Monthly Archives: July 2014

Summerlicious: Ouzeri

My university friend and I decided to have lunch at Ouzeri today. We sat at the patio out front. The inside is fairly large as well. The service is much to be desired. Our mains came soon after our appetizers. We only had a few bites of our appetizers before our mains arrived. We had to borrow table space from the next table since our table couldn’t fit both our appetizers and our mains at the same time. We also waited for awhile to get and pay our bill while the table near us got their bill settled before us even though we got our bill first and they sat down for lunch when we had just finished our appetizers. We also weren’t able to get our water refilled until the end of our meal. Summerlicious lunch is $15 and tax & tip. My friends got the soupa avgolemono for the appetizer, Rosemary chicken pie for the main and Yiaourti for the dessert. I got Mydia for the appetizers, calamari for the entree and Bailey’s creme caramel for dessert. IMG_3403 Soupa Avgolemono is a broth of chicken, rice, celery, whipped egg and lemon. My friend thought it was OK. IMG_3405Chicken Rosemary pie is tender pieces of chicken breast, onions and mushrooms slowly stewed in a rosemary and feta cheese sauce and enveloped in a filo pastry and served with a side of rice, potato and tzatziki sauce. My friend thought it was good. IMG_3408   Yiaourti is pressed Greek yogurt topped with nuts and honey poached figs. My friend enjoyed it. IMG_3404 Mydia is mussels steamed in red wine with garden vegetables, herbs and garlic and dowsed in Mediterranean red sauce. I enjoyed it. I thought it was more flavourful compared to the mussel appetizer served at Byzantium due to the herbs. IMG_3406 Kalamari is a choice of with grilled or deep fried calamari served with tzatziki sauce, rice, spinach, and potatoes and garnished with a lemon wedge. I choose the grilled calamari and it was tasty. The calamari here is just as good as the calamari at Destingo. IMG_3410 The Bailey’s creme caramel was nice.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, East York, Food, Food Festival, Greek, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summerlicious: Destingo

My friends and I had dinner here last night. This was a fairly impromptu dinner because we weren’t initially planning on eating here for Summerlicious. I had found out that Destingo serves rack of lamb for dinner for $25 and that was the sole reason why we decided to eat here. The patio out front is quite large however my friends and I were fortunate enough to get a table by the kitchen. We got to see the chefs at work. Summerlicious dinner is $25 and tax & tip.

IMG_3389

drinks menu

bread to accompany our appetizers

bread to accompany our appetizers

cream of mushroom soup

cream of mushroom soup

My friend got the soup of the day for her appetizer, rack of lamb for her main, coffee panna cotta for dessert. The soup of the day was cream of mushroom. My friend said it was reminiscent of the one we had at DT Bistro. IMG_3398 Two friends got the grilled calamari for appetizers, rack of lamb for the entree and tiramisu for dessert. The tiramisu was delicious and made with real alcohol.

I had the grilled calamari for the appetizer, rack of lamb for the main and coffee panna cotta for dessert. IMG_3391 The calamari is comprised of grilled calamari, Kalamata olives, capers and a side salad. The calamari was chewy and yummy. IMG_3396 The rack of lamb is comprised of tender New Zealand lamb in a fresh mint sauce and it’s served with roasted vegetables. I had it done medium rare. I thought it would be a whole rack of lamb rather than a few pieces of the rack of lamb. Overall it was quite delicious. IMG_3399 The coffee panna cotta is garnished with a slice of strawberry, afew blueberries and icing sugar. The coffee panna cotta was delicious.

Overall if you’re wandering around Queen West and in the mood for Italian/western food with delicious desserts and a nice selection of wine then Destingo is the place for you.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Toronto, Food, Food Festival, Italian, Restaurant Review, Western | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summerlicious: Five Doors North

Two of my university friends and I had dinner at Five Doors North last night. I had raved about this restaurant to one of my friends. Summerlicious dinner is $25 + tax & tip. We sat near the front of the restaurant near the tiny patio out front. We had noticed that their specials included elk. We were tempted to try the dish rather than go with the fix prixe menu.

IMG_3380

While waiting for our other friend we got the rosemary foccacia ($1/person) and a pitcher of sangria ($39.96). The sangria isn’t as good as the one I had in Toledo, Spain. It’s not as sweet as I would have preferred it however the alcohol is quite strong. The fruits used include green apples, oranges and limes.

One friend ordered the baked goat cheese polenta for the appetizer, grilled black tiger shrimp roasted corn salad for the entree and creme brulee for dessert. Another friend ordered the baked goat cheese polenta for the appetizer, Miami ribs for the entree and creme brulee for dessert. I ordered the grilled asparagus salad, Miami ribs and creme brulee. I was interested in the corn, sweet potato, coconut chowder however I decided to go with salad since a friend and I were splitting a pitcher of sangria.

IMG_3383

The Grilled Asparagus Salad is comprised of grilled asparagus, arugula, Olive Oil Poached Tomatoes, Gorgonzola Cheese and Chianti Vinaigrette. The grilled asparagus was tasty while the tomatoes surprised me since I expected it to be warm or cooked rather than cold since the asparagus is cooked. I never had Gorgonzola cheese before and I discovered that it has a really strong flavour since it is an Italian blue cheese.

IMG_3381

The baked goat cheese polenta is baked goat’s cheese with polenta, sundried tomato paste and pesto on a bed of arugula. One of my friends said that the sundried tomato is only on half of the polenta. Quality control for the polenta could be improved since we were all under the impression that the sundried tomatoes, like the pesto, would cover the whole area of the polenta rather than just a portion of it.

IMG_3386

Szechuan Marinated Miami Ribs comes with coleslaw. My friend thought it was too sour while I thought the coleslaw has a strong something to it. The ribs were good albeit too charred along the edges. I think I prefer their baby back ribs from Winterlicious compared to the Miami ribs.

IMG_3384

Grilled Black Tiger Shrimp Roasted Corn Salad comes with Chipotle Aioli. My friend enjoyed it.

IMG_3387

The creme brulee was delicious. The custard was nice and creamy while the top was a bit hard and crunchy.

I am definitely coming back here soon to try their elk if they still offer that dish. Overall, this is becoming my favourite midtown restaurant.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Food, Food Festival, North York, Restaurant Review, Western | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Agave y Aguacate

After wandering around Honest Ed’s, Koreatown and Little Italy, we decided to have dinner at Agave y Aguacate yesterday. We walked from the west side of Baldwin to the east side and we initially missed the restaurant. This is because the restaurant name is on the side of the restaurant with only the street number above the door of the restaurant so it’s easy to miss if you are coming from the west side for the first time. IMG_3368 My friend likened it to a tapas place since the portions at the restaurant are tapas portions and prices. We dined al fresco although the decor inside seems nice while all the furniture at the restaurant is made of wood so it gives it a rustic charm. The walls are this bright green that makes me think of warmer climes. The service was very friendly while the food was scrumptious. On the recommendation of our server, we decided to split the Tostada De Ceviche ($12), Camarones En Escabeche ($14) and Carlota De Limón ($8). IMG_3363 The tostada de ceviche is fish and carrot marinated in lime juice and mixed with tomato, habernero, onion, cilantro and served on a tostada with avocado and salsa picante. It was quite good. IMG_3365 The Camarones en escabeche is poached shrimps and banana tossed in escabeche de chile ancho and served with two slices of avocado with drizzles of crema fresca and seasoned with chilatas. The shrimp was tangy while the banana was sweet and when eaten together with the avocado, the flavours combine to create a nice piquant experience for your taste buds. I preferred this dish to the ceviche. IMG_3375 The carlota de limón is Mexican biscuits layered with lime custard and drizzled with Arbequina oil and garnished with lime zest and black salt. It was scrumptious.

Overall, if you want delicious Mexican food and you’re not afraid to spend abit more then I recommend this place.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Toronto, Food, Mexican, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summerlicious: MoRoCo Chocolat

My friend and I came here for Summerlicious lunch ($20 + tax & tip) today. While the decor is very nice and it makes me feel like I’m in a Victorian-era high tea restaurant, the food is lacking while the service could be better. At first it was difficult to flag down a waitress to place our order and getting water refills can be trying at times. I felt that the servers were attentive to all other tables but ours since people who sat down after us were able to place their order before us even though we were already ready to order. The food took awhile to come although we were forewarned about it. We spent 2 hours eating lunch at MoRoCo Chocolat and it was not because we were ever so slowly eating. The hostess had told a couple that they were fully booked from reservations so they couldn’t be served without reservations while I was waiting for the table but while my friend and I were waiting for our food, I noticed a number of empty tables around our table. I was attracted to MoRoCo Chocolat because their Summerlicious menu on the Summerlicious website states that the restaurant will be offering beet tartare with goat cheese and shallot mousse and champagne style terrine for the appetizers, lamb shank chocolate fettuccine for the entree and cheesecake, campari granite with candied citrus salad and pistachio marcaron and lychee and white chocolate frozen parfait for dessert. I chose to come to MoRoCo Chocolat from the myriad of restaurants offering Summerlicious lunch menus in Yorkville to try the lamb shank chocolate fettuccine because it’s the first time I heard of chocolate pasta. I was sorely disappointed.

The Summerlicious menu onsite is soup, kale salad or goat cheese salad for the appetizers, quiche, truffle mac & cheese or beef sliders for the entrees and berry cheesecake, dulce de leche mousse cake or lemon custard flan for dessert. I wanted the goat cheese salad and it was already sold out at 12:30pm so I got the kale salad cause the leek and potato soup didn’t interest me. My friend got the kale salad as well for the appetizer while we decided to split the entrees. We got the quiche and the truffle mac & cheese. For dessert we both got the dulce de leche mousse cake. IMG_3351 The kale salad was one of the most disappointing salads I’d ever eaten. I could make a better homemade salad. The ingredients also weren’t 100% fresh. The kale salad comprised of  kale, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, dried cranberries and a lemon Dijon vinaigrette. IMG_3353 The quiche came with a dijonaise green salad on the side. The quiche was fairly tasty although it was on the small side. IMG_3352 The truffle mac & cheese is composed of Truffle bechamel, fontina and cheddar cheese topped with buttery panko. I couldn’t taste the truffle at all but overall it was alright. IMG_3354 The dulce de leche mousse cake was absolutely delicious. It’s a chocolate mousse cake with dulce de leche and white truffle filling and dusted with graham crackers and chocolate and caramel syrup and garnished with a thin piece of chocolate. I had considered coming to MoRoCo Chocolat for afternoon or high tea but after this Summerlicious experience I’m inclined to stick with their desserts. Overall, I would only recommend this restaurant for their dulce de leche mousse cake.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Dessert, Downtown Toronto, Food, Food Festival, Restaurant Review, Western | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dessert Lady

I was wandering around Yorkville before meeting my friend for our Summerlicious lunch today. I decided to get some ice cream at Dessert Lady. They don’t allow photography in the store. Dessert Lady has a good variety of desserts. They make and sell cakes, pies, cupcakes, tarts, cookies, ice cream and macarons. There was a minion cake on display.  I found the selection of macaron flavours at Dessert Lady to be bigger than the selection at Moroco Chocolat.

They also have a nice selection of ice cream flavours including blood orange passion fruit, bailey’s hazelnut crunch, honey lavender, candied ginger, pistachio, raspberry sorbet, vanilla, chocolate and mango sorbet. I tried the blood orange passion fruit, honey lavender and coconut avocado macadamia nuts before buying an ice cream cone with a scoop of honey lavender and a scoop of bailey’s hazelnut crunch ($5.65 including tax for two scoops in a cone). It was delicious although at times the honey lavender overwhelmed the taste of bailey’s hazelnut crunch. The blood orange passion fruit ice cream tasted exactly like blood orange combined with passion fruit. It was quite delicious if you like both fruits. Honey lavender tasted like lavenders while the honey flavour was very subtle. The coconut avocado macadamia nut ice cream flavour was quite nice it’s coconut with macadamia nuts while the avocado flavour is subtle. I personally prefer the ice cream at Dessert Lady over the ice cream at Summers. I would come here if I’m craving ice cream or something sweet and in the area.

 

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Dessert, Downtown Toronto, Food, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Summerlicious: Shibui Robata Bar

Last night my friends and I ate dinner at Shibui Robata Bar. Shibui Robata Bar is owned by the same owners as Copacabana and they share the same hostess station. Shibui is located on the ground/basement floor while Copacabana is located on the upper floor. The lighting at Shibui is romantic while the decor reminds me of the ocean and being at a trendy beach-side bar. The washrooms have an interesting mural of beach pictures. The overall theme of the place is ocean. We sat at a booth table in the back corner. If you’re able to get a seat by the bar, you would be able to watch the chefs cook. The service was friendly and attentive. Summerlicious dinner is $25+tax & tip. Being a party of 7, tip was already added onto our bill so we paid $34.06. A word of warning, each bottle of water is $1. On the Summerlicious website, the summerlicious menu says that there is prime rib eye, asparagus and Eel Oshi Zushi roll however at the restaurant, the menu doesn’t state prime rib eye or eel oshi zushi roll (you can’t get it when ordering from a Summerlicious menu) and they ran out of asparagus at 7:30pm.

Kinoki Salad

Kinoko Salad

Left: pork belly Right: corn

Left: pork belly robata
Right: corn robata

A friend had the Kinoko Salad for the appetizer, Shibui Salmon Maki, pork belly and corn for the mains and mango gelato for dessert. The Konoko Salad is Soba noodles, enoki mushroom, ponzu dressing, daikon, carrots and cucumber. Shibui Salmon Maki is a sushi roll comprised of spicy salmon and tempura flakes with salmon on top. It’s quite good from the piece that I had. The pork belly is marinated with shichimi pepper. I thought it was quite delicious from the piece I had while my friend wasn’t satisfied with the meat to fat ratio. She didn’t think it was as good as I did since there was more meat than fat. The corn is marinated with yuzu butter sauce and it was quite good from the piece I had.

Sashimi

Sashimi

Left: sweet potato robata Right: lamb chop robata

Left: sweet potato robata
Right: lamb chop robata

Another friend had the Chilean Sea Bass Dumplings for the appetizer, sashimi, lamb chop and sweet potato for the entrees and Passion Fruit Mousse for dessert. He thought the dumplings had a really fishy smell to it. The sashimi is a trio of salmon, tuna and snapper sashimi. My friend liked how fresh the sashimi is. The lamb chop is marinated with a spicy Korean miso glaze while the sweet potato is marinated with red miso sauce.

Crispy Salmon

Crispy Salmon

Mango Gelato

Mango Gelato

A third friend had the Crispy Rice with Salmon for the appetizer, Pirikara Ebi Maki, filet mignon and sweet potato for the mains and mango gelato for dessert. The crispy rice with salmon is pan-seared sushi rice topped with salmon and garnished with a slice of green pepper. My friend thought it was delicious. The Pirikara Ebi Maki is a sushi roll comprised of avacado, cucumber, chili mayo sauce and crispy fried shrimp on top. The filet mignon is marinated with Shichimi soy sauce.

Left: Cremini Mushroom Robata Right: Pork Belly Robata

Left: Cremini Mushroom Robata
Right: Pork Belly Robata

Passion Fruit Mousse

Passion Fruit Mousse

A fourth friend had the Kinoko Salad  for the appetizer, Shibui Salmon Maki, pork belly and cremini mushrooms for the entrees and Passion Fruit Mousse for dessert. The mushrooms are marinated with teriyaki sauce.

Sushi N

Sushi Nigiri

Left: Cremini Mushrooms robata Right: Filet Mignon robata

Left: Cremini Mushrooms robata
Right: Filet Mignon robata

A fifth friend had the Kinoko Salad for the appetizer, Sushi Nigiri, filet mignon and mushrooms for the entrees and Passion Fruit Mousse for dessert. My friend thought the soba was very soft and smooth and the ponzu dressing was zesty for the Konoko Salad. Sushi Nigiri is a trio of salmon, tuna and snapper sushi.

Chilean Sea Bass Dumplings

Chilean Sea Bass Dumplings

Left: sweet potato robata Right: scallop robata

Left: sweet potato robata
Right: scallop robata

A sixth friend had the Chilean Sea Bass Dumplings  for the appetizer, Shibui Salmon Maki, scallop and sweet potato for the mains and Passion Fruit Mousse for dessert.

top: Ebi bottom: Salmon Maki

top: Pirikara Ebi Maki
bottom: Shibui Salmon Maki

Left: Filet Mignon robata Right: Sweet Potato robata

Left: Filet Mignon robata
Right: Sweet Potato robata

 

I had the Chilean Sea Bass Dumplings  for the appetizer, Pirikara Ebi Maki, filet mignon and sweet potato for the mains and Passion Fruit Mousse for dessert. The rabota dishes all came with a daikon/radish in a fancy shape and cucumber topped with carrots. It was quite tasty.

Although the a la carte prices are on the pricey side. I may come back again to try other things on the menu.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Toronto, Food, Food Festival, Japanese, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summerlicious: Byzantium

My university friend and I went to have dinner at Byzantium last night. Byzantium is located on Church St. near Wellesley. The decor is nice while the lighting is on the romantic side. There’s a patio at the back of the restaurant. The service was very friendly. My friend had raved about this restaurant to me earlier this year since she came here for Winterlicious. I was interested in her description of an alcohol dictionary at Byzantium. The alcohol dictionary wasn’t as thick as I first thought it would be but the alcohol selection is very extensive. Unfortunately it doesn’t list the price but conservatively, expect a martini to be roughly $11. Summerlicious dinner is $25 + tax & tip. There’s alot of choices (7 each) for appetizers and mains while there’s only 3 options for dessert.

French Martini

French Martini

Sex on the Beach

Sex on the Beach

IMG_3314 My friend got the salad of legend for the appetizer, baby back pork ribs for her entree and strawberry mousse for dessert. She also got French martini ($9.52) and Sex on the Beach. French Martini comprises of Absolut Vodka, Chambord and Pineapple Juice. The French Martini was quite nice and sweet from the taste I had. Sex on the Beach comprises of Absolut Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Orange Juice and Cranberry Juice. My friend enjoyed both drinks. IMG_3303 The salad of legend is a caesar salad with roasted garlic. The salad legend is simplicity at its finest. It’s composed of romaine lettuce, pieces of parmigian cheese, flatbread, house dressing and roasted garlic. My friend loved it. IMG_3307 The baby back pork ribs is composed of slow baked pork ribs that are glazed with a sweet onion and chipotle sauce and served with sweet potato pakoras and summer slaw. The ribs were quite good with a nice tangy taste albeit the edges were charred. The sweet potato pakoras were delicious. My friend thought the ribs were on the spicy side.

James Dean Martini

James Dean Martini

Pearl Necklace Martini

Pearl Necklace Martini

I got the Mediterranean mussels for the appetizers, the lamb burger for the main and key lime pie for dessert. I also got James Dean ($11.28) and Pearl Necklace ($11.05). The James Dean Martini comprises of Absolut Citrus Vodka, Cointreau, Brewed Green Tea, Fresh Grated Ginger and Simple Syrup. It’s very interesting. It has a very strong ginger taste while the green tea might as well be non-existent. I’m now curious about the taste of Yellow Jacket which is Jack Daniels, Kahlua, lemon juice and ginger. The Pearl Necklace is classified as a creamy martini. It’s comprised of Absolut Vanilla Vodka, Crème De Cacao, Frangelico, Butter Ripple, White Godiva and Cream. At first I thought there was tapioca pearls in my drink. It was nice and sweet although the creaminess faded after the first sip. IMG_3304 The Mediterranean mussels dish comprises of mussels with onions, fennel, tomato, garlic, wine and herbs. The mussels were quite good albeit the mussel pieces themselves are tiny. IMG_3308 The lamb burger comprises of an 8 oz lamb patty with red onion marmalade and goat cheese, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, red onions and 3 onion rings. It comes with a side of arugula drenched in oil and fries. I had the lamb patty done medium rare. The lamb burger is absolutely scrumptiously delicious. I was full from just the lamb burger. After the burger I had at W Burger Bar, this is the second best burger I’ve ever eaten.IMG_3316 The key lime pie felt like melted ice cream. Dessert is not Byzantium’s forte. I wanted to try their creme brulée trio but I wasn’t allowed any substitutions even though all of their desserts are the same price.

I would come back to Byzantium to try their Sunday prime rib special and their kangaroo fillet.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Toronto, Food, Food Festival, Restaurant Review, Western | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cafe Polonez

My university friends and I had dinner at Cafe Polonez last month. We arrived around 7pm on a Saturday and had to wait abit for a table. The restaurant is fairly big with fairly bright lighting while the decor is nondescript. They have a variety of Polish beers and alcohol at Cafe Polonez. My friend and I had the Homemade Kompot ($2.50). Another friend just got the Hunter’s Stew ($9.75). My friend had the Back Ribs ($15.25). I had the Platter for 1 ($19.95) so that I could try a variety of Polish cuisine.

IMG_3291

The Homademade Kompot is a non-alcoholic clear fruit juice. It’s made by cooking fruit in water. There were pieces of strawberries and pear in my cup.

IMG_3297

The Hunter’s Stew is slow cooked sauerkraut with slices of sausage and pork. It was very salty.

IMG_3293

The back ribs comprises of slow cooked pork ribs with onions and spices and it’s served with potatoes and a salad combination of fresh beets, coleslaw, carrots, and fried cabbage. I had one of the pork ribs and the meat was just soft, tender and fall of the bones. It’s comparable to the ribs I had at Five Doors North earlier in the year.

IMG_3294

The Platter for 1 comprises of 4 pierogi, bigos (Hunter’s Stew), Polonez Schnitzel and salad. The salad is a combination of fresh beets, coleslaw, carrots, and fried cabbage. Overall, the salad was sweet. The Hunter’s Stew was very salty. When I mixed the salad and Hunter’s Stew together to eat it, it’s quite good since the saltiness is cancelled out by the sugar. The Polonez Schnitzel comes covered in mushrooms. The Schnitzel was breaded pork loin. It was quite good but a tad bit too oily.

The pierogi are homemade boiled dumplings. I had one of each of the options: cheddar and potato, cottage cheese and potato, minced pork and Saurkraut and mushroom. I think I would have preferred if the pierogi were pan-fried. I enjoyed the cheddar and potato and cottage cheese and potato. I think the potato and cheese filling is just a classic pierogi filling. The Saurkraut and mushroom pierogi was quite good. I wasn’t a huge fan of the minced pork pierogi even though it is tasty in its own right.

Overall, if you’re wandering around Roncesvailles and craving Polish food then you should considering this restaurant.

 

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Toronto, Food, Polish, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Okonomi House

My university friends and I went to eat lunch at Okonomi House last month. I was under the impression that it was located on Yonge Street between Wellesley and College. I was sorely mistaken. It’s on Charles Street between Bay and Yonge Street and closer to Bloor than to Wellesley. The restaurant is abit on the small side. We all ordered the seafood deluxe okonomiyaki ($12.95).

IMG_3286

extras: bonito flakes and seaweed

extras: bonito flakes and seaweed

seafood deluxe okonomiyaki

seafood deluxe okonomiyaki

The seafood deluxe okonomiyaki comprises of tiger shrimps, imitation crab, scallop, squid, special sauce, and a dab of Japanese mayo. It was my first time eating okonomiyaki so I thought it was quite good. The portions may look small for the okonomiyaki but I was quite full from only eating half of it. The service is very friendly and prompt for a Saturday afternoon. If you don’t sit at the tables, you’d probably be able to see how the chef makes the okonomiyaki.

I would come back to try the beef okonomiyaki.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Toronto, Food, Japanese, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.