Showing posts with label French. Show all posts
Showing posts with label French. Show all posts
U-Feast are a food focused community that offers all members "exclusive off-menu dining experiences". The company first launched in April of this year, and has since thrown a few dinner events. I'd say that they have been pretty successful in building a strong local food network, as the events has allowed people to enjoy a series of one-of-a-kind dining experiences, and interact with other food lovers. Earlier this month, I was invited to an U-Feast's event that was held at Beast in downtown Toronto. The dinner was hosted by Scott Vivian (owner and head chef of Beast), and he invited two other chefs to collaborate with him; Chef Ned Elliott of Foreign & Domestic from Austin, and Chef Mathew Gaudet of West Bridge from Boston.

 Each of U-Feast's events are designed to be unique, as the company aims to provide memorable dining experiences that are curated by Toronto’s chefs. The dinner that I attended was all about "Classic French Cuisine". Needless to say, I was highly anticipating the event, as I don't get to indulge in French cuisine as often as I'd like in Toronto.

Sab Stories - Wasabi-infused Dillon's vodka, raspberry syrup, lime, angostura, citric acid
 The night started off with the amuse bouche, which was prepared by the sous-chef of Beast, Jason Poon. The creamy Sea Urchin Mousse - leeks, champagne vinegar, and beurre blanc, was a good start to the dinner. On hand was the sommelière for the evening, Rebecca Meir-Liebman, who paired each course with their respective wines which were courtesy of Chateau des Charmes. She was responsible for the development of the wine lists for the evening, and did an excellent job. Rebecaa paired the amuse bouche with a glass of NV Brut Sparkling Wine, Méthode Traditionnelle.

NV Brut Sparkling Wine, Méthode Traditionnelle
 The next course was a traditional torchon that centered on the burrata, which was prepared by Mathew Gaudet. Overall, I thought that his Grilled Spicy Duck Heart Salad - cured foie gras, burrata, Little Neck clam vinaigrette, was wonderfully done. I really enjoyed the shaved foie gras torchon, and the Little Neck clam vinaigrette clearly demonstrated his Boston roots in his cooking. 

2013 "Old Vines' riesling
I was also impressed by the presentation of Scott Vivian's take on the classic Smoked Trout Tart - spinach, dill, caviar, hollandaise. He was inspired by a classic dish that was done by a famous French chef, Michel Roux. However, Scott Vivian did put his own spin on the dish by making his own tart shell, and filling it with trout that he smoked with applewood, and then made into a mousse. The smoked trout had a nice smoky flavor that wasn't too potent. Lastly, the tart was topped off with some fresh Swiss chard that was locally sourced, and then blanch. 

2013 Gamay Noir "Droit"
The next dish was the work of Colin Moise, who was the Chef de Cuisine at Beast. He was inspired by one of Pierre Gagnaire's recipes, and did a take on a pastry with sweetbreads, and came up with the Pamericelli of Sweetbreads & Foie Gras - wild mushrooms, Treviso. The flaky puff pastry was generously filled with foie gras, and wild mushrooms. Additionally, the cherry vinegar added a little bit of saltiness to the glaze, so the pairing of the sweet 2008 Late Harvest Riesling was perfect for many. 

The last savory dish before dessert was Ned Elliott's Omelet of Whelks & Truffles - tomato confit, crispy brains, crème. I was a slightly taken aback once I realized that I was chewing pieces of brains, but the overall omelet was delectable. Just a note that although the menu stated whelks, they didn't have it at their disposal in the kitchen. So, Ned Elliott used another delicacy, gooseneck barnacles, in the dish instead.


I have a major sweetooth, so I always look forward to the dessert after a meal. The dessert served at the dinner was by  Rachelle Cadwell, who also competed on the Canadian show, Donut Showdown. Her Chocolate Tart - hazelnut ice cream, raspberry, daquoise, coffee, was beautifully plated with three different kinds of chocolate. The chocolate was also encrusted with tiny bits of coffee on the inside. Lastly, the raspberry juice definitely did add a fruity tartness, which helped to balance the dark chocolate pieces. Overall, I had a wonderful, memorable, and well-balanced dinner at the Beast & Friends - An Evening of Refined French Cuisine (U-Feast) event.

Digestif // New Schmidt// Fernet Branca // Carpano Antica// Absinthe //sugar
The next U-Feast event will take place at Mata Petisco Bar on September 22, 2015. The event costs $70, and will consists of a five-course fiesta. Check the menu, or book the ticket(s) at

Address: 96 Tecumseth St, Toronto, ON M6J 2H1

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

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Since my last visit, they have changed their restaurant name to DT Bistro Patisserie, and not just simply known as Dessert Trends. The restaurant itself is a white house, and the closest intersection is probably Spadina Ave and Bathurst Street. This review is not from a recent dinner, so some of the items that I ordered may no longer be on their current menu.

My first visit to the restaurant was back in early 2012, but it was solely for their desserts. Those delicious looking desserts are brightly showcased in a display case at the front. I didn't know that they served food for both lunch and dinner until much later. The small restaurant is a low lit which provided a very quiet and romantic ambiance. A majority of the tables were filled that Saturday night, but people weren't talking very loudly. 

 To start, one lbs of mussels ($13) were ordered. I thought that the mussels were cooked perfectly, and I liked that it wasn't drenched in white wine sauce. The light taste and smell of the white wine was delectable. 

The portion for the sticky chicken wings ($8) was rather small, and the wings itself didn't contain a lot of meat. I thought that the glaze was overly too sweet, but the accompanied slices of pickles did help to counter the sweetness.

The price of the sirloin steak ($25.00) wasn't bad, and I thought that the portion was decent. The steak was topped off with onions and mushrooms which added more aroma to the dish. I did enjoy the steak that I got, but I wish that I could say the same about the fries. The fries were extremely soft, and wasn't to my liking.

 One of my favorite desserts in the world is crème brûlée. So it was only natural that I got the crème brûlée ($8.50) from DT Bistro Patisserie after my meal. They are known more for their desserts, and it did not disappoint.

DT Bistro on Urbanspoon

DT Bistro Patisserie

by on Friday, July 18, 2014
Since my last visit, they have changed their restaurant name to DT Bistro Patisserie, and not just simply known as Dessert Trends. The rest...
For the Canada's Day long weekend, my friends and I went to Montreal, QC, to hang out.
 On our last night there, we split into three different groups for dinner (the other two groups went for Greek and Sushi respectively), and six of us went to Au Pied de Cochon.

Au Pied de Cochon is a popular culinary establishment in Montreal. It has been a few years since I last dined at Au Pied de Cochon (the last time was with my family), so I was elated when my friend, Tim, made the reservation for 6 people. The six of us arrived for our 9:30 pm reservation on the Saturday night and the place was still booming with diners. The restaurant interior was narrow and long, and its decor had a rustic wooden feel to it. The overall atmosphere was quite lively and loud.

One of the great appeals of the restaurant is their extensive menu. The menu at Au Pied de Cochon offers concoction of dishes that entails the uses of animal parts that are not always found in other restaurants.

We were seated in the back and after a few minutes, our server arrived to take our orders. He went over the menu and told us about the restaurant's specials. We were given home-made bread and butter to snack on as we wait for our dinner. The bread was warm and very soft on the inside. I also enjoyed the creamy texture of the butter, which tasted great with the bread.

 For a starter, I chose the Foie Gras Cromesquis ($3.50). The dish arrived with two deep-fried cubes containing foie gras. As soon as you take a bite, the warm foie gras (fat liver) explodes with a burst of flavor in your mouth, resembling a rather cheesy flavor.

Brittany chose the Tomato Tartlet ($6.50) as an appetizer. This dish was basically sweet tomatoes and melted cheese on top of a pastry crust. For those who are health enthusiasts, many of the items on the menu are very fatty so you won't be able to find anything healthy. However, I believe that this dish was probably the healthiest out of the bunch even if it's slightly rich.

 Angelina chose the Duck Carpaccio ($13.00) as an appetizer.

Ray went for the Tarragon Bison Tongue ($7.50) as an appetizer.

Both Raymond and Brittany ordered the Duck in a Can ($43.00).  Pictured above is the unopened can that contains the "cooked duck".

Both of them were given a plate decorated with celeriac puree on top of a piece of bread; the duck in a can would then be poured on top of it.

The novelty of the dish is that the server would open the can containing the cooked duck, and then poured it right onto the plate leaving a neatly presented dish (which is pictured above). Be forewarned though, if you have a small appetite then this dish is probably not for you, as it is both fattening and filling. Both of my friends' plates contained heavy chunks of duck and foie gras swimming in a pool of rich oil.

I opted for the Bison Ribs ($28.00) as I have tried their foie gras before on my previous visit a few years back. The portion was extremely large, and I could only finish 3/4 of it before getting full. The bison meat was flavorful, meaty and slightly tender.

The fries (in duck fat) ($4.75) was pretty good as it was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Angelina ordered the Cured Foie Gras & Boudin Tart ($28.00) as the main course.

Tim ordered the Stuffed Pied de Cochon with Foie Gras ($45.00) as the main course. You can probably tell from the picture alone but the portion was huge.

Tim's friend ordered the special of the week which was a 1.5 lbs lobster roll toped with fois gras ($48.00).

Brittany and Ray ordered the Lemon Meringue Pie ($5.75).

Even though, I was very full from my meal, I could not resist getting dessert. Especially when I saw that they had Crème Brûlée ($7.00) on the menu. I wished that I didn't order it as it was a very
 underwhelming dessert. The reason being was that my caramelized top was 75% burnt, and the taste of it seeped through into the custard. Therefore, I was left with a strong burnt after-taste and smell. The dessert was disappointing but everything else was good.


Quality of Food: 3.9/5
Service: 4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 4/5
Price: $$$$ || Online Menu

Address: 536 Avenue Duluth Est, Montreal, QC H2L 1A9

Au Pied de Cochon

by on Thursday, August 15, 2013
For the Canada's Day long weekend, my friends and I went to Montreal, QC, to hang out.  On our last night there, we split into three d...