Tag: restaurant

Cacao70 in the Distillery District | Toronto

Cacao70 in the Distillery District | Toronto

Cacao70 is a diabetic’s worst nightmare and a chocolate lover’s wet dream. An establishment devoted to cacao confections like fondue, crepes, hot chocolate, etc., the Montreal-based chain opened in the Distillery during the annual Christmas market, so naturally I avoided it like the plague until 

Dinner at Beast Restaurant | Toronto

Dinner at Beast Restaurant | Toronto

I’m a carnivore. My sharp canines love to dig into a meaty dish (one a little sharper than the other after I chipped it eating a slice of pizza on a flight to Australia), so it’s not hard to guess why Beast Restaurant has been on my 

DaiLo | Toronto

DaiLo | Toronto

When unique food, good service, and great company come together, it’s going to be a good night — DaiLo delivers effortlessly.

This quasi-Cantonese-European place sits amongst a trifecta of delicious hotspots on College Street between La Carnita and Bar Raval on the corner of Palmerston. Last week, my friend Erin and I decided to take a chance on getting a table at this place once we decided standing around a barrel at Bar Raval was just too tiring, no matter how good the food and drinks are.

DaiLo is number four on enRoute Magazine’s Best New Restaurants 2015, and has been on my radar for a while. Luckily, we were able to snag a table in the bar area; the place was packed and reservations full, pretty impressive for a Tuesday evening.

The decor is a comfortable eclectic mix of Chinoiserie like golden screens, antique posters and wallpaper, balanced with modern leather furniture and industrial lighting. Upstairs, LoPan, DaiLo’s sister cocktail bar, has crazy high ceilings and beautifully atristic light fixtures with golden Chinese decoration stenciled on the turquoise walls.


First up, drinks. The Atlantic Marriage ($12) never stopped giving. The showmanship alone would be enough to make me order this drink again — contained inside a chilled metal pineapple, the drink was fruity, rummy and delicious. It lasted the whole meal, and trust me, I was trying hard to get through it to try another tasty imbibe.


Erin chose the Markham Sour ($12); its dwarfed appearance compared to mine was a little sad, but it was delicious none the less.


The first dish comes out on a pretty china plate. The Smoked Trout Betel Leaf ($4) had salty trout roe that popped in my mouth, mixing perfectly with the freshness of the betel leaf. I flew solo on the first bite of the evening, but the brightness of the dish increased the anticipation for the next one.


The Pork Belly ($14) was one of the specials for the evening and it had been braised for eight hours and fried for eight minutes — beyond delicious. Crunchy on the outside, and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside, I can’t even tell you how good it was.


Fried Watermelon ($9) came out next, piping hot, and was easily the prettiest plate of the night. The savoury-barely-there-breading encased the juices of the watermelon: When you bit into the carefully cut cubes  they burst violently (but delightfully) in your mouth. The dish was balanced with salty pork floss and fresh pickled watermelon rind, and upon the suggestion of our server extraordinaire, Turi, we made sure to have a little bit of everything in every bite to fully enjoy the dish.


The Pumpkin Dumplings ($10) were the star of the evening. Light wrappers that protected the creamy pumpkin filling came out swimming in beurre blanc. Oh my, that beurre blanc was freaking delightful. Made with White Rabbit Creamy Candy, I had no shame licking the plate long after the dumplings were gone. And let’s not forgot the black truffle shavings that were beyond the icing on the cake; it was like the cake on the cake.


The Hakka Brown Wontons ($9) with pork and shrimp were small but mighty. Their sharp flavour wasn’t to Erin’s taste, but I had no problem finishing them off.


There wasn’t any bit of room for dessert.

503 COLLEGE ST. | Toronto, ON | (647) 341-8882 | dailoto.com

*I took all these photos with my new iPhone and I don’t quite know how to feel about them…I know the new cameras are supposed to be really good, but I am missing my NEX-6 big time — what do you think?*

Dailo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I forgot my Blogiversary

I forgot my Blogiversary

A week after I started my new job, I was standing in the grocery line getting increasingly annoyed by slow people at the self-checkout when it hit me: “I forgot my blogiversary,” I said aloud. Well, shit. A wave of guilt washed over me, the 

Le Petit Déjeuner | Toronto

Le Petit Déjeuner | Toronto

As I limped along King East, my friend’s voice echoed in my mind. “Get the waffles, order extra waffles.” I’d been craving brunch at Le Petit Déjeuner since I heard about their famous Belgian out-of-this-world-amazing waffles and I wasn’t going to let a little foot injury 

Lunch at Taco el Asador | Toronto

Lunch at Taco el Asador | Toronto

It was hot and muggy, but I heaped one more spoonful of the spicy salsa on my taco. I wiped the sweat from my forehead with a paper napkin, took another swigg of Sol, and reveled in the first hot Toronto day at Taco el Asador.


When I lived on top of Ossington subway station three years ago, Korea Town was just part of my commute; quickly past Christie Pitts and nameless shops to the Annex where I spend most of my time as a student at U of T.


Now there are new boutiques, restaurants, there’s even a bulk barn for god’s sake. The neighbourhood has changed, but Taco el Asador has maintained their delicious status quo. Shame on me for walking by this awesome place, shame on me.

El Asador is exactly what you want a good taco joint to be — yellow and orange walls, a little South American flare, and picnic tables squashed into a tiny 20-seat restaurant serving awesome food. No pretense, just tacos.


I had met up with my friend Krista for lunch and we were lucky to get a table, even though it was 1pm on a Monday afternoon. To start off our little fiesta, we shared the guacamole ($7.55).


Five minutes later our fish tacos showed up ($3.55 each).


Then I had a carnitas and Krista had the chorizo.


The food is easygoing, easy to eat and cheap — the meal only cost us around $35 and we both had a beer! What else do you need?

We sat there for awhile after the lunch rush, catching eachother up.

I was sweaty and full, and I feel at home in Toronto again.

690 Bloor Street West | Toronto, ON | (416) 538-9747 

Tacos El Asador Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The perfect day of eating: Halifax

The perfect day of eating: Halifax

My perfect day, like many days, revolves around food. I daydream frequently about eating three meals a day at restaurants and I’ve decided to let you in on the fantasy. This is my no-holds-barred-budget-busting-shameless perfect day of eating in Halifax. Breakfast is a no brainer: The 

Dinner at Field Guide | Halifax

Dinner at Field Guide | Halifax

Field Guide is a small but unmistakable spot on Gottingen Street that debuted late in 2013 amongst the flurry of openings in the North End this past Fall. Owners Ceilidh Sutherland and Dan Vorstermans cleverly named their restaurant as a means of ‘guiding’ patrons through their 

Lunch at Truly Tasty Ramen: Halifax

Lunch at Truly Tasty Ramen: Halifax

Do you need a fork? Sadly this is a phrase that I hear all too often at Asian restaurants. I must look very awkward while using chopsticks, because every time I sit down for a bowl of Pho, a heaping plate of Pad Thai, or a steaming bowl of Ramen, I am almost immediately offered North American cutlery. At first I was offended, I mean who are you to say that I don’t know how to use chopsticks properly? Does this happen to everyone? I just assumed that the waitstaff gave forks to all non-Asians, and then it hit me:

I am really crappy at using chopsticks.

Granted, no one ever taught me how to use chopsticks when I was a kid; authentic Asian food was hard to come by where I grew up. When I finally started travelling and eating various meals that required these cunning utensils, I just went with the flow and taught myself (hence the awkward chopstick handling). It was only after moving to Toronto for grad school, where I fell in love with Asian food, that someone finally taught me how to use them properly. I started to master the art, which I am embarrassed to say, I have yet to achieve. It really is a true wonder to me how people are able to use them with such finesse and ease. I think it’s hard.

A few weeks ago Adam and I went to Truly Tasty on Quinpool Road for lunch. It was our first time there, and I was pretty impressed with the modern decor: The walls were not covered with the stereotypical Asian art and the furniture was sleek and new. We were greeted by a very friendly server and chose our lunch pretty quickly. The lunch menu is small and direct: dumplings and ramen. What more do you need?

After ordering, the server brought water and a small Sprout Salad. The tiny salad was packing quite the punch with its intense flavours of chili and its deliciousness really got our tummies grumbling.


But sure enough, before I had brought the first bite to my mouth, the server appeared out of nowhere and asked: Do you need a fork?

Okay lady, I know I must look like I’m struggling to get this little bean sprout into my mouth, but give me a chance. I managed to eat the salad without the fork, success!

For our mains, we chose the lunch special, Ramen with Pork, and an order of pork dumplings to share (we like pork). The steaming bowls of ramen came out really fast and they were huge even though we had ordered the small! It looked and smelled amazing.


The ramen was great. The pork belly was cooked perfectly, soft and juicy, the egg was magically brown on the outside and was deliciously gooey on the inside. The noodles were the perfect texture, and there was also some tree fungus in there that I couldn’t identify specifically, but it was awesome too! I did have to give in and use a fork, which I was actually grateful for at this point, there was so much yummy food in front of me I didn’t want to slow down to use the chopsticks.

The dumplings were less than great for me, Adam finished mine, but overall the meal was really good! I am so happy to have found a great ramen spot in Halifax and I will definitely be back for more. I encourage anyone who hasn’t tried this hidden gem to Explore.Eat.Repeat. yourself down to Quinpool Road, immediately.

And so continues my struggle with attaining the perfect chopstick skills. I will trudge on in the hopes of one day not being asked the dreaded question: Do you need a fork?

Things Worth Mentioning…

Cost: SO CHEAP! For lunch for two it was less than 25$ plus tip. A great bang for your buck.

Things I liked: The surprising decor and the pork belly.

Things I didn’t: The dumplings.

Best Place to Sit: Near the back of the restaurant, it gets a little drafty on the first level close to the door.

What To Order Next Time: More dumplings. I want to give them another try, maybe the veggie ones.

Truly Tasty on Urbanspoon

Dinner at Mother’s Pizza: Halifax

Dinner at Mother’s Pizza: Halifax

Mother’s Pizza has been open for just over a week now but I have been itching to go there for ages. Located on the corner of Agricola and Young, I impatiently watched this building develop from the ground up, wondering what the structure would be. 

Dinner at Gio: Halifax

Dinner at Gio: Halifax

Some people think that if you love going to expensive places to eat then you are a food snob, a [insert derogatory foodie insult here], or worse, a foodie. Sometimes, I think food bloggers in particular get a bad rap for constantly talking about what 

Dinner at The Salt Shaker Deli: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Dinner at The Salt Shaker Deli: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Back in April right after Adam finished his first year law exams, we decided to take a spontaneous mid- week vacation to Lunenburg. Being born and raised in Newfoundland, neither Adam nor I had ever been to Lunenburg, and after hearing countless Haliogonians going on about its beauty and charm, we decided to see for ourselves. On that late April Tuesday afternoon we rented a car and headed out for spontaneous adventure and some much needed relaxation!

Road Trip!

We took the long way down to Lunenburg, opting to avoid as much highway as possible, and passed through some of the awesome little towns that dot the shoreline, like Chester and Mahone Bay. We were just so excited to be in the car together, listening to music, and being tourists!

When we arrived at our hotel in downtown Lunenburg, The Lunenburg Arms, we were pleasantly surprised to walk into our room, which was bright, modern, and clean.  Adam and I proceeded to don the soft white hotel bathrobes, pop the champagne, and dig into the goodies that we brought from Ratinaud French Cuisine. The foie gras was to die for, as always!

Ratinaud Treats

Even though it was raining that day, we decided to walk around town to explore and scope out a restaurant for dinner. Very unlike myself, I had decided not to do a whole lot of research about the restaurants in Lunenburg and choose something for dinner on a whim. This was actually a good call in the end, considering it was still only April and many of the fabulous restaurants that I had read about were actually still closed for the winter season. I was disappointed to see that Fleur De Sel, though open for the season, was in fact closed on Tuesdays! However, while wandering down Montague Street, one of the main drags in Lunenburg, we came upon the Salt Shaker Deli, and by looking in the windows and at the yummy looking menu, decided to go back to the hotel, dry off, and return for dinner!

Salt Shaker Deli

When we were returned around 8pm for dinner, we were greeted by  lovely candlelight, a warm server, and only a few other patrons. It was lovely. Even though I usually enjoy the energetic hustle and bustle of a busy restaurant, it was nice to almost have the place to ourselves. Our server took our drink order to start and I was very excited to order a McAuslan’s Mystique Cider, which I have only found on draft in a few places around Halifax.


Adam ordered a beer (both of which were very reasonably priced by the way) and we perused the menu. The menu at the Salt Shaker Deli is varied, ranging from deli style sandwhiches and seafood to pasta and pizza. We decided to order mussels to start with, and even with that choice came even more options, there are eight different types of mussels in fact!

Adam Beer 2

Adam and I settled on the Thai Coconut Curry Mussels and they arrived swiftly after the friendly server took our order. The huge plate of mussels was piled high, and came with big chunks of ginger and lime right in the bowl! The mussels were from Indian Point near Mahone Bay and were as fresh as fresh can be; they were delicious. The flavours of the curry sauce were complex but didn’t completely take over the flavour of the mussels, and it didn’t take long for Adam and I to finish them off. YUM!

Thai Coconut Curry Mussels

For our mains, Adam decided to go with one of his favourites and order the Lobster Mac & Cheese. It came out in a bubbling ramekin and was served with a large side salad. Adam loved the Mac & Cheese, it was cheesy and flavourful with big chunks of lobster, but was slightly disspointed by the lackluster tomato and julienned carrots in the average side salad.

Lobster Mac & Cheese

My main on the other hand was deifnitely not lackluster. I ordered the Scallops Linguini and it was amazing! For a mere 18$ I was served a very generous plate of pasta, with like eight, count ’em, eight luscious local scallops! The scallops, from Adams and Knickle seafood in Lunenburg, were delicious and served atop a pasta of double smoked bacon, roasted garlic, arugula, and parmesan.

Scallops Linguini

Even though we could barely manage any more food, the server convinced us to order one of the many delicious sounding desserts. Adam and I shared the Bread Pudding and ordered a couple of espressos. The chocolatey bread pudding was served with cream and fresh raspberries and was the perfect ending to a lovely meal.

Bread Pudding

Overall the Salt Shaker Deli is a comfortable and delicious restaurant. The atmosphere is a welcoming sight to any weary traveller or seasoned local and the service was excellent. Despite some of the average accoutrement, this restaurant is a must do when visiting the Lunenburg area!

After dinner, Adam and I headed over to the super awesome and super shabby chic The Knot Pub to knock back a few pints before we called it a night. The dark lighting and colourful locals make this pub an awesome place to cozy up in a booth for some drinks and late night grub. Adam and I were way too full from dinner at the Salt Shaker to have food, but the drinks kept us going late into the evening.

The Knot Pub

The next morning, we dragged ourselves out from between the comfy hotel rooms sheets and wandered downstairs to the continental breakfast at the Lunenburg Arms. They have recently renovated the hotel restaurant, Rissers Social House, and were about to reopen with a brand new menu in May. I would love to go back and have a taste of their new food, and if the awesome new decor and fancy looking bar were any indication of the revamp of the menu, I’m sure it would be worth the trip.

We left Lunenburg the way we came upon it: relaxed, happy, and in the rain. It was great to be a tourist for a few days and have a little mid-week escape. I can’t wait to go back again this summer and experience more of the food and culture there, and I encourage anyone who hasn’t been to Explore. Eat. Repeat. their way to Lunenburg in the very near future! Bon Voyage.

Things Worth Mentioning about Salt Shaker Deli…

Cost: 100$!!  An amazing cost including tax and tip for two people who had starters, mains, dessert and numerous beverages!

Things I liked: The checkered tablecloths, the cider on tap, and all the fresh seafood.

Things I didn’t: The snotty Ontario tourists (which the poor servers dealt with awesomely) and the average salad.

Best place to sit: In the window, or outside on the lovely patio that overlooks the harbour.

What to order next time: Word on Pelham Street is that the sandwiches are delicious any time of the day.

Salt Shaker Deli on Urbanspoon