Tag Archives: food

Review: The Sony Centre Partner Neighborhood Restaurant – Real Mo-Mo’s


Before or after a performance at The Sony Centre check out Real Mo-Mo’s. It can be found across the street from the Sony Centre for Performing Arts – think European, relaxed and delicious. Be sure to grab a special discount off your food/drink receipt when you show your Sony Centre for Performing Arts ticket before or after your show! A perfect way to stretch your dollar, feed you and your guests and keep the good energy flowing!

Monique and her team do the most gorgeous High Tea. It is probably the best deal in the city.  Offered daily between 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. for $30 (for two people) you will be fed Speculaas, Dutch stroop wafel, selection of cakes and a scone with fruit compote and butter, Cucumber and tzatziki sandwich, Dutch chicken curry salad sandwich, smoked salmon & goat cheese brioche and Dutch bitterballen.  Make it a Cream High Tea (add two glasses of Pink Prosecco).

We swooned over the Dutch chicken curry salad sandwich which was fresh, tasty and fragrant. It was filling and not too strong that it took over the flavours from the other goodies on the tier tray.  I wish I could eat a bowl of this as a midnight snack some nights.

The smoked salmon & goat cheese brioche was just as exquisite. It even came with a bit of attitude and flair in presentation with an onion cutting waving us a hello upon entering our mouths.  The smoked salmon was luscious and clean.  The goat cheese brioche just melted in one bite.  The sizing in the portions was grand and not typical for High Tea fare.


The most decadent savoury item was the Dutch bitterballen with mustard. Who knew such a tasty little item the size of a ping pong ball would be so flavourful and curious.  How did the meat stay so lush in the deep fried ball, we wondered?

For our tea choice, we went for the traditional Earl Grey leaves to linger upon and enjoy with our casual conversation. We loved the glassware tea service.  It was modern and very Dutch in its clean lines.  Throughout the meal we would stare up at the crown moulding ceiling, lavender walls, comfy furniture and natural wood.

For some quick additions to the High Tea we ordered Mo-Mo’s Tibetan Dumplings which were crispy vegetable dumplings with mango chutney. Think lil packages stuffed with mushroom, ginger and cabbage.  We loved the mango chutney which had touches of tamarind in each bite.

Moving on, we tried out the Down Under Sliders which consisted of (wait for it) grilled kangaroo, caramelized onions, granny smith apple, creamy brie, homemade beetroot jam on buttery brioche buns. Talk about a surprise and indeed something different.  We were told by Monique, the owner, that the kangaroo is ordered in advance from the butcher and is certainly unique in flavour.  We were not disappointed.  It was certainly a rich experience.  The beetroot jam would be a perfect ally for a Sunday in bed with tea and toast.

Another win was the Bison Burger. Think Goat cheese, pickled red onions, mustard aioli, tomatoes served on a warm soft pretzel bun.  The Zucchini Spears were the perfect addition.  The batter was crisp, not oily and awesome to crunch on in between sips of tea and laughter.  The hot cross bun styles made us smile and hugged the burger.  The Bison Burger was satisfying, tender but pretty heavy for a High Tea addition.

As we carried on with the sweets portion of the meal we tucked into the Speculaas, Dutch stroop wafel, scone with fruit compote and butter with ease. Light, fairy like and decadent.

As Monique says, ‘ The hospitality at Real Mo-Mo’s is not profit-driven, but rather, focussed on establishing meaningful relationships with our clients. With this, and additional luxury of delicious brunches, lunches and dinners carefully prepared for them, I am certain that my guests will feel right at home at Real Mo-Mo’s.’

Don’t forget to visit Real Mo-Mo’s during Winterlicious in Toronto from January 27 – February 9, 2017.

Bonne Appetite!



Toronto Symphony Orchestra Dining Partner: ‘Azure Restaurant & Bar’ at the InterContinental Toronto Centre


Featuring contemporary Canadian cuisine, the Azure Restaurant & Bar restaurant in downtown Toronto offers an innovative dining experience. Showcasing the city’s diverse culinary influences in a pleasing modern environment, Azure Restaurant & Bar offers a distinct selection of dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef de Cuisine Grace DiFede creates a tempting culinary journey, using the ingredients to take your taste buds off the beaten path. Stylish private dining rooms provide intimate spaces for parties and private dining, and Azure Lounge offers the ultimate space to unwind. For a delectable buffet breakfast, inspiring business lunch or lingering dinner and drinks, Azure is a sophisticated and inviting option loved by locals and travelers alike.

Located in the open lobby of the luxurious InterContinental Toronto Centre, the Azure Restaurant & Bar is a modern urban escape. Soaring floor-to-ceiling windows meet a gorgeous glass canopy, letting diners look out onto the cityscape. Enjoy the ambiance of outdoor dining all year long, and experience superior service from a knowledgeable, attentive staff. Stunning blue glass artwork from Stuart Reid floats above the bar, which serves signature martinis, organic local beer and thoughtful wine selections. Pamper your senses and indulge your hunger for serene, contemporary dining at Azure Restaurant & Bar.



Upon entering the modern and relaxing space we were guided to our seats which overlooked the Azure Restaurant & Bar. The hanging sconces and dim lights were romantic but at the same time offered us comfort. The city lights shone into the window and the music playing was gentle to the ears.  We viewed fellow guests enjoying intimate conversations with one another, a few were quietly eating their meals on their own with a glass of wine and some were just taking in the moment.

Glancing at the Cocktail List at the Azure Restaurant & Bar is a sight to behold. We sipped our Azure Blue cocktails which had flavours of coconut and pineapple (white rum + malibu + pineapple juice + lime juice + blue curacao) and Apple Ginger Punch which was laden with ginger, spice and everything nice (bacardi black + galliano + angostura bitters + thyme syrup + apple cider + ginger beer) quietly.  They were beautifully hand crafted and potent in the first sip.

To begin we ordered the Crisp Pork Belly & Chive Blini which consisted of red cabbage slaw, sour cream and fig marmalade. The pork belly was beautifully cooked. Although solid in placement, when consumed it was fluffy and buttery.  Almost cloud like.  The crust was nicely baked and tender.  The sour cream and fig marmalade indeed took a back seat to the pork belly but illuminated its flavour once it hit the palate.

The Quinoa & Endive Salad was zesty and humorous. The granny smith apple, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds were laced elegantly with pomegranate yogurt.  The Quinoa & Endive Salad was a wonderful introduction to the meal.  Light, airy and yet brimming with delight in its crispiness and subtle flavours.

If you are stopping in for a quick bite or before a performance at The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, order the Charcuterie Board. It consists of cured meats, pickled vegetables, olives, mustard and crostini. Think rustic and ‘oh so’ Italy meets Canadiana on a piece of slate.  Put a slice of salami on the crostini with a dash of the spicy mustard.  It was divine, powerful and must be had with a wine or beer from the bar.  The Mezze Platter or the Cheese Board will also make great first dates for the evening.  Wonderful additions if you are looking to prolong your evening with good company.

For the mains, the Pomegranate Glazed Duck Breast came to the table sat politely on an island of beetroot mash, squash, brussel sprouts and drizzled with cherry jus. The Pomegranate Glazed Duck Breast was majestic, rich and generous.  Filling but not to the point of exhaustion.  The beetroot mash could easily been eaten on its own sat in a reclining chair looking out at your back garden in the summer.  This dish was picturesque.  The mini brussel sprouts were cheeky and plumped up the plate.  The Pomegranate Glazed Duck Breast can be dwelled upon over conversation or satiated even further with a glass from Organized Crime’s ‘Break In’ (Pinot Noir).

If seafood is your fancy, the Grain Mustard Coated Salmon requires a gentle introduction. The salmon was beautifully cooked and was a substantial size as it said hello on a freshly made bed of couscous, fennel, radicchio and blood orange nage.  Truly ceremonial.  Flavourful, tantalizing and romantic.  This plate was all glamour but subtle.  It definitely stayed in its own lane.  Pair the Grain Mustard Coated Salmon with Cantina Rauscedo’s (Pinot Grigio).

For the steak lover in your life, the Striploin Steak and Fries had the best fanfare. Think Wellington County Beef drizzled with jus, caramelized onions, double smoked bacon, bbq aioli and corn bread.  This plate immediately transported us to a back country smokehouse with all the trimmings.  Woody, aromatic and yet no nonsense.   From the beauty of the meat – simple and uncomplicated.  To the dancing caramelized onions and double smoked bacon – this dish popped.  The bbq aioli was quietly noticeable.  The Colores Del Sol ‘Malbec’s’ was the perfect pairing with the Striploin Steak and Fries.

Dessert was just as verbose and refined at Azure Restaurant & Bar. The Lemon Cheesecake consisted of graham crust, candied lemon, citrus segment salad and toasted sesame seeds.  The Lemon Cheesecake was the perfect end to a rich, tantalizing adventure in modern Canadian cuisine at Azure Restaurant & Bar.

Grab a reservation with Azure Restaurant & Bar over Winterlicious in the weeks ahead. You will be guaranteed a beautifully curated meal and an authentic foodie experience before you trot off for a date at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Azure Restaurant & Bar

225 Front Street West




Review: The Sony Centre Partner Neighborhood Restaurant: Vagabondo Italian Ristorante + Lounge


After the Batsheva performance at The Sony Centre on Saturday night, we went for a delicious dinner at Vagabondo Italian Ristorante + Lounge. Found across the street from the Sony Centre for Performing Arts – the vibe of the space was sleek, sophisticated and fun. Be sure to grab a special discount off your food/drink receipt when you show your Sony Centre for Performing Arts ticket before or after your show! A perfect way to stretch your dollar, feed you and your guests and keep the good energy flowing!

Upon entering Vagabondo we were greeted by a server who guided us into the restaurant. The space was dimly lit but with grandiose chandeliers that sparkled above our heads.  The seating was modern but very comfortable.  Cushioned chairs and leather partitions provided privacy and a respite if you wanted to canoodle with a loved one or just hang out with friends after work or during a sports game.

We sat in the bar room area which gave us a wonderful view of Berczy Park. After the performance we were hungry but needed space and time to debrief the show.

Our server, John, was polite and made wonderful suggestions for food and drink pairings. He was attentive but also didn’t neglect us.  Our plates and cutlery were replaced after each sitting and a mild check in on what our thoughts were after each meal was gently queried.

We started with the Antipasto Di Mare (Grilled Calamari, Fried Calamari, Coconut Shrimp, Smoked Salmon, Cocktail shrimp. Minimum 2 people). The plate was like a fruits de la mer.  Abundant.  Tasty.  Succulent and meaty.  We were in love.  Just this plate alone could be a wonderful ally for a pre-show snack with drinks.  The smoked salmon was luxe, sweet and beautifully sliced.  The capers were salty and mesmerizing.  We felt a glow coming off us as we laughed and got stuck in.


The Gnocchi Pomodoro (Potato dumplings served with basil and garlic in our homemade tomato sauce) were nicely portioned. A petit bowl housed the soft ‘melt in your mouth’ gnocchi.  Filling but not a feeling like you over did it.  The homemade tomato sauce was gentle and married well with the basil, garlic and a dash of parmesan.

The Penne All’Arrabbiata was awash in the same home-made tomato basil sauce, jalapeno, garlic, green onions and a splash of white wine. I encourage you to add kalamata black olives & sun-dried tomatoes to make the dish even more verbose.

The Vitello al Taglio Francese consists of a 12oz Provimi French cut veal chop marinated with herbs and garlic, grilled to perfection & served with a portobello demiglaze sauce. It had all the makings of a grand Sunday brunch pleaser.  I encourage you to drink this with a large pint from the bar.

The Filetto di Salmone consists of a filet of salmon which is encrusted in sesame seeds and pan seared and served with fresh tomato, capers, vegetables and a butter lemon sauce. The salmon was a perfect size, delicate, beautifully cooked and golden. The seafood at Vagabondo Italian Ristorante + Lounge could easily be graded 10/10.  It was generous and satisfying.

We ended with a chocolate gelato and raspberry sorbet. Easy, breezy, sweet and no nonsense.  We had no more words left; we just leaned into the ecstasy.

Don’t forget to visit Vagabondo Italian Ristorante + Lounge during Winterlicious in Toronto from January 27 – February 9, 2017.

Bonne Appetite!

Vagabondo Italian Ristorante + Lounge

32 Wellington St E

Toronto, ON

Phone: 416.862.1999

Business hours

Mon – Wed: 11am – 10pm

Thu: 11am – 11pm

Fri: 11am – 12am

Sat: 12pm – 12am

Sun: 12pm – 10pm

http://vagabondo.ca http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=e0e8a417e9dd2410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD /


Review: Field Trip Music & Arts Festival (June 6th and 7th 2015) at Fort York & Garrison Common

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For the past 2 years Arts & Crafts ‘Field Trip’ has being giving us warmed sonic vibes to launch us into the summer.  If you live in Toronto, you know the winter was extra-long for us this year and there has been an ache to have ‘Field Trip’ 2015 to come to Fort York already!

We love Fort York.  It’s a perfectly accessible Toronto location for a festival; it’s on the TTC line and has enough room to watch bands at each stage.  Now come 5 p.m., its gets a tad congested.  The throngs of people navigating between the Garrison Stage (the larger one) to the TD Fort York Stage (the smaller one) always ends in a bottle neck on the path connecting both stages.  That said this year; the Fort York Stage was built a little further along to allow for a VIP drinking lounge area and a massive food, shopping and activities area.  Even though there were line ups for food, washrooms and drink – everything ran smoothly as the rain steadily fell on the Sunday afternoon crowd.

There were a number of upgrades from last year’s ‘Field Trip’.  The family friendly ‘Day Camp’ area for kids and their peeps was immense.  Sharon & Bram, Girls Rock Camp, Toronto Music Camp and children’s sets from other Field Trip performers all showed up for the party, and were within ear shot of the popular bouncy castle, hula hoops, temporary tattoo stations, kids haircuts, ping pong tables and more.

One of many things ‘Field Trip’ does well is their nod to local cuisine vs. food trucks.  Tucking into the likes of FOOD DUDES: Captain Crunch Fish tacos, Smoky Rueben Sandwich, Dirty Chili Hash, Nutella balls*, Mac & Cheese Balls* and DEAVA’S FEED YOUR SOUL: BBQ Korean Short Ribs, Pork Belly Sandwich, Lemongrass Chicken Salad, Thai Chicken Sandwich (all farm to table) were things of beauty after long days in the sun.

The Mess Hall was brought back with Ivy Knight.  On June 6th we witnessed a Cake Decorating Contest where participants played cake boss with plain cakes and buffet of colourful candies and sweet goodness.   On June 7th, Ivy and her team of brave Field Trippers came together to build the biggest hoagie – relay style!

The roster of bands that were on ‘Field Trip’s’ schedule this year was sure to excite.  With diversity in musicians reflecting the diversity of Toronto included of ‘From Jamaica to Toronto’, ‘De La Soul’, ‘The War on Drugs’ and ‘Purity Ring’ on Day 1.  We felt the afterglow well into ‘Alabama Shakes’ set.  Day 2 was even more of a love in with ‘Father John Misty’, ‘Temples’ and ‘Marina & The Diamonds’.  If your body wasn’t aching after all of this you weren’t partying hard enough.  Then again for some of us, it doesn’t take much.

We had a great chuckle at the Laugh Barracks which was presented by Mail Chimp as the day wound down. It is a hilarious new addition to Field Trip, with performances from two of Comedy Bar’s most popular shows, Laugh Sabbath and Chuckle Co.  Sometimes you need to take a break away from the music.

Fort York is a wonderful home for ‘Field Trip’ and we hope it continues to be.  The rustic Canadiana vibe, locals meeting out of towers and familiar soothing tunes as it christens us into the summer’s arms is a big hit!  The detail, love and camaraderie that go into putting on ‘Field Trip’ from the Arts & Crafts crew makes us look forward to 2016.


Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Milk Bar – East Village, NYC

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So I’m a David Chang super fan after I watched Mind of A Chef Season 1 three times in 2 weeks.  Don’t ask. There is something about David Chang and his dalliances with Asian food with some punk rock bad ass tossed in.

After checking out the Joe Strummer mural I carried on and found Momofuku Noodle Bar quite easily on 171 1st Ave.  I was even able to grab a seat at the bar around 2 p.m..  There was no line – I just walked in and felt immediately giddy.  I loved the simplicity of the shop.  There was a huge long wooden sushi bar table in the front of the resto.  Strangers were sitting beside each other similar to that of a school cafeteria.  There was also a collection of seats for larger groups.  The music was hopping.  If you are playing The Clash while I eat, I will marry you.  Get ready Chang.  Kidding.  😉

Of course I ordered the Pork Bun (which came with hoisin, scallions and cucumber).  I have been dreaming of them ever since I saw Mind of A Chef.  You can only imagine how delicious it was.  I had been walking around in the cold and rain all morning.  This lil baby warmed me right up.  The steamed bun was decadent and yet so simple.  A perfect relationship for my palette and belly.  My mood lifted.  Can I also say that Chang’s staff is super dreamy?  Shoot.

After I ate my ‘snack’ at Momofuku Noodle Bar I ventured over to Momofuku Milk Bar to pick up some desserts from their lil shop at 251 e 13th st. to take home with me.

When I entered the shop I was greeted by a young guy by the name of Peter.  He was so lovely and gave me some great insight on the baked goods for sale that day.  Momofuku Milk Bar is known for their Crack Pie (yeah exactly) and Compost Cookie.  When I told him I was from Toronto, instead of making a Mayor Ford joke he recommended I pick up the Grasshopper Pie and Apple Blondie as they were a few of the pies not being shipped to the newly opened Toronto Momofuku Milk Bar location.

Yummy?  Yes.  The Grasshopper Pie slice (which was a seasonal pie and no longer being sold) had chocolate chips, marshmallows, cream cheese and lots of other gorgeousness.  The Apple Blondie Pie slice had white chocolate, apple, apple juice and ginger.

I loved the packaging too.  It was easy for me to take back home and also kept the slices fresh for when I was ready to indulge in them.

Thank you Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Milk Bar – you made my belly dreams come true.



Tufanos Restaurant in Vernon Park – Chicago

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When I was planning our Lollapalooza trip to Chicago I knew we would have one day to run around and pretend we were tourists.

Andrew only had three things he wanted to do in Chicago.  It’s so easy travelling with boys let me tell you.

He had seen a Food Channel episode where they had highlighted a mom and pop restaurant by the name of Tufanos Restaurant in Vernon Park.  Perfect – we had an opening on Saturday night.

After walking around all day in the sun and with achy feet we grabbed the blue line on the CTA, got off at Racine and walked up the road to a moon lit tree lined street which housed the tiny but beautiful brick restaurant.

We were greeted by Joe who warmly invited us in.  The restaurant was filled with regulars and families who look like they came there on a weekly basis.  They were familiar to the servers and there was truly a homey vibe to the space.  When we told Joe we were from Toronto and that we came specifically to his restaurant because of a Food Channel episode he was dead chuffed.  He told us about how we would come to Toronto and play hockey as a kid and that he liked Canada a lot.  That warmed us up all right.

When we were seated, Rachel our server gave us a wonderful snapshot of the menu at Tufanos Restaurant and exemplified great service by giving us a lot of space but also ideas to make our meal a good one.

We were starving – yet again.  Andrew ordered Mussels w/ Angel Hair (red) $13.00 and I ordered a Veal Picante w/ Pine Nuts $19.00. Andrew had a pint and I had a cocktail.

Again we hardly spoke because the food was all about Italian food courting.  I was not a big fan of Italian food walking into Tufanos perhaps because growing up I was exposed to such bad Italian food I tried to avoid it.  But Tufanos has wooed me back.  Honestly.  I am worshipping at their church.

Andrew stated that his Mussels w/ Angel Hair were fresh and extremely decadent.  The mussels were prepared just perfectly and he sopped up the meat of the mussel into the pasta and sauce.  The remaining sauce he scooped up into the crunchy fresh bread that was placed on our table – pure sweetness.  He stated it was a perfect meal.  For Andrew – that’s huge.

I also hearted my Veal Picante w/ Pine Nuts.  I had advised Rachel that I was not keen on a very tomato or creamy based sauce.  I wanted a veal dish that was yummy, not too filling but light enough that gave me my veal fix.  When she mentioned the lightly breaded veal picante, who knew cutting into it was going to be a dream.  This is the veal that I dream of at night.  I can never have veal again after my taste buds danced with this dish.  When it hit my palate, the veal melted.  The pine nuts added a nice texture and flavour to the veal and pasta dish.  The pine nuts really surprised me.

We were full when we finished our meals but we went for the gusto and ordered some lemon gelatos.  They were gorgeous and an awesome palate cleanser.  I also brought back to the hotel some cannolli.  Which let’s face it was a no brainer.

If you are in Chicago just for one night and need a lil something something for your belly and definitely a meal to write home about – please take the trek up to Tufanos Restaurant in Vernon Park.  Homemade Italian hasn’t tasted so good.  Good thing flights are cheap to Chicago from Toronto.  😉


Devon Seafood Grill (Chicago & Wabash)

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After our flight got into Chicago we immediately jetted off to do some sightseeing and realized after that we were starving and could eat a whale.  Well not really, but yes we wanted a nice meal after a long day of hustling it from Toronto to Chicago.

Andrew is vegetarian but eats seafood.  I just love seafood.  A fellow blogger at CHiEATS | chicago eats, restaurants and recipes. recommended we try Devon Seafood Grill.  Thanks lady!  😉  After signing up to Devon Seafood Grill’s website, I received a $15 off coupon to be used towards our meal – I was sold.

Devon Seafood Grill is an upscale seafood restaurant offering simply-prepared fresh fish, premium steaks, an impressive wine cellar and handcrafted cocktails. Their chic-casual atmosphere suits any occasion, with seamless service and imaginative seafood dishes that truly sets them apart from other seafood restaurants.

We checked out their Chicago & Wabash location and marvelled at their menu.  It offered the area’s freshest premium seafood, Prime steaks & an impressive wine selection. Devon Seafood Grill works with quality fishmongers, water men, ranchers & artisan producers to create dishes that are excellent from the start, using fine ingredients that separate the good from the great.

Andrew ordered:


CHAR CRUSTED TAHITIAN AHI TUNA* roasted yukon gold potatoes, asparagus, foyot sauce $35

I ordered a:  LOBSTER SPAGHETTI cold water lobster, tomato-fennel pomodoro, olive oil, basil $27

In terms of presentation both meals were spectacular.  Andrew felt his plate was colourful provided a lovely juxtaposition of flavours and textures for his CHAR CRUSTED TAHITIAN AHI TUNA*.

He appreciated the server pouring the MAINE LOBSTER BISQUE into an elongated bowl.  The aroma that echoed from the pour into the bowl was all about romance. He was in love.

I loved that my LOBSTER SPAGHETTI was rustic and looked like it was plated in Tuscany. The opaque tomato sauce, thick noodles and beautiful crusty slice of doused olive oiled bread was warm and inviting.

In terms of taste, Andrew did not say much while sipping his MAINE LOBSTER BISQUE.  For a warm summer evening and hoofing it all around town and through an airport, he found the bisque to be soothing and a perfect starter to his main.

He found his CHAR CRUSTED TAHITIAN AHI TUNA to be lovely.  It was indeed lovingly seasoned and provided an adequate amount of protein. The tuna was soft, aromatic and went down like butter.  He stated even if he returned to Devon in the future, he would order this meal again. The tuna was the hero on his plate next to its asparagus cohorts.

I also fell in love with my LOBSTER SPAGHETTI.  When perusing the menu in Toronto before we left I already knew that I was ordering this plate upon my arrival at Devon.  The chunks of lobster in this plate was beyond generous.  The lobster was fresh, sweet, velvety and I wanted it to go on for ages.  The tomato-fennel pomodoro was a simple sauce but highlighted the lobster’s beauty gorgeously.  After I finished my meal I was sure to sop up the remaining sauce with the lovely crusty bread still left on my plate.

The service at Devon was just right.  Not too much attention but when the server was in the vicinity she was sure to check in appropriately and was friendly which only accented the ambience of the restaurant.  She advised us of Devon’s promotions in the days ahead – which we were sad we would be missing because of our already packed schedule.

We loved people watching from our spot in front of the restaurant as we prepped our Lollapalooza schedule.  Devon Seafood Grill was a great pal in offering us some respite from our day, filling our bellies with fresh seafood love and throwing out the welcome mat for our first day in Chicago.


Summerlicious Review: BerBer Social

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My sisters checked out BerBer Social for our annual Summerlicious catch up. We love getting together and taking time to flaunt our foodie knowledge even if it is amongst ourselves so we can giggle and marvel at the restaurant of our choice’s culinary delights.

BerBer takes you back to a time, when the Berbers of North Africa bestowed exquisite gifts of urban living on medieval Europe. We love the ambience at BerBer. It radiates a chilled vibe and a perfect combination with their food and drink.

The $35 Dinner at BerBer Summerlicious was pure decadence. It included of the following:

First Course
Arancini (vegetarian)
Parmesan stuffed risotto fried golden brown and served with house made red sauce
Soup de Jour
A fresh made seasonal specialty
Mixed Green Salad (vegetarian)
With preserved lemon vinaigrette, carrots, radish and candied walnuts

Second Course
Half Rack of Lamb
Grilled to order with roasted redskin potatoes, butter minted brussel sprouts, glazed carrots and lamb jus
Braised Short Rib
Tender fall off the bone beef, braised with traditional spices, finished with a rich red wine demi-glace, served over a parsnip puree and accompanied by seasonal vegetables
Salmon & Parsnip
Pan seared salmon, parsnip puree, sautéed spinach, golden fingerling potatoes and a frisse salad
Grilled Eggplant (vegetarian)
Marinated eggplant, carrot puree, sautéed lentils, confit of grape tomatoes and olive oil

 Third Course
Icy BerBer Pudding (vegetarian)
A traditional rice pudding, dried apricot, shaved lime, sauce anglaise
Crème Brulée du Jour (vegetarian)
A rich and flavourful crème brulée
Orange Chocolate Mousse (vegetarian)
Chocolate, orange, toasted coconut tart, almond crumble and mint

My sisters and I started off with a Mimosa Rossa, a Blue Lagoon and a Mango juice. The drinks came very quickly and were a nice to start after coming in from the summer heat. The space at BerBer is very mysterious. Tucked below street level – the wood hand carvings, romantic lightning, beautifully tiled floors and soft furnishings offered a nice respite after a busy week.

As my sisters and I giggled away and caught up after the waitress quickly took our orders and almost within minutes we had our first course. My sister and I ordered the Arancini which was not what we expected at all. What came was indeed a Parmesan stuffed risotto fried golden brown and served with house made red sauce. But instead of a risotto in a plate we received the meals as two tennis sized balls delicately drizzled with a light tomato sauce. They were warm, simple yet decadent and we savoured every bite. My other sister had the Mixed Green Salad which she found ample and refreshing. There was a kick to the salad and very crunchy. A nice choice if you want something light to start you off.

Once the first course plates were taken away they were quickly replaced with the Braised Short Rib, Salmon & Parsnip and Grilled Eggplant for my sisters and I. My sister enjoyed the Salmon & Parsnip. She found the salmon robust and married well with the parsnip puree. The sautéed spinach, golden fingerling potatoes and the frisse salad was fresh and just enough to feel satiated.

My other sister had the Grilled Eggplant. The marinated eggplant, carrot puree, sautéed lentils, confit of grape tomatoes and olive oil although looked easy on the menu was filling and a perfect summer choice if you are not feeling a meat option. My sister savoured the moist marinated eggplant. One thing my sisters and I all agreed on was that the parsnip and carrot purees at BerBer were fantastic. They could stand alone just as a lil side dish. My sister stated that she enjoyed sopping up the eggplant into the carrot puree on her plate.

I had the Braised Short Rib. Now I had the Braised Short Rib over Winterlicious at BerBer and it was nothing in comparison to what I received over the weekend. The plate that came out was 2 times larger a portion of what I received on my last visit. I actually felt a bit panicked that I may not be able to finish it. But I did. Of course. 😉

The Braised Short Rib came still on the bone and like last time just fell of the bone into the gorgeous rich red wine demi-glace without much effort. It was served over a parsnip puree and accompanied by seasonal vegetables. The parsnip puree again enveloped the beef as I ate my meal quietly. I passed some of the beef and parsnip puree to my sisters and we all agreed it was a winner. I would personally go to BerBer once a week for this dish. Not only was it flavourful, a meat lover’s dream but so yummy that you were beaming upon completion.

We ended our meals with dessert after a lil break between the first and second course. We needed a moment to catch our breath. We ordered an Icy BerBer Pudding and two Orange Chocolate Mousse. My sisters and I enjoyed our desserts but we’ll be honest that they fell flat in comparison to what we had just indulged upon for our first and second courses. It would be nice if perhaps a fruit flan, maybe even a cheese plate was offered as an end.

That said, we had a great evening at BerBer Social. We were sitting close to the front of the restaurant and it was charming to see people filtering in and out taking in the atmosphere and décor of the restaurant. The restaurant was busy but not too busy that we could take our time and enjoy the space and service.

Like always BerBer Social is always a winner and should take a space in your Summerlicious and Winterlicious checklist for restaurants to ‘try out’ every year to see what new offerings they can tantalize your palate with.

BerBer Social
49 Front St E


Winterlicious Highlight: BerBer Social

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Winterlicious in Toronto always offers a flurry of excitement to see which restaurants will be offering unique wares to celebrate the season. 

This past Saturday night, I decided to check out Berber Social tucked downstairs behind an ornately designed door between Front Street and Church in Toronto.  I wanted comfort, warmth, great service and most importantly top food for my money.

BerBer Social takes you back to a time, when the Berbers of North Africa bestowed exquisite gifts of urban living on medieval Europe.  The focus at Berber Social is that of a style artisan selection.  The ambience in the space was casually decadent, with ornate furniture, chandeliers, luxe pillows and soft furnishings.  The ceilings were low and the vibe extremely sexy but yet sophisticated.

I was seated in a gorgeous enclave with a lovely set table, chiselled wooden painted chairs and the most comfy pillows.  After walking down King Street in the cold – this was a welcome spot.

I was greeted by Rebecca, my server for the night.  She was gracious and gave me some lovely insight on food and drink choices.  There was a lot of room to breathe and take my time.  This really echoed the energy in the space.  I decided to pick my three courses from the Winterlicious menu that included of the Duck Confit (Muscovy duck confit, served with cranberry chutney and toasted brioche), Braised Short Rib (Tender fall off the bone beef, braised with traditional spices, Finished with a rich red wine demi-glace, Served over creamed leek and potato mash and Accompanied by seasonal vegetables) and the Creme Brulée du Jour (A rich and flavourful crème brulée).

The Duck Confit was just the perfect palate lure into my entrée.  It was light, tantalizing and easy to eat.  It indeed left me wanting more.  I decided to sip my Kiss Me Cosmo (Absolut, Peach, Grand Marnier, Pomegranate and Lime Juice) as I savoured each delectable bite.  The cranberry chutney highlighted the Muscovy duck gorgeously while amplifying the crunchy brioche.  A true surprise.

Upon completion my plate was quickly taken away and replaced with the Braised Short Rib.  If you are looking for a true winter treat – this is your choice on the BerBer Social Winterlicous menu.  I would suggest going to Berber Social for this alone.  Fall off the bone beef is an understatement.  This beef was like butter.  The beef I was told by Executive Chef Erik Kekes-Marshall, was braised for close to 8 hours.  It oozed goodness on top of a bed of a flavourful but simple creamed leek and potato mash.  I felt like I was back in England again as I sopped the beef up into the mash.  Ladies and gentlemen, a true Winterlicious winner. 

Before my dessert I opted for the Blue Berber Martini (Blueberry Liquor, Hypnotq, Sparkling Wine and Lemon Juice).  It was lovely taking a moment in to inhale the relaxed ambience of the restaurant.  The drinks are extremely generous made for an even more delightful experience.

Again almost like magic my plate was replaced with the Crème Brulée du Jour.  Sipping my martini in between bites of my dessert was a true ovation.  The Crème Brulée du Jour was light and the sugared crust made for a nice play on sweet and crunchy.  Toffee like but still staying true to the essence of a well-made Brulée.  My only quip would be to add some berries on the side for a lil added zest.  Overall – divine.

Both Executive Chef Kekes-Marshall and Head Chef Harrison need to be applauded for putting such a cohesive but light menu together.  The meal as a whole was a perfect aperitif to an evening out for more drinks and merriment. 

I left Berber Social feeling satiated.  The martinis offered a nice interlude in between the courses.  I recommend looking at the drink menu and also if you have a chance the luxurious tea box as an after dinner warm treat.  BerBer Social has some lovely staples that even past Winterlicious is worthy of making an investment to visit time and time again.  If not only for the food but the true experience of being in a unique dining space.

Winterlicious runs from January 25, 2013 – February 7, 2013.

BerBer Resto Bar Lounge

49 Front St E

Toronto, Ontario

Phone:  416-860-9000


Osgoode Hall Restaurant

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My new favourite spot for a prix fixe menu for $20.95 is at Osgoode Hall. Yes, Osgoode Hall.

I’ll admit, I felt a bit intimidated prior to checking out this restaurant knowing that there would be robed lawyers dining. But I was wrong – indeed it was refined dining but the mood felt amiable.

After walking through a metal detector at the entrance of the building.  It took me a minute or two to find the restaurant on the second floor.  When I did I was greeted by the maître d who took me to a table at the back of the room where I could absorb the grand space.  It was grand.  Wooden walls, wooden beams, glorious flags, coats of arms, large study tables and swept clean shining floors.

The Osgoode Hall Restaurant is open to the public from September through June from 12 noon- 2:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and features the cuisine of Executive Chef Adam Foley.

Foley, who has directed the kitchens of some of the top restaurants in Toronto, including the Rosewater Supper Club, Brassaii, Empire and Brant House, has a reputation for simple, clean flavours and classical flare with a modern take. While his cooking style reflects his classical training, his dishes are lighter than traditional European cuisine. “French and Italian food can be too heavy,” says Foley, whose updated classic dishes have won rave reviews.

You can order à la carte or enjoy a three-course menu of seasonal fare from the prix fixe menu, surrounded by leather-bound law books, stained glass and robed lawyers on their way to court.

I ordered the prix fixe menu for the day which included Cornish Hen Galantine with Goat Cheese Mousse and Chutney, Duck Confit with Butternut Squash Gratin and Sautéed Spinach and for dessert I had the Paris Brest with Ontario Apricot and Raspberry Coulis.  I was excited as the menu changes every day.

Carlos was my waiter and he was sure to gently inform me that if you do not make a reservation in the restaurant it’s hard to get a spot after 1 p.m..  He also advised me that some of the wine on the wine list you cannot find in the LCBO – they are exclusive to Osgoode Hall.

When the Cornish Hen Galantine with Goat Cheese Mousse and Chutney arrived at my table within minutes of ordering it – I found it to be beautifully plated.  The Cornish Hen was flavourful and quite a substantial portion for an appetizer.  In that moment I wondered why I even bother going to Summerlicious & Winterlicious in Toronto.  This meal was already proving to be more value for the money.  The Goats Cheese Mousse provided a creamy layer to the hen.  I loved the chutney.  It was fresh and made the hen and mousse dance in my mouth.  A mixture of flavors and textures painted a beautiful picture visually and as I digested.  Taking in the room as I ate added to the ambience.

The Duck Confit with Butternut Squash Gratin followed.  If I thought the Hen was substantial, the Duck Confit was plentiful.  The Duck (I was advised from Carlos) took 3-4 hours to bake in the oven at 350 degrees at a slow heat to ensure it was tender, moist and decadence once it hit one’s palate.  Agreed.  I didn’t want the rich, warm and velvety essence of the duck to end.  The Butternut Squash was a perfect Fall compliment.  Adding simplicity alongside the duck but ensuring the colourful spinach added an extra depth to my meal.

Lastly, the desert was the Paris Brest with Ontario Apricot and Raspberry Coulis.  The Paris Brest could be described as biscotti in the shape of a circle with a delicious almond and pralines cream mousse spread inside.  I loved how the soaked Ontario Apricot in the Raspberry Coulis opened up the flavours of the Paris Brest.  The Ontario Apricots on this plate were the real heroes.

This maybe the best kept secret on Queen Street West.  If you are looking to do something slightly different with your mates during the lunch hour – check out the Osgoode Hall Restaurant within the Law Society of Upper Canada’s premises at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St. West, South Entrance.

Reservations are recommended. Reserve a table by calling (416) 947-3361 or email orestaurant@lsuc.on.ca.