Eating Out

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.


Mother Daughter Bonding

Having a brother going to school in New York leaves me with the perfect excuse to visit quite often. How could my parents resist me saying that I miss my big bro and would love to go see him?! This time around it was a mother daughter trip. My parents had gone a few weeks prior but due to sickness I was unable. It was a wonderful opportunity to spend some quality time together over shopping and good food! What could be better than that?

Eataly is probably one of the best places, like ever. Think gourmet grocery store with numerous restaurants, a coffee shop, and a gelato shop all in one. Mario Betali is the genius behind this. For lunch, the prime rib sandwich was my choice, which was literally to die for. It was a simple sandwich drizzled with just olive oil, however I still salivate at the thought.

Although my parents brought me back Crumbs cupcakes last time, I still had to visit for myself. The flavours are incredible, and the cupcakes are huge! My mom and I shared a peanut butter banana cupcake named The Elvis.

After a day of shopping, we met up again with my brother at another one of Mario Batali’s restaurants called Otto. This Italian eatery did not disappoint. We shared a cobb salad, pizza topped with potatoes, butternut squash pasta, and a mushroom tomato pasta.

As for dessert, we opted for something simple like this trio of gelato. Tangerine, caramel and apple cider were the flavours we chose and I could not believe how delicious they were!! It tasted exactly like real apple cider.

Another day, another cupcake! Today we gave Sprinkles a try, which is a cupcake shop that started in Los Angeles. My mom loves fruit flavoured things and I was in the mood for something light so we compromised on the orange cranberry, which was the perfect balance between tanginess and sweetness.

Self-serve frozen yogurt seems to be all the rage these days. This is a picture from one of the New York chains called 16 handles. A few of the flavours were original tart, peanut butter, strawberry lemonade, cookies and cream, chocolate, vanilla, and many more.

Trendy, yet quaint was a coffee/ice cream shop called Van Leeuwen. The flavours were incredibly original, such as Earl Grey Tea, Red Currant, Ginger, Burnt Caramel, Hazelnut, along with a variety of others. My choice seems really boring in the real ice cream world, but here, it was simply mouthwatering! I chose Strawberry, which had real pieces of strawberries in it, and Vanilla bean which was so creamy and pure tasting.

Since my brother lives in New York and knows all the cool spots, he took us to a tiny, very low key, casual burger joint called the Corner Bistro. They serve simply burgers, cheeseburgers, and grilled cheese. The burgers are thick and juicy, and cooked exactly how you like it.

To end the trip, I just had to stop by Magnolia Bakery (even though I’ve been years ago). I have to say, these are still my favourite. The light, buttery, moist cake slathered in creamy butter cream frosting makes for one heck of a cupcake.

Healthy Eating

Although you may not believe me after reading this blog, we do like to eat healthy some of the time. There’s nothing better than something that tastes incredible, and is also good for you. I shall introduce you to The Fish Store. This is a tiny storefront (basically a counter) on College Street right near Little Italy. It is kind of an odd location since it is in no way Italian. The menu has many varieties of grilled fish that are served either as a sandwich or on top of a salad. The simplicity and freshness of this little shop is perfect for a quick, healthy and satisfying meal. There is a patio out front if you prefer to eat there rather than take it to go.

Jonty ordered a black cod sandwich complete with lettuce and tomato, while I opted for halibut. The fish is topped with a variety of mild spices, salt and pepper and cooked to perfection. We also were dying to try the shrimp burger so we figured we would order one too and split it, what the heck! Although it was no dessert, the shrimp, cheese, lettuce, tomato were a great ending to our meal.

I should probably title all of my posts "Beware…"

I don’t even know where to begin on this one. This tiny, and I mean tiny little spot on Queen Street East at Coxwell is called The Burger’s Priest. It opened its doors just this past summer and is already booming with business, with a second location opening at Yonge and Lawrence. On any given day you can find people lined up literally out the door waiting to bite into the tastiest burger they’ve probably had in a while, or ever. Foodies all over the city quickly discovered this goldmine and labelled it Toronto’s Best Burger in 2011. The menu is pretty simple, including items such as a plain burger, cheeseburger, fries, and the vegetarian option, which is actually called “The Option”. This is like no other veggie burger. Take two portobello mushroom caps, stuff them with cheese, roll it in flour and deep fry it, and there you have it, “The Option”. If that isn’t enough, this magical burger haven has a secret menu which is not posted in the restaurant. You can find it online or just by word of mouth. There are some pretty crazy items, which you will see below.

Jonty and I have eyes bigger than our stomachs most of the time, as I’m sure you have noticed. Pictured here is an item from the secret menu, called “The Tower of Babel Pope Style”. Two beef patties, topped with cheese, “The Option”, deep fried jalapeno pepper, fried onions, lettuce, ketchup, all in between two grilled cheese sandwiches! Let’s just say Jonty could barely breathe, talk, or walk after inhaling this. As for my burger, I kept it simple with a single pattie topped with “The Option”. The patties themselves aren’t exactly huge, but the freshness of the high quality meat cooked on a flat top grill is the perfect fix to any burger craving.

Beware…

 

Now I know the title of this post may sound intimidating. I figured I would warn you for what you are about to see. Let’s just say that we were appologizing to our hearts and arteries after this night. The Canadian National Exhibition is a fair that comes to Toronto every year at the end of Summer. Along with games and rides, there is TONS of food! Of course, Jonty and I knew this was our calling.

We decided to start the evening off by ordering a blooming, fried onion. This however was just a side dish to something that was all the talk this year at the Ex- the Donut Burger. We have had a donut burger before this, but I will save that for another post. It is a burger between two Krispy Kreme donuts, topped with lettuce, an egg, bacon, and cheese. They were out of egg on this day and Jonty and I do not eat bacon, but I’d say we still had quite the burger. This may sound revolting to some, but we had to try it! To be quite honest, it was strangely tasty.

 

 After wandering the fair grounds, playing games and going on rides, we had room for some more! Next we tackled mac and cheese, which oddly came with a hot dog. Surprisingly it was all pretty delicious, as the mac and cheese was quite creamy and cheesy.

Even after all this food, I’m sure you could have guessed what I needed…It was a toss up between a deep fried Oreo or a deep fried “Ah Caramel”. If youaren’t familiar with this, it is kind of like a Joe Louis but it is caramel filled white cake covered in chocolate. Since Oreos are more popular, I decided to for the “Ah Caramel”. For those who know me, you know I cannot eat anything fried or basically any hot dessert without ice cream. That’s where the waffle ice cream sandwich came in! The combination of the fried batter, the caramel, chocolate and ice cream was truly all I needed to complete this calorie laden evening.

New York

This past summer a couple friends and I decided to take a last minute trip to NYC. If you hang with me, you gotta love to eat! Thankfully, we did just that!

As featured on the Food Network on shows such as Unwrapped, we visited The Donut Plant. Our pick was the Peanut Butter & Blackberry Jelly donut. IT WAS INCREDIBLE!

Next, we stopped at Cafe Habana in Nolita. This is also a well known little Cuban restaurant featured on Best Thing I Ever Ate. The most famous dish is the corn on the cobb smothered in mayonnaise, cotija cheese (kind of like parmesean but a little tangier) and cayenne powder. I am not a huge fan of any of these ingredients but somehow the combination along with the corn is truly a melt-in-your-mouth experience.

Naturally, I was beyond thrilled to visit a CAKE BOUTIQUE called Lady M. There were a variety of cakes on display and our choices were strawberry shortcake, chocolate mousee cake, layers of crepes in a cake, lemon cake, and a banana cream cake. They were all to die for.

The most important meal of the day was enjoyed at Sarabeth’s. It is a cute, warm, homey restaurant which all started with selling only jam years ago. Today you can find this place lined up out the door with tourists and locals edging to try homemade pastries, breads, and breakfast favourites. They do also serve lunch and dinner which I’m sure is just as delicious! Since I can eat anything sweet at any time of day, I ordered the french toast topped with strawberries, powdered sugar, and served with a side of maple syrup and butter. Nothing says “Good Morning” quite like this!

 

Next we tackled Rice to Riches in SoHo. It is kind of like an ice cream shop, but for rice pudding. To tell you the truth, I have never been a fan of rice pudding, but Cassi insisted I try this place. With an open mouth and stomach, we decided to try two flavours- french toast and rocky road. To my surprise, it was delicious! It was extremely flavourful, creamy, yet very rich even for my sweet teeth. If you ever visit New York, just be warned that this is definitely a snack to be shared.

Food Trucks!

The streets of Toronto are seriously lacking in food trucks. Apparently there are some strict laws and permit issues. Anyways, there was this incredible, well-needed event at the Distillery District this past summer called Food Truck Eats. An array of trucks came out to this event from all over Ontario. Participating in this event was a grilled cheese truck, a Mexican truck, cupcakes, ice pops, pies, along with many others. I decided to tackle this event with Cassi, who also adores food.

Our choice of grilled cheese was one filled with ooey mozzarella, onions ( I really dislike raw onions so I picked them out), and tomatoes. It was simple, yet classically delicious. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I begged Cassi for us to try the dessert grilled cheese as well. This was my favourite. It was a blend of nutella, mascarpone cheese and strawberries all nestled between buttery, grilled to perfection bread.

While Cassi waited in line for the grilled cheese, I could not wait to get my hands on one of the individual pies. My choice was the sweet, flaky, buttery peach pie.

                             

Everything is Bigger and Better in the States

Overseas Indulgences

Last summer, two of my best friends, Cassi and Cassandra, and myself took a trip to Israel and Greece. The sightseeing and relaxation was incredible, but as always, I had my eye out for some good eats. Cassi and Cassandra love food as well, so I knew they would join me in my search for everything delicious!

 If you love chocolate, I suggest you take a trip to Max Brenner. This location was in Tel Aviv, Israel, but they have locations all over the map. It is a chocolate restaurant, including dishes from crepes, to milkshakes, to fondue, to cocktails, and to anything imaginable. They do also have a savoury dinner and brunch menu which can be enjoyed as a prelude to the ultimate chocolate experience. The restaurant’s chic interior definitely adds to the chocolatey experience. Pictured here is a banana crepe drizzled with what else, chocolate, served with vanilla ice cream.

 

 Now is this a dessert or what?! A warm, gooey brownie, topped with walnuts and chocolate sauce, paired with cookies and cream and chocolate ice cream all in a waffle bowl topped with various fruits. This was amazing!!

 In a small area in Israel called Tzfat, we came across this delicious, pizza-like item. It is like a flat pita/tortilla with various spices which are popular in Israel such as za’atar. It is topped with basil, and usually tomato (I omit the tomato due to preference) and a variety of cheeses. The three of us were starving, and this definitely hit the spot!

Next, we took our travels to Greece. Since I am a HUGE fan of pesto, I was super excited to find these chips. The three of us absolutely loved this unique flavour , so of course we wanted more. As we continued our way through Greece, we were constantly searching for these, but sadly, they were nowhere to be found. These chips will forever be missed!

What’s better than breakfast by the beach? This waffle by the beach! I have eaten quite the amount of waffles in my day, however this tops my list. Something about the warm, crispy outside, yet perfectly soft inside, smothered in nutella and fresh fruit literally made me dread the last bite.

Loukoumades are a traditional Greek dessert. They are fried balls of dough soaked in honey, and usually sprinkled with cinnamon. These particular ones were stuffed and topped with nutella. I thank Cassi for introducing me to these. They are so traditional that they were difficult to find, yet we were determined, and came across a few bakeries who made them fresh to order. I would go back to Greece just for these!

 

This wonderful photo was taken at the Shuk. It is an Israeli market with basically anything imaginable. There was jewelry, antiques, any kind of food-desserts and pastries, candies, fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, spreads, and the list goes on. Cassi, Cassandra and I visited this market on a number of occasions whether it was just to browse, grab breakfast, or get snacks to bring to the beach.

 

 

Florida Food Fest

During my Spring Break Jonty and I decided to take a trip to Miami to scope out the edible possibilities. We knew that the United States was a great destination for all things food. Although I go to Miami once a year during Winter break, I decided that it was time Jonty experienced this for himself. We basically dedicated our entire trip to satisfying our taste buds. This is going to be a long post with many pictures because it is crucial that we leave almost nothing out. Keep in mind we were only there for a week!

DULCE DE LECHE CHEESECAKE!!!! This is not only my all time favourite cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory, but I would say it is my favourite thing to eat overall! The smooth, silky, creamy consistency and swirls of caramel truly make my mouth water just at the thought of it.

As for savoury dishes at The Cheesecake Factory, this is my pick-Chicken Picatta. This dish comes with chicken breasts, topped with angel hair pasta in a creamy lemon sauce with mushrooms and capers (I usually hold the capers). Jonty decided to go for the Shrimp Scampi. Lightly battered shrimp tossed in a cream sauce, served with angel hair as well.

As we continued eating our way through Miami, we decided to give The Cheesecake Factory’s sister company, The Grand Luxe a try. Pictured here we have calamari, shrimp, and assorted vegetable tempura, cheeseburger sliders, and no burger is complete without a side of fries. Next of course comes dessert. These beignets are one of their made-to-order desserts which are to die for. The hot, sweet dough dipped in either vanilla, chocolate or strawberry sauce was quite the party in our mouths.

My grandparents were also in Florida while we were so they insisted on taking us out for dinner. We went to a restaurant called DiSalvos. We ordered a fried platter for the table which included fried calamari, fried mozzarella, and fried ravioli. Also pictured is one of my favourites, a chicken pesto spaghetti.

According to my grandparents, a trip to Florida is not complete without visiting Moe’s for breakfast. It is a very casual deli with food that will not disappoint. We have here scrambled eggs with salami and home fries.

Jonty’s birthday happened to fall during our vacation, so I decided to take him to one of my favourite South Beach spots, Sushi Samba. Pictured here is a Brazilian skirt steak cooked to a juicy medium perfection alongside tuna tar-tar tacos. As well we have a classic necessary dish (in my opinion), the rock shrimp tempura which is slathered in a spicy creamy yet tangy sauce.

It is nearly impossible to leave Florida without indulging in a piece of their world famous key lime pie. Most restaurants have their own version and recipe, but my favourite and highly rated is the one at Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach. The combination of the buttery graham cracker crust and the smooth lime filling makes for one perfect ending to any meal.

After long days lounging by the pool and browsing through malls, it definitely works up an appetite. Flashback diner is open 24 hours and is always a great spot for a late night bite. Featured above is the classic grilled cheese with crinkle cut fries.

My addition to the meal was this giant milkshake and key lime pie, yet again. I requested a cookies and cream milkshake, which they did not have so I settled on chocolate. However, when the waitress brought it over, she told us that she secretly concocted a cookies and cream milkshake just for us. It was delicious and we are ever so thankful!!

 

 

A truly unique, elegant and extraordinary experience! Barton G serves every dish with a wild presentation. Pictured here is the popcorn shrimp served in a popcorn container along with what else than real popcorn. The dessert is a colossal warm brownie stuffed with cheesecake and topped with ice cream, strawberries, and whipped cream!!! I think that speaks for itself. It is such a jaw-dropping experience to watch the waiters deliver your food, along with everyone else’s in the restaurant. 

 

 

Jonty and I have eaten countless burgers. However, this is one of our faves. The thick, juicy, cooked to perfection burger at Le Tub in Hollywood, Florida is a must-eat. Listed number one in GQ Magazine for “Best Burger” and featured on Oprah, it definitely lives up to its hype. This restaurant is a very casual outdoor scene on the intracoastal with picnic tables and water in serve-yourself picnic jugs. It is seat yourself, and the wait time for a burger is usually close to one hour. The menus are folded, handwritten white paper, the cutlery is plastic, and they only take cash. This place is like no other, truly unique and perfect for a sunny, warm Florida afternoon, or gorgeous evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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