[App] Ritual

 [Updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2016]

Ritual is a smartphone app that people can use to pre-order their meals or coffee for pick up. They recently introduced an updated reward program, which I think will please many of their frequent users. Now when you order lunch or dinner at your favorite restaurants on Ritual, you collect points that can be redeemed for $ towards free food and drinks at any partner on their network. 

Ritual members will receive 10 points per every $1 spent on regular purchases on Ritual for coffee and meals. Once, you have collected 10,000 points, you are free to redeem it for $10 towards any Ritual partners. More information on the reward program here.

Everyday Benefits

10 points per $1 on purchases
Frequent offers to earn up to 3000 points on many purchases
You can get up to 20x points on certain purchases
 Access to Ritual exclusives like secret menus, member-only events, and more


Ritual Elites

Make 8 purchases a month to unlock and maintain Ritual Elite status.
 1.5x the points on regular purchases
A dedicated concierge on stand-by to assist with your orders
Special recognition from partners and an enhanced app experience
A surprise on your birthday (1000 points)  



1000 Points

Once you've collected 10,000 points you can start redeeming them towards your favorite food at any restaurant. No fees, no strings attached. 




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 Cashless payments have become more prominent these past few years, as the world is now more digitally advanced. Personally, I have several apps downloaded on my iPhone to make life easier for myself. So, I was interested in using the app when I was first introduced to Ritual, a new mobile food ordering app. The Toronto-based app, Ritual, was launched earlier this year. The one thing that stands out about this app among their competitors is that they're catering more to the urban professionals working in the downtown core of Toronto.

The app aims to eliminate the amount of time needed to wait in lines, and to make the overall takeout process more seamless. Most young professionals (like myself, and others) have only an hour for lunch, and I am sure they do not want to spend most of their lunchtime waiting in lines. This would be where Ritual would come in handy, as ordering lunch can be done in three simple steps (as shown in the cartoon below).


Ritual allows users to conveniently pre-order and pre-pay for their food on the app. The Ritual app for iOS and Android eliminates the need to wait in lines, as customers can easily order the food from their work desk, and then simply go pick up. It's easy to use as you choose your restaurant, order the food, and pay with the app. There is no service fee, but Ritual does have a discretionary tipping option (if you want to tip the restaurant's employees). Presently, Ritual is strategically focusing on downtown Toronto, as they have partnered up with several popular restaurants within the Queen West, King West, Entertainment District, and Liberty Village areas. Some of the participating restaurants are Banh Mi Boys, Khao San Road, Fresh, P & L Burger, Mean Bao, Rose City Kitchen, Milano Coffee, Kinton Ramen, Babur, and many more. For a full list of participating restaurants, click here.

Another great thing about the app is that they sometimes offer special menu items (secret menu) with some of their partnered restaurants. These items are only offered if you order through the app. 



Additionally, the app uses location services, so it will give you a list of the closest restaurants within the vicinity of your current location. I was given the opportunity to try out the Ritual app for lunch, and one of the closest restaurants to me at the time was Banh Mi Boys. All payments are made within the Ritual app, as your credit card information are safely encrypted, so there are no need to bring out your wallet or cash.  Overall, I found the Ritual app to be user-friendly, and has well designed functions.

Ordering was super easy! I browsed through Banh Mi Boy's menu, and selected my food items. I was then taken to a screen where I customize my orders (spice level), and also had the option to add sides. I completed the transaction, and was quickly taken to the "Review" page where I was able to see the total owed, and had the option to tip as well. Once that was completed, I clicked on the "Place Order" button below, and waited for the real-time notifications to let me know when I should leave the office. The whole ordering process was quick, and my food order was ready for pick-up as soon as I arrived at the restaurant.

Banh Mi Boys



         



Milano Espresso Bar





The One That Got Away




 To get started, just download the free Ritual app on the Apple Store, or Google Play, set up your account and profile, and plug in your credit card payment information. Don't forget to turn on the phone's location services, as Ritual uses your current location to prepare orders at the right time so your order will be ready when you arrive.

Lastly, Ritual encourages all users to use social media by using the hashtag #myRitual to showcase their food. Feel free to check out all uploaded photos IG using this hashtag at https://instagram.com/explore/tags/myRitual/.

Social Media

Download: App Store
Instagram: https://instagram.com/ritual_co
Website: http://www.ritual.co/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ritual_co

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

Royal Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Royal York

Earlier last week, I had the pleasure of attending a Royal Afternoon Tea in celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday inside Fairmont Royal York's Royal Suite. Fairmont Royal York is known as the Royal Family's choice of residence when they visit Toronto, and the Royal Suite is where they would stay in. Dining in the Royal Suite was an incredible experience, and I am thankful for the opportunity.

Fairmont Royal York is an upscale hotel in the heart of downtown Toronto at 100 Front Street West. They have been providing afternoon tea service since they opened in 1929. Afternoon tea is served in the Library Bar, and takes place every Saturday & Sunday with seatings at 12pm, 12:30pm and 2:30pm. Reservations are highly recommended.

 

Before we got to the tasting, we were introduced toExecutive Chef Robert Mills, who recently revamped the afternoon tea menu. Having had their previous tea menu, I like this one better as it's definitely more refined. Afternoon tea is $50 per person, and please note that they cannot accommodate substitutions for afternoon tea.

AFTERNOON TEA MENU AT FAIRMONT ROYAL YORK

Fairmont Tea Selection:

Fine Selection of Premium Fairmont Loose Leaf Teas

Scones: 

Traditional Cranberry Scones with Devonshire Cream and a Selection of Preserves

Traditional Finger Sandwiches:

Smoked Salmon Mini Bagels with a Citrus Aioli
Chicken Celery Salad on a Sundried Tomato Brioche, Caramelized Pecans
Open Face Grilled Seasonal Vegetables on Pretzel Bread with Hummus 
Organic Cucumber with Pink Peppercorn Cream Cheese 
Smoked Aurora Turkey Breast on Brioche with Cranberry Aioli and Arugula

Selection of Pastries:

Chantilly Swans with Fresh Berries

Mini Guava Chocolate Cups
Mini Meringue Tartlets
Mini Dark Chocolate Truffle Torte

$50 per person


Like most traditional afternoon tea, it's served on a three-tier stand. The first course is from the bottom tier, which consists of traditional cranberry scones served with Devonshire cream, and a selection of various preserves. The scones were freshly baked, moist, and contained nice crumbly edges. Absolutely one of the best scones I have had.


The middle tier consisted of traditional finger sandwiches, and there was a nice assortment of sandwiches being offered. The Organic Cucumber with Pink Peppercorn Cream Cheese sandwich is one of the Queen's favorite delicacies. I also enjoyed it a lot as well. The cream cheese perfectly complemented the refreshing cucumber to make a delicious mini sandwich. 


The last tier was the dessert platter consisting of a selection of beautifully crafted pastries. Out of the four pastries, my two favorites were the Chantilly swans with fresh berries, and Mini Meringue Tartlets. The golden cream puff swan was filled with rich and creamy chantilly cream. Additionally, the Chantilly swan pastry was part of their previous Afternoon Tea menu, but Executive Chef Robert Mill opted to keep it for the new menu as well.


Lastly, we also got to try the delectable Chocolate Biscuit Cake. It's essentially the same cake recipe that was used for William and Kate's royal wedding. The cake itself was decadent, and would be perfect for any chocolate lover.

 


We also had the opportunity to select one choice of loose leaf tea from their fine selections. I opted for the Genmaicha Green Tea - ancient tea of the Samurai. Grassy, vegetative character is perfectly balanced by warm, full-bodied bakey notes that are almost chewable. You can also enhance your afternoon tea experience with champagne or sparkling wine for an additional cost.

After our afternoon tea experience, we got the chance to go on a tour of the hoel, and I learned a lot of historical facts about Fairmont Royal York. Fairmont Royal York also offers their guests the opportunity to go on a complimentary historical hotel tour after their afternoon tea experience. Guests will embark on a tour that will take them through the hotel's famed Imperial Room, Canada's largest hotel kitchen, and Toronto's smallest bar.

Many thanks to Anita, Sonya, Jessica, and Brian of Fairmont Royal York for a lovely afternoon, and the warm hospitality.


Address: 100 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5J 1E3

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fairmontroyalyork/
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/fairmontroyalyork/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FairmontRYH
Website: http://www.fairmont.com/royal-york-toronto/

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

Library Bar - The Fairmont Royal York Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mistura

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a media luncheon at Mistura. It's a lovely upscale restaurant that serves contemporary Italian cuisine. Mistura is run by a long-time restaurateur, Paolo Paolini, who has owned several restaurants throughout the years including the critically-acclaimed Splendido, which he sold in 1996. Soon after his departure from Splendido, he opened Mistura with Chef Massimo Capra in 1997 to positive reviews. The restaurant has been in business for 19 years, and is still thriving today as a result of their ever-changing menus, and warm hospitality.



Mistura is all about proving a pleasant dining experience, as they care about the quality of the food, and
hospitality. As a result of their efforts, Mistura was awarded the Accademia Italiana Della Cucina in December 2015 for their Italian cuisine.




Chef Massimo Capra no longer helms the kitchen, and has passed it on to Chef Klaus Rohrich, who has worked in the kitchen of Mistura and Sopra for several years. Chef Klaus Rohrich may not be Italian, but he certainly knows how to take simple Italian cooking methods, and elevate it. With that being said, the menu at Mistura draws inspiration from traditional Italian cooking, but combines it with local, seasonal ingredients when possible. The menu changes seasonally, and we got a taste of the new spring menu at the luncheon.

Prior to our meal, we were treated to an array of small bites including a selection of Chef Klaus' signature charcuterie, pistachio infused mortadella, capicollo, bresaola, lonza affumicata.



My favorite starter was the crispy gulf shrimp and cantaloupe trusses, which were delectable. The sweet sauce and cantaloupe trusses were the perfect complement to the lightly coated shrimp.




We were treated to a plate containing a trio of appetizers; the balsamic glazed Ontario lamb riblets coupled with minted yoghurt, Ontario wild boar agnolotti in sundried sour cherry jus, and crispy fried artichoke with "gribiche". I would definitely come back just to order a platter of the Ontario lamb riblets, as it was that good. Normally, I find lamb hard to eat, as it's quite tough and potent sometimes. However, the Ontario lamb riblets served at Mistura were surprisingly tender, and the sticky Balsamic glazed perfectly coated the ribs.



Next up was a refreshing salad, radicchio salad - with apples, Asiago, pomegranate, black walnuts, and empire apple cider vinaigrette. The richly scented Asiago cheese combined with the sweetness of the apples, and pomegranate make this a very interesting combination dish.



Chef Klaus Rohrich delivers a delicious entree; ballotine of organic free range chicken, squash puree, roasted brussels sprout leaves, roasted buttercup squash and butter sage crackling. The chicken was cooked perfectly, and sat in a layer of velvety-like squash puree. I also really enjoyed the butter sage crackling, as it provided a nice crunch to the dish.



Lunch was rather filling, but we ended the lunch with the Mistura Inverted Cassata for dessert. It was a refreshing dessert, and rather light as well. Great way to end a meal!


Despite it being a fine-dining establishment, Paolo Paolini prides himself on providing a warm and upscale atmosphere with no hint of pretentiousness. All of the staff members are friendly, quick without being too overbearing that you feel rushed. Private functions are also available as Mistura has two private dining rooms. Additionally, the upstairs level of the restaurant is Sopra, the second-floor event space which can seat up to 110 people.


Address: 265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 1J9

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mistura_sopra/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MisturaSopra
Website: http://mistura.ca/

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

Mistura Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato