The Natrel Milk Bar by java u in Toronto (Queen & Dovercourt)

The Natrel Milk Bar by java u cafe recently opened in downtown Toronto on the corner of Queen & Dovercourt earlier this month. Natrel has partnered up with Montreal-based café chain java u to bring forth this concept café in hopes of drawing coffee lovers to their newest endeavor. The Natrel Milk Bar by java u cafe offers a selection of 7 varieties of milk, allowing customers to create their own personalized coffee to their liking. It is the place where coffee lovers can have a delicious, and an original coffee experience.


"We launched this unique café concept in Montreal in May last year, and it was very well received," says Brian Cytrynbaum of java u. "Our mandate in Toronto remains the same as it was with our first opening — we want to raise the profile of the milk we use in our coffee and offer customers a one-of-a-kind gourmet experience in our cafés, which promote personalization and choice. After all, many specialized coffees are comprised of only one-third coffee; the other two-thirds are milk!" (source: Newswire)



As mentioned above, the concept café features a great selection of milk, including skim, 2 percent milk, and lactose-free. I know many people who are lactose-intolerant, and they try to avoid many of the coffee chains as they don't always offer lactose-free products. The new Natrel Milk Bar by java u is a great option for those who are looking for more choices in terms of the products that they can consume. Natrel Milk Bar by java u does not only offer coffee on their menu, as they do have a selection of bottled iced latte, milkshakes, desserts, and a food menu (salads, sandwiches, soups, etc ...) as well.




The seven varieties of Natrel Milk are available through a barista or self-serve on the side table. They are there to allow customers to personalize the range of coffee beverages that Natrel Milk Bar by java u has on their drinks menu. I love that they also have a seasonal menu including a variety of milk shakes and ice-cream that are now available for the summer. I opted to try the Strawberry Milkshake, which wasn't too overly sweet.





I was kindly invited to the Natrel Milk Bar by java u launch a couple of weeks ago where I got a preview of their menu (drinks and food). In attendance was Michael Breach from NYC, who is a renowned latte artist known for his latte portraits. I had the opportunity to get one done of myself, and it was just a nifty sight to see.


Internationally renowned coffee artist Michael Breach
The food menu features a variety of dairy-based food items including this delectable breakfast egg sandwich. 



The café, located at 1092 Queen Street West, is open Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on the weekend, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Social Media:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/javautoronto/
Website: https://experience.natrel.ca/en/milkbar/toronto


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

Real Brewed Moments with Pure Leaf Iced Tea

My day-to-day life is pretty busy with work, running the business, and attending food events. Sometimes, I don't have a lot of time to myself to really enjoy the everyday moments. Earlier this past Friday, I had some time to myself, as my fiancé made dinner plans with his friends. As for me, I made myself comfortable in the backyard with a good cookbook to read, and kept myself hydrated with a bottle of Pure Leaf Brewed Tea Peach (flavor). It was just nice to relax!

“You celebrate real moments with Pure Leaf Iced Tea because it’s real brewed tea, made from real tea leaves.”



So what is Pure Leaf Iced Tea? Pure Leaf Iced Tea (IG @PureLeafCanada and Twitter @PureLeaf) is real brewed tea made from real tea leaves with no preservatives, no added color, and no artificial flavoring. Unlike other iced teas on the market, Pure Leaf products are not made from powder or concentrated. Rather, they're made from all-natural ingredients, and the tea leaves are picked by their tea experts then carefully brewed. 



Pure Leaf Iced Tea (IG @PureLeafCanada and Twitter @PureLeaf) are available in a variety of flavors including peach, green tea with honey, and lemon. My favorite out of the three drinks was the peach flavor. I enjoyed the natural tangy-sweet flavor of peach, and it was super refreshing in the hot weather that we're experiencing in Toronto.

I also attended the Japan Festival Mississauga 2016 last week, and stayed hydrated with Pure Leaf Green Tea with Honey. It was only fitting, considering that green tea is one of the most popular tea flavors in Japan. The two flavors paired perfectly together to create a refreshing iced tea. I wasn't the only one drinking it that afternoon, as I saw a couple of other people drinking Pure Leaf Iced Teas as well.


I also shared a couple of the Pure Leaf Iced Tea drinks with some friends at a recent BBQ that I attended. Everyone had their own favorite flavor from the three options, but we all agreed that the beverages were light and refreshing. Perfect for a summer BBQ!


Enjoy everyday moments with Pure Leaf Iced Tea beverages today :)

Social Media:

Website: http://pureleaf.com/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/pureleaf

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pure Leaf. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review. However, all of the opinions expressed in this post are of my own.


Portland Variety

 Located on the corner of King & Portland in the busy King West neighborhood lies Portland Variety. Portland Variety operates as both a cafe, and restaurant; as the 2,400-square-foot restaurant features a standing-room cafe at the front during the day, and at night, it transforms into a cocktail bar/restaurant.

 I had the pleasure of attending a media tasting to welcome back Chef Jo Castrinos to Portland Variety a couple weeks back. He was the original chef of Portland Variety when it first opened in 2014, and he has now returned to helm the kitchen as Executive Chef. The tasting was an intimate gathering with some of my fellow bloggers, and all the dishes that we tried that evening were family-styled.



Watermelon Mojito - dark rum, lime, mint, watermelon



 The menu at Portland Variety featured a fusion of Canadian, French, and Spanish cuisine offering shareable plates for both lunch and dinner. Some of their shareable plates include grilled octopus, fried hen, and braised short ribs.   

 Royal Garden - vodka, lime, basil, cucumber

 

We started the tasting with a selection of Assorted Pintxos.


 

Mushroom Salad - arugula, truffle pecorino, pine nuts, yuzu vin

 

The Striped Bass Crudo - citrus, green mango, chive oil, chill, was up next, and it was a favorite among our small group of diners. The bass crudo was well-prepared, and the epitome of freshness. Additionally, the combination of green mango, and chive oil perfectly complemented the briny flavor of the bass.


My spice tolerance is pretty high, so I am capable of tolerating really spicy dishes. Which is why, I enjoyed the Shrimp Pil Pil - chili oil, lemon. The shrimp was super flavorful, and the lemon added a nice contrast to the richness and spiciness of the chili oil.  



Moorish Chickpeas - saffron, cumin, wilted swiss chard


I am glad that they kept the Grilled Octopus - smoked tomato, iberico chorizo, fennel pollen, on the menu. The octopus was seared and crispy on the outside, while the interior was tender. It also had a slight smoky flavor, without it tasting unnaturally smoky. 


 Cornish Game Hen - piri piri, pickles, olives


The 16 oz Ribeye - porcini rub, caramelized onions, was surprisingly flavorful. It was my second favorite dish of the night after the grilled octopus. I am not a huge fan of onions, but the caramelized onions added a nice flavor to the dish.


Patatas Bravas - spicy tomato, garlic aioli


Tangerine Panna Cotta - basil, pistachio meringue


Lastly, we ended the night off with Beignets - vanilla custard, for dessert. The deep-fried yet airy beignets were lightly dusted with sugar making it a sweet treat. This was a great way to finish off a meal.


Cappuccino


Portland Variety is a nice casual place in King West, and perfect for all occasions. They are open for brunch, lunch and dinner. Click here for their hours of operation.

Address: 587 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1M5

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PortlandVariety/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/PortlandVariety/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/portlandvariety
Website: http://www.portlandvariety.com/

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


GIVEAWAY: 1 pair of tickets to Toronto’s Festival of Beer (valid July 24, 2016)

I am giving away ONE PAIR of tickets to Toronto’s Festival of Beer (July 24, 2016).The Toronto's Festival of Beer presented by the Beer Store is back again this year on July 22 to 24, 2016. Toronto's longest running summer beer event returns to Bandshell Park @ Exhibition Place, with a great roster of chefs, food purveyors, and of course ... BEER!! 

Toronto’s Festival of Beer:

Date: Friday, July 22 to Sunday, July 24
Hours: July 22 (4:30 pm - 11:00 pm , July 23 (1:30 pm- 8:00 pm), July 24 (1:30 pm - 8:00 pm)
Location: Bandshell Park - Exhibition Place at 100 Princes' Blvd, Toronto, ON M6K 3C3

This Year's Food Purveyors:

Campagnolo
Dawgfather
Fidel Fastro’s
Hot Bunzz Street Cuisine
MELT Grilled Cheese
Ontario Corn Roasters
Oyster Boy
Mama Ratty Pies
Mangia & Bevi
Queen Margherita Pizza
Smoke’s Poutinerie
South St. Burger Company
The County General
The Pie Commission
Tiny Tom Donuts

Earlier in June, I received a special delivery from The Pie Commission, who is one of the food vendors at Toronto’s Festival of Beer. Pictured below is their Braised Beef Rib Pie - delicious chunks of slow braised beef in homeamde veal stock with sweet potato and mushroom.


WIN:

- 1 pair of Tickets to Toronto’s Festival of Beer (valid for July 24, 2016 only) for you and a friend
- Tickets only, as there are no sample tokens included
- Festival is from 1:30 pm - 8:00 pm on Sunday, July 24

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Front Street Foods at Adelaide Place

Front Street Foods is an artisan food market brought to you by Toronto Market Co. They are back for their second year, and have relocated to the second-floor terrace of Adelaide Place at 150 York St / 181 University Ave this summer. The culinary market showcases some great eats from the city's best chefs, vendors, and food entrepreneurs. Front Street Foods is ongoing now until August 5, 2016.


Hours:

Monday - Tuesday from 11 am - 6:30 pm
Wednesday - Friday from 11 am - 8 pm


I had the pleasure of attending a media tasting last week, where I got to try several items from various Front Street Foods vendors. The market offers a wide variety of cuisine, including an on-site bar area with craft beers, and specialty drinks to cool off. Whether you're looking for a daytime snack, satisfying lunch option, or even an after work bite, there is definitely something for everyone at Front Street Foods.

Canadian Breakfast Bar by Bacon Nation - Serving up all day breakfast and brunch favourites including delectable breakfast sandwiches and a Canadian take on breakfast classics.  Their specialties also make for a great lunch, supper or lupper.



Fish’d By Edo - Try the original hand crafted sushi burritos and Hawaiian poke (pronounced POH-keh) bowl, featuring an array of inspired ingredients, along with their tummy satisfying poke bowls.


Fred’s Bread - Bite into thick, crisp crusted and moist breads that taste of the grain they were crafted with. Enjoy their gourmet grilled cheese menu featuring local cheeses and specialty flavours baked on artisanal bread.



Fresh - A variety of cold press juices,  vegan salads, and breakfast jars with wholesome plant-based ingredients to help fuel you for the busy day ahead.


The Mighty Cob - Freshly roasted corn on the cob or in a cup in a variety of flavours



Jake’s Lobster - Famous for their seafood sandwich. Fresh off the boat will offer their take on a traditional lobster roll and crab fries – definitely the best in the city!



Little Fin - Known for their fish sandwiches, fish and chips and light delicious salad options.



Station Cold Brew - Enjoy an authentic, premium cold brew experience that will take your coffee drinking to new heights.



The Merchant Taps and Tavern - Craft beers and freshly shucked oysters. A match made in heaven!

 


The Rolling Pin - A fresh-from-scratch donut bakery, offering up flavours like Banana Cream Pie, Maple Bacon, Nutella Bomb along with ice cream donut sandwiches.




Toben Food By Design - Try fresh, local and innovative creations, crafted from flavours and regions across the globe by Toben Kochman, a Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts in Paris alumnae. Don’t miss his epic brisket sandwich!





Raclette Suisse - Taking comfort food to new heights, Raclette Suisse, launching at Front Street Foods, is a traditional dish normally found in the alps of Switzerland. Cheese lovers can enjoy bites of ecstasy as melted cheese gets scraped straight from the cheese wheel onto a variety of small dishes.



Tacos 101 - Enjoy authentic handmade chips and guacamole, and mouth watering chicken carnitas spiced with the true flavours of Mexico.


Thai Ice-Cream Rolls - All flavors, banana, strawberry, blueberry, mango, and Oreo


Address: 150 York St, Toronto, ON M5H (second-floor terrace of Adelaide Place)

Social Media:

Website: http://www.frontstreetfoods.com/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/torontomarketco

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