Old School

Old School is the newly opened 24-hour eatery occupying the space that used to house Hudson Kitchen. The restaurant is a joint effort between Executive Chef Brad Moore and Chef de Cuisine Ian Kapitan. Brad Moore was actually one of the co-founders of School, the popular brunch restaurant in Liberty Village, but left in March 2015 for this new endeavor.


The restaurant is located on the corner of Dundas West and Palmerston, and will be open all around the clock. Currently, Old School is opened between 11am - 11pm, but their 24-hr service starts Monday, June 15, 2015.



Additionally, there's a small general store located at the back where customers can purchase sauces, pies, organic soda syrups, and fresh baked goods.  



I attended their media event about 2 weeks ago, and got the chance to check out both the food and space. The main focus at Old School will be barbeque, but they will also be offering breakfast, brunch, and lunch items on the menu as well. I was able to grab a plate of all of the items that were made available during the media event; ribs, briskets, sliders, and smoked turkey. Even though they were only tasting portion, I did enjoyed the food that I tried at Old School. My personal favorite was their beef slider; the patty was tender and quite juicy.

my BBQ spread - beef slider, BBQ rib, and brisket

milkshake
organic rootbeer
banana chocolate chip espresso muffin
brisket
peanut butter woopie pie and jalapeno biscuit
fried chicken
beef slider
I will have to say that opening a 24-hour restaurant is quite ambitious, as they will be offering breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. However, I am looking forward to returning to Old School to check out what they have to offer on their menu, and I think it's a great addition to the neighborhood.

Address: 800 Dundas St W Toronto, ON M6J 1V1
 
Social Media:

Website: http://www.oldschoolyyz.com/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/OldSchoolYYZ

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

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Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake

Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake is a bakery originating from Japan, and specializes in Japanese cheesecakes. They opened up their first North American location to much hype about a month ago on the corner of Bay and Dundas. Lineups were up to 2-3 hours long, and people even lined up in the pouring rain. I was fortunate enough to try the cheesecake without lining up, as J and I were gifted one by his cousin (thank you!).
 
Currently, they only offer three options; original cheesecake, madeleines, and dried cheesecakes (in a plastic cup). Additionally, there is a limit of one cheesecake and four madeleines per person. However, customers are more than welcome to line up again if they want a second cheesecake. 

The 6-inch cheesecakes are priced at $8.88 + tax (which is $10) each, and Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake only accepts cash as payments. The cheesecake was delightfully airy, light, and not too sweet. Personally, I thought that the cheesecake tasted a lot better chilled, so it's best to refrigerate for an hour or two before consuming. Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake now opens at 7 am, so if you want a cheesecake then go early.





Address: 598 Bay Street, Toronto, ON, M5G 1M5

Uncle Tetsu Japanese Cheesecake on Urbanspoon

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[Upcoming Event] Toronto’s Halal Food Festival 2015 (enter the giveaway)


Event: Halal Food Fest TO 2015
When: May 30th - 10AM - 10PM and May 31st - 10AM - 8PM
Where: The International Centre at 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga, ON L4V 1E8, Canada (Entrance 5)
Entrance Fee: There will be an entrance fee of $5 for ages 16-64. There is no entrance fee for children 15 and under and seniors 65 and over.
Sampling Tickets: There will be food booths that will be sampling their foods in exchange for a sample ticket. Sample tickets are $10 for 20 tickets. 

Did you know that Canada’s halal food market is currently estimated to be a $1 billion industry? It's no wonder that there's a food festival dedicated to halal food. The Toronto Halal Food Fest 2015 will return for its third years on May 30, 2015 - May 31, 2015. Notably, it is the largest halal food festival in North America, and the festival aims to showcase the best halal restaurants, along with other halal vendors in the city.

"Exhibitors include The Holy Grill, a halal food truck launched by Toronto chef Aleem Syed, halal burger joint Burger Factory and a chef collaborative with Sargent Farms. Some notable and diverse offerings from vendors include Belgian Waffle S’mores, Virgin Masala Margaritas, and Jerk Fried Chicken. In addition to food there will also be stage shows, workshops, and seminars on the booming halal food industry." [source: halalfoodfestto.com]



 What is halal? It's meat (excluding pork) that has been prepared according to Islamic guidelines.
 The two day event will take place at The International Centre (entrance 5), which is located at 6900 Airport Rd, Mississauga. Last year's event was attended by over 27,000 visitors, and the number is expected to be higher this year. Additionally, there will be more than 75 exhibitors on the show floor showcasing their delicious halal food and products. Both established and aspiring chefs can be found at the upcoming The Halal Food Fest 2015, so it's a great place to spend a weekend if you love food.

Some notable dishes from this year’s Toronto Halal Food Fest vendors include:

  ** The Holy Poutine (Spanish fries made with in-house halal chorizo, Spanish olives and other Spanish inspired ingredients from The Holy Grill, a halal food truck launched by Toronto chef Aleem Syed)
   ** Jerk Fried Chicken and Belgian Waffle S'mores from Chef's Life, sponsored by Sargent Farms
    ** The halal Lollypop Juicy Lucy from Burger Factory.

I will be on hand this year to recap all of the festivities, so be on the look out for my post after the event.

Social Media:

Website: http://halalfoodfestto.com/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/HalalFoodFestTO 

GIVEAWAY

[App] Grabb Mobile (enter the $50 giveaway)


Grabb is a free Toronto-based mobile app that allows users to pre-order and pre-pay for food.  The app is easy to use with its user-friendly interface that allows users to browse through the list of restaurants and their menus, select their order, and then securely pay for their order with just a few clicks. Additionally, the app also features a virtual queue, where you are able to see how many other people using the Grabb app are ahead of you.



Grabb wants to "revolutionize the way people interact with various industries", and never have to wait in line at quick serve restaurants and caf├ęs in downtown Toronto. The company aims to help customers avoid long lines during the busy lunch rush with their mobile app. The Grabb app launched in June 2014, and has since partnered up with several restaurants in the Queen St W or King St W areas.

People normally get about an hour for lunch, and they definitely do not want to waste any time waiting in long lines. This is where Grabb comes in, as they offer an easy solution to minimize the amount of times that customers need to wait in line. In regards to sensitive information, Grabb uses the same payment gateway company (handled by Braintree) as Uber, and AirBnB. Thus, ensuring that all users' credit information are safely stored and protected. Paying for food just got simpler.


The app's interface is very user-friendly, and easy to navigate. Paying with Grabb can be done in 5 steps.

Step 1: Choose your restaurant.
Step 2: Browse the menu.
Step 3: Order and pay (your credit card information is saved)
Step 4: Live updates of your order can be seen on the app (real-time notifications).
 Step 5: Skip the line & pick up!

  Grabb currently works with 26 restaurants in Queen West and King West core. Some of these restaurants that are accepting Grabb as a form of payment are Fresh Off The Boat, Aroma Espresso Bar, Hero Burgers, Mean Bao, Bacon Nation, Amaya Express, Busters Sea Cove, and more.

Bonuses:

Download the Grabb app, and use my promo code FOODAHOLIC for 25% off your order @ any participating Grabb restaurants.

Download: App Store
Download: Googleplay
Twitter: http://twitter.com/GrabbMobile
Instagram: http://instagram.com/GrabbMobile
Facebook: http://facebook.com/grabb.ca

About: Grabb was developed by Grabb Mobile Inc., a mobile marketing start-up based in Toronto. Grabb Mobile Inc. revolutionize the way consumers interact with the food and beverage industry.

My Personal Experience With Grabb

I was invited to test out the mobile app earlier this month. I was intrigued by the convenience of not having to wait in long lines for takeout orders. I really liked that the app provided real-time updates (push notifications) of the status of my order. The text message confirmation was helpful as well. Similarly to many other apps, they also provide e-receipts sent to your email with complete breakdown of your order.

I decided to get takeout at Fresh Off The Boat using Grabb since I was seeing a client in the area. I opened the app, and easily browsed through FOTB's menu (description of the item and price are clearly indicated). I ended up creating two separate orders to test out the functionality of the app. For my first order, I got the softshell crab sandwich ($15.95) - our famous softshell crab sandwich served with fresh cut fries and broccoli house slaw. Just a note that there's a small service charge (about 4% of your total order before tax) for the convenience, but it's not a huge amount. Don't forget to use my promo code FOODAHOLIC for 25% off your order.

I completed the transaction, and was quickly taken to the "Final Review" page where I was able to check out the queue time, prep time, and the time that the food is ready by. With the real-time notifications, I was able to estimate the time of when I should start walking to the restaurant. As expected, my order was ready for pick-up by the time I got there. It was a seamless transaction, and I did it all on my phone - without needing to take out my wallet. Lastly, there was an area in the back of FOTB solely for Grabb pick-ups, which I thought was a good idea. Grabb is an app that I will be keeping on my phone, as it will come in handy when I'm in the mood for pick-up at any of the participating Grabb restaurants.

It's a convenient app, especially for those who are often on the go, or can't afford long lunch breaks away from their offices.




                

My second order was the lobster roll ($13.95) - Maine style served with fresh cut fries & broccoli house slaw.



ith the food and beverage industry.

Giveaway Time

Enter to win $50 in Grabb credits to spend at any participating Grabb restaurants. Contest is open to all Toronto and GTA residents, and will end on 06/02/2015 (Tuesday) at midnight.

[06/02/2015] Thank you very much to those who entered the giveaway. Please be on the lookout for another major giveaway in the next 2 weeks, cheers :)



a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Disclaimer: The food and giveaway provided in this post was completely subsidized by Grabb. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.
 

Masamune Japanese Restaurant

 I don't find the cuisine in Mississauga to be all that great, as there are way too many chains and AYCE. This is my SO's go-to lunch place since he works up in Mississauga, and he recently introduced it to me. Masamune Japanese Restaurant is a small restaurant hidden away in a nondescript industrial plaza. Just a note that the place is a little harder to find if you're not actively seeking it out. The prices are slightly pricier compared to the average Japanese/Korean restaurants in the area, but the service and quality of the food was good.

We were quickly served a delicious array of bachan (side dishes) that is rather standard with Korean meals. 


 I also got an order of salmon maki roll ($5.95)  

 

They have an extensive menu offering both Japanese and Korean dishes. One of my favorite dishes from here is their soon du bu - soft tofu stew with vegetables and seafood in a spicy broth served with rice ($11.95). The dish arrived steaming hot in a stone pot, and they were generous with the portion of vegetables and seafood.


Masamune Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Paramount Fine Foods

Paramount Fine Foods is a popular Middle Eastern and Mediterranean chain of restaurants with several locations in Ontario. Their newest location on the corner of Cumberland Avenue and Bay Street in Yorkville just opened up yesterday. Additionally, the new 4,500 square feet location is the first full-service halal restaurant in the Yorkville area. This location of Paramount Fine Foods features a more upscale dining experience with an open concept kitchen and a wood-burning oven. I was invited over the weekend to attend their soft launch at the new location. This was also a charity initiative, as all tips collected over the weekend were tallied, and generously donated to the nutrition program at Jesse Ketchum Jr. & Sr. Public School.





The new space is both modern and inviting with wooden underlying tones, vaulted ceiling, a wall fixture of a cascading waterfall, and bright light. John and I were quickly seated by the hostess, and our server, took our drink orders. Along with our drinks, she also brought us a plate of two large pieces of pita bread. Most impressively, the pita bread is freshly baked in the stone oven throughout the day, and served hot. The pita bread is complimentary and served to all patrons.

Customers can also order a smaller portion size of hummus ($5.49) - chick peas paste, tahini sauce, drizzled with virgin olive oil. The hummus is great by itself, but even better when paired with the fresh pillowy pita bread.






We decided to start with an order of falafel - mix of ground chick peas and sesame seeds, golden fried with a side of tahini sauce ($.99/each piece). Falafel is a deep-fried ball made from ground chickpeas, and is a common dish eaten through the Middle East. It's commonly served in a pita, but it can also be eaten on its own as an appetizer. The falafel balls were served hot, and had a nice crunchy exterior. I found the inside to be quite moist, and full of flavor.





Despite its prime location in Yorkville, Paramount Fine Foods continues to offer a wide choice of quality and healthy dishes at reasonable prices. Deciding on a main dish was difficult, as I was impressed with the variety of Middle-Eastern dishes that they offered such as sandwiches, meat platters, and manakeesh. In the end, I opted for the Chicken & Beef Shawarma ($14.99) - a mix of chicken and beef shawarma served with garlic sauce and tahini to make for a perfect meal. Each shawarma platter is served alongside rice, but customers have the option to substitute it with fries or salad. As I had already ordered a plate of fries earlier to start, I decided to change my side dish to a garden salad, which was an extra $1.50.

The portion of the dish was pretty substantial, and was a good value for the price. It came with a giant pita bread topped with a large mound of meat, and a healthy dose of greens. I thought that the thinly shaved pieces of chicken and beef offer a great mixture, and the meat was flavorful. Only a few pieces of chicken were slightly on the dyer side, but it still tasted good. Additionally, the creamy and garlic sauces worked well with the chicken and beef shawarma.





J got the lamb ($19.99) - two skewers of in house marinated iamb. char-grilled to perfection and served with a side of hummus





French fries ($3.99) - fresh cut daily from whole potatoes.





Paramount Fine Foods is pretty much providing a taste of the Middle East in Yorkville, and based on what I've seen, they're very passionate about their food. Overall, this new location of Paramount Fine Foods offers an extensive choice of fresh, healthy, and high quality halal menu items. I enjoyed my meal, and definitely left feeling full and satisfied. The food was solid, and the restaurant is a great addition to the thriving cultural district of Yorkville. Paramount Fine Foods is open Sunday - Thursday : 8:00am - 10:00pm, and Friday - Saturday : 8:00am - 11:00pm.

Thank you to the staff of Paramount Fine Foods for the amazingly warm and great service that night, and Stav for the invitation. I had a wonderful night trying out the new Paramount Fine Foods location.

Address: 1250 Bay St, Toronto,ON, M5R 2B1
 
Social Media:

Website: http://www.paramountfinefoods.com/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/paramountfoods

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

Paramount Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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