Did you know this Thursday, February 9 is National Pizza Day? Here are some interesting facts about Neapolitan Pizza courtesy of Famoso Pizzeria.


5 Things You Didn’t Know About Neapolitan Pizza

1. Burn, baby, burn: It’s not just any oven that can create a Neapolitan pizza, and only the right kind gives the soft, moist centre, and perfectly crisp, slightly charred, crust of a true authentic. As such, it’s typically only at a restaurant that you can experience a Neapolitan the way it’s done in Naples. At Famoso, the pizza is fired in an authentic bell-shaped oven, imported from Italy, for 90 seconds at a sizzling 900ºF.


2. I got the key: The crust of an authentic Neapolitan pizza uses a dough that is made with highly refined, Italian type ‘0’ or ‘00’ wheat flour, which refers to the texture of the flour. Type ‘00’ flour, of which the Caputo variety is used at Famoso, is the finest grind available. This highly refined flour is low-gluten, meaning it’s easily digestible, while giving the dough just enough elasticity to create the perfect crust. At Famoso, any of their pizzas - and many other menu options - can be adapted to suit a gluten-free diet.

3. Love at first fold: It’s not just the way it’s made that makes a Neapolitan pizza. Once served, the pizza should be eaten ‘a libretto’ - like a book - for the tastiest and most authentic Italian dining experience. 


4. Margherita Mondays: Baker Raffaele Esposito, a 19th century Italian owner of Naples eatery ‘Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Cosi’ is considered by some to be the founder of the Margherita pizza, having been requested to create a dish for Queen Margherita of Savoy who had travelled to Naples with King Umberto I. Preparing his speciality, Esposito made a pizza using tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil, to celebrate the colours of the Italian flag through the ingredients. Famoso celebrates the traditional Margherita every Monday, offering them for $8 each. 


5. A ‘pizza’ the action: The pizza that we eat today - dough topped with tomatoes and cheese - was invented in Naples, Italy, hundreds of years ago. Prior to this, the closest thing to what is arguably our nation’s favourite dish, was a flatbread, however these were never topped with tomatoes. Once tomatoes arrived in Europe, and used as a flatbread topping, the pizza was born. Today, Famoso imports all its tomatoes from the region of Campania (of which Naples is the region capital), and hand-mills them before the oven caramelizes them to perfection.

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

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Earlier last week, I had the pleasure of going to the Uncle Tetsu’s Unionville in Markham to try their new Sakura Cheesecake. Unlike the fluffy baked cheesecakes that they are known for, this new one is a no-bake cheesecake. It is also exclusive to the Unionville location, and it is highly recommended that you pre-order in advance due to the craftsmanship that goes into baking them.



This was my first time at their Unionville location, but I have been to the downtown one on several occasions. All of the storefronts in Unionville are modeled as historic village houses, and the Uncle Tetsu’s Unionville's location is no different. It's a cute looking home with very minimal space inside (quite cramp when it's super busy). I went on a Friday evening, and it was busy, so everyone was kind of shoved into a little corner while waiting for their cheesecakes. 



The Japanese-Style No Bake Cheesecakes are available in two different flavours, Sakura and Yuzu. The smaller version was $8, while the large was $35. The larger size may be a little pricey, but it would be a great cake to order for a special occasion to share (like birthdays, bridal shower, Valentine's Day, etc ...).

 The Sakura No Bake Cheesecake was beautifully decorated with cherry blossom petals, gold leaf, and glazed with gelatin jelly. The pink layer was creamy, and has a similar texture to a mousse cake. The cheese flavor was light, and the cherry blossom petals added the aroma to the cake.

Sign up today (FREE) to the Toronto Gourmand Club (link is here) for a 20% off coupon that you can use for the Uncle Tetsu’s Unionville’s Sakura Cheesecake. The coupon expires on February 10th, 2017, but there are plenty of upcoming benefits and discounts for members. 




I was also able to sample the Yuzu Cheesecake as well. The light cheesecake was flavored with Japanese yuzu, and had a nice strong citrus flavor. However, I do like the Sakura Cheesecake a lot more over the Yuzu one. 





Address: 158 Main St Unionville, Unionville, ON L3R 2G9

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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.

Teddy Story is a newly opened cafe on Church and Adelaide selling a variety of plush teddies from Teddy House; a popular brand from Thailand. In addition to selling teddy bears, they also serve specialty coffee, premium hot chocolate, real fruit smoothies, cakes and macarons for both dine-in and takeout. The concept itself is very cute, and great for a casual get-together with friends or dates.


I had the pleasure of visiting the teddy-bears themed cafe earlier this month, where I got to try a few of their cafe items. 



 As for my drink, I opted for the Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate. The hot chocolate was served with white marshmallows and drizzled with chocolate syrup. The cup of hot chocolate was pretty standard, but it was prettily designed and great for an IG photo. 



 Besides an extensive menu of both cold and hot drinks, they also serve a decent selection of pastries. They don't bake them in-house, but they do get them fresh in the morning from an uptown bakery.


 I love macarons, and I don't think I can ever get sick of them. So my eyes went toward them when I saw the display case. I got the Crème Brûlée and Blueberry macarons. I enjoyed them! 

 
 

They also have a few cakes available, and one of them was the Matcha Cake. I actually didn't get a chance to try it, as it was another blogger's order. 


 The stand-out feature of the cafe has to be the selection of teddy bears from Teddy House. Unlike Build-A-Bear Workshop, you cannot build your own teddy bears at Teddy Story. However, you can customize your teddy bear with a variety of customized clothing pieces (prices vary). The teddy bears are displayed all throughout the cafe, and they do come in various sizes.

Teddy Story also offers a personalized delivery service, where the gift would be delivered in person to the recipient by Teddy Ken; their mascot.


 The location itself is conveniently located downtown and a few minutes away from the Eaton's Center. The overall decor was very Instagrammable with its white, clean and sleek look. Guests are also welcome to move around the large teddy bears located in the seating area for photos.

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching, so why not buy a teddy bear for that special someone? Teddy Story is open Sunday to Wednesday from 10 am to 8 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm. 




Address: 82 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON M5C 1K9

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Teddy Story (Toronto)

by on Thursday, February 02, 2017
Teddy Story is a newly opened cafe on Church and Adelaide selling a variety of plush teddies from Teddy House ; a popular brand from Thail...
Located on the corner of King & Portland in the busy King West neighborhood lies Portland Variety. Portland Variety operates as both a cafe, and restaurant; as the 2,400-square-foot restaurant features a standing-room cafe at the front during the day, and at night, it transforms into a cocktail bar/restaurant. The restaurant has been a staple on King Street West for the last two and a half years, and continues to offer a great meal.

This past December, Portland Variety launched their new F/W menu filled with classic dishes with elevated flavors. I have been to Portland Variety on several occasions, and have always enjoyed the food.


Many of the dishes are family-styled, and people are encouraged to order several dishes to share. The menu at Portland Variety featured a fusion of Canadian, French, and Spanish cuisine offering shareable plates for both lunch and dinner. Some of their shareable plates include grilled octopus, seafood fideo, salads, and grilled stuffed baby squid. 

 5 oz Silk Oak ($14) and Diet Coke ($3)


The new winter menu consists of several flavor-focused yet simple simple cuisine. Great to compliment the cold weather, where you just want to have some hot meals. Some old favorites remain on the menu like the tasty Patatas Bravas ($9). The hot plate of cubes of potato topped off with a spicy sauce was crispy, and flavorful.



 Wild Yeast Sourdough & Cristal Bread ($4) - with cultured butter

Chef Jo Castrinos has laso decided to increase their bread baking program, and now culture their own butter.


Winter Salad ($16) - angel hair collard greens, brussel sprouts, preserved concord grapes, black sesame seeds, harissa granola


Grilled Cornish Game Hen ($22) - roasted root vegetable farro, piri piri  



Grilled Stuffed Baby Squid ($12) - chorizo, pine nuts, feta


Address: 587 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1M5

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PortlandVariety/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/PortlandVariety/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/portlandvariety
Website: http://www.portlandvariety.com/

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was partially subsidized by Portland Variety.  However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Portland Variety F/W Menu

by on Friday, January 20, 2017
Located on the corner of King & Portland in the busy King West neighborhood lies Portland Variety. Portland Variety operates as both ...
Light Cafe Canada is a cafe originating from Taiwan offering gourmet café food and drinks with a contemporary twist. I have been here on a few occasions, and have always liked the bright and open-concept space. The Baldwin location is their first outpost in North America, but they do have plans for expansion in the near future. I had the pleasure of being invited to a tasting late last year, and got to try a couple of new items on the menu.



The contemporary space itself is very Instagrammable with its bright background, clean white marble tables, and a backdrop of live plants sprouting from the walls. They do have several seats in the front (best lighting), and a bunch more tables in the back. It's a good place to dine for all sorts of occasions like casual lunch or dinner, date night, and catching up with friends.




The drinks menu includes espresso-based beverages (hot and iced), slow drip hand brew coffee, infused loose tea leaf, au lait, and several smoothies & Italian soda options. Since it was getting late, I didn't want coffee keeping me up as I had an early morning the next day. I ended up getting the Strawberry Smoothies ($6.25), which was a mountain high beverage.


From the salad options, I got the Smoked Duck Breast Salad ($11.95) - smoked duck breast, spring mix, orange slices, butter squash, cherry tomato, roasted cauliflower, and lettuce frisee. They have four salad dressing to choose from, which were yuzu, sesame, mustard, and house special dressing. The salad was a light starter, but there could have been a bit more slices of duck for the price.


Light Cafe pays very close attention to presentation, which I can truly appreciate. The Lobster Bisque ($9.25) was well presented on a wooden board - the soup was served in an individual sized saucepan alongside slices of garlic bread, and side salad. The lobster bisque was also available on its own for $6.25. The bisque has been tweaked to satiate the Asian palate, as it wasn't as salty or rich compared to French lobster bisque. but it remained fragrant.




My favorite menu item from Light Cafe has to be their  Lobster Roll ($15.50) - chopped lobster, crab meat & shrimp in a creamy dressing on two freshly baked soft roll. The overall composition of the lobster roll here was pretty good, as the meat to bun ratio was not disproportional. I really liked the buttery toasted bun. Overall, it was well-priced, tasty, and generously portioned.



JJ got the Montreal Smoked Beef Croissant ($12.75) - Montreal smoked beef, mozzarella cheese, beef tomato, lettuce, mayo, mustard and butter croissant as his main course. 


Lastly, Light Cafe has a wide selection of desserts to satisfy one's sweet tooth. The desserts here aren't as sugar-averse as the typical Western desserts. Looking through the menu, I saw that they recently introduced waffles to their desserts menu including seasonal fruits, strawberry, early grey, and charcoal black sesame waffle. We ended up getting the Strawberry Waffle ($9.95), which arrived with ice-cream, whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries, and topped off with strawberry sauce. This was quite a decadent dessert, and the waffle texture was nice and soft.


Crème Brûlée Three Ways ($9.75) - early grey, white chocolate, coffee





Overall, I had an enjoyable meal at Light Cafe, and do recommend the restaurant when one is looking for an affordable casual dining space. For the price point, it was a rather exemplary dining experience. I also liked that the management was open to criticism and feedback, and they do listen to what customers want/need.


Address: 23 Baldwin Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1L1

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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.

Light Cafe

by on Friday, January 13, 2017
Light Cafe Canada is a cafe originating from Taiwan offering gourmet café food and drinks with a contemporary twist. I have been here on...