Sunday, 24 May 2015

Bier Markt @ Shops at Don Mills

May 24, 2015

The Bier Markt at Shops at Don Mills was having a mussels promotion: $11 for 1 lb. of mussels and fries (half price) and other discounted dishes like their pork schnitzel. 
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A la Snob with pernod, leeks, tomato concasse, lobster creme
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Congo with Thai Red Curry, lemongrass, fresh lime and coconut milk
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Provencale with herbs, tomato concasse, shallots, garlic and white wine. 

Wow - after eating this, I totally understand why the Bier Markt at Shops at Don Mills had to do this promotion.  What a disappointment! the mussels were smaller and a lot of the shells in the bowl were empty of mussels. 
As for the broths: the A la snob was totally bland, we got a hint of the flavours but barely anything substantial because it was really watered down.
Then the Provencale didn’t have enough liquid, but based on the experience of the rest - this was probably the better of the three we had. 
The Congo was another disappointment - the flavours from the broth didn't soak into to the actual mussels.
The fries were pretty good at least.

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Pork Schnitzel
A little better than the mussels, still a little dry.  We were a little puzzled by the tomato sauce on top. 

Overall: Terrible meal at Bier Markt at Shops at Don Mills. 

April 6, 2012


The Don Mills location is very spacious and it has a hip and happening vibe to it. Every Friday night, a live band plays on a stage near the main bar.

We got the Markt poutine to share with house smoked chicken, Quebec cheese curds, Markt fries and Leffe Brun peppercorn gravy.
We were rather disappointed with this because there wasn't a lot of chicken and it really wasn't worth it for that extra $4. 

Schnitzel - panko crusted veal with grilled asparagus, yukon mash, tomato jam, lemon caper emulsion and veal reduction.
I found the schnitzel too dry even with the tomato jam and veal reduction. The portions were huge - but unless you had a good beer paired with the veal schnitzel it was just too dry. 

Mussels!

My friends all got different types of mussels (which made it fun to try a few of everyone else's meal). The mussels were tiny, but for some, the broth more than made up for the size.
In order of my favourites (between the 3 types): 
1) Congo with red Thai curry, lemon grass, fresh lime and coconut milk - absolutely delish! Some might say that the curry slightly overpowers the mussels, but I think it's a great combination with the spiciness of the curry complementing the mussels - really different and quite good! Why didn't people think of it before? 
2) A la Snob with pernod, tomato concass, leeks and lobster cream. I don't think the mussels worked as well with the creamy broth, but I loved dipping the bread and fries into the sauce.
3) Provencale with herbes de Provence, tomato concass, shallots, garlic and white wine. Simple and classic way of doing mussels. The blend of flavours was great, but I think here's where the small size of the mussels played a part because they just didn't absorb as much of the flavour of the broth. 

Overall: I love Bier Markt and the opening of the new location is definitely bringing something new and different to the Don Mills area. They're beginning to get quite a crowd on Friday nights for food, drinks and music - this could be the new IT place at Shops at Don Mills. If you're here though, I'd definitely recommend the mussels over some of the other items on the menu (and the beer selection is fantastic and the waiters are knowledgable - it's in the name really). also cool that they have Oyster Towers - I might go back to try that!

Website: http://www.thebiermarkt.com/
Bier Markt - Shops at Don Mills on Urbanspoon

Friday, 15 May 2015

Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake

My friends and I had tickets to the Opera starting around 7 giving us some time to kill after work.
We weren’t particularly hungry, so we thought we could check out the Japanese Cheesecake place that everyone's been raving about (and it's known for having an hour line up).
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We lined up for an hour and a half on the wet dreary day. When we got to the front, we found out that it wasn’t actually the cheesecakes people were waiting for - it was the madeleines which were the hold-up/bottleneck. The staff were baking their miniature sponge cakes out of one tiny oven.

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Since I was here, I figured I'd get the maximum amount of madeleines and cheesecakes (i.e. 6 madeleines and 1 cheesecake). 

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It's reasonably priced at $10. 
The cheesecake was soft and fluffy - almost sponge-like but more moist. 
And I really didn't like it.
I found the texture and taste strange and foreign. It didn't have the typical cheesecake characteristics in that it wasn't creamy, decadent or particularly tasty in any way shape or form.

I like cheesecakes with strong flavours (caramel, nuts, chocolate, strawberry, etc.) or a good fruit sauce or chocolate on top - so to go from that to a blandish cake was a pretty drastic change.
I love the richness of cheesecake and the versatility of flavours you can make it with → like the Cheesecake Factory cakes. I couldn't even finish this one cheesecake after I took it home - it was just too weird for me.

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The Madeleines 
These little cakes were very dry and also rather bland tasting. I would definitely not recommend the madeleines either.

Overall: I think Toronto is a little divided by the Cheesecakes (some people love it and others don't), but I know I won't be lining up for it for myself.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Cocina Lucero

Update: Cocina Lucero has been closed
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Combo Platter $10.50
Chicken Enchilada and Beef Burrito topped with sour cream & guacamole. 
Considering the size of the plate, I thought the portion size was rather sad.  It tasted okay, but it definitely wasn't worth the $10.50 for lunch (and Burrito Bandidos is right down the street too!). 

Website: http://cocinalucero.com/

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Pierre Hermé - Hong Kong

May 3, 2015
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Beautiful delightful Macarons! They're little morsels of sweet deliciousness.

July 27, 2014
J'AIME LES MACARONS!
Especially Pierre Hermé macarons:
I loved the box! It's so distinctively Hong Kong with all the landmarks.
Also, the macarons were flown in from Paris! Insane!
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The top column: (1) Infiniment Caramel (Salted Caramel), (2) Infinitment Jasmin (Jasmine Flower & Jasmine Tea) , (3) Mosaïc (Pistachio, Ceylon Cinnamon & Morello Cherry), (4) Infiniment Chocolat Porcelana (Pure Origin Venezuela Porcelana Dark Chocolate), (5) Infinitment Citron (Lemon), (6) Infinitment Pistache (Pistachio).
Bottom column: (1) Infinitment Chocolat Paineiras (Pure Origin Bresil Planation Paineiras Dark chocolate), (2) Montebello (Pistachio & Strawberries), (3) Jardin Mystérieux (mystery flavour), (4) Médélice (Lemon & Flaky Hazelnut Praline, (5) Infinitment Café Iapar Rouge Du Brésil (Red Iapar Coffee from Brazil) and (6) White Truffle Hazelnut

Of the assorted box of macarons, I really liked the pistachio (because pistachio macarons are amazing and I love the flavour of pistachios in desserts), white truffle hazelnut (the earthy truffle oil and hazelnut combination was really interesting and it grew on you as you ate it), lemon (citrus flavours are so much better in dessert), and the Jardin Mysterieux (which has licorice and another flavour - possibly strawberry?).
All the macarons were perfectly made and little delightful melt-in-your-mouth morsels, but the thing that makes Pierre Herme so unique is the constantly changing combination of flavours he offers in his desserts. J'ADORE!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Milestones @ Richmond Hill

We came to Milestones to celebrate my friend's birthday.  
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Spinach and Artichoke Dip
It looked pretty with the red chips and the matching red bowl.  The dip was thick and hearty and I liked that they had a salsa and sour cream option on the side, but overall I thought this dip was okay, but I've had better.  

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Grilled Chicken Penne Asiago
A rather oily pasta,but if you could forgive the oiliness - then it was pretty flavourful. 

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Butternut squash ravioli
A little strange with the tomato sauce and goat cheese dollops; I would have rather had it paired with a cream sauce instead.  I also would have liked a little more sauce because it felt a little dry. 

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Molten Lava Cake with a sparkler for the birthday girl! 
Complimentary cake - yay! 

Overall: I feel like I've had better experiences at Milestones in the past - this meal was okay, and the service was fine, but I felt like the Milestones experience wasn't all there with the delicious food and excellent value. 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Xtreme Taste

May 1, 2015
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Chicken with hot sauce, tahini, fattoush salad, macaroni salad and chickpea salad $5
Delicious and great value for money as usual! A pretty well balanced meal with the salads and the meat and it's really tasty.


July 9, 2014
I was looking for lunch options near the Yonge and Bloor area, when I found Xtreme Taste on Yelp! 
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The reviews all said that the food was super cheap and healthy, so I knew I had to give it a try. 
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It's a really small place: pure take-out food and yet so crazy busy! It was only when I got inside that I saw the two ladies working the counter with the food. I would totally wait in line again for the $5 meals!
Chicken with tahini and hot sauce
Chicken with 3 salads: chickpea, macaroni and potato $5
It's not a huge amount of food, but it's a pretty cheap option especially near the Yorkville area!
It's pretty healthy too since you can choose your options. 
I got the chickpea, macaroni and potato salads because everyone else in front of me was getting them. 
I really liked the chickpea and macaroni salad - very tasty, but the potato salad felt a little bland to me (until I ate like 4 huge coriander leaves). 
The chicken was pretty hearty and it was so much better with tahini and hot sauce! It's like the flavours just popped out more. 

Overall: A super cheap and healthy lunch option in Yorkville, no wonder there's always a line up! 

Xtreme Taste on Urbanspoon