Saturday, November 28, 2015

20 Foodie Gifts from the One of a Kind Show

The One of a Kind Show and Sale is back at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place and I went for the media preview on thursday morning to check it out.  

I picked out 20 Gifts you can buy for the FOODIES on your Christmas List.

Who doesn't love food gifts?

A one stop shop.  Most of these things are food but there are a couple of other fun things foodies would appreciate.  

Besides all the Artisan foods you can get all kinds of arts and crafts and there is lots of pottery to pick up for people to eat and drink all this food from.

Deck you foodie's halls with all of these goodies at the show.


1.  Fancy Jelly Tree
2.  Better Than Sex coated fruit and nuts
2.  Forbes Wild Foods Mustards and pickled vegetables
3.  Foie Gras Pate
4.  Hot sauces and marinades
5.  Crab and Lobster dip
6.  Macaroon soaps
7.  Monkey Butters - Dark Chocolate Cherry
8.  Distill Cocktail Kit
9.  Shut Ur Pie Hole - Apple Pie in a Jar
10. Chocolate and Caramel covered Apples
11. Hot Chocolate Dippers
12. Multi Flavour Nougat candy
13. Honey Pepper, Tandoori and other flavour Beef Jerky
14. Cheese shape Soap
15. Dehydrated vegetable Framed Art

Non Food - Foodie Gifts

16.  Retro cartoon printed Dish towels
17.  Chef and Cook ornaments
18.  Quotes and photo coasters
19.  Artisan hand made pottery - Not made in China
20.  Recycled Beer bottle glasses

 There are a whole lot of other food treats and really cool artwork that you can pick up as a special gift for those hard to buy for people in your life.  Get a One of a Kind Gift that they will remember.

One stop shop.

One of a Kind Show and Sale

Show runs from November 28 to December 6, 2015
Weekdays & Saturdays 10am to 9pm  Sundays 10am to 6pm  Late night shopping on Thursday Dec 3

Friday, November 27, 2015

President's Choice Holiday PopUp

President's Choice has created something really new and fun for a large grocery retailer.  They created a Holiday Environment Pop Up on King Street West at Blue Jays Way.The really great part is that it runs for a couple of weeks before Christmas and it's totally FREE to check out and to sample bites of their special holiday PC food items.It's closed on mondays but open until 7 most nights and there are also special events there in the evenings that you have to sign up for.  I stopped by after I attended another event to check it out.  When I got there I was immediately drawn to the Nutcracker's in the window display.  It's located on the corner of the block in a pretty large space.  There is a red carpet style entrance and when you walk in you are asked to sit on a large bench while they organize a certain amount of people for the tour.  It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to go through it in groups of about 8 I think.  The entrance is beautifully decorated in holiday decor and then when you walk in you are brought to 4 different rooms.  The first room we entered had a moving train set up that moved through the town space and had places of food samples as the cargo.  It was so cool and impressive.  We sampled the cherry chocolate cake and the waffles with cookie butter and bacon maple syrup. We were then let into the Mingle room where it was decorated in greens and lighted acrylic trees displaying the dishes.  The appetizers where from the Thai appetizer collection and we also sampled some Gochichang chicken wings, butter chicken poutine and 3 of the different Thai appetizers which were all very good.
The next room was the Dinner room where we sampled a beet pasta, a piece of country ham, brussel sprouts and a potato stack.  Then we had the vanilla bean cheesecake with raspberry sauce.  We were pretty full by this time.  The last room was the Gift Room.  I thought this room was really cute with wall to wall colored boxes and were given the choice of their chocolate covered popcorn in a little clear box and another sweet treat but I can't remember what it was unfortunately.

The space is gorgeous and the fact that they sample all of these products at one time to showcase how you can entertain for the season is a great idea.   You can't purchase the foods at the pop up space but they will tell you where you can get them near you if you ask.  
I would totally recommend checking it out while you can just to see how cool the space is even. You can get great decor tips from this space and I would love to see other big retailers do something like this for the holidays.  It's fun and I know it's all marketing and meant to drive sales but it's a fun thing to do.  Be prepared as I heard that there are lineups sometimes and I am sure there will be more as people hear about it being there.  Go hungry and enjoy.

This is not a sponsored post.  I went on my own and the opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Holiday Entertaining Tips from Ricardo

RICARDO'S Entertaining Tips

I had the pleasure of spending a great couple of hours on a lovely sunny day in an office overlooking the Lake with the amazing Chef and Entrepreneur Ricardo Larivee a well known TV personality from Quebec.  A select few food bloggers, writers, food industry people were invited to chat with Ricardo about Holiday Entertaining in an informal sit down chat.  Ricardo was there to answer any questions we had and also discuss some of his tips and tricks and where he wants to go in the future.  He said he would like to be "the Celine Dion of food" meaning he wants to be a Canadian representative for food around the world.  Kind of a cool thing to aspire to.  He also wants to share the knowledge and collaborate with people like all of us bloggers to move toward the future and be ahead of the curve of where food is going and also the media industry with his magazine Ricardo, his online website and his products and any future TV or other kind of media.
Who knows what's next but he wants to know and wants to be ready for it.

We enjoyed a lovely spread of food that is featured in the Holiday edition of the Ricardo magazine. Appetizers that your guests can enjoy as the arrive at your party.  They could also be the kinds of things for drop in guests.

Some of the things we sampled were:

  • Local Quebec cheese and cracker platters
  • Fresh mixed crudite with from scratch mayonnaise
  • A Pecan crusted cheese ball
  • General Tao mini sausages
  • Chocolate covered apricots and almonds
  • Wine cocktail

I always struggle to with hosting parties even though my friends think it's easy for me.
I asked Ricardo what to do about guests that don't show up on time and have multiple food restrictions.  He said "I don't know I don't have friends like that".  Actually he said that he can get pretty tough on the start of his parties and how long he keeps the food out.

Some of Ricardo's tips for entertaining:
  1. Have food that people can nibble on and serve themselves when they arrive at the party.
  2. Only give people about a half an hour to arrive before you start serving the main dishes.
  3. Don't put out all of the food at the same time.  Start with the nibbles and then remove them after an hour and put out the next course.  
  4. Never leave a course out for more than an hour.  It's best for food safety and also for clean up and keeping the party moving.
  5. Serve them wine or have some pre mixed drinks that they can serve themselves but limit it and make sure they have food before they start drinking.
  6. If you know they are going to bring you wine ask them to bring specific wines that you want that will go with the food you are serving at the party.  
  7. If they have so many restrictions you might suggest that they bring something that will be safe for them.
  8. You decide on what you want to serve and you don't have to cater to everyone but he also takes notes on what people like and don't like and makes changes the following years.
  9. He generally invites the same people so he knows what they like.
  10. Put the food away after each course is done but let your guests know that there is some in the fridge if they would like some more.
  11. Don't make too many things.  
  12. Keep it simple.
  13. Think about the kinds of appliances that you are going to need to make all the food.  
  14. Use crockpots to keep things warm or free up on appliances.
  15. Make as much stuff in advance as you can and you can freeze or make ahead a lot of the food.
  16. Ricardo heats his plates in the oven to keep the food warm longer.
  17. If you can't find unsalted pistachio's you can rinse salted ones and then roast in the oven to dry them out.  He recommends toasting all nights to bring out the flavours.
  18. He doesn't do the dishes until after the party so that he can spend more time with guests.
  19. He believes that the one job the guests have is to entertain themselves and bring the party.
  20. He makes sure he has everything ready so that he can greet his guests and they can make themselves at home when he is greeting other guests.

I must say that I have tried to do a lot of these things but I am going to try a few other of his tips.  My challenge is that I have a small kitchen and no dishwasher so there is only so much space for the dishes but if I host a party this year I am going to consider some of these tips and make a few adjustments.  

I hope some of these tips help you enjoy your holiday gatherings with your friends and family.
Ricardo and I wish you a very happy holiday entertaining season.

Ricardo and me

Monday, November 16, 2015

Dufflet brings Sunday Tea to the Beaches

Who:            Dufflet
What:           Sunday Tea
Where:         1917 Queen Street East (Beaches)
When:          visited November 15, 2015
Why:            Sample new Sunday Tea menu

Dufflet Rosenberg reminds me of my mom.  She is a tiny dynamo baker in Toronto who has expanded her empire of tasty dessert delights.  She now has her sight set on expanding her empire in new ways.  I was invited to the exclusive location of the Dufflet bakery & cafe in the Beaches to try their new Sunday Tea Menu.

Dufflet started her first Bakery in 1975 and has been steadily building up locations, and offshoots of her business.  The Beaches location was opened in 2007.  I used to spend a lot of time in the Beaches years ago but way before this location opened so I haven't had a chance to visit this cafe until I visited it to check out their new special Sunday Tea.

I love spending a sunday afternoon having a relaxing Sunday Tea or Afternoon Tea or High Tea or whatever it's called depending on where you are and what time of day.  Either way I really like the relaxing ritual of enjoying hot tea and fresh pastries and little sandwiches with friends or family.

I spent this gloriously gorgeous sunday afternoon with my friend who is originally from Ireland so she knows something about enjoying a cup of tea and was excited to be able to join me.  Other than the fact that it was at the same time as the Santa Claus parade we couldn't have picked a better day for it.  Both of us had scratchy cold throats so a comforting tea was in order for the day.

I arrived at 2pm and had only driven by this location and never been inside so I was pleasantly surprised at how lovely the back cafe section of the bakery/cafe was.  To indicate that the table was having the Tea service there were formal white table cloths so there was only 2 tables with the tablecloths,  ours and one other table.  Other people just ordered food and beverages from the regular lunch menu.  I had a lovely reserved table right at the end where there was a glass full length door/window looking out to a tiny pretty courtyard with a supervising cat.  The sun was flowing into the space and later on as the day got darker some beautiful warm hanging lighting gave the room a warm glow.

I was presented with a list of the Tea selection which were all Sloane Teas™.  I chose the Green Tea and my friend chose the traditional Earl Grey Tea.  We were given special hour glass timers to choose our steeping strength.  I have never seen that before so I didn't know what it was.  Very interesting.

We were then presented a 3 tier selection of Tea sandwiches, one kind with smoked salmon and the other cucumber with cream cheese.  The next level was 2 kinds of scones, blueberry and black currant, they were still warm and so soft and creamy and perfect.  The top layer was a selection of a few flavours of Macarons including coffee, pistachio and raspberry.  Also a dacqoise and a chocolate cheesecake mini dessert.    We pretty much ate everything on every level and enjoyed it all.

But it was a bit light on the savoury side since we didn't have lunch beforehand so we were still craving a bit more savoury so we ordered a Turkey, cranberry and brie pannini and a Leek and cheese phyllo pastry tart.  We split them and shared them.  The leek tart was warm just out of the oven and just the most delicious and light tart that I have had in a long time.  The panini was grilled and I think the turkey must have been smoked because it tasted more like ham than it did turkey but the sandwich was good non the less.

We lingered in the cafe and caught up all afternoon and the sun was going down by the time we left.  That's how relaxing it was there.  This is the kind of place I have been craving in my neighbourhood which is filled with Asian cuisine and noisy bubble tea cafe's.  I crave a chill good quality cafe that I want to meet friends in and enjoy a little quiet catch up time.  I think this is what's missing in this city,  a quiet place to think and talk.

The Sunday Tea is only available at this Beaches location at the moment but if you go there and tell them how much you love it maybe they will add more of them.

After you enjoy your afternoon tea don't forget to pick up some cake and they have some new products that make great gifts especially with the Holidays coming up.  If you are stuck on what to get someone they have a whole assortment of chocolate letters and some cute cards too. One stop shop.

I found the price quite reasonable as I have had afternoon tea in a few other spots that cost a lot more.
You can select from 2 different Selections,

  • Buttery and Sweet for $19.95 per person/plus tax 
  • Savoury and Sweet which is what we sampled for $24.94 per person/plus tax.  

Minimum 2 persons per reservation.
It is available from 1pm to 5pm on Sundays only at the Beaches location.
To Reserve call (416)-699-4900

For more info check out their website at
Check them out on Social  Facebook,  Twitter,  Instagram

Beaches Location:  1917 Queen Street East.  just east of Woodbine.

*Disclaimer:  My meal was complimentary but all the opinions in this blog are my own.

Dufflet Pastries Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, November 13, 2015

Sobey launches 1st Nutella Cafe in Canada

Who:            Sobeys
What:           Nutella Cafe launch
Where:         22 Fort York Blvd
When:          November 13, 2015 
Why:            Launch of the 1st Nutella Cafe in Canada

I got up at the crack of dawn this morning to mosey my way downtown to visit the Sobeys at Spadina Ave and Fort York Blvd.  I had to be there at 7:30am.   I got there a bit late and missed the ribbon cutting ceremony but those pastries were calling my name so I made sure I got there in time to try them.

Sobeys launched their 1st Nutella® Cafe in Canada at this location today and were out in full force with a crack team of red jacket decked out staff to give out samples of pastries.

Inside the Sobeys people milled about and we watched as a couple of ladies swirled crepe batter on an authentic crepe maker and then filled them with Nutella® spread and fresh fruits.

My morning breakfast consisted of a Nutella® crepe and I also had an arogosta.  They were so delicious.  Besides the pastries they also have coffee of course and you can get a cappuccino for $2, a lot less expensive than your usual cafe's.

Also available are artisan breads made with Nutella®, including bombe, aragosta, zeppole, pizelle and all butter croissants and danishes.

Crepes are made to order fresh  and grab a coffee and you can do your grocery shopping while sipping away and the Crepes come in pizza style single serve boxes to take with you too.

Today, November 13th they are sampling all day until 7pm so if you read this today then head over there quickly to try some.

They are delicious classic Italian and French pastries and some are things you don't see in one place so it's a great place to visit before you head over to a dinner party.

If you do don't forget to take a selfie with your purchase and tag is #NutellaxSobeys so that they Sobeys people can see you enjoying your treats.

About Nutella®
Nutella® was created in 1964 thanks to Mr. Michele Ferrero; it was based on the recipe for Glandujot developed in 1946 by his father, Pietro Ferrero- confectioner and founder of Ferrero -- in Italy's Piedmont area.  Nowadays, the popular hazelnut spread is available in around 160 countries worldwide.  In 2014,  Nutella® celebrated its 50th anniversary.  It has been sold in Canada since 1968 - 47 years.

*Disclaimer - I was given free samples but the opinions in this post are my own.

Friday, November 6, 2015

What's on the Table - The Stop knows

I went to an amazing event this week at the Daniels Spectrum On Dundas Street East in Toronto. It was the fundraising Gala WHAT"S ON THE TABLE an event that raises money for the Stop's Community Food Programs. I have been to a couple of the Stop's events and they are really great but the best part is that people have a great time and they raise a lot of money for people dealing with poverty and food insecurity and other local issues that their programs help with.  With the help of some great donations for silent and live auction and raffle prize The Stop was able to raise over $328,000 at this event.  This will literally serve a lot of people in community.  With over 30 food and wine stations providing some really tasty bites and sips prepared by some of the Top Chefs in Toronto it was a fantastic way to almost restaurant hop and try a bit at one restaurant and then to the next one.  A lot of the Chefs in Toronto are really supportive of each other and are great friends so they donate their time and food and get to see the people in the industry that are always working when they are.  It's pretty much a win win for everyone which is what makes it a great event.  The space at the Daniels Spectrum was beautifully decorated with big white hanging lit round balloon lights which added a lot of whimsy to the room

There was a lot of food and I ran out of room by the time it came to dessert so I only tried a truffle and a mocha choux pastry from Nadege but I wanted to try almost everything.  My friend Mary was able to try just about everything but I think I got about 3/4 of the way through the savoury dishes.  My favourites included Richmond Station's thanksgiving on a cracker and DaiLo's Big Mac Bao a really interesting Bao bun.  I also really liked the Oyster station from Hooked and Mildred's Temple Kitchen's Beet Lox. Aria's veal ragu gnocchi were light and great simple classic Italian.

  • Aria/Noce - Homemade gnocchi 2 ways
  • Beast - Rainbow trout and sunchokes
  • Baretta - Caramelized onion and pulled beef stuffed sesame bun
  • Cafe Belong - Buttermilk biscuits with scrambled eggs and micro greens
  • Citizen Catering - Roasted duck, pumpkin pie, black walnuts and maple whisky
  • Creemore Kitchen - Blue potato ice cream with beet caramel, pumpkin seed praline
  • DaiLo - Big Mac Bao
  • Frangiapane - Assorted patries
  • George - Lemon thyme donuts
  • The Good Son - Smoked sweetbreads, pistachio crust, parsnip puree
  • Hooked - Selection of Oysters
  • Luma - Octopus with pumpkin and pepitas
  • Mamakas - Greek stew with beef cheeks, parsley root
  • Mildred's Temple Kitchen - Beet lox on a pretzel crisp
  • Monforte Dairy - Assorted cheeses
  • Nadege - Assorted pastries
  • Pluck Teas & The Rolling Pin - Chai hot chocolate, teas, brownies, donuts and tarts
  • Providore Catering - Smoked duck, barley miso, kumquat marmelade
  • Richmond Station - Turkey mortadella, stuffing cracker, cranberry chutney, celery salad
  • Salt - Salt cod croquettes
  • Skin + Bones - Cavatelli with lamb neck ragu
  • Soma - Hazelnut hot chocolate and 2 types of truffles
  • The Stop Community Food Centre - Sweet and sour trout
  • The Tempered Room - Choux a la creme
  • Tundra - Wild boar pastrami, ramp kimchi on a milk bun

  • Cave Spring
  • Chateau des Charmes
  • Coyote's Run
  • Flat Rock Cellars
  • Frogpond Farm
  • Stratus


  • Steam Whistle

Luma, Beast, Richmond Station, The Good Son, Cafe Belong, Mamakas, The Citizen, DaiLo

There were so many desserts I wanted to try but just didn't have enough room in my stomach but here's a snapshot of all of the assortment of goodies that were there to sample.

It's not too late if you want to donate or give them some of your time.  
To contact them check their website for further information.

*Disclaimer:  I was invited to attend this event but the opinions in this post are my own

Chef Rob Feenie opens the Cactus Club in Toronto [REVIEW]

I met up with a friend on the warmest November day we have had in a very long time in Toronto and we decided to go for lunch.  We had an event to go to in the evening but had lot's of time to linger over a nice lunch so I suggested going to the Newly opened Cactus Club Cafe restaurant.  The restaurant created by Vancouver well known Chef Rob Feenie brings the  West Coast to the East Coast.

It's located at 77 Adelaide Street West at the First Canadian Place.  A great destination for the business crowd and in an area that is dominated by Path food courts and not very impressive restaurants this restaurant really stands out.  There are so many things that really rise above most of the restaurants in the area including the entrance from Adelaide Street.  Upon walking toward the restaurant we were immediately drawn to the Yellow Umbrellas on the Patio and the Fire bank leading toward the entrance.  It's a spectacular patio and huge sign you can't miss on the front of the restaurant that says check me out I am big and beautiful.
When you step inside you are greeted by some very attractive women dressed in professional but very pretty blue dresses.  Very friendly but I think they are still getting used to how things work but it's new so that's ok.  We were seated at a high top table just in front of the entrance and in front of an elevator so we asked if we could move and they were able to move us to the dining room upstairs a few minutes later.  I am so glad we were able to move.  The downstairs area is more of a bar like environment while the upstairs is a very glamourous dining room.  We were seated at a table for 4 but we were really happy about that because we ordered a lot of food that wouldn't have been able to fit on a 2 top table.

 You know a restaurant is destined for success when you look around the room and there is a prominent Gossip columnist and a well respected Chef and media personality with their people at different tables and both catered to by Chef Rob Feenie.  The well known Chef was even given a tour of the restaurant by Chef Feenie.  Hey Chef,  bloggers here want a tour too.  Don't get me wrong we received excellent service but I would have loved to check out the kitchen too.  I had a peek when I went to the washroom which was also spectacular.  There was a full length mirror with a selfie tag on it so that you could take a selfie in there and post your pic with the tag.  So of course we did that.

The Food was really unexpected as well.  We were expecting tiny portions for the prices of what we ordered because that's generally the case in restaurants with Chef's of his calibre.  We decided to share everything and ordered the Tuna stack which I heard Rob Feenie talk about being one of their signature dishes. It was stacked with chunks of avocado and citrus pieces and dotted with sesame seeds and with a mild dressing.  It was served with light chips.  This was a standout for me.  I am already a sucker for tuna dishes but this one was so light and just the greatest balance of creamy, rich and citrus flavourings.  It was a great size for a lunch dish for 1 with maybe something on the side but also great for sharing.
We decided to order the fish tacos, an order comes with 2 tacos and we were expecting a couple bite tacos but these things were humungous.  The fish deep fried perfectly with a light batter coating.  It was topped with white cabbage and pickled red onions and came with a tomato salsa and chipotle mayo.  I didn't like the salsa that much and skipped the mayo.  I would have preferred a lime crema I think on top.   The next huge dish was the deep fried calamari.  Also battered in a light and crunchy batter it was mixed with deep fried jalapeno slices and red pepper slices.  It was easily a great sharing plate for 3 or 4 people.  It came with a tzatziki and another sauce.
We also thought the ceviche we ordered would come in a small dish but was plated on a platter.  It was pretty heavy on the lime citrus and it came with tortilla chips.  It was good but wasn't as good as the Tuna stack.  We didn't order any drinks or dessert and the bill was about $30 each.  We ate everything but took home what was like a full order of the calamari.

Bring your appetite and lot's of friends.  It's a gorgeous space to either have a date, a business lunch or a great lunch or dinner with friends.

What I really loved about the place was the decor though.  Other than the fact that the lighting wasn't very food photo friendly but it was people flattering.  The lighting fixtures were spectacular and the artwork around the room was colourful and super modern and interesting.

What a great space and the food and service are what you would expect from a Chef like Rob Feenie with a solid reputation for producing a quality restaurant.

I really loved every bit of it and highly recommend checking it out.   This might bite me later in not being able to get a table in the dining room but hopefully someone will read this post and find a spot for me.  I would love to see more restaurants outside of the typical King, Queen and Dundas Street West areas around town.  This one is right in the heart of downtown.  It makes me happy and I wish I was still working in the area.
Thanks Chef Feenie for bringing some light to the East Coast.

Cactus Club Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Supper with Syria Event

A  Delicious  Night  of  Food  and  Friendship  in  Support  of  Syrian Refugees  

Toronto,  ON-­  Before  Syria  became  a  place  of  ongoing  war,  and  before  the  iconic  photograph  of  Alan  Kurdi  broke  our  hearts,  there  was  another  Syria,  one  whose  rich  history  and  culture  went  back  thousands  of  years.  
Toronto's  Ward  21  has  a  proud  history  of  welcoming  diverse  communities  into  the  fabric  of  their  neighbourhood.  This  is  an  extraordinary  initiative  organized  by  residents  of  Ward  21  and  other  partners.  SUPPER  WITH  SYRIA  will  provide  Torontonians  the  opportunity  to  raise  funds  to  settle  two  Syrian  families  in  our  community  with  our  partners,  Lifeline  Syria,  through  the  sharing  of  the  warmth  and  richness  of  Syrian  traditions,  culture  and  culinary  delights!   

On  November  29,  we  will  be  hosting  a  fundraising  event  at  the  Artscape  Wychwood  Barns.  It  will  be  a  special  evening  as  Syrian  and  Canadian  chefs  come  together  to  prepare  traditional  Syrian  dishes  and  share  personal  stories  of  home  cooking  and  culinary  traditions  on  opposite  ends  of  the  world.  Be  immersed  in  Syrian  culture  with  live  music,  art,  and  much  more.  

WHEN:  Sunday  November  29th,  2015  4pm-­8pm 

WHERE:  Artscape  Wychwood  Barns  (601  Christie  St,  Toronto,  ON  M6G  4C7) 

WHAT:  Supper  With  Syria-­  Four  Syrian  Chefs  and  Four  non-­Syrian,  Local  Chefs  will  create dishes  inspired  by  the  rich  culinary  history  of  Syria.  The  eight  food  stations  will  create  a roving  environment,  along  with  beverage  stations  specifically-­tailored  to  highlight  Syrian  drinks. Live  Syrian  music,  presentations,  and  a  silent  auction  of  authentic  Syrian  artifacts  will  also  be featured  over  the  course  of  the  evening. 
WHY:  One  of  the  newly-­elected  Liberal  government’s  campaign  promises  was  to  settle  25,000 Syrian  refugees  to  Canada  by  January  1st,  2016.  The  timeline  will  be  difficult,  but  not impossible,  which  is  why  community-­based  initiatives  such  is  ours  is  crucial  in  playing  a  role to  assist  in  the  settlement  process.  

Tickets:  $75  per  person.  Free  to  media.  

****For  more  information,  to  interview  our  chefs  or  organizers,  please  contact:    
Sang  Kim  email:    
Phone  #:  647-­774-­0939  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Pearl Diver has delightful seafood

Restaurant:      Pearl Diver
Location:        100 Adelaide St. East, TorontoT
What:              Lunch
When visited: October 30, 2015
Social             @pearldiverTO

I was invited to check out the quaint little restaurant Pearl Diver for lunch and I brought a friend with me who loves seafood.  Unbelievably I have lots of friends who don't like fish or seafood and especially not things that are raw.  I know I kind of get it.  It sounds gross but I suppose because my mom had a love of seafood from her memories of getting shrimp that was just out of the sea and eaten fresh on the seaside in Europe it was always something she loved and she would make shrimp stuffed tomatoes when she wanted to make something fancy for guests.  It was always kind of more of a special occasion food in my house.  The odd time my dad would get mussels from St. Lawrence market or they would send me to pick up some fish and chips for dinner.  Maybe once or twice a year we might have king crab claws.   To me fresh seafood isn't an everyday thing and I enjoy it when I have it and more so when it's made well.

On an an extremely sunny and unusually warm Friday afternoon in October we headed over to Pearl Diver for lunch.  The place is a bit out of the way tucked across the street from St. James park.  It's maybe a bit out of the usual restaurant locations but you can't miss the brightly painted yellow exterior with the black canopy.

The inside as you can see looks very warm and cozy with dark wood bar and light wood tables and a large menu board with all of their types of oysters.
I think this restaurant is more of an evening bar restaurant type of place so it wasn't busy when I visited but I was there at 1pm and a lot of people go for business lunches between 12-1pm.

The lunch menu varies slightly from the dinner menu but of course there are mussels and oysters and calamari that are on both menus.  Of course we couldn't pass up a plate of Oysters.  A dozen for $15.  Served on ice with ginger and lemon wedges and side sauces of hot sauce and wine vinegar.
My friend said she could eat about 6 of the oyster towers in one sitting.  I like my oysters with a bit of hot sauce, some lemon and the red wine vinegar for a nice spicy briney flavour.  They oysters we had were from New Brunswick but I didn't catch the name of them. I am not familiar with all of the kinds of oysters so I don't want to guess even.  But I really enjoyed them.

Then we had the Deep fried panko crusted calamari served with a sweet chili sauce.   They had black sesame seeds in the coating and were nicely seasoned.

We wanted to order the Shrimp Po Boy sandwich but weren't sure how big it was going to be even though we planned on sharing it.  It is meant for one person but we shared it to try it.  It is 2 or 3 large shrimps served on a brioche bun with lettuce, onion and a remoulade sauce and pickles.  My friend got the side with the pickles and she wasn't a fan but I enjoyed my half a lot.  It can with a huge amount of fries but they got cold pretty quickly so I didn't finish them all.  We really didn't need fries with all of the seafood we ordered.

The dish that had the best flavour was the Mussels in a lemongrass coconut broth.  It was served with the lightest grilled focaccia bread but I think the bread was just good on it's own because the smokey char kind of covered up the taste of the broth.  Order this but don't dunk the bread, just eat it and enjoy it.  We ordered another order of the bread it was so good.

After we had all the great seafood the waitress said they had some sticky toffee pudding for dessert.  Well that is one of my friends favourite desserts and I like it to so a no brainer we said yes and didn't even need to look at a dessert menu.

This sticky toffee pudding was probably the lightest one I have ever had.  With a bourbon maple sauce on top it just melted in my mouth.  It was a great sweet finish to the seafood lunch.

We really enjoyed a nice relaxing lunch in this cosy spot and I hope we get a chance to go back and try some of their dinner menu sometime again soon.

What we ate:
CRISPY CALAMARI - sesame and panko crust, sweet chilli, ginger and lime dip - 8
MUSSELS AND FOCACCIA – coconut cream, ginger, chili, garlic, lemongrass & cilantro - 13
SHRIMP PO-BOY - Battered and spiced Argentine shrimp, tartar sauce, pickle, red onion & lettuce - served with side salad or fries - 13
Dozen Oysters for $15
STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING, dessert special 

*Disclaimer:  The meal was complimentary but all of the opinions and the photos are my own.

Pearl Diver Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato