Girls on Food

Toronto

#GOFPoutineParty! Smoke’s Poutinerie in Hollywood Hosts Girls on Food For Our First Blogger Tasting!

Since August of 2012, Girls on Food has grown from a team of 2 bloggers to a team of over 40, all over USA, Canada, and Mexico. My goals are to host someday a GOF convention, where we can all hang out but in the meantime, your favorite girl-gang will be hosting foodie events regionally.

Our first ever blogger meet-up was hosted by Smoke’s Poutinerie (thanks to our friends at All Points Public Relations) in Hollywood.

For those not quite sure what poutine is, it’s a French-Canadian dish that originated in Quebec; French fries get topped with cheese curds and a light brown gravy. It’s a hot, savory and cheesy dish. And while a lot of Americans aren’t familiar with it, it’s growing in popularity after being referenced on South Park and now with Smoke’s Poutineries popping up nation-wide in the US.

Smoke’s Poutinerie 
1552 N. Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
http://smokespoutinerie.com/

Tania won a prize for being Best Dressed! A cut-out of the Smoke!

The owner of this Smoke’s franchise location, Alan Goldstein admits he’s been educating LA-locals on poutine, since the opening in 2015 but that’s all right with him. Even if some of the newer customers walk in a little confused, they walk away educated, full and happy.

GOF bloggers who attended this party were TinTin, Tania, Sara, Christina, Julieta, and Libby. Now usually, we’re a little more demure with our wardrobe choices, but considering Smoke’s is all about 80’s glam rock and flannel, we decided we’d take a more fun approach with this one. Nobody wants to chow down on poutine in Herve Leger. And besides, who doesn’t love an 80’s/flannel party?

From left: Christina, TinTin, Julieta (back row), Julianne, Tania (back row), Libby and Sara

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Japanese Bites in Toronto: Ebisu on Queen

Ebisu on Queen
204 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z2
http://ebisutoronto.com/
https://www.instagram.com/ebisuonqueen/

Ebisu on Queen is a Toronto offspring of the Kamei Group, whom introduced Japanese cuisine in Vancouver, British Columbia. With five Japanese restaurants opened up in Vancouver, they decided to bring one over to Toronto! They just opened up in October 2016 and I had the opportunity to check it out with some foodie friends recently. The decor is very modern while the dishes are both modern and traditional that is bound to please anyone.

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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/
http://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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Headwaters Restaurant at Millcroft Inn and Spa

Headwaters Restaurant at Millcroft Inn & Spa
55 John St, Alton (Caledon), ON L7K 0C4
http://www.vintage-hotels.com/millcroft/dining.php
https://www.instagram.com/MillcroftInnAndSpa

Located within Caledon, ON, in a little town called Alton, this restaurant is a hidden gem within the palace of Millcroft Inn and Spa. My boyfriend, Nico, and I had the privilege to dine at this restaurant and catch up with his previous Chef who is now the Executive Sous Chef at this prestigious spot. With a short one hour drive North of Toronto, and feeling like we were lost in the wilderness (but we had our trusty GPS!) we finally arrived and instantly wished that we were staying for the night and not just for dinner. You feel like you are in a different world on their grounds.

The top section is referred to as “The Pod”. The Pod is probably an ideal dining spot in the entire restaurant. The section below is part of their banquet hall. The doors open up, so you and your guests can be right beside the waterfall! And yes, there are lights that light up the waterfall beautifully.

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It’s Ok To Be Shellfish: Good Catch Boil House in Markham, Ontario

Good Catch Boil House
179 Enterprise Blvd #109, Markham, ON L6G 0A2
http://www.goodcatchboilhouse.com/
https://www.instagram.com/GoodCatchBoil/

Image by @mjeatstoronto

Situated just north of Toronto (in York Region), Good Catch Boil House is the first Louisiana-inspired restaurant in the City of Markham. They specialize in customizable seafood boil combinations served by the pound in six flavours: Cajun, garlic butter, Szechuan, curry, lemon pepper, or Good Catch blend. I had the privilege to attend their media event to show that Good Catch Boil is not only a boil house, but they also serve gourmet pub fare that cannot be overlooked!

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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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MeNami in North York, Ontario: U-don Know How Fresh This Udon is

MeNami
5469 Yonge St, North York, ON M2N 5S1
http://www.menami.ca/
http://www.instagram.com/menamitoronto/

You can’t miss this sign!

If you’re looking for some legit udon, MeNami is the place to be! Not only do they specialize in various udon dishes but they also make their udon fresh from scratch. Now, if you know anything about udon (thanks, Google) you’ll know that it is a very temperamental process. The owner, Chae Kim, sent her chef to Japan to learn the art form and brought this knowledge back to Toronto to adjust and perfect it for our crazy environment.

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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!

Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant

Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant
2328 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E 1G9
https://www.facebook.com/isabellasboutiquerestaurant
https://www.instagram.com/isabellasbeaches

Exterior family shot courtesy of Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant
Interior

Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant is a new boutique restaurant that has opened in “The Beaches” neighborhood in East Toronto. Isabella’s is such an amazing and cozy restaurant owned and operated by an equivalent amazing and sweet couple. This lovely couple met in Japan, and now they are in Canada to offer us authentic, homey Japanese style dishes. This boutique restaurant is named after their bubbly daughter, Isabella, and you can tell where she gets her charm from! It is only the owners that work here but yet they are so attentive to every guest in making sure that you’re as comfortable as you can be.

Now onto the food! We’ve been here numerous times to try their various dishes from breakfast to lunch/dinner to their sweet treats. Below are (most of) the dishes that they currently have on their menu, but there are other surprises that they always have in store.

BREAKFAST

Mochi Mochi Pancakes with Nutella sauce, banana and chocolate chips
Mochi-Mochi Pancakes with Nutella sauce, banana and chocolate chips

Mochi-Mochi Pancakes
These pancakes are so thick, but still fluffy! Plus, Nutella sauce all over these?! Serious, real eats, and treats right here! These Japanese style pancakes are a unique take on your traditional pancakes.

Tamagoyaki
Tamagoyaki

Tamagoyaki
A stuffed Japanese omelet (contains onions, mushrooms, cheese and bacon). If you have never tried one, you gotta try this one! The way they prepare the omelet creates such a fluffy and lush texture that you’re eating a fluffy egg cloud.

Breakfast sandwich
Breakfast sandwich

Breakfast sandwich
The breakfast sandwich may sound like your ordinary thing, but you can taste the freshness of every ingredient. The egg is perfectly cooked and round (c’mon! Round egg!) and that thick cut bacon … C’mon, BACON! They also offer a breakfast combo for $5 (taxes in!) which includes a breakfast sandwich and beverage; perfect for busy mornings.

LUNCH/DINNER

Omurice before cutting
Omurice before cutting
The filling inside!
The filling inside!

Omurice
This was my first time having omurice, and if I could, I would be making this every day. It is another version of a stuffed omelet. This one is stuffed with fried rice, mushrooms and a protein (this one is beef). Traditionally, the omurice is topped with a ketchup type sauce but Isabella’s classes it up by topping it off with a homemade demi glaze. So heavenly!

Snack size chicken terriyaki
Snack size chicken teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki
Can you believe that they make their teriyaki sauce in house?! Fresh, from glorious scratch sauce! Also, if you are not feeling rice, then you can also get this beaut in a sandwich form.

Japanese Curry
Japanese Curry

Japanese Curry
This curry is not your stereotypical spicy curry, but it is still rich with that familiar curry flavor. It is smooth and silky that you just want to lick up the whole plate!

Yaki Udon
Yaki Udon with Bonito flakes

Yaki Udon
Who doesn’t love them some noodles?! This yaki udon is a fried udon dish, very simple but delicious. It does come with an option for a protein, but we went simple and got the plain yaki udon which is topped off with some savory bonito flakes.

SWEET TREATS

Nutella macarons and cherry blossom macarons
Nutella macarons and cherry blossom macarons

In the picture are their classic sweet treats that will continually be available. These are their macarons and fluffy cotton cupcakes (also available in a full cake form). The macarons pictures are their cherry blossom (the pink), and a Nutella (brown). These macarons are a delight! They are not cloyingly sweet and are the perfect texture; a perfect portion of the shell and the filling.

(left to right) Nutella macarons, Matcha fluffy cotton cupcake, cherry blossom fluffy cotton cupcake, cherry blossom macarons
(left to right) Nutella macarons, Matcha fluffy cotton cupcake, cherry blossom fluffy cotton cupcake, cherry blossom macarons

Now for their fluffy cotton cupcake. These are my personal favorite. Not only are the ones above matcha iced (green) and cherry blossom iced (pink) but the main base is perfection. They are just like their name, fluffy. These cupcakes are not your typical cupcake taste or texture either; more like a cross breed between a light, airy angel food cake and a flavor-packed dense cake. I realize that doesn’t make much sense, but you have to try it! If you were to visit The Beaches, Toronto area just drop by here to grab a free sample (if available) of their fluffy cotton cake, and you’ll see what I mean!

There is always something new to try at Isabella’s Boutique Restaurant, and I have yet to try everything! If you’re looking for somewhere cozy and relaxing to enjoy a meal, this is the place to be.