Girls on Food

Toronto

Kohinoor Kabob House in Richmond Hill, Ontario

Kohinoor Kabob House
10737 Yonge Street Unit 2 & 3, Richmond Hill, ON L4C 3E3
https://facebook.com/KohinoorKH https://www.instagram.com/kohinoorkabobhouse/

Store front picture courtesy of Kohinoor Kabob House
Storefront. Picture courtesy of Kohinoor Kabob House

Feeling for some Afghan/Indian food? I’ve got the place for you! Situated in a small shopping plaza in Richmond Hill (a 30 to 40-minute drive north of Toronto), Kohinoor Kabob House is a family owned and operated restaurant that provides quality and authentic Afghan and Indian dishes for you to discover and enjoy.

Interior Menu
Various dishes to choose from!

The first time I tried their food was when one of my coworkers (at the time) brought in food from his family’s restaurant, and I got to try their Chicken Biryani. Man oh man, that Biryani was delicious. The spice and heat were just enough to make you sweat a little (if your spice intolerance has dropped like mine) but yet you get the full flavor without the heat interfering. Just from having a few bites of this dish I was hooked and determined to make the drive up. So since I do not drive, I managed to bring my chef-in-training boyfriend, Nico, with me to enjoy and try a couple of dishes!

Lamb Shank
Lamb Shank

Every time I see lamb shank on any menu, we always go for it. Usually, you do not see such a dish at a casual mom and pop style restaurant, so you can imagine how delighted I was when I saw it. This lamb shank was super tender and fall off the bone! We were very very impressed since the process to get the lamb shank that tender can take forever and a half but they managed to cook the lamb to perfection.

Naan with Chutney. Please excuse the piece missing, we got hungry.
Naan with Chutney. Please excuse the piece missing, we got hungry.

Naan is such a staple you really cannot go wrong! Naan is usually something I would order alone but now that I have learned more of the world of chutney these two are just perfect for each other. Naan is such a staple that every meal on their menu has it included (don’t believe me? Please double check the menu picture at the top!).

Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken Drumstick

Nico is a chicken person, so, of course, he grabbed their Tandoori Chicken Drumstick. The chicken was moist, flavorful and fell off the bone. Delicious!

Mango Lassi (seasonal)
Mango Lassi (seasonal)

Of course, I had to grab a mango lassi while they had it in stock. We are mango freaks, and this was fantastic and refreshing. Plus, it makes a great dessert!

Chicken
Chicken Biryani with Raitha

Of course, I just couldn’t resist and just had to get their Chicken Biryani to go since I was so stuffed. This dish was just as good as I remember from the luncheon at work and I wish I bought more. If I lived in the area, I would probably live off of this alone.

If you want to try some Afghan-Indian foods and are up for a nice cruise, definitely check out Kohinoor Kabob House! They also offer catering and sell in party size containers so you can spread the love of Kohinoor Kabob House with the world.

OktoberFEAST: Feasting for Cancer Research in Toronto

Instagram: @CCSGTA @CancerSociety

Facebook: Canadian Cancer Society

Website: OktoberFEAST

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CCS logo
Canadian Cancer Society
OktoberFEAST logo
OktoberFEAST

 

 

 

 

 

 

October is filled with Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving, eh!), Halloween, Oktoberfest and, of course, it is Women’s Cancer Awareness Month. I was given the opportunity to attend a fundraising event called OktoberFEAST Toronto which was hosted by the Canadian Cancer Society. My boyfriend’s family has a history of breast cancer so anything to support the research, I am in! If you are interested in attending an OktoberFEAST event definitely check out their website to find a location near you! The night was filled with music, company, drinks and of course FOOD!

STEAM WHISTLE

Steamwhistle beer

To start off, I’ll share our beer of choice of the night — Nico, my boyfriend, and I chose SteamWhistle, a local beer brewed next to the lakeshore in downtown Toronto. It is definitely our local beer of choice because it has a full body, yet is still light without being watery. When I get my hands on a favourite beer, better not accidentally take my glass otherwise I’ll take yours too!

Two glass filled now!
Two glass filled now!

NORTH POKE

Three different pokes available (front to back): Salmon, Ahi Tuna, Octopus
Three different pokes available (front to back): Salmon, Ahi Tuna, Octopus

Now for the food: first up, North Poke! Lately, poke has been a big trend in Toronto and there’s probably a new poke restaurant popping up every other week. This is my first time trying North Poke and I definitely enjoyed it!

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There were three choices of poke, and I went for the salmon poke which had gochuchang dressing, kimchi crema, radish, fried shallot, scallion and microgreens on a bed of sushi rice. Nico is not much of a fan of raw foods but he ate majority of this poke! This poke was not only fresh but made us want more and more. I will definitely be dropping by their store-front for a large size!

KANTO by Tita Flips

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Next, we went back to our roots and got a Filipino classic from Kanto by Tita Flips. We are big fans of Kanto and were super happy to see that they partook in OktoberFEAST! Featured is a lumpia, a Filipino spring roll! They had a pork and a vegetarian option, but of course we had to go for the meat. The lumpia was perfectly crunchy and the meat was moist and flavourful. We can’t wait to have more!

HAWTHORNE FOOD & DRINK

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Crunchy Cauliflower Trio and Siu Mai

Hawthorne Food & Drink was new to me. They serve “Farm-to-Fork City Food” using only local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. For this event, they brought out their Siu Mai and a Crunchy Cauliflower Trio. Not only were these dishes beautiful and colourful, but knowing that everything on these dishes are local makes the flavours brighten. I can’t wait to explore more of their menu!

HEDWIGE DUMPLINGS

Jerk Chicken on lentil rice with Oxtail Gravy
Jerk Chicken on lentil rice with Oxtail Gravy

Now, who doesn’t love a good Jerk? We indulged in some jerk chicken with rice, lentil and oxtail gravy and also some African coconut donuts from Hedwige Dumplings. The chicken was moist and the jerk was simple enough that it worked really well with the lentil rice.

African Coconut Donuts
African Coconut Donuts

Now those donuts, they definitely remind us of the Jamaican Dumplings which are fried sweet dough. Man, anything sweet and fried is bomb and these donuts are no exception. On top of that, the two ladies who own the booth are filled with so much energy and smiles that you can’t help but smile along!

WAFEL BAR

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I don’t know how but we managed to have room for dessert! Here is the Turtle Waffel from WAFEL BAR food truck, a classic sweet Belgian liege waffle topped with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and pecans. Oh man oh man, so delicious and so perfect. The waffle has the classic hard outer shell but was still soft  in the inside. If you’re in the area, you have to seek out this truck!

TORONTO POPCORN COMPANY

OktoberFEAST Shan 15

The best part of this experience is that we were given VIP passes — and paying an extra few bucks is definitely worth it. Not only do you get the mason jar included, a cool orange bracelet, one free drink and a VIP lounge,  but you also get popcorn —  not your ordinary popcorn, no no, but gourmet fancy popcorn! And the best part? You get to take as many as you want!! Not going to lie, if I had a big bag with me then I would have taken all of these, but unfortunately I only took home three. The Toronto Popcorn Company is a local popcorn company that creates and sells some crazy flavours, from classic caramel to maple bacon to vanilla spongecake popcorn… they have ’em all!

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Overall, this event not only had amazing food but also brought cancer awareness to a whole new level. We wish them all the best and cannot wait for next year! Two more locations will be hosting an OktoberFEAST event so definitely check out their website.

 

Shanlli at the Sweetery in Toronto

What’s cooler than an ice cream cone on a summer’s day? A ton of sweets, treats AND ice cream! Welcome to the Sweetery Toronto, Toronto’s one and only solely confectionary festival. This festival is their second time around and with the help from the City of Toronto, they hosted a FREE festival out on David Pecaut Square located right next to the Roy Thomson Hall.

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Guests are allowed to interact and take photos with this Sweetery Installation.

With over 25 vendors and food trucks, there was more than enough sweets and treats for the day. The event is held over a two-day period, August 20-21, right in the downtown core.

Treats created by George Brown Pastry Chefs
Treats created by George Brown Pastry Chefs

This year they collaborated with the George Brown College’s Chef School. The sweets and treats created by the Post Graduate Pastry program students were part of their final grade and the profits obtained are used to help elevate their costs for their semester learning in France.

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Left: Crumble Mountain Right: Rainbow Giant – From Cool Beans (https://www.instagram.com/coolbeansto/)

We got to sample multiple different treats from coffee based creations to artisan marshmallows, to matcha everything! Cool Beans has a refreshing new take on the cold brew.

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Left to Right: raspberry lemonade crush, pina colada paradise, sassy sangria, merry mojito – From I LOVE PUFFY LOVE (http://www.ilovepuffylove.com; https://www.instagram.com/ilovepuffylove/)

Want fancy and unique marshmallows? Well, I LOVE PUFFY LOVE have you covered with these crazy creations; I loved the pina colada paradise!

 

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Matcha Chiffon Cake & Matcha Soft Serve – From Matcha Tea & Desserts (http://www.matchateadessert.ca; https://www.instagram.com/matchateadessert/)

One of this summer’s craze in Toronto is Matcha everything. Matcha Tea & Desserts provide matcha soft serve that tastes very matcha like and their cake is just so light and match filled!

DaangoChrissiu
Clockwise: Asian themed animal macarons (Maple Lap Chong, Duck Egg Custard, Rare Tofu cheesecake), matcha chestnut cake (the same cake that Veronica created on the show!), HK milk tea crepe cake, matcha rare cheesecake

As a wonderful bonus, we got an opportunity to try some goodies created by Masterchef Canada Season 2 Top 5, Christopher Siu, Masterchef Canada Season 3 Finalist, Ernie Chow, and Masterchef Canada Season 3 Top 4, Veronica Cham. Christopher Siu also sells custom cakes and treats through his company, Daan Go.

goldencrumbbiscuit
A wide variety of cookies from red velvet, to fudge, to pistachio! – From Golden Crumb Biscuit (http://goldencrumbbiscuit.com/, https://www.instagram.com/goldencrumbbiscuit/)

Oh, and of course, we cannot forget the simple treats in life, cookies, and pies. The pistachio cookie from Golden Crumb Bakery (along with others) was super soft and delicious!

carlascookiebox
Italian waffle cookie with gelato – From Carla’s Cookie Bar (http://www.carlacookiebox.com/, https://www.instagram.com/carlacookiebox/)

While the fresh cookie and gelato from Carla’s Cookie Box were perfect during that hot weekend

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Butter pecan pie – From Andrea’s Bakery (http://andreasbakery635.com/, https://www.instagram.com/andreasbakery/)

Now, we cannot forget the tarts and pies from Andrea’s Bakery.  The pies had the perfect balance of sweet and flaky.

activitytents
Pictured is a guest partaking in an activity. These are activity tents where guests compete for sweet rewards while donating money to Second Harvest.

Once you’ve had your share of sweet treats, guests are welcome to compete in their various activity tents. Guests play to win prizes with their payment for the activity donated to Second Harvest, “the largest food rescue program in Canada.” Not only do guests benefit from the prizes and fun but they are also giving back to the community.

There were a lot more other vendors that I was not able to capture, but this is just the beginning for Sweetery Toronto. Be sure to follow them to stay up to date for their next event in 2017!

Instagram: @sweeterytoronto Facebook: Sweetery Toronto Websitehttp://www.sweeterytoronto.com/ Hashtag: #SweeteryToronto

A Sweet Peek: Sweetery Toronto Food Festival

Hey Foodie Fam!

Toronto is in full festival swing! As you probably know, Canada spends majority of the year in the Winter season. So when Summer comes around the food festivals come out shining! Majority of these festivals are savoury based but here comes a sweet take on things! The 2nd Annual Sweetery Toronto Food Festival, 8/20-8/21 is taking place at the David Pecaut Square and it a FREE EVENT!

Sweetery_logo

Sweetery Toronto is the first of its kind in the city, offering guests a chance to explore the confectionery world that Toronto has to offer. Not only will there be various food vendors and there will be activities where guests are given the opportunity to test their skills. The small donations that guests give for the activities will benefit Second Harvest, “the largest food rescue program in Canada.” Sweetery Toronto also benefits George Brown College Post Graduate Pastry program by allowing its students this opportunity to showcase their own French pastry creation for their final evaluation.

Eva's Original Chimney
This year’s returning vendor! Eva’s Original Chimney provides freshly baked donut cones (you get to watch them spin around as they cook!) filled with locally sourced ice cream.

There is a list of vendors that I am excited to check out and there will lots more of surprises! This is a FREE EVENT so definitely take some time out of your weekend to enjoy the downtown core, sunshine and lots and lots of sweet treats! See you there!

Follow Sweetery Food Festival to stay up to date with the latest news!

Instagram: @sweeterytoronto Facebook: @sweeterytoronto Hashtag: #SweeteryToronto

Tito Ron’s Brings the Philippines to Kensington Market in Toronto

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Can’t you feel the love?!

TITO RON’S
14 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2L8 (Kensington Market)
http://www.titorons.com/

Welcome to Tito Ron’s!

This power couple, Tristen Petate and Michael McFarlane, have made the culinary dream come true; to open up shop and sell their food to the masses. From humble beginnings of working food festivals across Toronto in 2015, to finally opening their shop in Kensington Market in 2016; these two have managed to open up shop in less than a years’ time. A common way to test the food scene waters is to start up in various food festivals held throughout Toronto. Tito Ron’s started with those rounds and that is how I (along with other Toronto foodies) got to know the two amazing owners. Tito Ron is the father of their Chef, Tristen Petate, and they started this business not only to sell and promote Filipino Food but also to help Tito Ron retire and rest his bones.

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Tristen Petate (left) and Michael McFarlane (right) speaking with customers

Who doesn’t love a good fusion?!

They have worked hard and created this concept of a fusion of Caribbean and Filipino Flavours that they hope will turn the heads of Torontonians and get Filipino food on the map! Once they’ve rallied a ton of support through the food festivals, they were able to open up shop in Kensington Market, a multicultural neighbourhood which is designated a National Historic Site of Canada. They always refer to their supporters as “Lumpia Lovers” (lumpia being Filipino Spring Rolls; #LumpiaLovers) as this is the dish that has started their reign.

Jerk Chicken Lumpia

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Jerk Chicken Lumpia (spring rolls) with their housemade hot sauce & lechon sauce

One of their fusion Filipino/Caribbean babies is the Jerk Chicken Lumpia (pronounced Lume-pee-ah). That’s right, JERK CHICKEN SPRING ROLL! To be honest, I was a little bit skeptical as I LOVE a good jerk chicken and nothing can ever beat jerk chicken from Jamaica (amazing country to visit. by the way!). However these sticks explode with flavour! You get the flavours of the spices you expect from a great jerk with the crunch of the perfectly deep fried spring roll wrapper. To take it over the edge, dip these bad boys into a mix of their housemade hot sauce and lechon (pork) sauce and game over.

Tocino Slider

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Tocino (aka Filipino bacon) Sliders topped with salted tomato, their “Big Mac” sauce and pickled carrot slaw in Caribbean tennis rolls

One of their best sellers (and definitely my favourite) is the Tocino Slider. This is their take on a Filipino dish, Filipino Bacon aka Tocino (pronounced Toe-see-no). They do offer this in a more traditional form (aka rice) but this is definitely a new take. Tocino is a cured pork which can be sweet or savoury; this is a childhood favourite of mine so the standards are up high! Tito Ron’s take on tocino is of the sweet variety which they prepare and cure in house! The sweetness that you can take away from it is pineapple which also adds a bit of a sour factor. The tocino is grilled on their flat top along with a pair of Caribbean tennis rolls which are used due to their near resemblance to the Filipino sweet buns, pandesal. The tocino is then placed on the bun sauced with their “Bic Mac” sauce and topped with a slice of salted tomato and housemade pickled carrot slaw. Just perfect. These sliders just encompass the essence of Filipino cuisine; it’s sweet, savoury, salty, sour, everything that Filipino dishes are!

Turon Sundae

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Turon Sundae with a scoop of ube ice cream, a scoop of cheese and corn ice cream, three ube turons, drizzle of mango condensed milk, plantain chips and ube cookies

For their first summer in Kensington Market, they have created the Turon Sundae. Want something that’s sweet, crunchy, cold, hot, yummy and everything under the sun? This is the treat for you!

The turon sundae was featured on BlogTO (an excellent source for the newest and upcoming in Toronto) in a video format with over 917K views! The Turon Sundae consists of 2 scoops of Magnolia ice cream (which, as co-owner Michael would refer to it as is the Häagen-Dazs ice cream of the Philippines). You have your choice of various flavours from mango to ube (purple yam) to cheese and corn, 3 of their Ube turon (sweet purple yam spring rolls), plantain chips, ube cookies, and mango condensed milk.

The ice cream combo I ordered is what Michael refers to as the “Pinoy Special”. I chose the ube and cheese and corn. Why is this referred to as the “Pinoy Special”? That’s because only Filipinos would be excited to have cheese and corn ice cream. So if you would like to be an honourary Filipino then be sure to get a taste of the cheese and corn ice cream! (Yes, you can ask for samples of the ice cream flavours to ensure you do enjoy it!)

Pro tip! Take the hot freshly deep fried turon and scoop it into the ice cream and all the toppings, for the perfect bite! Not only is this treat refreshing but it is also a pretty filling and satisfying snack!

If you’re ever in Toronto, definitely check out Tito Ron’s and the Kensington Market! You’ll be able to get a taste of our history and also a taste of the Philippines.