Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bareburger [Media Preview]

Bareburger (@Bareburger) close down for the night on Earth Day to host a media/blogger event, it was so appropriate since they celebrate Earth Day everyday by serving organic and all-natural food in a sustainable environment. They NYC culinary team was also there to talk about how it all started and to guide us through the tasting.

It all started with the idea of making some healthier delicious burger and now they have 24 locations and more to come... yes even in Tokyo.

Onion Rings & Sweet Fries
It came with 8 sauces which is pretty cool to try each one of them with the onions rings and sweet potato fries. Love the perfectly golden light well-seasoned batter of the onion ring which tasted amazing just on it's own but better with the sauces. I always wonder how can places find all these perfectly sweet sweet potatoes to make perfect fires?! When I buy mine, some definitely are not as sweet.... I digress, here I find the fries goes so well with the spicier sauces, love the sweet savory spicy combination.

Cali Fresh Salad
~ baby kale, cauliflower hummus, red quinoa, grape tomatoes, watermelon radish, red onion, alfafa sprouts, lemon tahini dressing
This was so pretty with all the different color and texture, too pretty to eat but I assure you that it's just as delicious and refreshing. This was actually pretty filling with the hummus and quinoa and can be easily a meal on it's own., so if you plan to have a burger make sure to share this one.

Guapo Chop w/ Buttermilk Fried Chicken
~ little gem lettuce, cheese curds, pickled jalapenos, red onions, pico de gallo, guacamole, blue corn tortilla, avocado basil dressing
Yes you have the option to add the Fried Chicken for those who refuse to eat veggies on it's own.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cafe Olimpico [Montreal]

Café Olimpico (@cafeolimpico) was opened back in 1970 and I'm sure there's a reason why it remain so popular. This was another recommendation from friends as the best coffee in Montreal and it was only a few steps away from our lunch spot here, so just had to drop by.

As per their website :
Café Olimpico’s strong heritage and authenticity is mirrored by it’s house-blend coffee that has remained a family’s secret recipe for nearly half a century. Our coffee offers a selected balance of Arabica coffee beans from Central and South America, roasted to perfection and brought together to give you an irresistibly smooth and sweet taste. Its fine aromas and intense flavours will be sure to tantalize your taste buds.

As I step inside I was totally taken aback form the huge line up but fortunately, it does move fairly quickly. With the huge tv, it's perfect to hang out if you want to catch a game or hang out in their fairly large patio on warmer days. Plus they open until Midnight 7 days a week.

No fancy flashy coffee machine here, just the old sturdy block.

We each got a cappuccino and this is was a fairly "old-school" foamy version without the cute latte art. I found the foam/milk to airy for me which resulted in a not as smooth creation as I prefer while the coffee/espresso itself was slightly aromatic, I would prefer a darker roast. On a side note, I also noticed that all coffee places in Montreal will ask if you want sugar in your espresso drink while none will ask here in Toronto and most other places I visited (maybe Montrealer like sweet coffees) 

I would say it's not my cut of coffee but I'm still glad I tried.
But would love to come back just for the atmosphere and since we didn't get a chance to sit down this time.

Related Montreal Post:
Maison Publique [Tasting Menu]
Patisserie Rhubarbe [Bakery]
Au Pied de Cochon [French/Montreal]
Park [Japanese]

Café Olimpico on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 27, 2015

Comptoir 21 Fish & Chips [Montreal]

After several different friend highly recommending Comptoir 21 (@Comptoir21Fish), we just had to drop by and it end up being the first stop of our 3 day Montreal trip.

The menu is pretty simple with mainly Fish & Chips (duh) selection and includes other things like hotdog and burger for the non-fish eater.
Love the U-shaped bar table where the waitress can bring everything from kitchen to table. The space was rather small and you may need to wait a bit for a seat but the turnaround is pretty quick.

Homemade Clam Chowder $5.95
 We started with their New England style chowder and it was rich, creamy and super thick.

You can choose form Fish only, Fish&Chips, Fish&Poutine and Fish&Salad and comes in half size, small size and full size.
Large Fish & Poutine $15.95
This was the full size version which comes with 3 big piece of fish. It was light and fluffy in a crispy battered perfection plus love how the fish was piping hot when you cut into it. It also came with a choice of sauces and we choose the original tartar sauce and that was the only thing I didn't like about the whole dish. The tartar sauce was a tad bland with not enough "sour/tart" in it and wish they was bigger bits of pickles in it. The poutine was surprisingly good with the traditional thick gravy and cheese curds.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Roselle Desserts [Bakery]

Roselle Desserts (facebook & intagram)was the newest bakery in town and heard people says best eclair in Toronto, so I obviously need to make my way there.
Stephanie Duong & Bruce Lee are the couple behind these calorific creations, both graduated from George Brown and work at Michelin star restaurant both in Paris and Hong Kong. I can't help but have high expectation, we arrive late afternoon on Good Friday a few weeks ago.

The space is rather small, somehow I was expecting something bigger.
Love the limited selection, there was only 7 choices in the display case plus their special Mille Crepe. See how all the goodies are perfectly lined, that shows how much love is put into this place.

And more casual goodeis on the side to choose from, like brownies, marshmallows, meringue...

Banana Cream Pie Eclaire $7
~ Rum'd up banana, vanilla custard and whipped white chocolate
The éclaire shell was perfect and the caramelized bananas was so god, layered with so much flavors.

Monday, April 20, 2015

North America Craft Beer Experience [Contest]

I'm giving away a pair of tickets to 

I haven't been able to make it last year, so I am very excited to be attending this year since you know I'm all about local / craft beer and wine.
So I am excited to have been offered an extra pair of tickets to share with you guys (^_^) #cheers

NAC (North American Craft) is a Beer Agency that supports local, Craft and Out of Province Independent Breweries. Their job is to get great beer into consumers' hands. Join us on Friday May the 8th and experience some of the best craft breweries from across Canada plus a couple from the U.S., all under one roof! 

A portion of all ticket sales from this event goes directly to the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund

315 Queen Street East 

 Date & Time:
Friday May 8th, 2015
Ticket Details:  
$20 per ticket in advance or $30 at the door (subject to availability)
+ Sample Tickets at $1 each
Get your tickets here

Good Luck!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bar Raval [Spanish Tapas]

Bar Raval (@bar_raval) the much anticipated sister restaurant to Bar Isabel finally opens it's door back in February after a year in the making.

Chef de cuisine Crant Van Gameren has inspired and lead culinary trends in Toronto from the housemade charcuterie at The Black Hoof  to the start of the Spanish tapas craze of Bar Isabel, so you can imagine my excitement in trying out Bar Raval.

It's a stand only 40 person pintxo bar with no seating of any sort. There's someone at the door and no one is allow in unless there's space and be prepare to wait since the place packed up pretty quickly but lucky for us, we got the last 2 spots. Our coats were quickly checked in by one of the wait staff as soon as we walk in and we were told to find a table space squeeze in and in table I mean shelf, bar or wooden barrels. One we claim "our spot", people are surprisingly respectful of each other eating space which can get pretty crowded with all the little plates. I would recommend a hand-free bag since there's not much space to put your purse and wear something light since the place can get pretty hot with the crowd. I hope they do open up the patio when it get warmer.

You can't help but love the space with all the woodwork all surround the entire space, it's kinda a hipster-Gaudi space?! Ben said that it reminded him of Bilbo Baggins' (The Hobbit) house and I have to agree. (See more details about the architecture here). Love the kitchen window where the charcuterie hang and the chef peeking through from time to time.

Our spot by the window, love how there's still sunshine outside which make the picture so much better.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Four Barrel Coffee [San Francisco]

 San Francisco being a craft coffee city, we were excited to put quite a few coffee stop in our schedule and let's just say we have been over caffeinated the whole trip drinking 2-3 cup each per day. One of our stop was Four Barrel Coffee (@fourbarrel) at the Valencia location (Mission) after our breakfast here which was only a short walk away.

Wish we have huge coffee places like this, the one in Toronto tends to be so small and crowded. Love even thou they have a large space, they only had tables on the side with plenty of empty space to line up, it just felt so much more open.
Arriving at around 11:00am on a Friday, the place was packed with a constant stream of people and love how dog friendly it was with all the pooches hanging out indoor.

Two station with 2 line which is much more efficient.

And the Vinyl station at the back is just so cool, no iTunes here.

Perfectly pour Cappuccino with the perfect foam art ♥ and love the balanced flavor plus smooth foam.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

MIssion Chinese Food [San Francisco]

Being featured on No Reservations a few years ago and recommended by many, we just had to try Mission Chinese Food when we went to San Francisco back in October. Being on several best new restaurant list when it first open in 2012 and helmed by James Beard Award winning Rising Chef Danny Bowien, I had rather high expectations.

Although it started as a pop up, this end up being a rather permanent restaurant. Disguised as the Lung Shan Restaurant signage outside, it's best known for their take on Szechuan cuisine combining traditional Chinese recipes with new added ingredients.

Walking in a place like this, you would expect to be created by a Chinese waiter but instead you get a tattooed hipster waiter creating you at the door.

Tea Smoked Eel Roll $10
~ Fresh rice noodle, Chinese celery, salted plum hoisin, braised pork, cognac soy
This was refreshing but frankly I don't think it's fresh rice noodles since it was starting to get a tiny bit dry. That aside this was the most innovation dish among those 4 dishes we tried since the others were pretty standard Chinese dishes that I really don't see anything "new" to them.