Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hakata Shoryuken Ramen [Japanese]

Ben won a coupon for Hakata Shoryuken Ramen (@hakatashoryuken) and being the ramen addict that he is, he jsut had to try it out right away. I am also rather curious to check it out since there so many competition around and this one seems to be non-Japanese operated.

They offer Hakata style Tonkotsu Ramen which is is one of the richest tasting ramen. The broth are made in house and it takes over 12 hours to get all the flavors. I saw a video they posted on their facebook page here where they actually smash the bones to get all the flavors out.

It's only fitting that there's Street Fighter artwork at a place call Shoryuken (aka Ken's Rising Dragon Fist). Love the Ramen weilding characters.

Chashu Lover $13.00
(+$1.00 for Black Tonkotsu Broth $ $1.50 Egg)
The black tonkotsu broth was delicious and the chashu was fatty melt in your mouth goodness, it is very different from the other ramen places. It's more braised to perfection with soy flavor to it, no grilling here.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A La Carte at the Gardiner Bistro [Brunch]

I was invited to A La Carte at the Gardiner Bistro to try out their brand new Brunch menu.

Love the open space with the floor to ceiling windows especially on this sunny day. Tables are also sparsely space which allow a more intimate meal/conversation.

Bread comes with their own Zaatar spice mix and olive oil for dipping.

Grilled Cheese $19
~ Brioche, melted brie, duck breast, tomato jam served w/ baby green salad or soup 
I can't never resist bread nor cheese, so it's normal that I love grilled cheese sandwich and add duck to it, yummmm. Love the perfectly grilled bread without the tiniest burnt and love the tomato jam instead of the tradition tomato soup. My only complain was that the salad was over-dressed.

L is For... Private Dinner Experiences

I was lucky enough to be invited by Yvonne aka th3hungrycat 為食貓 (@th3hungrycat) to her Private Dinner Experience with Chef Eyal Liebman (@LisFor_) and his partner both in business and in life Sommelier Rebecca Meir-Liebman (@RebeccaSomm) of  L is for...

There's a few way the food & wine pairing goes:
1) They will provide the wine and food pairing
2) They will come to your cellar to choose a few bottles and create a menu accordingly
3) You have choose specific bottle and ask them to do a pairing.

They are probably two of the most honest and nicest people in the industry, they are just so passionate. This was such a fun, yummy and educational night.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chef's Plate [Meal Kit]

You know I'm a fan of meal in a box concept especially since I never have time to go groceries shopping. I was lucky enough to be contacted by Chef's Plate (@chefsplateca) to try out their version.
They have the option of 2 Person Plan or a 4 Person Plan and for $10.95 per plate, it definitely cheaper than most take out.

All ingredients for each dish are provided pre-measured except basic like oil, salt and pepper. All the recipes include specialty ingredients uniquely sourced and developed by our Executive Chef Jason Rosso. Chef Rosso resume include being head chef at Sassafraz, co-hosting Restaurant Makeover, Mentor chef on Recipe to Riches and guess judge on Top Chef Canada. With that kind of resume, there's no doubt all the dishes will be tasty.

Curried Lamb Meatballs
This was the 4 person plan, which I got 2 sets of below ingredients.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dark Horse [Coffee]

Dark Horse Espresso (@darkhorsecafe) moved to a brand new bigger location just a few steps away from the original location (see my old post here) late last year. This location replaced the original store where it all began 8 years ago.

Taking over the ground floor of a new condo building, the space is bright with huge windows. It combine the new industrial ceilings with more rustic vintage elements that reminds you of the old spot. Love the long communal wooden bar that runs almost the entire length of the room.

You may recognize this big communal table with the bolted diner stools from the old location, it looks much more appropriate in this larger high ceiling space. And I can't help but love the wood accent wall that accentuate the space and the huge Tom Dixon Studio Punch Ball Pendant light.

The coffee and baked goods haven't change and they are still using the same Mirage machine. But theu have also added pour over, Chemex and drips coffee at this location.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Asparagus Tour

 Last month, I was lucky enough to be on the Asparabus tour to Norfolk County (@NorfolkTour), organized by Steven Hellman of Foodies on Foot (@foodiesonfoot) along with Asparagus Farmers of Ontario (@onasparagus). With the perfect weather, it's all worth taking a day off work for me where I get to learn everything about local Asparagus and get a taste of other Ontario's offering.

First stop was the Welsh Brothers Farm where we were given a quick 101 on Asparagus which was very interesting and all new to me. Did you know that with ideal weather, an asparagus can grow up to 10 inches in 24 hours period? The Asparagus seasons in Ontario only runs from May to June but we still manage to grow 12 to 15 million pound per year which is more than $25 million crop.

At the fields, we watch as seasonal workers from Mexico were harvesting the asparagus with only a butter knife. It's harvested by hand because they only pick spears that are taller than 9" and let grow anything shorter. We were also given more Asparagus facts such as how it is a long lived crop that can be productive for 15-20 years if given proper care. And did you know that no pesticide is needed for asparagus and only herbicide is use to get ride of weed around it.

We also got to pick a few spear to eat fresh, frankly I never really had raw uncooked asparagus before but it was so delicious.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sip & Sizzle 2015 [Niagara-on-the-Lake]

I am so glad to be back to Sip & Sizzle (@NiagaraWine) for the second year which took place every weekend in May. As usual, love the passport event like this where I get to discover some local wines (see my post from last year here). This year we only went for the day and we definetly broke our our record and visited 19 wineries out of the 25 participating.

Whimsy Anniversary
~ paired w/ Meatballs in saffron-almond sauce
Southbrook tends to be our first stop every time we are in NOTL and w wanted to start our day with a tasting since I got some tasting passes from pass events. We end up tasting most of wines and my favorite is still the 2004 Poetica Chardonnay which I already have in my collection, I end up buying the 1/2 bottle of 2012 Triomphe Cabernet Franc which had such a ripe fruit flavor to it.
The tasting started off strong with a fortified at 15.9% made from NOTL grown Chardonnay harvested in 2001 &2002 then fortified with neutral grain spirit followed by extended natural ageing. This is the first time I had fortified wine and although strong, it was extremely aromatic with a very earthy fig honey aroma and not much acidity.

2013 Trius Riesling
~ paired w/ Jerk Pork Sausage
Couldn't resist, bought another Magnum 2012 Trius Red and kind of regretted of not buying a reg bottle to drink it now. Also bought their 2013 Showcase Outlier Gewurztraminer which won Gold at this year Ontario Wine Awards which was very delicate yet complex at the same time. It has a richness and depth of flavor that you can't find in previous years, not too sweet with a touch of welcome bitterness.

2012 PondView Unoaked Chardonnay
~ paired w/ Chilled beef brisket salad w/ cucumber, carrots & radish on Belgian endive w/ a creamy Chardonnay dressing
Love the dish and the wine but not together, the wine tasted rather bitter after a bite.

2013 Gamay Cabernet
~ paired w/ Charred tomato & melon gazpacho shooter topped with sheep's feta
Def need to try to replicate this shooter at home, wish this was pair with a lighter refreshing white instead that matches the dish.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

$50 Elephant & Castle Gift Card [Contest]

 Elephant & Castle (@elephantcastle) is launching a brand new summer menu and I've got a $50 gift card to giveaway to one lucky reader/follower!

With 12 locations across North America including 2 in Toronto, both very convenient located and it's hard to resit the $5 pint special from Sunday to Thursday from 11am-3pm.
While they still have their regular menu, here's a look of their special summer menu.

Spicy Tempura Shrimp $13
~ light tempura batter, sauced w/ a spicy chili aioli & garnished with togarashi seasoning

 Mediterranean Chicken Wrap $13.50
~ shawarma style grilled chicken breast served in a garlic naan bread w/ lemon feta spread, lettuce, onion, tomato, banana pepper, pickle, chopped parsley and tzatziki + a side

 Steamed Mussels $14.50
~ a full pound of mussels,s teamed in a light beer cream sauce w/ garlic, onion, chilis, lemon juice and bread on the side

 Honey Dijon Salmon Salad $15.50
~ oven roasted, honey Dijon marinated 6oz salmon filet, romaine, arugula, radishes, cucumber, onion and sundried tomatoes tossed in a creamy Parmesan vinaigrette, topped w/ shaved Parmesan and toasted pine nuts


Good Luck!!!

THR & Co. [Brunch]

We just happens to be in the area and was looking for a place for lunch 2 Sundays ago and we notice THR & Co. (@THRandCo) have their cute patio open, so we went in without hesitation since it was a nice sunny day and I know it's going to be good (see my previous post here)

Cornbread & Jam
This was fresh, moist and yummy! Good on it own but even better with their homemade jam.

French Press Coffee

Shrimp & Soft-Cooked Cornmeal Grits $15
~ poached egg, Andouille sausage, Sofrito & crispy shallot
I ordered this and definitely think I made the best choice, the sauce was perfectly hearty yet not too heavy with the grit, love how they use shrimp instead of other meat which make it more refreshing for the patio weather.