BEST EATS 2015

My backlog of posts built spanned several months and I’ve just finished blogging about 2015, which is why I’m only now compiling my Best Eats of last year. For me, 2015 was full of food and travel. I was lucky enough to go on an epic 5 week vacation through Asia and am still working on blog posts from the trip! I also hopped down to the states to visit family and attended a wedding in Vancouver.

Oh and I got married.

Between the traveling, wedding planning, wedding attending, I still managed to sink my teeth into some great food in Toronto. The theme of the year seemed to be cheap eats and celebration.

01. Antler Kitchen & Bar


Rating/Price: 5.0 $$$
Why? A menu full of game, unique flavours and cooking techniques
Must Order: Braised rabbit papperdelle, deer chop
Good For? Small groups, date night, cocktails, carnivores
 

02. Yunaghi


Rating/Price: 5.0 $$$$
Why? Stunning set menu, Japanese flavours with French influence
Must Order: Set menu
Good For? Special occasions, birthdays, celebrations, anniversaries, dates
 

03. Magic Noodle


Rating/Price: 4.5 $
Why? Consistent qualities, authentic flavours
Must Order: Red braised pork with hand-pulled noodles
Good For? Groups, quick meal, noodle lover, cheapeats
 

04. Bar Raval


Rating/Price: 5.0 $$$
Why? Super hip, amazing tapas, the place to be
Must Order: Canned seafood
Good For? Snacks, date night, late night, drinks, lunch
 

05. Jim Chai Kee Noodle


Rating/Price: 5.0 $
Why? Best shrimp wontons ever, under $10
Must Order: Rice noodles with Shrimp Wontons
Good For? Quick meals, small groups, cheapeats
 

06. Kwan Dim Sum


Rating/Price: 5.0 $$
Why? Elevating dim sum
Must Order: Rice roll with tofu and pea sprouts
Good For? Groups, midtown dinners, special occasions
 

07. One2 Snacks


Rating/Price: 4.5 $
Why? Authentic flavours, there's a line for a reason
Must Order: Laksa, Nasi Lemak
Good For? Take-out, solo meals, cheapeats
 

08. Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake


Rating/Price: 4.5 $
Why? Fell in love with a whole new type of dessert
Must Order: Classic cheesecake, angel hat cake
Good For? Take-out, people who like light desserts
 

09. The Good Son


Rating/Price: 5.0 $$$
Why? Brilliant drinks, comfort food
Must Order: Charcuterie, seasonal cocktails
Good For? Special occasions, big groups
 

Honorable Mentions:
Ramen Isshin – 4.5 $
Miku – 4.0 $$$$
Phoenix Restaurant – 4.5 $
Carmen’s Steakhouse – 4.0 $$$$
Woodlot – 4.0 $$$
Yu Garden – 4.0 $

Did I miss your favourite restaurant? Let me know in the comments.

Last Updated: 02/22/2015

FUDI GOURMET MEALS REVIEW

Website: http://fudi.ca
What is it: Frozen Meals
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fudi_canada

Disclaimer: Products reviewed below were provided complimentary by Ely Products. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine and not indicative of the opinions or positions held by Ely Products.

The Basics:
Made from ingredients sourced from Ontario farmers, Fudi offers a healthy alternative to frozen dinners. Using an all-natural, preservative-free sous-vide cooking process, Fudi maximizes flavour while maintaining the nutrition of their ingredients. Each entree comes with pouches of kale, pearl barley and a quarter chicken (de-boned) seasoned with one of the Fudi spice mixes. To prepare, the pouches are reheated in boiling water for 15-17 minutes. There are 5 Fudi entrees available and 6 spice mixes, which may be purchased online through their website or in store at Whole Foods and select Foodland locations.

Fudi is currently running a contest on their Facebook page, featuring photos of their product taken by bloggers, including my photo of their Santa Fe Chicken. Find out more about their products and vote for your favourite photo here!

Fudi Gourmet Meals Review

My Experience:
I have a soft spot for frozen dinners. Often I’ll grab one for lunch at work for the convenience and knowing the calorie count if I’m trying trim the waistline. While healthier options have emerged, frozen dinners generally still have low protein content and high grain. Preparing one of the Fudi entrees may be slightly more work than throwing it in the microwave, I found the ingredients healthy (often more so than my home cooked meals), and the portion size filling. While testing out Fudi, I ate way more kale, whole grains and lean white meat than I would have on my own.

Fudi Gourmet Meals Review
    • What I liked:
      Each entree was a balanced meal and only 400 calories
      The chicken in all 5 entree flavours were well seasoned with a mix of dark and white meat
      My favourite flavour was the Santa Fe while The Hubby favoured the Cacciatora
      The convenience, even though preparing the meals took 15-20 minutes, this was still quicker than making a similar dish from scratch
      Minimal clean up! All that was needed to prepare Fudi was a pot (and some tongs)
      I was surprised at how filling each entree was. With a ¼ cup of pearl barley and 1 cup of kale I often ended up passing scoops of barley from my plate to The Hubby’s
Fudi Gourmet Meals Review
  • What could use work:
    Distribution of kale leaves – in some entrees, my kale was only ends of leaves while others only had tips. This meant even re-heated for the same amount of time, some packages my kale became a boiled down clump
    When reheating the bags in boiling water, they kind of float, which sometimes meant uneven re-heating. I followed the preparation instructions to the tee and I’m not sure what could be done to fix this. Is a rolling boil needed for the entire reheating time?
    After reheating, the bags are super hot to handle, larger print of this warning would be helpful.
    The kale is unseasoned and needs to be seasoned after, maybe a small seasoning packet for the kale could be included?

TL;DR: Full of high quality and healthy ingredients, Fudi offers a quick, convenient and unique frozen meal solution that doesn’t involve the microwave.

Fudi Gourmet Meals Review
Fudi Gourmet Meals Review
Fudi Gourmet Meals Review

WINTERLICIOUS 2016

Winterlicious reservations opened this morning and by now, I think everyone’s familiar with the drill. If not, check out my previous guides/picks for Winterlicious 2015 and Summerlicious 2014. This year’s event runs from January 29th to February 11th. Lunch prices are $18, $23, $28 and dinner prices are $25, $35, $45, same as last year. So far, I have two dinners booked, a fancy date night with The Hubby and a weekday night out with girlfriends.

Where I’ll Be:

  1. Cafe Boulud – $45 Dinner / French / The “fancy” dinner
  2. Colette Grand Cafe – $45 Dinner / French / The “girls night” dinner

Recommendations:

  • Lunch – I’m looking for tantalizing menus that are similar or even more appealing relative to the dinner menu
    1. Thoroughbred Food and Drink (Past Review) – $23 Lunch / Canadian / I would order Kung Pao Cauliflower, Trout and Apple Crisp
    2. Canoe – $28 Lunch / Canadian / I would order Pickled Atlantic Mackerel, Braised Lamb Shoulder and Caramel Pumpkin Cake
    3. Bar Buca – $18 Lunch / Italian / I would order Testa and Nodini, Verdure Schiacciata and Biscotti Di Mosai and Cannoli Siciliani
Winterlicious 2016
  • Dinner – I’m looking for great atmosphere, interesting menu items and best value
    1. Auberge du Pommier (Past Review) – $45 Dinner / French / I would order Pate de Campagne, Bouef Bourguignon and Gâteaux aux Amandes
    2. Lee – $45 Dinner / Asian / I would order Spicy General Tao Popcorn Chicken, Slow Braised Beef and Dessert Trio
    3. Archeo – $25 Dinner / Italian / I would order Fall Caprese, Hot Smoked Ocean Trout and White Chocolate Ricotta Cheesecake
Winterlicious 2016
  • Good for Groups – I’m looking for a variety of choices, easy parking/access and a spacious dining area
    1. The Carbon Bar – $35 Dinner only / Canadian / I would order Hamachi Poke, Fried Chicken and Pork Ribs and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
    2. Cluny (Past Review) – $35 Dinner / French / For dinner I would order the Lentil Soup, Grilled Albacore Tuna and Milk Chocolate Mousse
    3. Quince (Past Review) – $23 Lunch / Mediterranean / I would order Baby Kale Salad, Potato Gnocchi and Milk Chocolate Pannacotta
Winterlicious 2016

Check out all of my past Licious event reviews for more ideas and recommendations.  

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Happy Holidays!!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas (and every other holiday celebration) and a Happy New Year!

For myself, 2015 marked many special events. This was the first year The Hubby and I celebrated as a married couple and we loved spending time with both of our families, feasting and arguing over boardgames. 2015 has been full of celebrations and amazing memories including 5 weddings, 9 countries and 1 baby. So far we’ve already booked a two week vacation for April (Hint: It’s in Europe!) and I can’t wait to see what else 2016 has in store!

Happy Holidays!!