Light Cafe

Light Cafe Canada is a cafe originating from Taiwan offering gourmet café food and drinks with a contemporary twist. I have been here on a few occasions, and have always liked the bright and open-concept space. The Baldwin location is their first outpost in North America, but they do have plans for expansion in the near future. I had the pleasure of being invited to a tasting late last year, and got to try a couple of new items on the menu.



The contemporary space itself is very Instagrammable with its bright background, clean white marble tables, and a backdrop of live plants sprouting from the walls. They do have several seats in the front (best lighting), and a bunch more tables in the back. It's a good place to dine for all sorts of occasions like casual lunch or dinner, date night, and catching up with friends.




The drinks menu includes espresso-based beverages (hot and iced), slow drip hand brew coffee, infused loose tea leaf, au lait, and several smoothies & Italian soda options. Since it was getting late, I didn't want coffee keeping me up as I had an early morning the next day. I ended up getting the Strawberry Smoothies ($6.25), which was a mountain high beverage.



From the salad options, I got the Smoked Duck Breast Salad ($11.95) - smoked duck breast, spring mix, orange slices, butter squash, cherry tomato, roasted cauliflower, and lettuce frisee. They have four salad dressing to choose from, which were yuzu, sesame, mustard, and house special dressing. The salad was a light starter, but there could have been a bit more slices of duck for the price.


Light Cafe pays very close attention to presentation, which I can truly appreciate. The Lobster Bisque ($9.25) was well presented on a wooden board - the soup was served in an individual sized saucepan alongside slices of garlic bread, and side salad. The lobster bisque was also available on its own for $6.25. The bisque has been tweaked to satiate the Asian palate, as it wasn't as salty or rich compared to French lobster bisque. but it remained fragrant.




My favorite menu item from Light Cafe has to be their  Lobster Roll ($15.50) - chopped lobster, crab meat & shrimp in a creamy dressing on two freshly baked soft roll. The overall composition of the lobster roll here was pretty good, as the meat to bun ratio was not disproportional. I really liked the buttery toasted bun. Overall, it was well-priced, tasty, and generously portioned.



JJ got the Montreal Smoked Beef Croissant ($12.75) - Montreal smoked beef, mozzarella cheese, beef tomato, lettuce, mayo, mustard and butter croissant as his main course. 


Lastly, Light Cafe has a wide selection of desserts to satisfy one's sweet tooth. The desserts here aren't as sugar-averse as the typical Western desserts. Looking through the menu, I saw that they recently introduced waffles to their desserts menu including seasonal fruits, strawberry, early grey, and charcoal black sesame waffle. We ended up getting the Strawberry Waffle ($9.95), which arrived with ice-cream, whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries, and topped off with strawberry sauce. This was quite a decadent dessert, and the waffle texture was nice and soft.


Crème Brûlée Three Ways ($9.75) - early grey, white chocolate, coffee





Overall, I had an enjoyable meal at Light Cafe, and do recommend the restaurant when one is looking for an affordable casual dining space. For the price point, it was a rather exemplary dining experience. I also liked that the management was open to criticism and feedback, and they do listen to what customers want/need.


Address: 23 Baldwin Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1L1

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


[Recipes] POM Wonderful Recipes


Fresh Mozzarella, Pomegranate and Basil Bruschetta


Total Prep Time: Up to 30 min
Servings: 8
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
 
Ingredients

POM Syrup

2 cups juice from POM Wonderful Pomegranates
3½ tablespoons sugar
1 Thai chili, split

Bruschetta

½ cup arils from POM Wonderful Pomegranates
8 pieces sourdough bread, sliced ½" thick
2 lbs. fresh mozzarella or bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls)
sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
fresh basil leaves

Preparation

POM Syrup:

1) Prepare fresh pomegranate juice, if necessary.*
Combine pomegranate juice, sugar and Thai chili in a pot. 2) Reduce until sweet and sour flavors are balanced and it is thick in consistency.
3) Strain through a fine strainer.

Bruschetta:

1) Prepare fresh pomegranate arils, if necessary.**
2) Drizzle olive oil on both sides of sliced sourdough. Grill until toasted on both sides.
3) Season mozzarella with salt and black pepper, and drizzle with olive oil and POM Syrup. Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and 1 tablespoon arils per serving.
4) Serve with a piece of grilled sourdough bread.

*For 2 cups of juice, cut 4–6 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates in half and juice them with a citrus reamer or juicer. Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Set the juice aside.

**To prepare fresh arils, score 1 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve ½ cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)

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Pom Salad



Total Prep Time: Up to 30 min
Servings:2 cups
Degree of Difficulty:Medium

Ingredients

Juice from 1 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate
2 cups arils from 2-3 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates or POM fresh pomegranate arils
3-4 teaspoons chopped jalapeo pepper
1 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Preparation

Score 2-3 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 2 cups of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.) Prepare fresh pomegranate juice.* Thoroughly mix to combine all ingredients. Serve this pomegranate recipe with tortilla chips. Salsa will keep covered, in the refrigerator, for 2 to 3 days.

 POM Wonderful Facts:

POM Wonderful is made with 100% pomegranate juice. It does not contain added sugar, colourants, or cheap filler juices and is Non-GMO Project Verified. It’s also a good source of potassium. Drinking a 236mL portion provides as much potassium as a medium banana (17% based on 600mg/3500DV).

Because POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice from concentrate is 100% juice, it means that 125mL is a serving of fruit towards the 7-10 servings a day of fruit and vegetables recommended for adults by Canada’s Food Guide.

[Japan] Daily Chico

I ate a lot of ice-cream during my recent trip to Japan this past December 2016. One of the stand-out ones was the ice-cream from Daily Chico due to its massive size (taste was not bad, but not the greatest). 


Located in the basement level of Nakano Broadway is a small ice-cream shop called Daily Chico. The shop is very unassuming, so you may miss it, but it's closed to a supermarket. They sell a variety of soft serve cones, but one of the options is this amazing 8 layers of soft serve for a mere ¥490 ($5.60). The flavors were strawberry, coffee, matcha, ramune, lemon, grape, chocolate, and vanilla. I was surprised to find that all of the flavors complimented one another, and I liked it - gimmick and all. 


The extra-large cone is big enough for two people to share, and they do give a spoon for you to eat with. It's best to scoop all of the layers from the bottom up. The ice-cream may topple if you don't stand it straight, and the shop will not replace it if you do drop it. 


INFO:

Item: 8 layers soft serve cone
Price: ¥490
Address: 5-52-15, B1F Nakano Broadway, Nakano, Tokyo, Japan
Transportation: 5-10 minutes walk from Nakano Station