Archive of ‘Food’ category

So into Cupcakes

I’m so into cupcakes. Are you? I bet you are. So into Cupcakes is a new cupcake shop in Scarborough! They just opened this weekend, and I stopped by to give their cupcakes a try. The has a very modern, white design. The main feature of the store is the glass display case filled with cupcakes. So into cupcakes makes about 10 different kinds of cupcakes. A regular sized cupcake is $2.50, and a mini cupcake is $1.50. The cashier was very friendly, but the owner had left for the day. The cupcakes that day were red velvet, vanilla, chocolate, mocha and peppermint. Yum! They had salted caramel before, but it was sold out. This cupcake store has decent hours, (11am -7pm.) so it’s great if you need to grab cupcakes in a hurry or get an after work snack.

I picked out a vanilla, coconut and mini red velvet cupcake. The coconut cupcake was topped with shredded coconut, and had a light coconut taste. I noticed immediately that the icing was very light…for all of the cupcakes. It’s not that they didn’t put enough icing, it’s more like the icing is very airy and subtle. It probably doesn’t have a lot of sugar, which can be a good thing. However, I like my cupcakes sweet! (But not Prairie Girl Cupcakes sweet.)

The cake was moist and fresh. I like these cupcakes, but I wish that they were a bit more decadent and flavorful.

The best of the lot was the mini red velvet. The icing was still light, but the touch of cream cheese in the icing gave it body. Also, the cake was delicious! I’m very excited that I have a cupcake shop so close to home, and I plan to go back there to try chocolate cupcakes next time!


So into Cupcakes
Monday to Friday – 11 am to 7 pm
Saturday & Sunday – 11 am to 4 pm

2060 Ellesmere Road, Unit 10
Toronto, ON M1H 2V6
416-438-9292

 

Dinner at Goody’s Diner

Ahh. Goody’s diner. I expected big things, and they did not disappoint. Goody’s Diner, located at 133 Manville Rd in Scarborough. We visited this retro diner on a Friday night, and it was pretty busy! The decor was casual, with red chairs and a view into the kitchen.

The host was very friendly, and told us all about their specialty- burgers. (duh.) Each 8 oz sirloin burger is hand formed and mixed with a special blend of spices. The special burger of the night was the Sicilian, topped with caramelized onion, jalapenos, cheese sticks, salami and tomato. I had the more restrained classic Goody’s burger with peameal bacon, jalapeno, cheese, mushrooms, havarti, caramelized onion and tomato.


When the burger arrived it was massive. I literally could not get it to fit inside my mouth! It was was good though. Now, I don’t know if you know, but I’m actually a picky eater. Even though I am a foodie there are some foods I really just don’t like. As I was eating my burger I noticed two things. 1. There seemed to be some sort of creamed corn spread on my burger, and I didn’t like it because it was quite sweet. 2. My burger was pink in the middle. Like, really pink. Like, a tad uncooked pink.


Meanwhile, my boyfriend (who I think I’ll refer to as the boy from now on.) really enjoyed his burger. He declared it the best burger he’d ever had and won’t stop talking about going back. His sweet potato fries were delicious. My shoestring fries were also good. Goody’s diner has tons of unique burgers (including one on a pretzel bun!) The verdict? I definitely plan on going back, but will ask for my burger to be well done. I still get pretty hungry thinking about their burgers!

Dinner at Bannock

Bannock is an Oliver & Bonacini Restaurant that opened this fall with at Bay & Queen St. They offer Canadian comfort food with a twist, from the to go counter or for a sit down meal. I headed here with a friend last week.

The decor is rustic chic, with wooden chairs and paper menus laid out as place mats. My favourite part of the room is the interesting light figure that is hung over a group dining table.

The menu features it’s namesake, bannock. Bannock is a “round flatbread traditionally cooked on a griddle or stone; brought to Canada through Scottish explorers and traders; adapted by indigenous people and settlers.” They offer bannock with different toppings on them, such as the Veggie Bannock ($12) that is topped with portobello mushrooms, marinated peppers and dubiously named “comfort cream”.

However, my friend and I both opted to have something else. I <i>love</i> chicken pot pie, so I had the Arcadian Court Chicken Pot Pie served with the One and Only Mashed Potatoes. ($16)

It was delicious. The crust was flaky and good, and the chicken was piping hot, tender and filling. My only tiny problem with it was that it only had crust on the bottom. I especially enjoy crust, so I like it when pies have crust on the bottom and the top.

It was served with rich, creamy mashed Yukon gold potatoes and gravy. It was really good! The only thing is that it was really filling. I couldn’t finish my potatoes. The pie itself would have been enough, maybe it should come with a lighter side.

Across the table, my dining companion was having the opposite problem. She had ordered Pickerel Tacos with Cucumber Apple Salad ($13). It was served in steamed buns and with caviar tartar.

We were expecting the tacos to be a bit bigger for a dinner portion, but they were a bit on a small side. She enjoyed her tacos though, said it was surprisingly spicy, but in a good way. The salad was unique, fresh and tart.

Bannock is a nice place to take a date or a friend! The food is fresh and well prepared. The to-go counter has coffee, tea, breakfast wraps, sandwiches and traditional tourtiere.

Bannock
401 Bay St., Toronto, M5H 2Y4
Tel: 416.861.6996

Brunch at MoRoCo Chocolat

MoRoCo Cholat is one of my favourite places to have brunch in the city! It’s elegant,  beautifully ornate and sells delectable macarons. It’s an excellent place for high tea and dessert. MoRoCo has three seatings. Brunch on weekends, afternoon tea and dinner. This weekend I stopped by for brunch with a friend.

We shared a pot of Swiss Schoko tea ($10) that was served with a yummy strawberry macaron. Swiss Schoko tea was a “Ceylon black tea layered with chocolate pieces, vanilla, almond and calendula.” It was delicious, and the chocolate taste was very pleasant.

For my meal, I chose the Savoury Crepes ($17) with chicken and mushroom in a white cream sauce. It was delicious! And surprisingly filling. I also ordered a side of homefries ($6) but I didn’t end up finishing them! I’ve also had the breakfast pastry basket in the past, and it’s filled with warm breads and pastries. A good choice for only $11.

My friend had the Blackstone Eggs Benedict ($19). It was her first time having eggs benedict (I’m not a fan) and she really enjoyed them. She especially liked the capers.

In addition to the restaurant, there is also a shop attached to the store. MoRoCo makes their own chocolates and macarons. They have cookies, sweets and more for sale. I especially liked these boyfriend chocolate treats!

MoRoCo Chocolat

99 Yorkville Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5R 3K3
416.961.2202

A Word to the Wise: MoRoCo can be a fantastic place, but it also has it’s downfalls. It’s not the best for groups, because they don’t do separate bills. Also, they automatically add a 18.5% tip to all bills. The service varies, and I usually have to beg them to bring us sugar and milk for our tea.

Say Cheese & Say Cheers: Black Creek Pioneer Village Beer Workshop

Last night, I went to Say Cheese and Say Cheese at Black Creek Pioneer Village for the first time. (Full disclosure, I work closely with BCPV) I haven’t been back to Black Creek since I was in grade 6! So it was a unique experience. The beer workshop is hosted by the lovely Julia Rogers, cheese society member and all around awesome person.

The tour started off with one of Black Creek’s cheerful animators leading us around the village. Each person was assigned a character card, and we learned a lot about what the beer scene was like in the 19th century. The principal beer makers were women!  They made beer for the whole family. Also, women could only own property if they were widowed.

After learning a bit about everyone’s characters, we traipsed into the mill. We took a look at barley and other things needed to make beer. Barley looks like coffee when it’s all ground up! Barley also is what gives beer it’s colour and most of it’s flavour.

After the tour, we headed down into the brewery and pub. Julia had arranged a nice selection of Canadian cheese and beer.

The first pairing was St. Albert’s Cheddar and Black Creek India Pale Ale. This cheese was my favourite! It was medium textured and creamy. It’s available in various stores, and also at Pusateri’s fruit market.  Black Creek IPA is made on site and is available at the LCBO.

The next pairing was Lankaaster cheese from Glengarry Cheese. It was an hard aged cow milk cheese, and reminded me a bit of Parmesan. I liked it. It was paired with Creemore Springs urBock, a strong German lager, from Creemore, Ontario. A great ale for winter.

Next up was C’est Bon Chevre, which I enjoyed. This goat cheese was from Transvaal Farm in Saint Mary, Ontario. It was  light and delicious! One of the things that I loved about this event was hearing stories about the cheese maker. This particular goat came from Riverdale Farm! And now it’s happily living on Transvaal Farm. The cheese was paired with a festive fall Pumpkin Ale from Great Lakes Brewery, in Etobicoke.

(PS: These sweet potato “root chips” were delicious! And made in-house. )

Mouton Rouge was next, a raw sheep milk cheese from Ewenity Dairy Co-op, in Fergus, Ontario. This cheese wasn’t my favourite. It was supple and a bit gritty. This cheese was paired with Black Oak Nut Brown Ale, made at the Black Oak Brewery in Oakville! This brown ale goes well with meat and bitter chocolate.

Last but not least was Celtic Blue Cheese, a creation from Glengarry Cheese, in Glengarry, Ontario. This firm cow milk cheese was served on a dollop of strawberry jam. The contrast between the sweet jam and nutty cheese was perfect.  This was paired with a whopping 10% beer, Trois Mousquetaires Imperial Baltic Porter, from Les Trois Mousquetaires in Brossard, Quebec.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience! This was the last session for the year, but more workshops will happen in 2012, and each pairing is different!

Lunch at Dr.Laffa’s

Earlier this week, I went for an impromptu lunch at Dr.Laffa’s with a friend from work.
One of the things that I love about my workplace is that you can find pretty much anything you need around it.
Fresh pasta, circus school, Italian bread, fencing classes, and now, authentic Middle Eastern food.
My interest was piqued by this article in blogTO.
The thing that got me? The laffa. If you’re going to stick with this blog for awhile, you will need to know this:
I am a sucker for bread. I love it, in almost every shape and form. So when I read about this traditional, fresh bread I knew I had to try it.

The image that blogTO included made it look like the restaurant was in a loading dock. It wasn’t.
We went to 40 Magnetic Drive only to discover that that was their warehouse, and that the actual restaurant was across the street. Oops.

When we arrived, the restaurant was bigger than expected, bustling and smelled delicious.
Our waitress was cheerful and very helpful. The menu had lots of different options, and I  selected a chicken Sharma.
My friend had Sabich. We both paid extra to get the wrap in laffa instead of a pita. They had a nice selection of tropical juices, and I had a mango juice. ($1.50)


Our waitress brought a steaming fresh laffa to our table. The laffa was huge and completely met my expectations.
It was soft and chewy, and reminded us a little bit of naan, but not as thick. My friend ordered a soup that came in a
tomato based broth with big potato dumplings that were filled with beef.

Pickles were liberally sprinkled in the bowl. The soup was served with a selection of sides to put into your soup. (pickled onions, corn and more pickles.)She had ordered the soup as an appetizer, but it was a pretty large bowl so she was full by the time our mains came around.

While waiting for our mains, I noticed that they were serving fresh mint tea (doesn’t get any fresher than the actual mint leaves!) and delicious looking hand cut fries!

Our wraps finally arrived, and they were huge, as long as my forearm. (I forgot to take a picture of this, so it’s only half!)

My chicken Sharma was filled with hummus, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, parsley and of course, tender marinated chicken. It was good! My friend enjoyed her Sabich that was stuffed with fried eggplant, boiled eggs, potato and hummus. We could only eat half of our food, but we were still trying to decide what we would order when we came back next time!

NOTE: I forgot my normal camera, and had to use my phone which is why the photos aren’t the best!

LCBO Intro to Wine Class

red wine session
Here’s a secret. I don’t like wine. So when my friend mentioned taking a LCBO Wine Tasting class,
I was intrigued. Could this class help foster a love of wine? Only one way to find out!
We signed up for Intro to Wine, at the impressively massive Summerhill LCBO.

Each session focused on a different type of wine. Reds, Whites, Sparkling Wine (Champagne!) and Fortified Wines (Port, Sherry) were covered.The classes were entertaining, and our instructor, Neal Boven was energetic and passionate about wines. He had traveled all over the world tasting wines, and was responsible for selecting wine for the LCBO to sell each season.

the classroom

The classes were held in the kitchen, and had a really nice set-up. 8 glasses of wine would be set up with generous tasting amounts, with a basket of fresh bread along with spring and sparkling water. We learned all sorts of neat facts, like pinot noir (pictured below) is referred to “the heartbreak grape” by wine makers due to it’s fickle nature. Did you know that red wine get it’s colour from the grape peel? I also quickly learned that I liked wines high on the sugar scale, and did not like bitter wines at all.

the heartbreak grape

the heartbreak grape

we used this worksheet to review each wine

Here’s how to properly taste wine (according to me):

1. Take a deep sniff of the wine to see what notes you can catch.
2. Vigorously swirl your wine to mix with the air and release the scents. Sniff again.
3. Drink the wine, making sure to swirl it around in your mouth so it hits your palette.

Wine has some bizarre tastes. Some are what you’d want to taste. Honey, fruit, cake, spring blossoms, ginger Others…..gasoline, wax, cream of mushroom, Nivea cream, rubber, cat urine, mold ……definitely nothing I’d ever want to taste in my wine. Or my anything, really.

The very last session was about pairing foods with wine. We weren’t able to take this session with our regular instructor, and had to beg and plead to be allowed to take our final class at a different location. The final class was a lot of fun, and we tasted cheeses and chocolates with different wines.

Taking the course was a good experience. I now know what my favourite white wine is (Vouvray Lieu Dit Les Fosses D’Harengs) and how to pick a bottle of wine like a pro! I still don’t really like it though…
If you are interested in taking a course at the LCBO, go here! (They also offer cooking classes.)

A word to the wise…the Summerhill location is a particularly good one. When we visited another location for the final class, the instructor and class wasn’t half as interesting.

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