• [Fitness] ClassPass Toronto

    ClassPass is a fitness subscription service that gets you "unlimited monthly classes at the best fitness studios and gyms in Toronto. With just one monthly subscription you can work out at Studio Lagree, Track Fitness, Barreworks, Quad Spinning, Hard Candy Fitness, IAM Yoga, Body Harmonics, Barre3, Yoga Tree, Spynga, Core Studio, and over 80 others all over the city!" for a low price of $99 per month."

  • [Food Post] Paramount Fine Foods

    Paramount Fine Foods is a popular Middle Eastern and Mediterranean chain of restaurants with several locations in Ontario. Their newest location on the corner of Cumberland Avenue and Bay Street in Yorkville just opened up yesterday. Additionally, the new 4,500 square feet location is the first full-service halal restaurant in the Yorkville area.

  • [Tech + App] Grabb

    Grabb is a free Toronto-based mobile app that allows users to pre-order and pre-pay for food. The app is easy to use with its user-friendly interface that allows users to browse through the list of restaurants and their menus, select their order, and then securely pay for their order with just a few clicks. Additionally, the app also features a virtual queue, where you are able to see how many other people using the Grabb app are ahead of you.

  • [Food Post] Han Ba Tang

    Han Ba Tang opened up earlier this summer, and is one of the latest additions to the Yonge and Sheppard area. The name translates to meaning "one full round" in Korean and is like a Korean-styled izakaya (or pojangmacha). I was invited to their bloggers' media tasting to preview some of their menu items.

  • [Food Post] Jacobs and Co.

    Jacobs and Co. Steakhouse has a very sizable steak selection which are visibly displayed in a glass container at the front. The glass contains dry-aged beef with information tags on them (name, date, etc ...) for customers to choose from.

  • [Food Post] Sake Bar Kushi

    We were provided with a few items from their regular menu and June specials menu. Not only do they serve kushi (skewered poultry and non-poultry), but they also offer a great variety of tapas styled dishes that are meant to be shared

  • [Travel] Satsuki and Mei's House from Totoro

    My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 animated production written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It's a childhood favorite of many people and I have seen many shops dedicated to selling Totoro merchandise while in Japan.

  • [Food Post] Canoe Restaurant + Bar

    Canoe is one of Toronto's critically acclaimed restaurants offering upscale Canadian cuisine. It is located on the 54th floor of Toronto Dominion Bank Towers in the financial district. As it is relatively high up; its beautifully designed dining room offers a spectacular view of the city's skyline.

  • [Food Post] Au Pied de Cochon

    One of the great appeals of the restaurant is their extensive menu. The menu at Au Pied de Cochon offers concoction of dishes that entails the uses of animal parts that are not always found in other restaurants.

  • [Travel] Day #15 in Japan [Koyasan]

    A shukubo is an accommodation that allows you to stay in a Japanese temple or shrine for the night, and enables you to experience the culture. You are given your own personal room, and there are multiple washroom facilities throughout the temple.

Black Ox Bistro

0 comments
Black Ox Bistro is a restaurant in Scarborough offering modern halal cuisine with an elevated flair. The restaurant caters to serving halal-certified meat that are from HMA (Halal Monitoring Association) certified sources. It's not a requirement for me to eat halal, but I was invited a couple of weeks ago to check out what Black Ox Bistro had to offer. I found out that they do not only offer halal items, but there were veterinarian and gluten-free options as well. Black Ox Bistro opened to much interest in the Muslim community this past January. Given the long lines at the Toronto’s Halal Food Festival 2015, one could tell the restaurant has gained popularity for their take on mainstream style dining.  However, the food isn't just for those who require their meat to be halal-certified, as it's certainly for everyone who loves good food. 


Upon entering the establishment, it was clear that the management of Black Ox Bistro wanted to create a more upscale and relaxed environment. The dining room was spacious with a bar located at the front of the house where they make in-house mocktails. The reason for the sale of mocktails is because alcohol is not permitted in hahal establishments. 
 

I started the night off with an order of their most popular mocktails, the Pina Colada ($6) - pineapple juice, coconut cream, and crushed ice. It was a very refreshing drink with a strong hint of coconut, which I enjoyed.


 I was told by one of the servers that the flat bread was one of the most popular appetizers on the menu. However, I decided to opt for the bacon wrapped scallops after seeing pictures of it on my Instagram feed earlier that week. The bacon wrapped scallops ($14) - four pan seared east-coast sea scallops, smoked veal bacon, arugula and mushroom salad, were absolutely delicious, and flavored really well. Normally, I am not a huge bacon fan, but I really liked that the texture of the veal bacon was slightly less crispy than pork bacon.


As for my entree, I got the filet mignon (6 oz) ($24) - the most tender and leanest of all steaks. All steaks are of the highest quality, and are never frozen. The steaks are Canadian Angus beef that are aged for 28 day, and HMA certified hahal. Each steak entree was served with the customer's choice of two sides from the following list; seasonal vegetables, house cut fries, or roasted garlic mash. I opted for the seasonal vegetables, and roasted garlic mash. I also added an extra order of lobster tail with lemon herb butter ($12) to make it into my own version of surf & turf. The juicy steak was cooked exactly to my order, which was medium. The sauce that I selected was the Café de Paris butter. A good Café de Paris butter needs to have the perfect balance of butter, and the fragrant herbs and spices used. The texture of the one from Black Ox Bistro was slightly thicker than I would have liked, but it did add flavor to the steak. The lobster tail also added the extra touch to what was a very tasty and filling meal.




Black Ox Bistro prides themselves on serving a variety of items that are made in-house from fresh local ingredients. Similarly to their food items, the desserts were all made in-house by their chefs. I was happy to see that one of the options was crème brûlée; my favorite dessert of all time. I ordered the crème brûlée ($7) - silky and smooth topped with caramelized sugar, which was well plated. Overall, the dessert was indeed excellent, and it was a generous portion compared to the ones at similarly priced restaurants.


I was pleasantly surprised that all of the staff provided both friendly, and attentive service to all diners. They all worked cohesively as a well-unified team, and that resulted in providing great and consistent service. Overall, I had a fine dining experience at Black Ox Bistro, as I enjoyed both the food and ambiance. 

Address: 1780 Markham Road, Scarborough, ON,M1B 2W2
 
Social Media:

Website: http://www.blackoxbistro.com/

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Click to add a blog post for Black Ox Bistro on Zomato

Read More »

Metro Master Class #MetroTasteSummer

2 comments
 Taste of Toronto is returning for its second year on July 2, 2015. The four-day celebration (July 2-5) will be held at the Fort York National Historic Site at 250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON. This year's event estimates to host an upward of 20,000 visitors, and promises to be an eventful food event. It is the place to be, especially if you're a hardcore foodie as there will be plenty of acclaimed chefs, top restaurants in Toronto, and over 70 exhibitors on site.

Metro will be returning as an official grocery partner for one of the biggest summer culinary events this year. They will be holding several interactive and hands-on cooking classes throughout the four-day called "Metro Master Class". Taste of Toronto’s Metro Master Class offers visitors a chance to take part in hands-on cooking sessions with some of Toronto's top chefs. These sessions will be 30 minutes long, and visitors will be using only the freshest ingredients provided by Metro to create a delightful dish to take home.

The classes are on the basis of first come, first served, so make sure to drop by early to reserve a spot to one of the sessions. A timetable of the sessions are available at http://tasteoftoronto.com/feature/metro-masterclass/.

Metro Master Class Pop-up at Humber Bay Park

I was invited to participate in a sneak preview of the Metro Master Class at Taste of Toronto, along with several other local food bloggers about 2 weeks ago. It was a very hands-on event, as we made guacamole along with Los Colibris' Executive Chef, Elia Herrera. This is the signature dish that Chef Herrera will be teaching visitors how to make at the Taste of Toronto. If you want to learn how to make guacamole, her session will take place on Sat, July 4, 2015 from 1:45 pm to 2:15 pm.


The cooking session (sneak preview) took place outside of Metro’s new urban concept store at Humber Bay Park (2208 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke, ON), which is a great space. Please note that the guacamole was made with only the freshest ingredients found in all local Metro stores.

Chef Herrera provided us with step-by-step instructions on how to make our own guacamole, and we happily followed her guidance. Afterwards, all bloggers took home a tub of their finished product, and I must say that it tasted great with the tortilla chip given to us by Metro. Overall, the Metro Master Class was such an enjoyable experience, and I didn't know that guacamole was so easy to make until I took this class. If you want to improve your culinary knowledge and skills, then I highly recommend that you take any of the available Metro Master Classes at the Taste of Toronto. I had a great time, and I am looking forward to the upcoming food event. If you are planning on attending any of the classes, don't forget to share your experience on social media using the hastag, #MetroTasteSummer.

Below is the the guacamole recipe from Chef Herrera.

Los Colibris Guacamole

Ingredients:

Avocados Ripe - 6 pieces
Jalapeño peppers - diced 20 grams
Onion peeled - diced 200 grams
Tomatoes - diced deseeded 320 grams
Lime juice - 200 ml
Coriander - chopped 16 grams
Salt - 3.25 tablespoons

Method:

1) In mixing bowl combine all the diced ingredients.
2) Mix in the avocado and combine until mixed. Don’t over mix the avocado.
3) Season to taste.
4) Suggested garnish: pomegranate seeds.
5) Serve with corn chips or taro chips.


** All photography taken below are by Katherine Holland courtesy of A & C. **


Thank you to both Metro Master Class and A & C for organizing a wonderful event.

--------------------------------------------------

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/metro.ontario
Instagram: https://instagram.com/metroontario/
Website: http://www.metro.ca/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tasteoftoronto
Instagram: https://instagram.com/tasteoftoronto/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tasteoftoronto 
Website: tasteoftoronto.com 

Read More »

HoneyWater

0 comments
The combination of both honey and water has been used for thousands of years as a traditional health beverage around the world. Not only is it a refreshing beverage, but it also provides many health benefits. HoneyWater® reached out to me a couple of months back in regards to the upcoming launch of their products. They are a local company based in Toronto that has plans to launch a new line of healthy beverages called “HoneyWater®”.  HoneyWater® plans to officially launch this August 2015, and will be in 3000 locations Canada-wide.

 
The company hopes to appeal to consumers who are looking for a naturally sweetened product, or at least a healthier alternative to sugary drinks. These days, many consumers are making more health-conscious decisions on the products that they purchase and consume.  As a consumer myself, I find myself much more aware of the products that I buy these days.



I met up with the founder of HoneyWater®, Christopher Kotz, about 2 weeks ago to learn more about the products. Chris stated that the combination of honey & water is normally the first choice for a natural sweetened drink for many people. Honey is one of the the oldest foods we know of, and the natural sugars that it does contain are easily digestible. According to Chris, the company wants to revolutionize naturally sweetened beverages around North America, and the world. He brought samples of the two products from HoneyWater's upcoming line, Honey & Lemon, and Honey & Mint for me to sample that day. Both products are made in Canada with 100% natural ingredients, and no refined sugar. Both drinks were refreshing, but I preferred the Honey & Mint more out of the two.


HoneyWater® aims to provide a refreshing beverage that has 100% natural ingredients, and no artificial flavors. The drink does not contain any refined sugars and is sweetened with Canada's highest quality honey. Speaking of honey, HoneyWater® was also founded on the principle of creating awareness for the decline of the honey bee colonies. According to the company’s official website, there has been an estimated loss of 30-50% of bees each year for the past decade. Several factors have contributed to the steady decline of the honey bee colonies yearly, and one of them is the growing usage of pesticides. For those who may not be aware, our agricultural crops are highly dependent on honey bees, and this growing problem will greatly affect us in the long-run.





The company’s goal is to raise awareness of the problem, and save the bees. Thus, they have developed a “buy a bottle, save a bee” program, where a portion of the sales of the beverages will go directly towards initiatives to help save the bees. HoneyWater® has also partnered up with several initiatives, beekeepers and honey farms such as Toronto Bee Rescue, Canadian Honey Council, Pollinator Partnership and Munro Honey to help combat the problem. Fundamentally, one of the ultimate goals is to provide the resources to initiatives that are working to preserve the honey bee colonies around the world.

For more information on HoneyWater® and their products, you can visit their official website at www.honeywater.com.


Social Media:

Website: http://www.honeywater.com/

Read More »

ROM Friday Night Live (#FNLROM Spring 2015)

0 comments
#FNLROM has become a highly anticipated seasonal event since its introduction in 2012. For the month of June, the ROM transformed once again into a lively social venue every Friday night. Each event is uniquely themed, and the museum becomes a dancing floor offering both food and alcohol for purchase. You are also free to check out the museum exhibits, as it's included in the entrance fee. Note that FNL is a special ticketed event for adults 19+ only and you will be asked for valid ID (government-issued). Additionally, I highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance online to avoid the lines. The weather was rather poor last Friday as the downpour started around 6 pm. However, as I drove by, there was already a long line forming outside the ROM. 
Tickets available for ALL #FNLROM dates:
June 12 - Toga Toga!
June 19 - FrancoSonic

Adults $15 | Students & Seniors $13 | ROM Members FREE. You can also use promo code FNLlove10 and receive 10% OFF.


* The fine print: ROM general admission tickets are not valid for FNL. FNL is a specially ticketed event for adults 19+ only and you will be asked for valid ID (government-issued, not yet expired, with photo and date of birth). For those who prefer a close relationship with their bag, please note that bags are subject to inspection and you may be requested to check them - the good news is, it's free.



#FNLROM has provided young adults, and professionals with a venue where they were able to enjoy music, dance, eat delicious food, and gain late-night access to the museum. The ROM has become more than just a traditional institution in Toronto. Rather, it has become a popular hot spot and a very enjoyable event to attend for many. I was kindly invited to FNLROM last Friday to sample the gourmet fare at the popular event, and I was glad that I went. I had a great time checking out the local eats, and enjoying the museum exhibits and music well into the night.


There were a handful of well-known food vendors (pop-ups and food trucks) on both the main floor, and second floor of the museum. To purchase any food or alcohol, you need to use the ROM's currency called "ROM Bucks". Basically, each food item and alcoholic drink cost 1 ROM Buck ($7). There were quite a few booths throughout the museum where you can buy the currency.


Please note that the currency are non-refundable, but they are valid the entire season.

Foodaholic! Tip: Buy the ROM Bucks on the second floor as the lines were much shorter compared to ones on the main floor.
Hot Bunzz (@HotBunzzTO) - Flavour adventures inspired by international cuisine and stuffed inside a bun.

Surf & Turf - slow braised bison rib in Korean kalbi braise with caramelized onion. Topped with Jerk Lobster in brown butter and lemon garlic aioli.





Me.n.u Food (@meNuFoodTruck) - Serving Asian Fusion Food Curbside on the Streets of Toronto.



Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ (@likosbbq) - We currently sell Hawaiian BBQ at different events around the GTA, and every weekend at the Pickering Markets Food Court. 




Le Dolci (@LeDolci) - Bake shop specializing in custom cakes, macarons & cupcakes, plus cooking classes & private parties.






Randy’s Roti (@RandysRoti) - Toronto’s first Caribbean Food Truck.



 Overall, the ROM Friday Night Live was a fun-filled Friday night for my friends and I. The lively atmosphere was certainly an enjoyable one, and we stayed until closing (11 pm). Not only was it a great place to get together with friends; it would also be perfect for date nights. The last #FNLROM will take place on June 26, 2015 at 7 pm. However, don't fret, as it will be back in the Fall for another season.

Lastly, the ROM encourages all attendees to use social media at these events by using the hashtag #FNLROM to document their night. Feel free to check out all uploaded photos taken at these events on IG at https://instagram.com/explore/tags/fnlrom/.

Address: 100 Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON, M5S 2C6
 
Social Media:

Website: http://www.rom.on.ca/

Disclaimer: The entry and food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Read More »

[Food News] A La Carte at the Gardiner Bistro's Spring Lunch and Brunch Menus

0 comments
 A La Carte at the Gardiner Bistro announces its new Spring Lunch and Brunch Menus!
Toronto, Ontario – The A La Carte at the Gardiner Bistro launches its new Spring Lunch and Brunch Menus that feature innovative new items, and reimagined favourites.



Some lighter fare includes Smoked Trout Salad in an Orange Dill Vinaigrette and the Market Salad that features watermelon and a roasted shallot vinaigrette.

For something more substantial, try the Pan-Seared Chicken Breast on whipped goat cheese sweet corn risotto and served with seasonal vegetable, or the Fish and Crisps, golden crispy strips of Atlantic Halibut, house-pickled vegetables, pommes crisps, and Gardiner tartar sauce. A reimagined favourite is the Vegetarian Curry served on Basmati Rice, and featuring cauliflower, carrot, red and green peppers, and eggplant in a coconut milk based curry.

If you’re up for sharing, try the Petit Pain Ciabatta, three sliders, one each of braised brisket in Belgian ale, roasted pork with caramelized onions, and roasted lamb with fig and walnut pesto, served with a green salad. Following that, have Mignardises for Two, featuring A La Carte Kitchen’s Executive Chef Simon Kattar’s chocolate truffles, miniature cookies, and fresh fruit.

Brunch items include Fruit Salad, and Smoked Salmon Benny, soft poached eggs on potato rosti with a hollandaise sauce and served with green salad.

A La Carte at the Gardiner Bistro is open for lunch Monday to Thursday, 11am-3pm, for lunch and dinner Fridays from 11am-8pm, and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-3pm. We can accommodate large groups, and have various prix fixe menus to offer them. Please call 416-586-8086 for reservations.

à la Carte at the Gardiner | 111 Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON, M5S 2C7 | TEL: (416) 506-4945.
WEB: http://www.alacartebistro.com

Address: 111 Queens Park Toronto, ON, M5S 2C7 (Gardiner Museum, 3rd Floor)
  Twitter: https://twitter.com/alacartebistro 
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/alacartekitchen

Read More »

Tandoori Flame

1 comments
Tandoori Flame is North America's largest Indian buffet with two locations in Ontario; Mississauga and Brampton. The Mississauga location caters to serving only halal-certified food, as all items are halal. Halal is meat (excluding pork) that has been prepared according to Islamic guidelines. However, their Brampton location doesn't cater specifically to halal food, as they offer a mixture of food items. Both venues are quite spacious with 10,000 to 14,000 sq.ft, and has the capacity to serve more than 500 guests. I was kindly invited to check out the Mississauga location of Tandoori Flame last weekend to celebrate the Halal Food Festival 2015, which I also attended. This location of Tandoori Flame was situated in the commercial area of the Heartland Town Center, so there were ample parking spots.  


 The decor was a little more rustic with white brick walls decorated with Indian artifacts and paintings all throughout the restaurant. As for the layout, the restaurant itself was vast, and spacious with over 15 different food stations. It wasn't hard to navigate around the buffet area, as everything was clearly labeled and laid out. Additionally, there were ample seating in the dining area. Speaking of the food stations earlier, they were very well-manned, as the buffet trays were frequently replenished.


The buffet is available seven days a week, and the adult prices are as followed: 

M-F (lunch) - $13.99
M-F (dinner) - $19.99
Sat-Sun (lunch) - $22.99
Fri-Sun (dinner) - $22.99
 

The buffet showcases an impressive assortment of Indian dishes, as well as having a large salad bar. Tandoori Flame boasts up to 150 delicious items such as gol gappas, papri chat, bhel puri, samosas, tikkis, falafal, Veg and non-Veg tandoori kabobs, tikkas, butter chicken, and more. Overall, I thought that Tandoori Flame did an excellent job of showcasing the wide variety of regional Indian cuisine on the buffet floor. It's a great place to sample Indian fare.




Most often when it comes to buffets, people often complain about the lack of authenticity of the food when compared to sit-down or family-owned restaurants. Personally, I think these are often unfair comparison as buffets are meant to showcase a variety of specialties for a set price. They don't just specialize in a few items. As a buffet, Tandoori Flame's main objective was to provide a diverse selection of regional Indian dishes to customers in the city. By offering the variety that they do, they have succeeded in bringing Indian flavors to Mississauga, and to those who may not be familiar with Indian food. Some flavors may not be as bold, but I did get a great taste of Indian flavors and spices in all the items that I did try. My favorite dishes were the naan, butter chicken, kesari chicken tikka, and the dosa. 

The service was also fantastic, as our server was courteous, attentive, and friendly. I also noticed that other servers attending to customers in the same dining area as us were quick to take ours, and other customers' dirty dishes away. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at Tandoori Flame. Overall, the buffet at Tandoori Flame offers solid tasty choices, and is great value for money. 










Address: 5975 Mavis Road, Mississauga, ON, L5R 3T7 (Mavis & Britannia)
 
Social Media:

Website: http://tandooriflame.com/

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Click to add a blog post for Tandoori Flame on Zomato

Read More »