Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winterlicious: Fred's Not Here

Much like Dine Out Vancouver, the City of Toronto also has a foodie celebration. It happens twice a year and is called Summerlicious and Winterlicious.
Wood Grilled California Cut New York Sirloin

My decision to take part in Winterlicious this year was very last minute and impulsive, so I didn't put as much effort into researching as I had hoped to.
My roommate and I liked the menu at Fred's Not Here and the reviews on Urbanspoon were pretty good. Most of all, it was recommended by our friends (oh, the power of word of mouth!).
Our reservation was made for a Tuesday night, but the restaurant was packed when we got there. We figured it might have been because of Winterlicious. I can't say much about the interior and the decor since the lighting inside was extremely dark. Nonetheless, the candles made it very romantic.

Our dinners were prix fixe for $35 and included an appetizer, main course, and dessert. I really liked the fact that Fred's had numerous choices for each course. I sure had a hard time deciding on what I wanted.

Much like other steakhouses, we were served with a basket of bread shortly after we placed our orders. I liked the assortment of breads in the basket but I thought it would have been even better if the bread wasn't cold. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

First-time Frenching: Provence Marinaside

Please excuse the tardiness of this post...I know Dine Out 2012 is long gone but that's okay because I believe all of the dine out items are on their regular menu! 

A friend of mine went through the scrutinizing act of looking through the dine out menus and picked out Provence Marinaside. I've heard great things about the brunch here so I was excited to try it. I am by no means a french cuisine expert, as this was actually my first time having french food!
Complimentary Crostini & Spread 
A little plate of crostini was already on our table once we were seated. It's nice to have something to munch on immediately after sitting down. They were served with a sort of olive spread which I didn't really like because I'm not a big fan of olives. I ended up eating these plain because the olive taste was so empowering.
Complimentary Bread Basket
The bread basket was brought to us soon after. Unfortunately both the bread and the butter was cold so it was pretty hard to spread. Other than that the bread was pretty standard.

Warm Goat Cheese Salad
One of their appetizer choices was the Warm Goat Cheese Salad, which to my surprise was actually very good. I'm also not a big fan of cheese, but this goat cheese went very well with the salad. I felt that the balsamic salad dressing was what really pulled it together.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Recipe: Custard Cream Puffs

One day, I suddenly had cravings for cream puffs. Specifically, the cream puffs I always get from Beard Papa's. However, there was a problem... There are no Beard Papa's in downtown Toronto! Determined to fulfill my cravings, I decided to look up recipes and make my own cream puffs!

I got the recipe from joyofbaking.com but they used whipped cream instead of custard.

Choux Pastry:
1/2 cup (65 g) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (57 g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
* you can also have some confectioners sugar on the side for dusting the puffs

1 large egg

3 large egg yolks
55g granulated white sugar
30g flour
300 ml milk
20 g unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
80 ml whipping cream

Yield: 15 small or 10 medium/large sized cream puffs

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thierry...Oh the Temptations!

I've been meaning to visit Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe (what a mouthful!) ever since they opened up. I finally got the chance on a rare afternoon that I wasn't completely bloated from a previous meal or starving like a pig. They have quite a large selection of treats to choose from, each with such beautiful presentation, so right off the bat I was having a tough time deciding! 
Chocolate Trio Cake
Out of the many many kinds of individual cakes, I was able to narrow it down to this Chocolate Trio. It is composed of white, milk and dark chocolate mousse, situated on top of a chocolate sponge cake. In short, this cake was sinfully decadent. The mousse was so heavenly rich and smooth, but not the point where it got sickening. There was a hint of liqueur which I thought went very well with the chocolate.

Passion Fruit Mousse
I also had to try this Passion Fruit Mousse because it looked so adorable with the mini macaron tops! The mousse was nice and airy, carrying a light fruity sweetness. The passion fruit jelly on top gave it a little zing with its tartness. This was very good, perfect for those who don't like heavy desserts. However, the macaron tops were a little soggy, perhaps from being stuck to the mousse all day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Recipe Debut: Pink Lemon Cupcakes

On top of exploring restaurants and foods, Amy and I also like to bake, so be on the lookout for more recipes!

Being the festive person I am, I wanted to bake some Valentine's Day themed cupcakes. Instead of making traditional icing topped cupcakes, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and look up recipes that were more challenging. After scouring the internet, I came across a cupcake recipe that I really liked and decided to share in lieu of the upcoming Valentine's Day.

This is very creative cupcake idea that I found on Just Jenn Recipes and instantly fell in love with! However, instead of making vanilla cupcakes from scratch, I used a box of chocolate cupcake mix that was sitting in my cupboard.

Source: Just Jenn Recipes

Friday, February 10, 2012

Koyoi Restaurant & Bar: Forget the line ups at Guu!

Since moving to Toronto, I have pinpointed several favorite places that I visit regularly. On that list, Koyoi probably sits at the top as one of my most visited restaurants here. I was introduced to Koyoi by a  friend and since then, I've been taking new friends there and telling people about it. Well, what better way to spread the word than to do it on the internet? 
Beef Tataki 牛たたき   $5.99 + tax 
Koyoi has a special meaning to me because it is a restaurant that broke a lot of my eating habits. Many foods that I would never touch elsewhere, I would gladly eat or even crave at Koyoi.

If you read my post on Seasons in the Park, you'll remember that I like my meat cooked thoroughly. I always thought I can't eat raw meat, but this beef tataki turned things around. In fact, this is the only raw meat dish that I will eat. For some reason, although raw, the beef tataki at Koyoi doesn't have the bloody taste that I hate. Instead, the ponzu sauce, combined with the radish and green onion, creates a magical concoction in your mouth.

Okonomiyaki お好み焼き $7.99 + tax
On top of raw meat, okonomiyaki is another dish that I hardly ever enjoy. From previous experiences, okonomiyakis have always just tasted like mushy dough covered in heavy sauces to me. Koyoi, however, does it differently. Instead of drowning the pancake in sauces, they keep the amount just right. I enjoyed this much more because I could actually taste the ingredients in the pancake and the sauces didn't overpower everything.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Check out La Amigo, my amigos!

I don't frequent La Amigo Restaurant, but every time I plan to eat here, I highly look forward to it. The place doesn't look like much, decor is normal and the service is mediocre. Actually, the first time I visited, the entire place was empty so I didn't expect much. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I've dined here a couple of times now, but I always order the same thing...that's just how good it is!

Lobster Chowder & HK Style Borscht & Garlic Bread
The Chef's Specials start off with a soup and some garlic toast. I was quite surprised to see lobster chowder as one of the soup options. I'm not a big fan of creamy soups but this was pretty good, and it had bits of real lobster floating around. I love HK style borscht...it's one of the main reasons why I love HK style restaurants. La Amigo's borscht is one of the best I've ever had. It has a very intense tomato flavor and is a tad spicy.

I usually leave the bread that comes with the soup untouched, but La Amigo's garlic bread is very, very good. The edges are nice and crispy, while the middle is oh-so-pillowy soft. It has a good amount of spread to achieve full flavor without making the bread soggy. I wish there were more pieces!

Lobster Paella $32.95 + tax
The Lobster Paella is very yummy. There are lots of juicy lobster chunks and the rice is very nice. It's sort of like a fried rice, but with various spices that taste quite exotic to me. Once you start eating it's hard to stop! Don't be intimidated by the relatively high price...there is an entire lobster in this dish and the portion is gigantic. It's great to share or to indulge yourself if you're extra hungry.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Make way for Sunway!

Even though Richmond is filled to the brim with bubble tea joints and Taiwanese style restaurants, I have yet to find one that is representative of authentic Taiwanese food. That is until I discovered Sunway. I haven't explored much of their menu yet, but it is quickly becoming my Taiwanese go-to place in Richmond.

Sunway Pork Rice in Egg $8.50 + tax
The pork rice in egg (蛋包飯) was delicious. What I especially liked about it was that it tasted very homey, as if it were mama's own cooking. The egg layer was thin and cooked to a good degree. I was very impressed that the chef was able to fry an egg to such a wide surface area without breaking it! Inside consists of piping hot ketchup fried rice, which was quite flavorsome and went well with the egg. The mayonnaise dressing on top may seem odd at first but it really did add a nice tang to the dish without overpowering it. This was quite a large portion and left me bloated by the time I was done with it.


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