food, friends, life, toronto

Kyukyoku at JaBistro

If you don’t already know, my favourite type of cuisine is hands down, Japanese food. I’m always on the scout for the best izakaya or best sushi restaurant in Toronto. My favourites so far are Fin Izakaya, Guu Izakaya, and Inakaya.  Let me know what your favourites are!

One day in the midst of a sushi craving, Adrienne and I decided to finally check out the famous JaBistro. What intrigued me most about JaBistro was the fact that other than Omakase they offered what they call “Kyukyoku” on the menu, which is 12 pieces of market fresh sushi. This seemed very similar to the type of style sushi restaurants within Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan serves, so I was sold.   We also happened to get sushi bar seats so we could sit right by the chef and get each piece of sushi presented to us individually throughout the meal. Much like at Tsukiji !!!

The presentation of each sushi was amazing and I’m sure I looked like a creep taking pictures close up at the bar multiple times during the dinner, but I could not resist when given such a photo perfect opportunity! One thing I really liked about how JaBistro served their sushi was they already brushed each sushi piece with soy sauce. It’s always difficult (at least for me) to get soy sauce on the sashimi side without getting it on the rice, all while not breaking the sushi as a whole… so this was a major plus for me.   However, the fact that they prepared the sushi also meant they already put wasabi within each sushi too. And as I am not a fan of wasabi, taste wise I was a bit put off.

My favourite sushi of the night was chuutoro, tako, and wagyuu. I hate to admit it, but the wagyuu was my favourite despite it wasn’t even seafood.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about JaBistro especially since it is on the pricey side, but I do recommend trying the Kyukyoku or the Omakase (and request a bar seat) since the ambience and experience of receiving each item personally really made a big difference. To me, it doesn’t come close to  Tsukiji, but I really enjoyed my meal at JaBistro and it may really be the closest to it Toronto has to offer.  However, Inakaya would still be my #1 Japanese restaurant!

Side note: On the same day we went to watch The Lion King musical (which was really good, highly recommended especially if you love the songs) and also came across the Toronto x Game of Thrones event. We already went to the exhibit last year so we didn’t bother waiting in the cold for extra tickets. I did however get a picture with someone who was either cosplaying as Daenerys Tagaryen OR was hired to be her?   I look like I belong entirely in House Stark with my fur cape : 3

2014-05-17 18.06.17

 
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chocolate, desserts, dragonboat, events, food, friends, life, toronto

Pedestrian Sundays at Kensington Market

Kensington Market is a popular spot for me and my friends to go to after our Sunday morning dragon boat practices. Mainly because it’s pretty close by, the parking is cheap, and there’s a large variety of food to choose from.

I think I have gone there about 3-4 times this summer alone and have definitely tried out a good handful of what Kensington has to offer. My friend Jeremy lived in the area during University so he was very knowledgeable about the area, and we followed his recommendations entirely!

And the one thing that makes Kensington Market even better, is Pedestrian Sundays! On the last Sunday of each month, the roads within Kensington Market gets closed off for pedestrians only and many of the restaurants will set up outdoor booths in addition to various merchandise booths. There will also be many local street performers or interactive activities (such as a giant Scrabble, a mini teacup stacking challenge, and even badminton) throughout the market, so it is definitely an exciting sight to see.

While the weather is still warm, hit up Kensington Market on their last Pedestrian Sunday of the summer on August 31st. But if anything, it will still continue on September 28 and October 26, 2014.

Next time I visit, I would like to try out The Grilled Cheese, Hibiscus for their speciality ice cream, or this Torito Tapas Bar.

Seven Lives on UrbanspoonMillie Creperie on UrbanspoonSanagan'S Meat Locker on Urbanspoon

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chocolate, desserts, events, food, friends, toronto

A Chocolate Social

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend Chocolate Tales’ newest event – Chocolate Social which brings their chocolate and truffle making classes outside of the classroom and into a much more relaxed and social environment of a restaurant or bar. In my case, it was at Alleycatz Live Jazz Bar.

I’ve gone to one of Chocolate Tales’ chocolate making class in the past and this time I was attending a truffle making class. In concept, the procedures were quite similar – moulding a piece of cocoa into your desired shape. For truffles it is a sphere. What was unique about this class however, was that other than learning the most compatible alcohol and chocolate pairings, we also got to create a chocolate painting! See my Totoro masterpiece below.

All in all it was a very enjoyable night and this bar social setting definitely allowed us to get to know some of the other guests at the event too! I would only wish that we had more chocolate to make truffles with : 3  Some of the guests that sat near us ate them all before the night was over even.  At Alleycatz in particular, they offered free beginner’s Salsa dance lessons for all of us as well (at around 9/9:30pm). Unfortunately we were too hungry to stick around to learn.

If you want to try out any of their classes check out their website for full class details, or the Chocolate Social groupon which is currently selling at 55% off.

 

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chocolate, desserts, events, food, toronto

The Chocolate Social

Have you always wanted to make your own chocolates and truffles? Learn about which chocolate is best paired with which alcoholic beverage?

Chocolate Tales has  now come up with a new event, The Chocolate Social, that allows you to learn the art of making chocolate  while in the laid-back ambience of a bar. Instead of just attending a class, The Chocolate Social allows you to learn about chocolate and truffle making through a more social experience. There will also be teachings on what chocolate is paired with which drink (and discounts offered at the bar which hosts the social!)   I’ve been lucky to have been invited to attend one of their previous workshops, and I am excited to be able to attend another!

I’ll be attending the Chocolate Social on June 30th at Alleycatz (of course I would pick something that has the word “cat” in it).

What comes with each social:

  • Brief history of the pairing of alcohol and chocolate
  • Chocolate tasting and pairing
  • Truffle-making session
  • Paint your own edible picture of a cocoa tree to take home
  • Truffle box to take home
  • Discounts on cocktails and wines at the bar

There are various dates and locations to choose from, and best of all, the event is currently on sale on Groupon!

If you’re looking for something different to do this summer, this could be it!

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desserts, events, food, friends, toronto

Winterlicious at La Societe

Let me just put it out there that La Societe was my favourite out of the 4 restaurants I went to for Winterlicious this year. MAYBE good company makes it better too ; ) ?  I went with my fellow only-child neighbours Nancy and Horace : )

The interior of the restaurant is beautiful, very parlour-esque and had a large stained glass ceiling light. But I was too embarassed take pictures of the place since there were few diners (Sunday night) and were actually more “fancy” people not there just for Winterlicious.

La Societe was on my list of Winterlicious restaurants I wanted to try this year because they had Octopus Salad as one of their appetizer choices (and it was also on Nancy’s list too!).  I was ever so disappointed when the octopus salad was not on the actual menu we received.  I chose its replacement Cured Tuna as my appetizer, which to be honest tasted kind of like salmon to me : S   For my entree I picked the Parisian Gnocchi (another reason why I picked La Societe – I love gnocchi!) which was great paired with chestnuts, though a bit on the softer side.  For dessert we all picked the traditional Creme Brulee, but the wait staff got confused with our orders and brought us 3 Lemon Tarts instead.  So in the end we each got our original order of Creme Brulee, and one Lemon Tart on the house to share : D

Overall it was a lovely experience and well worth the $35 price especially at such a beautiful location right in Yorkville. It’s on the 2nd floor of a building and it even has a balcony patio. I’d love to come back here in the summer to patio there.

 
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desserts, events, food, friends, toronto

Winterlicious at Marcel’s Bistro & the Best Ice Cream Ever!!

My 2nd Winterlicious 2014 meal was with Adrienne at Marcel’s Bistro. I had actually created a list of restaurants I was interested in and sent this out to my friends (lol I am OCD like that), and then I would let them narrow it down / pick which one they like most. Marcel’s Bistro was the one Adrienne liked most out of my list!

Interestingly enough, Marcel’s Bistro is actually split into 2 separate dining rooms, divided by a staircase (the restaurant is on the 2nd floor).  Luckily we were able to be seated in their 2nd dining room which was way less stuffy and humid than the 1st one. It is a very small and authentic French restaurant which is likely why they did not seem to be able to manage the sheer amount of customers they were having due to the Winterlicious specials.  Each dish took quite some time to arrive to us : /

For appetizer, I had the puff pastry filled with seafood in béchamel sauce.  This puff pastry was the reason that Marcel’s Bistro made it onto my list – I love puff pastry! Adrienne found the bechamel sauce to be overly salty, but I was okay with it. It went great with our complimentary bread : )  and was actually my favourite dish of the night.  However, that was also mainly because my grilled beef steak entrée was extremely thick and tough . It came with brussels sprout which originally, I refused to eat, but Adrienne was telling me that brussels sprout were the new kale.  So how could I refuse? In the end, it was the most delicious thing on my entrée plate. For dessert, I chose the decident dark chocolate cream mousse and raspberry verrine. I was not too fond of this dish because the raspberry verrine was on the sour side and I don’t like sour foods. Bad choice on my part.

After our meal we wanted to go somewhere else since for once we TTC-ed downtown and had a day pass to use. We couldn’t let our day pass go to waste without maximizing its full potential!!! We searched and searched for places to go for a post-dinner snack or drink. We decided on Dutch Dreams which was probably one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.  Not only was it their last night of operation before they closed to move locations, but the ice cream is MINDBLOWING. I can honestly say it is one of the most delicious ice cream that I have ever had.  And I ate this while walking in the middle of a snowstorm.   The worker attending to us was very very friendly and nice  : 3   The original flavour I picked was Pistachio Almond, but as there wasn’t enough to fill one cup, he offered to run out to their storage to get more, but I replied that it was okay and that I could just get a different flavour.  And then he allowed me to pick 2 flavours!! My second choice was cookies and cream and I am in love with it. It was very creamy, yet had  really rich chocolate brownie chunks – like no other cookies and cream ice cream that I’ve ever had. The pistachio one was good, but had too strong of an almond flavour for my liking.  Adrienne got a Swiss Mocha (I think?) and it tasted exactly like Coffee Crisps – amazeballs.

Something cool about Dutch Dreams is they have a lot of dessert themed items and snacks on sale other than their ice cream. The worker saw us checking out the products and pointed out to us their cool personalized dessert themed lamps, which he says is the best product they have. Dutch Dreams is definitely a place I would re-visit when the weather is warmer, and when their new store front is open. I definitely recommend you all to visit too! It was tastier than my Winterlicious meal and probably $40 cheaper.

Marcel's Bistro Fine French Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Dutch Dreams on Urbanspoon

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events, family, food, toronto

Winterlicious at O&B

I went a bit crazy this year and booked myself 4 winterlicious meals in the span of 2 weeks. In my defence, Winterlicious is like an event for me so I treat it like so. My first Winterlicious for the year was at Oliver & Bonacini Cafe Grille at Bayview Village.  (On a side note, are any of you watching Master Chef Canada? Michael Bonacini is a judge on it!!)

Over the past 1 to 2 years or so, I’ve been trying to assimilate my parents into my food loving, “fat fo’ lyfe” lifestyle by introducing to them new restaurants and types of cuisine. One thing they quite enjoy is Winterlicious at O&B – we went together for the first time last year. So this year, we decided to go again.  I would love to eat with them at a restaurant downtown (where most of the Winterlicious participants are), but it is just too much of a hassle for us as unfortunately both my parents and I don’t like taking the subway, nor know our way around downtown well. Maybe someday when I get over my fear of driving and parking downtown!

 

For lunch, my dad and I both chose the Mexican-Asian inspired dishes of Yellow Corn Tortilla Soup and Beef Bulgogi Quesadilla. While my mom got the Chopped Rocket & Romaine Salad and Blackened Haddock Hot Pot.

No pictures of our desserts because my parents dug in before I had the chance : ‘(   We all picked different desserts so we had all 3 of the options of Warm Ontario Cranberry Date Pudding, Mayan Spiced Chocolate Panna Cotta and Cheese & O&B Artisan Crisps.  Dessert in general, other than the cheese were on the sweet side. I got the cheese & crisps dish which wasn’t spectacular as I should’ve expected, but I really liked the refreshing quince jelly and fruit it came paired with.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the Summerlicious menu will be like, and am also interested in going for brunch! I hear they have chicken & waffles.


Oliver & Bonacini Cafe Grill on Urbanspoon

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