Showing posts with label Media Events & Tastings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Media Events & Tastings. Show all posts
Celebrity chef Akira Back's first Canadian namesake restaurant is now open in the Bisha Hotel Toronto. Located inside of the luxury boutique hotel, the restaurant offers a menu of Japanese cuisine with Korean flavors and Canadian twist. We had the pleasure of attending a media preview at Akira Back Toronto last week, where we were treated to a tasting menu of some of his best dishes. 


I was looking forward to the opening of his restaurant when it was announced earlier this summer. Akira Back has a growing reputation in the hospitality industry for the creativity that he brings to his culinary creations. Back's food is inspired by his passions for adventure, travel and culinary exploration. "Each of his restaurants features inventive menus that embody his life and travel inspirations throughout the world, representing the root of his culture and his culinary background in every dish. Akira Back is one of the most exciting names in the culinary world, growing rapidly across major international". (credit: press release) 


“Toronto is a cultural epicentre with a diverse and multi­cultural food scene, which is why I always hoped to have a restaurant here,” says Chef Akira Back. “The menu will feature a number of my signature dishes along with some new ones that were inspired by my time spent in the city.” - Akira Back
Throughout his career, he has many culinary successes, including being awarded the title of “Rising Star” by Restaurant Hospitality (2008) and has had the distinct honor of hosting the prestigious James Beard House dinners (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012, 2013 & 2014). Besides having restaurants in the USA, he has opened several overseas locations such as Akira Back Restaurants in Singapore, New Delhi and Jakarta. Earlier this November, he was awarded a one Michelin Star by the 2018 Michelin Guide Seoul for his restaurant DOSA in Seoul, South Korea.


Walking into the restaurant, I was in awe of the space as it paid homage to traditional Japanese culture with contemporary ornamentation. "Subtle nods to Japanese culture will appear through refined and intimate details which balance the central design feature, a full­-length cove ceiling showcasing a colourful custom graphic". The overall interiors contain several neutral elements with bold wooden decor, which creates an intimate yet classy environment that appeals to a wide range of diners.




The menu at Akira Back Toronto features a number of his signature dishes, along with several new ones that were inspired by his visit to Canada. The tasting menu that night consists of five courses with wine pairings that perfectly complement each specific dish.


[First Course] 

Tuna & Mushroom Pizza ($22) - truffle oil, micro shiso


[Second Course] 

Jeju Domi ($22) - orange tobiko, red sorrel, chojang

Salmon Tiradito ($21) - roasted peaches, Kizami wasabi, spinach cilantro


[Third Course] 

Eggplant Miso ($12) - sweet miso sauce


Rock Shrimp ($17) - sriracha ranch

(photo credit: @akirabacktoronto)

[Fourth Course] 

Seared Halibut - mushrooms, soy beurre blanc,

(photo credit: @akirabacktoronto)

48 Hour Wagyu Short Rib ($32) - root vegetables, quail egg, braising jus


[Dessert] 

Black & White Sesame Matcha Cake - salted agave ice cream


Yuzu Citrus - sable crumble, strawberry gelato 



“Akira Back is an extremely talented chef on the cusp of exploding internationally and we’re excited that Bisha will be his first location in Canada. After interviewing many recognized chefs over a three­year period, I felt that Akira Back’s talent and uniqueness would be the perfect match for Bisha Toronto to make it a complete hospitality experience,” says Charles Khabouth, Chairman, ICONINK. (credit: press release) 


All of the dishes were perfectly crafted to combine the various cuisines that Back is influenced and inspired by. The use of fresh ingredients definitely enhanced the flavors of the dishes, particularly the two mains (halibut and short rib). The night ended with not one... but two desserts. The elegant desserts consist of two very popular Japanese flavors; matcha and yuzu. My favorite was the black & white sesame matcha cake, which was rich in flavor and creamy in texture. I loved matcha desserts, so this definitely hit the spot for my sweet tooth! Akira Back Toronto is definitely a welcoming addition to the city of Toronto for its visionary dishes that encompasses the combination of Asian and North American cuisine. Can't wait to be back!


** Pictures by Cherie. Visit her Instagram and Blog to check out her feeds **
** Pictures of Chef Akira Back by Akira Back Toronto **

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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.

Akira Back Toronto

by on Friday, December 08, 2017
Celebrity chef  Akira Back 's first Canadian namesake restaurant is now open in the Bisha Hotel Toronto . Located inside of the luxury ...
Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) opens today! Prior to their official opening date, I had the opportunity to attend CNE Media Preview Day where bloggers and media got a sneak peek at some of the creative concoctions from this year's The Toronto Star Food Building. We got to sample several innovative foods for 2017 at the CNE. The CNE opens Friday Aug, 18 and runs until Monday, Sept 4, 2017. For this year's Canadian National Exhibition, the food vendors have combined traditional carnival eats with trendy ingredients.

We started the morning off with some coffee and treats from Tim's Horton's.


Deep Fried Cheese Curds from the King of Curds



The Juicy Oink from Hot Bunzz Street Cuisine


Pickle Balls from Canadian Bacon Pickle 


Iced Caps from Tim Horton's



Pancake Bowls from Eat My Bowls


Last Samurai from Yatai


Dragon's Breath Crepe from Eative




Strawberry Shortsteak from Philthy Philly's


Stacked Philly Cheesesteak from Philthy Philly's


Vegan Poutine from Dutch Frites


Cricket Cone from Bug Bistro


 Takoyaki (Crispy Octopus Balls) from Japanese Karaage Cuisine


Campfire Smore's Cones from Chimney Stax


Fried Cheese Balls 


Spaghetti Donut Balls from Fritta



The Colossal Coliseum from San Francesco's Italian Sandwiches


Popcorn


All Canadian Red Hot Burger from Bacon Nation


What-A-Melon


Sugar Mountain from Cake Shack


The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) runs from Aug. 18 to Sept 4, and admission is $18. There is also a discounted rate of $6 if you go after 5 pm from Monday to Thursday. That is an amazing deal! Besides the food, there are tons of attractions this year like the Aerial Acrobatics & Ice Skating Show featuring Canadian figure skater Elvis Stojko, CNE Gaming Garage, Innovation Garage, and CNE Aquarama. 

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheEx
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/letsgototheex/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/letsgototheex
Website: http://theex.com/

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

 This summer, Flavor Your Life sponsored a press event to raise awareness of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Europe in Canada. The event was held on June 20, 2017 at Aria Ristorante in Toronto. Thirty bloggers and journalists enjoyed a delicious menu of foods that the chef carefully prepared to showcase different varieties of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Europe. The event aimed to debunk misconceptions around Extra Virgin Olive Oil and inspire the press to educate consumers on this liquid gold.


 What is extra virgin olive oil?

To make sure Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Europe is delicious and healthy, it has to meet certain standards.

The olives — called “drupes” — may be harvested at any time in their ripening process, and there are flavorful reasons for harvesting at certain times. But to be Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the extraction must take place without heat or chemicals, guaranteeing freshness and purity.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil must be low in acid — below 0.8%. Over-processing and careless handling (especially exposure to heat and light) can result in higher acid and lackluster flavor.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil must have a low peroxide content, which assures minimal exposure to oxygen. 

Most importantly, Extra Virgin Olive Oil must taste good. That’s why every batch is carefully considered by a panel of expert tasters. They only apply the official Extra Virgin designation to oils that meet the exacting standards set forth by law, and by tradition over many centuries.




How can I use extra virgin olive oil?

It may start with just a drizzle of a flavor, but olive oil will soon become an obsession. There’s nothing else in your kitchen quite as versatile.

Drizzle on food — whether over a prepared dish or simple sliced vegetables —  to add a rich mouth feel and robust flavor, and balance acid.

Drizzle onto hot foods to release an oil’s aromatic qualities, turning a meal into a multi-sensory experience.

Make a dressing for salads or other dishes. Olive oil accentuates the aromas and flavors of fresh herbs and ground spices.

Preserve roasted and grilled vegetables for days by submerging in olive oil and storing in a cool place; they’ll last even longer if frozen.

Fry unafraid; olive oil has a high smoke point, and can even handle deep frying.

Use it instead of butter, and not just on bread. Try it IN bread, and cakes, and muffins, and even oatmeal.

Pair oils just as you would wine, adding robust oils to complement hearty or spicy dishes, and lighter oils for milder preparations.

Think outside of the Mediterranean. Olive oil can liven up a ceviche, handle an Asian stir fry, and embolden the humblest pea soup.

Olive oil makes a very nice moisturizer for dry skin, as well, but we’ve known that for millennia.




 Take-home Recipes

At the end of the event, Flavor Your Life distributed a gift bag, including recipe cards and informational literature.

Spiralized Zucchini “Pasta” With Peas, Pancetta and Ricotta (serves 4)

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ lb pancetta, diced
4 large zucchini, spiralized
¼ tsp sea salt
Pinch of fresh cracked pepper
½ C frozen peas, thawed
¼ C ricotta cheese, crumbled
Fresh basil

Instructions:

1) Heat a large skillet on high heat. Add 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook for 5-7 minutes, until crisp. Add the zucchini noodles and sauté for 3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Stir in the rest of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2) Remove from heat and stir in the thawed peas.
3) Divide between serving dishes and top with crumbled ricotta cheese and a sprig of fresh basil.


 Flavor Your Life's Social Media:

http://flavor-your-life.com/

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

Flavor Your Life Oil Blending Event

by on Thursday, July 20, 2017
 This summer, Flavor Your Life sponsored a press event to raise awareness of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Europe in Canada. The event was h...
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to attend a private tasting at Origination Noodle House in Markham (North Scarborough, South Markham). This is their second location as the original one is located in downtown Chinatown. The restaurant specializes in cuisine from the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan.

Walking into the restaurant, it looked really colorful and cozy. The walls are clad in ceramic plates, and diners are greeted with hanging bright lights. Its refined designs has strong Yunnan inspirations, as several decorative pieces and items were brought over from the city.


Our group of 7 started off with some drinks; passion fruit soda and lime soda. The drinks were served in plastic bags, which is reminiscent of the night markets in China. Not the best for the environment, but the drinks themselves were refreshing and sweet.


In addition to noodles, Origination Noodle House has a pretty good selection of appetizers. Out of all the ones we sampled, my favorite was the Deep Fried Squid Balls ($6.50). I enjoyed its chewy  texture and the flavoring was on point.



I am actually not a fan of Marinated Pork Hock ($6.90), so I didn't really like this dish.



We opted for the Cucumber Salad ($6.90) - with soy and sesame sauce as our vegetable appetizer. Cucumbers add a lot of crunch and refreshing flavor to many salads such as this one. The large chunks of cucumbers were covered with shredded carrots, drizzled with peanut butter sauce, and topped off with peanuts.



The Chilled Shredded Chicken ($5.50) - Chinese vinegar, green onion and tofu slices was simple, but it was the perfect appetizer for summer. However, there should be a little more pieces of chicken and less of the tofu slices.


One of their specialties is the Origination Yunnan Rice Noodle, which is their version of the "Crossing The Bridge" noodles. No MSG is added and it's made completely from scratch.  They have a few soup options, but my go-to soup will always be the Tom Yum Goong ($11.90) - rice noodle with coconut milk, lemongrass, bass, fermin serrano ham, pork, black fungus and tofu skin. The soup base had a nice spicy kick to it without being overwhelming, and no additives. Additionally, the portion was very generous, and one bowl could easily feed two people. You can also customizes your noodles with the complimentary cart carrying an array of spices and sauces.





The Tofu Rice Noodle ($8.90) - tofu, pickle, and minced pork was a rather bold dish with a lot of flavors. It came with a lot of vegetables and tofu. Make sure to mix it well before you enjoy the dish.



Another favorite of mine was the Yunnan Style Fried Rice Noodle (beef) ($11.90). Rice noodle is a staple in Yunnan cuisine, and this dish was relatively vibrant in flavor.





Chilled Rice Noodle ($9.50) - with chicken with cucumber, carrots, chicken and minced pork


For dessert, I got the Bubble Lu ($3.20). It had a pleasant coconut flavor (from the coconut milk), and was pretty sweet. I find that the Asian palette towards desserts is that they like subtle sweetness. So, some people might find this dessert too overly sweet.


Red Bean Yogurt ($4.20)



Overall, Origination Noodle House is a pretty solid restaurant as it's affordable, portions are generous, and their food was good that I'd come back again.

Address: 633-661 Silver Star Blvd, Scarborough, ON, M1V 5N1

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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.

Origination Noodle House

by on Wednesday, July 19, 2017
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to attend a private tasting at  Origination Noodle House  in Markham (North Scarborough, South Markham...