Monday, March 31, 2014

Macaron Day Toronto 2014 [Event]

I took the day off once again for Macaron Day Toronto (@MacaronTO) this year, the perfect excuse not to go to work for a good cause (see last year post here). For the 2nd year in a row I took the role as one of the ambassador to help promote this amazing event, it's definitely for a great cause with 25% of the day's sales going to  a local charity call Red Door Family Shelter

I got a friend to spend the day with me, she missed out last year and loves Macaron. You may have seen all these yummy goodness if you followed my adventures on twitter/intagram/facebook #MacaronDayTO

 Just as last year, it's our first stop since they open the earliest and we decided to start out slow with some coffee and pastries.

Macaron of the day was Wasabi flovor, isn't that belt of nori just too cute.
Wish they had that for sale as well so I could have bought an extra one for Ben but La Bamboche still being my fave Macaron place in Toronto, I still couldn't resit and bought 1/2 a dozen. They just have the perfect size and soft creamy smooth center/filling that's not overly sweet like most other places.

That being say, I wish they would improve on their packaging since a few of them got crushed while the ones I bought at the other store was perfect. They use just a small white box which wasn't specifically tailored for their macaron. Wish they had kept the transparent box that they use to use which fit so perfectly (see what I mean here).

Friday, March 28, 2014

Black & White Graphic [OOTD]

Outfit Details:
Tee - H&M; Skirt - Peter Polotto for Target; Coat - Uniqlo; Bracelet - F21
Was rather tired last weekend and wore this relaxed loose tee with my Peter Pilotto for Target skirt. I bought total of 4 pieces from that collection; this skirt, a clutch and 2 dresses that I still need to find an occasion to wear since it's definitely not your everyday dress. Bought the bag in during our New York trip, what you think?! This should be a versatile bag for Spring/Summer.

How I style the skirt previously to the Sarah Stevenson for Target preview here, wore it with a black tee and a statement necklace

What I bought from the Peter Pilotto for Target collection, love the 2 other dresses but where can I wear them?! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Habits Gastropub [Media Tasting]

I frankly haven't heard of Habits Gastropub (@HabitsGastropub) before I got invited to their media tasting. Owned by Michelle Genthner and Luis Martins, it's been opened since 2012. The pair have over 12 years of experience running two other successful bar, so I know I am in good hands.

The first thing you see when you walk in was the amazing whiskey bar, they have over 300 bottles of different variety which is one of the biggest selection in Toronto. But just as any pub, they also have a large selection of beer (over a dozen selection of craft beer on tap + another 2 dozen or so of International bottles), wines and liquors to choose from.

Definitely love the open kitchen and the quotes/drawings on the blackboards. They also offer live music or comedy 2-3 times a week on their tiny stage. Frankly, it's difficult to find good food at most pub, however Habits is not just a pub but a gastropub. What's the difference you  ask?! It means that it serves higher end beverages and food. You can still find traditional pub fares like burger and nachos on the menu but also some "fancier" dishes that I was lucky enough to try that night.

Our media tasting menu was definitely an innovative one with wine and whiskey tasting.

Champagne Cocktail
~ saffron infused simple syrup, sparkling wine, Amagnac
It's the first picture of the post. The Amagnac (brandy) was a bit strong for my cocktail palate, especially to start off the night.

Seabass Ceviche, Citrus
Very delicate, thew fish was so tender with just the right amount of sour. Perfect way to open up my palate for what's to come.

 The following 3 dishes was paired with CASA DO VALLE 2012 VINHO VERDE, Portugal

 Buffalo Sweetbread
~ with house-made blue cheese and spicy BBQ dipping sauce
Tender inside with perfect light crisp outside and that blue cheese dipping sauce was just so stinky good (as in, can I have the whole thing to myself)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sakagura [Japanese - NYC]

Our flight got delayed from 9:00am to 4:00pm to 7:00pm and then finally back to 6:00pm and we made it to New York just in time to check in to our hotel and for our 9:45pm dinner reservation at Sakagura  we made the very last minute.

 Hidden in the basement of an Midtown East Office Building, we had to of down a flight of sketchy stairs to reach this sake bar.

Love the bamboo rails and the line of sake bottles over the bar was definitely very eye catching.

Our 2 travel buddies wasn't sake fans, so they order beer (Asahi & Sapporo on tap) at $7 but it was a very small 1/2 pint glass. It's rather pricey for draft beer.

Shichihon Nigori Sake $75.00
Yes me and Ben share a whole bottle of sake and after a stressful day at the airport, we deserve this.
A rather thick bodied nigori with bits of rice still visible at the bottom. It's not very sweet for a nigori with a very good balance of flavor. This is especially perfect with fried food and I definitely like this chilled/cold as it's served here.

Uzaku $9.00
~ Grilled Eel Vinaigrette served w/ thin cucumber slices and wakame seaweed
 What an amazing start, love the acidity of the cucumber and seaweed with the sweet sauce of the eel. Though it wouldn't go together since something like that is usually served with raw fish, but somehow this all goes together. A perfect start to the meal, a great way to wake up our palette.

 Onsen Tamago $8.00/ea
 ~ Soft boiled egg topped w/ sea urchin and salmon roe in a cold soup
This was somehow light and incredible flavorful with the uni and the pop of flavors of the roe.
The soup was light and refreshing, love it with the creamy soft boiled egg.

Friday, March 21, 2014

SIO Winter Classic [Event]

Back in January, on a bone chilling night we made our way to SIO (Sake Institute of Ontario) Winter Classic sake popup event (@KampaiToronto) ~ #SIOWinterClassic

 I have always associate hot sake with being low grade but I have now change my view all thanks to this event. There are now many premium sake available in Canada that taste great both chilled and warmed (never hot). It's an easy way to bring out sake's varied flavor profile.

 Unlike table sake, it is worth paying extra for premium warm sake although I have to say that not all sake taste good warmed up. As per the expert of that night, it is best to warm your sake in a hot water bath gently. Best around your body temperature of 37 C to 40 C and the flavor profile does change at different temperature.

 Izumi Namacho
 ~ Coming in from the cold, we were welcome by Izumi (@OntarioSake) right by the door with a cup of warm sake. This was made especially to be served warm and btw they refuse to served it chilled or at room temperature. It was indeed amazing warm with nutty flavors and some citrus note.
Izumi Nama-Nama
~ their signature unpasteurized Junmai which is incredibly smooth with sweet melon flavors. And did I mention how proud I am of our Toronto Sake brewery, they came a long way. From when I didn't like their sake to anticipating it now.
Izumi Arabashiri #48
~ this is a limited just pressed free run and it was dry fruity and unpasteurized

 Otokoyama Kimoto 
~ a medium dry sake with distinct rice aroma and a hint of fruit.
Wakatake Junmai Ginshu 
~ a rich dry sake but I have to say it's my least favorite of the Wekatake Sake
Hakkaisan "Eight Peaks" Honjozo
~ a very easy to drink sake and when drink chilled it has a clean flavor and while warmed up it bring out the  rice and koji flavors.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lamesa - Menu Launch [Philippine]

Lamesa (@LamesaTO) have been changing the perception of ethnic cuisine with a myraid of influences and reinventing some classic dishes. Although the focus of Chef Ruby Boquila is still Filipino food, her does borrow from all the food that he tasted.
 Haven't been to Lamesa since my visit here and have been meaning to revisit when they launch their brunch menu.  Thanks for Mary Luz (@MaryLuzOnFood) for inviting me to this brunch menu tasting. 

Lolo Cool J
~ bourbon, ginger, pineapple, cinnamon syrup, lemon juice and ginger ale
 The perfect sweet refreshing way to start the night, perfect for those who doesn't like strong alcohol tasting cocktail.

Crispy Pata
~ deep fried pork trotter with pickles and hosemade dipping sauce
This was one of my fave dish, classic crispy pata made 3 ways and especially love their house-made hot sauce which we were lucky enough to get a jar each at the end of the night.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sarah Stevenson for Target [Preview]

Target (@TargetCanada) is well known for collaborating with some of fashion's leading names and I was ecstatic when they finally open up in Canada mainly because of these collabs. Not being able to afford most of these designers offerings, these affordable collabs are the perfect way to get a taste of their design. They also generate big buzz and always leads to sell out within hours.

Sarah Stevenson (@SarahAStevenson) earned the chance to design for Target by winning last year's Toronto Fashion Incubator New Label contest which is a yearly competition for emerging designers.

Her 15 piece collection is launching across Canada on March 23rd (see the full collection here) and I have already mark my calender for an early morning of shopping.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a media preview party last Thursday and got to see the collection up close and personal. I already have a few favorite pieces that I have to have.

Sarah Stevenson created all the prints and design of the fabrics by hand before even working with Target's design team. Love how she didn't shy away from all those vibrant colors and adore the watercolor effect.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Walter ~ All Natural Craft Caesar Mix

As you may have noticed, I love my Caesars and I was lucky enough to received 2 bottles of the newly launched Walter All-Natural Craft Caesar Mix (@waltercaesar).

Walter is made here in Canada in small batches with premium, real ingredients like vine-ripened tomatoes, select spices, grated horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and clam juice from the North Atlantic. And unlike the other Caesars mix in Canada which is full of MSG, high fructose corn syrup and artificial colorings. 

I got a bottled each of Mildly Spiced and Well Spiced. It's pre-mixed with real grated horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, a few select spices, sea salt and cracked pepper. Drink on it's own or simply add a spirit of your choice.

 Walter really don't skim on their ingredients, it's extra dense and thick. After shaking it in a cocktail mixer with plenty on ice, I still find it way too thick so I'll recommend to add ice to your glass as well. For a spice lover like me, I thought it wasn't spicy enough for me, I had to add quite a few dash of hot sauce to it. I like to add a pickled bean or pepper with my Caesar.

Although at $8-9 per bottle for 725ml in a cute glass bottle, it's really not cheap but I find it very reasonably priced as well for an all-natural product. And due to it's thick consistency, more ice is needed with less of this mix which I guess the bottle can make 6-8 glasses easily.

Winter Tutu [OOTD]

Outfit Details:
Necklace, top & Coat - H&M; Skirt - F21; Bag - Chanel (vintage); Heels - Zara

My legs haven't seen the daylight for ages and it was so white (>_<) Ewww!!!
I hate dressing up for Chinese wedding, you never know how dress up you should be and sometimes people dress up to the nine and sometimes they are rather casual. I was trying to get a medium here, the longer length tutu seems appropriate for a winter wedding and with a plain casual top, I hope I got the perfect balance.