Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Free Lunch! Courtesy of Whining.

MMMM.... so i have a girl at work from nicaragua, (where? nicaragua... i love making her say it) and she gets the most awesome lunches, cause they do all this great spanish stuff.  She told her mom about me, and her mom was like, ok i made all this stuff, why dont you bring a lunch to jessica to try. but she DIDNT! cause she was too lazy to pack it for me!!! and i grumble as i do, and remind her her lazy ass costed me a free awesome mom made lunch.  So today! i breeze into work and see a tupperware container of pasta on my desk.  You know what beats free food? GOOD home made free food.  

Me and her are apparently on a "diet" right now. haha. so nothing makes a good meal than a cheesy pasta dish. i'm getting to the health part, she used ground chicken, and 'shrooms, and spinach, garlic, onions, tomatos, with lots of mozzarella, and jalapeno oil.  I think that's what it was.  I cant remember! but it was deeeelicious! Thanks M! You're the best!!!!

Tah Deeg (Khorak Sara) @ Yonge and Finch, another Kebab on my kebab quest!

TAH Deeg
5525 Yonge St. South of Finch on Yonge

one of the flyers they have, not actual menu

So, i have only recently discovered the AWESOMENESS (and apparently healthiness), of kebabs!
The first stop i made was at Taftan Kebab and i was in love... i had it like 3 times in a week.  It was threatening thundershowers and i still flip flopped over...and it totally did thundershower...

I've been doing this Sheppard to Finch walk back on Yonge for awhile now, one weekend i was peering into the window and checking out the menu, and was like, ok, i'll come check out out some time, when the owner chased after us (ok walked briskly behind us to get something at the korean store next door) was like hey! dont you like ********* food? i cant remember what he said. And i was like, oh YESSS!!!! i'll come back! i promise! and i did.

here's the inside of it, its pretty small, its like a small persian grocery mart.

here's the chef griller grilling away, he took off his glasses for my shot. hehe.
The owner came over and was like, here's a free appy, on the house!  It's a yogurt with shallots he says. thick thick yogurt with salty bits, was interesting. gonna save this to sauce my meats!

He also gave me this Sumac powder, i'm not too familiar with it, he said to put it on the meat.  I looked it up, its a greek/middle eastern spice, used as a rub on meats, and has a sour lemon taste. oh! also its like bright red and really crunchy. i totally forgot to use it after taking this picture.

So here it is. I got the number 4. which... i forgot what it was, but consisted of barb beef, and koobideh, which is a ground beef kebab. there were also these yellow rice cakes, he said usually they make it with chicken but today, it was rice and egg and saffron.  Also! i finally found out what the butter was for.... you pour it on everything.  kind of an no brainer if i actually think about it.

At $11.99, this portion was smaller than the $12.99 at Taftan, where  you get a larger piece of meat.  But the koobideh was super moist and juicy and flavourful.  You also get a salad at Taftan which i missed, but instead you get these rice cakes here.  Ever since i got horrible service at Utopia Cafe last week (update soon!), i have been all about good service, like the exceptional service we got at Sassafraz in Yorkville this weekend.  The owner was SUPER NICE, super friendly, and really happy that i was trying his food out, brought me stuff to try. He was like, how did you find out about kebab!?!  Even the guy who was dining in earlier, him and the chef was like, how is your food? are you liking it? and he gave a thumbs up and they were like giddy schoolgirls.  It's stuff like that that's cool, when people are just happy to make food for people to enjoy. When we went to pay, the pop was gratis, a special he says.

The portions may be smaller. but the heart of a restaurant is the ppl behind it, and their hearts are huge!!! Such nice people. 

There he is! the owner standing behind the til! Go give him a visit! Tell him you found out about it on some girl's blog who came and took pictures.  maybe he'll give you a free pop! haha.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

DesiFest 2011 @ dundas square

So this weekend, i was checking out what was going on, since coming back from NYC last monday, legs get kinda antsy to walk around and wander.  In checking out what was going in and around in Toronto, i found out there was a WINGS AND WHEELS festival going on at Downsview Park. and i was like, AWESOME. downview is so close to me, i mean i dont really care about cars, but its a Wings festival! Who doesnt like wings!

Taiwanese Wings from the BBT place i love on Yonge... need to update it so i can link it!!!! WINGS WINGS WINGS!!!!  

So imagine my disappointment when i went to the website and this is what i saw:
What. The. Hell. 
my face + heart dropped :(
here's the link if you care about stupid aviation and cars

Anyway, so i wandered down to downtown anyway, figured something should be going on (no i didnt, i just was gonna wander), and just my luck! DesiFest 2011 was going down @ Dundas Square!

Guess what. I LOVE FESTIVALS! especially cultural ones. i mean. i LOVE food vendors! and i totally b-lined to find them... which wasnt hard cause like, its a small square.  Unfortunately, there weren't a lot of vendors, i could count them with my hand. 5. and i'm not counting the corn on the cob one.

Mughal Muhal
7071 Airport Road, (905) 678-6666

so the first stand i see, is Mughal Muhal, i see all these people walking around with this giant puffed thing on plate, and i see the pic as Chata Bhutara, and wanted to check it out.  So i ask the guy what's good, and he says the Kathi Kabab is the popular people's choice.  He said its a meat, mostly chicken, and stir fried onions wrapped in this egg dipped and fried... i dunno. thing. i just looked it up. its a Paratha (Indian Flat Bread)..... oh. why did i go through all that trouble when the description is written below...

The Original Chicken Kathi Kabab.  Crunchy layers of maan bread coated with egg and rolled up with spiced chicken, onions and corriander.
This was my wrap. That dipping sauce they gave me, was SO GOOD. i can only guess that it's some sort of chutney? but it was SO tasty. I wish i kept it for my next dish...

Oh yeah, i also got a Mango Lassi from them. $3.50. Man. i love mango lassi. 
I kinda wish i got some of that Gulab Jamun, which is: A warm Indian dessert, made of milk and cheese and served in a light sugar syrup.  I've had them before, and its like a cheese cake ball dipped in syrup... soo good... 

here's some food i didnt eat. 

chicken looked good! but was not meant for me.
So here's the 2nd place i tried, I'm pretty sure i've had this before at the Taste of Lawrence festival last year.  This sign confused me. Until now, that i actually look at it, ohhhhh those are the ingredients in each Murthabak. i thought there were like 30 options.... haha.

Here is the breakdown in live and living colour (that was a shout out to you Aaron Tveit of Catch Me if you Can now on Broadway... who am i talking to..)

Step 1.

Step 2.
Step 3. 
have the dude nearly burn his hand off ever time, flipping the thing. scary watching it go down.
Step 4. eat eat eat. here's mine read to be consumed. I ended up later pouring on some of the coconut chutney they had left out on it. i love the spice that's in all the south asian cooking.

Walked down the the next vendor, White Gold Sweets, and i had 2 more dollars out of my $20.00 that i started the day with, and thought those samosas looked might good for $1.00 each.  I was also curious about all the other stuff i was looking at. OK on top of the samosas are Pakoras, which are like veggie fritters, which i like, and then those cow looking testicles that remind me of chinese deep fried "HAM SUI GOK"s that I LOVE LOVE LOVE. and i dont know why i assumed it would be similar. ... cause it wasnt.

:( did not like it. it was like filled with beans and anise seeds.

Well, here's my plate. the samosas were great!

They also had sweets which i didnt have. I wonder what they are!?

And if i see a dog. i will take a picture of it. So cute!

And that was my experience at DesiFest 2011!  I wish there were more food vendors, cause i basically posted about every one of them (again, except for the Corn on the Cob... cause they're not south asian). I love cultural fests! Bring it on Summer!

sassafraz - the heart of yorkville. pretty pretty pretty!

100 Cumberland Street

Toronto, ON M5R 1A6

(416) 964-2222

Today is my friend Jessica's birthday! (Happy Birthday!), and she picked this gorgeous place for brunch, in the heart of Yorkville, as the tagline goes.  I was going to say "lil" but it's not little at all, there's a patio, and then a front room with bar, separated by glass doors, you see this room, with the grand piano, and a waterfall behind (that i should've taken a picture of!), and an upstairs area, i think for private parties, that's probably even more gorgeouser. 
First time ever i was probably the first to arrive.... monumental... 
And you know what else was awesome, the service.  i had arrived first and got an earl grey and everyone else got a coffee type that came with a biscotti... and in my hungry state i was like, awww man!!!! i shoulda got a capo!!! and the waiter came back and gave me 2 biscotti's! give me free food??!!!! i love you forever!!!!

The brunch menu isn't extensive but looked great, 4 out of 6 of us got the Bellair Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with lobster, 5 year aged cheddar, grilled andouille sausage & potato chive  croquettes.

Scrambled eggs with lobster, 5 year aged cheddar, grilled andouille sausage & potato chive  croquettes - $18.00
I still can't look at eggs right now... it was sooo much! and it was soo good!  the eggs were super light and fluffy, and there were actual lobster bites in there, oppose to lobster flakes. I would always prefer lobster chunks, but i probably need to take a trip over to nova scotia to get that (and it would be worth it.. just to have lobster every day)... The andouille sausage was great, everyone loved it, i kinda wanted a bun and slap that on with some mustard. and the potato croquette was crispy crunch, i love deep fried texture... haha. 
Two poached eggs on smoked back bacon, fresh baked English muffin with hollandaise & potato galette - $16.00
The birthday girl got the eggs benny, i know i said that i always get the eggs benny every time i go for brunch... but i decided to switch it up. so i'm not a liar OK? just switching it up. crappy hollandaise will ruin the whole thing for me, and this hollandaise was really nice,  i suppose the eggs could be more beautifully poached, like those i got at Sarabeth's in nyc,  but whatever, i'm chewing it up anyway.   And then there's this potato galette thing that i've never had before, an it was really good.  Wiki just told me that Galette is some french term that applies to a flat cake. so i guess its a potato cake with a million layers... which reminds me, anyone remember those things called Vienetta Ice Cream Cakes, and its a million layers of thin chocolate with ice cream in between? I LOVE THOSE. where can i get some???

well. as much as i hate to admit it. i could not eat another bite.  Birthday Girl Jess got the bright idea to ask for ketchup, and even with the flavour switch i couldnt... i told the waiter i was sad cause i couldnt finish my food :( what a shameful moment in my life ....

We were waiting for the bill, and wondering why it took so long, when after a good 5-10 minutes, the waiter came back out with this! Isn't that so sweet??? Dark chocolates with ganache or whatever i'm just talking out of my ass, some ... soft thing inside. truffle? But it was great, and a bite of shortbread cookie.

So pretty. Everything was so pretty today, it was a really really good experience, great food, great service, great friends! Happy Birthday Jess!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Dear 1 Reader, and my Mom!
This long weekend i went to NYC!!!! for a whirlwind 72 hour trip. 19 of those were in a car... was it worth it? HELLS to the YES. after one bite into my long awaited long lost love, Shake Shack's Double Stack (i do not normally bite my loves..) mannnnn. Why can't they open one on EVERY BLOCK!!!

I promised to do all of my NYC trips, and i will!!! I'll start with this, like, Star Wars style, going backwards, plus, this is the shorter trip, so im tired/lazy right now! 

DAY 1: 8 AM after 3 hours of driving.

Man. exit and exit, couldnt get the coveted mcmuffin, and our stomachs were eating themselves so we settled for something american. Roy Rogers. ever had it! tried it out!
Their breakfast fries are like baked in oil think slices of potatoes. 
Got their sour dough ham, egg and cheese sandwich
What i realized after. was that they put 2 kinds of cheese at both ends of the bread. kinda awesome.

3PM: made it to manhattan! Love the hotel, situated at 54th and Broadway, right by the Letterman show!

I walked my ass to the closest shake shack:
691 8th Avenue, SE of 8th and 44th

I was THISCLOSE to getting the MONU-MINT Concrete, the last time i was around, i got the um.. the museum of natural history one with balls... and that itself was a meal, and i really wanted to savour my burger. I probably shoulda got it anyway. haha. 

Got my usual of the double stack, which i first mentioned on my blog back then, if i could i would talk about it every day!  And this time i got the fries too!

If only these were both for me...lemme break it down to you again, the Shack Stack: Shroom patty (Crisp-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted munster and cheddar cheese), plus juicy burger topped with cheddar, topped with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce. Holy Crap it is by far the best burger i have ever had. Even though my stomach was see-thru after, cause of the oil. i would do it again.  

And that shake. was amazing. 

Here's a scene outside a pizzeria that i did not visit :(


Unrelated to food, but related to awesome, we caught the 8 o clock to the new musical, Catch Me If You Can.  And can I say, i thought it was great! I can go into a whole thing so i will stop, but it's a great show go see it! And I love Aaron Tveit!

One of my food scavenger goals from NYer DC, was to send me to find this Chicken and Rice street cart on 53rd and 6th, so we went to check it out after the show. And saw this cupcake cart! did not stop :(

Shietz! this line is only like 1/4th that my camera could capture.... I mean how could any chicken and rice dish for $6 bucks be THAT good.... and i was starving, so we werent gonna wait for however long... so we started looking for something else..
And found an unlined cart like half a block away, we were like. HA HA. arent we smart!!! suckas! but it turns out, i think this is a fake cart, or at least that's what DC said... But they wear the same yellow polos!   I guess NYC is infamous for fakes... awww scammed ... 

Well! here's the dish! I loaded up on white sauce as per DC's comments, and also some of that hot stuff... I went on my assumption that it was the normal kinda hot sauce... boy was I WRONG. that shit must have been like habenero and ghost chilli extract cause after one bite my entire throat closed out and my taste buds left home for the night. they were like. FUCK YOU asshole we're out of here.... ended up tossing the rest of it away :(

I wanted to have a nice brunch, and since our wait time was 30-40 mins, decided to take a walk up Amsterdam Ave., as it was Sunday, and the street was a roaring.. with kinda the same stuff on every block, (gyros and corn), and the occasional specialties.  

MMM some ROASTED pork

Amazing looking cupcakes... i was saving myself for brunch... i shoulda just bought some!

Coils of street meat! I was seduced the first time i came to New York, if you check out my profile pic, that's what i'm eating! More on this on my next posts!!!!

I tried taking so many pics of this gorgeous husky, he was wagging his tail at me at first, but after the 10th shot, he was like, "Lady, just take the FREAKING picture". hey. side-eye doesn't become of you pretty dog! 

Lost the battle to hunger and caved to the $3.00 corn on the cob. totally worth it.

423 Amsterdam Avenue # 1, New York - (212) 496-6280

Made it finally to Sarabeth's.  Damn. well apparently we got a table 15 mins in and they gave it away so another 30 mins of waiting and wondering is this the best damned brunch i will experience? Why are so many people waiting for this!!!???

Classic Eggs Benedict - $17.00
After minutes of mulling, and i always mull over the brunch menu, even though i always always ALWAYS end up ordering the eggs benny everywhere i go, i went with it. Man, for $17.00 this better be the best damned... and actually.. it was really good... but not $17.00 good. But the hollandaise were perfect perfect. The eggs were perfect, i coulda ate 2 plates and asked for more.
Fluffy French Toast - $15.00

The French toast looked amazing. And it was really good... thought i eat my by dipping each individual bite in the butter... so the butter was really good. 

195 Grand Street, New York - (212) 226-6150
After a long day of shopping, we found our way into Little Italy, supposing to meet my friend but got kinda lost and needed a pick me up in a major way... and found ourselves here!

The foamiest Cappuccino EVER

We were suppose to go for dinner, so we got this little sampler to settle me down. and oh-mi-goodness were the cannoli's amazing! Got a chocolate covered cannoli, this shortbread thing with cannoli custard, and this blueberry tart. fantastic!... but expensive... but good! but $$$. what do you want?

Momofuku Ssam Bar
251 E 13th St, New York - (212) 254-3500

I keep hearing that i have to go visit this momofuku, which is funny, cause now that i do, i found out there's one coming to Toronto in 2012

steamed buns – pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers, scallions
Their famed steamed pork buns, which you know, the next chance i get, im gonna try to make these, cause besides the steamed pac-man buns, i think i can make everything else! plus the yumness, besides the super fatty pork belly, is the hoisin sauce! But they were pretty amazing....

My GF got this Geoduck appy, it was a special of the night, and in some cilantro or herby sauce, it was super fresh and tasty.
For her main, she got this rhubarb concoction that i am not to interested in, cause it's all veggies. damn you vegetarians. 

grilled trout – artichokes, sicilian pistachio, sunchokes
She originally wanted to get the trout, but we ended up getting it, and it was really really really good.

roasted duck and duck sausage
 And this was mine, super tasty, the sausage was amazing. i would also like to use my money and buy a full duck in chinatown and eat it on the sidewalk. but this was nice as well.

after dinner, and foregoing more expensive desserts, we were brought to this cool lil place called 16 Handles, where there were 16 handles of low fat, and non fat, different flavoured yogurt to choose from. You pull it yourself in 2 different sizes of cups provided, load up whatever you want in the toppings bar, weigh it, and eat!

See what combos we came up with! it came to around 6 bucks for each. and multitude of toppings to choose from as you can see. as for the yogurt, i think between us, we got cheese cake, vanilla, red velvet, chocolate, etc etc etc

Day 3
 I wasnt gonna leave without having my deli fill, and lucky, this place was a block away from our hotel. score!
I was feeling under the weather, as the weather was CRAP. and i was under it. and got some sniffles, and since i never had Matzo ball soup, i gave it a go. HOLY CRAP those are huge balls. it was very homey, and the chicken stock was super good. Its kinda just like dough in soup. or a giant pasty ball. someone pls expain to me. but it was good.
Obligated plate of pickles! I like how there were different flavours, i wish there were more.

This was a special on the table.... hmmmm... tempting

So, the first time i went to NYC, i went to Katz Deli, and ordered a Reuben and fell in love. And wanted to recreate it here at Carnegie, their menu is crazily extensive, and when i saw Reuben, i stopped looking, and did not realize the $23.00 Open Face Reuben, was THIS MONSTER (btw extra $3.00 for sharing! WHAT?)

Where is the bread?

We worked our hardest but this conquered us... this was what was left over... this mountain of corned beef and swiss cheese... defeated...

You're situated in long tables so it gets really cozy, my neighbour had this monster BLT.  Where it really should be called BBBBBBBBBBBBBBLT. cause really all i see is the BBBBBBBB.

Before leaving, i caught a look of their dessert display. and damn it if i wasnt so full of meat (no jokes), i took some pics. this is for you Kristine! Shout out! xxx

I have no idea what this is. or what meat this is but is that an boiled egg in there on the stack of meat?

MMM New York Cheesecake.  Didnt get any this time, i'll come back for you next time!

and non-food related, unless you count cheese. caught Lady Gaga leaving letterman!

And that's the end of this New York Trip!

More to come!