January 30, 2013

Winterlicious 2013 @ Corner House Restaurant (Dinner)

Corner House was on my licious list for the past 2 years and this year I can finally cross it off. The houses looked kind of creepy from the outside with the snow. I think it will be very sceneric during the summer time. I heard it used to be a doctor's office. For you reference, they had a note on the door saying, all parties must arrive before being seated. This was a $35 dinner. They have extended their winterlicious special up until mid March if I'm not wrong.

complimentary bread, the bread dip was really good.
This was a nice start to the meal, however, I found the vinaigrette to be on the sweeter side. As for the baked goat cheese, it had a grainy texture which I'm indifferent about.
Baked Woolwich Goat Cheese
Stewed Dried Fruits, Vine Tomatoes, Crostini & Balsamic Vinaigrette
The venision meat was tender and you can definitely taste the red wine. The red wine sauce alone was too much for me but blending it with berry chutney balanced it out. It was my first time having spaetzel so I wasn't sure what to expect. The roasted vegetables (carrots) was delcious, really sweet with the right amount of crunch without being too raw. The dish was nicely done. I found all their savory dishes to be on the sweet side.

Slow Cooked Red Wine & Juniper Berry Venison Stew
Spaetzle, Roasted Vegetables, Brussel Sprouts, Chutney of Lingonberry & Cranberry
Now on to the disappointment. I was on the verge of believing I can finally have a perfect meal during Winterlicious but I was wrong. The meal had to end on a sour note. The desserts was a huge disappointment. Not just my dessert, but ALL the desserts. I ordered the sticky toffee pudding to compare with Starfish and Canoe. There was no comparison. This was a toffee MUFFIN. It was literally shaped like a muffin and tasted like a muffin. It was dry and just not toffee pudding like. Bad bad bad. But that little bit of icecream was good.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Praline Ice Cream & Butter Rum Sauce
it's a muffin and NOT pudding

What others ordered...

Butternut Squash Soup
Wild Rice & Cranberry Relish

Organic Arugula Salad
Candied Walnuts, Gorgonzola Cheese, Crisp Pear & Cider Vinaigrette
-- same vinaigrette as the baked goat cheese

Seared Spring Hill Organic Rainbow Trout
Smoked bacon, Field Mushrooms, Sautéed Potatoes, Leaf Spinach Watercress, Chervil & Mustard Sauce

Whole Roasted Black Angus Striploin
Fingerling Potatoes, Crimini Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, Barolo Red Wine Sauce
-- the sauce was really good

Belgian Chocolate Torte
Crème Fraiche
-- too bitter

Warm Jasmine Rice Pudding
Passion Fruit & Caramelized Coconut
-- rice was still hard

Final Verdict: Par (downgraded from slightly above par due to dissatisfaction with dessert)

Corner House on Urbanspoon

January 28, 2013

Winterlicious 2013 @ Jump (Lunch)

Jump is one of the two O&B restaurant chain restaurants left I have yet been to. Took advantage of Winterlicious event to cross it off my list. Made reservation for lunch on the first day of Winterlicious for 11:45am, just right before the busy lunch crowd. It was only 5mins walk from my work place so it was really convenient. For $20 per person excluding tax and tip, you get a 3 course lunch meal. 

Honestly speaking, I had ZERO expectation for Jump because I heard the many not-so-great review for their any-licious menus. Even then, I still had to try it just for the sake of it, and surprisingly it turned out better than I thought. Everything was decent/good. I do suggest going for lunch instead of dinner because you practically get the same menu items only with a few changes. 

peace, just 10 mins before the crowd poured in
At first the pita chip was kind of boring and bland even with the marinara sauce. But after awhile, the taste gets to you and you would want to nibble on it more. Either the taste grows on you or I was just hungry. 
complimentary bread and pita chip? with marinara sauce
This crab cake was HUGE. It was literally between the size of a baseball and thicker than a hockey puck. There was way too much tartar sauce so I just scrapped off the excess. The crab cake turned out to be pretty good. Only downfall was that the outside could of been crispier.
Peekytoe Crab Cakeceleriac, citrus and dill pickle tartar sauce
The short rib was tender and the gnocchi was potatoey. It was quiet filling and you definitely cannot finish the whole plate alone. I shared with RY. The dish had good flavour and not salty for my tastebuds. I have low sodium tolerance.
Simmered Short Rib Ragu & Yukon Potato Gnocchi
pine nut pesto and Pecorino
RY ordered the salmon filet. The salmon was overcooked around the edges but tender near the center. Perhaps a unified cut would prevent this from happening. The red cabbage on the bottom was way too overcooked and the texture was super soft. It did not go well with salmon as there was no difference in texture. The salmon was seasoned fine just not cooked to perfection.
Broiled Atlantic Salmon Filet
mulled red cabbage, ginger and fennel salad
The carrot cake it self was not moist enough but the cream-cheese frosting had the right amount of sweetness. The orange apple compote tasted just like apple sauce. I think my carrot cake is better.
Carrot Cake
cream cheese buttercream and orange apple compote
The milk chocolate panna cotta was light and delicious. Tasted like chocolate mousse with just the right amount of sweetness. A nice end to the meal. Now I'm gonna go make my own =)
Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta
cinnamon Chantilly
Going into Jump with no expectation, I surprisingly enjoyed my lunch here. Overall everything was good, nothing tasted bad.  I believe this was partially due to the fact that it was the first day of Winterlicious and the chef have yet to feel exhausted and slacked off. The service was fast, you can definitely fit it in your 1 hr lunch break.

Final Verdict: Par

Jump on Urbanspoon

January 21, 2013


24 more days until my 3 weeks Asia trip! Just 24 more days yet it feels like forever! 
I'll be travelling to Taipei, Seoul, Fuzhou and Hong Kong. I"ll be in the flying 8 times in 3 weeks, which kind of scares me. It will be my 2nd time going to Taipei and I'm super hyped cause I will be going to the places I wasn't able to go back in 2009, such as experiencing hotsprings in Beitou and visiting Jiufeng. Can't wait for all the delicious food, shopping and sightseeing. I will for sure update my blog with all the enticing food photos. It will be my first time going to Seoul and I have been planning for months! At first I was worried about the language barrier, but I learned that a lot of places have English and Chinese translation available. I can't really eat spicy so I'm a little worried about the food. Maybe I'll come back loving all the spiciness. My itinerary for Seoul is pretty impressive even I have to say so. I'm happy to post my itinerary if anyone is interested. It's a very well balanced itinerary with everything you ever need to do in Korea. I'm super super excited just writing about it! Not much planned for Fuzhou cause I will be visiting my grandparents and get some portraits done, hoping in Qing Dynasty costumes, hahahaha~ As for Hong Kong, I recently went in Mar 2012 so not much planned just gonna be visiting the restaurants I wanted to visit but couldn't go last time and catching up with friends. 

Anyways, to make the remaining 24 days go by faster, I have 4 Winterlicious planned. Lunch at Jump and Far Niente, and dinner at Corner House and Toula. At least something to look forward to to make the time go by a little faster. I'll also be going to Octagon Restaurant for a friend's bday. Excited for that too. Hopefully I will have those Winterlicious reviews up before the event ends for anyone that is interested. I honestly have no expectation for Winterlicious cause the food usually disappoints. It's just another excuse to get together with friends. 

January 14, 2013

Richmond Station

Richmond Station has been on my list ever since it opened about 2-4 months ago from reading about it on fellow blogger's blogs. Honestly, I watched Top Chef Canada here and there and have no idea who the winner was. We were lucky to be seated upstairs right in front of the kitchen. I googled how Carl Heinrich, winner of Top Chef Canada looks like so I know which one is him in the kitchen.

complimentary bread

richmond station charcuterie 14
The polenta fries were perfectly crisp, fried to perfection. The polenta fries itself was pretty bland, you definitely need to deep in the marinara sauce for some taste. I'm not a huge fan of the texture of cornmeal so this wasn' my favorite.
polenta fries 7
Most lobster bisque I had previously were rich and thick. The one at Richmond Station was on the contrary. It was runny and light. The soup base was a refreshing lobster broth where I can taste it was made using the lobster head and shells. The lobster pieces were very small and almost unnoticeable. It was a nice change from the usual thick lobster bisque. The soup was served warm which I didn't like.
lobster bisque 9
The wild boar meat was very tender and the handmade orecchiette had the perfect texture. It was al dente. The dish was not heavly seasoned, thus eating the whole dish was not a problem as you won't get sick of the taste. However, I did not like the toscana cheese in the dish. It semi melted in a blob and the taste was a little bitter. Not for my taste buds. Again, I found the dish to be warm.

wild boar ragu 23
Nicely seared piece of fish which I found to be slightly, just ever so slightly undercooked. It was served with potatoe rosti which was not crispy. Overall, it was a good dish but again, served warm. 
grilled sea bream 21

complimentary dessert
Final Verdict: Slightly Above Par (they need to improve on keeping the temperature of the dishes)

Richmond Station on Urbanspoon

January 7, 2013


Along with "Less is More" and a couple of friends, we went to BUCA to celebrate "Less is More"' 's birthday. Don't bother checking the website because it's useless. Unless you are only interested in knowing the location and hours of business. There are no menus on the website. With my wild guess, I assume it's because they change their menu too often, thus, too lazy to constantly update the website. The location of BUCA is a little difficult to find since it's tucked inside an alley way and their sign is quite small. In short, it's right across from WVRST, literally.

 Yes, the bread is not free and neither is the olive oil. I suggest on passing the bread because they were hard and none of the 4 variety tasted really good. The olive oil is nice but not nice enough that cost $3 whereas other places have them for free.
pane di buca (5) + olive oil (3)
Disappointing composition of the kale salad with persimmon on the bottom. The dressing and everything did not blend well together. Quite disappointing.
kale salad (12)
My favorite of the cured meat was the one in the middle which I don't recall the name. It tasted great with the middle side dish. The sourness of side dish balanced well with the saltiness of the cured meat.
salumi 3 (17)

This is the BEST pizza I had. I think this beats Terroni's pizza for me anyday! I'm just drooling and craving for it as I look at the picture. The pizza is topped with thinly sliced potatoes, sprinkled with fresh rosemary and drizzled with egg yolk. The composition of the pizza was perfect. I never knew egg yolk on pizza would taste so good. It was not overly salty and tasted just right. I could of just kept eating this pizza all night long and was the best dish of the night.

pizza patate (21)

The pasta dishes on the other hand was a completely different story. The pasta texture of both dishes below were uncooked. They were NOT al dente but hard. Taste wise did not stand out at all.
bigoli (19)
I always thought carbonara was a rich and savory pasta sauce. It was not the case for the below. The bacon crisp was so burnt that it tasted bitter and completely ruined your mouthful. The fish roe didn't do much to the dish either.
carb di mare (24)

The dandelion veggie side dish was recommended by our server stating this is a commonly eaten vegetable in Italian cuisine. It did not taste good at all. It was bitter and all I could taste seasoning wise was vinegar. 
veg cicoria (8)

take home meringue cookies (free)

Final Verdict: Slightly Above Par (without the pizza, I would just give it par)

  Buca on Urbanspoon