Sunday, September 26, 2010


I just returned from dinner at Kaori, a newly opened Japanese restaurant located in Richmond Hill which actually used to be the steakhouse Outback.

It is owned by Korean people hence in the menu there was one page near the end all dedicated to Korean dishes.

To start off the meal we received three complimentary side dishes which is normal in Korean cuisine. Here is cuttlefish, Jap Chae which is cellophane noodles stir fried in sesame oil with onion, carrots and mushrooms, and spinach. The waitress then came with a dish on the house which was stewed mackerel and radish. It was full of flavor and a very nice surprise. Also in the second picture is the shrimp and vegetable tempura. I don't normally eat shrimp tempura I just head straight for the sweet potato. My boyfriend found the shrimp tempura to be too much batter and too little shrimp. As for me the sweet potato and asparagus tempura was scrumptious.

Next is the tuna sashimi, beef sashimi with ponzu sauce, and our two salads the crab salad and seaweed salad. All were pretty standard nothing spectacular to me.

Finally the rolls. We have here the Spiderman roll, sweet potato veggie roll, and Firecracker roll. The photo at the top of the page is the Black Dragon roll. Doesn't it actually look like a dragon? When the dish came out I immediately grabbed my phone before my boyfriend could thrust his chopsticks into the pretty display. Wished I had my actual camera though instead of the camera on my outdated iPhone. All the rolls were sumptuous and very filling. Also all for only 2 people. As always me and my boyfriend ended up ordering with our eyes rather than our stomachs. We couldn't finish the rolls so ended up packing the rest in a doggie bag.

Overall, the food was good, generous portions and friendly fast service in a relaxing atmosphere with Asian decor.


30 High Tech Road
(close to Yonge & Hwy 7)

Kaori on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mario's Pasta Bar & Grill & "Indian Cuisine"

I was in Mississauga today so I decided to call up my best friend, who was nearby, to meet up for lunch. Since I didn't know the vicinity very well I asked her to choose a place. We ended up at Mario's Pasta Bar & Grill. That was the name I saw at first glance but then after upon closer inspection it actually had read "and Indian Cuisine" in very small lettering so almost kind of missed it. Never actually seen a restaurant name with pasta bar and Indian cuisine in the same line before so this should be interesting. Also the character on the banner was of a chef that looked like Mario from the game the Super Mario brothers so I thought it would have been more of an Italian cuisine. I stand corrected which you will see why later on.

My friend chose this place since she had a coupon where it was buy one entree get one free. Can't go wrong with the deal so gave it a shot. I was starving so anywhere would've been fine with me.

The place was a bit busy with the leftover lunch rush. Guess with the given location not much choices for workers nearby to dine so they settle for this mediocre bar & grill.

I browsed through the menu and I noticed for a place to be called a pasta bar they only offered a very limited amount of pasta dishes. There was only 4 pasta dishes to be exact. Also I definitely did not see any Indian dishes on the menu as well. Maybe it was a separate menu that you would have to request for I'm not sure but don't dare venture to ask since the main menu itself didn't look very promising.

I looked around to see what the other patrons have ordered. On all the tables I noticed it was either a burger or a wrap. Not one table did I see a plate of pasta. Pretty interesting since it was technically a pasta bar. We decided to follow suit and stick with the sandwiches since it appeared to be the safest item to order.

We ordered the BBQ chicken sandwich and chicken quesadilla both served with a side of split pea soup.

The soup was thick with bits and pieces of peas. It was actually quite yummy but got cold pretty quickly so had to gulp it down fast.

The BBQ chicken sandwich well as you can see wasn't much. Just lettuce, tomato, and 2 slices of chicken dabbed with some BBQ sauce. It was tolerable but could use some seasoning. I was starving at that time so could've ate anything. Even Burger King would have made my day.

The quesadilla was good but nothing great. I'm sure I could have created it better myself at home. It was filling at least so that was the only thing that mattered at the time.

Overall, it wasn't a hit but it wasn't completely intolerable. Coupled with the fact that there weren't too many options around I can see how it gets its customers.

The total, along with the coupon, came to around $12 for 2 entrees and 2 sides so I can't complain. I was hungry when I entered and I left with a full stomach. I just won't return again unless there's absolutely nothing else in the vicinity to eat at.


Life is Sweet

I bought a voucher from Livingsocial to spend at Life is Sweet. $15 for $30 worth to spend at the shop.

I have been to this place on 2 separate occasions so far and both I had different experiences.

My very first time there was on a Saturday afternoon. My friend and I had a taping to attend to but since it was along the way we decided to make a "quick" stop by the cupcake shop since I rarely travel to the Beaches area. Let's just say it wasn't as quick as I had hope it would be.

Since my friend used to live in the area I assumed she would be familiar with the streets so instead of trusting my google map I relied on her to provide me with directions.

Boy, that was the wrong move.

The shop was located on Queen Street East close to Victoria Park.

We were heading east on Queen until we past Woodbine then my friend noted that Victoria Park should be coming up next.

I assumed it wasn't far away so decided to look for parking. It was such a pain looking for parking. Every side street was lined up with cars. Finally ended up parking along a side street about a 10 minute walk back to Queen Street.

Once we reached Queen Street I noticed that the store numbers were in the 2000s. The address for the cupcake place is 2328 Queen Street East. We were about 300 stores away.

So we decided to walk since it was tough already just searching for parking.

Another bad decision made.

It took us about 20 minutes to walk to the store. On a normal day where we don't have any other plans it would have been fine but on a day where we have a show to attend to not the best move.

When we finally arrived at Life is Sweet our mood was up again at the sight of all the sugary confections.

We ordered one of everything but sadly one of the flavors was not available. The person who served us told us it would be ready in an hour if we really wanted that item, but I complained that we had a show to go to and it was a far walk from our car due to somebody's sense of direction.

The lady was extremely nice and ended up giving us some free cupcakes just for our troubles.

In total we got 8 regular cupcakes and 15 mini cupcakes. The value of the voucher was $30 (but we paid $15) so I believed the total should have came to about $38 but she was kind enough not to charge us for the difference. She was very friendly and helpful that it definitely made me want to return again even though I live all the way up north.

On our second trip however, the person who helped us wasn't as friendly as the other server we had. First we had to ask what flavors they had and she appeared a bit irritated by our question. She didn't smile as much like the other person nor was she helpful at all. This time around we ordered 2 dozen mini cupcakes asking for two of each cupcake flavor. When we got home we realized that she didn't grab what we had asked for. We were missing a few flavors. We also ordered a shortbread cookie with apricot filling, another filled with raspberry filling and a cheddar cheese scone. All 3 were yummy. Wished I got more of it.

Aside from the differing customer service, the cupcakes were delicious. My favorite was the chocolate mint. My friend's favorite was the Earl Grey tea with some sort of orange frosting. My other friend she favored the butterscotch over the rest. The cake itself was moist and delightful but I found the flavor derived mostly from the frosting. Together in one bite it was divine.

If you're ever in the Beaches area definitely stop by this delectable shop and it will surely sweeten your day:)

Hope you get the friendlier person to serve you and maybe she will offer you a free treat as well.


Life Is Sweet on Urbanspoon


Once again I bought another restaurant voucher. This time it was for Sen5es located in the ground floor of the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel. $25 for $50 worth to spend.

I read several good reviews about the place so was really excited on trying this restaurant out.

I decided to go for the "gourmet" buffet at the bakery location which actually turned out to be a breakfast buffet.

Such a HUGE disappointment when I walked into the place. Their so-called breakfast buffet looked similar to a hotel complimentary breakfast. There were those small cereal boxes along with some pastries such as muffins and croissants. But don't think the pastries were part of the buffet actually think it was an additional fee.

There were 3 hot food items which were bacon, scrambled eggs, and one other item I just can't seem to remember. Also there was one bamboo dish with 5 pieces of dim sum inside. I swear there were FIVE pieces since I was able to count them within seconds. What buffet only serves a few pieces of dim sum.

Also there was a cook on hand to prepare eggs BUT don't expect some top notch gourmet eggs here.Your only choice was either sunny side or scrambled. There was no omelette or benedict of any sort. Nothing to add to your eggs such as cheese or mushrooms. It was ONLY eggs.

I don't understand how this is considered a "gourmet" buffet when there were only 4 basic items plus a chef who cooked simple eggs and some cereal boxes. Where's the gourmet part?!!

Guess how much this supposedly "gourmet" buffet cost? $22 per person. Absolutely absurd when you can buy all these items yourself and it would cost less than $20 and still have change leftover.

Once I saw all this I told the hostess that this was not what I expected so was going to return for lunch instead.

Me and my cousin walked out but we were starving since we both haven't ate yet and it was 10am. We stopped by a Timmies and snacked on a bagel since we had time to kill before we can head back.

Around 11:15 we returned to Sen5es for lunch. We ordered the fried lobster & shrimp appetizer, the Charcuterie plate, and the Kobe beef panini. All 3 dishes were an epic fail to me. The Kobe beef was too chewy and completely tasteless. The fried lobster & shrimp appetizer taste like the crab claw from dim sum and the charcuterie plate was just subpar. The portions as you can see were not decent at all.

We were so disgruntled with the food we didn't even crave for dessert. But I think the bakery location is known more for its desserts then its actual food so decided to give it a shot. We ended up choosing the truffles. The flavors that I chose were salted caramel (which the hostess recommended saying that it was their most popular truffle) and white chocolate with vanilla bean and vodka. Both were decadent and the only positive aspect of our meal. Maybe I should have just used my voucher on the desserts rather than the actual food. At least the desserts look more appetizing than the meal itself.

The bill came to around $55. Thankfully I had a voucher because all of this was not worth it at all. Overpriced food with pretentious portions and lack of flavors.

Sadly I have one more voucher so going to try the restaurant location instead hopefully it won't be another disaster or maybe I should just redeem it on desserts since the desserts come with a hefty price tag as well. Guess we will see. Stay tuned for the results.



I bought a fabfind voucher ($25 for $60 worth) for Wildfire Steakhouse & Wine Bar so decided to make reservations at the place.

I went with my boyfriend to celebrate our monthly anniversary. I was looking forward to trying this place out since during the last summerlicious I didn't get the chance to do so .

When we arrived at the place we were greeted warmly by the hostess who held the door wide open for us. The decor inside was very trendy and modern decorated with rich red mohagony wood which made it appear a bit posh.

We ordered Escargots Provencal drenched in a herbed butter sauce with roasted garlic and shallots, the soup of the day which was French onion soup, Surf & Turf with a side of peppercorn sauce along with a side of sauteed mushrooms, and the New Zealand Lamb Rack crusted with plantain. The food was exceptionally well-prepared and well-seasoned. It was also moderately portioned so definitely worth making a trip for.

The total came to $160 minus our $60 voucher which came to $100.

I think it was worth every penny.

Wildfire is celebrating their 8th Anniversary with a special promo where you can either receive $25 off your bill when you spend $100 or more before taxes OR receive 2 FREE desserts with the purchase of any 2 entrees.

Also after 5 validations you will receive a $100 Wildfire Gift Certificate. You just have to remember to bring the coupon for each visit to get a stamp.

Offer ends Oct. 31, 2010.

Either pick up the coupon from the hostess or click here to print it.

So far I have one stamp hopefully I can make another trip but with my long list doubt I can find the time.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nothing Beats a Home Cooked Meal

I went over to my in-laws yesterday for dinner to celebrate Korean thanksgiving which is known as Chusok.

I just love it when my in-laws calls us to come home for dinner. I have to admit my in-laws cook better than my very own mom. Sorry mommy. Luckily she doesn't read my blog.

My boyfriend's parents cooks the BEST Korean cuisine EVER. I mean EVERRRR. I'm not trying to be nice here or earn some brownie points with the in-laws since they also don't read my blog as well so I truly mean what I say.

Their food is prepared with passion and love. Cooking is their lifeline and they absolutely enjoy doing it. Some people cook to live. I think my in-laws live to cook. They used to own a restaurant but now they have retired and just cook for pleasure. Which is great for me. Less cooking for me and more great food to eat.

The bad part is it's always a feast at their home. This meal here is for ONLY me and my boyfriend since his parents ate already. Yes we sat there and devoured the food while they watched and kept refilling our plates with rice. I don't always eat this much but I just can't say no. I always have to wear my stretchy pants in order to consume all the food they prepare because I know my stomach will expand to the max. Gotta love my stretchy pants. This is the reason why I can't lose weight is because I can't resist my in-laws sumptuous cooked food and I always end up gormandizing everything that is thrown on my plate. My stomach still feels full just looking at the pictures of food.

Here is chive pancakes, BBQ pork ribs and fish cakes.

Also what Korean dinner would be complete without the abundance of side dishes aka banchan. Here we have kimchi, some marinated radish dish, pickled cucumbers, spinach and there's two dishes I don't know the name of nor can my boyfriend explain it to me either but it was all tasty. All made fresh by his parents. Nothing store bought here.

Even their dipping sauce was delicious as well. It's not your typical soya sauce. It consisted of garlic, chili pepper, sesame oil and a few other ingredients I just can't remember since I was too busy pigging out. Sorry.

My boyfriend's parents are perfectionists when it comes to cooking. They won't serve it if they have the slightest doubt that it doesn't taste good. Even the dipping sauces have to be spot on. That's how serious they are when it comes to cooking.

Can't wait for the next meal. Hope I have enough time to still digest last night's dinner.

Happy Moon Cake Festival!!!

Also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival or the Moon Festival regardless of the name it's a time for celebration. Mostly celebrated by the Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese people, this harvest festival is held on the 15th of the 8th month in the Chinese calendar or in the Gregorian calendar in September or early October. This year it falls on Sept. 22 which is TODAY.

I just returned from T&T and I couldn't help myself I had to buy a box of moon cakes. This box here is filled with my favorite lotus seed moon cake with egg yolk. My least favorite is the walnut and date moon cake. Yuck!

The box is so cute decorated in a flowery print and even came with a pretty red gift bag so I'll be bringing it over to my in-laws for dinner tonight since this is meant for sharing. Hope they enjoy this as much as I do!


For more info. on moon cakes click here.

Grodzinski Bakery

After stepping out of a bank, I was just looking at my bank slip checking the balance when my nose suddenly detected this intoxicating aroma of freshly baked bread in the air. It was emanating somewhere in the plaza so I followed it like a bloodhound all the way to a place called Grodzinski Bakery.

I stood outside like a little kid peeking curiously through the doorway. My eyes widened with glee at the sight of all the baked goods from gingerbread cookies to bagels to flans to cakes. I also saw a huge line with people holding bags and bags of bread. Guess the bread is what reels the customers in. Well that's what brought me here.

So I walked in slowly still unsure of what to buy. It seems the bread is their specialty but question is which one to buy. There was a huge selection of bread from Challahs to bagels to rolls and buns. I didn't know what to choose so I saw an elder lady grabbing a bunch of bagels so I decided to follow suit and grab a couple for myself. I'm sure she knows what she is doing so couldn't be a bad choice. I also grabbed a chocolate croissant, a huge chocolate chip cookie, a chocolate chip looking pretzel and a gingerbread cookie in the shape of a flower . Yes there's a lot of chocolate going on here but hey haven't you heard the expression "chocolate is a girl's best friend" or maybe that was for diamonds. Well call me crazy I prefer chocolate over diamonds any day. I love my food.

The total came to around $6. Thought I would start small and try a few items before I make a big purchase. So far the croissant is really yummy. The cookie is humongous but good if you like the ones that crumble in your mouth. Can't wait to try the rest later.

Have to make another trip and try their apple galette as well as their cakes and pies!

It's amusing how I go to this bank every week yet never made the effort to see what else is in the neighborhood. I need to be more aware of my surroundings next time because you never know what hidden gems you will discover that's right close to home.

Grodzinski Bakery on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Harlem Underground

I was watching the show Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network channel. I absolutely love that channel but I can't watch a single show without having some sort of snack on my lap because I always end up craving for something no matter what it is. Why is it on tv all food looks good enough to eat? Even something as simple as a burger can make me grab my keys and drive out in search of a burger joint.

If you haven't seen this show it's about Bobby challenging other cooks on their area of specialty. It can range from anything from pizzas to pad thais to sushi to falafel. The episode I was watching was about fried chicken and waffles. I have had waffles. I ate fried chicken before. But together I can't say I have.

It's funny how when I mentioned about fried chicken and waffles to my cousin she told me to buy KFC and a box of eggos lol. I retorted back it's not the same thing.

Once the show was over I was craving for fried chicken and waffles so I ended up googling in search for a place that served this combo. I landed on Harlem Underground. I took a quick browse through their menu and immediately added this to my list. I kept whining to my friend questioning her as to when we're going to satisfy my hunger and finally one day she said let's go. Thanks Susan for fulfilling my demanding cravings:)

Originally I wanted to go for brunch but it was only available on weekends so I settled for lunch. I just couldn't wait a few more days I wanted it NOW. After all the main reason why I came was for the Southern fried chicken and waffles and that was on the menu so lunch it is.

Aside from the house special we also ordered the smokey jalapeno BBQ ribs that a friend of mine recommended along with fish and chips.

Here is the food. Doesn't it look so good you want to reach out and grab it??? Well that's how I feel whenever I see foodie pix or watch food shows.

Let's start off with the dish a friend of mine recommended, the smokey jalapeno bbq ribs. It was finger licking goooood. Savory, tender and with a bit of a kick. Thanks Viv for the awesome recommendation:)

Next is the catfish in red stripe batter with sweet potato fries. The catfish was scrumptious. The outside was crispy and the inside was warm tender pieces of fish. I don't really eat catfish much but this I will eat any day. The fries on the other hand wasn't as great. It wasn't hot nor was it warm and the texture was just soft and some were a bit on the mushy side. I like my fries crispy so this wasn't up to my standard however the catfish made up for it.

Lastly, Harlem's fav southern fried chicken and waffles with a chipotle-corriander-maple syrup and gravy. The chicken was crispy with some sort of herbed seasoning. It was good but would've been even better if it was hot instead of warm. The waffles was a huge disappointment. It was just plain waffles and it wasn't even hot. I thought there would have been some sort of flavor or special mix to the batter but it was just plain old waffles. The maple syrup added some sweetness but then if I wanted plain waffles I could've just bought a box of eggo waffles and put it in the toaster myself. At least it would be hot.

It's funny I came to this restaurant for the chicken and waffles but it didn't wow me at all the way I thought it would be. However, the other companions turned out excellent and made me want to return to try the remaining items on the menu.

Don't know if I will return for the sweet potato waffle that I had my eye on at brunch but will definitely return to try the other items such as the BBQ pulled pork sandwich or the jerk chicken sandwich.

The grand total came out to be around $40. Pretty good for 2 people and we were stuffed so sadly no dessert. Also we had plans to go out for dinner as well on the same day so had to save my stomach for it.

I highly recommend heading to the Underground for some great comfort food just don't order their chicken and waffles.


Harlem Underground on Urbanspoon

398 West

A few weeks ago me and my boyfriend celebrated our monthly anniversary at 398 West.

It's a Kosher restaurant located in midtown right next to The Eglinton Grand. It was both our first time at this restaurant so we were looking forward to trying it out. Also once again I was watching Toronto Dining and this establishment was featured on the show and left me craving for their food.

We arrived at the restaurant at 6:30pm and the place was empty except for two tables. First of all, standing outside the restaurant we assumed the place would be small but once we entered the place we were surprised to see it was actually larger than what we thought it would be. Shows you how looks can be deceiving. Never judge a book by its cover. With towering ceilings and a contemporary decor it was definitely not plain and simple inside as it was outside.

After browsing through the menu we finally decided to order the forest mushroom bisque with truffle essence and snipped chives, boneless whole cornish hen stuffed with wild rice, barley, walnuts, craisins, orange turnip and roasted beets, beef crossrib slow-cooked with caramelized Cippolini onions and truffled Yukon mash, and braised lamb shanks with minted new potatoes, bourbon squash, long beans, sauteed greens and natural jus. The only picture I'm missing of is the soup because we were starving and just couldn't wait but I did take at photo of the remaining three which is the most important of all.

Everything was scrumptious. The soup was full of mushroom flavors. The chicken was undeniably moist and juicy. It was the best chicken I had EVER had. It was cooked to perfection. Not a single part of it was dry or grainy at all. The lamb was extremely tender but the sauce was a tad too sweet. My boyfriend enjoyed the meat but not the sauce since he isn't a fan of meat with sweet sauces. The crossrib was also succulent but once again the sauce was a bit too sweet even for me. Even the complimentary bread and pate was also delicious as well.

After we inhaled our food we noticed that the place was partially full. Don't know where the people came from. One minute it was practically empty and the next almost packed. Guess we went a good time.

The grand total came to approximately $115. I think it was worth it. Amazing food, modern and hip atmosphere and friendly staff. It's a winner in my books. Wonder what other Kosher restaurants I should try???


Monday, September 20, 2010

Deep FRiEd Butter Balls

Yes you read it correctly. Deep fried BUTTER balls. At first I was disgusted when I heard about these high calorie treats but when I was at C.N.E. this year I just couldn't help myself after seeing this huge line for these killer balls. My curiosity got the best of me. Just had to try it out to see what the hype was all about.

At Sweet Treats, they have only 4 items on the menu yet I waited in line for HALF an hour. I am still shocked that I even line up for these ridiculously fattening treats. The 4 items were twinkie log, deep fried mars bar, bacon covered in chocolate and of course the main attraction, deep fried butter balls.

First up is the twinkie log. I took one bite and threw the rest away. I don't even like twinkies but I just love chocolate covered peanuts. Makes me think of the ice cream drumsticks. I only like the outer layer but once that is gone I don't seem to enjoy it as much anymore. Even though this looked like a drumstick however it definitely wasn't as good as the ice cream. This to me was a dried up twinkie covered with chocolate and peanuts. It wasn't very pleasing to eat at all.

The deep fried butter ball is basically butter covered in funnel cake batter and then deep fried quickly before the butter has a chance to melt and then topped with swirls of either vanilla, chocolate, strawberry or carmel sauce and dusted with icing sugar. When I took my first bite I was wondering how much my life span just got reduced by yet at the same time I was surprised to have found that it tasted delicious. Guess the thought of eating fried butter along with the unhealthy factors was horrifying but when it came to actually eating it I have to admit it was pretty good. Then again who doesn't like butter and funnel cake. I'm sure you're thinking I'm crazy but think about it. You dip lobster or crab in a bowl of liquid butter, eat cakes, shortbread practically any pastry item which also contains butter so who hasn't ate a stick of butter just mostly not in it's true form. Ok that's my logic but maybe doesn't sound so convincing after all. Oh well I stand by my decision and it was a hit but would I buy it again next year probably not. Once is enough for me. I need to save my stomach for the rest of the places on my list.


Here are some facts I found interesting from thestar. The things people do. Can't believe I am part of the statistics.

Deep fried butter balls at CNE

- 36,000 butter balls sold
- 9,000 orders taken
- 4 balls per order
- $5 per order
- 800 lbs of fried butter eaten
- 315 calories per order
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