• [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.

Showing posts with label Markham. Show all posts

Kinton Ramen on 7 (Hwy 7 Markham)

Kinton Ramen is a popular chain of ramen restaurants with several locations in Ontario. Earlier last month, they expanded uptown to Markham with a new outpost in Commerce Gate Plaza. Uptowners can now get their ramen fix instead of having to come all the way to North York or downtown.  

I had the pleasure of being invited to Kinton Ramen for their soft opening, where I got to try several appetizers and a bowl of ramen of my choice with a guest. Upon entering the establishment, I noticed how much larger the space was compared to their other locations. The interior design however remains consistent, as it was sleek and modern with their signature wooden furnishing. A perfect blend of traditional Japanese aesthetics with modern appeal.

Kinton Ramen on 7 differs slightly from the other downtown locations, as this one offers several popular dishes from the Kinka Izakaya menu like the kakimayo and gomaae. Uptown guests now have the option to eat ramen or share several items from the izakaya menu. It's really the best of both worlds! 

We started off with two orders of Kinka Original Ramune ($3.50), a favorite of mine. Ramune is a popular carbonated soft drink originally sold in Japan, but it is also available worldwide. The drink is widely known for its distinctive codd-neck bottles design, where you need to use pressure to open the bottle. The drink available at Kinton has been re-branded with the Kinka logo, and for every bottle sold, Kinka Family donates $0.50 to SickKids. So drink for a good cause!

What I like about Kinton Ramen is that the quality of their food is fairly consistent despite multiple locations. Additionally, the portion size is very filling, as I have never left Kinton Ramen hungry.  

I opted for the Original Pork Ramen ($10.99) - sea salt, scallions, nori, seasoned egg, pork, as my bowl of ramen. I also decided to add some additional topics including corn, bean sprout, and seaweed. My ramen came out pipping hot with a mountain high of toppings, savory broth, and topped off with two seared pork belly with a good meat-to-fat ratio. If you're not into the original pork broth, the ramen menu includes other bases like shoyu (soy sauce), miso (soy bean paste), spicy, and extra pork. Additionally, noodles are available both thick and thin, and I chose thick. The broth was rich and well-balanced (not too salty).  Like I mentioned previously, it was consistent with the quality that I often receive from the Bloor location (the one I frequent most).  

From the choices of several starters and appetizers, I decided to start off with the Hot Karaage ($8.30) - spicy fried chicken. The plate consisted of several pieces of large, and juicy chunks of lightly battered chicken covered with hot sauce.

We also got the ikapiri ($7.90) - deep fried calamari with spicy ketchup and wasabi mayo, from their Kinka Izakaya menu.

One of my favorite Japanese snacks has to be takoyaki, which I had plenty of in Osaka, Japan this past December. The takoyaki ($5.50) contained five deep fried octopus balls with tonkatsu sauce and mayo. There was a reasonable amount of octopus pieces stuffed into the flour-based batter. I enjoyed it!

I was pretty full from my meal, but I will always have room for desserts so I got the Matcha Cheesecake ($4.50) - baked matcha green tea cheesecake. The texture of the cheesecake was creamy with light matcha flavor. It wasn't overly sweet like Western desserts. I ended up eating the entire cheesecake slice, as my fiancé was too full - so I didn't have to share =) 

The only issue that I had was that it took a while for the last two appetizers to come out. We actually cancelled our gyoza order, as we were full from finishing our bowls of ramen. The gyoza from Kinton are really my favorite, but I was too full at that point. The one thing that they do need to improve on is probably the disorganized service, and servers need to be more attentive. Despite the minor setback, Kinton Ramen on 7 did not disappoint, as we had an overall pleasant dining experience.

Address: 505 Hwy 7 East, Unit 54-58, Markham, ON L3T 7T1

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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.

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Uncle Tetsu’s Unionville - Sakura Cheesecake

Earlier last week, I had the pleasure of going to the Uncle Tetsu’s Unionville in Markham to try their new Sakura Cheesecake. Unlike the fluffy baked cheesecakes that they are known for, this new one is a no-bake cheesecake. It is also exclusive to the Unionville location, and it is highly recommended that you pre-order in advance due to the craftsmanship that goes into baking them.

This was my first time at their Unionville location, but I have been to the downtown one on several occasions. All of the storefronts in Unionville are modeled as historic village houses, and the Uncle Tetsu’s Unionville's location is no different. It's a cute looking home with very minimal space inside (quite cramp when it's super busy). I went on a Friday evening, and it was busy, so everyone was kind of shoved into a little corner while waiting for their cheesecakes. 

The Japanese-Style No Bake Cheesecakes are available in two different flavours, Sakura and Yuzu. The smaller version was $8, while the large was $35. The larger size may be a little pricey, but it would be a great cake to order for a special occasion to share (like birthdays, bridal shower, Valentine's Day, etc ...).

 The Sakura No Bake Cheesecake was beautifully decorated with cherry blossom petals, gold leaf, and glazed with gelatin jelly. The pink layer was creamy, and has a similar texture to a mousse cake. The cheese flavor was light, and the cherry blossom petals added the aroma to the cake.

Sign up today (FREE) to the Toronto Gourmand Club (link is here) for a 20% off coupon that you can use for the Uncle Tetsu’s Unionville’s Sakura Cheesecake. The coupon expires on February 10th, 2017, but there are plenty of upcoming benefits and discounts for members. 

I was also able to sample the Yuzu Cheesecake as well. The light cheesecake was flavored with Japanese yuzu, and had a nice strong citrus flavor. However, I do like the Sakura Cheesecake a lot more over the Yuzu one. 

Address: 158 Main St Unionville, Unionville, ON L3R 2G9

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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.

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Spicy Mafia

Spicy Mafia is from the same team behind both Kaka AYCE and Morals Village. I had the pleasure of attending a tasting at Spicy Mafia during their soft opening, and enjoyed an intimate mini hot pot meal. The concept at Spicy Mafia is similar to Morals Village Hot Pot except it's not AYCE. Rather, the meal is DIY, and each diner gets their own personal hot pot complete with a pre-arranged assortments of items. However, you are free to add more items for extra costs. 

Spicy Mafia is housed in the previous HOPO spot and its interior is very bold and modern with lots of prints. There are also a few mafia themed motifs throughout the restaurant including writings on the servers' shirts. It's very fitting considering its name. 

We started off the night with some snacks, Chicken Nuggets served with Tartar Sauce ($3.99) and Cold Noodle Mixed with Spicy Sauce ($5.99). I am not a fan of cold noodles, but the ones here was pretty good, as the sauce added quite a kick.

Prices start at $12.99 for your choice of soup base, one item from staple food, one meat item, and two dipping sauce. The mini hot pot set comes with all the following topping items; luncheon meat, Japanese crab meat, Hong Kong style red sausage, while shrimp, tofu puff, Napa cabbage, lettuce, lotus root, sweet corn, seaweed, and enoki

Unlike the large soup bases menu at Morals, there are only five options for soup bases at Spicy Mafia. The newest soup base is the healthier option, Chinese Angelica Soup Base. 

For meats, you have the option to choose from the following; New Zealand Spring Lamb, Pork Slice, Certified Angus Beef Slice. Each portion comes with four to five slices, but you can always order more meat plates for an additional $2.50 each. 

For my hot pot, I opted for the signature spicy soup base, Japanese udon (+$1), certfied Angus beef slice, and housemade sesame sauce and housemade spicy oil as my sauces. The signature spicy soup base is my go-to soup base at Morals Village, so I definitely wanted it as my soup base

For my drink order, I got the Creamy Thai Coconut Slush, which was refreshing considering the spicy soup base that I chose. 

I'd say that the overall meal was affordable especially given the quality of the food. It would have been nice to have a little more meat slices, but the extra cost isn't too bad for more. I had a lot of fun with the hot pot concept, and the meal was just right - I was not too full nor too hungry. Spicy Mafia is a good alternative to hot pot if your appetite isn't up for AYCE hot pot, as that can get pretty pricey, especially if you're not that hungry.   

Spicy Mafia is currently running a 20% off deal when you post on social media of your meal. 

Address: 20 Gibson Drive Unit 111A Markham, ON, L3R 0M7

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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.

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Chatime Canada's "Twilight" Drink Series

Chatime Canada is a Taiwanese franchise BBT chain, and has over 800 stores worldwide. The company opened their first location in Canada back in 2011, and that spot today is still very popular today. It has now been five years since they first opened, and they now operate 16 locations within Ontario.

Chatime Canada is celebrating their 5th birthday with a series of drinks called "Twilight" to commemorate the day on September 8, 2016. The new line of all-natural teas are made from Butterfly Pea Flower & Hibiscus Flower. What is great about the new drinks is that no artificial colors, no preservatives, and no extra sugar are added. Additionally, the tea drinks are "full of antioxidants with health benefits to memory, circulation, and eyesight" making them a healthier alternative if you're craving something sweet.

 ** Photo Credit: All photography taken by Janey of (@myetherealm) **

The four new colorful drinks are as followed:

Coconut Daydream
Hibiscus Sunset
Starry Lemon
Grapefruit Blush

Starry Lemon
“This enchanting array of blue and purple is visually evocative of the starry night sky.  The lemon flavour combines with the Butterfly Pea Tea’s antioxidants to create an enchanting display of beautiful changing colours.”

Coconut Daydream
“Featuring aromatic coconut flavour infused with the Butterfly tea and made into a tea latte with fresh milk, this drink transforms before your eyes from blue and white into the light blue of a bright sunshine afternoon.”

Hibiscus Sunset
“The Hibiscus Sunset features refreshing passion fruit and lychee flavours infused with the Hibiscus Flower Tea.  The invigorating and complex flavours are visually reflected in the red and orange hues combining into an orange glow of sunset.”

Grapefruit Blush
“The grapefruit blush, full of blue and red hues, is reminiscent of the first break of dawn.  The combination of tangy grapefruit with the Butterfly Pea Flower Tea transforms this drink into a beautiful pink sunrise.”

Bloggers also got the opportunity to taste several treats from Bake Code, and Chatime Bites from Menu Food Truck. Additionally, Chatime has also partnered with Christopher Siu of Daan Go to create several macarons for sale. The macaron flavors include roasted milk tea, Japanese pudding, maple lap cheung, chen pei tiramisu, and bitter melon peel.

 Chewy Almond Cookies, Chewy Matcha Almond Cookies, Earl Grey Shortie and Black Sesame Coconut Shortie
Bake Code's Matcha Mille Crepe Cake, Japanese Cheesecake, and Mille Crepe Cake from Bake Code
New York Cheese Cake from Bake Code
Roasted Milk Tea macarons from @daango_sweets
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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.

 ** Photo Credit: All photography taken by Janey of (@myetherealm) **

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

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Big Head Prawn

I am rarely up in Markham as it is not easily accessible by TTC, and pretty far from my house to drive. However, when I am in the area, I usually go to the restaurants around the First Markham Place area. I have been to a few good restaurants in the area, but I haven't found a good Vietnamese place yet.

Big Head Prawn is a standard Vietnamese restaurant offering the typical dishes like pho, vermicelli, rice dishes, appetizers, drinks, etc ...  They also offer daily specials for lunch between the hours of 11 am to 5 am. I believe that the specials change often, and it's between $5.99 to $6.99 per dish. They also offer a free cup of salted lemon juice, ice lemon tea or sour plum juice with each set.

 I ordered the BBQ pork, and spring roll vermicelli ($7.95). I was disappointed that the vermicelli arrived cold, and the spring roll itself was also lukewarm. The spring roll filling was rather bland, but at least the skin was crispy. Additionally, similar to the downtown restaurant, Train, the dish had a very distinct Chinese flavor to it.

I thought that the minced shrimp on sugar cane ($5.95) was pretty good, and the size wasn't bad either.

 A large size beef and beef tendon pho ($7.95).

Quality of Food: 2.7/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3/5
Price: $

Address: 4450 Highway 7 East #3 Markham, ON L3R1L9 

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Dragon Legend

About: I have been to Dragon Legend four times since they first opened, and it has surpassed the other places to become my favorite buffet. As many people probably know; Dragon Legend is the sister restaurant to the equally popular Pearl Dragon. They even share the same interior decor with red walls, and decorated with Chinese ornaments, and television screens hung on the walls. Its spacious dining area allows the customers to have a more enjoyable dining experience and not have to maneuver in cramped spaces.

Food: The buffet selection at Dragon Legend is abundant enough without overcompensating quantity over quality. Their buffet options showcases an array selection of both Western and Asian dishes. Additionally, they also have a sushi/sashimi station, Teppanyaki grill station, Peking Duck, and an impressive dessert station. There is a good amount of choices for the average diner, and should be something for everyone if you like buffets.

Price: The weekend price may be slightly steep at $29.99 for Friday-Sunday dinners, but I thought it was pretty worth it. The quality of the food was rather good for a buffet, and could justify for the cost (for example, you could load up on Peking duck). The price for their Monday to Thursday is comparable to other nearby buffets at $24.99 per adult. I dined here on four occasions (and on different days); Monday, Thursday and two Saturdays. I was surprised to find that no matter what days I went; it was completely busy around the late dinner time (7:00 pm'ish. I haven't tried out their lunch buffet yet but the prices are as followed: M-F ($13.99) and Sat-Sun ($19.99).

Service: On all visits; I thought that the service was excellent as the staff were attentive, polite, and promptly removed our used dishes. The wait for a table didn't take too long when we had a reservation.

It's highly recommended that you make a reservation on the weekend as it can be quite packed. On those busy nights, the front desk would take your name, the number of your party, and hand you an alarm (that would blink when your table is available).

 Fried food (including ribs, tempura shrimp, french fries, popcorn chicken).

The salad bar, and the cold seafood bar (mussels, shrimps, and crab legs).

 Peking Duck station.

 If you order Chinese tea; it's $1.80 per person.

 They have a wide selection of sushi and sashimi for a buffet instead of the just the usual rolls. Be warned though that the station is often watched by a staff member to ensure that people don't overload on the fish. They usually limit customers to 3 slices of sashimi per visit to the station. 

 Honestly, I would skip the dim sum dishes as I found some of the items to be bland. The plump dumpling looked aesthetically cute, but the non-translucent skin tasted extremely doughy to me. 

Additionally, they also have a steak station where the chefs would cook steak cubes on order. This can be a hit or a miss depending on the amount of salt that the chef seasoned it with.

 One of the main reasons why I love Dragon Legend; they offer Peking Duck. The staff would place the cooked duck onto a platter, and everything is self-served. Just note that on extremely busy days; they do limit each customer to four pancakes containing Peking Duck on each visit to the station. I saw a girl on a moderate night (around 8:30 pm) taking 10 pieces and they didn't say anything, so it really depends on the nights. The crispy texture of the skin was absolutely divine with the sauce.

 The salad bar was decent with different kinds of leaves, veggies, and salad dressing.

The fruits area offer the standard choices of strawberries, orange slices, melon slices, and watermelon slices.

From what I can recall; the dessert station has a selection of waffles, cupcakes, cookies, cheesecakes, jello, fruits, green tea mousse cakes, chocolate covered strawberries, crème brûlée, puff pastries, ginger milk pudding, and various flavors of ice cream.  

Quality of Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Dining Experience: 4/5
Price: $$

Address: 25 Lanark Road, Markham, ON, L3R 9Y7

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