[Tokyo] Ikefukurou Cafe

/ Friday, February 01, 2019
 In the early afternoon of a weekday back in December 2016, we headed to Ikebukuro to check off one of my bucket list items - visit an Owl cafe in Tokyo. I researched a bit before our visit, and found one that was easily accessible by metro. We went to Ikebukuro Cafe, and put our names on the list to return at 4:30 pm. You don't need a reservation, but it is highly recommended. We went on a weekend and it was ¥1600 an hour and the price includes a drink of choice.


Upon entering, we were given a laminated sheet with the cafe's request and rules.

Request and Rules


Then we were escorted to the play area, where we were greeted with various owls of different shapes and sizes. Most of the smaller owls were pretty playful, and seemed OK with the constant light petting from guests. Unfortunately, each owl had one of their legs tied with a long string, but I read somewhere that they do get breaks to fly.




Although not pictured, I also got the opportunity to have one of the larger owls sit on my arm. I was a little hesitant, as I saw this very same owl flapped its large wings at a guest before me. That owl also ended up attacking me a little bit lol. Overall, it was still a fun and memorable experience. 




Address: Japan, 〒171-0022 Tokyo, Toshima, Minamiikebukuro, 1 Chome−17−1

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If you are an animal lover, why not check out the Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama in Kyoto? Read my experience here.


 In the early afternoon of a weekday back in December 2016, we headed to Ikebukuro to check off one of my bucket list items - visit an Owl cafe in Tokyo. I researched a bit before our visit, and found one that was easily accessible by metro. We went to Ikebukuro Cafe, and put our names on the list to return at 4:30 pm. You don't need a reservation, but it is highly recommended. We went on a weekend and it was ¥1600 an hour and the price includes a drink of choice.


Upon entering, we were given a laminated sheet with the cafe's request and rules.

Request and Rules


Then we were escorted to the play area, where we were greeted with various owls of different shapes and sizes. Most of the smaller owls were pretty playful, and seemed OK with the constant light petting from guests. Unfortunately, each owl had one of their legs tied with a long string, but I read somewhere that they do get breaks to fly.




Although not pictured, I also got the opportunity to have one of the larger owls sit on my arm. I was a little hesitant, as I saw this very same owl flapped its large wings at a guest before me. That owl also ended up attacking me a little bit lol. Overall, it was still a fun and memorable experience. 




Address: Japan, 〒171-0022 Tokyo, Toshima, Minamiikebukuro, 1 Chome−17−1

------------------------------

If you are an animal lover, why not check out the Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama in Kyoto? Read my experience here.


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Cinnaholic is an American cinnamon roll bakery franchise founded in 2010. They appeared on Shark Tank in 2014, where they got an offer from one of the investors. The company then adopted a franchise business model in 2015, and there are now 3 locations in Ontario. 


Recently, I had the opportunity to visit their Danforth location to try a few cinnamon rolls myself. The store was small in size with a few long-standing tables at the front. I'd say this location is more for take-out orders. When I was there, there was a constant flow of customers taking the buns to go rather than eat-in. 

To be perfectly honest, I usually don't care for vegan food as I have had some pretty bad experiences. So my expectations for vegan cinnamon rolls weren't very high. However, I was pleasantly surprised as to how good these rolls were. It was hard to distinguish these from the non-vegan ones I have had in recent years. 



Cinnaholic's cinnamon rolls are 100% vegan and made with the highest quality ingredients. What makes the rolls vegan? It's dairy-free, eggs-free and cholesterol-free. The one thing is that it's not the healthiest dessert, as I believe the calories count for each roll is at least 600 calories. However, if you're not counting calories and love chocolate. Then definitely get the Cookie Monster. It's a roll with vanilla frosting topped off with cookie dough, chocolate chips and chocolate drizzle. 



Out of the two rolls, I liked the Raptors on a Roll more. So fluffy and soft! I'd get this same roll again if/when I am in the area.



If you don't like their pre-made combinations, you can also customize your own cinnamon roll from a variety of Cinnaholic’s signature frosting flavors and toppings. The original hand-crafted custom cinnamon roll starts at $4.95, and you can add a frosting flavor for $0.25 and each topping is $0.50. My fully customizable cinnamon bun consists of cream cheese frosting, marshmallow and sprinkles. 

The buns are made to order, and it tastes great when you eat it right away. However, the frosting does tend to harden overtime, so I'd recommend heating it up in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds if you don't eat it right after purchase. It was a very sweet treat that I thoroughly enjoyed! 



Address: 319 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON, M4K 1N7

Cinnaholic Canada

by on Thursday, January 03, 2019
Cinnaholic  is an American cinnamon roll bakery franchise founded in 2010. They appeared on Shark Tank in 2014, where they got an offer fro...
Chongqing style noodles are a type of noodles that originated in Chongqing, China, which are collectively called xiǎomiàn, or "little noodles" in English. It's now very popular throughout Asia, and in recent years has made its way to North America. One chain serving Chongqing style noodles in the GTA is Hey Noodles, which opened its first location back in 2015. They now have a few locations on hand, and recently opened another one in Richmond Hill, ON. A couple of weeks back, I was invited to check out their North York location for dinner with a few foodies and bloggers. I have been to the Chinatown location, and found the one in North York to be smaller in size with only a handful of seats. However, it still has the same homey feel to it and great for dinner with friends. 

Additionally, Hey Noodles is definitely expanding its brand as they will be opening up a 5th location in Markham in a month's time. They will also be opening up in Mississauga sometime next year as well (date is TBA). 



Tofu Skin ($4.99) 


Another appetizer that I liked was the Seaweed ($4.99), which had a nice spicy flavor to it. 


The portion of Quail Eggs ($4.99) was quite good, and I enjoyed it. I added a few of the eggs to my broth as an extra topping. 


I also got an order of Popcorn Chicken ($4.99), which I did not like. I found the chicken to be quite bland and a little overly fried. I would not get this again. 


I like the idea of customization, so I chose the create my own bowl option instead of one of the pre-created bowls. I opted for the Szechuan Style Beef Brisket ($13.99). This dish allowed me to choose the softness of my noodles, soup level, spice level, and numbness level. You can also add extra toppings like peanut, sesame and sesame paste, all free of charge.

My noodles dish arrived pretty quickly within a 10 minutes wait (despite our large group order). Please note that Hey Noodles does take their spice levels very seriously, and even the "regular spicy" was pretty spicy already. If you cannot tolerate eating spicy broth, then I'd recommend going for mild and no numb. In regards to my bowl of noodles, I liked that it came with an abundant amount of tender beef, and the noodle texture had a nice bounce to them. I would get this same noodles dish again!


Overall, dinner was good, and the Hey Noodles chain is also very budget friendly. I believe that most noodle dishes were under $15, and you can also request free (unlimited) refills on the noodles. If you're looking for affordable eats, then definitely give Hey Noodles a try. As they also have a new afternoon tea combo every Monday to Friday from 2:30 pm to 5 pm. Check them out =)

Thank you to Devon for the invitation and Hey Noodles for the hospitality.


Address: 5306 Yonge St, North York, ON, M2N 5P9

Hey Noodles North York

by on Thursday, December 20, 2018
Chongqing style noodles are a type of noodles that originated in Chongqing, China, which are collectively called xiǎomiàn, or "little ...
I didn't know Lobster Suppers existed until my first visit to the island back in 2016. New Glasgow Lobster Suppers opened its doors in 1958, and has since become a popular tourist destination in New Glasgow, PEI. Upon arrival, you are asked to decide your entree & purchase your meal order before being seated. Gratuities are not included in the price of your meal, so if you're pleased with the meal and service, tip your server (in cash) before leaving. 

We started off the meal with a basket of homemade rolls and bread. The bread was to my liking - super fluffy. The salad on the other hand has been a hit/miss. 


All meals are served to you at your table and include unlimited appetizers, freshly steamed Cultivated Island Blue Mussels, non-alcoholic beverages and desserts. Appetizers available are salad sampler plate, coleslaw, PEI potato salad, garden salad, seafood chowder and tomato basil soup. 



Included in the meal is a bucket of Steamed Island Blue Mussels, which is completely refillable. Most restaurants charge $12+ for a single bucket of mussels, so this was a great deal to me. We finished 2 buckets. 


We both opted for the lobster entree, I got 1 pound ($36.95) and J got 1.5 pounds ($43.95). The lobster wasn't anything special, as it was just steamed with a side of melted butter. I appreciated the lobster being pre-cracked, so it made eating it much easier. 



We had our first meal here in 2016.


Ended the night off with the Coconut Cream Pie and a cup of coffee. 


J got the Pumpkin Pie (seasonal) with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.


Given the high prices of eating out in Charlottetown, I'd say that the price paid here (per person) was pretty good in value. Some people would probably group this place as a "tourist trap", which I can understand why as it's now on most lists of top things to do in PEI. However, it's a good deal for what you get. 



One of Toronto's highly anticipated events took place on Sunday, Oct 14, 2018. The third annual 2018 Toronto Catering Showcase presented by EventSource.ca was held at the state-of-the-art The Globe and Mail Centre, and it was a grand success! Over 500 food enthusiasts came together to enjoy an afternoon of delicious cuisine and bottomless drinks.



Upon entering the venue, guests were greeted by the grandeur designed by Ashley Pigott Events. The carefully curated room was filled with an abundance of wedding and event inspirations to all. One of the main events of the evening was the indulgence of culinary delights prepared by 12 of Toronto's notable and trend setting culinary caterers. That did not disappoint, as there were a variety of signature dishes, refreshing beverages and dainty yet delicate desserts.  

Photo Credit: Ikonica at https://ikonica.ca
This year's event relocated to a new venue at The Globe and Mail Centre. The venue itself was refined, and had a spacious balcony lounge where guests were greeted with a lovely view of the city's sleek skyline. Like previous year events, this one was well-organized and each booth had enough designated space between them for guests to grab food comfortably. Additionally, the modern event space was given a more refreshed look with comfy leather couches and stand-tables giving guests more options for seating.


The event was ideal for those looking for caterers for their next event such as weddings and parties, corporate planners or your everyday culinary connoisseurs. Each caterer prepared about two to three different dishes and desserts, where guests were able to sample each delectable culinary dish. All of the caterers at the show offer personalized culinary experiences and most do draw inspiration from global or current food trends. Tickets were priced at $65 per person giving each guest an all-inclusive pass giving a complete access to an afternoon of pure epicurean indulgence – no food tickets, no drink tickets, no other charges.

Photo Credit: Ikonica at https://ikonica.ca/
The Toronto Catering Showcase allowed guests to enjoy an afternoon of pure epicurean indulgence. Besides the delicious dishes, the event also featured local wines by sommelier from Peller Estates, and a wide selection of craft beer provided by Brunswick Bierworks. Overall, the event was the perfect opportunity to scope out potential caterers for an upcoming event or wedding. However, it wasn't limited to those looking for event planning, Toronto Catering Showcase was fun for couples, families, and everyday culinary connoisseurs.

Please enjoy the food pictures from this year's Toronto Catering Showcase 2018 below. For more pictures of the fun, please check out the hashtag #TOCateringShow on Instagram and Twitter.

Daniel et Daniel

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Cod From Away - Fogo Island cod, passionfruit brown butter emulsion, Jerusalem artichoke black malt, BC spot prawn 


Mini Ginger Chocolate Cookie Dough Cones 
 


Eatertainment

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Spicy Beef and Nori Crab Salad Cone 


Torched Mini Meal - halibut, escabeche with black bean puree, roasted peppers 



elle cuisine

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Duck Confit with Chanterelle Truffle Risotto - rissoto cooked in a wushroom and truffle broth sauteed chanterelle with thyme and butter with a rich duck, jus and chervil cress 


Encore Catering

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Truffle Mac & Cheese Croquette 


Spiced Apple Tarts


en Ville Event Design and Catering

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Open Face Veda Pav malasa dusted naan crisp, green chutney 


Trout with Acorn Squash Puree - crunchy snow pea silvers 


Food Dudes

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Fall Chopped Salad -  purple modular kale, vegetables. cranberry goat cheese spread, smoked squash, caramelized apples, maple walnuts, pumpkin seeds 




Fried Chicken Bao -  pimento cheese, bacon-onion jam, banh mi slaw, pickled jalepeno, steam bun



Kiss the Cook Catering

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Vepro-Kmedlo-Zelo - pork roast, sauerkraut, dumpling, plum chutney


Smazeny Syr - fried cheese, deconstructed tartar sauce, mini brioche


Svestkove Knedliky - fruit dumplings, brown butter, brown sugar, cottage cheese


Oliver & Bonacini

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Symphony of Soil - heirloom carrots, cauliflower, radish, beets edible soil, green goodness dressing


Presidential Gourmet

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London Fog Bubble Tea earl grey infused bubble tea topped with cotton candy


BBQ Jackfruit olive fingerling potato cake, brussels sprout slaw


Provisions TO

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Oysters -  grapefruit, spruce, habanero 



The Host Fine Indian Cuisine

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Chaat Papri


Samosa


Toben Food By Design

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Handmade Cavatelli bolognese sauce, truffled pecorino 



Roasted Baby Beet Salad samac-tahini yoghurt, fennel, winter citrus, radish, cucumber, watercress, spiced chickpea crumble 


Zeppole mascapone, lemon curd, wild blueerry compote


Love Gelato

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BarChef

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Four Seven Two - bourbon, fresh lemon, cola bitter, mint syrup 

Super Chilled Bourbon and Star Anise Julep - bourbon, maple, lemon and chamomile gel, Madeira, star anise syrup, orange zest, rosemary brunoise 


Brunswick Bierworks


Music by The Guitar Guys, a Toronto-based string ensemble.



It was a great pleasure to be here and taking part in the Toronto Catering Showcase 2018. The event was perfectly executed by EventSource.ca as they took consideration of people's feedback from previous years and implemented changes. Yes, the dishes were sampled-sized, but it was AYCE. So guests were guarantee to leave satisfied and full once the event ended at 4 pm. One of my highly-recommended food events to attend of the year. Until next time!

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Disclaimer: The event provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


** Pictures by Devon Liu. Visit his Instagram to check out his feed **