Dinner at Spice House

I am honestly not a huge fan of Indian food (bad experiences) and I always find that the food is too extreme (too hot/too sweet). I do have to say I love samosas but then again, anything with potato and is fried is always good. So when one of my friends who LOVES Indian food asked me to give it a try again, I caved and decided to go. (Plus it was a GroupOn so why not).

The Scene
I thought the location was sort of random since it felt more of an industrial area (Denison/Esna Park) but the restaurant was quite nice. There were many different types of curry offered (vegetarian/meat) which was good since it offers variety (especially for someone like me). Even though majority of the people who were there had a GroupOn, the service at Spice House was great. We got our water refilled constantly and the staff was friendly.

The Food

 

There was a number of curry and fried dishes available. I opted to just stick with the nann and try out the different meat curries. My friend enjoyed the butter chicken and the rice that they offered. I didn’t really enjoy the butter chicken but instead stuck with the masala chicken and the lamb curry. I thought the spice was just right and wasn’t overpowering anything. I also really enjoyed the tandori chicken and the fried fish (not sure what it’s called). All the other curries offered was not my cup of tea.
We also tried some of the fried dough stuff they had to offer. There was a pizza pocket looking one (without the stuff inside it) which was good to scoop curry into and eat it. I liked the nann (probably because it just reminded me of pita chips).
They offered ice cream as dessert but it’s just normal ice cream, nothing special.

The Verdict
Overall, the Spice House offered a good variety of dishes to people. For me personally, I thought it was pretty decent. My friend enjoyed it and remarked that it tastes better than others he has tried but it was just a little out of the way from where we live.
So what’s my verdict on Indian food? Well I don’t mind it but it’s not the first place I would go to. I prefer my curry the Malaysian/thai way and the curry my mom makes.

DInner at The Gabardine

One of the great things about working in the Downtown core is being able to go out after work to relax and enjoy the different restaurants and bars that Toronto has to offer. After my first week of work at my new job, I decided to go out on a Friday night with a friend and after an extensive search (really 5 minutes hehe) I decided on The Gabardine.

The Scene

The location is quite easy to find if you know your way around the city. The Gabardine is located at Bay/Adelaide (opposite side of The Bay) where the distinct sign of a bird can be seen while walking along Bay St.

The service was quite good at the restaurant. The food did take a little bit of time to come out but I could be bias since I was extremely hungry. I should mention that it probably is wise to make reservations because the place got quite jammed up near 6PM and people were still coming in to wait for tables.

Food

My friend decided to start off with the daily soup which was tomato – base with actual bits of toast in the soup. I had a taste of it and to me it felt like pasta sauce made into soup but my friend really enjoyed it and remarked that if there was bread served, he would’ve used it to mop the residue.

After a bit of a wait, our main dishes finally came out and honestly, the food will speak for itself. I opted for the Mac and Cheese with breadcrumb crust since I read many positive reviews on it. I should mention that I am not a cheese fan at all (my only exception is if the cheese is melted) and I loved this dish!  The cheese part of the dish was quite cheesy and each time you took fork full, strings of cheese will follow. The ham was pretty good but nothing too special about it (so if you don’t mind not having meat, you could save some money). What really made the dish for me was the bread crumb top that added some texture to the dish. Simply delicious!

My friend loved the Club House (roasted chicken, peameal bacon, iceberg lettuce, pickled green tomato and buttermilk dressing) and remarked about how it slightly also angered him since he isn’t able to make a sandwich like this. From the looks of it, there was quite a lot of mayo in it but still quite big for the portion. I had a taste of the potato salad and the pickled flavor from the pickles was really what I tasted.

Of course because I love desserts, I decided to pack up majority of my dish and ordered the Deep Fried Toutons with black current sauce and devon cream. I actually quite enjoyed this because I don’t think I have had anything like this before The toutons was crunchy on the outside and quite doughy on the inside which reminded me of a muffin that came straight from the oven. The black current sauce was dretched on top of the toutons which to me was great! The only thing I didn’t like about the dessert was the devon cream but that’s me personally.

Overall The Gabardine was a great place to come to after a long day of work. The food was exceptional and really reminded me of home cooked meals that you love. So verdict…I would definitely come back again and try their other dishes (I think the chicken pot pie might be my next target).

Dinner at Momofuku…what an awesome name!!

I’m always amaze of how great Toronto’s variety of restaurants have grown and for us foodies, it’s been a real treat being able to try out different restaurants right in our own backyard! One of those restaurants (which has been highly anticipated) is Momofuku, located next to the newly built Shangri-La Hotel at Adelaide and University. So far, Momofuku has only opened up their bar and the noodle bar but hey, why open everything at once!

The Scene

My friend and I decided to go to the Noodle Bar on their first weekend and thank goodness we arrived early. This is what we encountered just 20 minutes before opening…not too bad considering we still got seats. But any later and we would have been waiting for a while.

The inside was nicely decorated (open concept) but loud. We were seated by the table at the window which was a little awkward considering people can watch you eat. The bar is upstairs and was crowded since many people decided to wait there. The service was great. Our waitress was attentive and the service was fast but I guess it doesn’t take too long to prepare the food.

Word of advice: make sure that your party all arrive on time because they wont seat you otherwise.

The Food/Drinks

We decided to start off with the Roasted Rice Cakes – Rice cakes with chili, onions and sesame seeds which was delicious. The rice cakes were chewy and tasted very similar to those that you get from Korean restaurants . The sauce had a hint of hotness but didn’t over power the dish which was good. If you like your food hot, you’ll need the hot sauce.

For the bowls, we decided on the Momofuku Ramen – pork belly and shoulder, fish cake and egg. To me, it wasn’t anything special but that was expected from the many reviews that I have read. The best part about this dish was the pork which was tasty and moist. The egg was also interesting because it retained its shape even though it came out gooey…I don’t know how they do it! I’m not sure about the cabbage because there was a unique taste to it which wasn’t really my thing.

One of the most popular dishes that was recommended was the pork buns which were amazing! The bun was so soft and easy to chew and really complemented the moist pork belly. I love that you can just take a bite out of it and it just melted away. I highly recommend this and I would honestly just go back for them! And yes, I put hot sauce in it because I love my food spicy.

We also decided to get the Seven Spice Sour Slushie – Sake, Togarashi, Yuzu and Lime since it sounded quite interesting. And it tastes exactly how it sounds. Very interesting flavours and definitely not for those who don’t like sour/spicy taste.

Overall, I liked Momofuku. I did think that the noodles could have been better but the buns won me over. Do check it out but don’t let the hype cloud your judgement!

My letter to Holt Renfrew

My hiatus on blogging seems like an eternity but because sometimes you just HAVE to rant about something, I’ve decided to post on my blog the letter I’ve written to Holt Renfrew about my experience at their store. Not only is this a personal posting about what I’ve experience, I’ve also decided to post this because people should be aware of situation like this that happens.

Good morning,

I’m writing to you in regards to the horrible customer service I received from your Toronto-Bloor store yesterday at the Dior Nail Mania event.  Holt Renfrew has been my go-to place when I want to purchase luxury beauty products such as Shu Uemura, Tom Ford, Georgia Armani, YSL and many more. Each time I have purchase from these counters, I have received exceptional customer service and hence why I continue to go to Holt’s for my beauty products. But from the experience I encounter yesterday at Dior, I don’t believe I would ever purchase from Dior counters at your retail establishment.

I’m an avid follower of your social media pages and when the posting for this event was listed, I knew I had to come to Holt’s to try this out. I love purchasing luxury nail lacquers such as Chanel and Dior and for your store to host an event for these brands was something I was excited for. From what I’ve been informed from postings listed (see attach http://instagram.com/p/M_OZEfyMzf/), it said that the event was a complimentary/free service being offered.  When I made the appointment, I was only informed about the promotion that was happening at your store (the gift with purchase), nothing about the fact I had to purchase products in order to get my nail painted.

When I got there, I was once again never informed about the fact that in order to get your nails done, you were required to purchase 3 products. We were only informed of this AFTER the service was completed. If I had known that, I would’ve gone to a professional manicurist instead of being belittle at your service counter.

My friend and I were surprise and quite frankly, disgusted about the attitude and treatment we were getting from the representative at the Dior counter. After we had our nails done, the representative became persistent and quite rude about the fact that we HAD to purchase products in order to receive a FREE SERVICE. The fact that she used the excuse that others who came all purchased products made me personally feel like I was being obligated to purchase products. Not only were we treated like we were free-loaders who weren’t able to afford to buy things, we were also being called liars to our faces! The assistant manager rudely told us that she had personally trained all the staff and that there was no way they would not have informed us about the purchase requirement. But from the looks of other people who went to this event, I wonder how many more of us are “liars”. When we asked to speak to the manager, the manager informed us that the service is complimentary and that if you wanted to purchase a product, you can do so.

The bottom line is that from a luxury store such as Holt’s, I would’ve never thought that I would’ve received the treatment that I got yesterday. The fact that I felt like I was being spoken down to and belittle to my face is something no customer should ever experience. Just because you work at a luxury brand does not give anyone the right to treat others otherwise. No one should feel obligated or coerce into buying something. I also believe that you should not be misinforming your customers about events such as this, and instead be more clear about how “complimentary/free” is define.

Thanks for reading this and I hope that you will take my words that I’ve written as constructive feedback.

Sandy

FRE **Quick update**
Since sending this letter, the manger of the Cosmetic department has contacted to me and has apologized about this incident. She has inform me that the event was indeed FREE and that we were never require to purchase anything. She has spoken to the team at the Dior counter and hopefully none of this mishap will occur to those that are planning to go this weekend and the next. If you were unlucky to have purchase items, go and return them!!!

Thank you Holt Renfrew for actually caring and listening to your customers and replying in such a timely fashion. It means a lot to me as a consumer that you guys will contact your clients.

Reader: NEVER BE AFRAID TO SPEAK UP AND DON`T EVER BUY THINGS BECAUSE YOU ARE BEING FORCE TO!!

Excuses excuses!

Sorry for the lack of blogging but been finishing up school, working and various other personal things. Will try to recount these experiences as best as I can but I think some of the older posts will probably be less detail than the more recenT ones.  I will also be  blogging about other things that might interest people….basically this won’t be just a food blog. 

Sandy :)

Side note: am writing some of these posts on an iPad so might have random spelling errors here and there so bare with me!

Winterlicious 2012 @ Mildred’s Temple Kitchen

And it’s that time of the year again when Toronto restaurants participate in Winterlicious, and luckily for us foodies, it means a three course lunch/dinner meal for a good price. Sadly I am still a student and cannot afford to go to a lot of them so I decided to only chose the ones that have a very appealing menu or ones that I intended to go to in the future. One of them was Mildred’s Temple Kitchen.

Hidden away in the Liberty Village lies Mildred’s and not going to lie, but at first I thought I got lost since I had no idea it was inside the complex. The sign on top of the parking lot actually helped.

I LOVE open complex dining places and upon entering Mildred, I was greeted warmly by the hostess who directed us immediately to our table (I was slightly late, sorry David!), and omg did I like the layout of Mildred. It was spacious but swanky, and definitely had a relax vibe to the place. Plus it was brightly lit which is a bonus for my old eyes.

We were seated very close to the kitchen so we were able to see the chefs making the different meals, especially the trio of crème brûlée! What made my experience even more pleasant was the service we received. Our server was extremely helpful and really made our time there even more enjoyable than it already was.

What a great selection of dishes to choose from. Before coming here, I already knew what I was going to choose for the main and dessert but not for the appetizer. David suggested to me that I should have soup since I was sick. And yes Mildred, I do worship Winterlicious! And with that said, let’s get to the dishes!

Roasted cauliflower soup with a hint of vanilla and crunchy croutons – David and I both decided to get the soup and we were not disappointed. The soup was very creamy (which helped my sore throat) and even though I couldn’t taste it, David said the vanilla really gave the soup a unique taste.

MKT famous burger

MkT burger with frites

MKT’s famous burger tipped with tobacco onions & sweet tomato relish (with frites) – “Mindblowing dawg” is what David has described this burger. Even though it looked small, this high quality burger was extremely filling. David even commented that he has tried many of the good burgers in Toronto and this one beats a couple of the ones he has eaten. We were geeking over the little pickle that came with the burger.

Lobster & scallop pot pie with potato, leek & tarragon – This was my main and I loved it (even before I had it just based on the description from the menu)! The chucks and I mean CHUCKS of lobster and scallop were tender which paired well with the potatoes inside. The pie covering was warm and soft enough to eat with the ingredients inside. Definitely went well with the sore throat and cough I am now battling.

Trio of creme brulee

Trio of crème brûlée – And finally, the trio! I was definitely excited about this because a) who doesn’t like crème brûlée and b) three of them?! Yes! Caramel, espresso and chocolate (left to right). Our favourite was the espresso because it was an explosion of flavor upon your first bite (really good for those who love coffee!). Although it was all very delicious, it was very rich and made you feel VERY full. My suggestion: sample them all at once and not just have it one by one in order to get a good feel for them. We had to order a latte and cappuccino to sort of balance the richness from it.

Overall, my first Winterlicious meal for 2012 went extremely well. Mildred’s provided great service and the meal was impeccable. I definitely want to come here for brunch one day (the blueberry pancakes are calling me). I’m so glad I started off with a good start and hopefully the next three are just as good. Next stop, BLD restaurant!

Drinks @ C’est What

After our dinner at Terroni, my friends and I decided to head off to C’est What for some Scrabble and drinks. I’ve never been to this pub before (since they always went when I had school at night) so I was quite excited to see what the big deal was for this pub.

The place itself was packed and very lively. And unlike pubs that I’ve been to before where it was dim and dark, C’est What was lit and had a friendly environment feel to it which I quite enjoy. I do like the fact that you were able to have conversations with people without having to shout at each other and play scrabble (which turns out to be my worst game if I drink).

Lately I haven’t been able to drink much alcohol (VERY low tolerance) so I just had a gin and tonic. I am also not a fan of beer but because my friends were, they had a few of the ones offered by C’est What. My friend Jas has helped me out with this review so here is his intake on the different brews that he had.

Our artsy photo that sums up our time at C’est What

Coffee Porter – It is a darker beer with a slight creamy texture that has a musky dark chocolate coffee taste to it. It has a nice smell of coffee to it (so for those who enjoy coffee, this would be the one to have).

Waupoos Cider – Full of flavor! Has a nice green apple taste to it that reminds you of drinking wine

Railway City Black Coal Stout – The worst one of the night! It has a very potent taste that is quite overwhelming. The taste (which my other friend has described it as literally drinking coal) lingers on even after consumption.

I decided to get a dessert, Hazelnut Brownie, which is a warm chocolate brownie with hazelnuts baked into the dessert served with vanilla ice cream and whip cream. I had to say that it was so delicious! The brownie was very moist and the hazelnuts added a nice crunch to it.

Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed my time at C’est What. The atmosphere was fun and really allowed you to spend some good quality time with your friends.