Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Maillard.co Gift Card Giveaway - CLOSED

I'm giving away a $100 Maillard.co gift card!

Maillard.co is a brand new online butcher shop that offers over 100 different cuts of meat of all sorts, free of artificial colouring, from beef and veal, to pork, poultry and lamb. I was sent a sample Maillard.co box last month to try so I'll share my experience with you here. If you like what you see, make sure you enter my contest below!

All Maillard (Instagram: @maillard.co, Facebook: Maillardproducts come in a 100% recyclable isotherm cooler that allow the meats inside to remain frozen for at least 30 hours following their shipment. When you open the box, you'll also find a layer of dry ice blocks used to maintain an inside temperature of -80 degrees for maximum preservation. The cuts of meat – sold by unit or in boxes – are individually vacuum sealed then instantly frozen. All online orders are delivered the next day.

Maillard.co guarantees its meat to be free of artificial colouring. From slicing to shipping, all of their meat, except their flattened chicken which is packed directly from their supplier, is processed in their HACCP-certified facilities located in Terrebonne, Quebec. Their beef is selected according to its high-quality grading (AA, AAA and Prime), which guarantees optimal marbling, tenderness and flavour.

"From slicing to shipping, all of our meat is processed right here in Quebec at our Terrebonne facilities that are HACCP certified, which are the highest food processing standards in the world. Our customers will enjoy choice cuts of meat that have been carefully selected and prepared by our artisan butchers year-round." - Pascal Arsenault, owner of Maillard. 

For my Maillard sample box (valued at $85), I received:

The Maillard Grilling Guide
A Maillard apron
1 pkg AAA boneless ribeye steak (Selection 1913)*
1 natural flattened chicken
I pkg trimmed boneless chicken breasts
1 pkg boneless duck breast
1 pkg frenched bone in pork chop

*Selection 1913 is Maillard's finest tasting product. The best meat in categories AAA and Prime is selected according to marbling, colour and musle size. These choice cuts are aged for 45 days for optimum flavour and tenderness.

With all the wonderful cuts of meat in my freezer, it was time to get cookin'! My box came with several recipe cards, so I decided to use one of them, their "Portuguese Piri Piri Style Chicken" using their flattened chicken (there are currently more than 20 featured recipes on the Maillard website that shows you the different ways you can cook your choice cuts). We seasoned the AAA boneless Ribeye with some salt and pepper, and pan-seared it to a nice rare to accompany our piri piri chicken and roasted vegetables.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Moo Frites

Moo Frites (Instagram: @moofrites, Facebook: Moo Fritesmakes hella good fries. Their fries are actually the best I've ever had so far in Toronto. It's a bold statement but I'm sticking with it!

Nestled in Kensington Market on 178 Baldwin St., Moo Frites is a small fry shop that serves up thick-cut, Belgian-style fries, accompanied by a variety of different house-made dipping sauces (there are 18 sauces to be exact). 

Owner Ambrose Lee fell in love with Belgian frites during his backpacking trip through Europe several years ago. When Ambrose came back home, he made it his mission to perfect the Belgian frites and introduce it to Torontonians. After extensive research and numerous tests, Moo Frites was born in November 2014.

I dropped by Moo Frites after work several weeks ago. It was my second time there and I knew going in that I wanted 1) Their regular Belgian frites, 2) Several different kinds of dipping sauces, and 3) One of their specialty fries (more details on my first visit at Moo Frites here).

So, first things first, Moo Frites' 18 dipping sauces:

FRITE SAUCEBelgian/Dutch mayo, the classic
JOPPEECurry mayo, Dutch specialty
ANDALOUSETomato & chili pepper based, Belgian specialty
SAMURAIBelgian warrior armed with spicy Tunisian chili
GARLIC MAYOEveryone's favourite, bad breath enhancer
CHIPOTLE MAYOSpicy & smokey blended with smoke dried jalapeno
GEM SAUCEUtah's favourite fry sauce
NOSY WASABIJapanese horseradish mayonnaise
PARMESAN PEPPERCORNCreamy mayo fighting for the spotlight
LEMON DILL - Imagine dill-pickle chips
SPICY SRIRACHAIt's pronounced "see-rah-cha"
SPICY TARTARTartar sauce on fire
SPICY KETCHUPKetchup with a kick
CURRY KETCHUPSweet & sour ketchup, Dutch specialty
CHIPOTLE KETCHUPSpicy & smokey ketchup
GINGER KETCHUPFor the ginger-crazed
PEANUT SAUCEIndonesian peanut satay, Dutch specialty
GRAVY Poutine gravy, eh!

With so many options, I was a bit overwhelmed. Thankfully, Ambrose helped me pick a few sauces, all of which are traditional sauces for frites in Belgium/Netherlands:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Vegetarian Kamayan at Lamesa Filipino Kitchen

Exactly two years ago, I wrote about my first ever kamayan dinner at Lamesa Filipino Kitchen, a Filipino feast where beautifully presented food is laid out on banana leaves. There are no utensils or plates; you eat with your hands because that is the kamayan way. It was an unforgettable experience, from watching the chefs expertly plate each component on the table, to finally devouring the wonderful, delicious-looking spread in front of me. What topped it off was the interaction at the table. My friends and I would trade tips on how best to pick up rice with our fingers, what sauce tasted incredible with what, and just occasionally hearing friends say things like "Oh my God, this garlic rice!!" then seeing everyone at the table nod 'cause we all feel the same way...it's precisely this sort of interaction that made my first kamayan experience so memorable.

So, needless to say, I was thrilled to be invited back to Lamesa (Instagram: @lamesato, Facebook: Lamesa) last week for yet another kamayan dinner, this time, for their vegetarian version. To be honest, I've never dined at a restaurant and not order at least one meat dish. What can I say? I love my meat. Naturally, a part of me was bit weary about this whole vegetarian kamayan idea, but at the same time, I have full confidence that the Lamesa chefs will put out something great because they always do. If anything, I was more curious and intrigued about what they have up their sleeves!

Lamesa's cocktails are generally pretty basic looking, no frills or any fancy garnish, but trust me, all of them are very good. Also, their names are hilarious, like "Manila Heat" and "Tequila Negroneezy".

Star anise infused dark rhum, calamansi juice, ginger beer
Bourbon, ginger, pineapple syrup, and lemon

Lamesa's kamayan "hand-to-mouth" dinners are offered every Sunday evening from 5-9pm. It is a set menu priced at $40 per guest ($10 per child). It is worth noting that besides regular and vegetarian, they also have a pescatarian kamayan option.

Without further ado, let's get right into it! Here we have owner Les Sabilano (in green) and executive chef Daniel Cancino taking turns plating the table. I really like how they would tell the guests what they were plating, sometimes even with a little history/background of the ingredient and its origin.

After what seemed like an endless amount of food being plated, it sadly came to an end. And take a look at this spread, will you? Isn't it gorgeous?

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Winners of the One Of A Kind Christmas Show 2016 are....


Congratulations! You've all won a pair of tickets to this year's One of a Kind Show! Please email me at foodjunkiechronicles@gmail.com to claim your tickets!

A big THANK YOU to the 48 people who participated in this contest! 

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #fjcooakx16 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 tickets to @ooak_toronto! http://bit.ly/2fo2c1k #fjcooakx16 #OOAKX16". 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 117 valid entries:

I used "True Random Number Generator" from random.org to pick 10 winners for me.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Lasa by Lamesa

Brought to us by the same team as LamesaLasa by Lamesa (Instagram: @lasabylamesa) is a quick-service Filipino eatery on St. Clair West at Wychwood Avenue. Unlike Lamesa, which is known for its modern and creative take on Filipino food, owner Les Sabilano and executive chef Daniel Cancino focuses on traditional Filipino fare at Lasa

Even though Lasa is a fast-casual spot, rest assured that they still make everything fresh to order. The 3-month-old eatery has no servers so both ordering and picking up food happens at this counter. Choose from water, pop or juice to accompany your meal (Lasa is not licensed). 

Previously occupied by Kaibigan, a grocery store ran by Sabilano's parents, Lasa has been completely transformed. The 24-seat space is casual, yet quaint and welcoming. I specifically like the wicker lamps and the cute accent pieces on the wall.

Notice the different pops of colours and the custom wood work on the door. The room has a chill tropical feel to it, which is really inviting on a cold winter's night.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

St. Lawrence Market's Evening at the Market 2016

Presented by the St. Lawrence Market, the annual Evening at the Market took place on Thursday, November 10th, in support of charitable partner Second Harvest. From 7-10pm at the historic South Market, guests experienced a one-of-a-kind culinary adventure featuring tasting dishes from all 64 St. Lawrence Market merchants.

 Tickets to the fundraiser are $75 and include all food and drink for the event. Due to incredible positive response, the event sold out two weeks in advance and has raised $30,000 for Second Harvest!

Stunning chandeliers dotting the ceiling at Evening at the Market.

Live entertainment at Evening at the Market included aerial circus performances by Zero Gravity Circus.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

One Of A Kind Christmas Show 2016 Giveaway - CLOSED

I'm giving away 10 PAIRS of tickets to this year's One of a Kind Show #OOAKX16 taking place from Thursday, November 24 to Sunday, December 4 at the Enercare Centre Exhibition Place! Each pair of tickets is valued at $26.

The mission of One of a Kind (Instagram: @ooak_toronto, Facebook: One of a Kind Show and Sale) is to provide a marketplace to bring together makers and buyers who share a commitment to handmade excellence. Since its inception in 1975, One of a Kind has been cultivating creativity, craftsmanship and connection in order to deliver an inspired shopping experience.

Did you know there's also food at the One of a Kind Show? Take a look at the show's website and under the "Flavours" category on the "Explore The Artisan Profiles" page, you'll find profiles from over 60 artisans specializing in food and beverage!

And ake sure you check out the demos and sampling at the Ontario Meat & Poultry booth :)bit

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

Hey @foodieyu I want to #win a pair of tickets to @ooak_toronto! http://bit.ly/2fo2c1k #fjcooakx16 #OOAKX16

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 #fjcooakx16 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 starts on Thursday, November 10 and ends on Thursday, November 17 at 12PM. 
Ten lucky winners will be chosen randomly from www.random.org and I will announce the winner shortly after.

GOOD LUCK!!! ^_^

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tasty Tours' Kensington Market Sweet & Savoury Food Tour

Full disclosure. Ever since Audrey, owner and operator of Tasty Tours, invited me out to her Canada Day Sweets Tour in 2012, we have become good friends. Going on five years strong, Tasty Tours has a stellar reputation and runs affordable and intimate food tours in the city (Tasty Tours has earned over 200 reviews with a perfect 5-star rating on TripAdvisor). And if you think food tours are only for tourists, think again. After being out and about in Toronto for much longer that I would like to admit, I still managed to learn something new about the city and hit up places that I've never been to while on Tasty Tours' Kensington Market Sweet & Savoury Food Tour last week. It was a real shocker for me (in a good way) which is exactly why I think Tasty Tours is a great way to explore the city for locals.

Anyhow, I would recommend Tasty Tours (Instagram: @tasty_tours, Facebook: Tasty Tours Toronto) to anyone because Audrey and I are pretty much on the same page when it comes to food and restaurants, so I fully trust all her tour spots :) I have to admit that her Kensington Market Sweet & Savoury Food Tour is my favourite tour so far out of all the Tasty Tours I've been to because: 1) Despite having a sweet tooth, I still prefer food tours that introduce both savoury and sweet stops, which is why I enjoyed this tour more than an all-sweets tour, 2) Audrey always does a terrific job balancing history with fun facts, which is why her tours are both educational and entertaining, 3) Sometimes we would get to meet the shop owner(s) too, so the experience is a very special and intimate one, 4) The tour was well paced with just the right amount of walking in between stops, and 5) I was actually full after the tour! I'm not sure about you, but these points are all very important to me when it comes to deciding whether a food tour is a good one or a bad one.

On this post you'll find some of my favourite spots from Tasty Tours' Kensington Market Sweet & Savoury Food Tour. I purposely left some places out because what's the fun if I told you everything?!


After travelling through Brussels and Bruges, Ambrose Lee instantly fell in love with the Belgian fries. After his trip, Ambrose decided to open Moo Frites in Kensington Market, which offers Belgian frites with a wide range of dipping sauces. Ambrose perfects his fries by first cutting them into thick strips, blanching them, then deep-fries and freezes them overnight before deep-frying them again to order. Finally, the fries are tossed with salt before serving.

We each got a Moo Frites poutine in beef gravy drizzled with maple mayo (the maple mayo was special for the tour). I can honestly say that Moo Frites probably serves the best fries I've ever had. Beautifully golden in colour, each fry was very sturdy, not limp nor soft. There's a slight crunch on the first bite, with the inside all light and fluffy. Every bite after the first still retains that satisfying crunch, and each bite just as potato-y as the first. They are just damn good fries. As for the poutine aspect of it, the curds were good but I wasn't too crazy about the maple mayo - it was a tad sweet for me. I actually just want to taste the frites on their own, which is why I'll be heading to Moo Frites (Instagram: @moofrites, Facebook: Moo Frites) tonight after work!


The Toronto Popcorn Company (Instagram: @topopcornco, Facebook: Toronto Popcorn Company) is a family business started by Joseph and Caramhel Villegas, a young family who immigrated to Canada in 2011 from the Philippines. The Villegas started introducing their popcorn in 2013, travelling to festivals around Ontario offering homemade popcorn from an old-fashioned popcorn maker. They now operate a store in Kensington Market, featuring close to 100 unique and gourmet popcorn flavours.

I had a lot of fun sampling a bunch of different popcorn flavours. Some flavours we didn't know could exist with popcorn (i.e. grape, watermelon, lemon, etc.) We ended up buying a bag of "Cheesy Caramel" which, according to Toronto Popcorn Company's website, is one of their most popular flavour. Their "Cheesy Caramel" popcorn is dangerous; the combination of savoury cheese and sweet caramel is so addictive. We've since finished the entire bag, which just means I have to get more tomorrow after Moo Frites.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Jackpot Chicken Rice

Hainanese Chicken Rice (or "海南雞飯" in Chinese) is a dish of Chinese origin from early Chinese immigrants from the Hainan province in southern China. One would usually find the dish associated with Hainanese, Malaysian, Singaporean (it's considered as one of the national dishes of Singapore), Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. Therefore, there are many regional variations of this popular dish, from differences in preparation and cooking styles, to the various condiments and accompaniments served with it. I am, by no means, an expert on Hainanese Chicken Rice, but what I do have are very fond memories of it. Back when I was a toddler living in Hong Kong, my family and I would often have dinner at a homey Thai restaurant near where we lived, and we would always order their Hainanese Chicken Rice. It was one of their signature dishes and it was damn delicious. My Mom made it several times at home, too. Her version was fantastic too, but the dish required a lot of time and effort so it's not something that she would make often. It has been awhile since I've had Hainanese Chicken Rice and I miss it (which reminds me, I remember having a terrible version of it here four years ago).

So, imagine my excitement when I heard about Jackpot Chicken Rice, a restaurant specializing in Hainanese Chicken Rice! Chef Craig Wong of Patois and Jamaican restaurant Ting Irie in Dubai, took over the former Lucky Red space in Chinatown and opened Jackpot Chicken Rice three weeks ago. The restaurant's menu features Hainanese Chicken Rice, Roast Chicken Rice, and Tofu Mushroom Rice, along with several side dishes and add-ons.

A very eye-catching mural of a chubby baby grasping a huge watermelon surrounded by gigantic pink roses just as big as he is.

Colourful colanders lanterns hang from the ceiling.

To my disappointment, Jackpot Chicken Rice (Instagram: @eatjackpot, Facebook: Jackpot Chicken Ricedid not have their liquor license yet when I visited so I couldn't try any of their cocktails (their Chinese Old Fashioned and Hainan Long Island caught my eye). But no worries, they are now licensed :)

The tempura batter was light and not oily. Dressed in a creamy lemon-kewpie mayo then finished with cilantro and lime leaves, everybody at the table really enjoyed this broccoli side dish (this and the Baby Fish Fry are listed under "side dish" on the menu but they are really appetizers since they came before our chicken rice).

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Winners of the 2016 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo Giveaway are...


Congratulations! You've all won a pair of tickets to this year's Gourmet Food & Wine Expo! Please email me at foodjunkiechronicles@gmail.com to claim your tickets!

A big THANK YOU to the 44 contestants who participated in this contest! 

Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #fjcgfwe 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 "Take me and a guest to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo @foodieyu! http://bit.ly/2eLECMx @GFWE #gfwe #fjcgfwe". 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 119 valid entries:

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