Date Night @ Actinolite

A few years ago when Nash and I were underemployed, we’d walk past Actinolite and joked that one day we would go there when we could afford it. Though we’ve had just as fancy meals already, I finally remembered to actually go here so we did it for our Christmas dinner date.

We chose to do the full Chef’s Menu and the wine pairing. The first was a beautiful apple salad.

Then there was a snack of salmon and capers.

I couldn’t stop eating the perfect sourdough bread and butter from the town of Actinolite, a town in Central Ontario.

This dish of root vegetables (beets, pickled onion, turnip & more) was flavourful and delicious

Jerusalem artichoke sat delicately above oysters.

Hen of the woods in elderberry and pine butter was probably our favourite dish.

This was a duck dish, but I ate it before I took a photo. It was just that good!

I did not know carrots could be elevated so much until I had these blackened ones.

This ice cream with butternut squash and toasted lichen was a lovely complex dessert.

Finishing off the night were these biscuits with marshmallow.

This meal was definitely worth the wait and our years-long excitement of going here!

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

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The Skyline Restaurant

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It was Valentine’s Day weekend and my friends and I made the mistake of trying to go out to eat and drink without previously making a reservation. We walked along Queen for a little bit and ended up in Skyline.

I think it re-opened in the classic spot last year or so by Maggie Ruhl (Dakota Tavern, The Ace) and Jud Ruhl (Wallflower, Three Speed). It’s a place that doesn’t look as trendy as the crazy places near it (Parts & Labour, Shameful Tiki), but I found the menu (which changes often) and cocktail selection impressive.

I had one of the specials of the night which was duck breast, rapini, squash and sausage. The vegetables melted in my mouth and the duck was cooked to perfection.

I also had my share of delicious cocktails from their take on an Old Fashion to an Apple Bl’awesome. I can’t remember them off the top of my head because I was a bit tipsy to take notes. The are definitely worth the cost in alcohol!

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Seriously though, Skyline might be one of my favourite new discoveries that we went in by chance!

Wilbur Mexicana

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I went to Wilbur Mexicana recently, home of a hot sauce and salsa bar.  Apparently, it is temporarily closed at the moment to prepare for kitchen repairs, but I went before that happened.

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I was unwinding for the evening so I had a Paloma with Tromba, Aperol, grapefruit and soda.

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My choice of tacos were: Carne asada with pico de gallo, crispy onions and queso fundido; and the Baja Fish taco with beer battered mahi mahi, cabbage, pico de gallo, chipotle crema. Both were very flavourful and delicious but I loved the crunchy texture of the onions in the Carne Asada (steak) taco.

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I can never resist grilled corn so I had to order the Mexican street corn which had chipotle crema, cotija cheese and guajillo chilli powder. It had just the right balance of spice and cream.

I found the price of everything very reasonable and the portions just right. The place always looks like there is a line-up but in reality it doesn’t take very long to get a seat. Plus people will eat these things fast!

Wilbur Mexicana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dollarama Review: Fish Shower Curtain

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I haven’t written a Dollarama review in a while but I couldn’t resist posting about this fish shower curtain. The fish are so unbelievably derpy in their happiness.

The curtain itself is plastic and has metal rings, so it’s stronger than the one I accidentally ripped when I tripped in the shower. It is also slightly long for my shower and requires an extra ring.

This is guaranteed to bring you smiles every time you go into the washroom.

 

Rosedale Diner

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I don’t venture North of Bloor that often, but recently I had dinner with my friends at Rosedale Diner. I went for their Prix Fixe menu and started with the Duck Liver Paté served with pickled red onions, delicious fruit chutney that I spread on crostini. I think I could keep eating that chutney!

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To pair with my meal I had the Paloma: grapefruit, tequila, soda, lime and salt.

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My main was the Steak Frites: a flat iron steak, compound butter and asparagus. I loved the garlicy butter and the steak was very tender. The fries had just the right amount of salt.

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My friend Karol had the Duck Poutine which was made with duck confit, Quebec cheese curds, duck gravy and crackling.

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The prix fixe came with dessert and I opted for the creme brûlée, a classic finisher.

The Prix Fixe starts at $29, and with a large selection of flavourful entrees and mains,  the Rosedale Diner is both a satisfying and value meal.

 

The Rosedale Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

#BioreBakingSoda Box From Influenster

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I recently qualified for the Influenster Bioré Baking Soda Vox! I received a complimentary set of their pore cleanser and scrub from their baking soda line.

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The Baking Soda pore cleanser was light and gentle on the skin. You can see little flakes of baking soda in the bottle. It leaves a nice fresh scent that is not too overwhelming. I found that using it daily doesn’t dry out my skin too much, but always remember to moisturize after cleansing your face!

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This was a little bit strange at first. It literally looks like baking soda when you pour it into your hand. At first, I would use way too much water and dilute it too much. It feels like a micro scrub wash when used, leaving my skin feeling fresh and exfoliated. I wouldn’t recommend using this daily as it is a little bit more drying but it does what it advertises!

Keurig K200 + Van Houtte Specialty Vox Box from Influenster!

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I was lucky enough to be selected by Influenster for their Keurig Vox Box. This included a Keurig K200 system and some Van Houtte Specialty coffee.

I unboxed the thing on Youtube.

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What’s different about this system compared to my older machine was that it included a water filter as well as a cleaning ball. These are cool new additions to those that don’t have Brita filters and were previously clueless on how to clean the machine.

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I like that this system was compact because the (removeable) water tank was at the back. This is a Keurig 2.0 system, so there was an electronic display. I found the electronic part a bit unnecessary as it mostly just bossed you around with directions like “LIFT LID” “ADD WATER”.

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Since I own a machine, I do have cups, but many aren’t suitable for the 2.0 system. You can tell what is suitable because they have a white rim for DRM. I decided to try the Van Houtte Specialty coffees on the new machine.

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There’s two steps to making a vanilla latte or a cappuccino. The first is a package of white powder that is added to the cup before you put it in the machine. The second is the K-Cup. I assume the first is what makes it nice and frothy!  It definitely delivered on it’s frothy goodness, almost like one you could get in a local café, but made conveniently at home!

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My first impressions of this machine was that it is compact for small counters and comes with more accessories than older ones. Whether or not it is worth limiting my selection of K-Cups (if I replaced my older machine) remains to be decided. That’s the biggest hurdle with this machine for me. I love the Keurig system otherwise.


 

Ramen Raijin

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There are so many ramen places in the city that I could not possibly try them all! Recently, I stopped by Ramen Raijin, a casual dining place. Inside there were separate tables as well as a big square bar thing with a buddha in the middle.

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The ramen comes in 3 different sizes: Small, Regular and Large. I opted for a regular bowl of the Tonkotsu Shoyu ramen. Shoyu is a soy-sauce flavoured ramen. It came with pork shoulder, an egg, bean sprouts and seaweed. The broth was very flavourful and there was a decent amount of noodles, though I found them quite chewy compared to some other places.

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For dessert I refreshed myself with a classic green tea ice cream.

I thought the ramen was decent but there are better places in the city.

Ramen Raijin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Steak Frites @ Burdock

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I’m about to head out to Burdock for a show but last week I also had dinner there. It’s a trendy new bar with a small menu of snacks and mains. I opted for the Steak Frites (pictured above). It was buttery and delicious and I loved the sauces that it came with.

IMG_1270My friend and I also shared a mushroom and cheese crouton thing that was gone in two seconds.

They also had a great selection of local craft beers. I opted for an IPA called the Great Lakes Octopus Wants to Fight because who the hell could resist a name like that?

Click to add a blog post for Burdock on Zomato

Delucious Delivery!

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Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to sample an order from Delucious, a new delivery service by Mom & Son team Mark and Lucy. Their mission is to help you eat more veggies. At the same time, this would aid Mark in helping his mom work less hours a week as a chef. If they could fulfill 100 orders a week, it would be enough.

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They focus on traditional Korean side dishes. Our samples included Kimchi, seaweed stem, coleslaw, radish, spinach and bean sprouts. At the moment, Mark and Lucy only deliver between 7-11pm on Thursdays. Our order arrived at 8pm, personally delivered by Mark.

Everything was fresh, and generously seasoned. It was like I was eating a home cooked meal in a traditional Korean kitchen! As you know, Nash and I have had plenty of meals around Koreatown. They also have a suggested quick Instameal where you just put all the veggies over a bowl of rice and top it with a fried egg for a quick Bibimbap!

You can order your own sides from delucious.ca

Thanks Delucious for the complimentary order!