Saturday, 22 February 2014

Les Chateaux Bakery

Hidden inside the New Kennedy Square Mall at Highway 7 and Kennedy is Les Chateaux Bakery:
Les Chateaux Bakery

The egg tarts come in two kinds of crust: cookie crust and flaky crust.
Egg Tarts
I love egg tarts, and I was spoiled last year in Hong Kong.
Sadly, these were nothing close to the delicious egg tarts I had before. However, I will say that Les Chateaux Bakery is probably one of the better egg tart places in the GTA. The egg custard is relatively firm, but the quality of the crust just isn't consistent. Oh well, the search continues...

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Museum Tavern

My second Winterlicious restaurant this year was Museum Tavern
Museum Tavern
(*Items I would recommend and/or order again)

Albacore Tuna
Albacore Tuna Tartare with citrus, avocado, radish, green onion, chive, sesame cracker
Really light and a refreshing way to start off the meal. 

Truffled Mushroom Perogies with lardons, caramelized onion, sour cream

Buttermilk Fried Chicken
*Buttermilk Fried Chicken: thigh, leg, wing, 24 hr. brine, maple mustard dipping sauce
A huge portion for an appetizer and the maple mustard dipping sauce was delicious!

Ribs Ribs
Spicy Sticky Maple Baby Back Ribs with fresh chillies, green onion, french fries, slaw
A little more sweet than spicy baby back ribs - definitely  interesting and very sticky.

Steak Frites
Steak & Fries with 8 oz. flat iron, tavern sauce, fries, slaw
The tavern sauce was delicious and the steak was good, but there were a ton of soggy fries I couldn't finish.

House Crafted Game Sausage with elk, wild boar, lamb, caramelized onions, spinach, spaetzle, tavern sauce

Carrot Cake
Carrot Cake
Nice classic cake with cream cheese frosting

Sugar Pie 
*Sugar Pie
The sugar pie was delicious! A nice way to end off the night

Overall: A nice and filling meal at Museum Tavern -  a good deal for $25.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sun Star Chinese Cuisine

There's always been a Chinese restaurant at the corner of the Bayview Woods Plaza. I just haven't been there in a while. 
Sun Star Chinese Cuisine

Ginseng and pork bone soup
Ginseng and Pork Bone soup
Wow, I haven't had ginseng in a while (especially in soup). A nice way to start the meal. 

Jackknife clams in black bean sauce
Jackknife clams in black bean sauce
I really like jackknife clams especially with black bean sauce - something about the way the salty and garlicky black bean sauce works well with the sweet and chewy clams. They were tossed with some green onions to make it sweeter. The portion was a little small for a Chinese restaurant dish. 

A staple of Chinese food - you've always got to order your veggies dish. It was cooked in a plain and simple style with minced garlic.

Pineapple and beef stir fry
Pineapple and Beef Stir Fry
I really loved this dish: crispy snow peas, sweet and juicy pineapple, cut carrots and well-seasoned beef. How could you possibly go wrong? Mmm pineapples and beef...

Chinese Deep Fried Chicken
Chicken was a little bony and there were maybe 5 pieces with a good chunk of meat
The shrimp chips on the side were not very good. 

Overall: Regular meal at a Chinese restaurant - it wasn't anything special, but the food was decent and they had some good options like the pineapple beef.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Cibo Wine Bar

It's a special foodie event that happens two times a year in Toronto... of course it's Winterlicious time! 
(*Items I would recommend and/or order again)
Rosemary focaccia with olives on the side

Tiger Shrimp
Black Tiger Shrimp in a Spicy Wine Garlic Tomato Sauce
Nice appetizer to start; it was like a shrimp martini (only without the classy martini glass). 

*Baked Eggplant with Melted Bocconcini + Parmigiano, Light Tomato Sauce
I really liked the eggplant parmigiana. It was soft and mushy inside with a light crust on the outside and the tomato sauce and cheese baked on top - Yum!

Arugula + Prosciutto di Parma with Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, Red Wine Vinegar, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 

Tonno Scottato + Caponata with Seared Ahi Tuna, Grape + Black Olive Salsa, Green Beans
The tuna was really nicely presented (although I wasn't a big fan of the spotted plate and small portion)
It wasn't quite big enough for an entree portion (more like an appetizer side), but the tuna was lovely and the green beans were crisp and the salsa was nice. 

Chianti Ribs
*Chianti Braised Short Ribs with Porcini Crusted Beef Short Ribs with a Creamy Gorgonzola Polenta + Crispy Onions
Of the entrees we tried, I would probably choose the short ribs over the tuna. The short ribs were really tender and fell off the bone. I liked that it was served on top of a bed of smooth and creamy polenta with crispy onions on top to provide sweetness and contrast. Again, the portion size was definitely not dinner sized.

Panna Cotta
*Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Candied Blood Orange + Tangerine
Again, I wasn't particularly impressed with any of the desserts, but if I had to choose one I would go with the panna cotta. I'm not a fan, but I loved the concept of the candied blood orange and jelly panna cotta

Risotto Pudding
Dark Chocolate Risotto Pudding and Hazelnut Brittle
The risotto pudding looked like mush, but there was a lot going on top of the pudding with the blueberries, raspberries, chocolate shavings and hazelnut brittle - it didn't really save it though. 

Tiramisu Martini: A Venetian Classic
Very powdery and lots of whipped cream. It doesn't really save the dessert when it's more fluffy than substance. The best tiramisu is still Paese.

Overall: For $25 (excluding tax and gratuity), I thought it was an okay meal, but it wasn't very substantial or filling. The inside was really nice and pretty busy on a Friday night - I guess you pay a premium for the King Street West location. 

Monday, 3 February 2014

Toronto's La Poutine Week

I'm so glad they decided to celebrate the awesomeness of poutine for an entire week in Toronto! 
I was so ready to hit up as many places as I could for poutine week. 

My first stop was 
The Carbon Bar
The Carbon Bar   Interior of Carbon Bar
It's a really nice place inside - ambiance is pretty great. 
Oak wood Smoked Pulled Pork NY Butt, Pork Gravy topped with Quebec Cheese curds
Wow - they served the poutine in a cute little pan with tongs on the side. 
Despite the loads of cheese on top, it couldn't hide the fact that it was a shallow pan of fries making it a really tiny portion for $10. Also, it was rather on the salty side; it would have been nice if they had a less salty gravy to balance out the salty fries and cheese. 

Next was the
 Triple A Bar
Triple A  Menu
Totally different environment - It was a typical country bar (all I needed were jeans and cowboy boots to fit in).
Unfortunately, they had some issues with the fryer that night so we were warned by our server before hand that the food might take a while. We decided to wait for our poutine since we were celebrating poutine week and all that. A long while later...we got our meal and then our poutine.
Chicken and Waffles
Chicken and Waffles
Sweet sauce on top of a chicken drumstick and chicken thigh on top of square cut waffles. 
It was okay - I had better chicken and waffles in Edmonton. The syrup was sweet, but nothing really special and the waffles were a little soggy rather than crisp on the outside and chewy inside. 

Hand-cut Fries smothered in real Cheese Curds, Gravy and topped with Texas style Smoked Brisket
I have two words: Salt Overload. Ouch - this was brutal to eat. The meat was barely there and the salty fries were just swimming in oversalted gravy. It might have been made worse with our sugary chicken and waffles, but this was really just too much. 

Overall: Given my experiences with the two restaurants I tried for La Poutine Week, I called off the poutine-fest. I think I'll stick to one poutine place every 3 days next year (so I have time to recover from the salt overdose) rather than attempt 2 a day.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Panera Bread @ Shops at Don Mills

Panera Bread is a big bakery chain in the U.S. and recently started expanding into Canada in the last 4 years.
Side Greek Salad
Greek Side Salad
Fresh ingredients always make the difference in a salad, but the Greek dressing was a little sour. 

Cream of Broccoli soup in a Sourdough bread bowl
Cream of Broccoli in a sourdough bread bowl
I loved the concept of the sourdough bowl! It's so much better when the bread fully soaks in the savoury soup. The soggy bread is so much easier (and more enjoyable to eat). The broccoli soup was thick and chunky with all the ingredients. I wish the soup had some cheddar cheese to make the taste sharper. 

Turkey Chili in a sourdough bread bowl

Turkey Chili in a Sourdough Bowl
Turkey chili just isn't the same as the hearty beef chili; it's missing that meaty full-bodied flavour. 
There were more than enough beans, but I think it was a little watered down and I was missing my beef. 

Half a Sierra Turkey Sandwich
Turkey Panini
The Sierra Turkey sandwich has mixed greens, chipotle mayo on focaccia
Rather blah sandwich - the focaccia wasn't anything special and the turkey and greens were simple. It was missing that punch of flavour from the mayo or the sauce. 

Chips and Baguette
Potato chips and a baguette piece (part of the You Pick Two combo)
Smallest baguette I've ever seen...

Overall: It was a pretty mediocre meal, but I'm glad I found a place that serves soup in a sourdough bowl (even if it was pretty pricey here). 

Panera Bread on Urbanspoon