• [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.

[App] The Food Building

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One of the things that I anticipate going to the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) for every year is probably  The Food Building (no surprise there). "The building has become a hub for innovative and quirky food experiences", with several vendors returning this year to serve traditional fair favorites and inventive items. [source: http://thefoodbuilding.ca/about/]. This year, they have released an app that makes life a lot easier for those who want to order ahead, and basically skip the line at the Food Building.



The team behind Grabb have created a FREE app that allows CNE goers to pre-order, and pre-pay for their food items inside of the Food Building. The app has a similar interface as their Grabb app, as it allows users to browse through the list of vendors inside of The Food Building (with descriptions of the food, and prices). Basically, by using this app, it allows the users to discover the best and popular food items, while skipping the lines, and going wallet-less. If you already have the Grabb app downloaded like I do, then there's no need to download this new one, as you also use Grabb at the CNE's The Food Building.

Additionally, there are quite a few vendors this year who are cash only, so this app allows customers to pay with various payment methods like Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, PayPal and Visa Debit.

The list of vendors that you can order from on either The Food Building or Grabb apps include Far East Taco, Pho 88, Fran’s Restaurant, Pull’d, Epic Burgers & Waffles, Jake’s Lobster, St. Louis, Mac N Cheesery, Just Cone It, Ye Olde Fudge Pot, Bouchard’s Poutinery, and The Funnel Cake Shop.

Download: 



 
 
  The App: 
 
Step 1: Click Order Now!


Step 2: Browse Through Restaurants. 



Step 3: Browse the Menu. 



Step 4: Effortlessly Order and Pay. 



Bon Appétit =)

Social Media:

Instagram: https://instagram.com/thefoodbuilding/

Disclaimer: Information provided courtesy of The Food Building


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Fonda Lola

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Fonda Lola started their business as a pop-up in 2012, and was one of the popular vendors at the The Stop Night Market. Due to gaining a following, they quickly acquired a spot on Queen St W, and opened a restaurant by 2013. Fonda Lola's space was quite warm as it was designed with rustic materials, painted ceramics, and other Mexican mementos. To this day, Fonda Lola strives to remain an ambassador of the Mexican culture, and have brought the food, tequila and customs to the multiculturalism of Toronto.
 
For two nights only (August 26 & 27), the Fonda Lola menu is being turned over to the restaurant owner’s mother, Mama Vickie, to create and serve an authentic eight-course Mexican meal featuring her specialties and favorite dishes to feed a crowd. Passed down from generation to generation, these recipes are sure to give you a true taste of Mexican culture and will take your tastebuds through years of home-cooked tradition. At 65 years old, Vickie has had several years of practice to perfect the art of a pinch, dab and dollop to make each dish perfect in its delivery.

If you're interested in this special two nights only event, then book your ticket at http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/fonda-lola-mamas-menu-dinner-event-tickets-18234150836

Event dates and times:

Wednesday, August 26 at 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 26 at 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 27 at 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 27 at 8:00 p.m.

I had the pleasure of  being invited to the media preview at Fonda Lola last week with a few fellow food bloggers, and Instagrammers. We had a taste of four of the dishes that will be on the special 8-course menu that Mama Vickie will be creating. The dinner is $42 per person, and you can book your ticket at http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/fonda-lola-mamas-menu-dinner-event-tickets-18234150836. Please note that drinks, taxes, and gratuity are extra.

Mama Vickie’s Special Menu

 Guacamole - A national Mexican dish. At Fonda Lola’s, we don’t add any tomatoes or onions to our recipe in order to give you a smoother, creamier, richer texture. Served with crunchy freshly-made tortilla chips. The chips were incredibly crispy, and tasted great with the creamy guacamole.


Shrimp Aguachile - A more piquant version of ceviche, lime and jalapeño concoction. This particular dish hailed from Sinaloa Mexico, and Vickie's take on it was very flavorful. The shrimp was marinated in lime and jalapeño juices giving it with a very zesty flavor. I also thought that the saltiness balanced quite nicely with the citrus making it a refreshing Mexican-style ceviche.


 

 

Tostada de Tinga - Pork, beef, Mexican chorizo, onion, tomato, and smoked chipotle along with a healthy dose of mom’s special seasoning. From Puebla, Mexico.


Tacos Gobernador - A creamy tender shrimp taco. We take onions, tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, mix them with chile ancho, and cook for three hours to bring out a full flavour. We add oaxaca cheese and melt it just a bit before serving. From Mazatlan, Mexico. I highly recommend this traditional creamy shrimp taco, as it was just a delightful concoction.


Papas al Chipotle - Our special mix includes olive oil, garlic, chipotle, and mama’s secret blend of seasoning. We boil small white potatoes for 40 minutes in this mix to soak in all of the goodness.

Taco de Rajas Poblanas - Poblano peppers, cream, onion, and cheese.

Carne en su Jugo - Beef, brown beans, bacon, tomatillo. Served with green peppers, cilantro, and onion. From Jalisco, Mexico.

Platanos con Crema - Oh, how sweet this dish is. We deep-fry plantain bananas and serve them golden with sugar and sour cream. This traditional dessert is served all over Mexico, but is particularly popular in south-east Mexico where much of the country’s plantain is produced.

 Their cocktails list consists of several Mexican themed drinks for reasonable prices. 

Basil Mojito // Tamarind Margarita // Kombucha Margarita
Tamarind Margarita ($14) - Citrus margarita base, tequila 2oz & Tamarind, so Mexican!!
Kombucha Margarita ($14) - Citrus Margarita base w smoked Horchata & Kombucha
Address: 96 Tecumseth St, Toronto, ON M6J 2H1

Social Media:


Website: http://www.fondalola.ca/

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 Fonda Lola on Zomato

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Milano Espresso Bar

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I was asked to try out Ritual, a new mobile food ordering app, and Milano Espresso Bar was one of the participating restaurants where the app could be used. The following review is for my two purchases from Milano Espresso Bar. If you want to read my experience using the app, then please read it here.


 Milano Coffee are a well-known coffee chain in the West coast (Vancouver), as they have three locations opened. Earlier this year, they opened up their first location in Toronto on Adelaide St W. I almost missed it, as the outside was rather unassuming with a plain white sign sitting high above (which was hard to see with the sun beaming down). The shop itself was small, but the overall ambiance was quite relaxing with music playing in the background. I'd say that Milano Espresso Bar caters to a wide array of coffee drinkers working in the area. 



It was a rather hot day, so I opted for an iced latte ($4.25) instead of their roasted coffee. I got mine with whole milk, and thought that the latte had a decently rich coffee flavor. Price wise, it wasn't too bad, and rather on par with several other coffee shops in the area. I also got the oatmeal raisin cookie ($2). While I liked the clean wrapped packaging, I thought that the cookie was slightly too hard for my taste.


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

Click to add a blog post for Milano Espresso Bar on Zomato

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uFeast x Beast Presents: Garçcon! An Evening of Refined French Cuisine

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U-Feast are a food focused community that offers all members "exclusive off-menu dining experiences". The company first launched in April of this year, and has since thrown a few dinner events. I'd say that they have been pretty successful in building a strong local food network, as the events has allowed people to enjoy a series of one-of-a-kind dining experiences, and interact with other food lovers. Earlier this month, I was invited to an U-Feast's event that was held at Beast in downtown Toronto. The dinner was hosted by Scott Vivian (owner and head chef of Beast), and he invited two other chefs to collaborate with him; Chef Ned Elliott of Foreign & Domestic from Austin, and Chef Mathew Gaudet of West Bridge from Boston.



 Each of U-Feast's events are designed to be unique, as the company aims to provide memorable dining experiences that are curated by Toronto’s chefs. The dinner that I attended was all about "Classic French Cuisine". Needless to say, I was highly anticipating the event, as I don't get to indulge in French cuisine as often as I'd like in Toronto.

Sab Stories - Wasabi-infused Dillon's vodka, raspberry syrup, lime, angostura, citric acid
 The night started off with the amuse bouche, which was prepared by the sous-chef of Beast, Jason Poon. The creamy Sea Urchin Mousse - leeks, champagne vinegar, and beurre blanc, was a good start to the dinner. On hand was the sommelière for the evening, Rebecca Meir-Liebman, who paired each course with their respective wines which were courtesy of Chateau des Charmes. She was responsible for the development of the wine lists for the evening, and did an excellent job. Rebecaa paired the amuse bouche with a glass of NV Brut Sparkling Wine, Méthode Traditionnelle.

NV Brut Sparkling Wine, Méthode Traditionnelle
 The next course was a traditional torchon that centered on the burrata, which was prepared by Mathew Gaudet. Overall, I thought that his Grilled Spicy Duck Heart Salad - cured foie gras, burrata, Little Neck clam vinaigrette, was wonderfully done. I really enjoyed the shaved foie gras torchon, and the Little Neck clam vinaigrette clearly demonstrated his Boston roots in his cooking. 

2013 "Old Vines' riesling
I was also impressed by the presentation of Scott Vivian's take on the classic Smoked Trout Tart - spinach, dill, caviar, hollandaise. He was inspired by a classic dish that was done by a famous French chef, Michel Roux. However, Scott Vivian did put his own spin on the dish by making his own tart shell, and filling it with trout that he smoked with applewood, and then made into a mousse. The smoked trout had a nice smoky flavor that wasn't too potent. Lastly, the tart was topped off with some fresh Swiss chard that was locally sourced, and then blanch. 

2013 Gamay Noir "Droit"
The next dish was the work of Colin Moise, who was the Chef de Cuisine at Beast. He was inspired by one of Pierre Gagnaire's recipes, and did a take on a pastry with sweetbreads, and came up with the Pamericelli of Sweetbreads & Foie Gras - wild mushrooms, Treviso. The flaky puff pastry was generously filled with foie gras, and wild mushrooms. Additionally, the cherry vinegar added a little bit of saltiness to the glaze, so the pairing of the sweet 2008 Late Harvest Riesling was perfect for many. 


The last savory dish before dessert was Ned Elliott's Omelet of Whelks & Truffles - tomato confit, crispy brains, crème. I was a slightly taken aback once I realized that I was chewing pieces of brains, but the overall omelet was delectable. Just a note that although the menu stated whelks, they didn't have it at their disposal in the kitchen. So, Ned Elliott used another delicacy, gooseneck barnacles, in the dish instead.

 

I have a major sweetooth, so I always look forward to the dessert after a meal. The dessert served at the dinner was by  Rachelle Cadwell, who also competed on the Canadian show, Donut Showdown. Her Chocolate Tart - hazelnut ice cream, raspberry, daquoise, coffee, was beautifully plated with three different kinds of chocolate. The chocolate was also encrusted with tiny bits of coffee on the inside. Lastly, the raspberry juice definitely did add a fruity tartness, which helped to balance the dark chocolate pieces. Overall, I had a wonderful, memorable, and well-balanced dinner at the Beast & Friends - An Evening of Refined French Cuisine (U-Feast) event.

Digestif // New Schmidt// Fernet Branca // Carpano Antica// Absinthe //sugar
The next U-Feast event will take place at Mata Petisco Bar on September 22, 2015. The event costs $70, and will consists of a five-course fiesta. Check the menu, or book the ticket(s) at https://www.ufeast.com/event/Made%20in%20Brazil.

Address: 96 Tecumseth St, Toronto, ON M6J 2H1

Social Media:



Disclaimer: The food, and alcohol 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 Beast on Zomato

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[Press Release] Introducing Fresh East, Deli-style Middle Eastern Food at Yonge and Dundas

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A Middle Eastern Twist on the Classic Sandwich 


The health-conscious Middle Eastern deli is coming to downtown Toronto

TORONTO - August 2015 – Fresh East transforms the good old-fashioned sub into authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. The first Toronto location is officiallyopen for business at the end of August. This will be Fresh East’s third openingwithin the past six months; the two previous restaurants are located on the Western university campus and in the Erin Mills Town Center. The highly anticipated Toronto Fresh East will be opening at the bustling corner of Young and Dundas, at 334 Yonge St.

Fresh East implements a quick-serve restaurant concept, where diners can try the savoury flavours of the Middle East, customizing subs or shawarmas to their liking. The menu offers a selection of freshly baked breads, fresh produce, halal deli meats, and authentic homemade secret sauces.

The new franchise concept is a spin-off of the popular GTA restaurant chain Paramount Fine Foods, which is recognized for its award-winning shawarma and authentic Lebanese food. Paramount itself has grown to 20 restaurants this year with locations in Canada, USA and the Middle East.

Fresh East is the first halal-certified quick-serve sandwich shop, catering to halal and health-conscious diners. “We serve the real deal when it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine,” says Mohamad Fakih, CEO and President of Paramount. “People love that we offer authentic flavours, a family-friendly environment, and healthy food options. We look forward to giving our Toronto customers a convenient and efficient dining option with our Fresh East at Young and Dundas.”

Fresh East is following the successful franchise model of Paramount Fine Foods, and has plans to continue to expand with more locations into the fall.

More information at http://fresheast.ca/

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Estrella Damm Tapas Journey

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Tapas Journey is on now!

Post City has partnered with Estrella Damm to bring #TapasJourney to Toronto for ten days. From August 14 to August 23, 2015, twenty participating restaurants will offer three tapas dishes paired with an Estrella Damm beer for $20. This is an amazing deal, as it allows foodies to sample various dishes from many of the participating restaurants.


Originating from Spain, tapas are snacks, or finger foods that are often enjoyed with company. This form of cuisine has evolved over the years, and has been designed to encourage conversation. It's no longer just enjoyed in Spain, as it has made its way to Toronto. With the #TapasJourney program, each participating restaurant has curated a menu of three tapas dishes that are perfectly paired with a chilled glass of Estrella Damm. 

All 20 participating restaurants are Barsa Taberna, Beast, Byblos, Carmen, Cava, East Thirty-Six, El Catrin, Kanpai Snack Bar, Los Colibrís, Mamakas Taverna, Marben, Mata Petisco Bar,Nota Bene, Patria, Raca Café & Bar, Salt Wine Bar, Taverna pa Mercatto, The Good Son, Valdez, and Weslodge.


I had the pleasure of going to Carmen for my first stamp on my #TapasJourneyCarmen was a lively Spanish restaurant on Queen St W, whose menu focuses on traditional tapas dishes, and shareable paellas. John, and I, were quickly seated in the spacious back patio where we enjoyed our tapas, and Estrella Damm. My personal favorite tapas out of the three was the Montadito of Lobster, which was bursting with flavor. I had a great time, and can't wait to go back to check out their main menu. 


Montadito of Lobster: Braised lobster tail with Brie cheese, jamon Serrano and greens

Pintxo “el jeffe”: Skewer Grilled Shrimp with guindillas, pardon pepper, jamon and pan con tomato

Salmorejo Toronto: Spicy tomato sauce with crispy bread, garlic scapes, hard-boiled egg whites and egg yolk



[CONTEST ALERT] 

Don't forget to fill your passport on your Tapas Journey, and share it on Instagram or Twitter (with the hashtag #TapasJourney) for a chance to win 1 of 3 trips to Miami. The three winners will have the opportunity to attend Estrella Damm Gastronomy Congress, and see Chef Ferran Adrià. Please note that you only need to collect at least one stamp to enter the contest. Good luck!



Photography credit goes to Jeffrey Chan courtesy of Estrella Damm


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