events, food, toronto

Zomato Launch in Toronto

Zomato Canada  (1)

Zomato is an online and mobile restaurant search and discovery service and has finally made its entry into North America – launching first with our very own Toronto! And I have been lucky to be chosen as one of the first few Toronto users on this platform.  Zomato covers over 11,000 restaurants in the GTA and is available to all on the web (www.zomato.com) or on mobile through their free Zomato app (compatible with iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry). Zomato’s Canadian launch has been in the work for months and I have been in contact with the Zomato team throughout to provide the little bit of foodie knowledge that I have.

Zomato allows users to browse restaurant information, read and curate restaurant reviews, share pictures and also build a personal network of foodies whose opinions you trust! With the mobile app you are also able to discover restaurants nearby based on your location as well as retrieving information on any other restaurant within the city. In a sense Zomato is like our favourite restaurant searching apps like Urbanspoon and Yelp crossed over with our check-in apps Foursquare and Swarm.   Now if Zomato could add in our beloved points system and mayorships that would be perfect!

It’s very exciting that Toronto is able to be apart of the Zomato network and also be chosen as their first North American city to launch in. It’s because they know Torontonians are food lovers ; )    Over the next few months Zomato will be expanding across Canada and reaching cities such as Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary too!

This is what the app looks like on Android!  (I have an iPhone and it looks pretty similar on iOS too)

Check out the app and tell me what you think! I’m still in the middle of my trial run as well : )  But I’m definitely excited to have an app that combines all of my favourite “foodie” apps into one.

Standard
dragonboat, events, friends

Dragonboat Season 2014

Dragon boat season has finally come to an end. And we definitely ended it in a bang winning our 4th medal for the year and finally a Gold one!  In honesty, I feel the season never truly ends since land practice will begin again in late October – which is only about 1 month away.  Let’s cherish those Sunday mornings of sleeping in while we can.

This year started off kinda iffy for me because many of my friends on the team from last year dropped out for one reason or another and a lot of the new recruits had never paddled before.  But this had given me the opportunity to get to know other continuing team mates better, and also meet a bunch of new friends! I’m really glad how everything turned out (although still hoping past members will return!) because I made a lot of new close friends this year :)    #TEAMVAN aka #teamwhitney
We had 3 races this year, Pickering Dragon Boat Club Festival in May, Toronto International Dragon Boat Festival in June, and GWN Dragon Boat Challenge in September. Although we struggled during the year with a less experienced (and less buff) team we managed to pull through each race to place and win medals. And our time improved from last year too. I can’t remember all our race times, but our last race at GWN, our final and best race time was a flat 2:24. I’m realistically aiming for a 2:20 next year :3
Although I hate land practice, homework work-outs *coughShanecough* and the early mornings – I still love the sport and am definitely continuing with the team next year <3 I even got my own paddle this year!!!
Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

#sunsoutgunsout as always.

Let’s go for gold next year too Paddle Bears! #wefight
Standard
events, food, friends, life, toronto

Adrienne Powers Up 1 !!!!

It was Adrienne’s 23rd birthday celebration last weekend and I had been looking forward to it since she posted the set menu Rodney’s Oyster House had prepared for her. I’ve never been to Rodney’s before since I’m not a big fan of raw oysters, so this was a great way for me to try out a lot of their offerings. It was also amazingly cool and helpful of them to offer to provide a set menu since we did have a large group.

To start, we had oysters on the half shell (I arrived fashionably late with Dom so we missed what these were), lettuce wraps with grilled portobello, avocado, pickled peaches, citrus aioli, fresh chillis and cilantro, and then PEI mussels in dill, garlic and white wine.  There was also chicken bites for those who didn’t enjoy seafood.

Next, the entrees came in the most baus way possible – all 3 entrees and 1 side put on a huge wooden trough-like thing, which was so large that it had to be carried in by 2 people!!! Everybody’s phone and cameras came out in a flash. The entrees consisted of lobster club sandwiches (everyone’s favourite), a roasted pepper, caramelized onion and potato frittata, and flank steak in chimichurri sauce. Our sides were Boston Bibb, tomato, goat cheese salad and onion rings.
A party is also never a party without selfies and selfie contests. Here’s a compilation of our best shots:
Cake for the birthday girl. Happy Birthday Adrienne <3 !!!
Photo 2014-08-22, 10 55 43 PM

 

And lastly, a group photo.
Photo 2014-08-22, 11 45 58 PM



Rodney's Oyster House on Urbanspoon

Standard
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

 
JaBistro on Urbanspoon

Standard
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

Standard
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.

 

Standard
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!

Standard