Meats

Smoke in Collingwood

While up at my cottage in Collingwood, I always wish there were some better restaurants to choose from. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few hidden gems, but it was just needing something more. I am thrilled to annouce that a new smokehouse called, The Smoke has recently opened up. When my boyfriend and I heard this great news, we immediately made a reservation.

The modern, large, open space was quite refreshing to see in this small town. As we walked in, the smoky, BBQ smell filled the air and I was ready to dig in. Each table is set with 4 bottles of homemade BBQ sauces; Carolina Mustard Sauce, Smokey Sweet BBQ Sauce, Sweet Tangy BBQ Sauce, and Hot Vinegar Sauce.

The special of the night was Smoked Beef Short Rib, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Au Jus, Cornbread & 1 Side (we chose fries). Seriously, these ribs were insane. Like out of this world. Jonty and I could not believe how juicy, tasty and literally fall off the bone they were. It’s safe to say these were the best beef ribs we have ever eaten. Crazy, I know. Little old Collingwood has some of the best BBQ food. I love cornbread, and this one did not dissapoint, along with the mashed potatoes and fries. Everything was just utterly amazing.

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The only catch slash dissapointing thing about this place is that beef ribs are not a staple on their menu. They only have them every so often and not too many portions.

We also ordered a pound of smoked BBQ chicken wings that are smoked for two hours and tossed in their homemade BBQ sauce. They were sweet, smokey and juicy, just as they should be.

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This restaurant is worth some serious mention and praise. It is also worth the trip to Collingwood. Jonty and I are going up to the cottage this weekend and already have reservations!

 

Happy Birthday Jonty

This week was Jonty’s birthday and I really wanted to take him somewhere special for dinner. While he isn’t such a fan of surprises, I made sure to keep the restaurant a secret until the very last second. I thought long and hard about where to go, and ultimately decided on Jacobs & Co steakhouse. It is a classic, well-known dining experience and I figured since neither of us had been, it was time we check it off our list.

The grand, and might I add heated outdoor entrance was an amazing, welcoming touch. As soon as we entered, we were greeted by the friendly hostesses and an older gentleman, the maitre d kindly directed us to our seats in the classy, polished upstairs dining room. He pointed out the dry-aged showcase, filled with each type of meat, encased in glass, all labeled perfectly.

Our attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable waiter approached us for some drinks, where I chose a glass of white wine, and Jonty opted for a glass of Johnny Walker black. He then proceeded to go into very much detail about the meat, the cuts, the aging process, and just about everything you could know about the steaks.

First our waiter brought over freshly baked popovers. Crispy on the outside, and fluffy yet hollow on the outside. I couldn’t wait to slather it with the garlic butter, even if it meant burning my mouth a couple times. It was totally worth it. 

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Jacobs is known for their tableside caesar salad which is literally made in a cart that they bring to your table. We ordered this and enjoyed watching each fresh ingredient go into the mix, and enjoyed eating it even more. The salad was not your typical overly creamy dressing, but it still lived up to its hype, with the perfect amount of garlic and zing.

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Before the steaks arrived, a few sauces and salts were delivered to accompany the meat. The sauces included an Argentinian Chimichuri sauce, blue cheese with bacon (YUCK, I dislike blue cheese and don’t eat bacon-but I’m sure it was delish), and a Ponzu citrus ginger soy sauce. As for the salts, there was regular coarse sea salt, volcano smokey salt, and charcoal salt.

With a huge variety to choose from, and some advice from our waiter, we both chose a USDA Prime Black Angus California cut striploin. As it arrived in a cast iron pan, we both cut into a perfectly cooked medium piece of steak. It was juicy, and buttery in a way, and we both enjoyed every last bite.

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For sides, we went with mixed sauteed mushrooms and duck fat french fries with tarragon. The variety of mushrooms was a nice light touch to the meal, while the duck fat fries were interesting. The fries themselves were quite delicious, but I felt that the terragon was a little overpowering for my liking.

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I had previously arranged that whichever dessert we chose would be delivered with a candle for Jonty’s birthday. Since he loves cheesecake, this was an easy decision. It arrived with a candle, “Happy Birthday” written in chocolate, and smothered in strawberries and strawberry sauce. It was incredibly smooth, creamy and mouthwatering.

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Just when we thought our dining experience had come to an end, the waiter brought over a plate of 2 macaroons and wrapped up muffins for breakfast the next day. I absolutely LOVED this extra little touch. It’s little things like this that make me so very happy! 

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We both enjoyed the muffins the next day and couldn’t believe how buttery, chocolately and plain amazing they were. Probably one of the best muffins we have ever had!

Jacobs & Co is a great place for special occasions or if you are just looking for some good food, service and ambiance!

Barque

I don’t know what took my hungry little butt so long to get to Barque Smokehouse, but oooohhh man am I happy that I finally did! Ever since this goldmine on Roncenvalles opened its doors, I have been jonesing to try it. This past weekend Jonty and I along with a couple friends finally hit it up. Oh and might I mention I had to make this reservations 3 weeks in advance!! I think that says enough..this place is seriously amazing.

On this cold winter night we walked into a cozy, wooden mixed with concrete and brick walls, buzzing atmosphere that instantly warmed me up. As we were seated, a spiced bucket of popcorn was brought to our table, along with two barbecue sauces,a Kansas City (tomato based) and a Carolina (mustard and vinegar based). I immediately noticed the brush sitting next to my cutlery and loved that extra touch of being able to slather your own sauces onto everything.

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Because of all the hype about this place and my excitement to finally try it, I had to calm myself down while looking at the menu! For appetizers, we ordered Smoked Miami Beef ribs which had a “savoury rub with a sweet glaze”. They were incredible, not too fatty, and perfectly cooked. We also got what I would award as my favourite dish of the night, the Smoked Dry Rub Wings. Moist chicken was covered in a crisp, but not too crisp skin rubbed with the most amazing combination of savoury and sweet spices.

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Us, as well as the other couple we were with ordered the sampler for two, which includes three meats and three sides. Our picks were brisket, beef ribs, and chicken thighs. Our friends wanted Baby Back Ribs but they had just run out, so they opted for pulled pork, Merguez Sausages (Moroccan lamb sausage), and brisket. I found the brisket to be tasty, but a little bit on the fatty and dry side. The ribs were also a little bit fatty with not so much meat, but still flavourful. The chicken was excellent, with a nice mix of spices and juicy meat. Our friends loved everything they ordered, and I enjoyed the bite of sausage that I tasted.

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We each chose 3 sides, so in total there was a Caesar salad, fries, sauteed garlic kale, crushed potatoes, and 2 orders of the Sage & Smoked Provolone Pasta. MMMMMMM everything was divine!! The pasta was cheesy and creamy with a hint of smokiness which I thoroughly enjoyed. The kale we didn’t get to try because it was sitting under the pulled pork, but I probably wasn’t missing out on much. The Caesar and potatoes were nice and creamy, and the fries were thin and crispy.

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As full as we were, the pecan pie with cinnamon gelato and apple crumble tart with vanilla gelato were calling our name. They were both soooooo yummy, but my only complaint was the crust was very difficult to break! However, this meal truly makes my mouth water at the thought and I need to go back ASAP!!

This was a true sweets & meats experience!!

Birthday Surprise!

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A couple weeks ago was my 22 birthday and boy did I get spoiled!! Besides the gifts, and a wonderfully relaxing day, the food was the real treat. On my actual birthday, I went to Morton’s Steakhouse with my family, Jonty, and my brother’s girlfriend, and the next night Jonty surprised me and took me to Harbour Sixty! Check it all out below…

For starters at Morton’s I ordered a simple, yet satisfying Caesar salad, topped with buttery crouton-like garlic bread. Next was time for the steaks, with a side of crab cake. It’s title on the menu of “Jumbo Lump Crab Cake” really does it justice, since it is just that, large lumps of crab combined together into a rather large crab cake. Jonty ordered a side of shrimp which had a light crisp coating, and were incredibly flavourful. We shared both the shrimp and the crab cake.

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As for sides, we ordered a bunch for the table to share since they are quite large. Our picks were Lyonnaise Potatoes, creamed spinach, Parmesan Truffle fries, and onion rings. They were all to die for!! The fries were incredible and the parmesan truffle really added a nice touch. The onion rings had a thick and crispy coating which is just how I like it.

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As full as we all were, I couldn’t help but have room for dessert. I ordered Key Lime pie, which came with a candle for my birthday. I have tried many of the desserts at Morton’s and they are literally all incredible!

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I also had some wonderful treats after dinner with some friends of mine. Jonty’s sister-in-law baked me a delicious cookie cake with an “S” on it, Jonty ordered custom made caramel cupcakes that said “Happy Birthday Shelby”, and my parents got me my favourite white Loblaws birthday cake! I was sooooooo full I could have exploded by the end of the night.

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I think I ate enough on my birthday to last me quite a few days, but then again, calories don’t count on your birthday, right?!

Jonty told me he had a special dinner planned for me for the night after my birthday since we were with my family on my actually birthday. He knows I have always wanted to go to Harbour Sixty but never expected him to take me there because it is quite pricey. He told me that he made a reservation at some new restaurant I probably haven’t heard of. Next thing I know, we are pulling into Harbour Sixty!!! I could not have been happier, but still worried about the prices in the back of my head!

I absolutely loved the elegant and classy, yet warm and inviting ambiance of the restaurant. We were seated in a lush, comfy booth and immediately greeted by the most friendly, knowledgeable and efficient waiter. I started off with some fruity vodka cocktail that he created for me, while Jonty opted for whiskey. As for appetizers, we chose a warm mushroom salad on a bed of arugula which was a nice, light start to the meal. We also ordered the shrimp cocktail. Large, succulent shrimp arrived at our table with a side of house made tomato chili sauce.

For the main course, we ordered the Filet Mignon, along with several sides such as a jumbo Lobster tail (and I mean JUMBO), truffle mac and cheese, sugar snap peas, lobster mashed potatoes, and parmesan truffle fries. The mac and cheese and lobster mashed were my favourite of the bunch, although I thoroughly enjoyed every single bite of everything I ate.

Last but certainly not least was the homemade  Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding with caramel sauce and Dulce de leche ice cream. Literally every word of that excites me and makes my mouth water. It was warm, creamy, buttery, and everything else that it’s supposed to be. What a sweet ending to a sweet birthday! I am incredibly lucky to have such amazing family, friends and of course boyfriend who treated me like a princess on my birthday!

Momofuku Takes Toronto

New York, Sidney, and now Toronto have been graced with the Momofuku goodness. This Asian style restaurant recently opened a noodle bar in the Shangri La Hotel in downtown Toronto. I have been eager to try Momofuku in New York, and was super excited for the opening in my hometown. The open concept, floor to ceiling windows, and communal seating really add to the simple yet sleek atmosphere of this unique restaurant. My friend Cassi and I decided to go on a Momofuku lunch date.

Upon arrival, the manager was extremely friendly and outgoing and recognized my friend from a previous visit. As soon as we were seated, he brought over a mini size of the Seven Spice Sour Slushie which was a blended mixture of yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit), togarashi (chili pepper), lime and sake. The spiciness from the togarashi and zing from the other ingredients took my taste buds on an interesting journey with a kick.

As for the main course, we shared a bunch of dishes to ensure we would try a little bit of everything. The ginger scallion noodles were our first choice, complete with shiitake mushrooms, cucumber, and cabbage. The noodles had a slight stickiness and al dente texture to them, which made for a mouthwatering experience.

Next were the shiitake buns, stuffed with hoisin sauce, scallions and cucumber. The buns were heavenly. They were as soft as a cloud and paired perfectly with the sweet, tangy shiitake filling.

Lastly, we tried the chicken and egg rice which was smoked chicken combined with scallions and topped with an egg.  The rice was cooked to perfection, the chicken had a crisp, smoky flavour, and the gooey yolk brought the whole dish together. I have to say this was my favourite dish of the day and can’t wait until the next time I taste this!

Make a Wish

I think I found a piece of heaven at Wish nestled on Charles Street just East of Yonge. By the looks of it, one could easily have mistaken it for a house. Once I opened the doors to the heated patio, I instantly fell in love. White, wooden panelled walls surrounded comfy white couches, pillows, country chairs, fur blankets and candles. It was an extremely chic, yet cottagey atmosphere, where I could just plop myself down with a few cocktails and never get up! Jonty and I then entered the actual restaurant, where again I was blown away, as it was equally comfy, with a little more glam. The all white, country-like interior was the perfect setting for a romantic dinner. It was extremely warm and inviting. We were seated at a corner booth on a couch, adorned with comfy pillows.

Our waitress approached us with a friendly and welcoming attitude. She then brought us a variety of wines to sample. Eventually I was set on the Pinot Grigio, while Jonty chose the Reisling. We also had difficulty choosing our food because everything on the menu sounded insanely delicious! Our helpful, efficient and pleasant waitress gave us some recommendations and adivce, which allowed for us to choose some dishes.

Soft, warm bread was brought to the table with a side of hummus with a hint of garlic. It was an impeccable start to our meal.

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(Sorry, not the greatest picture!)

For an appetizer, we went with the Fried Calamari with a chili honey drizzle. The crispy batter perfectly coated the calamari, while the chili honey drizzle added a wonderful sweetness with a kick. I fell in LOVE with this dish and have been dreaming about it ever since.

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As for the main course, we first ordered the gnoochi with basil pesto, butternut squash puree, cherry tomatoes, and toasted squash seeds. Unfortunately our waitress came back and informed us that because they are made in house, they had run out. We then chose the Lobster Ravioli with asparagus and snow peas in a citrus tarragon butter. The pasta was cooked to an al dente perfection, with a generous amount of lobster in each bite. The lobster tail on top was a nice touch. I was quite a fan of the citrus tarragon butter which paired well with the lobster.

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We also ordered the Black Angus Beef Burger with aged cheddar, caramelized onions, and grainy dijon mustard, which was so juicy and flavourful. The fries were just how I like them, thin and crispy.

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Wish also serves lunch and brunch, which I am DYING to try. It will be the perfect place for a cozy weekend brunch, and I cannot wait until that moment!

The Food & Wine Expo

Year after year I have heard advertisements for the Food and Wine Expo, yet never attempted buying tickets. My curiosity and eagerness to attend was at its peak this year, so I decided it was time. Jonty and myself ventured down to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this past weekend to sample some incredible wine,  and of course, food.

Since it was Saturday night, the venue was quite packed, as we presumed. However, I think this added to the ambiance of an exciting, fun filled evening. Hundreds of booths filled the room, ranging from wine, vodka, beer, whiskey, and different cuisines.

To start things off, we chose a brisket sandwich from Barque Smokehouse.  It was incredibly sweet and smoky. We polished it off rather quickly.

After this, although very similar, we chose the Prime Rib slider from the Windsor Arms Hotel. The sweet BBQ sauce, paired with tender meat, red cabbage and horseradish was a wonderful way to get our taste buds going. To be honest though, Jonty and I both commented on the overload of horseradish which was a little too overpowering.

Next we moved onto Food Dudes, a Toronto based food truck which is all the rage these days. The white wine mac and cheese with lemon zest panko and smoked tomato ketchup immediately caught our eye. It was so creamy and cheesy with the perfect amount of crunch and lemony zing that we went back for seconds later on in the evening.

Maritime Lobster caught our attention next. Simple, yet mouth-watering and extremely fresh, we wolfed down a shrimp skewer, and some lobster pieces smothered in butter.

The trendy Kultura restaurant was serving up some delicious dishes, and we chose the Mushroom Orecchiette with Pinot Noir Pear Chutney and Aged Cheddar. It was soooo tasty that I think I barely left any for Jonty. The sauce was sharp and creamy with a hint of sweetness from the pears which made for a delightful dish. We also made a second stop here a little while later to try some of the other dishes they were offering. The Tuna Cornets seemed light, which is what we needed between all of the food and wine. Tuna sashimi, mayo and avocado mousse all sat in a nori shell, which is another word for seaweed. It tasted exactly like sushi, without being too fishy, which was a nice light bite. The lamb shank also looked too yummy to resist so we got just one to share. I couldn’t get over how tasty it was. Cooked to perfection, with a hint of sweetness, this lamb shank was on the top of my favourites list of the night.

Every time we visit the Mad Italian, it is always for gelato. However we have been itching to try the Zazzu pizza cones. Lucky for us, they were being sold at this event, so we naturally picked one up. We chose the simple Margherita Zazzu with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, tomatoes, tomato sauce and basil. It was just as tasty as we had imagined.

As for the wine, we sampled a variety, and had an incredible time doing so. Neither Jonty nor I are wine experts, so we just enjoyed wandering freely while tasting a bunch of different wines and having a lovely time together. I also sampled a few different vodkas, while Jonty tried some whiskey. After about five hours, YES FIVE HOURS, we decided to call it a night. It was an enjoyable and out of the ordinary way to spend a Saturday night instead of just going out to a restaurant like usual. I plan on attending the Food and Wine Expo for many years to come!

 

New Continent, New Food

Although I have not been blogging for the past three weeks, I sure have been eating! Sorry for the hiatus, but I was busy hanging out with penguins and lions and rhinos and other cool stuff in South Africa. Still sounds crazy to me that I’ve been to Africa! If someone would have asked me a few years ago if I could ever see myself visiting Africa, I would have probably said “ummm are you crazy?!” Little did I know that a boy would change all of that. That boyfriend Jonty of mine who joins me in a ton of eating was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. That being said, it was time he show me his roots and where he was brought into this world.

Visiting a new place always sparks my taste buds with excitement. I dedicate a large majority of my vacation to finding the best food to enjoy, photograph, and write about. After all, if it hasn’t been photographed then you didn’t really eat it…right?! After spending some time in Johannesburg and Cape Town, I can confidently say that the food is incredibly delicious, fresh and worth talking about.

An authentic South African food is dried meat, also known as biltong. It is quite comparable to beef jerky, yet I find it way more enjoyable. To be honest, before this trip I would never indulge in some biltong whenever Jonty would come across some in Toronto. Three weeks surrounded by this stuff has converted me into a biltong fan.

For years I have been hearing Jonty talk about this Shawarma restaurant in Johannesburg that he went to years ago on his last visit back. I always just thought “ok yeah it’s shawarma, what’s the big deal?”. Well, I now know the big deal. It is super yum! The array of toppings and salads you can stuff inside your sandwich include the staples such as hummus, lettuce, eggplant, veggies, and then some nontraditional ones such as mashed avocado and potato salad!! Also, the beef ribs were literally fall-off-the-bone delicious, yet also quite rich. The juicy, soft meat smothered in a sweet, tangy sauce made for probably the best ribs I have tasted.

A common chain throughout the country is a place called The Spur. Since Jonty and I love to indulge in anything that has hit the deep fryer, we ordered calamari, with fries and onion rings. The one thing I couldn’t comprehend is why they are called rings. They are onion strings to us North Americans! Oh well, I still had no difficulty eating them.

The surrounding oceans in Cape Town allow for seafood to be readily available and extremely fresh throughout the country. Also a chain, which was just mediocre in my opinion was called the Ocean Basket. The food is tasty and the price is reasonable, but it would not be my first choice of restaurants. Anyways, Jonty and I ordered a seafood platter which consisted of prawns, calamari, fries, rice and hake fish, in which we got two fried and two grilled. When it arrived at our table we were overwhelmed with the amount of food, but before we knew it, our plates were empty.

These days you can find frozen yogurt on basically every corner in Toronto, however this trend is quite new to South Africa. There is only one fro yo shop, called Wakaberry, which we of course visited. I do prefer the yogurt here, as I find it to be creamier and tastier. However, for something so new in South Africa, I give it two thumbs up. The toppings were also a little bit different to me, considering there was some candy and treats that I am not familiar with, but I did give many of them a try and was pleasantly surprised. After all, if it’s sweet and sugary, I’ll most likely enjoy it!

We actually only ate Italian food once at a restaurant called Mimmos. Avocado is extremely popular in many dishes because of the freshness and mass quantity of them. The pizza we chose was topped with mushrooms, avocado, and chicken, which are three of my favourite things! We also ordered linguine with chicken and spinach in a garlic cream sauce. My carb craving was thankfully filled with a fresh, satisfying meal.

After all these savory delights I was in desperate need of something sweet. As I entered Milky Lane, I knew I had found the right place. Milkshakes, ice cream, sundaes, donuts, I didn’t know where to begin. I found a section on the menu which was kind of like a Mcflurry or blizzard with different flavours. I chose a Bar One (kind of like Mars bar) and banana creation. As soon as it arrived, I dug in and didn’t look up until I could see the bottom of the bowl. Let’s just say I enjoyed it. As for Jonty, he was feeling nostalgic and ordered something he loved from his childhood, which I find quite revolting, a bubblegum milkshake.

Whenever the topic of food and South Africa come up in conversation, the restaurant Turn n’ Tender is almost always recommended. Since this is the case, I just had to see what it was all about. To start, Jonty and I ordered biltong carpaccio, which was thinly sliced biltong topped with a bed of arugula, Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. This isn’t something I would have ever thought to order before this trip, but I am sooo glad that I did because I couldn’t get enough. As for the main course, Jonty and I each ordered a steak cooked to a medium perfection with a side of fries and onion rings/strings. I now know why this restaurant is talked about over and over again.

Stay tuned for part two and the rest of our photo diary from Cape Town.

P.F. Changs

The long awaited Canadian debut of the American chain has finally graced Toronto with it’s presence! P.F. Changs opened at the Shops at Don Mills at the end of July. Now I know that this post is a little late, considering I did visit the restaurant a couple weeks after opening…and then again a couple weeks later. All that aside, let’s get to the good stuff.

An obvious appetizer choice, and staple in my opinion are the Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps which include “wok-seared minced chicken, mushrooms, green onions, and water chestnuts served over crispy rice sticks and served with cool, crisp lettuce cups”. They pretty much speak for themselves and if you’ve been to P.F. Changs then you’ve most likely had them and know what they are all about-straight up goodness!

Next we knew we wanted a shrimp dish, so we decided on the Crispy Honey Shrimp. They were lightly battered and smothered in a sweet honey sauce and topped with green onions. The tangy sauce combined with the crispy coating made for a wonderful dish.

Since this post is combining two trips to P.F. Changs, I will include the two chicken dishes. First we went for the Almond and Cashew chicken combined with onions, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, peppers and water chestnuts in a garlic soy sauce. To be honest this dish was a little bit boring. I would like to try something different next time. As for our other chicken dish, we ordered the Sesame Chicken which included broccoli, onions and peppers in a spicy sesame sauce. The sauce was actually a little bit too sweet for me, but tasty nonetheless.

The next dish was classic beef with broccoli, in which you can’t go wrong. As for noodles, we chose the chicken lo mein stir fried with mixed vegetables. It was a nice balance to the meal with just the right amount of flavour. On the side we each had our own bowl of brown rice to mix with all the goodness on our plates.

I recommend you make a reservation well in advance, as the restaurant is quite busy with Torontonians eagerly waiting to visit P.F. Changs without crossing the border.

Vegas!

My friends and have I always planned on taking a girls trip to Vegas. With everyone home from University and their world travels, we decided this summer was the perfect time. Our choice of hotel was The Cosmopolitan, which was pretty much the best place ever. The trendy, chic decor, three beautiful pools, dayclub and nightclub, the most friendly staff, and great food was all we needed to feel right at home in this crazy city.

We arrived in what seemed like a fake world, something you only see in the movies. It was only 9:00 am when we checked into our hotel. Each one of us STARVING and in search of something wonderful to eat. Because of the three hour time difference in Toronto, it was already lunch time for us. We decided to head upstairs in our hotel to a buffet called The Wicked Spoon. When I think of buffets, I think of sub-par, mass-quantity, not-so-great food. However, in Vegas, this is definitely not the case! For only $24 we entered paradise. None of us could contain our excitement. We didn’t know where to begin.

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The large buffet spread had everything imaginable, with most things in single size servings. There were individual pastas including mac and cheese, gnocci, lasagna. There was a meat carving station, sushi and Asian station, make your own omlette, individual egg dishes, yogurt parfaits, bagels, french toast, potatoes, vegetables, pizza, assorted breads, and basically everything you could ever want in any meal all in one buffet. To top it off, mimosas were also included.

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The aftermath.

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As if I didn’t eat my own body weight in EVERYTHING, there was no way I was missing out on dessert. Surrounding me was a gelato bar with flavors such as salted caramel peanut, strawberry balsamic, cookies and cream, among many others. There were also cases of little pastries and tarts, chocolate covered strawberries, individual molten lava cakes, peach cobbler, apple pie, as well as a ton of other sweet treats! By the time we finished, we could barely breathe, but it was a fabulous start to an unbelievable trip!

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After changing into our bikinis we headed down to the pool. Since it is Vegas after all, I decided to indulge in an alcoholic popsicle. The Neapolitan is a poolside ice cream shop serving up alcoholic frozen treats. They offer popsicles, ice cream, smoothies, and shakes which use liquid nitrogen and unique ingredients. Another “since it’s Vegas” sentence, the bartenders wear an open lab coat with their bikini peeking through. My popsicle of choice was the Watermelon Margarita with Cucumber Segments dipped in Chile Salt and topped with pop rocks. It was pleasantly refreshing, and not too strong, but it was a little too heavy on the salt for my liking so I tried to wipe some of it off. One of my friends ordered their spin on a pina colada, which was a coconut popsicle spiked with Don Q Coconut Rum and chunks of pineapple, and topped with shaved coconut. She thoroughly enjoyed her selection.

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After lounging by the pool, we decided to take a walk down the strip and do some sightseeing. Of course a pool side day really works up an appetite so I was excited to see that the famous Pink’s from Los Angeles was right across from our hotel. They serve a variety of hot dogs and toppings. We ordered one plain beef dog, one veggie dog topped with veggies and guacamole, and one beef dog topped with chili and onions. The fries were just as delicious, as they were thin and crispy, just how I like them.

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Later on in the night we visited Tao for dinner. I started off with a berry martini which was quite enjoyable. I love sharing a whole bunch of dishes, which is how Asian food usually works, so I was quite pleased that we could all agree on our selections. We ordered the spicy tuna roll, sweet potato tempura, bamboo steamed vegetable dumplings, and chicken dumplings. These were all quite tasty. We continued our ordering with the delicious soy ginger glazed salmon with udon noodles and spinach. The salmon was cooked perfectly and was not too fishy, and the noodles had the perfect amount of bite and saltiness to them. The Roasted Thai Buddha Chicken was incredibly moist, yet had a nice sweetness to it on the outside. To keep things a little healthy, we ordered a side of asparagus. My favourite of the night was the jumbo coconut shrimp in a Thai curry sauce. The shrimp were so juicy on the inside, yet crispy on the outside with the creamy curry sauce melting in your mouth at every bite. This says a lot since I am not a huge fan of coconut or curry, but somehow the combination was out of this world. Our last dish was the Lo Mein with chicken and vegetables. I have to say this dish was a little bit boring, but we still managed to polish it off.

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After a night out, we woke up pretty hungry and ready to start our day. The concierge suggested we try Cafe Bellagio which was right beside our hotel in the Bellagio, of course. I ordered corned beef hash which came with a huge pile of corned beef, some potato hash, and topped with two over easy eggs. It was a great start to the morning. Everyone else ordered standard breakfast foods such as bagel with lox, and omlettes. We were all pleased with our selections.

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After hearing great things about N9ne Steakhouse, we instantly made a reservation. Our dishes of choice were the filet mignon, sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions, Kobe burger with fries, and the penne pasta with chicken, broccolini, heirloom tomatoes, sweet onions, and pesto. Each entrée was delicious and satisfying. Although we were pretty full, we did save a little room for something sweet. The warm powdered sugar donuts with a side of chocolate and caramel sauces were truly a delicious end to a wonderful meal.

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For our last night we figured we would go somewhere rather fun and unique, so we chose Sugar Factory at the Paris hotel. This restaurant is known for their crazy desserts and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The menu is filled with different cocktails which come in a large glass and are meant for sharing. For some reason we picked the gummy worm one which was overly sweet and almost undrinkable. I would not recommend this drink, although the alcohol infused gummy bears were a nice treat. As for the main course, we ordered spaghetti with shrimp in a garlic olive oil sauce, Chinese chicken salad, Ahi tuna sliders, savoury crepe with vegetables and goat cheese, and a veggie burger. The food was pretty mediocre. I would suggest visiting this restaurant for late night food, breakfast, or dessert. However, the star of the meal was the dessert. A piece of chocolate, banana, peanut butter cake was gone in no time. Each one of the desserts sounded incredible such as milkshakes, cakes, sundaes, fondue, crepes, and waffles.

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Breakfast the next day, and our last meal of the trip was enjoyed at Society Café at Encore hotel. Everyone’s meal was up to par, but I only took a photo of my dish because it was to die for. I ordered the buttermilk pancakes topped with berries. It sounds so simple, which it was, but the smooth, fluffy hotcakes were truly something special.

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So sorry for such a long post. It sounds like we ate a lot more than we did. While we were there we felt like we didn’t really overdo it with the food. My next trip to Vegas will focus on trying new restaurants and maybe eating even a little bit more!

 

 

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