Posts Tagged With: mussels

Beer Bistro

My friend and I decided to have dinner here afew days ago. It’s brightly lit with a typical western restaurant decor. The restaurant doesn’t have alot of tables when their “private room” is booked. My friend and I sat at the bar which gave us a direct view of the variety of brews offered and the 2 TVs broadcasting the playoff games. I got El Diablo mussels ($20), a flight of beer ($6) and dragon stout & skor ice cream ($6).

The El Diablo mussels are mussels that are steamed in an abbey blonde beer broth with slices of chorizo sausages, cilantro, tomatoes, smoked paprika and a large dollop of crème fraîche. It comes with a loaf of Cantillon Sourdough bread to help soak up all the sauce. It has a nice hint of spiciness and it was quite a large portion of mussels. The portion size is perfectly filling to eat for dinner on its own compared to other mussel offerings at the other restaurants that I’ve tried.

I got Samuel Adams Cold Snap, Rodenbach Grand Cru and the Shillow Beer Co. Sass on the Side for my beer flight. The bartender recommended that I drink it in the following order: Samuel Adams Cold Snap, Shillow Beer Co. Sass on the Side and finally the Rodenbach Grand Cru. The Samuel Adams Cold Snap is a light-bodied wheat beer with hints of plum, orange peel, coriander and hibiscus. It tastes like a lager and it goes down well. It has an alcohol level of 5.3%. The Shillow Beer Co. Sass on the Side is a brown ale that’s bitter. It’s pretty good but I prefer my beer to be less bitter. It has an alcohol level of 5.6%. The Rodenbach Grand Cru is sweet and sour and very wine-like. While at times it was abit too sour tasting, it is a nice wine beer. It has an alcohol level of 6%. Of the three beers I tried, I like the Cold Snap the best followed by Rodenbach Grand Cru.

The dragon stout & skor ice cream was quite chocolatey however it tasted similar to the sound of their cookies ‘n cream and chocolate stout ice cream.

My friend ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding ($9) for her dessert. The sticky toffee pudding has
x.o. caramel sauce and it’s topped with vanilla bourbon ice cream. She really enjoyed it.

The next time I come back, I would try the Belgian fries, tiramisu and a different selection of craft beer.

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

Borealia

I made reservations at Borealia for dinner this past Saturday. The restaurant, located on Ossington near Queen West, is quite small and only seats 45 people so I figured that’s it’s best to be safe than sorry. The service was attentive and informative. The decor is fitting for the cuisine which is Aboriginal fusion or Canadian cuisine. We sat in a little booth-like nook table that’s sandwiched between the large group table and the window nook table and booth tables. It had a view of the kitchen and the booth part of the table had a nice log cushion. The table was oddly shaped but roomy for 3 people. Based on the reviews I read online, we ordered the chopsuey croquettes ($6), red fife levain bread with cultured butter ($3), braised whelk ($14), pemmican ($15), L’éclade ($15) and pigeon pie ($23). We were forewarned that the portions were small.

Chopsuey Croquettes are deep-fried mini balls of sticky rice, Chinese sausage, soy sauce, ground beef and duck gizzard. It was scrumptious and although there were 3 in total, one for each of my friends and I, I could have easily ate it all since it was that enjoyable. It was the top 2 dish for my friends as well.

Red Fife Levain Bread & Cultured Butter is a kind of sourdough bread with butter that’s dusted with caramelized onion powder on the side. It was alright, my friends and I prefer the chopsuey croquettes alot more.

Braised Whelk is a massive whelk shell that was on top of a burdock salad with beurre blanc sauce inside the shell along with 3 skewers of succulently grilled sea snails. The beurre blanc is made with white wine, rice vinegar and seaweed. The sea snails were grilled to perfection. It was perfectly chewy but cooked thoroughly. I poured the beurre blanc sauce from the shell onto my portion of the burdock salad and it was delicious. One of my friends considers this to be his favourite dish amongst the six that we ordered.

We ordered the bison “pemmican” bresaola dish because of elementary school history classes regarding the fur traders traversing Northern Ontario to the Prairie provinces and sustaining themselves on pemmican. The pemmican is a bison bresaola with shaved lard and sweet blueberries with mint leaves and a blueberry juniper vinaigrette. It was quite tasty and definitely worth a try. You should eat a piece of the bison bresaola on its own without any blueberries or mint leaves and then with the blueberries and mint leaves since the initial method would allow you to fully savour the meat while the second method enhances the meat.


L’éclade is mussels that’s smoked in pine needles and drenched in a pine ash butter sauce. It’s served under a cloche and the server will lift the glass dome allowing the pine-scented smoke to escape for your viewing pleasure. It’s the first dish I’ve ever eatened in which the cooking method involves a smoking gun. The mussels were soft and succulent although the pine ash butter sauce had a bitter aftertaste. My other friend considers this dish to be his favourite amongst the six.

Pigeon Pie is a savoury pie that’s stuffed with dark squab meat, spices and parsnips that’s served with seared squab breast meat and roasted parsnips on the side. Although the meat is abit gamey, it was delectable.

I recommend the chopsuey croquettes, braised whelk and pigeon pie. You must try the l’éclade and pemmican at least once. The next time I come, I’d be interested in trying the smoked pickerel, pan-roasted trout and hot chocolate beignets.

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

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: 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

la favorita

My university friend and I were wandering around Little Italy in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon. Stonefaced Dolly’s and Two Six Ate both declined us for not having reservations for dinner. We ended up eating at la favorita. It’s fairly dim inside and the decor is quite rustic for an Italian restaurant. We were given a basket of bread and butter once we’ve ordered. I didn’t have any but my friend did.

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My friend had the Veal Piccata ($22). Veal Piccata is thin slices of milk-fed veal that’s sautéed in white wine and lemon sauce and served with either potatoes and vegetables or pasta. My friend didn’t find it extremely filling.

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I had the Deep Ocean pizza ($16 for a small). The Deep Ocean pizza has Alaskan king crab, mussels, shrimps, scallops and lobster for the toppings. It’s baked in a wood-fired oven. I found it to be a fairly thin crust pizza and it’s quite delicious. The small pizza was very filling for me.

If you’re in Ottawa’s Little Italy, this is the restaurant to go to for seafood pizza and pizza in general.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Food, Italian, Ottawa, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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