Brunchin’ at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Toronto

 

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen provides an urban dining venue but yet provides a warm and intimate dining experience. The dishes created by Chef Donna Dooher will have you leaving with a new culinary curiosity and memory. Well known for their brunch, I just knew I had to check this place out one day and today is that day!

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen
85 Hanna Ave, Toronto, ON M6K 3S3
http://templekitchen.com
https://www.instagram.com/MildredTempleKitchen/

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Wilbur Mexicana in Toronto

Wilbur Mexicana is where a group of friends can meet for drinks and a taco or even going out on your own for time alone. This is a spot where anyone and everyone is welcomed, while also offering cheap downtown eats with big flavour. Wilbur Mexicana is named after the chemist that discovered the Scoville scale of spicy heat, Wilbur Scoville. They offer an upscale but casual atmosphere serving up fast cheap eats that you would not expect in the downtown core.

Wilbur Mexicana
552 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1M3
http://wilburmexicana.com
https://www.instagram.com/wilburmexicana/

Once you enter the restaurant there is a sign up on the menu board that states, “Wilbur first timers, grab a menu at the door”, when you read this, you look to your left and see some menus hanging off the side rack. Once you figure out what you want to indulge in, you simply order and pay at the cash where you give you a numbered placeholder that contains a photo of a cartoon pepper. If you are dining in, just grab a seat at a table to you prefer and sit pretty; if take out, sit comfy on a stool right next to the cash.

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Pop-Up Italian Style: SAOR Project in LA

A trend in the Los Angeles foodie culture is the concept of the pop-up restaurant which offers a limited time dining experience in a temporary space with a specific focus on a particular type of food.

SAOR Project, started by Gianluca Zago and his wife Alessandra Manias, take the pop-up concept and aim to make it more of a permanent fixture, with monthly intimate meals and special dining events celebrating the best of classic Italian cuisine.

SAOR PROJECT
Private Residence, Sherman Oaks
https://www.saorproject.com

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the experience. But the word “experience” definitely sums up the evening. This was one of the most memorable dinners I’ve had in a very long while, and not just because of the excellent food.

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Chilling Out at Wong’s Ice Cream & Shop in Toronto

HELLOOOOO SUM-MAH! Hot weather calls for some cool ice cream! Located in East Chinatown (aka Old Chinatown) is Wong’s Ice Cream and Shop. Not only is the ice cream cool at Wong’s, but their ice cream is crazy and unique! Wong’s is owned and operated by Ed Wong, the genius behind the crazy ice cream flavours such as black sesame with salted duck egg, wasabi honey and rosewater white chocolate jasmine (to name a few!). Ed creates the ice cream in small batches once a week and even offers the ice cream in quart containers to take home.

Wong’s Ice Cream & Shop
617 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1Y2
https://www.wongsicecream.com/
https://www.instagram.com/wongsicecream/

Chilling on an ice cream sandwich bench with Ed Wong,, Owner of Wong’s Ice Cream and Shop (left) and Tristen, co-owner of Tito Ron’s (right).
Seven flavours currently available (including Tito Ron’s Turon Sundae)

Wong’s has just recently opened on June 14th, 2017 and within the past two weeks of them being open, I have dropped by and had myself seven out of nine of their flavours! Not only are there dairy ice cream flavours but they also have vegan flavours that are created with coconut milk and a touch of soy milk.

These two weeks have taught me quite a bit about ice cream making. Did you know that the amount of air mixed into an ice cream determines its taste? (Well, imo, it does) This is basically why massed produced brands will taste more “airy” and less flavour than small batched ice creams. You can definitely taste the difference while eating Wong’s ice cream, as the ice cream produces so much flavour and is more of an icy texture that melts in your mouth.

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Mi’hito Sushi Laboratory: Toronto’s Pioneer in Sushi Burrito

Mi’hito Sushi Laboratory
285 College St, Toronto, ON M5T 1S2
https://mihito.ca/
https://www.instagram.com/mihitosushi/

Menu board
Display Table

Welcome Mi’hito Sushi Laboratory to downtown Toronto! I was given the privilege to attend a media event hosted by DKLO Events to explore this new sushi joint and all their offerings. Mi’hito opened up their first location in Mississauga (right next to Toronto) and were the first to bring the sushi burrito craze to the GTA (Greater Toronto Area)! I have actually dropped by this downtown location during their opening week and had the chance to try a few of their varieties but this event allowed me to try more.

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Soi Thai Street Food’s 2nd Anniversary and Songkran (Thai New Year)

Soi Thai Street Food
651 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1B7
https://soithaito.com/
www.instagram.com/soithaito

I was given the opportunity to attend a media event hosted by #jojoinstameets to preview the celebrations for Soi Thai’s 2nd Anniversary and Songkran (Thai New Year) which will occur on Thursday, April 13. Songkran is the biggest and most memorable water festival in Thailand! Traditionally, Thais pour water over friends and family to symbolically wash off the misfortunes from the old year and to welcome the new year with a fresh start.

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Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant: 20 Years Strong in Toronto

Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant
195 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5G 1C7
http://hongshingto.com/
https://www.instagram.com/hongshingto

Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant is family owned and is celebrating 20 years of operation in downtown Toronto! This restaurant is the most modern but traditional Chinese restaurant that I have ever came across, and that is why it’s my favourite! Just over a year ago, they modernized their sign from your typical old school Chinese Restaurant neon sign to this beautiful modern design. In addition to the modern exterior, they have updated their “Specials” board with lettering created by local artist, @angelita_gel.

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KABOOM Chicken: The REAL KFC in Toronto

KABOOM Chicken
722 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H2
http://kaboomchicken.com/
https://www.instagram.com/kaboomchicken

KABOOM Chicken is one of the newest and hottest Korean street food spots in Toronto! Starting from various food festivals over Summer 2016 to now a brick and mortar shop at a new and upcoming block, KABOOM Chicken is definitely exploding out in the Toronto food scene. They definitely define and bring out the REAL KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) to Toronto.

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Warung Indonesia d’Eglinton in Toronto

Warung Indonesia d’Eglinton
2439 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4P 2E7
http://www.warungone.com
https://www.instagram.com/Warung_Indonesia_d_Eglinton/

Exterior photo courtesy of Warung Indonesia d’Eglinton

Warung Indonesia d’Eglinton roughly translates into Indonesian Small Family Restaurant at Eglinton. You can find this restaurant a couple of blocks north of a relatively busy business area of Yonge and Eglinton. They serve Indonesian style food in a comfortable and homey environment and prepare their food from scratch to order which allows you the time to just relax in the atmosphere. Recently, my boyfriend and I were invited to a media tasting of this restaurant from DKLO Events and had our first try of Indonesian food!

Toronto is a fairly multicultural city. However, it ‘s hard to come by new cuisines if you are not already familiar with it or if not recommended. This Indonesian restaurant specializes in providing their customers with customized meals. What do I mean by that? They offer a “Set Your Own Meal” option where you can choose two veggie appetizers, one veggie appetizer, and one entree served with rice. This tasting provided us with this opportunity to set our own meal!

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Hollandaise Diner: Brunch 7 Days a Week

Hollandaise Diner
2231 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C 1K4
https://www.facebook.com/HollandaiseDiner
https://www.instagram.com/hollandaisediner/

Who doesn’t love brunch? Better yet, who doesn’t love eggs?! Hollandaise Diner is a brunch spot along “The Danforth” in east Toronto that specializes in brunch seven days a week from 7 am to 3 pm. They are even open on CHRISTMAS DAY for your Christmas brunch needs! This east end diner owned and operated by a very proud “east ender” couple who show their love for this diner in all their dishes by preparing them fresh from scratch every morning. This diner may be small (well, it is a diner!) but, in my opinion, is worth the wait!

“Mushroom and Brie Frittata”: three large eggs, potato frittata with portobello mushroom, button mushroom, and brie served with asparagus and red pepper jelly

This diner serves a multitude of various breakfast dishes, ranging from buttermilk coconut pancakes to frittatas to a build-your-own eggs benedict. Their menu is endless! Oh, and their homefries are NOT deep fried! They may taste as crispy and yummy as if they were fried, but they are cooked on a flat top!

“The Original Eggs Benedict”: English muffin, peameal bacon, two poached eggs, original hollandaise sauce
“The Smoke Bloke”: English muffin, two pieces of smoked salmon, two poached eggs with their zesty hollandaise
“The Cajun”: sautéed Cajun spiced peppers and onions, two pieces of baked polenta with two poached eggs and their cajun spiced hollandaise sauce

Just as their diner is named, hollandaise sauce is their specialty. Their hollandaise sauce is made fresh from scratch daily, and they even offer five different hollandaise sauces (original, HP infused, zesty, coconut and Cajun) which give their diners a different experience each visit.

“The Meatloaf”: two pieces of homemade meatloaf, ketchup glaze with sautéed mushrooms, two poached eggs, and their HP infused hollandaise sauce

I have had the opportunity to sample a multitude of their eggs Benedict creations, and it ‘s hard to pick a favourite. I would say that “The Meatloaf” eggs benny is one I would keep coming back for. This benny consists of two pieces of homemade meatloaf, ketchup glaze with sautéed mushrooms, two poached eggs and their HP infused hollandaise sauce. This creation is definitely over the top and is such a homey dish. Meatloaf, in general, can be a bit dry or even taste, well, like plain meat but at Hollandaise Diner their meatloaf is super moist and is seasoned perfectly.

“The Coconut”: grilled tomato on top of bitter greens, two poached eggs, their coconut hollandaise sauce and topped with toasted coconut

Another benny I would go back for if I wanted a lighter option would be “The Coconut.” This benny consisted of grilled tomato on top of bitter greens, two poached eggs, their coconut hollandaise sauce and topped with toasted coconut. This dish a vegetarian variation of an eggs benedict and I would grab it in a heartbeat. You may think that having coconut in a dish may make it sweet, but somehow they magically were able to create this sauce without being sweet yet have that coconut flavour you’d be looking for.

Coconut buttermilk pancakes with blueberry fruit sauce

The last thing I would probably go crazy for is their buttermilk pancakes. Man oh man, did I devour this stack you see. I was super stuffed when I tried these dishes, but somehow I got myself to stuff all of this in my face, and I do not regret any second of it! This stack is their coconut pancakes (YES, COCONUT!) with blueberry fruit sauce. These pancakes not only taste like coconut but they have coconut in them! So when those coconut cravings hit, I know where to go!

“The Croque Madame”: grilled cheese, two poached eggs, and their original hollandaise sauce

One last dish I cannot go without featuring is “The Croque Madame.” This benny consists of a grilled cheese, two poached eggs, and their original hollandaise sauce. If you love grilled cheese and you love eggs benedict, then you know which benny you should have! This benny plays to my childhood, and my favourite thing to request (and cook!) was grilled cheese. I wish I thought of this sooner; having the ooey gooey grilled cheese with the creamy hollandaise sauce and the perfect runny egg yolk, it really cannot get any better.

Clearly, I do recommend this place, and I would say that it is currently my go-to brunch spot. With all of their fresh and made from scratch dishes, I will be a return customer!

Alex and Tania Go To Ocean Market Grill In Long Beach

TANIA: When Alex asked me if I wanted to join her for dinner at Ocean Market Grill in Long Beach, I said, “Hell yes!” even though it’s a bit of a trek for me. We used to be roommates, and now that she lives in San Diego, I gotta get my Alex time in any chance I get!

ALEX: I happened to be back at home for Thanksgiving and was so excited to have the opportunity to check out Ocean Market Grill. This style of a fish shop is one of my favorite things, and since I was an hour and a half closer to Tania than I usually am, I knew I needed her to join me!

It was a rainy evening, and after a quick hug in the parking-lot-turned-swimming-pool we hurried inside.

OCEAN MARKET GRILL
6332 East Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, CA 90803
http://www.oceanmarketgrill.com

ocean-market-grill-exterior

The interior is clean, minimalist, and casual, with nice lighting. They had the place decorated for Small Business Saturday as it happened to be the day after Black Friday.

ocean-market-grill-interior

The menu somehow managed to be both simple and expansive, with multiple options of fresh fish prepared with different cooking and presentation styles, seasonings, and sides. Not to mention all the appetizers and salads that are also available!

ocean-market-grill-menu

TANIA: To start with, Alex and I ordered the OMG fries, which are served with a topping of clam chowder and delicious bacon. Alex doesn’t eat bacon, so I was more than happy to take one for the team and finish every last bit! The fatty and crispy bacon bits added just the right amount of salt to go with the creamy chowder on top.

ALEX: As Tania very willingly ate all of the bacon off of these fries for me (what a great friend!) I started digging into the fries, and these did make me say OMG! I’m not typically a huge clam chowder fan, but I could not stop eating these. The fries held their crispiness well, and the addition of red potatoes made these unique and extra delicious!

omg-fries

TANIA: For my main dish, I was excited to see that Yellow Tail was an option, as that’s one of my favorite types of fish to eat. The Yellow Tail and Ahi are sushi-grade and come lightly seared. That sounded so good; I decided to try the tacos, one in each style.

tacos

I had the Yellow Tail lightly grilled with garlic butter in an OMG-style taco, served with cilantro aioli, romaine, and Watermelon Pico-de-gallo. This was my favorite taco of the two. It was light, fresh, and had a nice combination of bright flavors. The fish was also wonderfully flaky and tender.

tacos2

For the Ahi taco, I had the fish blackened and served in a Cabo style taco prepared with Cabbage, Poblano Crema, Salsa, Pickled Onions, and a dusting of Cojita Cheese.  This taco offered a much more intense and smoky Cajun flavor, which was good, but I thought it overpowered the flavor of the Ahi. Next time, I’ll pick a different fish such as Salmon or Rock-Cod to go with this style of taco.

tacos3 For my side, I got brussels sprouts, and these were just delicious. I loved the crispy charred edges and with a zesty lemony flavor tossed in. The chips and salsa were also a nice side to go with my meal – I could tell the chips were made fresh.

tania

ALEX: I attempted to regain at least some semblance of health after the OMG fries so I ordered the Paleo plate, and decided on my favorite fish mahi-mahi, blackened, to go along with the sweet baked yams and broccolini. The Mahi on this dish was prepared perfectly, and the seasoning had a little kick that added to the fish without overwhelming it. While these sides were both very simple, they were prepared so well, especially the yams, which I didn’t even need to dress up with any extras because they were delicious on their own!

paleo-plate

alex

TANIA: To finish off our meals, Alex and I decided to skip dessert and go healthy. We shared a CA Artichoke Salad which comes with half a grilled artichoke, mixed greens, tomatoes, charred corn, avocado, cojita cheese, radish, tortilla strips, cilantro, and tossed with a spicy ranch dressing. I thought the salad had a nice mix of flavors, and I liked the dressing in particular. And it came with a side of tasty, crunchy garlic bread – SCORE!

artichoke-salad

artichoke-salad2 artichoke-salad3ALEX: It was so nice to see Tania and do what we do best (eat), and everything we tried was so fresh and prepared so well! I will be bringing my family back to this spot whenever I am in the area. Ocean Market Grill has something for everyone, from the healthiest in the bunch, to the one who wants to chow down on a seafood burrito!

TANIA: It’s always nice to share a meal with a friend, but even nicer when that meal is fresh, healthy, and doesn’t weigh you down. Ok… so we might have visited a candy shop across the street after our meal, but still.

smallbizsaturday