Winterlicious @ Hawthorne

This past weekend I was invited to a Winterlicious menu tasting at Hawthorne Food and Drink. The restaurant is located on Richmond Street East with easy parking and is 100% wheelchair accessible. They are open Monday-Friday for breakfast and lunch and Tuesday-Friday for dinner. They open Saturday and Sunday for Winterlicious only.

Hawthorne Food & Drink’s sole purpose is to give back to the community and deliver farm to table meals. The restaurant serves delicious dishes made from local and seasonal ingredients. They also provide careers for people in need of skills and employment. I love that the staff were passionate about their jobs and carried a friendly attitude. Hawthorne’s menu changes often and takes inspiration from the farms of Ontario and the neighborhoods of Toronto. The presentation of the food was always creative and artistic which I enjoyed the most. This restaurant was a bit out of my element when it came to certain textures and concepts. The flavors were incredibly bold and pungent at times which I also wasn’t expecting for some dishes. 

Starter

Pickled Platter

It was very sweet that the Chefs at Hawthorne wanted us to taste their famous pickled platter but most of the pickling just was not for me. There are not a lot of things that I WON’T eat but unfortunately, blue cheese is one of them and that was a part of this massive spread of pickled foods. The platter also included two different types of boiled eggs. Tumeric and Beet, both which were bold and tangy. This is a great option for someone who appreciates pickled foods!

 

 

Appetisers

Wontons+Tartare * (Can be made GF), (Local)

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The servers and Chefs were all wonderful and accommodating when it came to choosing a gluten free dish. Instead of the Tartare being served with wontons we substituted with watermelon radish slices. The tartare was served a huge portion size and was big enough to share. The taste was good but this ain’t no beef carpaccio.

 

Daily Croquette Poutine * (Local)

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This was a creative spin on the “poutine” I thought I was ordering. Really crispy, which I loved and the gravy was perfect. Was tasty, although I did not really taste the cheese in the dish.

 

 

Entrées

Jerk Pork * (Can be made GF), (Local)

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Pork belly on top of a rice and edamame cake. The flavors in this dish were bold, especially in the jerk sauce. This dish was awesome but I would personally like it better if the pork was jerk seasoned, not just the thick paste globbed on top. It was a bit difficult to evenly disperse the jerk “sauce” evenly. Some bites getting too much jerk and others not getting any at all. Overall this dish was good and glad it was gluten free. Also really enjoyed the presentation and look of the candied decor.

 

Whole Roasted Carrot Ginataan * (Vegan), (Local), (GF)

dsc_0732Just by looking at this dish, I was impressed. It was a fair portion size and felt like I was eating clean and healthy. The red and puffed quinoa were light yet filling and the roasted carrots were well done. Topped with coconut-ginger velouté, which kind of tasted like green curry to me…This was AWESOME.

 

 

 

Desserts

Pasteis de Nata – Portuguese Egg Tart * (Local)

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I was expecting a bit more from this, probably because I work in a bakery and love egg tarts. The taste was really nice and light but I found that it wasn’t cooked enough. It was a bit rubbery and jello like, which I’m not familiar with or fond of.  The crust on top was delicious and I kind of wanted more of it.

 

Winter Vegetable Cheesecake* (Vegetarian), (Local)

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This was a nice choice for a Gluten-free dessert, minus the cake crumbles on top. The taste was very healthy and did not really feel like I was eating dessert. Not typically a “sweet” I would crave because I am more of a chocolate dessert kind of girl but, it was well done for what they were trying to achieve.

 

 

 

 

Thank you Hawthorne Food and Drink for having me it was an awesome experience!

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Maggie Oakes – Montreal

A quick visit to Montreal calls for some amazing food at Maggie Oakes. I had heard great things about this beautiful restaurant and had been wanting to try it myself. The restaurant was unique and was like nothing I had seen before. The decor was simple and elegant and so was the food ( simple in a good way ). We enjoyed a few drinks to go along with our feast and really did enjoy ourselves.

I loved the way that the ingriedients they use in the dishes were incorporated into decorative statement pieces. On one side of the restaurant they had a wall covered in a display of fresh growing greens, spices, and plants. All edible, all used in creating the perfect menu options. On the opposite end of that, was the meat. Aged meat, sealed up in glass showcases. I had never seen anything like this and thought it was so different and awesome.

 

The drinks were amazing and fairly priced. They were not your average cocktails which I liked! Light and not overly sweet, great for a huge dinner.

 

Everything we ordered, we shared. I love going with a larger group that enjoys the same type of food as you. We tried the sweet potato and leek soup, which had nutmeg sour cream. It was  fresh and was a great start to the evening. We also tried the beetroot duo, which was a dish with arugula, roasted walnuts, toasted goat cheese. This was incredible, so rich and decadent!

 

 

The main that I ordered was the linguini with butternut squash. It was hard to decide because, I kid you not…everything on the menu sounded amazing but this definitely caught my eye. I am a fan of pretty much anything butternut squash. The pasta was very filling but the pecorino shavings, toasted pecans and sage all came together to create an unforgettable dish. I also got to try the sweet potato ”manicotti” with homemade ricotta, roasted red pepper sauce. I thought this was very unique and had a modern twist on the classic manicotti recipe. I loved this and I am going to try and make this at home!

 

 

We also ordered the grilled bavette to share amongst the group. This was served with green tomato chime-churri, french fries and a homemade ketchup. It was all great but the bavette was honestly nothing that special. It was good, but nothing to rave about.
The burger on the other hand, was great! Topped with La Savaging cheese, Kumato tomatoes, bourbon glazed onions, and homemade ketchup. As if that burger wasn’t enough it also came with fries.

Overall an amazing dinner at Maggie Oakes and would love to come back and try the brunch. Next time I visit Montreal, I know exactly where to go.

Hungry Amoo – Toronto

The most recent restaurant that I have visited, Hungry Amoo. This is a great spot for snacks and drinks on Ossington, you have to check out! All the dishes that I tried were creative and so flavourful. Hungry Amoo offers dishes from different international cuisines, some of which I had never tried before. Something that I really love about this restaurant is that the menu is seasonal and changes based on which ingredients are most fresh.

All the employees here were very friendly and helpful, especially our server Yasmine. She was passionate about the menu and explained how it worked, so we could get a better understanding of the type of cuisine. Yasmine also recommended a few dishes, which I found really nice. Needless to say, we were definitely taken care of @ Hungry Amoo.

But my favorite thing about eating @ Hungry Amoo, is that we left with belly’s full of wonderful food! And all of it was gluten-free.

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Cool bar setup! Delicious cocktails too, most of which I had never heard of before. I tried the pomegranate spritz and I found it had such a unique flavour. This is definitely a great place to go for drinks with friends!

 

 

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Tamarind Beef (GF) $12

Crispy Pulled Brisket, Cashew, Date sauce, Brussel Sprout. This dish was by far, the favorite dish of the evening. The beef was so tender and cooked beautifully. I had never tried Tamarind Beef before, and I was really impressed.

 

Overall, I had a great experience dining at Hungry Amoo. I would recommend trying it out here because the menu is so diverse and unique. They master all different cuisines, theres a bit of everything.

 

Thank you to the Hungry Amoo Team and to Yasmine for being such a great help! I will be back to try the Pistachio Soup.

 

 

Platito – Toronto

A couple of days ago, I visited Platito for dinner. This is somewhere I had been meaning to go for a while now. I was attracted to this restaurant because of the fried chicken and purple waffle pictures going viral on Instagram. This damn waffle really caught my eye and had me adding Platito, to my list of cool Toronto restaurants to visit.

I had the pleasure of dining with a few other foodies, which was awesome. @EatFamous and @FeedMeToronto are two Instagram foodies, both really friendly and fun people. These two Instagrammers are both people I look up to in this industry and learned a lot from them. Thank you Ryan and Gerry!

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The moment I had been waiting for! FRIED CHICKEN AND UBE WAFFLES. And lets not forget the Maple Butter! This whole dish was my favorite.

Thank you Platito Team for the great food and service. I had an amazing time and enjoyed some awesome Filipino Soul Food!

 

Blu Ristorante – Toronto

Monday evening, I discovered a true hidden gem on Yorkville Ave in Toronto. Blu Ristorante and Lounge is a fantastic place for modern Italian food. They offer two separate dinner menus. One is a regular dinner menu with a wide variety of antipasti, salad, pasta, meat and fish to choose from. The second menu that Blu offers is The Five Course Chef’s Tasting Menu. This is a prefixed menu that can be done as is, or can be done as a pairing with some of their best wines. They also offer a group event prefix menu, depending on how much you are looking to spend per person. This is definitely a venue to consider for any upcoming holiday function, meeting, birthday or anniversary.  All the staff at Blu Ristorante are extremely helpful and friendly, always making sure we were well looked after.


There is honestly something for everyone on the menu at Blu. The menu accommodates all carnivores, vegetarians and even your most picky eater. With a large selection, they even offer gluten free alternatives. Gluten Free Rice Pasta or Quinoa Fusilli are available by request.

Below are a variety of items, which you have to give a try.

 

Truffled Beef Carpaccio, Crispy Capers, Parmigiano, Crostini – ($17.00)

  • Beef was so delicate and fresh. This is seasoned and sliced in house
  • Topped with just the right amount of parmigiano
  • Sun dried capers were so unique and delicious
  • Pickled zucchini on top was something I had never tried before and was so addictive. (all pickling done in house)
  • This is a great antipasti for sharing
  • This was the only time that I have been impressed by a dish with pork belly
  • Pork belly was so tender and the meat on it fell right apart, so flavorful
  • Scallops were large in size and cooked to perfection
  • The outside was golden but were still a little raw in the centre which I love
  • Poached pears had a bit of a perfumy taste, was the only thing I was not crazy about
  • The salsa verde was so fresh and herby, could literally eat this on its own it was so good
  • Outstanding aroma
  • My favorite of all the dishes we ordered, this was unique and pure excellence
  • The roasted beets cooked with the rice brings out such a vibrant colour and taste
  • All of the dishes @ Blu are artistic creations
  • The lemon mascarpone in the centre was desert worthy, perfect amount for this type of rich dish
  • Crunchy pistachio crumbles on the top complimented this smooth risotto beautifly
  • This is a must order from the dinner menu at Blu Ristorante and Lounge, I could eat risotto for the rest of my life
  • Before digging my fork into this, I couldn’t help but notice the elegance and style that went into creating such a masterpiece

  • Tuna was served cold, refreshing and top quality grade of fish
  • This was crusted in black and white sesame seeds and added a pleasing contrast to the light, soft tuna
  • The quinoa and lentils were a bit peppery, but added a nice punch to this dish
  • The smooth, velvety Basil Saffron Beurre Blanc was rich and buttery….I love butter
  • Excellent dish
  • Sea Bass is one of my favorite seafoods and this was the best that I have had it
  • The miso glaze was full of flavour, salty but the perfect amount for this type of fish
  • The skin on the Sea Bass was crispy and the actual fish literally melted in my mouth
  • Nice size potion for the fish
  • The black kale was so juicy and sweet and paired well with the rich butternut squash
  • Not lacking a single ingredient, all parts of this meals complimented one another
  • Highly reccomended

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  • This comes 15-20 minutes after you order it, baking it fresh before bring it to the table
  • Chocolate Cake stuffed with a gooey chocolatey inside, incredibly addictive
  • Chocolate lovers dream dessert
  • Just enough Vanilla Gelato for every bite of the Chocolate Cake, perfect pair

 

Thank you Alfredo and the team @ Blu Ristorante and Lounge , Most amazing dining experience in Downtown Toronto yet!

We will be visiting Blu again in the near future, nothing but good things to say about this place.

Té – Toronto

This Monday, I ate at Té; a tapas style restaurant. Té demonstrates its Asian and American influences, when it comes to the food and drinks.  I tried a number of things on the menu, which were all amazing and super fresh. The owners of the restaurant, Grace and Tina were both very nice and helpful when it came to choosing the most popular dishes. Té has only been open for a few months and are off to a great start.They are open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late nights and have a wide variety of menu options.


I absolutely loved the style and white layout that the restaurant had, the look of the marble table makes everything look so clean. Our beautiful table was located at the front and was big enough for about six people. There is also an outdoor area out back and more tables at the end of the restaurant.

 

We tried a few of the cocktails, which were all so unique and delicious. My favorite was the Green Té Mojito, I thought it was so refreshing and just the perfect summer drink. The Chai Milk Té was amazing too, but I feel would go better with desert. We also tried The Spicy Chai, which I loved because anything with ginger is awesome! The drinks are priced fairly, around $10 a cocktail. I would for sure go back just for the drinks alone.

I fell involve with Kimchi Ravioli! I have never heard of Kimchi Ravioli in my life, it was so perfectly done… I was very impressed. Just the right about of crispness on the outside, spice from the kimchi and creaminess from the ricotta. I could have eaten the entire plate of these, one of my top menu picks @ Té. Also, tried the Braised Pork Crostini which was really flavourful and filling.

 


These were both really good, The Braised Beef Poutine was another favorite of mine that evening. This is a must have and great to share with others, as it is pretty heavy. The gravy on it has a flavour that I can’t quite put my finger on, but leaves you wanting more.


This was another one of my faves, everything about it was so good! The dough balls are made out of asian steamed rice, which I haven’t seen done before. This had a spicy tomato sauce with mozzarella cheese. This reminded me of Gnocchi pasta, with an asian twist to it. I loved this dish and next time I go back, this will be the first thing I re-order.

 

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Bulgogi Sliders

The Bulgogi sliders were the perfect combination of Asian and American inspired ingredients. The meat on the slider was juicy and seasoned just right! This was topped with a quail egg and a savory wasabi mayo.
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Overall, Té is an awesome choice for a night out with friends and family. They have such a creative menu and have not seen anything like it before. I would highly recommend ordering the “pizza” that they make, it was one of a kind. I can’t wait to go back with a group of friends for brunch , would love to try The Huevos Mash-up ( SOUNDS SO GOOD).

Thank you Grace and Tina for an amazing evening Té Toronto. Keep up the excellent work!