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!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

saturday afternoon strolls

Saturdays in the city are the best.

Sunny Saturdays in the city are even better.

After a late night out the night before, B and I met up for some lunch on Queen West.

We had originally wanted to go to Lisa Marie, but we got there around 4pm and their kitchen didn't open again until 5pm. Being the starving kids we were, B suggested we head over to nearby Destingo.

They had a super cute patio, so we decided to sit outside.

While waiting for our food, we saw that the Bar Ape truck was across the street. They serve handmade gelato bars, and I have heard great things about them. After a quick search on Twitter, I learned that the bar they were serving for the day was Salted Caramel (uh, yes please). Unfortunately they drove away before we were done our meal... (booo).

B ordered the Shrimp Burger, which she thought was pretty decent.

I've never had a shrimp burger before, nor knew they existed. B said that the shrimp was just right, and not too overpowering in the burger. It also came with a side of Parmesan truffle fries, which tasted kind of like a classy version of McDonald's fries.

lettuce, local tomato, seafood aioli, red onion, pretzel bun

I went for the Insalate pizza.

This wasn't really what I was expecting; the prosciutto was a little too thick, and wasn't as flavourful as I had thought it'd be. I only finished half of the pizza because it got kind of soggy midway through.

prosciutto di parma, buffalo mozzarella, tomato, arugula, parmigiano

Destingo on Urbanspoon 

Since we didn't get our ice cream fix, we decided to head over to the oh so popular Bang Bang Ice Cream & Bakery.

As expected, the line was long. So long, that there were a few people who passed by and asked what we were in line for. Thirty minutes later, it was our turn to order.

There was a wall of tubs that displayed which flavours were available for that day.

There was also a poster which listed what you could use to sandwich the ice cream in between-- cookies, cream puffs, macaron shells, or HK egg waffles (gai dan jai, for all you Chinese speakers).

Being the hazelnut lover that I am, I went with Nocciola ice cream and the Everything cookie.

Everything cookie: two kids of chocolate, pretzels, peanut butter, chocolate chips, oats

B went for the Burnt Toffee ice cream and Everything cookie.

The hype? It was all worth it. These bad boys were incredibly heavy (in weight) and super satisfying.

Next time I need to try the ice cream in the HK egg waffle cone. And the time after that, ice cream in between two macaron shells (yes, that is a thing).

Bang Bang Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

After we gobbled up our ice cream sandwiches, I bid adieu to B so she could meet her boyfriend.

As for me, I decided to head over to Trinity Bellwoods Park. This has been on my Toronto bucketlist for a while, although I didn't expect to be venturing there by myself.

It was the most relaxing thing, just being by myself and people watching.

I am absolutely in love with the Queen West and Ossington area! Definitely somewhere I would look into moving to in the future (although I do still love my condo!).

I've started to realize that I love spending time alone, and that one of my favourite things to do this summer is to take walks by myself.

Does this mean I'm, gasp, growing up?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

brunch and blue jays

It's pretty obvious I love all things Paris.

Anytime I see anything Paris-related in Toronto, I get way too excited.

I first discovered Le Neuf Café a few years ago when I used to work in a building in that area. 

A cute little Parisian-inspired cafe, opened by actual Parisians? Pardon my french, but hells yes.

K and I made our way there on a sunny afternoon for brunch.

It seems a lot of other people also had the same idea, because their patio was packed and there was quite the wait time. We were starving so we decided to eat inside instead. 

It ended up being a pretty good decision, because the inside was even cuter than the outside was.

The table next to us was speaking French. So were the waiters, and I loved every minute of it. It was like we were back in Paris. 

K ordered the Eggs Norwegian

brioche, w/ smoked salmon & hollandaise; served w/ homefries and greens

I normally don't like breakfast foods, or eggs, which their menu had plenty of, so I ordered une galette Méditerranéenne (a savoury crepe).

prosciutto, fresh tomato, basil, mozzarella

This was delicious. Anytime there is prosciutto involved, I am sold. I did have to say I got a little sick of this towards the end though, perhaps it was because there was quite a bit of mozzarella in the crepe.

I would definitely come back here, especially on days I miss Paris!

Plus, they had a cute little Jackschund (I think) dog hanging out at the front!

Le Neuf Cafe on Urbanspoon

After brunch, K and I made the spontaneous decision to go to a Jays game. Although we were not dressed in our Jays gear, it was a beautiful day, the Rogers Centre was nearby, and the dome was open.

Since it was already the top of the 2nd inning, we decided to try a few scalpers and see what we could find. In the end? We got two tickets in the 100 level for $20 each. They were not together, but we managed to sneak into the section right behind home plate, 16 rows up. For $20 bucks, that was a steal.


A fantastic way to spend a lovely summer afternoon!