December 18, 2012

8 The Eight (Macau)

And so my vacation to Hong Kong + Macau began! I've been looking forward to this trip for a good few months now as I know I'll be having some pretty amazing food. My first meal, right off the 20 hour plane ride and ferry, was an incredible feast at The Eight, a two Michelin-starred restaurant located in the Grand Lisboa Casino Hotel.
The space is grand, classically elegant with a modern flair. I loved that the teapot was placed on a mini candle-lit heater to help it retain its heat.

December 16, 2012

Chinese Dumpling House

Lately, as the weather is getting frosty, I've been eating a lot of dumplings... and I mean a lot! For me, dumplings are the perfect remedy for a cold, cold night. My go-to dumpling place in Richmond Hill is Chinese Dumpling House.
I tried sliced pork belly with garlic soy sauce ($5.99), a cold dish that I've loved since childhood. This one was a bit salty even though the meat was quite tasty on its own. I wished the soy sauce had been served on the side instead. 

December 11, 2012

Moxie's Holiday Menu

I went to Moxie's a few weeks ago to try out their Holiday Menu. In particular, there was one item that raised my interest.
And here it is: roast turkey and ham sandwich ($12.99) with bread stuffing, roasted sweet potato, fresh sage and dijon aioli & cranberry sauce. It was literally your Christmas dinner stuffed in a sandwich!

December 6, 2012

SongCook's Authentic Korean Restaurant

I have a strange love/hate relationship with Korean food. I love it because almost everything is delicious to me, but I hate it because I can never stop stuffing my face when it comes to Korean food. SongCook's is one of my favourite Korean restaurants in Toronto. In particular, I am totally in love with their Jajangmyeon! I've been here numerous times before and never blogged about this gem.
If you're looking for large variety of banchan (Korean small dishes) to start off the meal, this is not the place to be. The restaurant only offers some basic kimchi and pickled radishes. But if you have a yelp account, be sure to check in - you'll get a pop for free!

December 4, 2012

Joey Yorkdale

Joey is probably my favourite restaurant chain in Canada, so I was delighted to learn that the newest location opened as part of Yorkdale Mall's expansion. Naturally, when I stopped by the mall to check out the new expansion, I had to have dinner here!
We arrived at 6 pm (on a Friday), thinking that there wouldn't be a wait at that time. Wrong! The restaurant was already packed with people, but luckily the wait wasn't painful at all, as the mall was conveniently located a few steps away. We waited for around 25 minutes before we were seated.
If you choose to remain in the waiting area, there are constantly food and wine samples offered. On this particular day, I sampled the Ahi tuna sashimi with watermelon and chili chicken. Honestly, I can just sit there and get full from eating samples! Even as I was heading out after dinner, they were still offering me samples.

December 3, 2012

Mei Nung Beef Noodle House

My mom and I both wanted to try Mei Nung Beef Noodle House for different reasons. I was desperately craving a good bowl of Taiwanese beef noodles, while she was looking forward to stinky tofu, which she harbours a deep love for. One step inside, we knew we were at the right place as the stench of the stinky tofu was quite unmistakable. Not that I had a problem with it, but stinky tofu is not for everyone. 
We started with two small dishes ($5.99 for two)- shredded seaweed strips and pig's ears. Both were rather mediocre and I would suggest skipping the side dishes altogether next time.
So of course we had the stinky tofu ($6.99), which came in a large heaping portion. Fortunately, this did not disappoint. The tofu here was substantial and firm on the inside, unlike the usual over-fried air pockets that we find at most night markets in Toronto. I loved that we could actually taste the tofu (and its stinky goodness), which we topped with extra chili sauce. Delish! 

November 28, 2012

Yuzu No Hana

I rarely eat sushi downtown, so it took a long time for me to finally end up at Yuzu, a highly acclaimed spot on Richmond Street.
This will mostly be a picture post as I had this dinner a long time ago and can't remember all the details.

November 23, 2012

Pastel Creperie & Dessert House

Pastel Creperie & Dessert House is an adorable little place nestled in the Finch and Yonge area. Parking can be a pain around this part of town, so I really appreciated that Pastel offers free underground parking at the rear. Just make sure you figure out how to get to that lot!
In addition to sweets and pastries, savoury crepes are also offered if you're looking for something more substantial.
Pastel sources their cakes from Rahier. This is their cappuccino cheesecake ($5.49), which I had a taste of. It was very rich and I'm not quite sure I could finish the whole serving on my own, in spite of my love for cheesecakes.  

November 18, 2012

Richmond Station

Being a huge Top Chef fan, I obviously had to try out winner Chef Carl Heinrich's new restaurant. Marben was one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto so needless to say, I was super stoked to eat at Richmond Station. However, my experience here was inevitably compared to my dinner at runner-up Trevor's Bird's restaurant, Fable, in Vancouver. Notably, both restaurants embrace a farm-to-table dining concept.
We started with fresh bread, served with some soya oil and balsamic vinegar that was absolutely awesome. My mom kept bugging to me ask for more bread because she loved dip so much.
Being a polenta-lover, I also ordered polenta fries ($8) with bomba mayonnaise and marinara to share. The outside was superbly crispy with a soft, creamy interior. One complaint I had was that the bomba mayonnaise was smeared onto the serving board, hardly enough for me to properly taste. I really wished there was more for dipping. While the marinara was nice, I didn't think it was the best complement for the fries. I wanted a dip with more tang. My mom wasn't the biggest fan of these, citing that she preferred potato fries. However, she did enjoy dipping them in the soya oil + balsamic vinegar mixture that was meant for the bread.

November 15, 2012

The Gabardine

I've heard so many great things about The Gabardine that I couldn't be more excited to finally try it out for myself. My friends and I met up for a Friday lunch. We arrived promptly before 11:30 so we luckily were able to snatch a table for 7, quite a difficult feat for such a small restaurant. The place soon filled up within 10 minutes of opening for lunch service and remained extremely busy throughout our meal. Note that The Gabardine does not take reservations for lunch.
Ivan had the fish pie ($20) with with clams, mussels, haddock,smoked trout, mashed potato and buttermilk biscuit. The "pie" turned out to be more like a seafood chowder. I tried a spoonful and it was luxuriously rich and creamy, maybe a little too heavy for lunch.
Sandy and I shared a shrimp po'boy ($15) with butter lettuce, tomato relish and aioli. I was so glad we settled on ordering this as it turned out to be my favourite dish on the table! What really stood out was the sweet tomato relish, which packed a punch of flavour. It was a difficult to contain everything in the sandwich - the delicately fried shrimp, in particular - into one bite, but the resulting combination was absolutely delicious!

November 8, 2012

Yang's Fine Chinese Cuisine

I came to Yang's Chinese Cuisine for dim sum twice in the last month, after my go-to dim sum restaurant in Richmond Hill, Ambassador Chinese Cuisine, abruptly closed down in September after 18 years in business (my heart broke a little).
Baked BBQ pork puffs with pineapple (L)- this was delicious, a perfect combination of savoury and sweet. In addition, the pastry was really nice and flaky. 
Deep fried minced pork and taro puffs (S)- also a pretty good version that wasn't overly greasy.

November 7, 2012

Momofuku Noodle Bar (NYC)

It was a rainy day that we went to Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC. We had just gotten poured on while attempting to take a walk through Central Park, and this lunch could not have been more welcomed.
Compared to rice cakes I had at Toronto's Noodle Bar, this version of brisket rice cakes ($14) with spinach, pickled red onions and fried egg was far superior! The flavours were homey, comforting, and so perfect on a rainy day. When we cut open the fried egg, the golden yolk spilled out beautifully to coat each and every one of the rice cakes, adding a lovely, velvety creaminess.
This was my second experience with Momofuku's famous pork buns ($10). I believe I lucked out because my pork bun had an extraordinarily huge slab of pork belly! (My friends were indeed quite envious). In general, the pork buns here were the biggest amongst the three Momofuku's I've been to (Sydney, NYC and Toronto). Perhaps I was tired, hungry, or maybe it was just the rain, but the pork bun that day was more delicious than I could ever imagine.

October 30, 2012

Momofuku Noodle Bar (Toronto)

I loved my Momofuku experience in Sydney and New York City, so I was pretty excited for the opening of Toronto's Momofuku complex at the Shangri La Hotel. Compared to the New York City location, the Toronto location was definitely more spacious
To avoid a wait, my friend Mel and l visited the Noodle Bar on a Saturday afternoon, and as expected, there weren't a lot of people. In general, the financial district is a pretty dead area on the weekend
After we ordered, the food came amazingly fast (maybe a little too fast)! We started with their famous pork buns ($10 for 2) with hoisin, scallion and cucumber. These were as delicious as I remember, though I noted that the cut of pork was not as fatty as the one I had in NYC. Nevertheless, this is a must-order at Momofuku, and for a good reason.

October 28, 2012

ABC Kitchen (NYC)

We wanted one fancy meal in New York City that wasn't going to break our wallets and I suggested ABC Kitchen. Co-owned by acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten (most famous for his 3 Michelin star eponymous restaurant Jean George), ABC Kitchen was awarded the Best New Restaurant of 2011 by the James Beard Foundation. Accolades aside, I was very much attracted by the beautiful space and elegant farm-to-table concept.

October 24, 2012

Shake Shack (NYC)

Of course, I couldn't go to NYC without a visit to New York. Since we stayed near Times Square, we visited the theatre district location. We visited on a Sunday, so the line was pretty long out the door. Luckily, we were given a menu while waiting in line.
The line moved pretty quickly in the end, but finding a seat was even more of a challenge!

October 23, 2012

Holy Chuck

I've been meaning to try Holy Chuck for awhile, and finally managed to drag a bunch of friends to accompany me! 
We tried two milkshakes ($5.49 each)- Happy Frappy and Grandma's Apple Pie (my choice). The happy frappy tasted very strongly caramel. Personally, I preferred my Apple Pie milkshake, which tasted remarkably like an apple pie, served with vanilla ice cream. There were actual chunks of apples in the shake and I especially loved the intensity of the cinnamon!
Mitch and Sandy ordered the Greek Bahahastard ($10.99)- two lamb patties, caramelized onions, and topped with a roasted red pepper and garlic feta aioli. I didn't try this burger since I don't eat lamb, but I was told that they undercooked Sandy's burger. Other than that, the burger was quite well-received by my friends. On a side note, the fries were excellent and Sandy's chipotle mayo dip ($0.99) was absolutely addictive!

October 17, 2012

Brunch @ Mildred's Temple Kitchen

Admittedly, I am a little obsessed with brunch, and I really don't think I eat it enough! So after hearing many great things about brunch at Mildred's Temple Kitchen's, I finally tried it for myself!
I've read rave reviews about Mildred's famous scones, so naturally we ordered some for the table to share. For $12, you get to pick between currant scones and buttermilk biscuits (6 in total), so because I've heard so much about the scones, we only had one biscuit for our platter. Unfortunately, I have to say I was quite disappointed with these scones. I wished they had been served warmer, and the accompanying preserve wasn't spectacular either. Maybe I came on an off day? On the contrary, I quite enjoyed the buttermilk biscuits and wished we ordered more of that instead.

October 15, 2012

Sakagura (NYC)

We had the most amazing Japanese food in our first night in NYC at Sakagura, a hidden gem 10 minutes away from our hotel. I mean, literally, it was hidden in the basement of an Midtown East office building, and we had to go down a few flights of sketchy stairs to reach this sake bar. Perhaps it was because we were exhausted (from a day of Woodbury shopping) and famished (it was almost midnight), but we found everything here to be truly exceptional.
Maguro yamakake- fresh tuna sashimi served with grated mountain yam
This was our first taste of how amazingly fresh the sashimi was, and we couldn't get enough of it! The grated mountain yam added a creamy dimension that complemented the tuna well. 
Chikuzen ni- assorted cooked roots vegetables and chicken
After a day of road trip food (i.e. fast food + junk), I really enjoyed the healthiness of the dish. I regretted not ordering a few more healthy options!
Kamo roast- slices of chilled roasted duck wrapped around scallion, accented with basil sauce

October 11, 2012

High Tea @ Soirette (Vancouver)

Vancouver isn't exactly known for high tea, but I was sorely tempted by Soirette's offering. Situated in the beautiful Coal Harbour, this adorable boutique bakeshop offers weekend high tea at $27 per person.
The store is pretty small so reservations are absolutely necessary!
Soirette has more than 30 types of loose leaf tea to choose from. There were many interesting choices, but we ended up choosing Cassis Noir and Organic Raspberry Honeybush. Alexa opted for a London Fog (for an extra $0.50) and that was also quite delicious.

October 8, 2012

Thanksgiving @ Globe Bistro

Happy Thanksgiving! This year, I was of course too lazy to cook up a Thanksgiving feast and instead went to Globe Bistro for their prix fixe menu ($35 per person). I had a wonderful time here two years ago (also for Thanksgiving) and hoped that the food would just as amazing this time around.
We were served some bread to start as we looked over the menu.


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