Category: Restaurant

Winterlicious at Trio Restaurant

Today I went to Trio during lunch for their $15 Winterlicious menu. This restaurant was chosen purely for it’s closeness to work, so I didn’t have any expectations. Which turned out to be a good thing, because this meal was pretty underwhelming. Trio is located inside the Novotel Hotel in North York. They have some funky looking lights, and a nice modern decor.

To start with, I had the Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup, topped with Maple & Cinnamon Crème Fraiche. I decided to go with this because I like nice thick soups in the winter.

This soup was terribly bland, and had an odd thin consistency for a squash and carrot soup. It’s almost like the soup was vegetable stock. I also didn’t like the way that they squirted the crème fraiche in a long swirl in the soup. It broke up oddly in the bowl, and was also quite tasteless.

My friend got the quiche florentine with mesculin field greens, and I thought it was good portion for an appetizer. She said it was good.

Next up were our disappointing main courses.

I really like chicken pot pie, so I went with the traditional creamy chicken pot pie. My favourite part of the crust is the pie, so I hate when restaurants just plop a puff pastry on top. A true pot pie needs a delicious savory filling encased in a handmade crust. Needless to say, that isn’t what I got here. The puff pastry was okay, and the filling was unremarkable and a bit bland.

I thought that my friend’s Tri Colored Cheese Tortellini with Winter Vegetables looked good, but she said that it was just okay.

For dessert, we both finished with the Sticky Toffee Pudding. It was served warm, and it was sticky and sweet. A nice way to end a so-so meal. I wouldn’t go back here, although the staff were very friendly and provided good service.

Winterlicious Picks

Hey Toronto…it’s time to get your Winterlicious on!
Winterlicious is a celebration of exclusive prix fixe menus offered at 175 diverse restaurants across Toronto, running from January 27th to February 9th. This festival is an excellent time to check out some restaurants that you wouldn’t normally visit.

Lunch can be either $15, $20 or $25 and dinner is $25, $35 or $45. This year Winterlicious is celebrating its 10th year! I like Summerlicious, but I love Winterlicious. It’s so dark and dreary, it’s really nice to gather with a bunch of friends and take advantage of the great prices!

Winterlicious also features some interesting Culinary Events. One of my favourites is the Guilty Pleasures Brunch at the Drake Hotel.

This year I am planning to dine at Vertical, Toula, Trio, Fabbrica, Paese and Linda. (I Winterlicious a lot, okay? DON’T JUDGE ME.)

I recommend these restaurants:

The Drake Hotel
Café Moroc
Pan on the Danforth

Check out the menus of all 175 participating restaurants. Be sure to reserve early because restaurants fill up fast!

Pizza at Piola

Piola is the newest gourmet pizza resto to hit Queen street, and one of my favorites. Piola is located at 1165 Queen St W, across from Drake and the Gladstone hotels. Piola is part of a global chain that originated in Italy. They have locations all around the world, and this is the first in Canada.
Piola serves up authentic thin crust pizzas and handmade pastas. I stopped by for lunch and ordered a signature pie- the Piola. This pizza had fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, basil and tomato sauce. ($13.50)
Before my pizza arrived, I was served fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Confession: I am a bread snob. I will judge you on your bread. The worst is when you go to Italian restaurants, and they serve you cold, stale bread. I realize that the bread is complimentary, but that’s really no excuse for bad quality.

I am happy to report that that was not the case with Piola. The bread was fresh, warm and delicious. The olive oil was also good, and I loved the funky labels.

Let me also take a moment to say that I really enjoy Piola’s branding. It’s funky and I like the colours. The tables have cute food themed illustrations, the napkins have an artistic flair and the space is laid out in a beautiful way. The staff were also friendly and polite.

My Piola pizza arrived and it was superb. The tomato sauce was tangy and a little bit sweet, the basil was fresh and the crust was thin but chewy. If I had to pick something I would change, it would be that I wish the crust was a little thicker, but that’s just personal preference.

I plan to visit again with a larger group so that I can try some of the delicious looking pastas and desserts.

Epic Brunch at the Royal York

Treat yourself to some truly epic brunch at Epic Restaurant, located inside the Fairmont Royal York hotel. This brunch will set you back $29.00, but it’s all you can eat, and trust me- it’s delicious.

The Epic brunch is all you can eat, and features assorted cereals, pastries, various breads, fruits an omelet station and various hot dishes. Some of the hot dishes were pork sausage, maple smoked bacon, chicken apple sausage, fresh Ontario scrambled eggs, eggs benny, braised Ontario mushrooms, tomato au gratin, breakfast potatoes and banana strawberry waffles.

The breakfast potatoes were perfectly crisp, the bacon was thick and non-greasy, and the omelet was perfect! Brunch also comes with fresh orange juice, coffee and tea. As a bonus, the pastries, including croissants and danishes) are flaky and delicious. A pet peeve of mine is when the pastries in buffets are dry and tasteless. None of that here! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to brunch more!

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.

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

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!

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