Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sweet Jesus

Sweet Jesus opened up a few months ago and Toronto foodies lost their shit.  For some reason everyone in Toronto has a ‘thing’ for trendy ice cream spots, and so crowds that usually line up at Bang Bang Ice Cream made their way to the Entertainment District to check out the latest venture brought to you by the owners of La Carnita and Home of the Brave.

I went on a Wednesday evening and the line-up wasn't too long. Staff came outside to give us menus so that we could order before entering.  The menu had a selection of coffee/espresso beverages, churros and paletas (Mexican popsicles) but the main reason people were waiting was for the soft serve ice cream creations. There are six flavours of soft serve available that you can order 'undressed' or you can opt for one of the 12 'pimped out' cones created by the folks at Sweet Jesus.

The visually appealing cones that everyone and their grandmas have to snap before eating come in all sizes and texturally funky shapes.  Krusty the Cone looked gigantic thanks to the cotton candy pasted to the side of the cone but I knew it would be quite the challenge to eat so I went for the PBC which was peanut butter sauce, crumbled toasted salted peanuts and chocolate soft serve. My sister went for the Rocky Road Rage which was burnt marshmallow and chocolate twist soft serve, marshmallows, chocolate sauce and walnut cashew crumble. Our cones cost $6.80 each which I found to be kind of steep considering after mowing down on the toppings you were just left with a regular ice cream cone. I still thoroughly enjoyed mine but it's not something I would purchase on the regular.

The shop is very tiny so you can't really sit down and chill out here.  It’s more of a walk in and GTFO place so I advise you find a nice curb or bench to enjoy your cone on. You may also want to take one of the cups on the counter to dump your cone into as the toppings start to crumble off after the first bite.

Everyone needs some 'Sweet Jesus' in their life (some more than others) so make sure you stop by and try out a cone before the winter months arrive. Luckily La Carnita has opened up another location next door so you can warm up with some Mexican eats if ice cream in -15 weather isn't your thing.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Lamesa Filipino Kitchen

photo from Lamesa website

Modern Filipino cuisine is a rarity in Toronto but thanks to Lamesa Filipino Kitchen you can experience the bold flavours in Filipino inspired dishes served up by the new head chef Daniel Cancino. Daniel was born in Hong Kong but raised in the Philippines so he is very familiar with home cooked Filipino food. Daniel began working in the food industry at the age of 15 and after completing the culinary program at George Brown college he worked at many notable restaurants in Toronto such as Hudson Kitchen, Kanto, The Thompson Hotel, and Union.  He is now the head chef at Lamesa where his culinary upbringing and Toronto learned cooking techniques have given him the inspiration to produce a unique spin on classic Filipino dishes.

With the addition of head chef Daniel also comes a brand new fall/winter menu at Lamesa that features visually stunning dishes with sweet and sour flavours.  The menu includes a number of items that I had never tried before so I was extremely excited to preview the menu.

When I arrived at at Lamesa, I automatically felt a very cozy and intimate atmosphere.  The lights were dimmed, the space was long but narrow and some chill hip hop jams were playing. There was also art pieces throughout the restaurant which I later found out were from a number of Filipino artists in the community. After getting seated and being welcomed by the owner and chef Daniel, I was ready to indulge in quite an eclectic menu.

Here’s what I tried:

Boracay Breezy Cocktail – dark rum, coconut rum, banana liqueur, house made peach liqueur and macerated strawberry syrup

Tuna Kinilaw - albacore tuna, coconut calamansi vinaigrette, fresh chiles, coconut guacamole, shrimp chips

Beet Maalat Salad - salted egg, white anchovy, beets, Thai basil, watercress, wild rice

Corned Beef Lumpia - House corned brisket, house banana ketchup, house cheese, house kimchi, cabbage mostarda

Ensaladang Talong - roasted eggplant, eggplant caponata, creme fraiche, salted egg, puffed wild rice, sweet soy

Cauliflower Ginataan - Roasted and grilled cauliflower, green cauliflower puree, coconut cauliflower foam

Pork and Octopus Dinuguan - octopus, pork cheek, onion, apple, maple puto, pig blood

Beef Bulalo - beef short rib, bone marrow, cabbage, potato, salsa verde, beef and ginger broth

Ube Leche Flan - spanish style custard made with sweet purple yam, puffed wild rice, apple tapioca

The highlights for me were the Tuna Kinilaw, Corned Beef Lumpia, Beef Bulalo and Ube Leche Flan.  The tuna tasted extremely fresh and paired perfectly with the coconut guac and shrimp chips.  The corned beef lumpia's were like a spring roll on the outside but filled with corned beef goodness inside and served with homemade banana ketchup and kimchi. The bulalo broth was so tasty and aromatic and the beef literally fell right off of the bone. The ube leche flan was unreal and I don’t think I have ever tasted something quite like it.  Not only did it look lovely, but it tasted amazing.  Very light with a creamy texture and the perfect amount of sweetness.  Loved the addition of puffed wild rice and apple tapioca which made for all sorts of fun textures in my mouth. 

My least favourite was the Pork Octopus Dinuguan.  This dish was just weird to me.  Octopus paired with pork and pigs blood is just not appetizing and it wasn’t visually appealing either.  There was so much strong sour flavour as well, the whole thing unfortunately threw me off.

Overall I really enjoyed my experience at Lamesa and would come back here for drinks and starters.  The main dishes were good, but I really enjoyed the smaller plates.  It’s great to have a culinary hub for all things Filipino in Toronto so be sure to check out this spot if you want to experience a modern twist on your favourite Filipino dishes!

Twitter: @lamesaTO
Instagram: lamesato
FB: LamesaFilipinoKitchen

Lamesa Filipino Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Beer Experience 2015

Starting on Sept 18th, Toronto craft beer lovers can enjoy the many events and venues participating in this year's Toronto Beer Week. Toronto beer week runs from Sept 18th to Sept 26th with a series of beer events taking place at various venues each day. Whether it be the craft brew cruise, food and beer pairings, or a tap takeover, the week is a time to celebrate the ever-growing craft beer scene in our city and province.

The Beer Experience is the kick-off event for Toronto Beer week and will take place on Sept 17th at the Berkeley Church. The Beer experience features many Ontario breweries that feature a new brew or one-off brew specifically for this event.  So far the list of breweries in attendance is expanding but so far Sawdust City, Black Oak, Great Lakes, and Collective Arts are just a few to name. There will also be live music and delicious food to enjoy while sampling your way through the many different beers of the night.  

Drink Inc. is graciously giving away a pair of tickets to this event! All you have to do is enter below on rafflecopter.  The winner will be announced on Friday September 11th. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Purchase tickets to The Beer Experience:

To find out more about Toronto Beer Week and the events taking place check out the event calander:

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Toronto FOOD & WINE Festival 2015

Toronto has been kind to us this summer with a plethora of amazing food and drink events and although the summer is winding down, fall is an exciting season for foodie affairs.  The city brings you the first ever Toronto FOOD & WINE Festival taking place Sept 18th to the 20th at Evergreen Brick Works. The event will showcase some of the best food and culinary talent that Canada has to offer.

Some not-to-miss features include:
  • The Grand Tasting Pavilion presented by PC Black Label will allow guests to sip and sample exquisite food and drink from over 130 quality vendors from Ontario, Canada and around the world
  • Celebrity chefs such as Curtis Stone, Tyler Florence, Gail Simmons, Chuck Hughes, Roger Mooking, Mark McEwan, Antonio Park and many more will be taking the celebrity stage to provide guests with live cooking demos, talks and workshops over the three-day weekend
  • For the first time ever, Cochon 555 is bringing its signature event series to Canada inviting guests to indulge in over 1400 pounds of quality prepared pork dishes
  • Educational workshops held by some well-known masters such as Kevin Kent, Tetsuya Iizuka and Antonio Park will teach you their expertise in culinary customs such as knife skills and soba noodle making
  •  An exciting cooking competition titled Taste Canada Cooks the Books will take place with the winner being crowned Canada’s Best New Student Chef.  Talented new chefs from schools all across Canada will gather in the Miele Kitchen to prepare a dish from a well-known Canadian cookbook
photos provided by TFW 15

These are only SOME of the exciting highlights at the upcoming Toronto FOOD & Wine festival. Many more must-see features will be taking place and we would love to give you the chance to experience it all by winning a pair of tickets to this amazing foodie event.

One lucky winner will win a pair of tickets to the event on any day of their choice. The contest will be up and running until September 1st, 2015. Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
For more information about tickets to the event please visit the website at :

Stay up-to-date with all Toronto FOOD & WINE news on social media at:
Facebook: /Toronto FOOD & WINE
Twitter: @TOfoodandwine
Instagram: @tofoodandwine
Event hashtag: #TFW15

Friday, June 26, 2015

Savour Summer Menu at Aroma Espresso Bar

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of trying out some of the items featured on the new savour summer seasonal menu at Aroma Espresso Bar.

I have been a long-time Aroma customer and featured a blog post last year about the top 5 reasons why Aroma is my go-to spot for a quick and delicious meal.  The variety of tasty and healthy food items have always been one of the main factors that keeps me interested in eating at Aroma. I love their selection of sandwiches, soups, salads, drinks and pastries and their seasonal additions keep things exciting. For the winter months they introduced a delightful s'mores hot chocolate and now for the summer they've introduced a Mediterranean freekeh salad.

The freekeh salad was introduced to 28 Aroma locations in Toronto and the GTA earlier this June and is one of the few restaurants in Toronto that feature freekeh on their menu.  For those of you who aren't familiar with freekeh, it is an ancient middle eastern grain that is high in protein, calcium and wholegrain fibre.  This superfood is the base of the salad and provides a slight sweet and nutty taste that pairs lovely with all of the other fresh Mediterranean ingredients.  The salad itself is compiled of freekeh, black quinoa, sprouted brown rice, organic baby kale, tomato, cucumber, carrot, pickle, red onion, parsley,  za’atar seasoning and topped with labneh cheese (thick and creamy Mediterranean cheese made from strained yogurt) and house made lemon olive oil dressing.  The combination of fresh wholesome ingredients really makes this the perfect summer salad. I love that it’s refreshing and light yet leaves you feeling satisfied thanks to the nutritious fibrous grains.  The chopped pickles is oddly enough the winning ingredient for me.  The pickles give the salad a nice tang and crunch and really brings the salad to life.  

The savour summer menu also features the Signature Ice Aroma, Italian Cheese and Pesto Sandwich and Coconut Orange Cake.

The savour summer menu launched on June 9th so be sure to head over to your nearest Aroma Espresso Bar to try out one of the great featured items!