January 2012 archive

We like to eat…

If you are looking for consistently delicious and unique food, The Thompson Diner must be your first stop. Don’t let the menu consisting of some comfort food favourites such as peanut butter and jelly and mac and cheese fool you into thinking it is some old school casual diner. The ambiance is quite elegant and trendy, which seems fitting as it is inside of the swanky Thompson Hotel. Although the name recently changed from The Counter to The Thompson Diner, there was definitely no sacrifice in flavour or quality.

Jonty and I have visited The Thompson Diner multiple times in the last year, but I will focus on our most recent trip last weekend, along with one specific item from months ago.

The Thompson Diner (when we had this it was The Counter) serves something called the Brunch Burger. This is the same idea as the burger we ate at The Ex, except this one is not a Krispy Kreme. We indulged in a burger topped with an egg, and cheese all in between a powdered donut (it comes with bacon but we omitted it due to preference). When we first spotted this on the menu months ago before hearing about it at The Ex we knew we had to tackle it. We shared this “heart attack on a plate” which made it a little more tolerable and less likely to kill us on the spot. As mentioned before, I enjoyed the donut burger combination in a way that is kind of difficult to explain.

Now I will get to our most recent trip to The Thompson Diner. As usual, the two of us were pretty hungry and ready to eat basically anything. Our go-to appetizer is the fried calamari with a basil parmesan dipping sauce for me and a chipotle mayo for Jonty.

Next came the challenging part; choosing a main course. As mentioned before, we enjoy a smorgasbord of food, which usually leads us to sharing a couple dishes. I rarely eat hot dogs but this evening for some reason I was in the mood. These ones in particular are rather large but had some appealing toppings and was great for sharing. The one we chose was topped with mushrooms and Swiss cheese.

Our next choice was something simple, yet never fails to impress. I’m talking about everyone’s childhood favourite-peanut butter and jelly! I was pleasantly surprised to see that the creamy, smooth peanut butter was paired with raspberry jelly which I prefer way more than the traditional grape jelly. Our side dishes were french fries and onion rings. The fries are nothing to get too excited about, but the onion rings are another story. They are over-sized with an incredibly crunchy coating.

Whether you are in the mood for something heavy and rich, or something light and healthy, The Thompson Diner is a trendy spot that I definitely recommend everyone put on their “to do” list.

Uncle Betty's

I like to believe that Sundays were created for one reason and one reason only-brunch! Nothing beats a relaxing Sunday surrounded by people you love and a plethora of tasty eats. Brunch is also probably the best meal around. It is socially acceptable to eat pretty much anything, whether it be eggs, steak, or even dessert!

I have been begging Jonty to go with me to this little restaurant called Uncle Betty’s Diner. Located at 2590 Yonge St. just North of Eglinton, this rather new spot immediately caught my eye. I have a huge place in my heart for diners, especially one with such a creative name that gets you thinking, where in the world did this name come from?! In short, a husband and wife living in New York decided to move back to their hometown of Toronto. They missed the New York diners and Dreesen donuts, so they figured they would bring a little piece of New York back with them. Uncle is what everyone called the wife’s mother because she was a very take-charge homemaker.

Now that we got that out of the way, lets get to the food! The menu is incredibly unique, and to tell you the truth, it excites me! They concoct alcoholic floats, donut ice cream sandwiches, amazingly fluffy pancakes, hot dogs and tons more! They are open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner fyi.

Since I knew what I was having for dessert, I took it easy on the main course. I stuck to over-easy eggs, toast, home fries and fresh fruit.

 

Jonty is a huge fan of hot dogs so seeing that they top theirs with egg and cheese really put Jonty over the edge. He ordered his with fries which were sooo deliciously crispy and the perfect thickness. The hot dog was definitely a unique creation, which did not fail to impress Jonty’s taste buds.

Finally the moment I was anxiously anticipating for quite some time had arrived. My donut ice cream sandwich! I chose cookies and cream ice cream in between a powdered donut, topped with caramel sauce and skor pieces. I honestly don’t even know how to describe how amazing it was. You better just try it for yourself!

A Toast to the New Year

The new year has sprung upon us which means many new edible opportunities. Jonty and I decided to start the year off by inviting some of my closest friends over for a dinner party. We compiled a menu, bought the supplies, and began cooking up a storm.

As for appetizers, we decided on homemade spring rolls and garlic parmesan pita. The spring rolls were a combination of bean sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, and avocado rolled up in a wonton wrapper and then tossed in the deep fryer. We then spread whole wheat pita with garlic butter and parmesan and placed them into the oven to be served crispy and warm.

Cocktails are a necessity (in my opinion!) to any party. Our choices were a white wine sangria, a tropical cocktail, and red and white wine.

If you have seen, heard about, or tasted any of the meals Jonty and I have made, you would know that we tend to over estimate the number of people eating. Since we were cooking for a group, we didn’t want to be short on food, so therefore we literally cooked for an army. We made so much salad and spaghetti that they had to be split into two bowls.

The salad consisted of mixed greens, red pepper, cucumber, tomato, avocado, mango, craisins, bean sprouts, and carrots, topped with feta cheese. I’m pretty sure that’s everything!

We figured it was time we try and emulate two of our favourite dishes- Chicken Picatta and Shrimp Scampi. Pieces of chicken breast were cooked in a white wine, lemon cream sauce and mixed with mushrooms for the Chicken Picatta. As for the scampi, shrimp were breaded and then pan fried to a golden perfection.

Since there was tons of food, we decided to keep the pasta simple. Rose sauce, which is a combination of tomato and cream sauce was what we chose to toss the spaghetti in, as we knew that all of our guests were a fan. I think it’s safe to say we are not a good judge of food proportions considering we had leftovers for days and it went bad before we could even finish it all.

Although everyone was unbuttoning their pants after this meal, they knew who was throwing this party, which meant they knew dessert was coming. One of my favourite store-bought cakes is this cinnamon coffee cake. There is something about the cinnamony crumble on top and the swirls of cinnamon and sweetness in the middle that keeps my mouth wanting more. A large fruit salad also made it into the mix, along with two-bite brownies.

The Priest

The second location of The Burger’s Priest opened about two weeks ago at 3397 Yonge St. just North of Lawrence. This place, just like the Queen St. location is lined up out the door at any given time, with a whopping 5000 four-ounce beef patties being sold per week.

Jonty ordered his burger Jarge-style (pronounced Jarz-sh) which is known to In-N-Out lovers as “Animal Style”. This means that the burger is cooked in mustard. He also topped his burger with lettuce, cheese, and fried onions.

As for my burger, I kept it simple with a single pattie topped with fried onions. Simply mouthwatering!

I was pleasantly surprised to see that they changed their fries. I hate to say it, but the old ones were kind of soggy, bland and tasteless. Now, they are thicker, tastier and crispier.


Lemon Yogurt Cake

I will also be sharing recipes that I have tried and fallen in love with…

I have never been a huge fan of lemon but after tasting this cake, that all changed. The moist, lemony, dense cake is the perfect balance between sweet and tangy.

Lemon Yogurt Cake (Yield: 1 Loaf) Copyright 2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights Reserved


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 1/3 cups sugar, divided

3 extra-large eggs

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze: 
1 cup confectioners’ sugar 
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 ½ x 4 ¼ x 2 ½-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

 For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Miami Continued

That last post was getting a little lengthy, so I broke it up into a second.

Just like our last trip to Miami, we visited Le Tub. As always, it was incredible.

Homemade key lime pie for dessert!

Houston’s was our next stop for my favourite Hawaiian rib eye, marinated in sweet pineapple juice. Jonty and I shared that with their amazing thin, crispy fries and Seared Ahi Tuna salad.

Believe it or not, I have never tried a Churro (but always been wanting to). I was excitled to visit Sawgrass Mills mall, where they had a place called Churro Mania. I chose churros drizzled with Nutella and dulce de leche. OMG!!!

Cheesecake Factory take two! Chicken Piccata of course!

Dulce De Leche of course! We also tried a new cheesecake, white chocolate blueberry, which was surprisingly yummy, considering I didn’t think I would be such a fan.

An array of food trucks flood Hollywood Circle every Monday night. I absolutely love food trucks and was particularly excited because there are little to none here in Toronto. My parents, Jonty and I tried numerous different dishes from various trucks. Our first truck was Ms. Cheezious- a grilled cheese truck. Our pick was Havarti and spiced apples on multigrain bread. The buttery, cheesy, sweet sandwich was a perfect start to the night.

Next we headed to the Palate Party where we indulged in Crab Cake sliders topped with sweet chili jam, roasted garlic aioli, and shredded lettuce. YUMMY!

Nacho Bizness was our pick for tacos. Pictured here is grilled mahi mahi with a tropical pineapple slaw.

We spotted another taco truck and decided to go for it as well! This time we got one deep fried mahi mahi taco and one steak taco. I’m sure that you could guess that we enjoyed the deep fried taco the best!

As if we hadn’t eaten enough, we stopped off at the meatball truck. Our pick was a beef meatball sandwich paired with garlic parmesan fries.

Dessert time! Cool Haus-make your own ice cream sandwich. You pick one or two flavours of cookie, and one or two flavours of ice cream all wrapped in edible paper. Our choice was one red velvet cookie and one potato chip skor cookie with mango ice cream in between. The other one had the same kind of cookies (they were running low on flavours because it was later in the night) with red velvet ice cream and salted caramel ice cream in between. It was a pretty weird concept eating the paper, because it just tasted like paper, however I did not eat the entire wrapper.

We were getting pretty full but there were two things left that I just needed to get my hands on. First I went for a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing, followed by a funnel cake! I was definitely in my element this evening.

You might think we couldn’t eat for days after the food trucks, but the next day we were back at it. Pinkberry also recently made its way in North Miami. The smooth, creamy yogurt was just what I needed!

Before hitting the airport, we went to a pizza restaurant called Piola. Coincidentally, right when we got home to Toronto, they opened their first location on Queen St. West. It is a European style pizza place with unique creations, along with salads and pastas. I am so excited to try the Toronto location. Jonty and I shared a pizza with shrimp and mushrooms, and a fusilli with broccoli and chicken in a rose sauce.

That rounds up our Florida trip! I hope you enjoyed seeing what our bellys endured for two weeks!

Miami Again

Every year since I was born, my family and I have been travelling to Florida during Winter break. This year Jonty was lucky enough to get time off work to join us in the Sunshine State. As you saw in our earlier post when Jonty and I went to Florida, I’m sure you have some sort of idea of what you’re in for. PS-this will be a very long post, as we were away for 2 weeks.

Ben and Jerrys recently opened near my condo, which is exciting, yet dangerous!It didn’t take Jonty and I long to try it out. We opted for a Milk and Cookies milkshake consisting of chocolate chip cookie ice cream combined with cookies and cream. Day one sipping this milkshake poolside was a great start to our vacation!

After a night out at LIV Nightclub in the Fontainebleau Hotel, we stopped by Flashback diner for a late night snack. This Mac and Cheese was incredible creamy, cheesy and absolutely delicious!

Next is a blooming onion from a new restaurant called Gamaroff’s. Deep fried, greasy goodness!

As per usual, we visited The Cheesecake Factory. We love sharing things so that we can try a variety of dishes. This time we shared the “Bistro Shrimp Pasta” and Fish Tacos. The pasta consisted of crispy battered shrimp, fresh mushrooms, tomato and arugula tossed with spaghettini and a basil-garlic-lemon cream sauce. The fish was battered, deep fried, and laid out onto a tortilla shell with cabbage slaw, tomato, avocado, and a lime wedge.

 I’m sure you could probably guess what came next…Dulce de Leche of course!!

We took Snickers to go…

Next came Grand Luxe. We had a wonderful smorgasbord of food. Thai Chicken Pizza and a combo dish of Chicken Royale with mashed potatoes and Shrimp Scampi. MMMM MMM good!

We skipped dessert at Grand Luxe and headed to Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour. This seemed perfect considering it would be my birthday at midnight and Jaxsons is one of my favourite places on Earth. Jaxson’s is famous for wild ice cream creations, including the Kitchen Sink-tons of ice cream scoops, whipped cream, and sauces all served in a real kitchen sink. My family, along with my friend Cassandra and her family, and my other two friends Melissa and Taryn joined us for the occasion. I LOVE banana splits, and the flavours I chose were Peanut Butter, Cookies and Cream, and Cookie Dough with a side of hot fudge and caramel sauce!! They also included a sparkler for my birthday!

Jonty ordered a “small” root beer float which was served in a pitcher. He polished off the entire thing! I was so proud!

The night of my birthday, my grandparents who are also in Florida insist on taking me to a elegant, classy place. This year we went to GG’s which is in Hollywood along the Intracoastal. We were seated at a table outside with a beautiful view of the water. Jonty and I shared a shrimp pasta along with calamari.

A birthday is not complete without a cake, and since I just love cake, I am not complaining! Cassandra and her family came back to my grandparents’ condo to join us for birthday cake.

The infamous Shake Shack in New York recently opened in Miami, just off of Lincoln Road. Jonty and I had never tried it so you could imagine our excitement! I chose a regular burger and Jonty went for a Shack burger which has shack sauce (some sort of tangy, mayo type sauce). The burgers along with the crinkle cut fries were everything we had imagined, and more!

Next on the agenda was Sushi Samba. Our favourite appetizer is the rock shrimp tempura. For our main course, my parents, Jonty and I all shared a few sushi rolls, and a platter of skirt steak and rib eye.

Although we were super stuffed from our incredible meal at Sushi Samba, I insisted on going to Serendipity, a New York hot spot. This Lincoln Road location was only two days old when we went! I was so overwhelmed with excitement, which lead us to ordering a huge piece of chocolate cake, as well as deep fried oreos with oreo ice cream!

From Brooklyn, New York is an Italian take out restaurant called John’s Hero King. Jonty was literally obsessed with this place. He went there two days in a row for lunch! Both times we enjoyed the roast beef sandwich with cheese, caramelized onions, and their homemade black gravy. During one trip, he also got a veal sandwich, which I am not a fan of. He and my Dad shared that one.