Monday, December 12, 2016

Young Animal


Restaurant: Young Animal
Address: (Temporarily on Mondays Only) 2901A Dundas St. W
Phone: 416-569-8949
Operating Hours: (Temporarily on Mondays Only) 6 PM - Close
Website: www.younganimal.ca


Menu



Review

I was invited to try out a pop-up Trinidadian restaurant called Young Animal. The owner wants to bring attention to Trinidadian food because it's not commonly found in Toronto. Jamaican cuisine dominates the Caribbean food scene here when in fact there are 25 countries that make up  the Caribbean. Trinidadian food has African, Indian, and Chinese influences due to the history of the island. The first dish I tried was the Curry Chicken Roti, commonly known as a Buss Up Shot ($8) in Trinidad. It's broken up roti that you dip into curry and eat with your hands. This is an Indian-inspired dish with very mild spiciness. So it's great for people who cannot handle spicy food!

After, I had the Jerk Trout (the type of fish changes depending on when you visit) with Fried Plantain and Curried Callaloo ($10). This is one of the best dishes I've had to date. I couldn't stop raving about it afterwards to the chef. It's very rare that a dish truly stands out to me because I like practically everything! However, the Jerk Trout does not taste like typical seafood. There's no fishy taste and the combination of flavours simply melts in your mouth. I cannot highly recommend it enough!

The last dish was the Doubles with Tamarind and Mango Chutney ($5). In Trinidad, this is commonly eaten during breakfast. It's a type of sandwich that contains two dough buns with chickpeas squished in between. It's a very tasty vegetarian option!

Young Animal is currently hosting pop-ups on Mondays at Cut the Cheese in the Junction. So if you are in the area, I highly recommend that you check them out! This is a great way to try Trinidadian food if you are looking to explore other Caribbean options within Toronto.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

[TNWS Feature] Vooray


Company: Vooray
Product Type: Fashionable and functional athletic gear and clothing
Website: www.vooray.ca



Review

Vooray was established in 2010 as a sport leisure apparel company. Last year they introduced their gym bags and backpacks, making it a new focus for their brand. I am reviewing their Rose Grey compact duffel from their Burner Gym Bag collection (first picture) for this post. The Burner Gym Bags are much more compact compared to standard-sized gym bags. They got gorgeous patterns and sleek design that appeal to both men and women. 

This bag is well thought out in regards to functionality and comfort. There is a shoe compartment that slips into the bag versus it hanging on the side. It maximizes the space within the bag if you choose not to store your shoes. There are several pockets on the inside of the bag for easy access and organization. The front is padded with faux fur walls to protect items such as your phone and other electronic devices. I personally keep my magnetic work fob in there so I don't have to take it out every time I enter my workplace. The straps are removable and the handles are magnetic. I want to keep this bag as pristine as possible, so I actually keep my gym clothes and toiletries in a reusable tote bag that I tuck within the Burner. 

I honestly cannot rave about this bag enough. I used to carry around a standard size Adidas gym bag for a couple of years whenever I went to the gym. It was quite big and awkward to lug around. I no longer use it and started carrying a separate bag for my workout clothes in addition to my regular handbag. That is until the Burner came into my life. The bag is quite comfortable and carries everything I require throughout the day. Instead of my usual handbag, I would throw in my lunch, wallet, makeup bag, etc., into the Burner along with things I need for yoga.

I highly recommend a Burner Bag for anyone who is a busy bee like me. They are made compact and fashionable so they can be carried around the clock. It's perfect for people who go straight to the gym after work. You can expect it last 2-3 years of daily usage. Though judging from the high quality production of the bag, you can probably make it last a lot longer if you don't abuse it.

Vooray also has different types of bags to fit other needs along with sporty apparel and accessories. Check out their products today to find the perfect holiday gift for that active person in your life! 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Kamasutra Indian Restaurant & Wine Bar


Restaurant: Kamasutra Indian Restaurant & Wine Bar
Address: 1522 Bayview Ave.
Phone: 416-489-4899
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, 5-10 PM; Sat-Sun 12-3 PM, 5-10 PM
Website: www.kamasutrarestaurant.ca


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Menu



Review

I ventured into Davisville Village to try out Kamasutra Indian Restaurant & Wine Bar. I love Indian food so I was pretty excited for Kamasutra's tasting menu.

For the appetizer, I got the Onion Bhaji ($6.95) which were deep-fried onions with a spicy kick. This was the first time I ever had onion bhajis and quite enjoyed it! I started to fill up after having two of the three on my plate. This is a great dish if you love onion rings and spicy food.

The Kamasutra Butter Chicken ($15.95) was very tender and easy to eat. However, my favourite entree would be the Malai Kofta ($12.95). Malai Kofta are usually made with potatoes and gravy, but the ones from Kamasutra are made with cheese! I'm a huge cheese lover so I loved this dish for the first time I had it.

For the naan, I grabbed the Garlic Naan ($3.25). It had a strong garlic taste and I realized I should've gone for regular naan instead. Most of the dishes I had were with strong flavours, so plain naan was better suited. I also had one of the rice dishes along with Boondi Raita ($4.95), a yogurt dip that you have on the side. It reminded me a lot of tzatziki, which I liked. The Pulao Rice ($6.95) was okay. I would only get it if you are like me and would prefer to have your meat dishes with rice. However, naan would be completely fine as well.

Kamasutra is great if you love Indian food and want to find a restaurant that does communal dishes. If I had to choose the top dishes to get here, I would highly recommend the Malai Kofta and Onion Bhaji.

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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

[TNWS Feature] Sudsatorium


Company: Sudsatorium
Product Type: Natural vegan body products



Review

As mentioned in The National Women's Show post I made last week, I am featuring some brands that were at the show with product reviews. The first one is Sudsatorium! I've seen this brand at several shows in the past. Sudsatorium is a Toronto-based skincare and cosmetic company. As of late, I have been interested in trying products from vegan and ethically-conscious companies. Not only does Sudsatorium produces with fair-trade ingredients, but for every purchase you make, 5% of the proceeds are donated to the grassroots charities. Each product label indicates which charity you would be contributing to when you buy the product. I decided to pick up two products: Royals and Back in Black.


Royals is a toner that contains lavender and rose. I recently ran out of a toner I was using from a Korean brand and this was the perfect opportunity to find a replacement. I was recommended to try Royals since I have acne-prone and oily skin. I saw some improvement in my skin after using it. It did not get rid of any pimples I had at the time, but I saw that my skin was more even and supple. I spray the toner 2-3 times after I have cleanse my face before I apply a daily moisturizer/night cream. 


My favourite product of the two would be Back in Black, a stick deodorant. Sudsatorium started the deodorant line about three months ago, bringing on stick and spray deodorant options. I stopped using store-bought deodorants about a couple of months ago because I realized that the aluminum have been causing my armpits to smell really bad. Which is the exact opposite of its job. I detoxed using apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay and stopped using deodorant for a bit. I wanted to find a deodorant from an organic and vegan brand that didn't contain any aluminum and were made of natural ingredients. When I saw the deodorant sticks at Sudsatorium, I knew I wanted to give one a shot.

Back in Black is a unisex deodorant stick which goes on clear and smells pretty good (it contains rosalina, honey myrtle, and rose). For Lush lovers who aren't a fan of using their deodorant powder or non-packaged bars, I highly recommend trying out Sudsatorium's deodorants instead!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Queen Margherita (Dundas West)

Restaurant: Queen Margherita
Address: 772 Dundas St. W
Phone: 647-748-4666
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun 12 PM - Close
Website: www.qmpizza.com


Interior



Menu




Review


My Order: Margherita Pizza, $15

I received a couple of vouchers from Queen Margherita in October for #PizzaMonth. I have been following their social media for awhile but never had the opportunity to visit until last month.

Queen Margherita has three locations in Toronto, including one in Leslieville and another in Baby Point. I opted to visit their Dundas West location because it was most convenient for me. The first thing that struck out to me was the space of the restaurant. It has two floors. Above ground there are a decent number of seats, which you can see from the outside. But when you go to the lower level, it's massive. They have an open concept kitchen, which I thought was really cool because you could see the stone oven and their chefs working away. The restaurant has that urban posh feel, which I really liked.

Their menu consist of prix fixe appetizers and a variety of pizzas. My voucher only allowed for one margherita pizza so I didn't try anything else because it was already filling (I ended up taking half of it home). The pizza was good, though it wasn't something I was wowed by. I prefer to have a lot more toppings on my pizza but if you like the classic margherita pizza, you would definitely enjoy this signature dish.

Queen Margherita's Dundas West location makes for a great date or a place to host a birthday party due to size and a menu with a variety of pizzas to choose from.

Queen Margherita Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, November 12, 2016

[Event] The National Women's Show Toronto 2016

Event: The National Women's Show
Date: November 4-6, 2016
Location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Website: www.nationalwomenshow.com/en/toronto/visitor/


I attended The National Women's Show (TNWS) last weekend, marking it the third year I have gone. As one of the official bloggers for TNWS, I was excited to attend the show again as it's one of the best shows in Toronto for amazing samples and freebies! When I arrived before the show started, the lineup wrapped around the entire place outside of the convention hall.

I will also be doing something a little different on my blog. I have paired up with three different brands that were at the show. I will be doing product reviews after trying them out and blogging my thoughts on them. This is an opportunity to show what sort of products could be purchased at TNWS for those who haven't been. Be sure to keep out an eye for those posts for the next couple of weeks!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

[Event] Eat to the Beat 2016


Event: Eat to the Beat
Date: November 1, 2016
Location: Roy Thomson Hall
Website: www.eattothebeat.ca




I had the pleasure of attending Eat to the Beat this past Tuesday, marking the beginning of November. As expected, the charity event was completely packed with those supporting the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation with exceptional food made by 60 female chefs.


The DJ and violinist kept the music going on for this splendid evening. There was also a photobooth for attendees to take fun photos at. Along with all that, there were many things up for auction, including gift baskets that were perfect for the upcoming holidays.


It was a lovely event and for those who missed out, there will be another one for next year! If you would like to contribute to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, please visit www.cbcf.org to learn more.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Hot Black Coffee


Cafe: Hot Black Coffee
Address: 245 Queen St. W
Phone: 416-840-6141
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 6 PM, Sat-Sun 9 AM - 6 PM
Website: www.hotblack-coffee.com


Interior




Menu

Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Almond only
- Seasonal drinks available; including Green-Eye (mint-infused drink) and Kenyanade

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Yes to all



My Review


My Order: Coffee Popsicle, $0.50

Hot Black Coffee is a cute cafe located near Queen and University. It has a very simple and clean interior with a back patio that is perfect for the warmer weather. There aren't too many seats on the inside (enough for 10 people at most), but plenty in the back patio if you want to gather three or four friends to hang out with.

I didn't end up buying a drink because I was pretty caffeinated the day I dropped by. I saw the coffee popsicle on the menu and thought that was pretty neat. It was warm the day I went so the popsicle was perfect to cool down with. I love how Hot Black Coffee is situated in the midst of a busy fashion and food district. It serves as a sweet escape for those who want to unwind and get away from the city noise.

Hot Black Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, October 29, 2016

[Giveaway and Promo Code] The National's Women Show Toronto


I will be attending The National Women's Show for the third time this year and am super excited! It's great for a girl's day out with your friends and family. You can find fashion, food, travel, career opportunities and more! Compared to other shows I've been to, this one is the most engaging out of them all. You get to sample tons of food brands, a chance to check out cool designers and watch live shows (including some firemen!). I highly recommend it and you can use my coupon code TOCAFE to get $3 off when you buy tickets online.

I am also giving away 1 pair of tickets to my followers to attend the Toronto show! The contest will end on midnight of November 2nd. Please reply within the first 24 hours or else a new winner will be drawn. The winner has to pick up the tickets at the entrance of the event.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

[Upcoming Event] Eat to the Beat 2016

The 21st annual Eat to the Beat fundraising event presented by KitchenAid® is back and will be happening on November 1, 2016. This is a fundraiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation that will showcase 60 chefs who are supporting the charity. Tickets are $189 each (a tax receipt will be issued for the maximum allowable amount) and will allow ticket holders to sample an array of savoury and sweet dishes.

I got to attend the event last year and it was fantastic. You can click here to check out my post along with photos of the scrumptious dishes that were offered.

Photo provided by ETTB

To support this amazing charity event, you can purchase tickets on their website: www.eattothebeat.ca

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Paese Ristorante

Restaurant: Paese Ristorante
Address: 3867 Bathurst St.
Phone: 416-631-6586
Operating Hours: Lunch 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, Dinner 5:30 - 11:30 PM
Website: www.paeseristorante.com


Interior




Menu




Review

Paese Ristorante is a pleasant high-end Italian restaurant located in Wilson Heights. It's not in a location where you would typically find other fancy restaurants therefore stands out on its own. It's attached to L'eat Catering, the original parent company that provided food to local businesses since 1983. Afterwards, Paese Ristorante was created in 1989. L'eat Catering is one of the top 5 catering companies within Toronto,

I had the pleasure of sampling some items off of Paese's menu with my cousin. I tried one of their cocktails, which was the Paloma Italiana with pink grapefruit. I really liked it because I am a huge fan of sweet girly drinks. So it was a great choice for my preference. My cousin picked up their Bellini but found that the prosecco overwhelmed the taste of the peach nectar.

I highly recommend one of their appetizers, the Grilled Octopus. We absolutely loved the dressing mixed with the vegetables that came along with the octopus. It was a perfect blend of taste. Afterwards, we got to try a couple of their pizzas. We had the Pollo and Laabroni. I think their Pollo, which consisted of roasted chicken, smoked cheddar, eggplant, sliced tomato and basil, to be the best of the two. It had the best combination of toppings since I'm a huge fan of cheesy pizza and eggplant.

We tried pasta next. My cousin got one of their basic spaghetti dishes (I don't think it's on the menu) and I tasted their Ricotta Gnocchi. I liked the gnocchi in my dish but not so much of the chicken that was mixed in with it. The chicken was quite bland and was out of place in terms of taste. My cousin wasn't a fan of the spaghetti either. The two pasta dishes we tried were a missed for us.

Lastly, we made room for dessert. I got the Butterscotch Pudding and my cousin chose the Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait. When I took the first bite of the Butterscotch Pudding, it was perfect. The more I ate though, the sweeter it became, As someone who no longer craves super sweet desserts, it got overwhelming for my taste buds. I recommend this dessert, but only if you share it with someone else.

Paese has great customer service if that is what you are looking for in a dining experience. They also do private bookings.

Paese Ristorante Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Lucullus Bakery

Cafe: Lucullus Bakery
Address: 31 Elm St.
Phone: 416-792-1886
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat 7:30 AM - 9 PM Sun CLOSED
Website: www.lucullusbakery.com


Interior



Menu


Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: None

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Vegetarian and gluten-free only


Review

My Order: Fried Rice with BBQ Pork & Small Drink, $6.50


Lucullus Bakery is a Chinese bakery chain with locations in Toronto, Markham and Richmond Hill. I never heard of this chain until I caught up with a university acquaintance who suggested meeting at the Toronto location. It is tucked away on Elm Street in an inconspicuous older building, making the bakery practically invisible if you weren't looking for it. I was told that lot of students liked to study here. My friend said she discovered the space when she couldn't find a study spot at Ryerson since our campus was so small.

I got some fried rice with Hong Kong milk tea for only $6.50. The price wasn't bad for the combo. I wouldn't say the fried rice was anything amazing but it made for a substantial snack. Lucullus Bakery makes an excellent study spot because they have a lot of seats on the second floor. This is definitely a great alternative work space for students overall. The price is affordable as well. Many customers come here to buy Asian pastries to go.

Lucullus Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Teara Lab

Restaurant: Teara Lab
Address: 181 College St.
Phone: 647-351-6680
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 11 AM - 9:30 PM, Sat 11 AM - 6:30 PM, Sun CLOSED
Website: www.tearalab.com


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Menu



Review

My Order: Kalbi Shortrib Sandwich Combo, $11.49


My foodie friend (Toronto Foodie) got two free meal vouchers for Teara Lab so we had to check it out. Teara Lab is a Japanese fusion restaurant that specializes in burgers and sandwiches, serving items such as Teppanyaki Teriyaki Chicken Burger and Yuzu Teriyaki Fish Burger. Located by UofT St. George, it's another campus option for students to go for lunch or after class. There's enough tables at this minimalist-designed restaurant for you to sit and enjoy your meal or you can order to go.

All of their sandwiches sounded appetizing but I decided on the Kalbi Shortrib Sandwich for my visit. I personally enjoyed it and found the combo to be a filling meal. I do think the sandwich prices alone are a bit steep (the Red Wine Braised Beef sandwich costs $13.99). The sandwich prices should be around $7-8 at most. I do recommend trying out Teara Lab if you are an adventurous eater and love Asian fusion or Japanese.
 
Teara Lab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, August 5, 2016

Sweet Jesus

Cafe: Sweet Jesus
Address: 106 John St.
Phone: 647-348-2266
Store Hours: Sun-Mon 7 AM - 10 PM, Tues-Sat 7 AM - 11 PM


Review

My Order: Red Rapture, $6.50


Sweet Jesus is often mentioned when it comes to getting ice cream in Toronto. It also doubles as a coffee bar but I didn't try any during my visit so I can't comment on their drinks.

When my friends and I first arrived, we had to wait outside in line briefly. We had the opportunity to check out their menu before ordering when we went inside. I decided on the Red Rapture because I saw the words "red velvet". I never looked up any reviews of Sweet Jesus prior so I wasn't sure what to expect. I saw a lot of colourful photos of their products in the past and they seemed appealing. So with my order, I assumed it would be made with red velvet ice cream. It wasn't, just regular soft serve (it didn't register in my mind that it would be soft serve despite being listed under the "Pimped Out Soft Serve" section, my bad).

This was the first time in over a decade where I was greatly disappointed by ice cream. Despite the various toppings, I found the Red Rapture to be blandly sweet. The soft serve itself was mediocre, making any ice cream truck's swirly soft serve amazing in comparison. The toppings did not combine well with the soft serve at all. Two of my friends shared the cookies and dough version (I forgot the name) and they couldn't finish it despite it being split between them. Price was also a big factor to why I wouldn't come back here. The cost was too much for the ice cream quality. It should've been no more than $5 with tax included but even then, I feel that I'm being generous.

If you want some amazing quality decked out ice cream, I highly recommend Booyah! and Dutch Dreams, both in Wychwood over Sweet Jesus.
 
Sweet Jesus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Quantum Coffee

Cafe: Quantum Coffee
Address: 460 King St. W
Phone: 647-494-4429
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 9 PM, Sat 8 AM - 9 PM, Sun 8 AM - 7 PM
Website: www.quantumcoffee.io


Interior






Menu

Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Yes to all
- Quantum Planck is their rotating featured drink (changes every 89 days)
- Roasted coffee beans from Classic Gourmet Coffee

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: No vegetarian options
- Fruits are available for vegans
- Cookies are gluten-free
- A range of healthy Canadian snacks available for purchase
- Fresh scones from Bake and Scone and fresh croissants from Tempered Room delivered every morning





Review

My Order: Creme Brulee Cappuccino, $5


Finding cafes that aren't Starbucks or Tim Hortons that are open past 5 PM in Toronto can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you want to stay within the downtown core. I'm extremely picky with the type of cafes I like to sit and get my work done at. Lots of space, Wi-Fi and outlets are a definite must. After a quick Yelp search, I landed on Quantum Coffee. I recalled passing by it when the cafe was still under construction back in fall when I was working at King and Spadina for a short while

My friend and I awed and oohed when we arrived at the cafe. Absolutely spacious and appealing to the minimalist lover in me, Quantum Coffee is one of my ideal cafes to get work done. There are plenty of seating for customers and overall has that beautiful space for you to enjoy your time at.

Quantum Coffee is the first cafe in Toronto to have a Poursteady, an automated machine designed to make your drink perfect every time (and several others at once!). They also have a drink feature that changes every 89 days, called the Quantum Planck. When I was there, it was the Creme Brulee Cappuccino ($5) that was featured. The top of the drink was torched!

Highly recommend for cafe lovers to check this one out.
 
Quantum Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Pilot

Restaurant: The Pilot
Address: 22 Cumberland St.
Phone: 416-923-5716
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 AM - 2 AM, Sat 12 PM - 2 AM, Sun 1 - 10 PM
Website: www.thepilot.ca


Interior



Menu



Review

The Pilot was one of the top results I found online when I was looking for a nice rooftop patio during the summer. Located in the heart of Yorkville, The Pilot has a very relaxed vibe in contrast to the high-end restaurants within the area.

I went to this restaurant twice because I enjoyed their patio so much the first time around. I ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich during my first visit with a glass of Fruli and tried a pound of their wings for my second visit (I do not recall which flavour unfortunately). I wouldn't say the food was anything amazing or different than your typical bar. However, if you want a place with a rooftop patio that is more wallet-friendly, give The Pilot a shot when summer rolls around.

The Pilot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato