Giveaway: Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

Hi Toronto Foodies,

Excited to announce I am doing a giveaway contest for an upcoming event, the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo happening on November 16 – 19, 2017 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The event will provide foodies an opportunity to taste the newest dishes, drinks and foodie trends everyone is raving about with 1,500 wines, beers, spirits and gourmet foods. For more information on the event click here.

This is your chance to win a set of Elite Passes (value $100.00) for yourself and a guest! These passes are valid any one day from November 16 – 19, 2017. No in/out privileges except for Saturday. Front line privileges through the Elite entrance.

We have 2 sets of passes to give away!

Pleases note entrants must be 19 years of age or older.

You will be required to present a valid government issued I.D at the door. No children or infants permitted.

Click HERE to enter!

I will select two lucky foodies on SUNDAY NOVEMBER 16, 2017.

Good luck!

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Winterlicious 2017: My Top 10 Picks

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Hey Toronto Foodies!

As some of you may know, a Top 10 list was not published for Summerlicious 2016. Sadly, I was too busy last year to write one but I did try to participate and go to a restaurant. I will write a separate post about my experience on that. Anyways, I am determined to make time and have a list out for you all as we enter into the new year. Hopefully, foodies will find it useful.

This year, I was actually invited to a Winterlious media preview at Lee Restaurant with speakers that included Chef Susur Lee, sponsors, and Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre). I’ve never been to the restaurant before, so this was a nice opportunity to visit and taste a bit of their menu offerings. I will likely create a brief post about it too, but check my Facebook page if you want to see some of the pictures.

As usual, the prix fixe menus vary from $18, $23, $28 for lunch but have increased slightly at $28, $38, $48 for dinner. Here is a list of my suggestions below:

1) Scaddabush Italian Kitchen & Bar
Price: $18 Lunch/ $28 Dinner
Note: This place surprised me! I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was cause Scaddabush is a chain restaurant. It is no Canoe or Richmond Station but at least steps above a Pickle Barrel/Moxies. Considering the menu prices, I think this would be a great deal and that’s why I am putting it at the top. I recently went with coworkers and feasted on some pretty good food. The lunch and dinner menu are very similar so if you haven’t been before, I suggest trying their lunch menu to test it out. Some regular menu items I would also suggest is Naked – Fresh Mozzarella and 3-Cheese Charity Bread. Seriously, get the Fresh Mozzarella! Everyone raved over it. lol.

2) Red’s Midtown Tavern
Price: $18 Lunch/ $28 Dinner
Note: This was on my top picks cause a friend went here a while ago and said it was alright. Reviews also look good.I like the price point and menu looks interesting with offerings of Kale Salad, Butternut Squash Soup, Shrimp Ravioli, Steak Bibimbap, and Japanese Cheesecake, etc. I am doing my Winterlicious lunch here, so I will let you know how it goes.

3) Diwan
Price: $28 Lunch
Note: I’ve never been but this restaurant is located at the Aga Khan Museum. As a new addition to this year’s Winterlicious and if you haven’t been to the museum before, I think this would make for a lovely museum and lunch day for friends, family or dates.

4) Estiatorio Volos
Price: $23 Lunch/ $38 Dinner
Note: I’ve walked by this place a few times and it’s always packed with the business crowd on weekends or after work hours. I’m kind of curious about it and if you don’t eat greek food often, this place might be a nice place to try with friends, coworkers or dates.

5) Drake Hotel
Price: $23 Lunch/ $38 Dinner
Note: A pretty safe bet, I’ve been here a few times. I like their lunch menu more and would eye the butternut squash, avocado toast, and salmon benny. Yum!

6) Insomnia
Price: $18 Lunch/ $28 Dinner
Note: This was on my past Winterlicious 2016 pick but it is still a solid choice. Still very popular with long line ups and I have been to this place a few times. I love their Charlotte Eggs Benedict! If you go for lunch, I would eye the Eggs Memphis, which is already $14 on their regular menu. So $18 for a 3 course is a pretty good deal. If you decide on dinner, the Fried Chicken ‘N Waffles has a lot of buzz.

7) Lee
Price: $48 Dinner
Note: As I mentioned above, I went to the media preview here. I got to try a few things and from the menu I would recommend the Thai Fried Chicken. It has a bit of a zing and is quite good. I probably would avoid the Pineapple & Passionfruit Popsicle for dessert though, I didn’t try it but it looked quite small portion-wise. Interior of restaurant is very pretty and upscale. Definitely a place to wine and dine.

8) Love me Tender
Price: $23 Lunch/ $38 Dinner
Note: Never been but reviews are good. Menu for both lunch and dinner look solid. If you are a meat eater, this could be the place for you! Some menus items include a burger, salmon filet, sirloin, prime rib and chicken.

9) Brassaii Restaurant and Lounge
Price: $48 Dinner
Note: Went here for a holiday work event and this place is nicely decorated. The food was good but I think it depends on what you order. I got to try a variety of salads, roast beef, lasagna, mac n’ cheese, etc. However, the food I tried is probably different from the regular menu cause my company made it more of a buffet style. Still, their regular menu is more pricey so this Licious menu could be a good opportunity to visit if you haven’t been before.

10) Mildred’s Temple Kitchen
Price: $38 Dinner
Note: Unfortunately, they are only doing dinner this year. I’ve been to their restaurant for lunch and it is a solid brunch spot. Great place for friends, family or coworkers.

* Honourable Mention: Benihana Japanese Steakhouse at $48 for dinner. It is located at the Fairmont Royal York so definitely an upscale restaurant and while a splurge, still a good deal given that their Licious menu is similar to their regular group menu for 8 people that costs $60-75 per person.

To check out menus, please click here.

Hope this helps!

Summerlicious 2015 – Rosewater ★★★

Last weekend I went to Rosewater for their Summerlicious $23 lunch menu with a group of six fellow foodies. We all ordered similar dishes, so here is a list of our orders and the general consensus about them: Appetizer Iceberg Lettuce … Continue reading

[MEDIA] ONE Restaurant ★★★★★

This gallery contains 22 photos.

Disclaimer: Thanks to BrandingandBuzzing, I was given the opportunity to attend an intimate media dinner at ONE Restaurant last year with a few fellow foodies. Had a wonderful time sampling the menu and getting to know everyone. I definitely felt spoiled! The … Continue reading

Revisit: Aji Sai ★ 1/2

Price: Under $25 for ACYE dinner.

So I rarely make these revisit posts but felt the experience from my last visit warranted it.

I went to Aji Sai one night with a large group – about 15 or so approx. Knowing this was would be a hassle for the restaurant, I made my reservations 2 weeks in advance and even called a week before to make sure I still had my reservation. No problems so far. Well, on the day of I call about 15 minutes before my reservation to adjust my seating numbers. Only to discover they have no such reservation noted!! MY WORST FOODIE NIGHTMARE! There was nothing in their books, not my name, phone number, nothing!

I was so embarrassed, mad and baffled as this rarely happens to me (besides that time at Pure Spirits), especially since I confirmed days ago. The hostess said she couldn’t help me unless I could provide proof I called them, mentioning I could have accidentally called their other location up North instead.

I don’t think I would ever make such a mistake and fortunately I had my call history to prove it. It was crazy busy at the restaurant so I tried to be understanding but the hostess had us wait for an 1hr and 20mins before the next table was free even though she said it would be only be another 30-45 minutes. We stuck around that long because everyone was looking forward to AYCE and there were no other nearby AYCE restaurants.

I know the hostess was trying her best given the circumstances but I just didn’t like how they didn’t have any back up solutions. Whether it was offering us a greater discount or getting the manager to help, etc. All I heard was “well, what can I do?” and “I can’t do anything about it.”

They did provide a 15% discount at the end of the meal if we paid cash (something I have had before because I was a student. Saved me about $4). Still, I thought they could have done better to handle our customer service situation. We were generally cooperative and didn’t cause any trouble. Decided to just stay outside the restaurant while waiting for our table, browsing wasn’t much of an option since everything else was mainly closed in that area.

We were finally seated at 9:20-9:30pm and finished around 11pm. I guess one of our servers was tired because he seemed very lax in taking orders and was barely coherent.  Felt like he might pass out or something, very strange behaviour. The  sushi also started to look sloppy too. Some of them seemed like they were just quickly meshed together. I know its was late but it doesn’t excuse the laziness in food presentation.

In the end, I would probably still visit them again because realistically it is one of the few if not only one decent AYCE sushi restaurant downtown. However, I have been greatly disappointed with their service and will probably keep this in mind next time I suggest a sushi restaurant to friends.

Lesson learned: write down the name of who is doing reservation!

TIP: Suggest coming here in small groups.

Website: http://www.ajisai.ca/
Location: Various locations. Review for 467 Queen St. West, Toronto Ontario M5C 2A9
Telephone: (416) 603-3366

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Aji Sai on Urbanspoon

Yang’s Kitchen Sushi Bar ★★★

Price: Adults – $14.99 for lunch and $21.99 for dinner. Children (9 or under) and Seniors (65 or over) are reduced.

Surprised I haven’t reviewed this restaurant before. I have eaten at Yang’s a few times in the past but just remembered to review them after a recent visit with my family.

For those of you who don’t know Yang’s, they’re an all you can eat (ACYE) sushi restaurant, offering service for lunch and dinner. The lunch and dinner menu are the same except with dinner you can order items from the sashimi, sushi bar and kitchen list. I prefer dinner too, even if it’s just for the extra food I can order. Keep in mind service during weeknight/weekends is slower and more hectic. So if you plan to eat then, I strongly suggest making reservations!! Otherwise, you’ll be stuck waiting over half an hour for a table. Also, except for dessert..order in one go to maximize your time. They might have a 2 hour seating time limit.

In terms of food, they are okay. I love salmon so I ordered dishes like their salmon rose sushi, spicy salmon rolls, salmon maki and sushi. All of which were fine. I would also recommend their unagi (eel) rolls, green dragon rolls, steak dishes (meat’s sliced up) and maybe fried rice if you are in the mood. Stay away from the bland cucumber sushi and overly salty miso soup though.

Yang’s a pretty popular place in Markham so I know it will have a variety of responses but I’m actually surprised at the amount of negative reviews (ie.Avoid Yang’s Kitchen Forum Post). I haven’t really experienced anything so terrible with the service as mentioned in the post but I do somewhat agree with the service complaints (whether that is because they don’t understand English or not). There have been many a time where I had to repeatedly wave my hand or just physically go up and ask for service or extra napkins/cutlery. I don’t really mind it much, its sometimes frustrating but I kind of almost expect it.

Maybe its just the Asian in me but I have more patience when it comes to Asian restaurants. I set a different pair of standards for them, not sure if this is because it is a habit from childhood, being a stereotypical Asian or both. Haha. I mean, all Asian restaurants have to do is provide the standard complementary tea, clean utensils (I wipe them again), serve food at the correct temperature within 30 minutes and I am good. 🙂

Dress code: Casual, good for friends and family. Possibly for socializing with co-workers if you are in the area.

Website: N/A
Location: 4261 Regional Rd 7, Markham, ON L3R 9W6
Telephone: (905) 944-0818
Hours: N/A – Please call ahead.

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Yang's Kitchen on Urbanspoon