Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Stop's Night Market 2014 - Day 1 [EVENT]

This is the third year where The Stop Community Food Centre (@TheStopCFC) puts on one of the best food event of the year 2 days in a row for a great cause. Bringing together 60 of the city's chefs and 30 unique designed food carts for 2 magical nights.

I have been lucky to attend this amazing event three year in a row and it has grew quite in popularity with tickets being sold out within minutes. And I find myself once again glue to my computer and phone at the same time trying to get us tickets. With the tickets site crashing within minutes, I thought I didn't get the tickets but after a few hours I was told that my transaction went through and I got 2 tickets for the 1st night... Yay!!! Then my luck went further, I was offer a Media pass and won a extra one from @AbbeysKitchen for the 2nd day. I was on cloud nine (>_<)

Held once again at the iconic Honest Ed's parking lot, I was expecting to be transported to a magical place once again (see last year's post here) then came the news of severe thunderstorm warning. I end up getting wet from head to toe just from lining up outside even though I had my umbrella, so I'm sorry about the quality of the pictures since I only used my phone while the DLSR was safely tucked inside my bag.

I was starting to get worried that there won't be much food being served when the rain and win kept coming as the event start. Good thing that it stop within the first 45 minutes and all of those electrical cooking equipments are back to work. The weather was really no ones fault and everyone seems to think so. Everyone from the event goers and the vendors seems to be in a cheery mood, no one minded being wet and the puddles.  Just have to love my city and what we are willing to go through for a good time and good food.

Tickets are $65 and it's all you can eat and drink and feel free to go back for 2nd or 3rds, but frankly I didn't manage to try everything.

~ Grilled Octopus, Potato and Bacon Salad

~ Heart of Darkness Smoked Chicken Chili + Mint Cornbread

~ Smoked and Grilled Lamb Ribs w/ Cucumber Potato Salad
This was my fave of the night, wanted to go back for seconds but they were all gone.

Friday, June 20, 2014

NOTL Year Round Tasting Pass [Contest - Closed]

Anyone who knows me or follow me on social media knows that I am a great fan of local wines and I tends to make several trips a year to the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake (@niagarawine).

See my recent Sip & Sizzle post here where we visited 26 wineries within 2 days and since Summer starts tomorrow, there's no better time to head over to Wine Country Ontario (@WineCountryOnt).
This is not a sponsor post but it just happened that I have 2 Winemakers' Selection Tasting Passes that I want to share with my readers/followers.

Here's some of my previous NOTL post:
Taste the Season 2012 (Day 1 & Day 2)" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Smoque N Bones [BBQ]

I am always on the look out for good BBQ places especially ribs, sometimes a girl just can't wait for the yearly ribfest to come around. Up until now, I have only found 2 places that I love, Sockyard (post here & here) and Barque (post here & here).

 Smoque N Bones (@SmoqueNBones) opened back in May and it immediately went to the top of my list and it didn't disappoint. They do not take reservation, so I only dared to go there on a late Saturday lunch. Being just across Trinity Bellwoods Park, we could easily get take out and eat at the park if it was full.

The space is pretty small but love the use of the long narrow space w/ the open kitchen on one side and bar seating on the other.

Spicy Smoquin Caesar
 The cocktail packed quite a bit of heat, loved it but they have to work on the spice rim since it was stucked hard.

 Pickled Jar $3.90
~ Okra, Jalapeno, Chow Chow, Mixed Veg
Love the presentation! Never had pickled okra before which was less slimy than I expectected.

Pork Side Ribs $16.90 for 1/2 rack
It's not the super soft fall off the bone type of ribs, it has a bite to it with a slight charred outer layer and still manage to be fall off the bone good. Smoked for 4 hours, it was tasty even on it's own and love how the sauce was on the side to be slather on at your own preference.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Kampai Toronto 2014 Sake Festival

The 3rd annual Kampai Toronto Sake Festival (@KampaiToronto) happen on May 29th and I'm glad to say it's bigger and better with a lot of new sake. We have been going 3 years in a row and once again this year we got invited to the Trade & Media Session where we got to avoid the crowd prior to the actual event and chat with the vendors.

  Organizedby the Sake Institute of Ontario (SIO), this is the largest sake festival of it's kind in Canada.  All the Toronto International Sake Challenge (#TISC) winning sake that I mention in the media preview here are available for tasting that day.

 Taiheizan Chogetsu 'Clear Moon' Junmai Ginjo 太平山 澄月
~ Ginjo Category Winner of TISC

Taiheizan Tenko "Heavenly Grace" Junmai Daiginjo 太平山 天巧

Ikezo Peach Flavor Sparkling Jelly Sake
This was probably the most interesting sake of the day, need to shake it before opening and it has a jelly texture with very slight bubble. It's was very refreshing and sweet, liquid dessert. And according to their pamphlet, it's rich in Ceramide and a-EG which are natural skin moisturizer.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Weslodge [Cutting Board - American]

Have always meant to try Weslodge (@Weslodge), can't help but be attracted by the big yellow door. Owned by restaurant power team Hanif and Charles Khabouth who also owned Patria (see post here), I am confident that it would be great.

It has an upscale saloon style decor, modern and with the high ceiling, the space look so extra spacious and impressive.

Love the touch of white amidst the otherwise all dark brown decor.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant [NYC]

After our Burger stop here we still had time before our late dinner reservation, so we decided to walk around Grand Central Terminal and we came upon the famous Oyster Bar & Restaurant (@oysterbarny) which I have read online before. 

Opened since1913 the same year as the terminal itself and it remained a landmark since and no wonder, since it look so amazing. I was totally amazed at the sign, the arched ceiling with the lights look spectacular together with the retro fell of the space.

 We sat at the oyster bar and they had an open kitchen where they shuck oyster and made the chowders but the kitchen is rather old and not the cleanest looking.


Shake Shack - Grand Central [NYC]

We had a late dinner reservation and was tired of shopping (yes that happens when you bought too much already), so we decided to head to the closest Shake Shack (@shakeshack) which happens to be at the lower level of the Grand Central Terminal which I wanted to stop by.

It was not an individual store but more like a food court, a dinning concourse.
There was quite a line up, I guess it's because it's dinner time but the service was surprisingly good with a staff directing people to the line and replying any question you may have.

 Find a seat while waiting for your order with the pager

Shackmeister Ale
~ Shake Shack Beer from Brooklyn Brewery
 Wanted to visit the brewery but didn't have time, so next time but was glad to at least be able to try one of their beer. This pale ale have just the right malt and bright hop flavors to compliment the beef.

 ShackBurger $4.75
~ Cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce

SmokeShack $6.25
~ Cheeseburger topped with all-natural applewood smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce

I am really not sure what all the buzz is about, it's a good burger on a very soft bun but really nothing to go crazy about. And yes I will still choose this over McD anytime...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pie Face [NYC]

After dropping by Starbucks for our morning coffee during our trip, we just can't resit to stop by Pie Face (@PieFaceUSA) which is just across from our hotel and it just also happened to be the International Pie Day (March 14th)

Open 24 hours? Really, do people love pie that much?
Pie replacing the cupcake trend would be nice, don't you think so?

This is one of their smaller location with no seats, so it's mainly crab and go but they have 7 more locations in New York.

They have both savory and sweet pies
On top of pies, they also have an assortment of desserts and croissants sandwiches to choose from.

Ok, it was mainly those "emoticon" faces that attracted me to the place and was surprise that each flavor have a different "pie face" on it. For example, the BBQ pulled pork have a "Q" mouth, it helps the staff to distinguish the flavors.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Jean Georges [Lunch ~ NYC]

When we are away on vacation, we try not to splurge too much on fancy restaurant since frankly with airfares, hotels and some shopping, it gets quite costly. But as a foodie, I am always tempted to try some tasting menu here and there but this time we travel with 2 friends, so we hold back. So what came closest, is a $38 two-course lunch at Jean Georges (@Jean_GeorgesNYC), a three Michelin Star restaurant. I have been here once for their lunch a few years ago and was totally impress, so we just had to come back.

While the dinner menu features a three-course meal at $118 and a tasting menu at $198, this was definitely a deal. Great way to get a taste of their yummy fares and amazing service.

The atmosphere was elegant with white tablecloths, high ceiling and large windows overlooking Central Park.

Amuse Bouche
 Parsnip w/ Coconut Milk & Lime Foam + Fluke on Black Truffle Toast + Duck Dumpling
 This amuse bouche trio was amazing especially the soup/foam which was very refreshing and open up our palate plus it was complimentary.

 Yellowfin Tuna Ribbons, Avocado and Spicy Raddish, Ginger Marinade
 The fish was very fresh and tender served over a creamy avocado but I thought the soy ginger marinade drizzle table side was a tad salty but love the kick from the drops of chili oil that float on top. Amazing presentation, almost like a pasta dish.

 Sea Trout Draped in Trout Eggs, Lemon and Olive Oil
 The lemon mouse here was rather tart which we love, perfect with the salty trout eggs

 Hamachi Sashimi, Avocado, Yuzu Radish
This was probably my least favorite dish, although love the presentation and the Hamachi was very fresh but it was nothing to write home about.