Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Magic Oven

Update: Location has been closed in 2016
The location on Wellesley offers a lunch menu with some 9" pizzas for $10.

Chicken Supreme Magic
with tomato sauce, grilled chicken, portobellos, roasted peppers, organic mozzerella
First of all, there were huge chicken breast slices! With most pizza places you get the tiny cubes of chicken, so I was quite pleasantly surprised. The pizza was really nice - crust was thin and crispy, there was quite a lot of the toppings and cheese and it was a sizeable portion. 
green peppers and red peppers and portobello mushrooms

Supreme magic
with tomato sauce, peppers, dry cured pepperoni, mozzerella
This was really good too! The dry cured pepperoni was really good. After eating this, I think I prefer dry cured pepperoni over normal pepperoni on pizza! My friend got the whole wheat crust, but we didn't really taste the difference in the types of crust between my normal crust and her whole wheat crust.

Conclusion: They have some really good glutten free and vegetarian options (unfortunately I was in a carnivorous mood), but the food is pretty good here and the service is quick - nice place for lunch or dinner.


Website: http://www.magicoven.com/home.php

Monday, 27 February 2012

Paese


Foccacia with a cannoli bean, beet and rosemary spread - really quite nice.

Grilled Octopus with grilled escarole, potato, mint, lemon, chili oil
We ordered a Grilled Octopus to start which was nice; the octopus was not too rubbery. There was definitely some spice from the chili oil on the octopus and while I really hoped the lemon and mint could take it away, it was much too strong for me. 

Pizza Polo with roasted chicken, butternut squash, sweet garlic and escarole
The thing I loved the most about the pizza was the great crust! It was thin but substantial and there was something different in the dough creating a great flavour and texture. The roasted garlic cloves brought a bit of sweetness to the pizza and the squash thins were artistic and interesting. The one downside was that the pizza didn't have enough sauce and it was too dry; it would have been nicer with some tomato sauce or something. Overall, the pizza was very unique and different, but I don't think I'd order it again. 

Ricotta gnocchi with roasted chicken, squash and mascarpone. This was absolutely AMAZING! Delicious cream sauce and perfectly tender and delectable gnocchi. It was probably one of the best pasta dishes I've ever had - WOW was it ever good! There was also quite a bit of chicken making the dish more hearty and butternut squash cubes were really well done because they weren't too mushy and you could definitely stab them with a fork to eat. This is definitely a Must-Try at Paese!

Striploin with mashed potatoes and greens. 
This was the special of the day. It was done quite nicely, but it was definitely on the pricier side $38 which is more expensive than some of my favourite steakhouses (and my favourite steakhouses do it better for less). 

Tiramisu with mascarpone cheese, savoiardi, marsala and espresso

I credit this restaurant with introducing me to a well-made tiramisu.
Over the years, the taste has been consistent and it's still absolutely divine - it makes you want to scrape every last spoon of the mascarpone. The Paese Tiramisu here is HEAVENLY - probably the best tiramisu I've ever had! I couldn't even find places in Italy that could compare to this version.  
The ladyfingers (savoiardi) are soft and soaked with the flavour of the marsala wine and espresso, but I never got the impression that the wine and espresso were overwhelming.  The layering is fantastic - each bite feels light, fluffy and packed with flavour. It's the perfect ending to a great meal, what a way to end the night!

Conclusion: Paese has a relatively simple menu (which is good if you don't like having too many choices). Based on the food we tried, it was ok overall. There were some great dishes like the ricotta gnocchi and tiramisu and some we didn't like as much. There's one thing's for sure: you HAVE to come try their Tiramisu because it's magnificent!

Websitehttp://paeseristorante.com/

Paese Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Friday, 17 February 2012

Tea Room @ Windsor Arms Hotel


 
The lovely table setting!

I ordered the Fu Man Chu tea which had the following description: "Beauty & the beast ~ the luxurious earthiness of Pu-erh serenely cloaks the beautiful Jasmine-scented pouchong ~ a setting for a palate of contrast & resolution."
It definitely had the underground earthy taste to it, I felt like I was drinking tea in a cave because it had that 
musty and cavernous smell. About the jasmine... I felt the earthiness overwhelmed the jasmine flavour but I 
could still recognize taste that it was jasmine tea. 

Eve's Temptation Tea 
An all fruit blend comprised of organic apples, mangoes, hibiscus and rose tips. Very nice and quite fragrant.
The Afternoon tea offerings

Delish! Bite size morsels of yummy-ness!
Smoked Salmon and Wasabi Sour Cream
with Salmon Caviar
&
Cucumber with Sundried Tomato Paste
and Dill Cream Cheese
&
Grilled chicken, Granny Smith Apples
Citrus Mayonnaise, Greek Yogurt & Chives

I loved the smoked salmon sandwich! It was my favourite of the three, the wasabi sour cream and smoked salmon combination worked really well. The cucumber and sun-dried tomato sandwich tasted like they used a sun-dried tomato & dill cream cheese. I thought this fell flat for me since I was looking forward to a classic high tea cucumber sandwich that you see in movies and TV shows, but we didn't really get that. Instead, we got a cucumber garnish, so I was pretty disappointed with the sandwich. The grilled chicken was okay, and I was surprised when I saw the menu after my meal since I didn't taste the granny smith apples in the sandwich, although it did have a little tangy taste - maybe that was apple sauce and the citrus mayonnaise?

Fresh Scones with Preserves 
and Devon Cream
~~
Goat Cheese
and Caramelized Shallot Tart
~~

When I first tried the tart (the tiny yellow tart at the top of the picture), I thought it was goat cheese and caramelized onions but it was caramelized shallots! I thought the tart was ok - I'm not really a huge fan of goat cheese, but the pairing of goat cheese and the caramelized shallots was interesting since the shallots mellowed out the goat cheese a bit. I thought that the tart was a little too flaky for my taste.
The scones were AMAZING, they were lemon and raisin and with the clotted cream and home-made strawberry preserves & blueberry preserves, they were heavenly! I totally demolished the spreads - mmmm so good!


Now onto the Petit Fours!
Raspberry pistachio cakelet is at the top, I found the cake layers were too hard (I could barely use my fork to cut the cake to eat it properly), but I loved the pistachio cream!
The red velvet cupcake at the bottom, I found was too sweet and the cake wasn't as moist as I would have wanted it.
From the top, the blueberry almond cake was deliciously yummy! I really liked the almond flavour of the cake and it was a great combination. I wasn't a big fan of the lemon meringue, but it looked really cute whipped up in swirls on top and torched slightly brown on one side. The sea salt caramel was SO GOOD! I loved how the sweetness of the caramel was balanced out with the sea salt and in conjunction with the chocolate cup - it was the perfect combination and it wasn't too sweet. The last item on the plate was a chocolate raspberry mousse using dark chocolate, it looked nice with gold flakes, but I wasn't a fan of the mousse since it was heavy on the dark chocolate (I'm a huge milk chocolate fan) and I thought it was way too rich for my taste & I didn't quite get the raspberry taste (except for the actual fruit on top).

Lastly, real whipped cream with strawberries. Yum! Light and refreshing - a nice way to end the meal. 

Originally when I first arranged the High Tea, I was expecting to have to eat lunch after, but I think with all the clotted cream, scones and mini-sandwiches, I was pleasantly surprised when I came out feeling like I ate a really filling meal. 
It was my first experience having High Tea, and I really enjoyed the whole experience at the Windsor Arms - it was very elegant, had a great tea selection and yummy snacks!  

Website: http://www.windsorarmshotel.com/tearoom/
Windsor Arms Tea Room on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Club Harie Baumkuchen

My mom's coworker, who recently came back from Japan, received a gift from her relatives in Osaka for Valentines Day:
Which she brought back to Canada in her suitcase 
and gave to my mom.
The box was gorgeous and inside was baumkuchen! From a place called Club Harie
Sadly the expiry date was February 12 - but we figured it would be fine.

It was a soft cake that tasted like sponge cake and we felt it was way too moist for a cake that should have expired a few days ago (makes you wonder about the preservatives that go into this cake). The fondant was sticky and melted (according to the website, the optimal location of Baumkuchen is the cool, dark place of 18 - 24℃). 
Regardless, we found that the baumkuchen from Club Harie didn't have as much flavour compared to Nenrinya's and definitely didn't have the same consistency and texture as Nenrinya.

Conclusion: Loved the packaging, but not so much the cake. 

Website: http://clubharie.jp/baumkuchen/

St. Thomas Roadhouse - St. Thomas, Ontario


Crispy Chicken Club on Ciabatta bread
 It was a toasted ciabatta with garlic butter which I thought was a nice touch. I liked that the portion size was large and it was fairly decent for a lunch meal and it was a good price of $6.99 + $1.79 for salad. 
I guess I'm kind of picky because I found that the chicken wasn't really crispy, the lettuce was kinda wilty and the tomato was mushy. Then again, I was in St. Thomas and it was an all right meal in a small town 1/2 hour outside of London. The Caesar salad was made with Renee's dressing, real bacon bits (well...more like real ready-made bacon strips cut into bacon bits and microwaved), but it had lots of cheese and croutons which was pretty good. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Thaifoon - London, Ontario

 

Pad Thai with Chicken ($11 excl. tax) and an extra $1.75 for the spring roll
rice noodle, egg, sprouts, cilantro, scallions, thaifoon sauce, lime, roasted peanuts

When I first tried the pad thai, I didn't like the sauce and it was only after I mixed in the peanuts and lime that it eventually tasted better. Unfortunately there wasn't enough peanuts and lime... 
I thought the pad thai was relatively bland compared to other kinds of pad thai I've tried before. 
The spring roll was crispy, but only had vegetables inside (I love the Vietnamese spring rolls with meat - hands down my favourite type of Spring rolls). I tried to add the sauce to make it taste better (the sauce was tangy and a little spicy), but it didn't taste any better after I had it. Overall, not really a place I'd recommend since they couldn't really make a tasty pad thai and it was super expensive especially for lunch.

Website: http://www.thaifoonrestaurant.com/

The Works - London, Ontario


I loved the interior of the restaurant - it was really different and I thought it suited the theme.

Yes, my water came in a measuring cup...

Strawberry Kiwi Milkshake
Great! I thought it was more strawberry than strawberry kiwi, but my friend Megs who doesn't like Kiwi said that she could "taste a kiwi tang at the end of a sip" - so I'll have to trust her word on it!

 Sorento Sunset - simple is sooo good - fresh avocado slices & Monterey jack - $11.93

First off - the menu here is INSANE! You choose your burger (they had Elk! Who does that?) and then your topping combinations (of which there is a crazy two-paged long list) and then your gourmet side (with some option for upgrades). It took me forever since it felt like I had unlimited options, but I eventually picked the Sorento Sunset with huge avocado pieces and gooey cheese on top of my chicken breast burger. It was really simple, good, and filling and the sweet potato strings were good - all served in a little trough box (so we can pig out). 

Overall, I really liked it here and apparently they're opening up a Toronto location soon - so there's something to look forward to.

 Website: http://www.worksburger.com/
The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro on Urbanspoon

Monday, 13 February 2012

Joe Kool's - London, Ontario



Snazzy little hang out in London

Mitch Albom! (Before he was famous)

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich 
Shaved ribeye, grilled peppers, carmelized onions, provolone topped with cheddar cheese sauce for $10.99 (excl. tax)
Fantastic! The juice from the sandwich kept dripping all over my hands as I ate it (good sign in a philly cheese steak) and there was lots of beef, green peppers and cheese all on a toasted bun. The soup was a cream of broccoli and slightly salty, tasted like canned cream of broccoli. 

The Just Huge Panzerotti
You could get your choice of 4 toppings with really great meat sauce and mozzarella. They took 20 minutes to make it but it was huge --> Perfect deep fried goodness for $15.99 (excl. tax). You definitely have to come try this out when you're craving a big meal (great value)

Overall, it's understandable why this establishment has been around for more than 25 years - good food, quick service and decent prices all conveniently located down town on Richmond Street.

Website: http://www.joekoolsrestaurant.ca/Index.php/
Joe Kool's on Urbanspoon

Covent Garden Market - London, Ontario

I just realized that London, Ontario has a lot of similarities to London, UK.
For one, they both have a Covent Garden Market:

We grabbed our lunch here and what a great lunch spot! There's so much offered here from Shawarma to Sushi, Churrasco Chicken to Chap Chae. 
It resembles St. Lawrence Market in Toronto...

View from the second floor (near the Tea Haus)

I grabbed my lunch at Nate's Shawarma which is near the west side entrance of the Covent Garden Market 
The plate is such a good deal for less than $10 including tax ($9.03 to be exact). 
You get to choose two sides, a meat and a type of hummus - there was a selection of roasted red pepper, dill, garlic and regular hummus. 

I chose the red pepper hummus (delicious) and the Tabülè and potato salad as my two sides. For my main course, I got the shish taouk which is a chicken skewer with grilled green peppers. The chicken was marinated well and jam packed with spices - it was really good, but it was slightly cold (even though I knew it was already cooked), they just didn't warm it up enough. The chicken pieces were huge so it was a big lunch making it a good deal! The Tabülè was much saltier than I was used to and I wasn't really a fan, but the hummus and potato salad were good.


On the south end of the Covent Garden Market, there is a bakery called the International Bakery-Deli-Cafe
My manager recommended the Orange rolls from here so I decided to try it. They had a Monday special where orange rolls were 2 for $2.39 excl. taxes - definitely worth a try. 
It was different and kind of interesting, the roll was kinda sticky and there were clearly orange rinds in the cinnamon roll-like bun. I think it was a little too sticky for me to fully enjoy and I wasn't really a fan (it could also be that it was kinda left in my purse until the end of the day).