Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Lisbon by Night

Lisbon by Night has a great All-You-Can-Eat Fish deal for $24.95 (excl. tax and tip)
Lisbon by Night

Fish Soup
Fish Soup
A pretty good start to the meal.

Sides
Salsa, rice and beans and potatoes
The salsa was refreshing and tasty with tomato, coriander and peppers - it was the perfect complement to some of the fish.

So the All-You-Can-Eat Fish buffet starts with the waiters serving you one of each type of fish first.They serve about 9-10 varieties of fish with the fish changing up daily. <Interesting Fish Chart>
The All-You-Can-Eat part of this experience happens after you're done trying one of each fish because then you can reorder more of your favourite kinds of fish.
Sea Bream
1. Sea Bream
The grilled sea bream was really delicious; the meat was sweet with a nice flaky texture. There were some tiny bones which made it a little difficult. It was definitely a fish I would order again.

King Fish
2. King fish <eat with salsa>
The king fish was a thick cut fish steak. The flesh was firm, meaty and didn't really have a distinctive flavour.

Sticklerfish
3. Marithes
These were deep fried fish that were fully edible (you eat the fish with the head and crispy bones).
I was a little queasy about eating the heads of the fishes (just imagining eating their eyeballs and brains at the same time was kind of gross). It was an interesting experience.

Salmon
4. Salmon
Something I would expect with a fish buffet. The grilled salmon was simple and delicious. It was quite a large portion too! (Great value for money considering most restaurants charge $20 just for the salmon).

Calamari
5. Calamari
The calamari was fresh and simply marinated. It had a gummy texture and was pretty sweet.

Fish
6. Turbot <eat with salsa>
The turbot had really delicate flesh and it was cooked almost to a mushy texture. I wasn't really a fan of this one, but it was different from the rest.

Porgi fish
7. Porgy fish <eat with salsa>
Relatively mild flavoured fish. It wasn't particularly memorable.

Stingray
8. Stingray
I was thinking of the Ocean's deadliest animals as I was eating this. The meat was pretty tough and it was nicely breaded and deep fried.

Shrimp
9. Shrimp
The shrimp were pretty big and cooked in a yummy garlic butter sauce. I would definitely get seconds of this dish.

Sardine
10. Sardine
It had a strong fishy flavour and was probably one of my least favourite fishes of the night.

After all the fish rounds (and seconds of the shrimp), we got dessert:
Grilled Pineapple
Grilled pineapple
Delicious caramelized grilled pineapple! Yummy!

Overall: Great all-you-can-eat fish experience at Lisbon by Night. Good value, quick service and there's live music entertainment on the weekends.

Dlish Cupcakes

March 6, 2013
The cupcake phenomena started in New York and it's building momentum in Canada. 
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Dlish recently opened up a location in Yorkville (making it more easily accessible by subway!)

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Coconut Macaroon
Coconut cake with light almond frosting and toasted coconut drizzled with belgian chocolate
The cupcake was nice: not too sweet or too weighed down with icing like Prairie Girl and the flavours were spot on. 

March 27, 2013

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Strawberry
Fresh strawberry cake with pure strawberry frosting
I really liked this cupcake - the strawberry icing was perfect without being overly sweet with the strawberries. The cake was great! I liked that they baked in strawberry slices to add texture and flavour. 

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Clockwise from top left: Pistachio cupcake (x2), Mint Chocolate cupcake and Chocolate marshmallow
I liked the mint chocolate with dark chocolate cake and mint chocolate frosting. It was pretty tasty.
The chocolate marshmallow with dark chocolate cake filled with marshmallow creme topped with chocolate ganache looked really decadent and had a marshmallow inside which was pretty neat. 

I was really excited about the pistachio (I'm obsessed with pistachio desserts)
 pistachio cupcake
Moist pistachio cake with honey-vanilla frosting topped with toasted pistachio slivers. 
It followed the standard Dlish cupcake style of being not too sweet. I thought it was nice that they paired a sweeter and creamy vanilla frosting with the chunkier and crumbly pistachio cake. 

Overall: The cupcakes at Dlish are not very sweet and they have great balance as well as a variety of flavours. 

Dlish Cupcakes Yorkville on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Hopgood's Foodliner

Roncesvalles (otherwise known as "The Roncy") has been known as a predominantly Polish area on the west end of Toronto. However, in recent years, it's been steadily gaining a reputation as a foodie haven with  a whole bunch of restaurants opening up in the area.
Hopgood's Foodliner was number 3 on Joanne Kate's Top 100 of 2012 and I couldn't wait to try their East Coast comfort food:
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The server was super knowledgable about the food and the specials. So much so, that we ordered 3 of the specials to start:
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Chicharrón
It was a huge piece of crispy and flavoured pork rind. I really liked the playful presentation of it; it made it easier for everyone got to snap off a piece of the crackling to try.

Crown Bacon
Crown bacon
Crown bacon is pieces of thinly sliced meat from the head of the pig. It looked a little like pancetta but it wasn't cured and it was a rather fatty cut of pork. It was really good and eating it with the garnishes made for a nice combination of textures and flavours. 

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Tuna Special
The tuna special came with crackers, seared tuna, egg yolk, shallots, capers and crème fraîche. It looked pretty simple, but when you combine all the ingredients together - there was just something about it that worked really well. Really delish!

Crispy Squid
Crispy Squid
An Asian inspired squid dish with sweet and sour sauce, zucchini and potato balls, a hint of jalapeños and toasted sesame seeds on top. There was definitely a spicy kick to this dish that I didn't expect when I saw "Crispy Squid" on the menu. 

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Halifax Donairs
Our server gave us a little history of Donairs in Halifax: when the Lebanese settlers first established themselves in Canada, they didn't have access to tahini like they did in the Middle East. Therefore, they had to improvise and the Halifax Lebanese created their own version of the white sauce popular on donairs. I've liked donairs (also known as doner kebabs) ever since I've had it in Berlin. This version was really delicious with tomatoes, beef, pork and a nice light white sauce. Chef Hopgood's donairs are probably the best I've had in Toronto - definitely a must try here.

Overall: Fantastic food with a great menu of classic dishes and adventurous options (smoked sweetbreads anyones?) and great service. In the words of one of my favourite TV shows: "You've gotta eat here!"

Friday, 22 March 2013

Ursa

I've heard great things about Ursa and couldn't wait to try it out. So after months of planning (and multiple attempts at scheduling), I finally made the trip there. 
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I was excited to see Elk Tartare on the menu since I've never had elk before and I really wanted to try it. 
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Raw - Kona Kampachi, Hazelnut, Apple, Daikon and Burdock
The kampachi was buttery, melt on your mouth deliciousness! Complementing the raw kampachi with the textures and tastes of the daikon, apple and hazelnut was brilliant.

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Elk Tartare - Charqui, Bitter Orange, Sumac, Pine Bark, Elk Velvet
I had pretty high hopes for this and I was not disappointed. It was amazing! I loved the combination of the elk tartare on the crispy thin crackers and fresh greens.

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Georgian Bay Whitefish with toasted barley, kohlrabi, whey, pickled turnip and cedar
I thought the presentation of the dish was adorable with the turnip tower. The meat of the whitefish was nice, sweet and perfectly cooked.

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Duck with smoked oat polenta, collard greens, pearl onion, coffeeberry and sea buckthorn
The meat was perfectly cooked to highlight the duck's gamey taste. It was done really well.

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Bolitto Misto with wild boar, rabbit, hen, berkshire pork, root vegetables, lentils, quince, kale gremolata
My first thoughts when I was presented the dish was "omg I signed up for an ugly meatloaf" until the waiter told us how we were supposed to eat it: you're supposed to mix it all together and eat it as a stew-like dish.
I loved it! I found it playful with an added element of do-it-yourself fun and after mixing it, I savoured my first bite because it was SO DARN DELICIOUS! It was perfect - the crispy kale, tender mix of meats, sauce. It was like the dish couldn't go wrong.

Overall: I loved Ursa! The food was fantastic (everything we ordered was great) and the service was attentive. It can get a little crowded in the tiny restaurant, but it's well worth the reservation.

Ursa on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Growing Season Juice Collective - Thunder bay

I feel like Algoma Street South in Thunder Bay (between Bay St.and John St.) has this hip, local and green vibe to it. There's all these cool murals and interesting restaurants like The Growing Season Juice Collective, Sweet Pea Home Catering and Restaurant and Bean Fiend.
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One of the coolest stools I've seen. It's real wood (and a rather wobbly chair).

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Big Life plate
We ordered this as a shared appetizer, but we weren't quite expecting this much food. 
There was the roasted garlic hummus with lentil sprouts, corn chips, pineapples, dry cured meat, marinated olives, strips of dill gouda cheese (probably from Thunder Oaks), bread, celery and carrots. 
The garlic and lentil sprout hummus was really good! It was even delicious when spread with combination of the gouda and cured meat on the bread. Yum!

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Living Salad
Fresh greens, in-house sprouted lentils, roasted tofu, avocado & pumpkin seeds & homemade sesame ginger dressing with local bread

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Harvest Salad
Fresh greens, in-house sprouted lentils, honey lemon drizzle, pear, chicken, feta cheese, homemade pesto & dried cranberries and served with local bread
The pesto sauce and the sprouted lentils added a nice earthy flavour to the salad and with the sharp feta cheese, sweet dried cranberries and crisp pear, it was so delicious! I could see myself eating this salad once a week and feeling great!


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Vegan gluten free brownie
I've never really had vegan gluten free brownies before...and this was interesting. I liked the icing, but the brownie tasted different - there was chocolate in it...but it was different. 

Overall: Amazing Salads! The food was really good, fresh and filling. 

The Growing Season on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Giorg Ristaurant - Thunder Bay

Many people recommended that we try Giorg Ristorante, so we finally made it there for dinner. The location is a little hidden: the restaurant says 114 Syndicate Ave. N, but the GPS kept getting confused around Miles St. and Syndicate North. It also doesn't help that Giorg's is completely overshadowed by the new Thunder Bay Consolidated Courthouse (we couldn't see past the construction). 
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Luckily for us, the restaurant was running a 4 course meal promotion for $39 per person
Prix Fixe

Caesar Salad
Giorg Caesar Insalata
Some people believe that the original Caesar salad was made with anchovies, so I was excited to try this version at Giorg's with anchovies. I liked the slightly tangy and salty dressing on the salad.

Fettucine alla Giorg
Fettuccine alla Giorg
It was a bowl of fettuccine, leek, chicken, pancetta, green onions all swimming in a rich cream sauce. It was really nice and quite filling all by itself with all the chicken and the heavy sauce.

Pollo Limone
Tilapia 
The fish was rather delicate and nicely flavoured with a pesto sauce on top. There were also garlic mash potatoes and medley of vegetables with grilled zucchini, mushroom and carrots. The vegetable medley was really good.

Tilapia
Pollo Limone
Lemon chicken was also the special of the day and the waiter described the chicken so well that I knew I wanted the chicken which was marinated in lemon and lime juices. It had a great acidic lemon flavour and  was tender and tasty. It also came with the garlic mash and vegetables.

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"Infamous" Giorg Nutball
It was a scoop of vanilla ice cream crusted in crushed walnuts and drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauce. All served in a nice martini glass. What a great way to end off the meal. 

Overall: Service was amazing; our waiter was very knowledgeable and his descriptions of the food made my mouth water. The food was fantastic and everything was quite reasonably priced despite the place being more fine dining.

Giorg Ristorante on Urbanspoon