Friday, September 23, 2011

Grazie Vaughan

I haven't been to Grazie in maybe, 5-7 years? I'm, of course, talking about the original Grazie location at Yonge & Eglinton. I remember that location was always so packed and crowded. I also remember I needed to yell just so that the person sitting across from me could hear me.  I guess I haven't been back because I hardly hang out in that neighbourhood anymore (I used to work close by) and it's also not the easiest to find street parking there (I know there's a Green P beside it but still). Basically, visiting Grazie again was never a priority for me especially now that I work in downtown.


I was happy when I found out Grazie opened another location at Vaughan Mills awhile back. Although I wanted to go try it out I never got around to it. Long story short, I finally went to Grazie Vaughan on Tuesday because my friend Dan (@deguzzi) organized a dinner there.


Dan really likes Grazie Vaughan (he is currently the mayor on foursquare) and I think it's safe to say that all 9 of us who were there on Tuesday really liked the food too.


The long table there was reserved for us.


I was overwhelmed by their huge menu. So many choices...


Zenato Ripassa - Full bodied dry with rich & velvety fruit flavour ($55)

Several people had wine while I had my extra spicy Caesar.


A basket full of bread for our 10 hungry stomachs.


Chili oil for dipping.


As usual, I can only comment on what I had and show you pictures of what other people had.

APPETIZER

Bruschetta Pizza - Olive oil, fresh garlic, mozzarella, parmigiano cheese, fresh tomato, garlic & fine herbs ($10.75)

We all shared this appetizer. I've never bruschetta pizza before but I thought this tasted just okay; I would've liked a bit more herbs and cheese. I also prefer the traditional bruschetta on open slices of grilled bread because the toppings-to-bread ratio is better this toppings-to-pizza ratio (i.e. too much pizza for the amount of toppings).


Baked Goat Cheese Salad - Goat cheese, roasted peppers & grilled eggplant wrapped in phyllo pastry served with an arugula salad in a sherry vinaigrette ($12)

Graham (@beachrockinc) had this salad all by himself. He really liked it and polished it off within within minutes. The presentation was beautiful; each slice of tomato was cut exactly the same and lined up perfectly.




Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yelp Eats! Week [VLOG]

Nicki from View The Vibe (@ViewTheVibe) and I were invited to Yelp Eat's launch party on Tuesday at Boehmer. Yelp Eats! is a week long event from September 19-25, where every $30 you spend at a participating restaurant the restaurant will in turn donate $10 (with a maxiumum of $60 per table) to the Daily Bread Food Bank (@DailyBreadTO)



Reserve now at one of these 5 participating restaurants as this is a perfect way for foodies to enjoy our city's best restaurants while supporting an amazing local hunger relief organization.


Boehmer: www.boehmer.ca
Nota Bene: www.notabenerestaurant.com
The Corner House: www.cornerhouse.sites.toronto.com
Czehoski: www.czehoski.com
Volos Estiatoria: www.volos.ca


Note: Reservations are not required but highly recommended. 


As for the launch party at Boehmer, I honestly can't say much about the food as Nicki and I arrived late =( However,  what I can say is that I love the decor at BoehmerThe two enormous chandeliers, the never-ending bar, the paintings and artworks on the walls and the huge open space was all very inviting. I feel very modern and cool just being there lol~


Here is Nicki's Eye on the Vibe blog, a short and sweet video where we got to speak with the Community Manager at Yelp.ca, Vivek Srivastrava (@yelptoronto), and Boehmer's Manager, Derrick Grand Pri.





Omakase Box Giveaway [VIDEO]

Omakase box and Food Junkie Chronicles have joined forces for this awesome giveaway!



For those not in the know, the Omakase box ninjas, with their foam swords and candy wrappers stars, hand picks a selection of 5-6 unique snacks each month and it is their life's mission to deliver them right to your door!


Omakase box has been featured in Toronto Star and their treats are in such high demand that people are placed on a waiting list. The good news is that if you follow @omakase_ninja on Twitter and LIKE their Facebook page they will from time to time, give out secret codes so that their loyal followers can skip the the waiting list =D




I'm giving away ONE September Omakase box to the lucky winner of my contest. Watch the video to find out exactly what yummy treats are inside ^_^


HOW TO ENTER

1) You must be following both me (@foodieyu) and Omakase box (@omakase_ninja) on Twitter

AND

2) Tweet the following sentence, exactly as shown: 

"I want to win a FREE Omakase box from @omakase_ninja http://bit.ly/nGNAEO #OBOX10
(You can only tweet this once)

THIS EARNS YOU ONE ENTRY BALLOT

3) To increase your chances of winning, include the hashtag "OBOX10" in any of your snacks or treats-related tweets (i.e. "I love snacking on chips #OBOX10" or "Craving ice cream right now #OBOX10"). You can also retweet other people's tweets that are snacks or treats-related (make sure the "OBOX10" hashtag is included). Each tweet / retweet earns you ONE extra ballot and you can tweet / retweet as many times as you wish. Again, you MUST have completed steps 1) & 2) for any of your tweets or retweets to count.


***CANADA ONLY***

CONTEST DURATION

Contest starts on Wednesday, September 21st and ends on Wednesday, September 28th at 12PM.

I will announce the lucky winner on Monday, October 3rd.

GOOD LUCK! ^_^

Please remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel to stay up to date with all my contests!











Monday, September 19, 2011

The Bellevue

My friend Cindy and I went to The Bellevue one Sunday for brunch. The Bellevue is located in Kensington Market at the corner of Bellevue and Nassau. During the week, we were brainstorming different brunch places; we wanted to go somewhere that 1) we both haven't been to, 2) was known for good brunches and 3) a place that did not have massive lineups. 


I remember when Cindy suggested The Bellevue to me she asked me if I was okay with it as it is not your typical brunch place. I didn't understand what she meant so she sent me a menu that she found online. After taking a look I was very intrigued because some stuff on their brunch menu was very...different. I told Cindy I was up for trying this place out.


When we arrived at The Bellevue the tables outside were already full. We reluctantly sat inside at a long table that faces out (we were sitting where the girl with the short blonde hair was in the picture above). Behind me was the bar and the specials were listed out on the small chalkboard. There was more seating in the room beside ours but in general The Bellevue is still very small but cute place.




After we ordered, we noticed an empty table outside so we quickly went for it =)

The Unusual - 2 eggs sunny side up, sanagan's summer sausage, kimchi, daily cheese, oven roasted beets, fruit. Woodlot multigrain ($12). This is what Cindy said about it: 

"It was certainly Unusual, kinda reminded of  me what I do when I'm at home by myself, just open up the fridge and eat whatever is in there lol.  I liked it though and would get it again.  It's a strange combination of food but it all went together oddly well.  I really liked the kimchi…dunno why, but kimchi makes everything tastier.  All of the things on the plate was of decent quality, no complaints.  It was fun and weird, I liked it." 

She also said that the sausages were on the leaner side.




Friday, September 16, 2011

Brassaii

A few months ago, my friend and I went to Brassaii (@brassaii) for dinner to celebrate my birthday. I've never been to Brassaii before and to tell you the truth I never knew exactly where it was, as in, I knew it was on King West but I couldn't for the life of me remember seeing their sign, ever. Finally found out why when we went; Brassaii is tucked really far into an alley way - we actually walked into a pub beside Brassaii, thinking it was well, Brassaii.


I always hear about Brassaii's patio and sure enough, it was the first thing I noticed, you can't miss it. With all that space, I understand why they can afford to have a nice patio out front. The area is huge!




Although I wanted to sit on the patio it was getting chilly so we went inside. I guess that's one bad thing about patios being in an alley; there's only so many hours in a day when the sun actually shines through. Another bad thing is just the fact that I always feel cold =( 


Brassaii is very spacious with an open kitchen and three long rows of seating. I liked how the windows on the other side lets in all the sunlight. There was a lot of different textures in the room: brick walls, concrete pillars, wooden floors, fabric drapes, exposed metal ducts, leather seats, shiny smooth tables, etc. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing...just an observation.


The view from my friend's seat.




Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Killer King from Mickey's Pizza [VLOG]

I'm a huge fan of the stuffed pizzas from Mickey's Pizza. Their Stuffed Spinach & Cheese Pizzas are so friggin' awesome! And as as for their Stuffed Steak & Cheese Pizza? Well let's just say I drove through a snowstorm just to get it.

So imagine my excitement when I heard that Mickey's had a new Chicago style stuffed pizza called the "Killer King"!I knew I had to go try it and see what it was all about. Turns out Mickey's "Killer King" pizza was even more epic than their previous stuffed pizzas; it was thicker, loaded up with even more cheese and more toppings! Can you imagine? Watch the video below as I make my own Killer King pizza at Mickey's ^_^


Thanks for watching! Please click below and subscribe to my YouTube channel ^_*











Monday, September 12, 2011

Briscola Trattoria [VLOG]

Ahhhh another dinner date with Nicki from View the Vibe (@ViewTheVibe) and Andrew from Dobbernationloves (@dobbernation) - always a fun time with these two, guaranteed! The last time we met up was at La Société (@La_Societe) where we went a bit appetizer crazy. This time at Briscola Trattoria...hm...let's just say we went "all-around" crazy =D I want to begin by saying just how floored I was with our dinner that night at Briscola, so much so that I hope more people will know about Briscola (@BriscolaToronto) after my post because it is truly fantastic; I haven't been this happy and impressed with a meal in a long time - not just with a few dishes, but with all dishes, the whole meal, the entire dinner experience was phenomenal~


To truly understand our gastronomic adventure that night and how we endulged in an multi-course dinner at Briscola, you need to watch Nicki's Eye on The Vibe Blog


Read on to see what I thought of each dish ^_*

I have never heard of Briscola before our dinner. It is located on College, near Bathurst in the neighbourhood of Little Italy.



Even though I take a lot of pictures every time I am at a restaurant, I usually just pick a few to post. But at Briscola, it was really hard for me to just pick a few because the decor there is just so beautiful and exquisite that I want to post them all. So I figured the only way was to put them in a collage (to minimize the scrolling for you guys).

Like a lot of the restaurants in Little Italy, Briscola's space is really long and narrow. There are basically three sections in the restaurant. When you walk in, you will immediately see the first section with the cool car on the wall. This section has the bar on the left and seating on the right (red chairs, black wall, and chandeliers). The middle section has the white brick walls with black cushioned chairs on the right and white tiled walls.





Friday, September 9, 2011

The Table17 Giveaway Contest Winner Is...

@JsnJWlsn


Congratulations! =D Please email me at foodjunkiechronicles@gmail.com with your mailing address. I will then forward your info to Table17 (they will be mailing you the gift certificate). Congrats again and I hope you will enjoy your gift card at Table17!





I also want to say a big THANKS to the 107 contestants who participated in the giveaway! There were a total of 602 legit tweets in the contest~

To ensure my followers that I am 100% honest when I say the winner is picked RANDOMLY, I will always show you guys how I went about tracking each contest. Even though my contests in the future may not be exactly the same as this one, be rest assured that I will go through the same process with due diligence ^_^


Here's a snapshot of the Excel spreadsheet where I tracked the #T17GC stream from day one of the contest. The tracking was done using chronological order, as in, #1 was the first ballot entered right after the contest went live. An entry ballot was given for each contestant that tweeted "I want to win a $50 gift certificate to @table17! http://bit.ly/pbjaYe #T17GC". Each subsequent tweet or retweet by that contestant (with the #T17GC hashtag) was given an additional ballot. Once all the ballots were accounted for in my spreadsheet, I went to check if the contestants actually followed me on Twitter (I also sent the list of contestants to Table17).




After weeding out the people that did not follow all the contest rules, I was left with 602 tweets in the #T17GC stream. I went to "True Random Number Generator" from random.org to randomly pick a winner for me from 1 to 602.




Well, that was fun =) More fun to come as I will be doing another giveaway verrrry verrrry soon so stay tuned!







Friday, September 2, 2011

Off to the Windy City!

I swear, I don't travel much. It may seem that way because I just came back from Las Vegas only a month ago (argh which reminds me I haven't blogged about the Las Vegas restaurants yet *sigh* backlog is me). But really, I usually don't go on vacation that often. Road trips maybe, but not in a plane kinda thing.


Anyhoo, I will be in Chicago with my boyfriend for the long weekend! Leaving Friday morning and coming back Tuesday night. Actually, by the time you read this post I may be walking around Chicago already, or maybe still on the plane, or maybe still waiting to board at YYZ? Not sure.

I Chicago! I've been there many times for work but never for leisure so I'm still very excited. My boyfriend has not been before (or maybe he did but when he was really young) so I'm eager to show him the Chicago, a city which I think is a hybrid of Toronto and New York; not as crowded as New York and with cleaner streets, but definitely a more beautiful version of Toronto. I can't get enough of all the incredible architecture and stunning lakeshore in Chicago, as well as the museums / aquarium / art institute / planetarium, The Magnificent Mile for shopping, and last but not least, the FOOD!

Not sure if you have seen my extreme planning in action before but many of you may know that I'm a big planner who loves using Microsoft Excel and Google Maps. Don't believe me? Check out my Montreal Bound post and my Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives Road Trip post (or simply just scroll down). 

So here goes for Chicago! First we have the Excel spreadsheet (I did not purposely use colours that match my blog but I really do love pink and purple ^_^). Blues are shopping / sight seeing, pinks are CityPASS attractions, and purples are restaurants.


Google Map. Planning for Chicago was a lot harder than the Montreal road trip and my Diners, Drive-ins and Dives road trip combined because we had a car for those, whereas for Chicago, we are relying purely on public transit, which means I had to make sure that the restaurants are on the way and what made the most sense.


This of course also means that I had to forego many restaurants listed in Eater's 38 Essential Chicago Restaurants and restaurants listed in The Eater Chicago Heat Map. Ah well, life goes on.

Nevertheless, here is a list of places that I'm planning to hit up in Chicago. It would be nice if we end up going to all of them but things change, circumstances change, so we may not end up going to ALL but I am going to keep my fingers crossed.

1. XOCO - A quick-service cafe from Rick Bayless that serves Mexican street food and snacks like churros and empanadas, Mexican hot chocolate (ground from Mexican cacao beans right in our front window), warm, crusty tortas (Mexican submarine sandwiches), and made-to-order caldos (meal-in-a-bowl soups) that feature everything from roasted vegetables to seafood to pork belly.

Photo credit: Mind Body Green

2. Lou Malnati's - Chicago-style deep dish pizza is a must! There are several places well known for deep dish pizza in Chicago but I picked Lou Malnati's.

Photo credit : Passionate Eater




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