• [Food Post] Tsujiri Toronto

    Tsujiri Toronto's first North American outpost opened earlier this week near Bay and Dundas amid much fanfare. This is their first foray into a market outside Asia, but they are planning on expanding to other cities in North America in the future. I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek of some of the products that Tsujiri Toronto has to offer a day before its soft opening, and got the chance to chat with one of the managers, Tylor Shek.

  • [Food Post] Nordstrom Eaton Centre Opening Gala featuring Daniel et Daniel

    The gala opening epitomizes what Nordstrom is all about - great customer service and consistency of the brand. Hence why they partnered with Daniel et Daniel to be the official caterer of the Nordstrom Opening Gala, as both companies share the same ideals and business ethics.

  • [Food Post] Waterloo Food Tour

    The Region of Waterloo is home to many regions that inspire start-ups (such as Thalmic Labs), housing, and of course many restaurants. The Region is developing and propelling a movement alike many urban areas, by bringing innovative ideas and talented people together, whilst keeping the scenic and spacious rural landscape. Andrew Coppolino of www.waterlooregioneats.com (@WatRegionEats on Twitter) gave us a tour on behalf of Waterloo Region Tourism, with 4 set destinations in mind for the day.

  • [Food Post] Ebisu on Queen / Ebisu Toronto

    Ebisu Japanese Restaurant originated from Vancouver, as its first location opened in December of 2006. There are two locations in Vancouver and one in Richmond, along with two restaurants under the Kamei names. The brand itself is very well-known in Vancouver, and they hope to expand it in Toronto with this new outpost.

  • [Food Post] Dave and Buster's Oakville Grand Opening

    However, over the last two decades, much has changed, including the demise of arcade and game centers due the emergence of mobile phones and Netflix. The health movement over the last six years has also made Dave and Buster's traditional burger and fries menu far less appealing than what it was. With that being said, they have changed their food menu, and the options are now more diverse. The menu is rather extensive with items like shareable appetizers, side salads, beef steaks and ribs, pasta, sandwiches, and so much more.

  • [Food Post] Morals Village Mississauga

    Morals Village is a hot pot restaurant chain with over 600 locations in China. They opened their first Canadian location in 2015, and has since grown at a relatively rapid pace. About 1.5 weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Morals Village Mississauga Grand Opening Event. The Mississauga location is their 5th Canadian location, and they have plans to open another in Ottawa. With that being said, Morals Village prides themselves in providing top-notch quality and Szechuan cuisine influenced flavour with their hot pot offering.

  • [Event] The Royal Dinner with Chef Michael Bonacini

    The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair is now open until November 13, 2016 at the Exhibition Place, Toronto. Start the holiday season early by attending one of the largest combined indoor agricultural fairs and international equestrian competitions in the world. The fair takes place every November in Toronto, and it is where guests can enjoy the best in agriculture, local food, and equestrian competitions from across the country. There are so many things to do, and see at this year's The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair.

  • [Food Post] CNE Media Preview 2016

    Every Sunday, Montecito offers a brunch buffet starting at 11 am to 3 pm. Brunch isn't new at Montecito, but they recently revamped their brunch buffet, and added several new items to the menu. The 12,000-square-foot Montecito opened up its doors late 2014, and is a partnership between Hollywood director Ivan Reitman and Chef Jonathan Waxman.

  • [Travel] Satsuki and Mei's House from Totoro

    My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 animated production written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It's a childhood favorite of many people and I have seen many shops dedicated to selling Totoro merchandise while in Japan.

  • [Travel] Day #15 in Japan [Koyasan]

    A shukubo is an accommodation that allows you to stay in a Japanese temple or shrine for the night, and enables you to experience the culture. You are given your own personal room, and there are multiple washroom facilities throughout the temple.

Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being invited to the Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery for a 24 hour getaway. A small group of writers and food bloggers were whisked off to Niagara-On-The-Lake, where we enjoyed a tour of the Wayne Gretzky Estates' distillery and restaurant.



The Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery is a great destination for wine and whisky enthusiasts, but is also a fun learning experience for those who are newer to wine and whisky. The 23,000 square feet facility was designed by award-winning architect Gren Weis, who integrated rural context with contemporary designs. Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery includes a winery, distillery, tasting areas, retail store and hospitality spaces, and barrel cellar. Given the amount of available land, it was a very spacious facility. I have been to Niagara-on-the-Lake on several occasions, and I can definitely see why the city was chosen specifically for the permanent home of the Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery. The region has a rich history in wine excellence, the growth in wine tourism in the area and Wayne’s personal connection to Southern Ontario.
The new Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery adds to
APL
s significant investment and commitment to the Niagara-on-
the-Lake wine region. Niagara-on-the-Lake was chosen
specifically for the permanent home of the Wayne Gretzky
Estates Winery and Distillery because of its rich history in
wine excellence, the growth in wine tourism in the area and
Wayne

s personal connection to Southern Ontario.
Our first stop was to Queen’s Landing, a four-star hotel in Niagara-On-The-Lake, for a one-night stay. The hotel room was spacious with a Queen-sized bed, study table, couch and various amenities. I didn’t get to enjoy the hotel room as much, as after settling into our individual hotel rooms, everyone met in the lobby to board the bus to the Wayne Gretzky Estates to start the afternoon.  





There, we were greeted by resident mixologist, Zachary Kvas, who enthusiastically took us through a cocktail demonstration. His cocktail contained cinnamon, star anais whisky, and pumpkin syrup with Dillon’s Bitters. Afterwards, we followed him into a tasting room where we crafted our own signature cocktail using the provided ingredients and tools. We learned the importance of balancing the strength of the alcohol by adding a variety of different notes to the drink.



Our night continued with a Wine vs. Whisky dinner, which was held in their VIP Club Lounge. The dinner space overlooked the amazing views of the bar and vineyards. We were served a three course meal paired with wine and whisky that complemented each dish.


The first course was the Fall Minestrone Soup - spiced cheese straw, house prosciutto fresh mozzarella paired with Wayne Gretzky Estate Chardonnay 2013 and Indiana Jones and the Fennel of Doom.



Next up was the Ontario Lamb - whisky caramel pecan crusted lamb shank, grilled lamb sirloin, and merguez sausage and wine red cabbage with white bean and chorizo cassoulet, and fall heirloom carrots paired with Wayne Gretzky Estate Red 2015 and My-Mint of the Lambs.




The last course was dessert, which took place outside at the bar patio (near the 99 ice rink). There, we were treated to Gretzky Creamed Whisky Cheesecake Bar - caramel popcorn, dark chocolate, and toffee pear paired with Wayne Gretzky Estate Vidal Icewine 2016 and Wayne Gretzky Creamed Whisky.






The next morning, we headed to Trius, the winery on-site. Split into two teams, we went about checking the facility. The team I was on started off above ground, as we checked out how they ferment the grapes in wooden barrels. The second half of the activity introduced us to Craig McDonald (lead winemaker), who provided us with some of the younger white wines for tasting. The hands-on experience was a lot of fun, as we dwell into the art of wine-marking. Interestingly enough, the Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery's existing production facilities allow for the production of 313,000 cases of wines and 12,000 cases of craft spirits.





After the winery, we went back inside for breakfast. Breakfast was served buffet style, and there was a mixture of different foods such as house baked carrot muffins, granola, cow’s milk yoghurt, fresh strawberries, house made pork sausages, and ice wine cured and smoked salmon.



The day continued, and we jet off to meet up with Joshua Beach, the resident master distiller. Joshua Beach studied at Heriot Watt in Scotland, where he completed his MSc in Brewing and Distilling at one of the best schools in the world. We got a mini tour of the facility, and then it was off to the tasting room, where we got a taste of various flights.




Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery's design celebrates the rural landscape of Niagara with immense glass walls, light metal roof, stained wood siding and a mixture of concrete/stone interventions. Wayne Gretzky wines celebrate excellence in winemaking across our country, and they have great pride in their products. The wines are produced from the finest grapes developed by some of the greatest winemakers in the country.

Prior to our departure from the Niagara-On-The-Lake region, we were generously gifted with a gift box containing a bunch of Wayne Gretzky wines products including their newest product, Wayne Gretzky No 99 ‘Red Cask’ Canadian Whisky. It’s a whisky finished in red wine casks from the Gretzky winery. I had an amazing 24 hours, and thank you so much to Lori and Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery for hosting. 


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Disclaimer: The event provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.




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2nd Annual Nosh Food Tour with #HamOntFT

In recent years, Hamilton has become known for its booming culinary scene. To celebrate its emergence, the City of Hamilton introduced NOSH to the community late last year in 2016. NOSH stands for North Hamilton, Outlying communities, and South Hamilton, coincides with Small Business Week. It was created to showcase Hamilton's booming culinary scene. 
"Hamilton's emergence on a national scale is in part attributable to the rising food scene we have in the city," said Councillor Merulla, NOSH Honourary Chair. "From the restauranteurs, to the chefs, to the diners who are flocking to the various restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries, these great efforts are attracting more positive attention for Hamilton on a national scale, and I believed it was certainly time for the entire city to celebrate and support their efforts." - Councillor Sam Merulla
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to attend the 2nd Annual Nosh Food Tour with #HamOntFT where I was introduced to several local businesses in Hamilton.

The Beverly On Locke


Our first stop was The Beverly On Locke, one of the newest brunch additions on Locket Street in Hamilton.



Beverly Benedict ($14) - cheddar scallion biscuit, pemeal, tomato jam and grilled lemon hollandaise with side hashbrown


Bev's Classic ($14) - sausage, bacon, easy egg with American cheddar on a buttered egg bun


PB & J Big Pancake ($14) - bumbleberry jam, peanut brittle and peanut butter whip


Dundurn Castle Historic Kitchen Garden


It's a 19th century estate, which includes a working kitchen garden and historic kitchen. Produce grown on site is used for daily tours, workshops, and special events.




Pokeh

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 Pokeh is the first restaurant in Canada specializing in Hawaiian and Californian inspired poke bowls.

Green Bowl - tamari pickled shiitake, tofu, tamari/sesame oil, green/white onions, cucumbers, black/white sesame seeds, carrots, kale, edamame


 Spicy Poke - ocean wise certified ahi tuna, spicy Kewpie mayo, house pickled jalapenos, spicy sesame seeds, cucumber, onions, black and white sesame seeds, soy sauce and sesame oil


Henry Browns


Henry Brown's small batch ice-cream was established in the Hamilton Farmers' Market in 2015 to serve high quality, seasonal "from scratch" real dairy ice-cream and vegan sorbets made with organic, fair trade and local ingredients.



Cake and Loaf


It's a from scratch neighborhood bakery focused on using local ingredients to create delicious seasonal baked goods.


 Hambrgr

Instagram || Website

 Hambrgr was born with a commitment to its city and a promise for all - to make the best damn burgers you've ever eaten.

 Elk Crossing Burger - coffee rubbed Lakeland Farms elk, Dr. Pepper BBQ glaze, house whisky pickles, crispy smoked bacon, 2 year white cheddar, onion ring, butter toasted brioche bun and served with shoestring fries.


 Local Boar Pogos


Berkeley North

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Featuring seasonally inspired international dishes, creative cocktails and an enticing West Coast inspired restaurant atmosphere.

Slow Braised Lamb - lightly covered in a crispy panko and served on a roasted red pepper romesco sauce and finished with garlic sauce


The French

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 The French is located on the rejuvenated and vibrant street of King William in Hamilton. The French is a mix of classic and modern French cuisine.

Duck Yolk and Goat Cheese Ravioli - with porchetta di testa, chives, mustard and manchego cheese


   
Cappuccino ($4.50)


Merit Brewing

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Merit Brewing is Hamilton's only brewpub serving a rotating menu of progressive beer and house-made sausage.

Sausage Platter - each platter includes a link of each of our sausage, and 2 orders of fries, garlic pickles, and seasonal pickles



Nique

Instagram || Twitter || Website

Nique is a not just a restaurant. It's a family of young, passionate individuals eager to provide our customers with a dynamic and welcoming experience. Our approach to food and drink is inherently Canadian as it is reflective of the cultural mosaic that is Hamilton.

Sushi Nacho - Japanese inspired nachos with diced tuna on top of deep fried wonton wrappers, and finished with sushi fixings like pickled ginger, avocados, chilies and spicy mayo


Disclaimer: The event provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


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[Event Recap] Toronto Catering Showcase 2017

After last year's successful event, the food event came back bigger and better this year. Over 400 food enthusiasts came together to enjoy the 2nd annual Toronto Catering Showcase presented by EventSource.ca on October 15, 2017.


The Toronto Catering Showcase produced an amazing event this year with some of the city’s most talented culinary masters. The grand event once again took place at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, where guests got to indulge in culinary delights prepared by 12 of Toronto’s most notable catering companies. Upon entering the upstairs level of the Toronto Reference Library, we were warmly greeted by the front desk, and our tickets were scanned. Once inside, you'll notice that the room was filled with plenty of booths with a plethora of delicious cuisine for guests to enjoy.


This year's event was well-organized and I noticed that the arrangement of the venue differed greatly from last year's event. The bar was moved to the back of the room nearby where the Wellington Music group was playing. This provided a lot more walking space, and made the bar area less crowded. Additionally, the modern event space was given a more refreshed look with comfy leather couches and stand-tables giving guests more options for seating.

Ikonica
Photo Credit: Jackson Huang at Ikonica
Photo Credit: Ikonica
Photo Credit: Jackson Huang at Ikonica
The event was ideal for those looking for caterers for their next event, wedding, party, corporate planners, and those loving food. Each caterer prepared about 3 different dishes and desserts, where guests were able to sample each delectable culinary dish. All of the caterers at the show offer personalized culinary experiences and most do draw inspiration from global or current food trends. Tickets were priced at $65 per person giving each guest an all-inclusive pass giving a complete access to an afternoon of pure epicurean indulgence – no food tickets, no drink tickets, no other charges.





The Toronto Catering Showcase allowed guests to enjoy an afternoon of pure epicurean indulgence (pictures below). Besides the delicious dishes, the event also featured local wines by the renowned Peller Estates, and a wide selection of craft beer provided by Brew Box Co. Overall, the event was very well organized, and all 12 caterers were spaced out accordingly. There was a lot of room to walk around, and plenty of seating available. The event was also the perfect opportunity to scope out potential caterers for an upcoming event or wedding. However, it wasn't limited to those looking for event planning, Toronto Catering Showcase was fun for couples, families, and everyday culinary connoisseurs.

Please enjoy the food pictures from this year's Toronto Catering Showcase 2017 below. For more pictures of the fun, please check out the hashtag #TOCateringShow on Instagram and Twitter.

10tation Event Catering

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Veggie Dish - arugula, kale, romaine, herbs, quinoa, beet hummus, roasted grapes, baby cucumbers, chick peas, bell peppers, shallot dressing & crispy lentils


 Veggie Option - arugula, kale, romaine, herbs, quinoa, beet hummus, roasted grapes, baby cucumbers, chick peas, bell peppers, shallot dressing & crispy lentils


Moist Ginger Cake - red wine caramel reduction, cinnamon gelato, sponge toffee and pomegranate seeds


Daniel et Daniel

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Smoked Sabelfish - pistachio picada, roast grape, carrot and veloute. For pasta-lovers, butternut squash Involtini with vegan ricotta, parsnip cream, sage, kale, cherry tomatoes, squash seed gremolata, and crispy kale


Deep Fried Cheesecake - salted honey, gourmet drizzles, and micro macaron
 


Butternut Squash Involtini - vegan ricotta, parsnip cream, sage, kale, cherry tomatoes, squash seed gremolata, crispy kale


Drake Catering

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Charred Octopus - smoked paprika aioli, pickled peppers, hazelnuts & basil


Leg of Lamb - celeriac-mussel mousse, chestnuts & dill


Wild Mushroom Toast truffle, coffee oil, tarragon mascarpone & hazelnuts


elle cuisine

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Southern Style Chicken - Asiago and cheddar grits served saucy-style in a smokey chicken jus with hot trinity salsa, Andouille sausage and a crispy chicken skin garnish


Encore Catering

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 Soy-Glazed Miami-Style Short Rib - soyglazed short ribs, jackfruit



Sticky/Spicy Forbidden Black Rice - forbidden black rice, banana leaf fried shrimp, bicol, Thai chilies and coconut milk


en Ville Event Design and Catering

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi - with brussel sprouts, onion, oven-dried cherry tomato, and preserved lemon


 Braised Ontario Lamb Shoulder - fall vegetable and lobster bisque


Food Dudes

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Fall Perogiesweet potato, celery root, Colby cheese, sage brown butter, smoke sour cream and chicken crackling


Kiss the Cook Catering

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Smoked Pasta Cacio e Pepe Style - cooked fresh on site, flambéed with brandy, tossed in Parmesan cheese


Pumpkin Cheesecake


MaRo Catering

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Green Tea Tiramisu



Passion Fruit Lemon Curd Tart


Presidential Gourmet

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Okonomiyaki - Japanese Pancake with candied bacon, Japanese BBQ sauce, Kewpie mayo, nori, bonito flakes, pickled daikon and daikon sprouts


Pâté au Choux “Croquant” - dark chocolate raspberry ganache and macaron top


Toben Food By Design

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Vietnamese Slaw - crispy Brussels sprouts, heirloom carrot, red cabbage, radish, mango, tomato, pickled chili, 5 spice peanuts, crispy shallots and rice noodles, mint, thai basil and nuoc cham-beet vinaigrette


Whole Roasted Peking Duck - served with fresh cucumber, scallions, pickled carrots & daikon, hoixin sauce, chili sauce, duck cracklings, served on Chinese five-spice savory crepes


Treeline Catering

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Redwine-Braised Oxtail - on a Sweetpea and Roasted Squash Risotto, garnished with microgreens and shaved Parmesan


Muskokan Maple Butter Tart  


Guests enjoyed live music from Wellington Music.


It was a great pleasure to attend this year's Toronto Catering Showcase 2017. From the space, the menu, drinks bar, the live music, EventSource.ca did a wonderful job putting together the event this year. It was well-organized and I had a lot of fun attending the food showcase. Following on this year's successful event, I'll bet that they'll be back again next year.

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Disclaimer: The event provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


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