Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bar Buca [Brunch]

Have been meaning to come to Bar Buca (@barbucatoronto) since it opened a few weeks ago and I have heard some really good things too. Arriving on a Sunday, i didn't know that they only had brunch menu and not their regular lunch/dinner menu which I had a list of dishes that I wanted to try. Well, an excuse to come back real soon.

Love the space especially the open kitchen and the wine rack above it, the best use of the high ceiling space. They have really high bar chair and tables or was it just me being too short?!

And with less than 35 seating, the space is rather small.

Espresso Corretto $5 (served after 11am)
It's an Italian beverage consisting a shot of espresso with a bit of liquor and here Ben choose Grappa. Definitely not my kind of coffee, it's way too strong and thought it was sort of disgusting really.

Cappuccino $3

We also order a glass each of freshly squeeze Orange and Grapefruit Juice at $5/ea

 Assaggi di Pasticceria $12
~ Tasting of pastries
This actually came first, not sure if we were suppose to eat the sweet first. I personally wasn't a big fan of them, my favorite being the orange pistachio cannoli. Love the variety but with only one piece each I am not sure if this was meant for one person, personally I wouldn't be able to finish this by myself but with most of them being bite size, it was rather difficult to share.

 Porchetta Schiacciata $11
~ roast Tuscan pork, fried eggs, mostarda
This is my kind of breakfast sandwich, so perfect. The schiacciata was so good, flavourful and so crispy on the outside without being dry at all. The melt in your mouth fatty porchetta goodness which richness was cut through with the help of the sweet mostarda.

 Ammazza Fegato $14
~ tuscan offal sausage, farro, cavolo nero, porcini, farm egg
Love the spicy sausage which was perfect with the farro which added a different texture plus the earthy flavor of the porcini and doesn't everything taste better when topped with an egg. Only wish it came with 1-2 slices of bread/toast to mop up that sauce.

Verdict :
I would have to come back for their regular menu
Great service and love the space
Wish the menu was more "English", didn't understand half of it (google came in handy)

Bar Buca on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Happy Hooker [Media Tasting]

The Happy Hooker (@happyhookertdot) have been on my to-eat-list since it first open but never got the chance. Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to their media tasting by my favorite food blogger Stella (@foodieyu).

The Happy Hooker is Ocean Wise Certified, providing sustainable and ocean friendly seafood. 
Their one year anniversary is coming up on March 5th and they are offering specials regularly for this occasion, so make sure to follow their Facebook and twitter.

Chef Attilio Pugliese (@attilio25) seen above.

Dark & Stormy

 Coco Peno $10
~ rum, coconut, ginger syrup, jalapeno
This cocktail does pack some heat, love it and it was so refreshing perfect with the food.

Caesar $7.50
This was my least favorite of the night, nothing special

 Paper Plane $10.00
 Very citrus-y and on the tart side which was a rather nice palette cleanser in between bites.

 Kale Salad
~ organic kale, baby arugula, watermelon radishes, cucumber, pickled cabbage, 
house made red wine vinaigrette
 Love how it was lightly dress and isn't this beautiful with the watermelon radish. Love the different levels of crunch here and the pickled cabbage added the much needed pop.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

龍鳯冰室 [Hong Kong]

The Hong Kong style stinky tofu from the night market finally open up a small place inside Golden Plaza (Hwy7 & Chalmers). 龍鳯冰室 doesn't really have an English name but it's direct translation is Dragon Phoenix Ice house.

The space is very small with barely 6-8 tight seating but the place is decorated like the old hawker stand in Hong Kong. Love the decor but wish it was a tad bigger and be warned, try not to wear your coat in since your whole body will smell like stinky tofu after (we had to rush home to shower right after). With the menu on blackboards, they didn't have paper menu and no pricing anywhere.

A mountain of condense milk act as a barrier/hideaway of the back storage area. Condense milk are use to make Hong Kong style Milk Tea 港式奶茶 which give it the thick silky texture. I just had coffee before heading there, so I will have to try their HK milk tea next time.

Stinky Tofu 臭豆腐
This is the Hong Kong style stinky tofu and not Taiwanese which I prefer, what's the difference you ask?! Taiwanese Tofu is usually served with pickled cabbage and hot sauce and have a softer texture while Hong Kong style tofu is served with both hot sauce and sweet sauce while the texture is firmer but crispier. Hong Kong style tofu is used to be sold as a street food on carts where you get them 1-2 pieces in a small paper bags and you get to add your own sauce, I say the more the better. 

Here they mix their own spicy garlic sauce which taste so good with the sweet sauce. The tofu is also deep fried to order and it's perfectly crispy. Although it's HK style, they added some pickle cabbage on the bottom which was great since it's a great palate cleanser.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival [EVENT]

It's been a cold winter but as Canadian we didn't hesitate a bit to go to the first ever Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival hosted by Steam Whistle Brewing (@SteamWhistle) on Jan 25th. This outdoor event was sold out weeks ahead and I was super excited to attend since I had so much fun during their past two Craft Beer Festival (see my posts here & here). 

The weather that day couldn't be more perfect with a light dusting of snow which set the perfect backdrop. Also love the new mug with the handle which is definitely needed for our gloved hands.

 The first 500 people through the gate got a free toque, hence the matching head gear but we were too late so we didn't get one (>_<)

There was plenty of outdoor heaters and bonfires in the middle where everyone gather.

Sampling Glasses can be purchased in advance for $20 or for $25 at the door. Beer will only be served in the official glasses with beer sampling tokens costing at $1. All brews cost 1 token for half glass (the vendors are normally more than generous and you usually get more then 3/4 cup) and 2 for full glass while food can be purchased with cash.
Love this ice sculpture tap for their unfiltered pilsner.

 The unfiltered pilsner has a more cloudy look, frothier head and a thicker texture.
It's a bit more bitter than the regular filter pilsner but lack the crispness.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Soos Resto/Bar [Malaysian]

Soos (@soostoronto) is a family run Malaysian restaurant on Ossington that opened up back in October last year. Kitchen helm by mother and son duo, Tricia and Zack Soo. It specialise in Malay-Nyonya which is Chinese influence Malay cooking

Love the modern decor here with the contrast of the black-white stripe wall on one side and a lantern wallpaper on the other side. And let's not forget the huge spiky light.

Love The Malacca Room at the back.

Pork Belly Pancakes $11
~ organic pork belly, sticky soy reduction, Chinese five spice, taro root, spring onion
Love that the pork belly was not overly tender or soft which left with a crispy fatty edges and still melt in your mouth good int he middle. Sticky thick soy reduction was just finger licking good which is like a Chinese equivalent of a super good BBQ sauce. Love the taro root pancake instead of the standard potato which had a crunchier chewier texture that I love.

Reconstructed Nasi Lemak $11
~ crispy coconut rice, sambai ikan bilis, cucumber, fried quail egg
Isn't this super cute with the tiny quail egg and doesn't everything taste better with an egg on top. Warning tough, the rice below was not  meant to be hold and yes it will fall apart. This was my fave dish of the night, love the perfectly cook coconut rice which was perfect with the salty spicy anchovies sambai w/ the crunchy peanuts and the pop of freshness of the cucumber.

Flowers in the Snow [OOTD]

Outfit Details:
Cape - H&M; Sweater - Mink Pink (Urban Outfitters); Faux Leather Skirt - F21
Lipstick - Maybelline #420 Deepest Cherry

 Haven't really posted any outfit post recently since it's has been rather boring with the parka... with the polar votex weather, this past weekend was rather warm with only -10 degree.

Decided to bring out my fave cape once again, I wore this outfit once before sans tight and with a ankle bootie instead back in October. Love this sweater which is a bit oldschool but love the pop of color and it was on sale for only $19.99.

I was so glad to finally invest in a pair of Hunter boots and it came in so handy this winter with all the slipery iciness.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Tempered Beast's Sucré Salé [Winterlicious Event]

This is the first time I have been to Winterlicious Culinary Events which not many people know of. And guest what caught my eyes : The Tempered Beast which is a 2 night collaboration by two of my fave chefs, the "Tempered Chef" Bertrand Alépée and Scott Vivian of  Beast Restaurant.

  Beast Restaurant being one of my fave restaurant in Toronto, I was excited to be back
 (I have been many time, but see my old post here)

For $60pp, the event feature 4 courses where both a savory and a sweet interpretation of each course signature ingredients was served and that mean 8 dishes per person. Alépée who is a known pastry chef took on the sweet while Chef Scott took on the savory side.

Beast's famous brioche served with a poblano honey butter which was to die for, I will actually come back just for this.  What a great start to an amazing meal.

The 2 of us order an Aperitif and one wine pairing to share since we didn't feel like drinking that much on a Tuesday. Each course came with a wine pairing (3 wine + 1 beer) for $25

The Tempered Beast $8
~ Sortilège Maple Whisky, muddled orange, Allspice syrup, mole bitters
This was the perfect aperitif, so smooth buttery caramel flavors.

Course #1 ~ Chicken / Sunchoke / Apple

Chef Alépée (sweet)
~ Chicken Chip, Caramelized Endive, Compressed Sunchokes & Vanilla Apple Purée
We were both not sure what to make of this dish at first but everything tide together really well with very delicate texture.

 Chef Vivian (savory)
~ Chicken Liver Mousse, Pickled Apple, Grape Musk & Sunchoke Chips w/ Curry Flavor
Love the added curry seasoning together with the chicken liver, the tart apple and the sweet grape musk. Every ingredients complimented each other really well but also a great contrast to each other as well.

Course #2 - Scallop / Mandarin / Hazelnut

Chef Alépée (sweet)
~  Scallop Crudo, Brussel Sprout Slaw, Mandarin Gelée, Hazelnut Meringue & 
Blueberry Powder
Who would have guess meringue goes so well with raw scallop, it was just amazing. I love brussel sprout but this is the first time I had it raw and it was great.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fav Café 鍾意坊 [Hong Kong]

I am always up for trying out new Hong Kong Style Café uptown when I want to stay in during the weekend. Have heard some fab things about Fav Café's Hainanes Chicken, so I finally made my way there this past weekend.

The space is rather small and tight but love how their wall are filled with concerts poster... should I say non-Chinese concert poster, posters like Edge Fest and Green Day. The place also look like to be run by young energetic staff, the chefs w/ aprons will sometimes bring out your dishes.

Hong Kong Style Iced Lemon Tea
Our meal came with our choice of drinks. I have to say the tea wasn't dark or bitter enough for HK style tea. I\ll have to try their Milk Tea next time.

Hainanese Chicken Rice 海南雞飯
Have been searching for a place for good Hainanese Chicken Rice in Toronto for ages where both the chicken and rice are as delicious. The chicken here are perfectly tender and moist while the rice was completely flavorful packed with chicken flavor without being overly oily. Even the garlic in the garlic chili sauce was filled with fresh chopped garlic while most other places just serve water down store bought version. The soy sauce was cooked and reduce with sugar which result in a thick sweet yummy goodness. The minced ginger oil was perfectly seasoned and used young ginger.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Azure [Winterlicious]

So glad to be invited back to Azure Restaurant & Bar inside InterContinental Toronto Centre (@ICTorontoCentre) once again for Winterlicious since we had such great meal during Summerlicious here. Although I am not a big fan of their 80's decor, the food and service are as amazing as ever.

Their bread was pretty good and I end up eating two of them.

Snowflake Martini $12
~ Dillon's vodka + elderflower liqueur + fresh lime + white cranberry

Kensington Brewing Company

Maple Whisky Cured Organic Salmon
~mint yogurt, candied pecans, Ontario Beets, crostini
 Couldn't really taste the Maple Whisky but it was delicious as it is. I would never have pair beets w/ cured salmon but everything work out great.