Cinnamon Swirl Choc Chip Banana Bread

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While browsing various blogs, I stumbled upon this recipe which I instantly felt the desire to eat. But I guess wanting to eat something means I have to make it, so right after work, I headed straight to the kitchen. It seemed rather simple, and not too unhealthy, so I gave it a shot.

Using coconut oil provides a dose of healthy fat, while also adding only a slight hint of coconut flavour. The mix of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour also amps up the health factor, providing plenty of fiber as well. Oh and the yogurt too. I decided to use plain non-fat yogurt to add protein without any extra fat. Great idea if you ask me 😉

The cinnamon swirl in this banana bread is what really excited me, so next time I would have put a little bit more of the brown sugar mixture between the layers.

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Ingredients

For the bread:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3)

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate chips to taste (I added these to the recipe)

For the swirl:

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Marben

Marben is situated quietly on Wellington Street away from all the King Street hustle and bustle. It has been on my list of places to go for quite some time. The rustic, yet elegant front patio is what initially sparked my interest. Once I walked inside however, I knew it was a good choice. Ingredients are sourced locally and are incredibly fresh.

The drinks menu was quite impressive, with a wide selection of cocktails, and wine. I was in the mood for something light and fruity, so I opted for Sangria. Once that was downed, I decided to try the Watermelon Smash. I can’t stop thinking about that drink. Cold, fresh, juicy chunks of watermelon and it’s juice, combined with gin, citrus and cava really made for one of my favourite cocktails I have ever tried. I would go back just for this drink. Well, and the burger. But more on that in a few.

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To start, we ordered oysters from Rodney’s Oysters, which were perfectly chilled, and of course, super fresh.They slid down so smooth, and even non-oyster lovers at the table went back for seconds. The cucumber mignonette and lemon on the side accompanied them perfectly. Our next appetizer was fried smelts. I was a liiiiiittle bit iffy on this choice, and the idea of eating these fat, juicy, strong tasting fish, but the tempura batter took down the flavour a little bit, which I was pleased about.

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Marben is known to have one of the best burgers in the city, so I have been jonesing to try it. I also wanted to taste something else on the menu, so Jonty and I decided to share the burger along with the catch of the day, which was sea bass. The fish was cooked perfectly through, was very smooth and velvety, and served with a delicious basil gnocchi and potato-truffle emulsion. The dish was creamy, yet light and was a nice addition to the rich burger.

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Now for the star of the show. My first bite into the medium-rare short rib burger topped with a Branston pickle and cheddar cheese was heavenly. Local Bradford beef, a housemade bun, and some sort of sweetness to the burger most certainly lived up to it’s hype. Crispy, salty fries and coleslaw were served on the side to complete this wonderful gastronomic experience.

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I highly suggest you visit Marben and indulge in one of their fantastic cocktails, and of course the burger!

Magnum Pleasure Store-Toronto

RUN, DON’T WALK!! Get to the Magnum Pleasure Store in Toronto ASAP as it is only here for the month of July. I have been etching to go all month and last night was finally the night. If you haven’t heard about this genius pop up, it’s a make-your-own-Mangum ice cream bar shop.

The line-up out the door was totally worth it. First you pick your ice cream-vanilla or chocolate, followed by your dip-white, milk, or dark chocolate, next comes the toppings, and then finished with either white, milk or dark chocolate drizzle. All of this is a flat rate of only $6.00 which I found to be quite reasonable.

My creation was vanilla ice cream dipped in white chocolated coated with toffee bits, crumbled biscuits, hazlenuts and chocolate flakes drizzled in milk chocolate, and topped off with a little chocolate Magnum logo.

The combination of ice cream, chocolate and toppings came together OH SO NICELY. It was rich, decadent, indulgent, and soooooo yummy. I want one right now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day…Go.Get.One.Now.

Located at 11 Bloor St. beside H&M

Electric Mud

As if the owners of Grand Electric wern’t busy enough maintaining their Parkdale taco spot, they can now add smokehouse to their list. Electric Mud is their new project, serving southern inspired BBQ food, around the corner from Grand Electric.

I personally loved the ambiance, which receives mixed reviews by other critics and visitors. Inside is very tiny, casual and kind of rustic and edgy with 80’s beer advertisements on the wall. The patio is what really excites me. Picnic tables, and outdoor lights strung above gave it a very summer BBQ, backyard vibe. We did go with another couple and were seated beside two other diners, which was a little cramped, but nothing to get upset about.

Now onto the food. To start, I ordered the Sweet Tea which was iced tea spiked with bourbon, which was pretty strong, but a nice touch. We started with a salad of shoots, greens, radishes, jalapenos, green onions, crispy fried pieces of I’m not sure what, tossed in a creamy buttermilk dressing. It was a fresh start to our rather indulgent meal. Speaking of indulgent, next was fried chicken. Since each dish is rather small, it is meant to be shared, which makes eating only one small piece of fried chicken feel okay. It was incredibly moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, with the perfect coating and honey and tobasco drizzle.

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As for sides, we chose the potato salad, coleslaw, and collard greens. Each were a refreshing addition, which a nice tang from the coleslaw, creaminess from the potato salad, and unexpected spice from the collard greens.

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We decided to try something different and order the catfish sandwich, which was a wonderful decision. Blackened catfish topped with some sort of mayo sauce, yellow peppers, shredded lettuce, and the best part-potato chips! This sandwich was incredibly flavourful, we debated ordering another.

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The star of the show was definitely the brisket sandwich. Tender, juicy, medium cooked thin slices of brisket on a soft bun topped with fried onion strings and green onions was seriously one of the best things we have eaten in a long time. This is a drip-down-your-arm kind of sandwhich. The juice from the meat and the creamy drizzle of sauce work oh so nicely together. Since this was so mouthwatering, the boys decided to order another one at the end, and us girls chose dessert instead (with a few bites of brisket of course!)

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Our friends ordered the pork ribs and since we don’t eat pork, we believe them when they say they were fall off the bone, and quite tasty, topped with green onions and peanuts.

The beef rib comes with one rib, which Jonty and I shared because it was quite large. It tasted so smoky and sweet, and the meat was incredibly juicy as well.

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Banana cream pie for dessert!!! It was more of a parfait than a pie, since had a graham cracker crust and was layered with creamy banana-y goodness and banana chunks , topped with whipped cream. Oh my. This was unreal. It was so unreal that we ordered another one. Along with our second one we ordered their pralines and cream soft serve ice cream. It was the best ending to an incredible meal.

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Electric Mud is the perfect place to come if you are looking for an indulgent, flavourful meal, which is even better when the sun is shining down on the outdoor patio.

Los Angeles Part 2

Feast your eyes on these pancakes. The Griddle Cafe, as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, located on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood is known for their huge pancakes. As soon as we walked in we saw the size of these griddle cakes. I have never in my life seen such ginormous pancakes. We sat down and ordered just one pancake for the two of us because truthfully, we wanted to be able to eat again that day. Our choice was the Cinnamon, Banana, Brown Sugar Streusel pancakes. They were huge, fluffy, sweet, and satisfying. The two of us barely made a dent in these, and still left feeling quite stuffed.

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Later that day we were feeling hungry again, so we decided to grab a bite at Toast Bakery Cafe. This restaurant is pretty well known by locals and tourists and is quite a trendy spot. It has been featured on shows such as “The Hills”, “Entourage” and “Rachel Zoe”. Whether you stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there are plenty of options to choose from. Since it was kind of an off time to eat, Jonty and I just shared a delicious, fresh chicken wrap with a side of fries.

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I do enjoy eating healthy, as hard as it may be to believe. Fresh pressed juice and juice cleanses are all the rage these days, and I have been jonesing to try Pressed Juicery in Los Angeles, which is a trendy hot spot, and celebrity favourite. I was in need of a little refresher, so I chose the “Greens 2” and “Greens 3”. They contained kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon, and the Greens 3 had ginger added to it. To be honest, they are not the best tasting things, but they are drinkable and extremely healthy and nutrient dense.

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Dinner time had come around and we decided on the well-known, supposedly amazing, Asian fusion spot called Katsuya. Located in the heart of Hollywood this chic, trendy, bustling restaurant is packed every night. We arrived without a reservation, so we had a drink at the bar while we waited about a half hour for a table.

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At first glance of the menu, we knew we were in for a treat. For appetizers, we ordered the sashimi salad which was mixed greens with a spicy, creamy ponzu dressing, topped with the chef’s selection of assorted sashimi. The freshness of the fish, paired with the raw vegetables was a refreshing start to the meal. The next dish is what Katsuya is most famous for, the Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna. After the first bite, it was clear why it is their most sought after dish. Picture white rice, fried to a crispy texture, and topped with a mixture of raw tuna and spicy mayo. The taste was explosive. I could use one of these right about now!

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Wagyu tenderloin was next. Now, I am not exaggerating when I say this, but I can confidently say that it was one of the best steak dishes I have ever had. It was slow roasted and served with soy au jus. The sweetness, juiciness and perfect texture really made this stand out.

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As for rolls, we ordered a yellowtail roll, spider roll, and another Katsuya favourite, the Rock Shrimp Tempura roll. This roll was a spicy tuna roll on crack, since it was topped with rock shrimp tempura tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce. These rolls were out of this world, and some of the best I have ever had.

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After all this eating, it was time for some physical activity. California is known for it’s amazing hiking trails, so we chose the beautiful, quiet Topanga Canyon in Malibu. However, we did need some fuel before this journey. We stopped at a local Manhattan Beach favourite called Uncle Bill’s Pancake house. Our seat on the patio with the ocean as our backdrop and the sun beating down on us could not have been more perfect. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we went all out. We both ordered eggs, mine with hash browns his with fries, which each came with either pancakes, toast or muffins, so between the two of us, we got all three! On top of all this, Jonty ordered a chicken, apple sausage. Our table was barely big enough for all this food. The pancakes were fluffy, the muffins were moist and full of flavour, and the whole meal really hit the spot.

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Along the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) in Malibu is this little fish shop called the Reel Inn. We stopped by and enjoyed a platter of fried goodness on the back patio. Delicious calamari, shrimp, haddock, and french fries filled our bellies.

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Here is some proof that we actually got some exercise (along with a breathtaking view)!

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If you ever go to LA, you must visit Venice. Some really cool restaurants and shops can be found around here. For dinner, we picked Gjelina, based on wonderful reviews and recommendations. The atmosphere is dark, almost industrial, with a trendy vibe. While waiting outside for our table, I spotted the canoodling couple, Adam Brody and Leighton Meester! Anyways, back to the food. We were seated on the gorgeous outdoor patio, furnished with wooden furniture, and vines growing along the walls. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of our pizza, which was topped with mushrooms, goat cheese, fontina cheese and truffle oil. They are all cooked in a wood burning oven and come out a little bit burnt, but regardless it was still enjoyable. Next was the hanger steak with chili, lime, mint and spring onions, which were all grilled and cooked perfectly. Our other choices were salt and pepper frites with romesco (nut and red pepper-based sauce) and a garlic aioli, along with kale which seemed almost BBQ’d, topped with a yogurt, ricotta sauce, shaved fennel, and macadamia nuts. The kale was a little burnt for our liking, but the crunch and nuttiness from the macadamia nuts and the unexpected creaminess from the sauce brought it all together. The fries however were unreal. Thin, crispy and salty, just how I like them.

*sorry, the picture isn’t so great, it was dark outside and I really don’t like using the flash…

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The next day we headed to Santa Monica and decided on Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, since Jonty had always wanted to try it and it was located right on the pier, overlooking the beach. Another fried platter for us (FML!), which included hush puppies, fried fish, shrimp, and french fries.

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After walking along Venice Beach, we were starting to feel a little peckish. We stopped by the take-out window, Schulzies, which is a little bread pudding shop. We chose a small sampler which is three flavours, in which I chose, original, blackberry, and caramel. It was incredibly sweet, amazing, and rich, so the size was perfect for us to share. That being said, next door we came across a sashimi place called Poke Poke. This was an unexpected, yet incredible discovery. We chose spicy tuna on top of brown rice. The fish was so fresh, the sauce was perfect, and the healthy brown rice made us almost lick the bowl clean.

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***Almost done, I promise!

Finally, what has been the topic of conversation, our dreams, and our imagination, finally became reality. It came time to try the one and only Rocoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.

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Jonty and I love chicken and waffles, but have always wanted to try the original, famous hot spot. Naturally, we ordered a ton of food. Fried chicken, waffles, cornbread, mac and cheese, chicken sausage, and french fries. When it all arrived, we dug our faces right in and didn’t look up. We were in actual heaven. The chicken was obviously amazing, juicy and fried to perfection, along with a thin, yet buttery waffle. I love cornbread, and this just tasted so traditional, especially with a spread of butter. The mac and cheese also tasted like it was right out of the south, so creamy and cheesy. This meal was so indulgent and highly anticipated that I literally felt like this was our last meal on Earth. Thankfully it wasn’t (as you will see below)!

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Nate ‘n Al is a deli in Beverly Hills, who is visited quite often by Larry King. Just like any Jewish deli, it is usually packed, serves huge portions, and has very outdated decor. Jonty and I could not decide which meat we wanted, so we got the best of both world’s with the Reuben sandwich, which was piled with corned beef, pastrami, swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and coleslaw. A side of skinny fries, a side of fat fries, and a side of turkey bacon and we were off to the races. This deli did not disappoint, even though we have our fair share of traditional delis in Toronto.

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One last trip to Uncle Bill’s, In N’ Out and Randy’s the morning of our flight and we were off to the airport with two very full, yet satisfied bellies.

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There you have it folks, two long, detailed posts about how we stuffed our faces in my favourite state, and hopefully gave you some ideas if you ever want to travel there!

A Lot of Eating in Los Angeles-part 1

I have a major love affair with the entire state of California. The relaxed, beachy atmosphere just gives me that warm fuzzy feeling inside. I am not exactly a winter person and I dream of the day I can move to LA. That being said, it has been quite a number of years since my recent visit to the West Coast. Also, Jonty had never been, so we decided to take a little vacay. I counted down the days until we left and savoured every moment. With every vacation comes my excitement for food. This trip was no different, as we did plenty of eating.

Right after booking our flight, we knew the first stop would be In N’ Out Burger. I have had it years ago but Jonty had never been so lucky. I was salivating the entire flight just thinking about what was to come in a number of hours. As planned, right from the airport we made our first of many stops at this famous burger joint. I ordered a cheeseburger, while Jonty got a double, with a side of animal fries (topped with their special “spread”, cheese, and fried onions). OH MAN was it delicious!! We inhaled it so quickly and realized that nothing quite compares to an In N’ Out Burger. It just doesn’t.

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The next morning we decided to take a stroll in downtown Manhattan Beach, which is the little beach town we stayed in. Many LA food guides and bloggers that I follow suggested a trendy restaurant called Manhattan Beach Post for brunch, lunch or dinner. We decided to try it out for brunch and was not disappointed. The corned beef hash with egg on top and the caramelized apple french toast with walnuts were incredible. However, the only downside was that the portions were quite small and the prices were a little high. Since we were on vacation and like to try tons of different restaurants, we refrained from ordering more and figured we would eat somewhere else to fill our hunger that remained. While exploring the area, we came across a fast food type restaurant called lemonade. As soon as we walked in, we fell in LOVE. It is a counter/cafeteria style and has plenty of healthy options such as kale salad, cabbage salad, quinoa, among many others. There are also sandwiches, prepared meats, soups, and desserts. The best part of it all is the various flavours of lemonade. Our favourite was the blueberry mint and watermelon rosemary. We also ordered a plate of different salads which was a nice healthy addition to our brunch.

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After a little walking, we felt that it was time for a donut. Now not just any ordinary Dunkin Donut. It is all about Randy’s donuts. You may recognize it from various TV shows or movies. It’s that big donut on top of a building, known as Randy’s Donuts. I have been here as a child, but barely remembered what the donuts tasted like, but I knew they were good based on the amount my parents/everyone who’s been to LA talk about them. We pulled up to this tiny walk-thru and drive-thru window and the smell in the air was pure bliss. As per usual, there was quite the line-up. The donuts are not crazy, unique flavours. They are simple and classic. The best two in my opinion are the plain glazed and the chocolate glazed. On top of those two we got a cinnamon streusel cake donut and a jelly donut for Jonty (I’m not a fan). We immediately ate all 4 donuts before reaching the car. The taste is almost impossible to describe. You just have to try one. They taste so light, not overly sweet, and exactly how a donut should taste. Let’s just say we visited Randy’s four times during our stay and even brought a dozen home to Toronto for our families.

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That night we met up with some cousins of mine who live in LA and they took us to Umami Burger, which I have only heard good things about. We enjoyed the truffle burger which was topped with house-made truffle cheese and drizzled with truffle glaze. The burger was incredibly tasty and moist. The fries were also my favourite type of fry, thin and crispy. Along with plain fries, we ordered truffle fries which were topped with some sort of truffle infused sauce.

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Our next meal happened as a coincidence. A while back, Jonty and I saw an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives where they went to a restaurant called The Boiling Shrimp, which serves shrimp in a plastic bag. We made it our mission to try it one day. As we were driving through Hollywood, we randomly thought of going there but didn’t know where it was located. We pulled over and was about to look it up on our phone, when all of a sudden I turned my head to the left and we were literally right beside it. If that’s not faith then I don’t know what is. The shrimp come steaming hot in a plastic bag with whichever spices you want. We got a mix of a whole bunch, with a side of the Cajun fries. The shrimp were so succulent and tasty. We are thrilled to cross that off our food bucket list!

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The weather in LA started off a little gloomy, so we figured heading to the desert would be just what we needed after our long Toronto winter. The entire drive to Palm Springs was cloudy, and I was starting to get angry!! I was convinced that I was bringing horrible weather with me wherever I went. That was until we literally entered Palm Springs. It was quite surreal actually. We drove from pure grey clouds straight into BLUE SKIES!! It truly felt euphoric, and was the perfect pick-me-up. We spent the afternoon by the pool, with a break for lunch at the one and only, In-N-Out once again.

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For dinner we walked up and down the main street until we found a nice, busy restaurant with a patio called Lulu, so we got a table. The food was alright, but the only dish worth mentioning was the tuna tower which was tuna sashimi layered with avocado with a soy ginger sauce. It tasted extremely fresh and the sauce added a nice sweetness to the dish.

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After doing some research for a brunch/breakfast spot, I came across Cheeky’s which was close to our hotel. I could tell it was going to be a great start to the morning just by how busy this place was. We waited about 20 minutes and then got seated on the wonderful outdoor patio. As if it mattered at this point, I tried to be a little healthy by ordering the kale acai icee which was just kale, acai berries and ice blended. Jonty chose freshly squeezed blood orange juice. As for the food, we shared a few dishes which were, truffle tater tots, salted caramel waffles with apple chips, and a herb rolled omelette with a croissant and side of mixed greens. Each dish was better than the next, I didn’t know where to bite first. We thoroughly enjoyed this breakfast and I kept mentioning all day/trip how much I loved Cheeky’s.

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We headed back to LA and went for dinner with my uncle who lives there. We couldn’t decide on a place, so he suggested we go to a few different restaurants and just have something small at each. Jonty had some obsession with trying Chick-fil-A, so we started our food tour by sharing a fried chicken sandwich with waffle fries. It was a yummy start for our taste buds. Next we headed to the famous Philippe the Original which is known for their french dip sandwiches. Jonty and I shared a double dipped beef dip which was incredibly moist from the au-jus on a soft, white bun with a side of creamy pasta salad. This was by far the best beef dip sandwich I have ever had. It literally melted in my mouth.

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Our next stop was Bottega Louie. The moment we entered this Italian spot I was in awe!! I loooooved it in there. The huge, open space with high ceilings and a very plain, yet chic white interior was buzzing on this Monday evening. A huge display of desserts greeted us as we walked in, which included numerous flavours of French macarons and beignets. There was also prepared foods, as well as coffee and other beverages sold at this front counter space. We were seated and greeted by a friendly waitress and brought an interesting shaped bread, which was perfectly complemented by soft, salty butter. Since this was already stop number three, we opted for just a pizza to share. We couldn’t decide on which one, so we got half of one pizza and half of another which gave us a chance to try some different combinations. One half was topped with fontina cheese, mozzarella, creme fraiche, shittake mushrooms, garlic and Italian parsley, and the other half had ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, roasted garlic, and wild rocket arugula. The soft crust topped with fresh ingredients was the perfect choice. I will most defitnely visit Bottega Louie on my next trip to Los Angeles!

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As a little treat for later, which Jonty and I enjoyed in bed, we brought home one nutella stuffed beignet and a few macarons. I was literally in heaven. The nutella oozed out of the fried doughy goodness. My mouth waters at the thought.

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Our last stop was Canter’s deli to take a look. We were all incredibly stuffed and definetly did not have any room for a huge deli sandwhich. However, there is always room for dessert. Along with my treats from Bottega, we got a little slice of carrot cake, plain cheesecake, and cookies and cream cheesecake to bring back home with us. *Although not the most appetizing photo, I can assure you they tasted juuuusssst fine 🙂

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Stay tuned for the rest of our eats in part 2, coming soon!

Oddseoul

Ossington has been buzzing for quite some time now, gaining more and more popularity as the days go on. New to the neighborhood is Oddseoul, coming to you from the brothers behind Swish by Han. This Korean meets American no reservations restaurant means business. On any given night you can find a line up out the door waiting for a table in the 40 seat gem. The dishes are small, meant to be shared, and quite reasonably priced. Dinner for two including beer can easily come in at around $50.

First on our list was the spicy scallion and avocado slaw. To be quite honest, I was a little disappointed when it arrived. It was greens, a couple slices of avocado and a few circles of hot peppers tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. Not exactly my idea of a slaw. It was tasty, just nothing to get excited about.

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Next we were graced with large spicy Korean chicken wings doused in extremely hot gochujang barbeque sauce, but still with enough crunch to satisfy.

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The next 2 dishes were OH WOW YUM YUM!! The Han brothers grew up in Philadelphia, so they decided to take their own spin on a Philly Cheesesteak. Take a baguette, stuff it with bulgogi (soy sauce, sugar, garlic, sesame seeds) marinated shredded beef, grilled onions, white American Cheese, kimchi, and a creamy mayo-mustard sauce. You don’t even know how delicious this creation is. However, there was some competition with their very own take on the hamburger, “The Loosey”. A mixture of short rib and brisket are slapped between two buttery pieces of challah bread, topped with processed cheese, shredded lettuce, ketchup and mayo. They are seriously giving the Big Mac a run for it’s money. I haven’t decided whether I prefer the bulgogi or “The Loosey”, because they are both shockingly flavourful, so I will continue to order both.

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Since the dishes are small, we were not finished yet. Our next choice was the tempura shrimp, tossed with Japanese chili paste, Japanese mayo called Kewpie, and flying fish roe. The tempura batter was thick and crispy with a generous coating of sauce.

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Lastly, the Korean beef Ssam platter arrived, which were ultimately Korean lettuce wraps. The menu offers a choice of meats, condiments and wraps (lettuce, tao or rice paper, depending on your choice of filling). We chose the Beef Short Rib platter which was accompanied by lettuce for wrapping, housemade pickles, kimchi, and bean curd chili sauce. This dish is also served with Kimchi fried rice with an egg over top. The serving of rice was quite generous, and the flavour was explosive. The entire meal was an exciting, unique journey for my taste buds.

We did try to revisit Oddseoul again but unfortunately it was an extremely long wait. I do plan on going back again soon though, and it is well worth the wait.

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!

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