Nordstrom Eaton Centre held an impressive gala prior to their grand opening on September 14, 2016. The 213,000 square feet flagship store is Nordstrom‘s first Toronto store, and they celebrated it with 2,000 guests. The gala opening epitomizes what Nordstrom is all about - great customer service and consistency of the brand. Hence why they partnered with Daniel et Daniel to be the official caterer of the Nordstrom Opening Gala, as both companies share the same ideals and business ethics. 

The team at Foodaholic! were graciously invited by Daniel et Daniel to attend the event earlier this month. We were given a behind-the-scenes tour from the event planning team of the kitchen area. This opportunity included a chance to chat with the people behind Daniel et Daniel, including their Executive Chef about the company, and menu development for the evening. 

Photo Credit: Yuri
Mini Pizzas

Daniel et Daniel started planning for the Nordstrom Eaton Centre Opening Gala back in February 2016, as they were tasked to create a customized menu for 2,000 guests. The menu development team has always taken a collaborative approach to catering, so they worked closely with Nordstrom to create a unique and innovative menu. A lot of strategic planning was done ahead of time into curating this large-scale event. Management went through great lengths to make sure that their brand standards were met. They did so by attending other launch parties that Nordstrom held prior to the Eaton’s Centre official gala to get an idea of what to offer guests.

Steak Frites Choc-Orange Truffles 

Mango Carrot Thai Spring Roll - mint, coriander, rice noodle, hoisin dip

Daniel et Daniel was founded over 35 years ago when the owners (Daniel Clairet and Daniel Megly) discovered an opportunity within the catering industry. Unlike today, there was a lack of options available for corporations, and private parties to select from back then. Since their humbled beginnings, they have grown to provide top of the line catering throughout the city, and became one of Toronto’s premier caterers today. 

It’s clear that decades later, Daniel et Daniel have established themselves as one of the leaders in the catering industry with their ever-expanding list of high-profile clients. The company's secret to success is the level of consistency with their food, staff, and branding.

Not only has the catering scene become more saturated, but Toronto has become one of those cities that has defined food to be an art form that demands constant innovation. Daniel et Daniel does not slack from this, as their top chefs are routinely sent to restaurants to seek culinary art that can be brought back into the world of catering. Future prospective clients are presented with a palatable delight of Daniel et Daniel’s ever changing selection. With 100% of the proceeds being donated to six charities, there was a lot at stake to ensure Nordstrom looked the best they possibly could.

Loaded Mini Hasselback Potato (Gluten Free) - bacon, white cheddar, sour cream, chives

Tomato Gazpacho - basil, cucumber, radish, bell pepper, chili pepper, basil sprouts 

Spiced Watermelon & Feta Salad (Gluten Free) - chili lime-spiced watermelon, feta salad, blackberry gelee, mint, basil & lime dressing

Classic Deviled Egg Double - smoked bacon

Baby Carrot & Buttermilk Dip

Brie & Strawberry Tapas

Chinese Chicken Salad Wrap - carrot, cabbage, sesame, coriander, Manderin orange, sweet & spicy vinaigrette 

Melon Prociutto Tapas 

Nordstrom-Branded Sangria

Without a doubt, Daniel et Daniel leverages their competitors by having the edge to bake in-house. This gives them better control over the preparation time, and quality of their baked goods. For the duration of the evening; drinks, foods, and dessert were readily available on all three floors of the party. Nordstrom made it clear that they did not want line ups, and food had to be available with quick service at all times. From what was witnessed at the event, I would say that Daniel et Daniel went above and beyond with Nordstrom's requests. 

Mini Popsicles - Blood Orange Panna Cotta 

Chocolate Coconut Orange Truffles with Candied Orange Peel

Photo Credit: Yuri
Mini Strawberry Eclairs Fresh - strawberries, choux pastry, whipped cream, strawberry glaze

Photo Credit: Yuri
Photo Credit: Yuri
Blueberry Cheesecake

Photo Credit: Yuri
Mini Key Lime Pie

Photo Credit: Yuri

Coconut Panna Cotta topped with Citrus Salad 
Photo Credit: Yuri
Thank you to Daniel et Daniel for the fantastic evening, and allowing us to see the collaboration of two great companies who set their mission to focus on the customer’s needs first. The Opening Gala was definitely not short on the diverse selection of plated dishes and desserts. The meticulous planning and attention to details from Daniel et Daniel was well executed. They definitely delivered on creating a menu of exceptional cuisine that was well fitted for the strong Nordstrom brand. 

 Daniel et Daniel will also be catering the upcoming Nordstrom Yorkdale Opening Gala on October 19th from 7 pm to 10 pm. Tickets for the gala can be purchased here

Join Daniel et Daniel at the upcoming Toronto Catering Showcase 2016 on Sunday, October 16, 2016, as they will be one of several caterers there as well.

Article collaboration between Sandi and J.J of SMD Group.
Note: Upon writing this blog entry, Nordstrom has launched in the Eaton Centre as of Sept 16th, and will launch in Yorkdale on Oct 19, 2016.

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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.

Located at First Canadian Place on the mezzanine level is Maman Toronto. They are a Parisian-inspired cafe in the heart of the financial district offering a taste of Southern France. The savoury and sweet menu changes daily, featuring an assortment of dishes created by Chef Armand Arnal. Having been to Paris a year ago, I have come to adore Maman's detailed decor. They have replicated the allure of sitting in a Parisian cafe from the flowers, tables adorned with cute bunny ceramics, wooden communal tables down to the mosaic tile flooring. Perfect for a lunch visit.

Maman Toronto recently launched “Maman à Table” where diners are able to enjoy a $20 prix-fixe menu every Friday afternoon. Indulge in a three course menu featuring a starter, a choice of main, and finishing off with a selection of mini sweet bites and drip coffee or tea of your choice. The weather may be cooling off, but you can still enjoy this menu every Friday from 11:30 am to 2 pm all season on the fully licensed patio or inside the cafe.

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For the starter, one has the option to choose between a cold summer soup “grilled tomato gazpacho with sweet red peppers & cucumber” or de-constructed avocado toast. I opted for the avocado toast as my starter. I enjoyed the DIY aspect of the avocado toast, and it's a healthier option, so that is always an added bonus. 

De-Constructed Avocado Toast - tomato, lime wedges and sea salt & chili

Grilled Tomato Gazpacho - with sweet red peppers & cucumber

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Croque Maman - with Parisian Ham & Comté

I have tried the Croque Maman on several occasions, so I got the daily quiche instead. There were three different choices to select from, and I opted for the Ham and Cheese Quiche - served with mixed greens, as my main. The quiche was excellent with its flaky yet buttery pastry exterior loaded with a creamy filling mixed with ham and cheese. It was a downright delicious quiche.

Drip Coffee

We ended our Maman à Table experience with some Mini Sweet Bites from Cafe Gourmand. These satisfying bite-sized treats were great to nibble on to satisfy my sweet tooth without overindulging in sugar. 

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Maman Toronto is open Monday through Friday for breakfast, and lunch, and on Saturday for brunch (closed on Sunday). Check out their website for their daily menu, as it changes everyday.

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

Maman à Table

by on Monday, September 26, 2016
Located at First Canadian Place on the mezzanine level is  Maman Toronto . They are a Parisian-inspired cafe in the heart of the financial...
 Summit Garden Chinese Cuisine is an authentic Chinese restaurant on Winston Churchill Blvd and Dundas St in Mississauga. They have been in business for about 18 years, and have a reputation for being consistent with their food and service. I can definitely see the reason why they have been a successful for so long, as many of their diners are returnees with their family members.

In addition to their lunch and dinner menu, they also serve weekend dim sum. I had the pleasure of attending a menu tasting at Summit Garden a couple of weeks back where I tried several of their popular dishes. I was greeted by the owner and director of Summit Garden Chinese Cuisine, Kenneth Choi, who also works the floor. I think it's great when the owner or manager take the initiative to wait the tables, so that they are able to have a first-hand experience of what it's like.

 Summit Garden Chinese Cuisine's interior was spacious and rather stunning with its ornately decorated Chinese decor. Like several mid-upscale restaurants, Summit Garden has an open dining area that is also available for large parties, weddings, and private parties. The space allows diners to have an enjoyable and comfortable experience without being seated in a cramped space.

Upon entering, we were welcomed by the hostess and seated at our reserved table. Due to the extensiveness of the menu, we decided to get recommendations from the owner, Kenneth Choi, who chose all of the following items for us to try. The extensive menu consisted of several traditional Chinese dishes, but they do have set meals as well. I would say that the set meals offer more of a value, and is highly recommended if you want to try more items.

We started off with the Peking Duck; one of the most popular menu items at Summit Garden Chinese Cuisine. The Peking Duck was sliced table-side, and served with pancakes, sauce, and scallions as toppings. The pancakes came in a steamer basket with several ingredients as garnishes. The pancakes were rather big, and soft, which went well with the crispy and well-seasoned duck skins. Don't forget to pack the pancake with a piece of scallion and cucumber each to enhance the flavor. This was a great first course, and I was looking forward to the next few courses.

As seen above, the Peking Duck was served in a traditional two course meal. First out was the duck skins with pancakes, and the second course was duck meat sautéed with vegetables to be eaten as a salad wrap. The portion was more than enough for two people, and arrived beautifully plated.

Another popular option was the Wok-Fried Beef Tenderloin with Asparagus in Maggi Sauce ($17.95). Please note that pictured below is of the half portion, as we wouldn't be able to eat the full one considering that there was also a lobster. The beef tenderloin was tender and well-flavored with the Maggi Sauce.

 One of the highlights of the night was the lobster, which was served Hong Kong style, where the lobster was fried and seasoned. I love seafood, so the Wok-Fried Jumbo Lobster (2 pounds) was quite an impressive feast. The lobsters at Summit Garden Chinese Cuisine was served Hong Kong style, but they modified it slightly. It wasn't the traditional fried lobster from Hong Kong. Rather, I was told that their version was more of a modified version, as they use deep fried fish as well to create a balance in flavor. The lobster here was not super salty, which I enjoyed! Additionally, the lobster meat was tender and succulent. 

There are some Japanese-inspired dishes on the menu including this Fried Japanese Style Tofu ($11.95). Japanese tofu is a popular Japanese appetizer that is often found in many restaurants and izakayas. Summit Garden Chinese Cuisine's interpretation of the tofu dish was not the traditional style. Rather, they made it their own with a hint of Chinese flavoring in the sweet and savory sauce. The portion was very generous, and the tofu themselves were nice and plump.

We ended the night off with a light dessert; Mango Pudding. The dessert wasn't overly sweet, and there was a nice aroma of mango despite no mangoes being used in these desserts.

 Summit Garden Chinese Cuisine is a lovely Chinese restaurant in Mississauga, and perfect for all occasions. They are open for weekend dim sum, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week.

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

Summit Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Summit Garden Chinese Cuisine

by on Saturday, September 24, 2016
  Summit Garden Chinese Cuisine is an authentic Chinese restaurant on Winston Churchill Blvd and Dundas St in Mississauga. They have been...
Upper Deck By Fran's opened earlier this summer right above 20 College Street, Toronto. The new all-season rooftop patio at Upper Deck offered a more casual approach to dining. Its menu focuses on Americana and International flavors, and includes a more modern take on classic comfort foods. They have several classic diner food like salads, sandwiches, bite into a made-from-scratch burger, and a pretty extensive $5 menu.

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Several dishes are shareable, so it would be a great place to hang with friends during lunch or dinner. Additionally, Upper Deck By Fran's spans two floors, and features two bars, plenty of communal seating, and an all-season rooftop patio with a retractable roof. The retractable roof allow the patio to be open all season long. So you don't need to fret that summer is almost over.

Upper Deck By Fran's also had an extensive selection of wine, draught and cider on their drinks menu. Did you know that they also grow their own herbs on the rooftop? I thought that was pretty impressive.

Strawberry, Orange, Banana Sangria White ($9 for 1.5 oz | Shareable $30 for 16 oz)


 Cucumber Thyme Caprioska ($9 for 1.5 oz | Shareable $30 for 16 oz)


We started off with an order of Chili Lime Shrimp Cup ($5) - cilantro, chili honey sauce, lime, dill sauce, which is part of Upper Deck By Fran's $5 snack menu. The juicy and succulent shrimp was marinated with chili honey sauce, which added a nice kick. The cooled wonton was slightly hard, but it was still a tasty shareable appetizer. 


Bacon Cheese Bomb ($5) - munster cheese, served with marinara sauce for dipping

The Spicy BBQ Pork Spare Ribs (One Pound $11.95 | Two Pounds $19 | Three Pounds $29) were fall of the bone, and the marinate was a flavorful blend. This was a must-order dish!

The Grilled Cilantro Shrimp Salad ($15.95) - grilled shrimp, mixed greens, peppers, red onions, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, was a classic take on a salad with moist pieces of shrimp. The dressing gives it a tangy sweetness to the salad filled with colorful vegetables. 

There are a couple of brunch favorites on the menu including Chicken and Waffle ($15.95) - with spicy honey maple syrup. I love fried chicken, so this was a must-order for me. The chicken was savory and well-seasoned. However, a few bites of the chicken was a little dry, but it's understandable as white meat isn't as moist as dark meat.

The sky-high Boomtown Burger ($25) - two patties, lemon chicken, cheddar, guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce, red onions, aioli, pickles, was delicious. The burger was generously portioned, and could easily be shared between 2-3 people as well.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese - Munster, Jack, Cheddar Cheese, tomato, and fresh basil 

The Famous Red Velvet Cheesecake ($9) arrived beautifully presented on a white plate. The red velvet filling was topped with a creamy cheesecake layer and drizzled with chocolate resulting in a moist dessert. 

Overall, I thought that the service made the entire lunch experience a wonderful one. Our server was outgoing, attentive, and prompt to clear out plates.

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

Upper Deck by Fran's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Upper Deck By Fran's

by on Friday, September 23, 2016
Upper Deck By Fran's  opened earlier this summer right above 20 College Street, Toronto. The new all-season rooftop patio at Upper Deck...