Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lamesa - Fall Menu Launch [Philippine]

I was lucky enough to be invited to Lamesa (@LamesaTO) once again where we were introduced to their new Fall/Winter Menu from their new Head Chef Daniel Cancino. The moto here was to show people a modern elevated version of Filipino Food and it's executed by a brand new classically French trained chef.

Owner Les Sabilano and Chef Daniel Cancino
(see my previous post here and here to get a look of the space)

Boracay Cocktail
~ dark rum, coconut rum, banana liqueur, house made peach liqueur, macerated strawberry syrup
What a pretty welcome cocktail to start the night but for me the smell of the flower was a bit overpowering as you drink it, maybe need to take it off...

Tuna Kinilaw $14
~ albacore tuna, coconut, avocado, calamansi, chili, shrimp chip
This Filipino style ceviche with a coconut calamansi vinaigrette and coconut guacamole was light refreshing delicious with the big pieces of fatty albacore tuna. Love the crispy fresh shrimp chip, nothing ruined it more than places where stale shrimp chip was served. Oh and isn't it just so pretty!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lowertown Brewery [Ottawa]

Located in the By Ward Market in Ottawa, Lowertown Brewery (@LowertownOttawa) are newly open back in June this year. Since we were already browsing in By Ward Market, we decided to drop by to taste some local Ottawa Craft beer.

It's a rather large space with a big nice patio, wish it wasn't raining that day.

So sad that quite a few beer were sold out from their menu, especially their Oyster Stout and Red Fife  (which I mange to try at another event shortly after and made with 3 type of wheat it was delicious, with a light bitterness and very smooth finish) that I would love to try.They only have their beer in 1/2 pint $5.09, full pint $6.50 and pitcher $19.50. Wish they had some tester /tasting flight so that we could taste all their beer.

Left to Right

Krystal Weizen
The special of the day, served with a slice of orange was Ben's favorite. A straw colored wheat beer with a very light and refreshing finish.

Lowertown Lager
Their signature beer, it's a German lager which was super light and crisp. I personally thought it was kind of tasteless.

Dark Larker
I chose this one and it was totally my type of beer. Love the robust roasty nutty maltyflavor with a sweet finish.

Apricot Weizen

Peanut-Crusted Maple Bacon $5.95
Love the presentation but really not a fan. It was not crispy enough, not maple enough... maybe with crunchy peanut butter instead?!

Smoked Chicken Wings $10.95
Brined, smoked, fried and sauced!!! So glad that we listen to our server and had the sauce on the side, the smoked wings itself was so delicious and crispy on it's own that no sauce is really needed although their BBQ sauce was super yummy as well. And did I mention that I am loving the trend where restaurants are serving their wings like this w/ the tips.

P.B.L.T $12.95
~ Smoked poke belly, bibb lettuce, tomato, mayo
Melt in your mouth fatty goodness, frankly the presentation sucks but love it, Wish the potato wedges was less burnt.

Smoked Brisket $13.95
~ Thick cut beef, onion & pepper relish, house jus
At first glance the brisket look kind of dry but there was some fatty goodness within. It was moist  and love it with the pepper relish. Dipping into the jus is also a must, just let the bread soak it in.

Ben end up buying a few bottle of the Krystal Weizen home, who could resit at only $4.87 for a 650ml  bottle.

Love it here especially the beer and the wings.
Have been craving for those wings since then, so good.
The service was also extremely nice, cheerful and friendly.
Wish we get get them here in Toronto

Related Ottawa post:
NeXT [Fusion / Lunch]
Atelier [12-course Tasting Menu]
Lowertown Brewery [Brewery/Bar]

Lowertown Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, September 21, 2015

Atelier [Ottawa / Tasting Menu]

Since Chef Marc Lepine (@MarcLepine) pop-up dinner in Toronto this past winter (see post here), I have wanted to go to Ottawa just to visit his restaurant Atelier. And finally manage to find time to make a weekend try but was disappointed that they are fully book but thanks to Yvonne (@th3hungrycat), who got in touch with the chef himself and they set up a table in the kitchen for us (yay, Chef's table even better)

Atelier only serves 12-course tasting menu at $110 pp with the menu changing regularly, it's really a surprise dinning experience. As per their website, with their $75 pp optional wine pairing, you get 9-10 wines averaging a little over 3 standard glasses in total (but I think we def got more than that)

Owner/Chef Marc Lepine's bio from their website:
"After 3 years of culinary school, Marc Lepine spent time working in Toronto, France, and Italy, before accepting his first executive chef position with Bartlett Lodge in Algonquin Park in 1998. Marc decided to move to Ottawa in 2001 with the intent to eventually open a restaurant. He received his sommelier certification from Algonquin College and spent 6 years working as executive chef for the Courtyard Restaurant, where he was twice named 'Ottawa Chef of the Year' by the Canadian Culinary Federation. Marc decided it was time to open Atelier in 2008, and while the restaurant was preparing to launch, Marc went to work with Grant Achatz at Alinea Restaurant in Chicago. In February 2012, Marc was named the Canadian Culinary Champion after winning gold at the finals in Kelowna, BC."

Sriracha Focaccia

Chopin Waltz Opus 69 no.2
~ beet root, lemon confit, tarragon syrup, taragon cream, crumbled pine nuts, prosciutto dust, pickled blueberries.
Isn't this too pretty to eat yet too good not to?!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

NeXT [Ottawa / Fusion / Lunch]

Our first stop on our Ottawa mini trip was at NeXT which was rated as one of the hottest top 10 new restaurant in Canada for 2013, located in Stittsville (Suburban area of Ottawa). The menu was inspired by Chef Michael Blackie's (@michaelblackie) best food memories with strong Asian and European cuisines influence..

The 4 of us decided to go ahead with the Blind Sharing Lunch Menu at $25 pp which include 6 Chef's choice courses, 5 savory and a duo sweet choice. It sounds like a good deal given that we were told that it'll be the same serving size as the regular lunch menu which was at $9 per dish.
(please note that all below picture are 4 people portion sizes except for the soup)

It's a really large space and you can see that it can easily be transformed into an event space.

Toasty Olive Oil Baguette
~ white truffle labneh, crispy fried capers, torn basil
Love the crispy bread with the light refreshing labneh (yogurt w/ flavoring like sugar or spices) and incredible fragrant white truffle oil.

Crispy Kale + Hickory Smoked Feta Cheese
~ pickled okra, dirty remi, dehydrated kalamata olive
This was my favorite dish of the day, who can say no to fried kale chips and love the pickled okra as well which didn't have much of the sliminess that you usually get from okra.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Beer Experience 2015 [CONTEST - Closed]

I'm giving away ONE PAIR of tickets to 

If you consider yourself a sophisticated beer lover who appreciates the time and effort that goes into creating the perfect brew, this experience is for you. It’s an experience for the distinguished beer drinker. From craft beers to boutique beers, cooking with beer and beer cocktails this is the Ultimate Beer Experience.
Each brewery has either brewed something totally unique specifically for this event, or they are bringing you a brand new brew that hasn't hit the shelves yet! Beer is our focus at this event, but we'll have a couple of other choices for you. If you like to change things up, plus The Berkeley Church will wow us again with delectable bites from their talented kitchen. Can't forget to mention there will also be live music from some great local talent. 

315 Queen St E, Toronto
 Date & Time:
Thursday September 17, 2015 from 6pm to 11pm
Ticket Details:  
$25 in advance (Include 5 Sample vouchers) & $35 at the door
Get your tickets here ASAP
Good Luck!!!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Canola Growers - Street Food Workshop Featuring Chef Adam Hynam-Smith [NOTL]

Canola Eat Well (@canolaeatwell) invited me to a #EatWellCanolaOil workshop at Oast House Brewers (@OastHouseBeer) in Niagara-on-the-Lake last Friday. A bunch of us rode on a bus chatting about local food, of course canola oil and even played some games.
The weather couldn't be more perfect for our little picnic outside with the most amazing backdrop.

Love the vineyard backdrop although it's a beer house and can't make my day happier than a welcome glass of peach beer which was surprisingly light, not sweet and super refreshing.

Find more pictures of Oast House Brewery from my previous post here

With the theme being "Street Food", I am beyond ecstatic that they choose Suresh Doss (@spotlightcity) and  Chef Adam Hynam-Smith of El Gastronomo Vagabundo (@elgastronomo), my favorite food truck to co-host this event.

As per Chef Adam, he love using Canola oil especially in salad instead of olive oil since it has such neutral flavor that it won't overwhelm the other fresh yummy ingredients.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Manpuku Modern Japanese Eatery [Cheap Eats]

Manpuku Modern Japanese Eatery is located inside The Village by the Grange (inside the food court under OCAD). I have been meaning to come here for years but never made it here, it a rather popular place famous for it's inexpensive Japanese dishes.

Ochazuke $3.99
~ A grilled onigiri (rice ball) in a tea broth topped with nori seaweed and Japanese okaki cracker
This was the dish I have been craving to try and the reason I am here, as you may know I love my grilled rice balls (see here & here). This was perfect, without much salt, love the grilling flavor together with the tea broth. Will be coming back just for that and next time, I am no sharing.

Nigitama Gyudon $8.99
~ beef bowl rice topped with green onion and egg
Thought the beef was overcooked and dry although the egg was perfectly runny with just the right amount of sauce for the rice.