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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I Tried Charcoal Ice Cream

It was -5 degrees Celcius on Friday, but the upside was that there was finally no line at iHalo Krunch, Toronto’s first charcoal ice cream place.

I felt it was sacrilegious to go there and not get at least partially black ice cream so I got the ube nut, which combines both the ube (purple) and black coconut ice cream. Another plus is that it looked nice for Instagram. I loved the flavour of ube, which is a popular yam-like ingredient in Filipino desserts.

The cone also has charcoal, and the very bottom was stuffed with marshmallow Fluff, and prevented the ice cream from dripping. I’m glad I didn’t have to line up for this, but it doesn’t disappoint either way!

Ihalo krunch Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.

Chefs Plate: Pescado Cubano w/ Rice

I love learning new techniques to cook fish, so I chose the Pescado Cubano recently from Chefs Plate. It was a tilapia dish that was marinated with a spicy kick.

I loved that the rice was also cooked with the spice with peppers. There was a fresh slaw with cilantro, onions and peppers on top of the fish that I also really liked and I cooked my fish perfectly. Now, I feel more confident to buy my own fish from the grocery store and include it more in our diets!

Try Chefs Plate for free with my code: 3platesfromtianafeng

Chefs Plate: Cauliflower Fried Rice & Guacamole Bowl

For my previous Chef’s Plate, I accidentally chose a vegetarian and gluten-free option because I forgot to pick something. It was a Cauliflower Fried Rice & Guacamole Bowl. I thought that all the ingredients they sent us was fresh and vibrant in colour.

I didn’t know you could use Cauliflower heads as a rice replacement and it turned out perfectly. I liked the flavours of the goat cheese and basil pesto. These all made this healthy meal flavourful at every bite.

Get 3 free plates at Chef’s Plate when you use my code: 3platesfromtianafeng

Stardust Crepe Cake @ Millie Creperie

I haven’t tried many foods in the latest charcoal craze, but I couldn’t resist the beauty of this Stardust Crepe cake at Millie’s. The presentation looks a little slice of the universe.

Taste wise, it was soft and flaky and melted in my mouth. The charcoal aspect is interesting, though I didn’t find that part stood out. The cake itself was moist in the right bites as each layer had a lovely cream. This was a limited edition cake, so I wonder what future beauties they will create.

Millie Creperie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Chefs Plate: Crispy Tonkatsu

Sometimes with Chefs Plate, you can learn a much easier way to cook something. This happened when I made tonkatsu. I had blogged about making tonkatsu in the past, but I usually baked it, used flour and cooked the panko beforehand.

This Chefs Plate recipe required just eggs and panko and could be done right in a heated frying pan with oil!It was delicious and juicy, not to mention quick. Both ways have their advantages, but when I’m hungry, I’ll definitely be doing this pan method.

Want to try Chefs Plate? Get 3 free plates when you use my code #3platesFromtianafeng.