TO Food Fest 2014

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The current weather probably has everyone wishing it was summer again. I know, this is a late post but I’m sure if you enjoyed this past summer as much as I did, this will take you back to those days when there was more sun than clouds and rain.

This event has been going on for three years but I feel like the crowd hasn’t increased that much. There does seem to be more buzz but people aren’t coming from all parts of Toronto to attend it (except a small handful). Most of the attendees are from the Scarborough area and with good reason. It’s pretty far into the East end and this is the only food event I know of in that area aside from the ones at the JCCC.

Taro Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream -  Ice Volcano

The first stall I passed by was Ice Volcano and it’s always interesting watching vendors make nitrogen ice cream. My flavour of choice was the Taro Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream because I love taro and I always go for the one that’s a little out of the ordinary. I loved how there were actual chunks of taro and it was smooth and didn’t melt too quickly.

Oma's Rissoles - Babi & Co

The Oma’s Rissoles from Babi & Co was a new item that they recently added to their menu. It’s a deep fried crepe with ground pork and spices. I was really anticipating this one but it didn’t really hit the spot for me. While the crepe was cooked to a nice crisp, the filling wasn’t flavoured very well and made it pretty bland.

Babi on a Bun - Babi & Co

Something I always get from Babi & Co when I see them at an event is their Babi on a Bun. I love how the fried bao is crispy on the outside but the inside is soft. The pork belly is mouth-watering and the extra sauce with pickled cucumbers makes it to die for!

Palabok - Kanto

I’ve seen Kanto at a few events but never had anything from them. Their Palabok was really disappointing. It’s a stir-fried rice noodle dish but there’s too much going on and it’s extremely salty.

Monk Cream Puff - Monk

As you know, I love my desserts and Monk had a tempting array of pastries that I couldn’t turn away from. My first choice was their Monk Cream Puff that had a smooth custard that oozed when you bit into it. I wish the shell was a little softer but still delicious nonetheless.

Salted Caramel Macaron - Monk

Monk’s Salted Caramel Macaron was perfect; the filling was smooth and not too buttery while the shell was hard and melted in your mouth.

Most food events are a good experience; I have yet to go to one and say it was a complete waste of time. Unfortunately, TO Food Fest is a one-day event and that hasn’t changed so mark your calendars because if you miss it, it won’t be back for another year!

Crispy Apple Chips

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I’ve been really into healthy snacks recently but I don’t like going from one extreme to another. I lean more towards something made with wholesome ingredients without preservatives but cheat by adding some flavouring or chocolate; like this snack!

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Surprisingly, I found this at my local No Frills and it’s dehydrated apples drizzled with some dark chocolate. There are no preservatives and it’s gluten free.

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Some dried apples I’ve had in the past are soft but I love how Martin’s Apple Chips are crunchy and that  drizzle of chocolate makes it so much more addicting! If you want a little of both worlds, definitely pick up a bag and try them out. I’m sure you can find them in the healthy foods section of your local supermarket.

Ferrovia Ristorante Review

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7355 Bayview Avenue (Markham)

(905) 695-0110

www.ferroviaristorante.ca

Pricing: Average – Pricey

Cuisine: Italian

Type: Semi-Casual Restaurant

Rating

Atmosphere: 9/10

Food: 8/10

Service: 9/10

Ferrovia Ristorante on Urbanspoon

I love the atmosphere of this restaurant; it has very dim lighting but each table has its’ own light so it makes things more intimate. So if you’re on a first date, keep this place in mind!

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Fresh Bread with a hummus spread? Yes please! Although be careful not to consume too much or you won’t have room for dessert.

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The Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio is a raw dish with the sides of the beef slightly charred. It also comes with an arugula salad that is dressed with a light vinaigrette. It looks very simple but the sharpness of the cheese compliments the beef nicely.

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The Steamed PEI Mussels were fresh and tossed in a tomato wine sauce. I love seafood, especially shellfish and that includes mussels.

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For my main, I had the Risotto with Zucchini and Asparagus because it had two of my favorite vegetables. You’ll notice that most risotto dishes are vegetarian. Considering that it’s a pasta rice dish and it’s simmered in a cream sauce. Adding meat to it would be too heavy. Even though the rice is cooked perfectly and seasoned great, I always struggle to finish it at the end because it’s just too heavy but so good!

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The Steak looks small but it’s quite filling! It cooked nicely and so tender. The mashed potatoes are smooth and fluffy and everything is seasoned well.

2014-01-05 20.55.54They usually ask you whether you want coffee and dessert after. Usually I say no but this time, I decided to go all out. I ordered a Latte, thinking it would be small but I forgot I was at an Italian restaurant so it was in a bigger cup (which is actually accurate). I loved how it came with a biscotti to dip  and was lightly sweetened.

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Creme Brûlée, one of my favourite desserts. It was deliciously smooth and melted in your mouth. If I order a creme brûlée and it does both of these things, I’m content. The only way it can really be bad is if it’s chunky or isn’t sweetened at all.

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Tiramisu will always be one of my favourites but as of late, I think I’ve had it so much that I’m getting a little tired of it. I like how the rum was faint but the mascarpone spread was a little crumbly so it wasn’t mixed very throughly.

NatureBox Canada – September 2014 Review

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I know I say this every time but I really do think this one is better than the last.Every box has something that I’m not particularly fond of and I end up giving it to Duy. It’s funny, something I don’t like Duy ends up loving and vice versa. I guess that’s why this works for us :).

In this box, you’ll find:

  • Ancient Grains Granola
  • Apple Cinnamon Crave
  • Santa Fe Corn Stix
  • Flax Fortune Cookies
  • Asiago and Cheddar Cheese Crisps

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Ancient Grains Granola

A mix of oats, quinoa, kamut, amaranth and spelt with toasted coconut.

Manley-Icon

“I took a bite of this and my eyes lit up. This one is really different and it has less granola and more and more grains. I would eat this one right out of the bag.”

Duy-Icon

“This was granola? It’s more like a delicious and healthy cereal if you ask me.”

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Apple Cinnamon Crave

Fruit and nut mix with peanuts, almonds and apples.

Manley-Icon

“I’m usually not a fan of fruit and nut mixes but this is nice because each one has a different level of sweetness. The peanuts and almonds are lightly salted, the dried apples are sweet but a bit tarte as well. There’s one more nut that is glazed with honey and is really addicting. I can see why they only put a few in there.”

Duy-Icon

“I absolutely loved these! The apple and white chocolate bits really gives it a kick.”

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Santa Fe Corn Stix

Manley-Icon

“These remind me of the Fritos Corn Chips but you don’t feel as guilty eating them. If you’re a fan of those or Corn Nuts, you’ll definitely like these as well.”

Duy-Icon

“I didn’t mind these, but they felt too much like a junk food for something I would expect from Naturebox.”

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Flax Fortune Cookies

Mini cookies with flax seeds.

Manley-Icon

“I love these cookies; they’re light and even though it’s lightly sprinkled with flax seeds, it doesn’t change the taste too much. Sometimes, flax seeds in huge amount can be unappetizing.”

Duy-Icon

“I didn’t expect flax in this form, but hey, it worked. Makes a good and light snack when you’re craving.”

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Asiago and Cheddar Cheese Crisps

Manley-Icon

“Asiago is my favourite flavoured cheese. It’s quite sharp but has a sweet aroma to it as well. The crisps taste baked and have a nice crunch when you bite into it.”

Duy-Icon

“The cheese is too strong for me, one bite was quite enough.” (Editor’s Note: Boooo Duy, boo!)

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles

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I love noodles (sometimes more than rice *gasp*) but rice noodles have to be one of my favourite. I love foods that are chewy and it’s the same reason I love squid so much.

Anyways, back on topic. My dad has a great rice noodle dish and I got him to show me how it’s done. I’m going to share the recipe with you and hopefully it turns out just as good.

First, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 3 stalks green onion
  • 300g beef, sliced
  • 1 package rice noodle, peeled
  • 1 pound bean sprouts, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
  • pinch black pepper
  • half onion
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons oil

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Marinate the beef with corn starch, a tablespoon of oil, black pepper and a tablespoon of oyster sauce. Set aside.

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The rice noodle will come in a bag or styrofoam plate. Makes sure it is peeled and separated like this.

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In a small bowl, mix the hot water with the sugar, dark soy sauce, remaining oyster sauce and fish sauce. Mix well.

Chop the green onions approximately an inch apart and set aside.

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Heat a large pan or wok on medium-high heat. Oil the pan with two tablespoons of oil.

Cook the beef in a wok until just brown. Remove and set aside in a bowl. Cook the onions until they are half-cooked. Add the rice noodles and half of the sauce.

Add the bean sprouts, remaining sauce and beef.

Once the beef is added, mix evenly for two minutes and spread evenly.

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Place it in a bowl and enjoy! This recipe feeds about three people so you can always adjust it accordingly.

Real Fruit Gummies

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I love gummy candy because it’s fun to eat, although I hate jujubes because they stick to your teeth. One of my favourites has always been the Real Fruit Gummies made by Dare. They’re made with real fruit juice and you can taste the quality that goes into these gummies. They’re also fat-free and gluten-free.

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From the medley pack, you have the following: strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, lemon, orange and cherry.

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From the tropical one, there’s: passion fruit, papaya, mango, pineapple, and strawberry-kiwi.

There are more varieties available including yogourt, orchard, super fruits, berries and fun shapes but not all stores have all of them. I have yet to chew my way through all of them but I will get through them eventually!