Sunday, 30 November 2014

McEwan All Access 4.0

I have to say that I love being a food blogger, because it allows me to share my food experience with you and it lets me connect with the food community both locally and abroad. 

When the lovely Michelle Jobin (@michellejobin) extended me with an invitation to the McEwan All Access 4.0 event by the McEwan Group (@TheMcEwanGroup), I was over the moon and beyond excited. I'm a huge fan of Chef Mark McEwan (@Chef_MarkMcEwan), thus making this such a treat.

This year's event was held at Chef McEwan's ONE restaurant in Yorkville, situated within the five-star Hazelton Hotel. The gathering took place in the bar and lounge area. The lighting, the posh yet approachable atmosphere and the small group size gave the whole event an intimate feel. I was quite impressed by the fact that Chef McEwan spent the entire length of the event in the lounge chatting with us.

Now onto the highlight of the experience, the food and drinks. The drink list consisted of crafted cocktails and wine. I tried three cocktails: the Hennessy & Grand Marnier based Grand Theft Autumn, the Johnnie Walker Black Label mojito and the Ciroc red berry iced tea. I quite enjoyed all three cocktails, if I had to pick a favourite, it'd a toss up between the Johnnie Walker Black Label Mojito and the Ciroc Red Berry Tea. I would have loved to try more drinks, as everything sounded absolutely delicious, if I wasn't drinking on an empty stomach that is... You know that's never a good idea. ;)

Grand Theft Autumn
Chai infused Hennessy, Grand Marnier, lemon, vanilla syrup


Johnnie Walker Black Label Mojito
Johnnie Walker Black Label, fresh lime juice, ginger ale, simple syrup, splash sour mix


Ciroc Red Berry Tea
Ciroc red berry, lemon juice, pomegranate syrup, iced tea, mint leaves, mint sprig


On the topic of empty tummies, let's talk about the food. I literally gasped when the servers started circulating the lounge with trays filled with bite-size delectables. The beautiful presentation really blew me away. The servers did an excellent job describing each dish, which sounded extremely enticing. 

Passed appetizers
clockwise: truffle risotto, blue crab and avocado spoons, butter poached lobster tail and crispy shrimp taco


Each passed appetizer was creative, well thought out, beautifully presented and so very delicious. I was more than impressed. My  favourite dishes of the evening were the devilled quail eggs, topped with Sturgeon Caviar, fresh chives and sweet pickled shallot to balance out the creaminess; the blue grab & avocado spoons, with each bite you get the brineness from the blue grab meat and the creaminess of the avocado; the butter poached lobster tail; and lastly the miniature pork belly bun. Pork belly, lobster, avocado, blue crab... With ingredients like these, how can I not fall in love with them?

I made sure to photograph each item so I can share my experience with you!

Deviled Quail Eggs
Sturgeon Caviar, chives, sweet pickled shallot


Crispy Shrimp Taco
Red pepper jam, pickled shallots, ginger aioli


Steak Tartare
Quail egg, arugula, pickled shallot, black truffle an buttered crostini


Blue Crab and Avocado Spoons
Red onion marmalade, sesame seeds, celery



Pork Belly Steamed Buns
Pickled carrot slaw, yuzu aioli, coriander


Truffled Arancini
Buffalo mazzarella, romesco, basil, 15 year Balsamic


Butter Poached Lobster Tail


Tuna Spoon 


Truffle risotto


Mini cheesecake


Besides the delicious fares, I loved the social aspect of this event, meeting and chatting with fellow foodies and Chef Mark McEwan. I was admittedly kind of awkward and slightly shy when I first started chatting with Chef McEwan. What do you talk about with a famous chef? I know, I know, food, of course. I might have also told Chef McEwan that I once tweeted something to the effect of "Chef McEwan is super hot". Yep, that happened. Not my finest social moment. However, I did loosen up fairly quickly and I got to meet a bunch of super cool foodies, many of whom I was already connected with on Twitter and Instagram. There's nothing better than putting a face to a... social media account? :) 

Event Fun Times
clockwise: photo with Chef McEwan, my goodie bag, selfie time with @EatnMingle and @ev3rydayfoodie, my personalized copy of Chef McEwan's cookbook


It was a fantastic time and I left with a pretty awesome gift bag too! I can't complain. Thanks to Michelle Jobin (@michellejobin) for the invitation, McEwan Group (@TheMcEwanGroup) and Chef McEwan (@Chef_MarkMcEwan) for such an awesome event. Also thanks to EatnMingle (@EatnMingle), The Everyday Foodie (@ev3rydayfoodie), Berg's Bites (@adrianberg) and Gastro World (@GastroWorldBlog) for the lovely conversations. :)

If you need more doses of yummy food in your life, follow me on Twitter (@SGluttonous) and Instagram (@simply.gluttonous). Subscribe by email to never miss a blog post! (on that note, sorry for not posting for so long! Life has been super busy and kind of stressful)


Thanks a bunches love!


Until next time,

Allison

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Sansotei Ramen

Apologies for my tardiness on blog posts lately. If you need more doses of yummy food in your life, follow me on Instagram (@simply.gluttonous) and Twitter (@SGluttonous). :)

In an unavoidable and unapologetic fashion, the bitter cold winter has arrived. Having lived in the Great White North for 13 years now, I thought I'd offer up some winter remedy:
  • Vitamin D supplement (consult your doctor first, what do I know?)
  • Gamjatang (Korean pork bone soup, try my favourite spot)
  • Ramen (Japanese noodle soup. Check out my previous post on another ramen spot, Raijin Ramen)
That brings us to the subject of this post. Sansotei Ramen requires no introduction, given the fact that there is a line up outside every single time I walk past this ramen shop around lunch/dinner time. 

I have been to Sansotei numerous times. Their menu is compact, serving up 6 types of ramen (Tonkotsu, Tonkotsu Black, Miso, Shio, Shoyu, Spicy Tantan), and a choice of thick or thin noodle. My go-to dish is their miso ramen with thick noodle, sometimes with extra chashu (pork belly) and bamboo shoots when I'm feeling particularly gluttonous.

Miso ramen
miso broth, pork belly, corn, bean sprout, egg, green onion



I also really like their Zangi. Japanese style fried chicken, whether it's Zangi or Kara-age, is incredibly moist and juicy because they are marinated in sake for hours before being fried. Just imagine taking a bite into this fried chicken. Imagine its crispy exterior and its incredibly juicy and flavourful interior...

Zangi
Deep fried chicken


Isn't it beautiful?


As for dessert, they used to have a pretty good green tea ice cream mochi, which doesn't seem to be on the menu anymore. Instead, their dessert offerings consist of green tea muffin and daifuku. 

Overall, Sansotei Ramen is a solid option for ramen and Japanese fried chicken in the city, give it a try if you haven't already! 

Until next time,

Allison


Sansotei Ramen on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Khao San Road

Khao San Road (@khaosanroadTO) needs no introduction, considering its status of being one of the most popular Thai restaurant in the city. Every time I pass by the place, there seem to be a crowd waiting outside to be seated. Needless to say, Khao San Road doesn't take reservations. I have been here so many times, I have devised the perfect system: get here before 11:45 am for lunch and get here before 6:30 pm for dinner to beat the line. 

The interior of Khao San Road is sleek and simple, with long wooden communal tables, a chalkboard wall with daily specials written on it and walls accented with art pieces by local artists. It serves up authentic Thai food, yet it's also kind of cool. It is definitely not your mom-and-pop Thai joint.

Khao San Road interior


The most fitting adjective that I can think of to describe Khao San Road's food is 'bold'. The flavours here are not mild, nor are they subtle. They pack a punch and they are big on flavours. My favourite appetizer is their garlic shrimp, which is everything you ever hoped fried shrimp to be. They are incredibly crispy on the outside, succulent and meaty on the inside. The naam djeem dipping sauce is salty, garlicky and spicy. 

Garlic shrimp
Panko crusted shrimp, fresh kaffir lime leaf, garlicy naam djeem dipping sauce


My other favourite dishes include their pad gra prao with pork and their pad thai. Pad gra prao is a stir fry of ground meat (pork, beef, chicken or shrimp), onion, garlic, red bell pepper, green chilli and holy basil. It's served with steamed rice and a fried egg with a perfectly runny yolk. What really brings this dish over the top for me is the holy basil. Honestly, I just love all varieties of basil. If I'm not getting their pad gra prao, I'm getting their Bangkok-style pad thai. The tamarind and fish sauce flavours really stand out in this dish. 

Pad gra prao
stir fry of beef, red bell pepper, onion, garlic, green chili, holy basil, fried egg



Bangkok-style pad thai
Rice noodles, tamarind, egg, tofu, bean sprout, pickled radish, shallot, chives, dried shrimp, fish sauce, peanuts, lime


The food here are seriously decadent and they don't make a light meal, but they are very much satisfying. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Keep up with my foodie adventure by following me on Twitter (@SGluttonous) and Instagram (@Simply.Gluttonous). Follow by email to never miss a post! Thanks a bunches.


Until next time,

Allison

Khao San Road on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Le Petit Dejeuner

Le Petit Dejeuner (@petidejeuner) has been a part of the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood for the last decade, serving up plates of comfort food, Belgian-Canadian style. They have quite a reputation for themselves as a good brunch spot. On a lazy Sunday afternoon, the place was crawling with brunch diners and we waited for about half an hour for a table for three. I think the fares that were served up compensated for the long wait, but I still wish they took weekend brunch reservations. Weekends are precious and I don't want to spend it waiting to get into a restaurant in the bitter cold.

My dining companions had the special of the day, consisting of French toast, sausage, egg any style and apple slaw. This plate looked to be a great sampler plate, with the best of all worlds, sweet and savoury. 

Special of the Day
French toast, sausage patty, scrambled egg, apple slaw


I had one of their brunch favourites, toast champignon with a poached egg, consisting of a poached egg sitting on top of a bed of sauteed mushrooms, onions, herbs and bacon, covering half of a toasted bagel. It was served with a side of apple coleslaw and a crispy potato rosti. I love mushrooms and the sauteed mushroom was lovely. The poached egg was cooked perfectly and I asked for a side of hollandaise sauce. The velvety hollandaise sauce and the warm rich yolk made this dish perfect in my books. 

Toast Champignon with a Poaches Egg
a halved bagel topped with sauteed mushrooms, herbs, onions, bacon and served with a potato rosti and apple coleslaw



Their Belgian waffles were fluffy, light but also creamy at the same time. The powder sugar dusted over the waffles added a nice sweet touch. 

Authentic Belgian Waffles
Brussels' style served with maple syrup


I had a lovely time at Le Petit Dejeuner. Like I always say, great food and even better company. I can't ask for more! (I can, but I don't want to seem greedy.)

Keep up with my foodie adventure by following me on twitter (@SGluttonous) and instagram (@Simply.Gluttonous). Follow me by email to never miss a post!

Thanks a bunches my lovelies.

Until next time,

Allison


Le Petit Dejeuner on Urbanspoon

Monday, 13 October 2014

Queen and Beaver Public House


Queen and Beaver Public House (@QueenBeaverPub) serves up British inspired pub fares that are made from scratch by British chef Andrew Carter. It has plenty of space with two floors and each floor has its own bar and patio. My favourite seats are in the upstairs patio because it somehow feels secluded despite being situated in the downtown core. I blogged about Q & B's sister pub The Oxley Public House a little while ago, which a Yorkville favourite of mine (blog post here). 

Queen and Beaver exterior & patio



Can't have brunch without a mimosa or a bloody caesar.

Mimosa


The food at Q & B are refined British pub fares. My dining companion had their egg benedict, which is served on cheese biscuits rather than English muffins. He had great things to say about the buttery, flakey cheesy biscuits and everything else that sat atop them. I had their BLT. I love their version of the classic BLT, made with braised pork belly instead of bacon, served with chips. This sandwich was seriously delicious, with its slow braised thick cut of pork belly and roasted tomato. 


Egg benedict
cheese biscuit, peameal bacon, poached egg, hollandaise


BLT
braised pork belly, tomato, lettuce, potato crisps


A close-up shot...


Keep up with my foodie adventure by following me on Twitter (@SGluttonous) and Instagram (@simply.gluttonous). Follow me by email and not miss a single blog post. Thanks a bunches my lovelies!

Speak to you soon,

Allison


Queen and Beaver Public House on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Church St. Garage

I wanted to share some photos from one of my recent meals on the sunny patio of the Church St. Garage, a popular pub on Church Street. They have a large patio and it faces the optimal angle such that the entire patio basks under direct sunlight in the afternoon. This is a Wednesday short post, so I will be brief. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Keep up with my foodie adventure by following me on Twitter (@SGluttonous) and Instagram (@simply.gluttonous). Follow me by email and not miss a single blog post. Thanks a bunches!

Until next time,

Allison

Mimosa


Fish & Chips


English muffin with peameal bacon & fried egg


Church St. Garage on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Bywoods Restaurant & Wine

I was very fortunate to be invited to Bywoods Restaurant & Wine (Twitter: @bywoods760; Instagram: @bywoods760) for a foodie tasting and I'm excited to share my food photos and experience with you!

* This meal was complimentary, but the opinions are my own *

Bywoods Restaurant & Wine is the latest restaurant endeavour of Tony Cappellano, owner of the popular brunch restaurant Boom, with Craig Dehne as the executive chef. Situated in the St. Clair West neighbourhood, the Italian & Mediterranean establishment draws its name and inspiration from the wooded history of the neighbourhood. The restaurant was a blend of modern and rustic.

We started with a cocktail tasting. The Bywoods, a gin based cocktail, was a creative and sophisticated spin on the classic Gin & Tonic. It uses club soda, lemon juice and sugar rather than tonic. This cocktail also contains rosemary, which wasn't overly prominent, but added a hint of aromaticness to the drink. 

COCKTAIL
The Bywoods - gin, organic rosemary, lemon juice, sugar & club soda


We started our meal with two pizzas: a prociutto pizza and a vegetarian pizza. The prociutto pizza comes with fig, gorgonzola & dressed arugula and it was savoury and well-balanced. The gorgonzola flavour wasn't dominant, which was great for me as I don't like strong cheeses. I tried a slice of the vegetarian pizza without the goat cheese crumbles and it was lovely. It made a great vegetarian option and also would be great for vegans (remove goat cheese), as it was flavourful on its own without the goat cheese. 

PIZZE
Prociutto - fig, gorgonzola & dressed arugula


Vegetarian - goat cheese, leek, red pepper, grilled artichoke, tomato, red onion, black olive & fresh marjoram


Next up we were served two salads: beet salad with arugula and Mediterranean salad. I tried the beet salad without the goat cheese crumble. The beet roots were sweet and earthy. The arugula was well-dressed and peppery. I didn't try the Mediterranean salad because I couldn't avoid the feta cheese, but it looked beautifully colourful.

FIRST
Beet salad - with goat cheese, charred red onion & arugula tossed with walnut dressing


Mediterranean salad - vine tomato, cucumber, red onion, black olives, feta cheese, marjoram


Next up is my favourite dish of the evening, their pan seared scallops with grilled chorizo, avocado mash, mixed greens, black olives & jus. The pan seared scallops were perfectly cooked. The avocado mash was creamy, fresh and paired well with the scallops. The chorizo was slightly spiced and garlicky. This dish was so yummy I wish I didn't have to share it.

Pan seared scallops - with grilled chorizo, avocado mash, mixed greens, black olives & jus


I got to take a photo of their Venetian-style fried calamari, but I didn't get to taste it. I loved their presentation. Doesn't it look like a resting octopus? Despite it being squid and all. 

Venetian-style fried calamari - with piri-piri & aioli


Next up we had our pasta course and we tried their linguine with shrimp. I was worried at first when I read that it was in a spiced light cream sauce. Seafood and dairy? Not ideal. I changed my mind after trying it. The cream sauce was very light and quite tasty. I could barely detect a hint of dairy flavour in the dish. And the shrimp was succulent. I had two servings of the pasta.

PASTA
Linguine with shrimp - spiced light cream sauce & spinach


Now onto the meat course, which was very well received at the table. My fellow foodies loved the pan roasted lamb sirloin. Unfortunately I didn't try it as I don't eat lamb. I did try the grilled flank steak though and it was delicious. The salsa verde was amazing, it smelled like fresh basil, like a good pesto. It tasted like a blend of basil, parsley, olive oil, garlic and mint.

SECOND
Pan roasted lamb sirloin - apricot, potato puree with smoked paprika & sauteed spinach (apologies for the blurry photo!)


Grilled flank steak - arugula, mushroom, cured tomato salad, salsa verde & jus


Lastly we had dessert, a home-made brownie topped with whipped cream & fresh berries. It wasn't overly sweet and it was a great way to end a nice meal.

DESSERT
Brownie - with whipped cream & fresh berries


I had a wonderful meal at Bywoods. A great meal with delicious food and fun foodies for company, life is good. I hope you try Bywoods and please let me know what you think!

Keep up with my foodie adventure by following me on Twitter (@SGluttonous) and Intagram (@simply.gluttonous). Follow me by email and not miss a single blog post. Thanks a bunches!

Until next time,

Allison

*This meal was complimentary. All information provided in this blog is for entertainment purposes only and they are my expressed opinion. *

Bywoods on Urbanspoon
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