LOKA Toronto

For Nash’s birthday a while back, we went to LOKA. His schedule lately has been hectic to plan anything in advance but we happened to get a day-of reservation for 8pm. I couldn’t resist the Ginger Old Fashioned that was on the chalkboard outside.

LOKA specializes in Canadian cuisine and they have both a Vegetarian and General “Eat Everything” option. We ordered both and the charcuterie board. They started us with a little amuse bouche that wasn’t listed but I could’ve eaten an entire bowl of.

The charcuterie is all made in-house. My favourite was the fatty duck, but we devoured the entire thing so fast.

Brussel sprouts served with a chive emulsion and pistachios is how I want to eat healthy vegetables forever.

I’ve also never had fiddleheads, but these tempura pickled ramps and fiddleheads was accompanied by a beautiful mayo.

These baby beats were also full of flavour and topped with a bit of delicious blue cheese.

On top of sourdough we had white bass rillettes with creamed cabbage.

This was a handrolled pappardelle with charred radicchio and kale cream.

One of our most memorable dishes was this pan seared mushrooms, truffled potatoes and deer lichen combo.

This beautiful dish was cured venison, wild mushroom ragout and pumpkin purée.

There was a salad of lettuce, heirloon tomatoes topped with green garlic dressing and burnt bread that almost imitated bacon bits!

We had this palette-cleansing thing made of beats that could’ve been like a dessert on its own.

The actual dessert was a caramel chocolate mousse with almond crunch and berry preserve. There was also a crunchy marshmallow.

I told them it was Nash’s birthday and he received a sparkler in his:

The restaurant found out it’s his birthday 💕#tianash @chef_rouge

A post shared by Tiana Feng (@tianafeng) on

I loved this meal a lot! It might be one of my favourites this year and I can’t wait to come back occasionally to taste the seasonal selections.

Loka Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sushi Tasting @ Skippa

Two of my friends and I recently tried out Skippa, a relatively new Japanese restaurant on Harbord Street. Skippa’s specialty is a shorter omakase ($47) where you can taste all 9 pieces of specialty sushi.

It’s not enough food to make you full on its own, so we also ordered some other things from the menu. I can never resist oysters, and these ones from PEI were presented beautifully on a bed of marbles.

I also saw this Pikachu looking character on sake on their Instagram, so I couldn’t resist. 

Their black maitake mushroom salad with radish and miso was delicious.

We also got the black garlic mackerel.

All the sushi was presented beautifully and simply. With each one, there were instructions to dip or not dip in soy sauce.  

Botan Chi: Shrimp from B.C.

Madai: seabream

Hirame: fluke

Kinmedai: Golden eye seabream

Kanpachi: Japanese amberjack

Maguro: big eye tuna

Tako: Octopus

Mcbachi handroll: big eye tuna, chili koji

Tomago: Sweet egg roll

I thought the fish in the sushi was very fresh. However, I felt a few of the sushi had too much wasabi that it overpowered the flavour of the fish. Otherwise, it’s beautifully simple.

I Love This Sardine

After a good but pricey dinner somewhere recently, my friends and I felt like we could still eat so we wandered around Dundas West looking for a Snack. We landed in the cozy 86’d, where Moto Snack Bar used to be. The menu rotates constantly, but the night we were there had a sardine.

Fried to perfection, the fish had all its bones removed. It was served in a green pesto and the fish had just the right amount of salt. It took more than 10 minutes to come out and we devoured it in seconds and promptly ordered a second with no hesitation.

They also do drinks on the fly inspired by things you like, and I mentioned I liked Old Fashioneds.

We also had fried brussel sprouts, which were also very good but no match for the sardines.

I have followed them on Instagram, just to be aware of the sardine schedule.

James Cheese Back Ribs

I discovered the existence of James Cheese Back Ribs from a cheese-filled video from BlogTo on Facebook. I had been thinking about it ever since, so I finally hit it up with my cousin. Of course, we couldn’t go to the place without ordering the signature platter with corn, omelet, sweet potato, veggies with ribs and cheese on a hot platter. There was the option of mild, spicy and super spicy and we chose the middle.

Of course, we had to film our own cheese pulling video (after some instruction from a staff member):

The ribs had a heat, but it went really well with the creamy, pan toasted cheese. It might sound weird stretching mozzarella across ribs, but now I feel like I can’t eat ribs any other way. I didn’t care much for the other sides in the platter, but we figured out we could dip it all in the rib sauce and leftover cheese, so it was all eaten.

There were 3 of us, so we thought a few small appetizers would please our stomachs. The Signature Fried Corn Squid had a flavourful chili mayo and I enjoyed the sweetness in the corn batter.

We also couldn’t resist something called Mini Korean McRibs, which was kind of like an imitation of its namesake on a fluffy steamed bun.

The whole meal was delicious and it’s worth the visit for the cheese ribs alone.

Mexican Food @ Border MX

Last week, my sister and I hit up Border MX’s new location in Streetsville. There was a bachelorette party celebrating that night with a lot of fancy drinks so I had to order one of my own Bulldog.

To start we shared a ceviche tosta. The fish was fresh and flavourful on top a crunchy chip.

I also ordered some guacomole which was unfortunately too mushy. I like my guacomole thick. I felt like they over blended the avocado or something and it was a bit watery.

Their specialty was Baja Fish tacos which they claimed were the “Best in Mississauga”. While I thought the fish was nicely cooked, there was an off-putting bitter taste. We were trying to figure out what was bitter and I think it might’ve been the cabbage, like they cut too close to the stem. I was disappointed, as it definitely doesn’t live up to the name (unless they are the only Baja fish taco in Mississauga).

Overall, I don’t know if I would come back for the food, but it is a great place to have drinks!

Border Mx Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Supporting Local: Italian-American Dinner @ Sugo

Sugo is a relatively new Italian-eatery in our neighbourhood near Bloor & Lansdowne. The atmosphere is very casual and inviting for families, something that is still a bit lacking in the area. They feature a lot of Italian-American classics like pasta and parm sandwiches and focus on the importance of good sauce.

I had the Rigatoni (pictured above) which was a pink sauce that had a spicy kick with grana padano cheese. It took a while to get the pasta, but it was totally worth the wait. The sauce was so good I wanted to lick my plate.

Nash had the Veal Sandwich with a super stretchy muzzarella and a generous amount of sauce.

I also couldn’t resist mozzarella sticks with marina sauce.

To drink I had a Americano Cocktail: Campari, Vermouth Rosso, Soda.

Nash had the classic Manhattan: Rye, Vermouth Rosso, bitters, cherry.

What I loved about Sugo was that it was good quality food without breaking the bank. Our bill was around $50, which is a decent price for both dinner and drinks. Welcome to the neighbourhood Sugo!

Lobster @ Salty’s (Halifax)

When I was in Halifax for a day, I had to have seafood by the pier, so I stopped by Salty’s. The restaurant is a bit weird because it has a formal upstairs section with a different menu and a more casual downstairs. We opted for the lower floor because it didn’t break the bank (in comparison).

I had to start with fresh oysters. They were a bit more expensive than in New Brunswick, but totally worth it.

I had to get the basic boiled lobster with butter. For the price, it was smaller than the one at Paturel, but it was fresh and succulent.

I paired the food with a tasty caesar. I enjoyed my food but I think this place was a bit high-priced, but understandable since it was a touristy area.

Salty's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lobster at Paturel’s Shore House

Shediac is the lobster capital of Canada, so I just had to know where was the best place to go! After some thorough research, we drove to Paturel’s Shore House.

I wanted my lobster fresh and dipped in butter. The waitress highly recommended it served cold instead of hot. I took her suggestion. Cold lobster comes off the shell super easily, so I didn’t have trouble getting the tasty globs of meat out. Even without the butter, it tasted like it was naturally salted by the sea. It was so good I sucked this thing bone dry (including the head!).

I also got half a dozen oysters which were reasonably priced at $12. These were smooth and like the lobster seasoned by the seas.

I couldn’t resist a caesar with my seafood. They did the classic drink justice.

I loved this place. All our food was delicious (we had a picky eater in our group that tried other non-lobster food). They had a lot of kitchy decorations but the overall feeling felt upscale and not entirely touristy. In fact, the people sitting the table beside us sold me beer at the liquor store a few hours before. You know this place is good when the locals go here too!

It was raining, otherwise we would’ve sat on the patio because this view was gorgeous:

This place is a must, if you’re looking to eat seafood in Shediac!

Seafood @ Coywolf

I’m currently in Sackville for SappyFest and even though the town is tiny, there’s still some cool places to eat I didn’t manage to try last year. Last night, I hit up Coywolf Bistro & Oyster bar with my friend.

Oysters were a must (after all it is an oyster bar). They were $2.50 each and we were served two different kinds. I liked the smaller ones we were served (I forgot where they were from).

As my main, I had a “sea czar” salad with salmon, mussels, crab, and bacon. I found the fish a bit salty but the rest was perfect.

My friend had a heaping pile of mussels and frites.

To drink, I had their take on a negroni, which had a hint of pine in it.

It’s nice to have a little bistro in this quaint town. Hope to be back for more oysters when I’m back for the festivl.

Coy Wolf Bistro and Oyster Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bandit Brewery

I went to Bandit Brewery recently for a flight of beers and some snacks. The place has a raccoon theme so all their glasses have faces and you can even buy fun posters of the beer labels in their Bottle Shop.

I had a flight of four beers: I had the Citra, Hoppelganger, Mr. Pink and Dundas West IPA. They serve it in the order that they recommend you drink them. My favourite was Mr. Pink, a flavourful hibiscus and ginger pale ale.

It was around lunch time, so I had a few snacks: Fresh Cut Russets and Beer Battered cheese curds.

The cheese curds with homemade ranch dressing were to die for and the perfect beer snack. The fries were covered in parmesan and a served with a lovely garlic mayo.

I loved the concept of this brewery and they even have funny identifications of their patrons!

Bandit Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato