Every Thursday until the end of the year, join Blowfish Restaurant for after work cocktails at their #ThirteenThursdays event from 5 pm to 7 pm.  Experience product launches and sampling as well as cocktail flights & featured food from a special menu.


What is #ThirteenThursdays? It's a program that was started on October 13th, 2016, and will last for 13 weeks every Thursday (hence its name). Every Thursday, guests are able to enjoy an array of cocktails and order from their snack menu. It's a great spot if you're looking for a place to unwind after a long day of work. Blowfish Restaurant is conveniently located in the bustling Financial District, and a walk away from the subway station.


A few friends and I had the pleasure of checking out Blowfish's #ThirteenThursdays, and was able to sample a couple of items. We were seated in the modern cocktail bar lounge (BarFish); a narrow space lit with bright neon lights adjacent to the dining room.


We started the evening off with their featured cocktail ($15), the Autumn Fantasia - tito's vodka, cointreau, cinnamon syrup, lime juice. The drink was a delightfully light cocktail, and a favorite among the four of us.



Battera (box sushi) - masago, salmon, tabasco, negi, sesame, and tempura bits 


Edamame - with sea salt


Mochiko Crusted Chicken - with spicy daikon ponzu


Lotus-Steamed Lobster + Shrimp Dumpling - with spicy tobanjan sauce


Spicy Rock Shrimp - tempura style shrimp tossed in a hot garlic kewpie sauce


Spicy Tuna On A Crispy Sushi Rectangle - topped with jalapeno


Crispy Crab, Shrimp, and Scallop Spring Roll - with lemon and tamari kewpie dips



Wagyu Gyoza - pan-seared dumpling stuffed with wagyu, black fungus, ginger, preserved spicy vegetables


Tempura


Blowfish Restaurant has an extensive bar menu concocted by award-winning mixologist and head bartender, Nishan Nepulangoda.





The chefs at Blowfish Restaurant have created a delightful palette of Japanese fusion dishes. I have dined here before, and I do find the prices to be quite up there in terms of fine dining. However, #ThirteenThursdays allow diners to sample some items from their menu for a fraction of the price, while enjoying some after-work cocktails.

Address: 668 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1M7

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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.

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria is a growing pizza chain from Western Canada, where a handful of locations is opened. Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of being invited to Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria at the Bloor West location. That location opened in 2012, and has since become a popular spot for pizza in the Annex. Famosa is best known for its authentic Neapolitan style cuisine, which makes no apology for their creative menu of fusion pizzas. Dean (the owner) runs two locations with his brother, and he is very passionate about the trade. He explained in details about the journey that they embarked on to bring us this delicate taste of Naples menu that we were able to sample.


Located on Bloor & Spadina, the restaurant features a decently sized dining area with an open concept kitchen. The interior composed of contemporary rustic décor with warm colours, and dark wood floors. They recently launched a new F/W menu with a small selection of new items including Mac & Cheese, Korean BBQ Beef Pizza, and Patate Pancetta Pizza.

We started dinner off with the Fire-Roasted Tomato Bisque - roasted Campania tomato soup topped with feta cheese, and served with flatbread. This was one of the highlights of the evening. The bisque was rich with flavor, as the tomatoes hail from Pompeii, Italy. The body of these tomatoes taste stronger, sweeter, and have less acidity in them due to the growing conditions of the volcanic ash that makes up the significant content of the soil. With some added crushed peppers, and Parmesan cheese, the aroma of the bisque was brought to its greatest. Definitely a must order if you want to warm up from the cold weather.



Famoso Salad ($15.50) - Romaine lettuce, prosciutto crisps, carrots, cherry tomatoes, soppressata (spicy salami), fire-roasted chicken, feta, dijon-balsamic vinaigrette



Pistachio Pesto Primavera ($15) - Linguine, house-made pistachio pesto cream sauce, roasted zucchini, green peas, roasted mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, Grana Padano + $3 (add chicken)



 For the main courses, we decided to try out two of their newest pizza items from their F/W menu. Let’s start with the Patate Pancetta ($16.50) - crème fraîche, rosemary, russet potatoes, fior-di-latte, mozzarella, pancetta, caramelized onions, sea salt, white truffle oil, Grana Padano, lemon wedge, topped with a fried egg. This was a very rich pizza with an assortment of ingredients including pancetta that is cured pork belly with similar properties to both prosciutto and bacon. This particular pizza can be considered  pretty close to a brunch item, as the center was topped off with a fried egg, garnished with a very generous portion of  caramelized onions, and russet potatoes, white truffle oil, and fio-di-latte mozzarella. A wedge of lemon was also provided as a taste only basis.



 The second pizza we got was the Korean BBQ Beef ($16.50) - house-made Korean BBQ sauce, fior-di-latte, house-roasted pulled short ribs, green onions, cheddar cheese, house-made hoisin sauce, which had a heavy emphasis on fusion. With a mix of house-made Korean & hoisin sauce, the pizza was topped with Italian ingredients such as fio-di-latte cheese, cheddar cheese, and green onions. The pizza was intense with flavor and leaned towards more of the sweeter side as the bittersweet taste of tomatoes was absent from this combination. The emphasis on sweet soy and hoisin was captured instead bringing you one of the more heavier accented fusions in the menu.





Overall, the dinner experience was great, as we had a nice seat right in front of the wooden stove. We saw chefs prepping the menu, tossing the pizza, and eventually transfer to the 800C oven that will cook for approximately 90 seconds. The oven was specially-made.

As we talked to the owner, we learned that much of the menu was coordinated with the head office. They would collaborate on menu items, and then it would be streamlined across all locations to allow good control of the ingredients that are distributed. However, the brothers do have some personality in their franchises because they are able to develop their own drink menu catered to the audiences in the Annex area. The owner and staff are culinary artists, and if you have the pleasure to sit at the front where the food are being made, be ready to be treated to the faces of the many artists that are preparing your dishes.

The following dishes were not sampled by us, but rather captured while they were on the counter.



 



Address: 386 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X4

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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.

Famoso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria

by on Saturday, December 03, 2016
Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria is a growing pizza chain from Western Canada, where a handful of locations is opened. Earlier this month, we ha...
Try The World is a popular subscription box service based in the United States. Every month, subscribers are sent a box containing a curated selection of gourmet foods from a new country. Each box is chef-curated by various chefs of that said country, and the items include ingredients to cook with, drink, and snacks.

The boxes come as monthly subscriptions (boxes are cheaper the more months you pay in advance), or you can buy boxes individually. They also have an online store, where you can buy certain products that you may want to refill or try out. There are various plans for every need, and you can pause or cancel your membership anytime. There's absolutely no commitment. 



I am happy to announce that Try The World is now available in Canada for delivery. For the month of September, I got both the "Italy Box" and "Michelin Holiday Box" to try. I am a travel enthusiast, so I take great pleasure in everything-travel related, so I was excited to open my first box. First up was the "Italy Box", which was curated by Chef Laura Vitale, YouTube sensation and host of Laura in the Kitchen and Cooking Channel's Simply Laura.

** All photography taken by Grace Y. courtesy of FoodintheCityTO **


The Italy Box came with 8 food items along with a cultural guide booklet with product descriptions, along with some Italian recipes. It was quite informative, and an interesting read! I also have to note the sturdiness of the box that the products arrived in, which I will definitely re-use it. Overall, the box truly offered a taste of Italy, as it contained a wide range of Italian pantry staples.  

Italy Box:

Classic Amaretti by Marabissi - In 1948, the Marabissi family opened their first bakery in Siena. Still today, they use flour ground from Pugliesi almonds grown in southern Italy instead of the more common (and cost effective) ground apricot kernel. Extra crushed almonds stirred into the batter give these cookies a delicious texture.

La Pasta Di Aldo Egg Pasta - Named “the finest pasta in Italy,” this pappardelle is made with just egg and flour. The owners roll the dough and hang the noodles by hand, so they retain their flavor and chewy texture. Unlike machine-made pasta, this pappardelle also has a porous surface, so the noodles hold onto sauces well. Pappardelle is best paired with cream or meat-based sauces, though it’s delicious with pesto as well.



Sabatino Tartufi Truffle Zest - Major chefs flock to Sabatino Tartufi for the quality truffle products that this family-owned company has been making since 1911. Their truffle zest is a brand new product made with real truffles that are grown on the family grounds—unlike most truffle condiments from the grocery store. Sprinkle the truffle zest onto pasta, risotto, eggs, and more to easily upgrade a basic weeknight dish.




Margherita Hazelnut Cream - Maison della Nocciola has been growing hazelnuts certified by the Italian government in Piedmonte for five generations. This particular cream is named after the daughter of the current owners and contains 54% hazelnuts—close to 40% more than most spreads on the market. It’s incredible on toast, with berries, or directly off the spoon.



Societa Agricola Acetomodena Balsamic Vinegar - Vibrant, tart, and slightly sweet, this IGP-certified vinegar is made with lambrusco and trebbiano grapes, and then aged until thick and syrupy. It’s an excellent complement to cured meats and sharp cheeses, but also pairs well with fruit and gelato.

Giuliano Cafe Coffee - Slow Food International specifically named Giuliano Caffe's coffee as a "master of taste." It's roasted for more than twice the length of the standard industrial process, which is one of the main components that creates its trademark flavor. In addition to making an excellent cup of coffee, this ground coffee is wonderful mixed into a meat rub or added into a traditional tiramisu.



Cascina San Cassiano Pesto - This rich, cheese-laden pesto is made by Cascina San Cassiano, a small Italian company that’s dedicated to sustainability. Try it with pasta, on top of a pizza, or as a condiment in sandwiches.




Terrigena Mushroom Risotto Kit


Michelin Holiday Box

The second Try The World box that I received was the "Michelin Holiday Box". Christmas is quickly approaching, and Try The World has a great gift for those who love traveling and food. This box was a little different, as it offers gourmet products from around the world instead of one focused country, and is available online now.



The Michelin Holiday Box is curated by Chef Thomas Raquel of Le Bernardin (3 star Michelin restaurant in New York City). The bright red box contained 8 gourmet holiday-themed products from all over the world.


 Marlette Pain D’Epices Baking Mix (France) - Marlette in France is an organic baking mix company created by two sisters named Margot and Scarlette. Their pain d’epice (or “spiced Bread”) is a traditional French holiday cake that’s made with freshly milled, organic flour and a variety of baking spices.

En Luen Pineapple Cake (Taiwan) - A buttery cake filled with sweet and tangy jam, pineapple cake is a ubiquitous pastry in Taiwan. In Taiwanese, pineapple is pronounced onglai, which is similar to the phrase for ‘the arrival and prosperity and fortune.’ This hidden meaning makes it a popular gift during Lunar New Year.


Yoffi Date Spread (Israel) - A symbol of good luck, dates are a popular holiday food throughout the Mediterranean. This date spread is made with ripe fruit grown on a community farm in Israel, and the packaging process that follows provides working opportunities for disabled individuals in the community. 

K’ekua Hot Chocolate Tablets (Mexico) - Perfect for winter, K’ekua’s chocolate tablets are made with the best Mexican cocoa beans according to Aztec tradition, an ancient civilization that was conquered by the Spanish over 400 years ago. K’ekua also helps marginalized communities by employing indigenous people in the area. 

Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co. Shortbread (Canada) - Rich with butter, shortbread was once an expensive and precious treat reserved for Christmas. After running a wildly popular catering company for over 25 years, Mark Pollard founded Sprucewood, where he now specializes in baking sweet and savory shortbread cookies from scratch.


 Darling Sweet Toffee (South Africa) - Frits and Hentie, the duo behind this toffee, have been hiring locals to make their signature sweets since 2013. Deliciously rich and creamy, its made with pure butter from Darling (a South African town known for its excellent butter) and wrapped in recycled and biodegradable packaging.

  Giuliano Tartufi Truffle Sauce (Italy) - In 1980, the founder of Guiliano Tartufi ventured into the forest with his grandfather and Irish Setter. Thanks to his dog’s keen sense of smell, Giuliano found his very first truffle and has been making a range of truffle products, including this sauce, since that day.

 Fox Gourmet Lemon Curd (United Kingdom) - Lemon Curd is an English fruit preserve made with lemon, sugar and eggs. In the late 19th century, people served the homemade preparation to their guests when they visited for tea. Fox Gourmet makes their lemon curd the old-fashioned way by cooking it over open pans.



Overall, Try The World Boxes offer a solid mix of items pertaining to the country of each box. It's a great way to sample gourmet foods from around the globe in the comfort of your own home. It's not the cheapest subscription box, but you do get several items that are only available in specialty stores.

** All photography taken by Grace Y. courtesy of FoodintheCityTO **

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


Located in the vibrant St. Lawrence Market district is the 1920's style bar East Thirty-Six. East Thirty-Six is a restaurant and cocktail bar focusing on house-made ingredients for craft cocktails and a gourmet menu of shareable dishes. Co-owner and Mixologist, Julien Salomone, brings several years' experience to the beverage program by "infusing syrups, tinctures and liquors in-house to heighten the stunning array of cocktails."

Here you will find an extensive list of seasonal cocktails like the Island Delight, Rouge Passion, and Le Caterina. Check out their list of cocktails here.


A couple of weeks back, we had the pleasure of attending the fall/winter tasting at East Thirty-Six. That evening, guests got to try four new cocktails from their fall/winter drinks menu: 

The St-Germain - Beefeater gin, st-germain elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, syrup, and cava


Apothecary - Hayman's london dry, Hayman's sloe gin, tonic syrup, lemon juice, rosemary tincture, and perrier


Nutcracker - Lot 40 rye, drambuie, house spiced rum, walnut bitters, and black cardamom


Night Capp - coffee vanilla infused bourbon, macadamia nut syrup, and espresso


East Thirty-Six is an intricately designed and sophisticated space inspired by the Old Hollywood vibe, It's rather reminiscent of a 1920s era bar with dark furnishing, marble bar, and steel light fixtures. Patrons are greeted by a large bar space where they are welcome to enjoy an array of craft cocktails by Julien Salomone. Compliment your craft cocktail with an assortment of sharing plates from East Thirty-Six's gourmet menu of shareable dishes like the octopus, Humboldt squid, Berkshire pork belly, or a platter of oysters.





East Thirty-Six is an ideal spot for a social gathering, intimate dinners, or after work events. Many of the shareable-plated dishes are perfectly paired by the cocktails and wine accompaniment. So, it's an especially good place for group gatherings, as you can try a variety of dishes. East Thirty-Six is open daily (4 pm to 2 am), and serving food from 5 pm to 1 am (Monday to Sunday). 



Address: 36 Wellington St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C9

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East Thirty-Six Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Morals Village is a hot pot restaurant chain with over 600 locations in China. They opened their first Canadian location in 2015, and has since grown at a relatively rapid pace. About 1.5 weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Morals Village Mississauga Grand Opening Event. The Mississauga location is their 5th Canadian location, and they have plans to open another in Ottawa. With that being said, Morals Village prides themselves in providing top-notch quality and Szechuan cuisine influenced flavour with their hot pot offering.



 Hot pot is not only a great dining experience with either small or large group of people, but it's perfect for the cold months ahead. At Morals Village, customers are able to experience Szechuan style hot pot. Combining traditional flavours and innovative cooking techniques, Morals Village offers a more fun and innovative way to enjoy hot pot in the city. Here, they provide a more upscale hot pot experience, and it does reflect in their pricing. Dinner is $25.99 on the weekday for adults, and +$2 for weekends. Price-wise, it is higher than other hot pot establishments, but the quality ingredients are definitely noticeable.

 There was also a customization aspect to doing hot pot at Morals Village Mississauga, as you are able to create your own sauce. A wide variety of sauces are available at the designated sauce station, and include options like chili oil, sesame oil garlic, satay, soy sauce, and more. You are more than welcome to mix and add different sauces to your liking.



The evening started with some snacks from the front including my favorite golden buns with condensed milk. These buns are so good when they're fresh out of the oven!


During this time, bloggers and media guests were given the opportunity to take pictures from a fully decorated table with all of the menu items before the dinner commenced.

There are now 14 broths to choose from, and they do come with an extra surcharge (starting at $3). There are three new broths on the menu including an exclusive spicy soup base (pure oil extract) with a rating of 8 chili peppers. I wouldn't recommend getting that one unless your spice tolerance is extremely high. Instead, I would opt for either the Original Spicy Soup Base (+$3) or their house special, The 10-year Special Spicy Soup Base (+$8).

HOW TO EAT HOT POT:

1) Choose soup base.
2) Create your own favorite dipping sauce mix.
3) Drop hot pot meats & veggies into boiling soup.
4) Dip well cooked meats and veggies into dipping sauce and enjoy.

10 Year Special Spicy Soup Base



The restaurant itself was very spacious with plenty of group seating. I also liked how each table has their own individual hot pot stove, and that you can control the heat intensity. Browsing through their extensive AYCE offering, I noticed that the Certified Angus Rib Eye Beef Slices is now on the menu without an added surcharge. Speaking of meat, all the meat are of higher quality then you tend to expect from a hot pot restaurant, and there are a great variety of options. With that being said, Morals Village offers an extremely wide selection of food to order from, which was nice.


Signature Green Pepper Soup Base


Sweet Tomato Ox Soup Base


Mountain Cliff Wild Mushroom Soup Base


Homemade Pork Bone Soup Base


 Please enjoy the pictures from our dinner at Morals Village Mississauga.







The drinks menu consisted of several juices like watermelon juice and kiwi juice. I opted for the Watermelon Juice, which was super refreshing, and it was freshly made. I don't believe that they have their liquor license yet, but I was told that it was in the works.










Our entire table was extremely full by the end of dinner. However, a few of us still had room for desserts. The only dessert that was on the menu was either chocolate or vanilla ice-cream. The one downside is that each customer is limited to only one ice-cream cone, which is odd for an AYCE place. Overall, it was a very well thought-out event with a lot of entertainment (live DJ, face changer dancer, and hip hop dance crew), and there was definitely a lot of food for everyone. I had an enjoyable evening, and I can't wait to return to Morals Village Mississauga for another night of hot pot.



 Thank you to Sweven Media for the invitation and Morals Village Mississauga for hosting a great event!

Address: 2-1177 Central Parkway W, Mississauga, ON, L5C 4P3

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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.
Morals Village Hot Pot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Morals Village Mississauga

by on Monday, November 21, 2016
Morals Village  is a hot pot restaurant chain with over 600 locations in China. They opened their first Canadian location in 2015, and has ...