Friday, 8 August 2014

Must Go Back to Bistro 238!

Bistro 238 
1413 King St 
Oshawa, ON 

It was my grandmother's birthday and I wanted to take her somewhere we both hadn't been. Bistro 238 had fabulous reviews and a tasty looking menu, so off we went. The décor was beautiful. Dark leather chairs that you just didn't want to get out of. The staff were friendly and seated us quickly. It's a small space, but it doesn't feel small. They make use of the space, but you don't feel crowded. It's located in a plaza, so the picture above should help you find it. 

We were hungry, so we quickly made our choices. My Nan went with the Veal Tenderloin Special. It was a huge, tender piece of veal with seasonal vegetables smothered in au jus. I was worried because she's not a big eater. I stand corrected. She ate the whole thing it was so good. All she could say was that it melted in her mouth. My Dad selected the Alberta Striploin. It was as big as the veal! He too said it was fantastic and didn't leave a morsel on his plate. Cooked and seasoned to order with veggies and the cheddar & leek croquette smothered in mushroom ragout. So savoury! I picked the Honey-Dijon Pork Tenderloin. Juicy, tender, sweet and savoury; I was very happy with my choice! The mashed sweet potatoes with the apple-brandy reduction was a winning combination. The presentation of all plates was perfect and the flavour combinations were perfect. Needless to say, we were stuffed.'s a birthday! Cake was in order. I chose the Lemon Mousse Cake, It was perfect after a meal like that. Light and airy with a delightful lemon flavour, but not too sweet. What Nan chose was AMAZING. I had to copy this description from their Facebook page to get it right, "New York style Cheesecake wrapped with Phylo pastry, baked in the oven and served with a warm berry compote." There aren't words to describe how amazing this was. I was lucky to get a bite. The warm cheesecake, the Phylo, the warm berry compote was absolutely to DIE FOR. I cannot encourage you enough to try this. I'm a chocolate person and I would give it up for this dessert.  

A fantastic venue to treat my grandmother on her birthday. She loved it and told everyone she knew about the food, and especially, the dessert. The service was professional and the prices were on par with the quality of the meal. 

I can't wait to go back; MAYBE I'll get a whole piece of that cheesecake to myself! 


Bistro 238 on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Taste of Toronto Verdict - Toronto Tastes Pretty Good

Taste of Toronto 2014 

The festival season is upon us and it's time for the first annual Taste of Toronto at Fort York. As someone from out of town, this was very easy to get to via TTC. Taking the bus from Union Station(which is a nightmare right now, can't wait until the construction is over!), brings you right outside the fort; a short walk and you are there!  

There was a Crown Dealer right outside the gates. Crowns being the official currency of the event were conveniently located on a card. Tap & Go = Awesome. All leftover Crowns were donated to Second Harvest! Charity Donations = Awesome. Not every vendor accepted crowns, which was a bit disappointing. No one wants to put all their cash on their card and then find out you can't buy what you wanted. 

The menu card for the event was nicely laid out, so you could pick what you wanted, flip to the map and go! The signage could've been better. It was hard to find the food stall you were looking for. You had to walk almost inside the stall to see if it was the right one; always awkward when there's a lineup! All of the vendors that did not accept crowns had great signage. Go figure! 

We first headed for the Amex Lounge for some shade and seating. There were signs that said Tweet for a Treat. I tweeted, but remained treatless. It was a hot one and there was complimentary snacks and WATER, so really the shade and water was a treat at that point! Thanks Amex! There, we scoured the menu card for our first victims and made our way over. 

Our first stop was The McEwan Group. One's Fried Chicken had my name all over it. It came with a buttermilk biscuit, chipotle BBQ sauce and some homemade slaw. The chicken LOOKS big, but it really wasn’t. It was a wing, so there wasn't much meat on it, but the batter was fabulous. The chipotle sauce had some nice tangy heat, the slaw was fresh and the biscuit was not bad. 

Our second stop was Barque Smokehouse. They brought the smoker with them! Epic! As you waited for your food, the kitchen staff would retrieve freshly smoked meats from the smoker. Doesn't get any better! My friend went with the Barque Rack O'Bama and she said it was worth every crown. The ribs were large, meaty and seasoned well. They also had 3 house sauces to try, from sweet to heat. She tried all of them. The candied, smoked bacon salad was the perfect pairing to these savoury ribs. The meal had a great balance of flavours for such a small plate!  

We can't leave without dessert! After consulting our handy menu card, we headed over to Richmond Station for a Station Ice Cream Sundae. No description on the menu, so we assumed we'd get some ice cream and chocolate sauce. We were so very wrong. This was THE most gourmet sundae I've ever had. It had creamy vanilla ice cream and toasted, slivered almonds smothered in an apricot glaze and topped with a slice of chocolate fudge. Did I mention the glaze had chunks of apricot in it? The sweet of the apricot paired with the salt of the almonds made for a party in my mouth. We were thoroughly impressed. 

The bands were keeping it lively and the crowd was loving it. Lots of seating everywhere so you could eat, watch and listen. We were in the Small Producer's Market, directly beside the stage, and you could still talk to the vendors without yelling. In addition to the food, the vendors brought a variety of wares, ice cream, teas, meats, beers, wines, cheeses, etcetc, etc. There was no shortage of samples either. 

If sitting around eating delicious food isn't your thing, Taste of Toronto didn't forget about you. There was The Tasting Room with sessions each day to learn more about pairing food with beverages hosted by experts in their industry. Pairing not your thing? There's historical cooking classes as well! They had Ice Cream and Salad Herbs Workshops for you history buffs! Craving more cooking? There's Metro Master Classes with hands-on sessions to help you make the best eats. Not a cook? There's more to taste at the Electrolux Taste theatre hosted by Toronto's best chefs. That's a lot packed into 3 days! 

There was no shortage of things to do and no shortage of things to eat. What a busy weekend! You won't want to miss it next year! 


Saturday, 26 July 2014

An OK Time at the Hunter's Horn

The Hunter's Horn 
965 Dundas St W 
Whitby, ON 

My dad and I were looking for a bite one evening when we wandered upon the Hunter's Horn. Upon entering, we were immediately greeted, seated and your drink order was taken. Sweet. The décor is old and is in desperate need of an update. The booths are carpet had that dark pub red. Blah. They do have a nice patio though. They also host open mic night and showcase local talent. Gotta love that! 

The menu was short and sweet and the prices were pretty good. My dad picked Bangers & Mash and I went with the Philly Cheese with Minestrone Soup. I think he gets Bangers & Mash at every pub he goes to. he said it was alright, but he didn't leave a drop of gravy on his plate. Just ok, you say? My Philly Cheesesteak sandwich was good, once I got past the gristley pieces and fat. Lots of cheese, yummy peppers and the fresh baguette was what saved it. The soup could've used some help; not a ton of flavour there. 

My father was his usual charming self to our very young and kinda clueless server. I don't think she'd ever had a customer like him. She was polite and attentive, but she's gotta adapt to big personalities and not just do the deer-in-headlights thing. 

It was a good experience, but I don't think I'd go back.The décor and menu both need a facelift. I wish I'd had their wings instead! 


The Hunter's Horn on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Takeout Tuesday - Mr. Jerk

Mr. Jerk  
1166 Morningside Ave  
Toronto, ON 
M1B 3A4 

It's time to spice up your life! Mr. Jerk offers amazing Jamaican food at amazing prices. It's located in a plaza near Sheppard and Morningside. If this is what's on your mind for lunch, go early. The line up gets very long, very quickly at lunch time! 

My co-workers have been there many times and urged me to go there to pick up lunch. When you hear your co-workers moaning about how good their lunch is, it MUST be good. 

As I've mentioned in other posts, I'm not a spicy gal...well, I wasn't until today. I'm hooked. I went with the Chicken Roti and my co-worker picked up the Curry Goat. Just thinking of the smell of these dishes is making my mouth water. Did I mention the portions are HUGE? For a reasonable price, you can have luncfor a few days.  

Upon entering, you are immediately hungry. The smell of the slow cooked food has you instantly scouring the menu for your meal. The ladies there are fantastic. They are working hard to get you in and out as soon as possible. They are not new to the rush. The cooks in the back have fresh food ready to replace the empty trays and keep the people fed! 

The Chicken Roti was to die for. There were large pieces of slow cooked, perfectly seasoned chicken with curry potatoes wrapped in a warm roti. The spice was perfect; spicy and flavourful and not so hot that a wuss, like me, couldn't enjoy it.(Yes, I was sweating, but I was feeling no pain!) I ate as much as I could, maybe 1/3 of it and it still lasted for 2 more meals. My boyfriend was ecstatic when I brought the leftovers home to share. My co-worker's Curry Goat was tender and juicy; smothered in the same seasonings. Wow. It was piled high on a serious bed of rice with curry potatoes. We could barely close the containers. 

Mr. Jerk is perfect for lunch or supper. A hearty meal that will keep you satisfied. 

I can't wait to go back! 

Mr. Jerk on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Toronto's Festival of Beer - You Know You Want It

Toronto's Festival of Beer 
July 25-27, 2014 
Bandshell Park, Exhibition Place 

It's almost that magical time of year! It's The Festival of Beer! A 20 year long celebration of those delicious brews. Since it's a big anniversary, you know it's going to be good. 

This year there will be over 300 brands from 60 different brewers on site. Now THAT is selection. Not to mention there will be wine AND ciders. If you can't find something you enjoy, you're crazy!  

Can't make a decision? They knew you might have some trouble. The people of the Beer Festival created trails throughout the weekend for your tasting pleasure. They've got trails for Ladies, Ciders, Gluten-Free and the EXTREME Beer Trail. Check one out! Try something new. You might find a new favourite! 

For those that are thirsty for knowledge(pun intended!), there are the Brewmaster Sessions. You can attend sessions to learn anything from creating your own beer to the different flavours and colours of beer. There are tastings, beer pouring competitions and you can meet the 3 Brewers! There is a lot more to this than just drinking beer. It's an ART! 

So, we've got decisions to make: What to drink...What to learn...and we're not done yet! Why bee in Bandshell Park if there was nothing on stage?! K-OS, The Trews, The Planet Smashers, Matthew Good AND Wide Mouth Mason are there to make this one hell of a party! 

Did you really think I'd forget the mention food? Really? The food is located in the Beerlicious Grilling Experience tent. How can you NOT want to go? The word 'Beerlicious' is enough to get me in line. Everything from sweet to savourytthere will be plenty of eats to pair with your favourite brew on a summer day. Not to mention the food vendors outside the tent! Toronto favourites, such as Smoke's Poutinerie and Rock Lobster are just a FEW of the food vendors exhibiting at this year's festival.  

This is a summer festival not to miss. We spent ALL winter indoors, get out there and enjoy! Check out their website for more details. There's beer, music and food. What more could you ask for? Get your tickets now!