Tuesday 25 February 2014

Balzac's Coffee Roasters :: First Visit

Organic Hot Apple Cider
(medium $3.41 including tax)

Balzac's Coffee Roasters
122 Bond Street
Toronto, ON
  Balzac's Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

Raijin Ramen :: Pre-Class Dinner Combo!

Pineapple Juice ($2.50)

I love the fact they offer pineapple juice since it provides a refreshing change from the heavy shio soup base from the ramen. The juice was delicious and sweet. I wish I had more after my glass was finished!

Two Special Combos were ordered for $11.95 each. Each combo includes salad, rice, and mini ramen (+$1 to get a regular sized ramen).

Torimayo Don & Maze Gohan (left & right respectfully) & Two Salads
boiled chicken and mayo on rice topped with nori seaweed, green onions, and sweet sauce
seasoned rice mixed with sweet sauce and chicken and vegetables topped with nori seaweed, green onion and sesame

I love these small dishes prior to the ramen! Both rice dishes were extremely tasty, savoury, and delicious (the previous visit I didn't quite enjoy my rice but it was still good - see it here). The Torimayo Don was my personal favourite between the two. The chicken was soft and tender and topped with mayo which provided great depth of flavour. The Maze Gohan was more of a sweet fried rice with carrots and other vegetables mixed in. Both were topped with seaweed and onions which provided a crunchy texture. The salad was also delicious since they incorporated the same trends as the rice - flavourful and different textures.

Toridashi (Chicken Broth) with Shoyu (Soy Sauce)

Tonkotsu (Pork Broth) with Shio (Salt)

The ramen has significantly improved from my first review, perhaps I got a bad batch that day. But the noodles were structured but not overly so. The soup base is salty and milky. The pork is tender and the egg was tasty. Based on this experience, I would return to Raijin Ramen.

Raijin Ramen
3 Gerrard St E
Toronto, ON M5B 2P3
Ramen Raijin on Urbanspoon

Friday 21 February 2014

Auberge du Pommier :: Jenn's 21st Birthday (February 2014 Menu)

Bread with Truffle Oil

St. Jacques ($24)
roasted sea scallop, Perigord black truffle, broccoli couscous, yuzu sabayon

Cru ($22)
marinated hamachi, green olive, avacado presse, toasted pine nuts, cara cara orange vinaigrette

Consomme ($17)
caramelized onion broth, country bread crouton, raclette fondue, poached apple, rosemary

Tartare ($22)
hand-cut beef tartare, white anchovy, pickles, cornichon gelee, traditionally spiced & garnished

Boeuf ($48)
48-day dry-aged beef rib eye, oxtail, pomme surprise, onion relish, Fourme d'Ambert creamed kale

Agneau ($43)
confit of lamb shank, celery root puree, radicchio & cassis marmalade, black trumpet mushroom jus

Loup de Mer ($42)
Mediterranean sea bass, sunchoke, fennel marmalade, sea urchin bouillabaisse

Lamb (Off Menu)
honey glazed

Chocolate Cake


Chateau Le Breuil Renaissance Medoc 2009

Private Dining Room - Sophie Room

Auberge Du Pommier
150 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON

Thursday 20 February 2014

Chatime :: New Location

Donburi :: Chillin in Curry

J17 BBQ Beef Short Ribs ($6.5)

The BBQ Beef Short Ribs were tasty and tender. Good size if you just want to satisfy a craving for BBQ Beef Short Ribs but don't want a full meal to eat it.

J2 Takoyaki ($5)

The takoyaki was good! Lots of tasty sauce and not overly doughy. Since its a tapa or "Japa" size, great for snacks or sharing.

J11 Chicken Karaage ($5)

Chicken Karaage was good too! I liked the tangy sauce provided with the karaage. Karaage was lightly battered and deliciously crispy. I wish that the Chicken Karaage came with more sauce such that it was more evenly distributed amongst all the pieces.

J5 Renkon Chips ($3.5)

I think this was my favourite "Japa" of them all! The renkon (lotus flower) was wonderfully crispy but light, tasty, and well seasoned. I would definitely order this again. 

Miso Soup & Salad (comes with C2)

C2 Pork Katsu Curry Rice ($9)

When Donburi first opened up, presentation for the plain curry used to be presented as above (with the cute rice person bathing in curry), however with the increased business, Irene Lee (the restaurant manager; sister of the owner) explained to me that they no longer present it this way since it was too time consuming to present it nicely and have the orders come out in a timely fashion. Since my mother dinned at Donburi when it first opened and had a picture of the older plating style, I kindly requested they remake it for me :). Curry was sweet (but not overly so), flavourful, and not too salty and the protein was cooked tenderly. 

Nonetheless, the service at Donburi is impeccable and for dinners who do not speak any Asian languages would be pleased to know that the wait staff at Donburi are fluent in English. The staff are passionate about Donburi and genuinely want to ensure that you enjoy your experience at their restaurant. I highly recommend Donburi for the welcoming environment it provides - tidy restaurant, extremely friendly staff, free wifi, table top outlets so then you can charge your mobile phone, and a moderate ambient noise level.

PS: Snap a picture of yourself with your empty bowl and Instagram Donburi (@Donburi_CAN) to qualify for a stamp for the Donburi Sensei Program. Every stamp you get counts as a point in the program and prizes are received accordingly! (See rules at www.donburi.ca/donburisensei/)

505 Highway 7 E Unit 93-95
Markham, ON L3T 7T1
Donburi Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Monday 17 February 2014

Windsor Arms Tea Room :: Afternoon Tea (ft. groupon)

Fruit Medley
apricot and apple fruit blend

Of all the teas, this was my favourite! It was fruity and sweet (but not too sweet). I would definitely order this tea again. Note, that I personally prefer fruitier teas.

Earl Grey with Roses :: Eve's Temptation
ceylon, bergamont, and roses :: pure fruit - apples and mango

Very nice earl grey tea! The rose taste is not overwhelming and sneaks onto your palette as an after taste. Eve's Temptation was my least favourite tea - it was reminiscent of hot water and strawberry/mango Jello powder dissolved in it.

Passion & Envy
passion fruit green tea

Passion and Envy was a disappointment for me! I was expecting a fruity and sweet tea, but the passion fruit flavour was not apparent as it was overwhelmed by the green tea leaves. Although it had the passion fruit aroma, it did not have the taste.

Petits Fours

Fresh Sandwiches
smoked salmon and wasabi sour cream with salmon caviar
cucumber with sundried tomato paste and dill cream cheese
asparagus with spinach

The sandwiches were delicious and wonderfully plated. My favourite was the smoked salmon and the asparagus was a close second. The sundried tomato was also good, but it wasn't as flavourful as the other two. As nice as the plating was, in comparison to other afternoon tea locations, the sandwiches are extremely small.

Goat Cheese and Caramelized Shallot Tart and Fresh Scones with Preserves and Devon Cream

These were the stars of afternoon tea! The quiches were delicious and warm throughout. The scones are the best I've ever had! Super fluffy, warm, and dusted with icing sugar. The scones were not dense and a delight to eat!

Regular Pricing:
  • Gluten Free Menu Available with 24-Hour Notice
  • Monday - Friday: $38/person; Saturday & Sunday: $45/person; Holidays: $50/person
  • A glass of Sherry, Chardonnay, Rose or Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Apple Must or Cran-Apple Must: $8/glass
  • Prosecco: $11/glass
  • Tea to Go which includes 6 sandwiches, 1 tart, 2 scones, and 2 petit fours: $25/person
  • Seating Times: 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 3:30pm

Service at the Windsor Arms Tea Room was friendly and prompt. The waiter was attentive, kind, and attuned to our needs. He made the experience quite enjoyable and I would definitely return again. The food came out promptly and he patiently described what was given and answered all of our questions. Despite the 2 hour seating limit stated in the menu, my party did not feel rushed at all and if it wasn't stated in the menu I wouldn't have known about it since none of the staff reminded us of it when we arrived or was seated. None of the staff 'decreased' their service since we were using Groupons to pay for our meals. This was probably the best afternoon tea experience I've had in the GTA.

Groupon Receipt:
(Groupon was 2 for the price of 1 - $38 x 2 Groupons)

Windsor Arms Tea Room
18 St. Thomas Street 
Toronto, ON M5S 3E7
Windsor Arms Tea Room on Urbanspoon