWO at Upper Deck by Fran's valued at $100! Please email me at to redeem your prize.

A big THANK YOU to the 74 contestants who participated in this contest! 

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #fjcTFOB 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 "Enter for your chance to win a Dinner for Two at #UpperDeckbyFrans valued at $100 from @foodieyu! #fjcupperdeck". 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 168 valid entries:

I used "True Random Number Generator" from to pick one winner for me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Upper Deck by Fran's Giveaway - CLOSED

 I'm giving away a DINNER FOR TWO to Upper Deck by Fran's valued at $100. This is your chance to visit the latest addition to the Downtown Yonge corridor and Toronto’s newest rooftop patio before the summer's over!

Upper Deck by Fran's, which took over the two upper levels of Fran’s flagship College Street location, is a casual eatery with a menu that focuses on Americana and international flavours. Customers can expect generous diner-style breakfasts and home-style comforts with contemporary twists. They even have an extensive seasonal cocktail menu including classics like the Negroni, Old Fashioned and Cosmopolitan, as well as shareable cocktails such as the Muskoka Mule, College Street Tea and Jack Daniels Rhubarb Lemonade.

When you are there, don't forget to order their Boomtown Burger. It's delish! In case you missed it, you can find my full post on Upper Deck by Fran's here.

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

Enter for your chance to win a Dinner for Two at #UpperDeckbyFrans valued at $100 from @foodieyu! #fjcupperdeck

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 #fjcupperdeck 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. Prize expires on September 30, 2016

Contest starts on Wednesday, August 17, and ends on Wednesday, August 24, at 12PM. 
One lucky winners will be chosen randomly from and I will announce the winner shortly after.

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^

Monday, August 15, 2016

Feast of St. Lawrence Festival: Dinner Under the Stars

 The inaugural Feast of St. Lawrence (#feaststlawrence) began on Friday, August 12th, with Dinner Under the Stars, an exclusive dinner where one hundred guests gathered on Front Street (between Scott and Church Street) for a special al fresco dinner. Rain was in the forecast so a tent was set up.

Tickets to Dinner Under the Stars was $200 per person. A portion of ticket sales was donated to FoodShare and a charitable tax receipt was issued for a portion of the cost.

Dinner Under the Stars began at 6:30pm with passed hors d'oeuvres, and a wine and beer reception.

Steam Whistle, Norman Hardie 2015 Riesling, Cave Spring Brut 'Dolomite', Tawse 2014 Limestone Ridge Sparkling Riesling

Oyster station from Pearl Diver.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hello Fresh - A "Cook from Scratch" Meal Delivery Service

With 7.5 million meals per month and 850,000 subscribers globally, HelloFresh made their way to Canada in May 2016. HelloFresh (Instagram: @hellofreshca, Facebook: Hello Fresh CA) is a meal delivery subscription service that delivers locally sourced fresh ingredients and recipes straight to your doorstep. HelloFresh's team of in-house chefs create easy-to-prepare, nutritious recipes, and pre-measured ingredients are delivered right to your door every week. The recipes are quick and easy to follow (they all take 30 mins or less), and don't require any fancy equipment or techniques. All you need to have available at home is salt, pepper, sugar, cooking oil, and butter. 

HelloFresh delivers on Tuesday and Wednesday of each week and delivery typically occurs between 9am-5pm. If you are not home during delivery, their courier will drop the box off at your front door (or wherever you specify in your delivery instructions). HelloFresh's subscription service is very flexible; there's no minimum length for subscriptions and you can deactivate at any time. You can even pause your subscription, just as long as it's done before midnight on Wednesday before the following week's delivery. HelloFresh currently delivers across Southern, Central, and Eastern Ontario (see delivery zones here).

Every week, HelloFresh's Pronto and Family Boxes feature 4 meal choices: 3 with meat options and 1 vegetarian option. You can choose your top 3 favourites each week and also set personal preferences such as Beef Free, Fish Free, Pork Free, Seafood Free, or Shellfish Free as choice defaults. I was sent a 3 Meal Pronto Box for Two to try. 

You can now receive $30 off your first box order and another $30 off your second box order (total savings of $60 overall) when you use my code FOOD_JUNKIE at checkout!

HelloFresh have specially designed boxes that are lined with thick liners and are 100% recyclable. I love how each recipe and its ingredients are in separate boxes. This keeps everything neat and in-place.

Underneath the boxed ingredients is a separate layer containing protein and ice packs.

Everything in my Meal Pronto Box for Two are shown below. HelloFresh offers three types of boxes (prices include delivery):

3 Meal Pronto Box for Two - $79.99 
3 Meal Pronto Box for Four - $139.99 
3 Meal Family Box for Four - $129.99

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Upper Deck by Fran's

We've been having quite the summer, huh? That heat! You won't hear me complaining about it though because I absolutely despise winter. I hate everything about the season - the frigid temperatures, the snowstorms, the freezing rain, the drive. Ughhhh. So, if you're like me and are scouting around the city, trying to enjoy the last of summer and chilling on patios, then I highly recommend you check out Upper Deck by Fran's (Instagram: @upperdeckbyfrans, Facebook: Upper Deck by Fran's)

Upper Deck by Fran's, which took over the two upper levels of Fran’s flagship College Street location, is less of a classic diner and more of a casual eatery. Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, the restaurant's menu focuses on Americana and international flavours. Customers can expect generous diner-style breakfasts and home-style comforts with contemporary twists.

The first floor of Upper Deck by Fran's is fully indoor and features a large wrap around bar.

Take a look at this cool art installation of the College subway station on the way to the second floor of Upper Deck by Fran's.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Feast of St. Lawrence

Get ready for St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood BIA’s first annual Feast of St. Lawrence Festival (#feaststlawrence), Toronto's newest summer food festival which kicks off this Friday, August 12th. Over three sumptuous days, the Feast of St. Lawrence Festival (Facebook: Feast of St. Lawrence) aims to celebrate the rich, authentic and delicious history of Old Town Toronto as a food destination, bringing people together through a shared love of food and raise awareness for FoodShare, a local Toronto charity that supports healthy eating and creates access to fresh food. 

The three-day festival begins in spectacular fashion with an exclusive, al fresco fine dining event on Friday night. One hundred guests will be seated at a continuous table on Front Street (between Scott and Church Street) and served a sumptuous 5-course dinner prepared by chefs from some of the top restaurants in the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood including Biff's Bistro, Hawthorne Food & Drink, The Hot House Restaurant, Omni King Edward Hotel, Pearl Diver, The Sultan's Tent and Woods. Wine pairings from Niagara's Somewhereness wine consortium will be served with the dinner while the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band provides added ambiance to the already impressive staging. The event begins with an hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer reception at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 11:00 p.m. The tickets are $200 and are now on sale. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to FoodShare and a charitable tax receipt will be issued for a portion of the cost.

On Saturday, August 13th, the celebration moves to the world famous St. Lawrence Market and Market Street with outdoor food stalls and seating areas, farm fresh produce, canning and food preparation demonstration sessions in the Market, licensed patios at the Market Street Restaurants, a pig roast from the Farmer's Market, live entertainment including a special performance by The Beatles cover band The Rattles, and much more. Restaurant partners for Saturday include the St. Lawrence Market, Farmer’s Market, Barsa Taberna, Bindia Indian Bistro, Cresta Restaurant and Evolution Food Co. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

 Sunday, August 14th, is designed for the whole family with fun and healthy activities in St. James Park. Activities during the day include a professional Punch and Judy puppet show, games and activities presented by the Cooper Koo Y, arts and crafts, a photo button booth, face painting, a kid friendly food workshop, an opportunity to learn the basics of swordfighting from trained historical re-enactors, and much more. FoodShare will be onsite with their mobile market, selling fresh healthy snacks. The fun begins at 10 a.m. in St. James Park (King and Jarvis Street) and runs until 4 p.m.

Attendance is free to the Saturday and Sunday portions of the Feast of St. Lawrence!

Will you be there? I'll certainly be at the dinner on Friday, and most likely drop by on Saturday as well. If you see me, make sure to say HI! :)

For more information on the Feast of St. Lawrence, please visit their website or contact them at:

258 Adelaide Street East, Suite 403
Toronto, ON
M5A 1N1
+1 (416) 861-1793