NOCE Restaurant

NOCE on Queen West opened 22 years ago and I just recently went for the first time. I regret not paying this amazing Italian restaurant a visit sooner. They serve the freshest food I have ever experienced. The employees at Noce are outstanding, super friendly and outgoing! They seem to love their jobs and really engage with the guest.  The chefs know exactly how to incorporate the flavours of Italy and work with the most beautiful ingredients. Truffle, Bottarga, and Parmigiano Reggiano to name a few. I grew up eating traditional Italian food and I am very particular when it comes to choosing an Italian restaurant. I was very impressed by all aspects of this restaurant. I highly recommend checking out Noce especially, with the holidays quickly approaching.

They recently renovated and the interior is absolutely stunning. I love how rustic and retro meet modern and eclectic. They have several rooms to dine in which is perfect for a date for two to a party of 20+. I think this is the best spot to take your family or friends this holiday season and would recommend it to anyone who knows what good food is. Noce is a great place to go for any occasion and I highly recommend checking out the features on the board. It’s such a lovely restaurant to spend an evening and I can’t wait to go back during the holiday’s.

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Queen West Room – The main dining room overlooking Queen Street West at Trinity Bellwoods Park. This dining area has the perfect view of the talented NOCE Chefs preparing menu dishes.  
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Noce has a set menu but also offers specials that change accordingly and frequently. They now offer Sunday dinner service.
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“God made food, but the devil made chefs”
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The Tuscany Room – This room offers a lively dining experience is semi-private can be customized to your preferred seating arrangements; perfect for your next get-together. Book your holiday dinners here asap!
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The Queens at 875 – Aperol, St. Germain Elderflower liquor, grapefruit, Fiol prosecco   
Honolulu – Crystal Head Vodka, Mango liquor, Amaretto di Saronno, lemon, orange bitters
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Olive Ascolane –
Fried meat filled olives. These are the perfect appetizer for any olive lover! Yes, they are fried but they are not greasy at all and are the perfect combination of crispy and full of flavour.
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Crostini con Baccalà-
baccalà affumicato, bottarga di muggine. This is a must order!! Creamy cod on house made squid ink bread. topped with a true Italian delicacy. 
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Tonno Scottato – Wood fried tuna, tonnato sauce, infornate olives, crispy capers, pickle purée, parsley. I love that they used the wood oven for cooking more than just pizza. The crispy capers add the best touch on this dish. They add just the right amount of salt to the fish.

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Ecuadorian Shrimp – Giant shrimps fresh from Ecuadore. A variety of imported fish come in to the restaurant on Thursdays. These were to die for and super smokey.
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This was my absolute favorite menu item. Im pretty sure this is one of the featured specials. Pastina with a light tomato brodo, Clams and Rapini pesto. Everything about this was incredible. I love having pastina because my Nonna (Italian Grandmother) used to make it for me as a kid. But this was another level! I love the delicate clams and powerful taste of the rapini pesto. 
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Cauliflower roasted with Gorgonzola
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Crispy brussels sprouts with creamy goodness inside. Every time I go to a restaurant and there is brussels sprouts on the menu, I always order them. I have ordered them 50+ times and Noce makes them the best! Plus they are topped with Parmesan, which makes them 100x better.  
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16 OZ Ribeye – Cooked to absolute perfection. I am not a big steak orderer but I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Seasoned lightly with salt and garnished with fried basil leaves. This steak is crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth tender on the inside.  

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Sex in a pan – Roasted base with Nutella, mascarpone whip, chocolate and crunchy. There is always room for dessert when it tastes this good.

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Relaxation with SAJE Wellness

Saje Wellness just opened their store at Scarborough Town Centre. I first discovered this company about a year ago on social media and had been dying to get myself a diffuser from them. They make essential oils which are 100% natural and are distilled from so many plants. This means flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, and trees. They are distilled and harvested from all around the world depending on where that plant grows naturally.  Each of the essential oils offers different healing purposes and depending on the oil, can be applied directly on the skin or diffuser.

What originally interested me in Saje Wellness is that they are based out of Canada. They provide a natural and safe way to heal your body from all sorts of ailments. Most of the time, using chemicals to heal your body will result in future complications. I have honestly used my diffuser to heal a headache, get a better sleep and give me a refreshed feeling when I wake up.

I recommend trying out a diffuser from Saje even if you just want to freshen up a room in your house. My bedroom can get a bit stuffy sometimes or will even smell like whatever was cooked for dinner. As soon as I turn the diffuser on, it transforms my room and makes the air feel clean and smell fresh. I love my diffuser and use it every night, I can’t help it!

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Strawberry, Orange Mint Smoothie

This is a healthy, refreshing version of a strawberry daiquiri. So easy to make and will be even better as the weather starts the heat up! I use the Ninja Blender and I have never been disapointed with it.

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INGREDIENTS 

1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (about 3 large strawberries)
1 small clemintine 
mint leaves, stems discarded (as desired)
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 ice cubes

 

DIRECTIONS 

Add liquid ingredients first.
Add frozen ingredient.
Add fresh ingredients.
Blend until smooth.

 

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Stress-free Saturday

Stress can be a huge problem for many of us and sometimes it can seem impossible to manage. It can be difficult to avoid the feeling of being stressed and at times, can be even harder to de-stress yourself. I find that really focusing on that one thing at a time is the best way to eliminate stress. Another thing that I find really helpful, is to develop a healthy habit. (Thank me later for this one). You will learn so many great things about yourself that you didn’t know you were capable of. Whether it’s cooking or baking, taking a fun class, doing something crafty or eating healthier. I recently picked up some knitting needles and started to make a blanket for myself to snuggle up in. Hard to believe I’m 20 when I have the same hobbies as a 70-year-old woman. 

Aside from the tips I listed above, I also like to visit a few of these places down below. 

 

 

CIVELLO SALON AND SPA – QUEEN STREET

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 This morning a visited Civello for a massage. I felt tense before I arrived and was in desperate need for some “me” time. I always request Arlene when getting spa services done at Civello on Queen because of my previous positive experience. She is very sweet and does an amazing job. I highly recommend booking your appointment with her. After my massage was done, I felt amazing and refreshed. The experience at Civello is one of a kind and really helped me de-stress.

 

VILLAGE JUICERY 

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For the first time today, I tried a breakfast bowl from Village Juicery. I have heard a lot of great stuff about their juices and they are pretty popular on social media. They run a small pop-up in Lulu Lemon on Queen West. I love the minimalist look that the company uses on their packaging. I got the Probiotic bowl with Coconut Yogurt, Chia Seeds, Hand Made Sunflower Seed Milk, Seasonal Fruit, Pumpkin Seeds, Hemp Hearts, and Vanilla. This made me feel awesome because I began my day with a healthy meal.

 

CLANCYS BOXING ACADEMY

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Honestly, I haven’t done this in a while but when I was regularly going to classes; I felt amazing. Boxing @ Clancys is such a fun and easy way to make your stress disappear. Hitting the punching bag can be a relief for your stress or anger. The instructor Kristina, was always motivating and fun. I recommend taking one of her classes, she is very helpful and informative.

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. 

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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!