Tuesday, January 6, 2015

soma

Like any other Torontonian last month, my roommate and I went to the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District.

She had never been, and I had only ever gone at night.

It was the day of my birthday, and we had some time to kill before my birthday dinner (see my last post).

It was a Saturday and it was super sunny outside, so naturally it was packed.

At one point we tried lining up at a Kinder booth, only to be denied once we got to the front as it was only for kids 12 year olds and under... Can't blame us for trying though, you got to take photo booth pics and get a massive Kinder egg!

My one main goal for our trip was to try Soma Chocolatemaker's hot chocolate. I've heard great things about it, and have been trying to find something in Toronto that matches the hot chocolate of Pret a Manger (why can't they open locations in Canada already?).


Once we found Soma, we had to wait in a line before we were allowed to be let in. I guess a lot of people had the same idea as me! After about 5-10 minutes, we were let inside where we were greeted by, yup you guessed it, another line.



One of the employees came around with menus so we could order first and then pay right when we got to the cash.

We both ordered their Classic Hot Chocolate, in a mug with milk.


I did some exploring while we waited for our turn to pay. The inside of the store also showcased their chocolate making "factory".




Tay Swift, anyone?


And now, the moment of truth!



Verdict? I was disappointed.

The first few sips I took tasted like... baked beans. Chocolate mixed with beans.

After a while it started tasting better, but I could never get that initial bean taste out of my mouth. I did like the consistency of it however. It had a medium level of thickness which I think is ideal for hot chocolate. My favourite part was the chocolate bits at the very bottom.

The hot chocolate was definitely a great pick me up for the cold winter outside. If anything, it helped warm our hands as we walked around the rest of the market.



I picked up a packet of their Mayan Hot Chocolate to try at home. I have always loved the combo of chili peppers and chocolate.


Although their Classic Hot Chocolate was a little bit of a miss, I do think I'll return one day to try some of their chocolates. Maybe I'll try the King West location next time. There shouldn't be lines there, right?

Soma Chocolate on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 3, 2015

twenty three

I turned 23 on December 20th.

I woke up to champagne and a balloon, courtesy of my roommate. Nothing like breakfast mimosas!

In wine glasses, because we don't own champagne flutes...

We first stopped by a nearby nail salon. I got shellac for the first time! We then hopped on a streetcar and made our way to the Toronto Christmas Market (blog post coming soon).

I didn't want to do anything crazy this year to celebrate; just a small dinner with my closest friends.

Ice cream cupcakes from DQ! The best.



Wanting to try something different, I made reservations at Signs, the restaurant that opened earlier this year where the staff is deaf and you order your meals via sign language. How cool is that?

When we got there, the hostess first welcomed us to the restaurant and took us to our table. She explained how everything would work and introduced us to our server.

The restaurant was brightly lit and seemed very "family-style" (if that makes sense).

The menu had little drawings for each dish that taught you how to appropriately sign to your server and order. There were also various "cheat sheets" on the table in case you wanted to ask for things like pepper, or split bills. We weren't allowed to take pictures of these since they were copyrighted.

We all tried to practice our orders and memorize them before the server came back. This elicited bouts of giggles as we all failed miserably to do them correctly. The server was patient with us and taught us all the proper way to sign each dish.

Here's what the 7 of us ended up with:

Beet Bruschetta and Chick Pea Fries.


Potato-Crusted Salmon (this is what I ordered). As you are well aware, I don't like fish. But boy oh boy, something about potato crusted salmon just tastes so darn good!


Green Curry Mussels.


Butternut Squash Ravioli.


Chicken Piri-Piri.


Nutella Tiramisu.


Apple and Pear Crisp.


For those of you with dietary restrictions, a lot of the options were actually dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and/or vegetarian.

The food was quite good, considering the main selling point of the restaurant was its unique service and dining experience.

Overall a great meal and fun night! I still remember how to sign yes, no, and thank you. Signs is definitely a place to try.

Afterwards we headed back to my place and ended the night with a rowdy game of Cards Against Humanity.

What a great birthday night in. I'm seriously growing up.

Signs Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 31, 2014

the citizen

Toronto was experiencing some late fall patio weather (a month ago) and A, S, and I decided to take advantage of what would be one of the last nice warm nights of the year.

We headed to The Citizen for dinner and drinks.

They had happy hour where their house wines were $5/glass (yay happy hour!) so we each ordered a white or red to start. After a while quite a few mosquitoes decided to also join us, and since three is already a crowd, we asked to move inside.

Our server asked to ring up our wine bill outside first before bringing us inside. This was kind of weird to us at first, but afterwards we figured they just wanted to keep their tables organized.

Prior to this visit I had only been to The Citizen on Wednesday or Thursday nights (and in a not 100% sober state), so it was definitely strange to see the venue lit up and without all its clubgoers.

They did have a live band playing though which was interesting-- I personally did not think it went with the ambiance of the restaurant.




S and I chose The Citizen Burger, which was recommended by her coworkers.

I'm not really sure why they thought it was good, because this was hands down one of the worst burgers I have ever had.

The bun was wayyy too big for the patty, and there was nothing inside of this burger except coleslaw and a measly slice of cheese. The coleslaw added a bit of crunch to the burger but overall it was dry, tasteless, and just terrible.

Their one redeeming grace was the shoestring fries, which were decently seasoned and cooked.

8 oz burger, aged cheddar, coleslaw, charred scallion mayo, w/ fries

A went with the Lobster Roll and Spicy Shrimp.

The shrimp was good, but the lobster roll was a different story. The bun wasn't even warm or toasted in the slightest.

lobster, lettuce, kettle chip, brioche bun / shrimp, sweet chili lime sauce, pineapple salsa

A also wanted to order a side of fries with her dishes since they were all pretty small. Our server proceeded to ask her, "You want to order more food..?". Like whoa now, she wanted fries, not a side of judgement.

We had also asked numerous times for ketchup/mustard but our server was no where to be found.

Overall it was not a great experience at all. I will definitely not be returning for the food.

Stick with coming here as a night out on Thursday or the weekend. Avoid the food, and avoid the service.

The Citizen on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 30, 2014

sandwich box

I work at Yonge & Bloor in Toronto. Aka the land of bountiful shops, expensive cars, and countless restaurants.

Although there are so many lunch options, I find myself constantly going back to the same 3 spots.

One of which, is Sandwich Box. They have 3 different locations, but the one I frequent is the Yorkville location (corner of Bay & Bloor).

Sandwich Box specializes in sandwiches (duh), salads, and soups.

The first time my coworker took me there, I was super overwhelmed. There are so many different options for you to choose from. Different choices for bread, meats, veggies, sauces... everything.

I usually order a sandwich, which they toast up and serve with a side salad.




Here's what I typically order:

Prosciutto, arugula, jalapeno havarti, roasted garlic & cumin aioli on rosemary focaccia bread.


I'll sometimes switch it up by changing the bread or cheese, but this is definitely my go-to.

Here is one I got with the same toppings, except with brie and on potato focaccia.



Click here to see their full list of ingredients.

I'm not really a sandwich kind of girl, mainly because they're usually more dry than not, but these sandwiches are amazing. Depending on your combo of toppings, they can get a little dry, but somehow it just... works. I don't know how they do it.

At ~$10 a box, these are pretty pricey for what you get. I usually get hungry about an hour later, but c'mon, these are just too good to resist.

If you're ever in the mood for a quick (depends what time you head over) and delicious sandwich, Sandwich Box is the place to go!

Sandwich Box on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

reds wine tavern

I recently had back surgery to correct my scoliosis (still debating whether I want to write a post about it, stay tuned).

My bffs and I wanted to have one last dinner before I would be heading off to the land of pain meds and hospital beds (and even more foreign: moving back in with my parents). 

We decided on the Adelaide West (First Canadian Place) location of Reds Wine Tavern.

The inside was a lot larger than what I thought it would be. The wooden beams and high ceilings made the space large but warm at the same time.



We were seated at the high tables on the lower level by the window, facing Adelaide and the outdoor patio.


While waiting for S, A and I discovered Reds-branded post it notes at the table which we started to doodle on. I was going to post what we drew as part of this blog post, but then realized that would expose us for the crazies that we are...

Once S arrived, we got to ordering!

As this would be one of my last (heavier) meals, I went for the Umami Burger, and upgraded my fries to truffle fries.

roasted shiitake mushrooms, semi-dried tomatoes, fresh parmesan crisp

A chose the Tandoori-Spiced Grilled Chicken Salad.

ancient grains, crisp cauliflower pakora, raisins, candied cashews, warm naan, ginger dressing

S got the Classic Cheeseburger.

topped w/ sharp canadian cheddar, w/ horseradish spiked special sauce and garden fresh produce

Overall everything was pretty standard. Not bad, but not amazing either. I would say skip the truffle fries upgrade-- they weren't really anything special, and the plain fries were already pretty good by themselves.

After some prodding by our server, we ended up caving and ordered dessert as well. Mainly because we wanted to sit and talk for longer, but also because: dessert.

This is the Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Drool with me now, will you?

We didn't have high expectations going into this dessert, but my oh my. Imagine chocolate mousse atop a rich chocolate ganache-y textured cake. Now eat it. This was better.

One thing I didn't care for though was the caramelized bananas (insert Jimmy Fallon's "ew!" here). But that's okay, because S and A gobbled them up.

milk chocolate mousse, cashew and caramelized banana

So while Reds Wine Tavern was overall a decent place for a decent meal, make sure you opt for the chocolate cake at the end-- you won't go wrong.

Reds Wine Tavern on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 22, 2014

it's all good, it's all grk

My mom and sister were downtown a few weeks ago and wanted to meet up for dinner.

We ended up trying It's All Grk.

There are a few locations, but we went to the one on Queen West (duh, fave neighbourhood).

The interior was decorated with clean whites and blues, in typical Greek fashion.




You place your order and then you sit down and wait for them to bring your food.



My sister and I shared a Beefteki Piato. I'm not sure how this is actually supposed to be eaten, but my sister sliced up the beef, put it on the pita bread, slabbed on some cole slaw, and added a few fries. Greek taco?

fries, tzatziki, red onion, cabbage, tomato, pita - platter style

My mom went for a Pork Gyro.

tzatziki, tomato, red onion, fries wrapped in a pita

Both were really good, however I had thought the beef in my order would come sliced like in a typical gyro. And then I learned that beefteki is ground beef and lamb. That makes a lot more sense!

My mom's gyro was really filling. Especially with the fries in the mix. I have to say that their fries were actually probably my favourite part of the meal. Fries + tzatziki = heaven.

Next time I'm going to have to try their GRK fries (feta fries)!

It's All Grk on Urbanspoon

After dinner, we stopped by Nadege Patisserie and picked up some macarons. I hadn't had a macaron in so long!


We then took a short stroll through Trinity Bellwoods before headed to Bang Bang because my sister wanted to try one of their ice cream sandwiches. I refrained from getting one, because I actually went with A the evening before.

rococoa dark sable cookie w/ chocolate hazelnut ice cream

Now that summer is over, I'm excited to see what fall has in store!