NextDoor Restaurant

NextDoor Restaurant opened their doors earlier this year on Main Street Unionville. They are a Canadian rustic restaurant with fusion flares. If you’ve heard of Smash Kitchen, they are the sister restaurant.

I’ve tried a variety of their unique fusion dishes, and I feel the chefs have put a lot of thought on creating each dish because they were all very tasty and flavourful! Their menu change regularly while keeping some as staples on the menu. I had the opportunity to taste the dinner menu a few months back which I have covered below.

DSC05961_FotorPickled Vegetable | Fresh herbs

DSC05980_FotorBBQ Ox Tongue | Shaved brussel sprout salad green onion, cashew crumble, red chili, frissee, dried cranberry, nam jim dressing, parsnip puree, taro chips, chili oil

DSC05989_FotorGrilled Octopus | Nduja, watercress, salad, pomme puree, chilis, crushed cashews

DSC06011_FotorRoasted Bone Marrow | Vietnamese beef tartare, cashew crumble, fried shallots, coriander, sourdough

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Mushroom Gyoza | Edamame, red cabbage, roasted oyster mushrooms, truffle soy

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Lamb Sirloin | Fried basil, Moroccan rub, whipped hummus, cilantro pistou, pomegranate gastrique, sundried tomato, arugula, roasted cauliflower

DSC06075_FotorSingaporean Chili Crab | Snow crab, chili sauce, cashews

DSC06087_FotorPork + Pancakes | Char siu glaze, ginger scallion sauce, green onion pancake, kewpie mayo

DSC06091_FotorDuck Liver Pate | Maple bourbon syrup, pickled cantaloupe, sour dough

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Fried Brussel Sprout
| Maple balsamic, double smoke bacon, parmesan aioli

DSC06093_FotorRice Cake | Chorizo ragout, scallions, cashews, soft tofu, cream

DSC06109_FotorTorched Sashimi Salmon | Maple soy, puffed wild rice, pickled cucumbers, togarashi aioli

DSC06020_FotorNextDoor Caesar | Vodka, clamato juice, worcestershire, tabasco, perpperoncici, charcuterie

Overall, I would highly recommend NextDoor Restaurant. The food is solid and I enjoyed the casual dining atmosphere and friendly service at NextDoor restaurant. They also welcome and respond to customer feedback to further improve the dining experience.

It is rare for me to say this but it is very hard to pick a favourite dish because they’re all my favourites! But if it comes down to choosing one, I would say the Singaporean Chili Crab because of its smokey flavour and sauciness. I could not resist ordering a second round. I definitely do want to make some time to visit NextDoor Restaurant again for their weekend brunch menu after hearing great things about it!

*Disclosure:  Although this was a complimentary meal, please note that all opinions expressed are my own and not those of the company.

139 Main Street
Unionville, ON
L3R 2G6

Monday – Friday: 11:00am – 3:00pm; 3:00pm – 12:00am
Saturday – Sunday: 10:00am – 3:00pm; 3:00pm – 12:00am

http://www.nextdoorrestaurant.com/

(905) 604-6983

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Chef & Somm

Have you ever thought about having a private chef and sommelier service at your next hosted event? Chef & Somm creates unique bespoke wine and food experiences for you and your guests. The duo, Chef Eyal Liebman and Sommelière Rebecca Meïr-Liebman provide professional and friendly service. I had the opportunity to enjoy this experience at the Beyond Taste event held at The Richmond. DSC06918_Fotor.jpgDSC06909_Fotor.jpgUpon arrival, we were given time to settle down and we were served four mysterious wine paired with hors d’oeuvres while free to walk around to enjoy the art work from local artists that were up for auction. Pictured below are just a couple of the hors d’oeuvres we were served. DSC06954_Fotor.jpg
Fingerling Potatoes Salmon Rillette and CaviarDSC06927_Fotor.jpgAsparagus Soup Sphere

We were encouraged to make use of the notebook and pencil provided to record our thoughts about the mysterious wine on its own and how the taste changes when paired with hors d’oeuvres.

After this, we all settled in our seats. Rebecca introduced and spoke about the mysterious wines and created an interactive evening, allowing guests to express their opinions. Throughout the evening, we were encouraged to explore all of our senses and Rebecca explained how our other senses such as smell, sight, sound, and touch, affects the taste of wine and food. Rebecca is very knowledgeable, and I learned a lot about the connection between wine and food throughout the 7-course dinner, each course with a wine pairing of its own. DSC06973_Fotor.jpgAppetizer: Caprese, presented as a cheese cake.
Wines with this dish: Pinot Gris Karlo Estates, Rose DaydreamersDSC06984_Fotor.jpgDSC06986_Fotor.jpgSecond: Salmon Poké with lavash
Wines with this dish: Vin Santo Santo Wines dessert wine , chardonnay back 10 Cellars.
This two part dish with raw salmon was very tasty!DSC06992_Fotor.jpgThird: Schnitzel, mashed potato, egg poached in it’s shell.
Wines with this dish: Santorini Assyertiko, Pinot Noir Back 10 Cellars.
The Schnitzel was another favourite dish!
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Main: Cassoulet – Confit de Canard and Toulouse Sausage, served with white beans with diced tomato, rosemary, and duck gravy
Wines with this dish: Pinot Noir back 10 Cellars, Pappaionnou Nemea
I thought this dish was overly salty, it would be better with less salt.
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Dessert: Ganache Montée two ways – whipped and not whipped on strawberry balsamic salad
Wine with this dish: Marynissen Cab Franc Icewine
Last but not least, dessert with ice wine. My favourite part of the evening and really delicious although it doesn’t look like much!DSC06997_Fotor.jpgChanging the lighting to challenge our senses.
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Chef Eyal Liebman and Sommelière Rebecca Meïr-Liebman were able to provide an engaging experience! Each experience can be personalized to the needs of your event, for more information, visit their website (link below).

By the end of the night, I’ve had 11 different wines! Wine is a topic I haven’t explored until this dinner event. I won’t give too much away, but if you love wine, enjoying good food and wine, or interested in learning more about the connection of wine, food, and our senses, consider Chef & Somm at your next event!

*Disclosure:  Although this was a complimentary meal, please note that all opinions expressed are my own and not those of the company.

Toronto, ON

http://chefsomm.ca

(647) 284-5530

Le Baratin

Le Baratin is a French bistro located just west of Toronto’s downtown. Everything is made in house and the ingredients are sourced locally. The atmosphere is nice and quite intimate. I was excited when I walked in on a Saturday evening for a date night to try out their dinner menu because I’ve heard many positive things about Le Baratin from my fellow food bloggers.
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For starters, we ordered the soup of the day which was a French Onion Soup ($6). The broth is rich in flavour and the crisps still had a crunch despite it being left for 10 minutes (while I was taking pictures). Mmmm I loved the melted cheese and the caramelized onions!
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Taking the server’s recommendation, we also ordered the Assiette de Charcuterie ($14) which has duck rillettes, paté, prosciutto and “Rosette” salami. For me, the duck rillette was the star of this dish, it was so good! I’ve ordered many charcuterie boards in the past but this one was unique.
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Pictured above is the Queue de Boeuf Parmentier ($19)  which is a shepherd’s pie containing oxtail that has been braised for 5 hours. This was our favourite dish of the night and definitely a winner! The layer of mashed potatoes was light and fluffy, while the oxtail underneath was hearty, rich, and tender.
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Confit de Canard ($20) is slow cooked duck leg in fat with roasted fingerling potatoes and mushrooms in a red wine sauce. This dish is on the saltier side but the meat was soft.
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For desserts, we shared the Creme Caramel ($6). This is a jelly-like custard in a light syrup that tasted like maple. It was a great way to end off the delicious meal.
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The head chef is Jean Regis who specializes in French culinary. Although I didn’t get the chance to meet Chef Jean Regis, I had the pleasure of meeting the owner Pascal Vermnhes who warmly welcomed us.

Everything on the menu at Le Baratin is very reasonably priced and I would recommend this place to anyone, especially for a date night! I can’t wait to come back for their weekend brunch.

*Disclosure:  Although this was a complimentary meal, please note that all opinions expressed are my own and not those of the company.

1600 Dundas St. West
Toronto, ON
M6K 1T8

Mon – Fri: 8am – 5pm (Breakfast & Lunch)
Tues – Sun: 5pm – 10pm (Dinner)
Sat – Sun: 9am – 5pm (Brunch)

(416) 534-8800


Le Baratin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CutiePie Cupcakes & Co.

CutiePie Cupcakes & Co. has been selling cupcakes since 2009 and has found a permanent home  at the heart of downtown Toronto on Spadina Ave that opened earlier this summer. I had the pleasure of meeting the owner Melanie Abdilla, who is really sweet and kind.DSC00470_Fotor_Fotor.jpg
One of the latest additions to their menu is The LattePie (12oz $6.00 / 160z $6.25) pictured below. This is the drink that drew my attention to this bakery shop and so did many others!
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A cup of pastel colours created in front of me – cotton candy infused latte, topped with fluffy whipping cream, sprinkles, and a choice of whoopee pie! It’s no wonder they call it “The Unicorn Latte” as the nickname. The next few pictures shows the making of this espresso drink!DSC00449_Fotor.jpg
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My favourite part of this drink is definitely the Whoopee Pie (I chose the Birthday Cake Brûlée flavour)! I found that the recipe for the cake part to be perfect and I loved the crunchy caramelized sugar piece with it. Absolutely delicious, and I was left craving for more.DSC00485 copy.jpg
And of course they sell a selection of cupcakes. Pictured above is the CutiePie (aka mini cupcake – $2.00) in Taro flavour. For those who don’t know me, I love desserts and I can tell you that their cupcake is very delicious. Their vanilla cake base reminds me of Prairie Girl and Bobbette and Belle.DSC00486_Fotor.jpg
There are some seatings inside the shop as well as an outdoor patio!

I have to say, the baked goods are on point and I want to come back to try the other goodies such as the new Unicorn Cone (pastel pink and blue swirl soft serve ice cream) and grab a dozen or two of the cupcakes and whoopee pies!

235 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON
M5T 2E2

Mon -Fri: 8:30am-9:00m
Sat: 11am-8:30pm
Sun: Closed

(416) 992-2882 

http://cutiepiecupcakes.ca

CutiePie Cupcakes & Co.  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Petit Potato

Petit Potato is a fairly new Japanese-Taiwanese restaurant located in North York at Finch Ave. E. and Leslie St . They are under the same management team as Congee Queen. What I like about Petit Potato is that their menu has a little something for everyone. Popcorn chicken? Herbal soups? Ramen? Sizzling hot plates? Bibimbap? Omurice? Desserts? Petit Potato’s got it all! The restaurant is spacious and has picnic table style seating, a number of small booths as well as larger booths.

I was invited to a media tasting event a couple weeks ago and would like to share my experience and honest opinion here.DSC01106_Fotor.jpgThe Special French Honey Golden Toast series is their signature dessert! Pictured above is the Mango Special Golden Toast ($14.99) and is filled with large cubes of toast, topped with vanilla ice cream, and looks like a huge mountain. I would recommend sharing this amongst 3-5 people since this is a really large dessert.
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Chicken Wings with Yuzu Sauce ($7.99). Mmmm the zesty sauce is delicious and gives these wings a perfect balance. This was my favourite appetizer!DSC01070_Fotor.jpg
Of course there is Popcorn Chicken ($7.75) here too as with most Taiwanese cafes. I thought the popcorn chicken is quite dry and so did my fellow food bloggers at my table. I preferred the Chicken Wings a lot more.DSC01057_Fotor.jpg
Shrimp and Crabmeat Salad ($8.99) comes with a side of sesame dressing which is very delicious and is my favourite kind of dressing. Sesame dressing in salads is quite common in Japan and I found that it goes very well with the ingredients in this salad. DSC01060_Fotor.jpgIce Honey Chrysanthemum & Rose Tea ($6.99) looks very pretty! I found this quite refreshing. I’m not a big fan of rose flavored anything but the rose taste wasn’t too overpowering. The Taro Milk Tea ($4.99) is pretty standard and you can’t go wrong with ordering this!DSC01050_Fotor.jpg
Dishes on the teppan menu is served on a sizzling hot plate! Tip: be sure to mix it all up before it starts burning. Smoked Duck Breast Special Teppan Cream Pasta ($11.75) was another dish I enjoyed. I really liked the smokiness. For any of the pasta teppan dishes, there is a choice of black pepper sauce, cream sauce, or tomato sauce.DSC01084_Fotor.jpg
Slice Beef Special Teppan Pepper Rice ($9.99) is another one from their teppan menu. Everything was quite tasty together when mixed.
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Eel Omurice with Teriyaki Sauce ($12.99). How perfect does this look? If you didn’t know, omurice is a popular Japanese dish, consisting of rice and omelette as the name suggests. The egg was fluffy and overall the dish was good.DSC01024_Fotor.jpg
Slice Pork Ramen ($10.95) was my favourite entree and many of the bloggers thought so as well! The pork bone soup tasted creamy and full of flavour. Noodles are chewy and cooked perfectly. Mmmm…DSC01118_Fotor2.jpg
Mango Pancake ($7.99) has a delicious mango filling in the core, surrounded by whipped cream, and wrapped in a thin layer of pancake. They look like little fluffy pillows! I really enjoyed the mango filling and the outer layer pancake but in my opinion, there was too much whipped cream in between. I wish there was more of the mango filling!
DSC01099_Fotor.jpgOreo Special Golden Toast ($12.99) is the newest addition to the Special French Honey Golden Toast Series. Look at that beauty!! If you love oreos and sweets, this is definitely for you.
DSC01116_Fotor_Fotor.jpgMixed Fruit Sago ($5.99) really was a great dessert to end the meal. I love fruits and I am all for refreshing desserts such as this one!

Although I’ve only mentioned a few of the desserts in this post, there is in fact an extensive dessert section on Petit Potato’s menu – stewed pudding, ice cream, waffles, sago mix, sweet dumplings, snowflake (flavoured shaved ice with milk), etc. You name it! I’m excited to come back here just for a dessert and drinks kind of night.DSC01119_Fotor.jpg
I would like to thank Patrick (@feedmyphone on Instagram) for inviting me to this delicious 10 course media tasting event! I was so happy to be able to try so many tasty dishes that evening.

I also enjoyed the cleanliness and modern atmosphere here and I was pleasantly surprised at the wide variety on the menu. A lot of Taiwanese and Japanese restaurants specialize in certain types of dishes and it is hard to accommodate everyone when you’re with a group of friends or family. I would recommend this place since there is something that will satisfy everyone’s taste. Petit Potato is like a restaurant, cafe, dessert shop, bubble tea shop, all in one 🙂

*Disclosure:  Although this was a complimentary meal, please note that all opinions expressed are my own and not those of the company.

10 Ravel Road #1-2
North York, ON
M2H 1S8

Mon-Thurs: 11:30am – 1:00am
Fri: 11:30am – 2:00am
Sat: 11:00am – 2:00am
Sun: 11:00am – 1:00am

(416) 756-3311

http://petitpotato.com

Petit Potato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Maha’s Fine Egyptian Cuisine

Maha’s Fine Egyptian Cuisine is an amazing spot for Egyptian brunch located east of the downtown core. DSC07719_Fotor_Fotor.jpg
We were lucky to be seated after a half hour wait compared to the usual wait time of over an hour on the weekends.
DSC07691_Fotor.jpgI liked how decorated the place is and the windows allow plenty of natural lighting into this cozy restaurant. Since the space is pretty small, we were asked to share a table with another party of two.
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Maha’s Mind Blowing Chicken ($10) is absolutely delicious. We really were mind blown with everything between the buns! The chicken is really juicy and tasted so good tossed with Maha’s sacred marinade. Yummm! The egg buns were soft, slightly sweet and yellow on the inside (sort of reminds of some of the buns found in Asian bakeries). I highly recommend ordering this dish.
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DSC07713_Fotor.jpgCairo Classic
($12) is a traditional breakfast that consist of flava beans, tomatos, onion, egg, falafel, and creamy homemade tomato feta. The charred balady bread it came with is really good. There is also a side of salad. I always try to order at least one traditional dish when I go to ethnic restaurants! This dish doesn’t look as appealing at first glance but I was pleasantly surprised with the mixture of flavours when I had my first bite. J really enjoyed this dish, even more than the Maha’s Mind Blowing Chicken sandwich.DSC07709_Fotor.jpg
It was our first time at an Egyptian restaurant, and definitely will not be the last. If you’ve never been to one, and feeling for something different from the usual eggs benny and pancakes, I suggest checking out Maha’s Fine Egyptian Cuisine!
DSC07718_Fotor_Fotor.jpgWe thought we made a great choice in choosing a brunch spot that weekend since we both really enjoyed the food. Mmmm. The only thing we regretted was not getting the Turkish coffee, which we will come back for!

226 Greenwood Avenue
Toronto, ON M4L 2R2

Mon – Tue: 8am – 7pm
CLOSED WEDNESDAY
Thurs – Fri: 8am – 7pm
Sat – Sun: 8am – 5pm

(416)462-2703

http://mahasbrunch.com

Maha's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Teara Lab

Teara Lab with their opening on Friday May 27th, will be Toronto’s first and only Japanese fusion sandwich shop!  Teara Lab is a fast casual restaurant located in the heart of downtown at College Street and Spadina Avenue.
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I think Teara Lab has a great concept. Everyone who works there wears a white lab coat which ties in with the restaurant’s name. Teara Lab lives up to what the Japanese is known for: high quality. I am so grateful to be invited to their pre-launch event and test out their menu.
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Teara Lab offers dishes created by the head chef of KaKa All You can Eat, which is my favourite sushi AYCE place! Below is a picture of each of the six sandwiches available on their menu. I was able to try four of these!
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Soy Glazed Pork Belly Sandwich ($11.99). Hands down, this was my favourite sandwich of the evening and I highly recommend it. Full of flavour and the pork belly was very tender and juicy.
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Roast Chicken Burger ($9.99).
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Curry Japanese Pork Sandwich ($9.99).
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I would have to say that Teppanyaki Teriyaki Chicken Burger ($10.99) was very tasty as well! The chicken was juicy and its everything you would expect in a chicken burger plus the wasabi mayo.
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Pictured above is the Red Wine Brais Beef Sandwich ($13.99). The portion is pretty big and the crunchy bits on top gives it some texture. This sandwich wasn’t as memorable for me as the other sandwiches I tried.
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Tonkatsu Pork Sandwich ($9.99) is simple but delicious. The thickness of the cutlet is pretty decent too! If you’re looking for a smaller sandwich that is easy (not as messy) to eat, this is a great choice.

There are also side dishes such as Fries, Yam Fries, Poutine, and Asiaslaw. Drinks on the menu include a variety of fruit tea, slush, creama, and milk tea. With any sandwich, you can make it a combo (fries and drink) for only $2.
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I really enjoyed the Yam Fries ($3.99) pictured above. It is well seasoned and did fill me up really quickly.
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Hokkaido Milk Tea (M $4.50, L $5.00), also comes in hot version. This was the first drink I ordered! I liked that this was not that sweet. I usually order my drinks half sweet or no sweet bubble tea shops and Starbucks, but this was perfect as is. DSC07834_Fotor.jpg
Above are some of the other drinks. From left to right: Taro Milk Tea, Lemon Dada, and Matcha Red Bean Slush.  The drinks at Teara Lab reminds me of ones you would find at bubble tea shops (except they don’t offer tapioca, instead they have aloe vera, red bean, pudding and lychee jelly available for $0.50).The second drink I ordered was the Passion Fruit Green Tea (M $4.20, L $4.70). I loved this drink since it wasn’t that sweet either and passion fruit is just one of my favourite flavours! Apologies, I didn’t get a picture of this but it was very refreshing and I highly recommend it as well. DSC07878_Fotor.jpg
This was my first tasting event I’ve been to by Sweven Media, and I really enjoyed myself and meeting other food bloggers.Overall, I think the unique sandwiches and drinks that they offer are worth the visit! The ingredients they use are definitely fresh. Since Teara Lab is located conveniently across from the University of Toronto St. George Campus, I would imagine this to be a popular spot for students.

*Disclosure:  Although this was a complimentary meal, please note that all opinions expressed are my own and not those of the company.

181 College Street
Toronto, ON

M5T 1P7